My almost 5 year old will not stop being rude and talks back all the time. What can I do?

Lindsay - posted on 08/09/2009 ( 25 moms have responded )

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My almost 5 year old is constantly being rude talking back has an attitude and we just dont knwo what els to do. I know i contribute with the attitude sometimes. But she has gotten worse she isnt nice to her little sister anymore. Its awful. And now we are noticing the "I am always bad and i make bad choices" or "I want to live with my Gammy" or Knowone listens to me" and we do we give praise and attention .

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Mama - posted on 08/21/2012

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Talking back: Why it happens and what to do about it



by Karen Miles

Reviewed by the BabyCenter



Why kindergartners talk back



When you tell your kindergartner it's time for bed, she yells, "You're stupid!" Does this display of attitude mean you're in for years of sassing?



Not necessarily. "When a child talks back, what she's really expressing is anger, frustration, fear, or hurt," says Jane Nelsen, author of Positive Discipline. Of course, it's hard not to respond punitively to such back talk. A wiser course of action, though, is to try to get to the bottom of what's eating your 5-year-old and teach her to express it in a more acceptable way.



What to do about back talk



Keep your composure. Don't overreact to your child's mouthing off or get into a power struggle over her choice of words or her tone. And, of course, never respond in kind. The best way to teach your kindergartner to speak respectfully is to do so yourself. So tell her, "I think you can find a better way to say that." A knee-jerk "Don't you talk to me that way, you bad girl!," on the other hand, won't set a very good example, and will add to her frustration.



Turn a deaf ear. If your child's suddenly turned nasty, don't negotiate, compromise, or even discuss her opinion with her, which will only reinforce the behavior. If, for instance, you're sharing a lively game of Twister and she spits out, "I did not fall down, you dummy!" tell her that you won't play with her unless she talks nicely. If she continues to sass, make good on your promise and end the game immediately (no more chances!). Leave the room, and tell her, "We'll talk when you're ready to be nice."



Of course, you can't exactly abandon your child in the checkout line if she tries to sass you into buying a candy bar. When faced with public back talk, don't be intimidated into being a pushover (or a taskmaster, for that matter). Briefly and calmly let your kindergartner know that being nasty — no matter where or when — doesn't cut it. Find a quiet spot and tell her that if she does it again, there will be a consequence: missing her favorite TV show, say, or skipping the post-shopping trip to the playground you'd planned. Showing your child that you respect yourself too much to be treated this way will both model respect and earn it.



Offer choices. If your kindergartner has some say-so during the course of her day, she's less likely to feel the need to assert herself in offensive ways. So give her plenty of opportunity to make choices for herself. "Would you like to wear your green sweater or your red sweatshirt today?" or "Would you rather go to the park or the library this afternoon?" or "Do you want pasta or chicken nuggets for dