I need some tips on disciplining my 5 year old. Nothing is working!
MOST HELPFUL POSTS
Paula - posted on 07/02/2009
Every child is not the same; some children need more understanding and a lot more consistency. There are good books and articles out there on parenting a "strong-willed" child. Also look for books and articles on the "difficult" child. You can decide which one of these adjectives best fits your son's personality.
What I learned is that it is about choosing your battles wisely and making them feel as though they are making a lot of the decisions. "Do you want to wear your black shorts or your blue shorts?" instead of "which shorts do you want to wear?" "Would you like to share your ball or your teddy bear with your little sister?" instead of "please share a toy with your sister."
Strong-willed children are willing to be spanked or spend all day in time out if they think they will get what they want in the end. (I spanked my daughter until I broke blood vessels in my hand and she would turn around and laugh at me--she thought it was a game.) They will fight tooth and nail. So you can never give in. The trick there is to REALLY THINK about it before you say it. Don't threaten anything that you don't have the stamina or time to follow through on. If you tell him that he is going to time out, you have to make sure that he will go there and stay there or it is counter-productive.
High-energy, strong-willed children need more structure as well. It is best to create a routine for them and to stick as close to it as possible. They also need more one-on-one attention than other children, so plan a part of the day where you can do something alone together.
Discipline is less of a problem if you aren't doing it constantly. Prevention is the best medicine, as they say. In this case it is very true. Do whatever you can, quietly and unobtrusively, to prevent situations that you know are going to be a problem. If you know that you are going to be waiting somewhere for a long time, make sure you bring things for your son to do and things you can do together. If you know he doesn't shop well, get a babysitter. If at all possible, let him help you at the grocery store by telling him what you need and letting him pick it off the shelf and put it in the cart. This is a way in which he can feel in control (and that may be exactly what he is craving).
Everything that I recommend makes things harder on you. It is more time and energy consuming to have a strong-willed child. But the pay-off comes in the lessening of stress to the whole family. If you aren't fighting with him all the time, you will find that you like your son alot more and can enjoy his company. Also--VERY IMPORTANT--do whatever you can to get time away on a regular basis. The best thing you can do for your family is to keep your battery charged.
And always remember that, as his mother, nobody will love, understand or support your child the way you do. It will be tough, but there is great satisfaction in knowing that you accept your child for who he is and are a rock for him in a world that can be very frustrating for him.
Here are some links that may be helpful:
I hope this helps!
It's always worked for my boys, age 10 and 8, to give them time-outs. And when I say time out, I mean real time out - they have to stay in their bed until appropriate. Just this morning I was giving them their math pages to do and my younger one started whining. He was immediately sent to his room to come back when he could do his work nicely. They understand that they won't get to do anything fun until their work is done, and they can't do their work if they are in bed, so the faster they shape up the faster they can get their work done.
I've always been a big proponent of letting the kids have their feelings. I didn't ever mind the temper tantrums... as long as they were in their own rooms and I didn't have to listen to them. Sometimes kids can't handle the "no" in their life and have to vent some way. Fine, vent. But do it where I don't have to hear you... in your own room. When they are done, they are always welcome back into the daily household situation.
hope that helps.
Monica - posted on 07/02/2009
I agree with what Paula said. Making sure he feels like he has some control in his life is very important, so give him choices that are acceptable to you and don't fight battles you can't win. Also when you talk to him let him know what you will do instead of trying to tell him what to do. It is OK to ask him to do something (don't sound like you are telling him) but be prepared for him to not do it. so like you could say "I'll be happy to help you find your toy as soon as all your other toys are picked up and put back where they belong." And then say no more and stick to what you said. If he dosen't pick up then he doesn't get help finding his toy....win for you....and if he does pick up and you help....win for you.
another thing I like to do is say "i'll be happy to take you out in public when you are ready to mind and behave at home." And then don't take him anywhere you don't have to.
Mona - posted on 07/02/2009
Hi Jenell my two daughters just turned 6 and what worked with them was to set the rules clearly (even write them down - that helps you too) and stick to them, that way he knows what to expect ahead of time. I suppose you tried many approaches but maybe we moms lack on perseverance and that cancels all we've accomplished up to a point.
Melanie - posted on 07/07/2009
I found explaining why I made the decision that I did helpful. My daughter accepts a negative when she can understand why its a negative. eg. no you can't have a piece of cake for dinner because it is a snack or I am sorry we can't go to the park today because it is too cold/windy/last time you didn't come etc.
The other thing I have tried with her on occasion is to ask her what she thinks her punishment should be. she often punishes herself a lot harder than what I do. You don't have to do the punishment they suggest, but again it comes down to control, they are in control of their behaviour.
If you have a chance when things are calm talk to him about your expectations for him - but make sure your expectations are not to high (i know that is a problem of mine sometimes).
Try and ignore the tanties or if necessary put him somewhere safe where he can vent his frustrations and then talk about his feelings with him. As you see him get started remind him to use his words and reward him on those occasions he does. Even if you get a 'small' tantrum. As he realises he is more likely to get his way if he can rationally talk to you about something then the tantrums should reduce. Of course there will always be times when no means no. But if you see him trying to control himself and it is not an overly important issue in the scheme of things let him win and tell him why.
Finally you could try what my sister-in-law did, after her ten year old chucked another tantrum she had enough and threw one herself (at the shopping centre), child walked off in disgust, there were no more tantrums.
Melissa - posted on 07/07/2009
I have the same issues.. the child that just gets worse with every technique you try... i've just recently got a timer.. the old kitchen timer that helps me set them on a schedule and the discipline has to be constant if you say " do it again and your...." do it.. don't just shrug it off.. stand your ground!
Alexia - posted on 07/06/2009
I like all the replys but also was wondering if you had considered his diet? Food colourings, preservatives and additives can be like an on switch for unruly behaviour. Some children are allergic to certain foods as well and this could contribute in part also. Each child is different and so it's important to not compare him with other children but just focus on him and what's best for him.
Sarah - posted on 07/06/2009
hello Jenell ... I have 5 yr old son... hes a cutie... but hes a brat when he gets mad... he will yell and scream .. and he dosent listen to you ..I cant even talk to him .. So what i do .. I let it be ...scream all you want.. yell all you want .. then he gets tired .. the more you baby them ... the more they can manipulate you .. if they dont listen to you ... dont listen to them... but if they start breaking staff ... then thats where you need to step and give them a long time out .. with slap in the butt.... then you have to explain it to them why you did that .. but explain it to them when they are calm ...My brother is the good one .. when the kids start getting wild he bring them to the room then when they come out .. all i hear ok ... we are sorry ... by brother dosent yell or hit... but he have good wisdom ... i dont know he have magic.
Diane - posted on 07/06/2009
It is hard when the child tells you "no", but as the parent you have to stand strong and let him know that telling mommy "no" is not ok, and correct this as soon as he says the words "no" to you or it will become part of his vocabulary and he will believe it is ok to say "no" whenever he wants to, and that is "not" ok. I wish you all the best and just stay strong it does get easier once you have stood your ground with your child and he knows who is in charge.
My 6yr old tries that, often. What we do, is when he says no, we tell him it's not an option (in fact, we say it so often that my 4yr old always tells me, "No, that's not an option Mom!!" when I ask him to do something he doesn't want to.. :P), we stay calm and we don't budge until he does it. We allow him to vent away, but we ignore it, and when the fit is done, we tell him to do it again. We always tell him it's not a choice. Kids like to see if they can fluster their parents, they think they have a better chance of getting their way if they can fluster us! Some won't stop trying (like mine!), but you know what? He does it so much quicker and he does do it every time, even if he throws a fit, when I stay calm and in control. He also listens better. So I would totally say ignore the fits, stay firm and calm, and he'll eventually lessen in the fit department. And I'm hoping it'll eventually stop, like diapers... our kids won't be throwing fits when their in college, we just have to stick with it, right?? :)
Jenell - posted on 07/03/2009
He will be starting Kindergarten in August. His daycare/preschool doesn't really have many problems with him. It's just at home. He doesn't really have any favorite toys or else that what I would do, we have tried taking away his outside playing privelages though. That works a little bit.
Vicky - posted on 07/03/2009
Forgot to ask has he started school, this can cause total disruption and he may not be settling check with his teacher, if he hasn't he may need a little more challenges to get his teeth into. Try ks1bitesize website for their games.
Vicky - posted on 07/03/2009
I found that my daughter shouted at me more for attention so I ignored her. Until she was nice again then we would sit and talk about our feelings when the other shouted. Also you may fing that removing his favourite toys in carrier bags silently and putting them away until he has behaved for a certain amount of time may calm him down. My 8 year old is now on 24 hours of good manners to get back her 68 barbie dolls. She goes very quiet now when I say do i need to remove your dolls. Always remember stick to your choice of consequences and make sure others around you follow them as this can throw everything off, and also don't allow him to shout back twice put him in the hall or under a window and walk away like on supernanny as another way of dealing with this. Good luck.
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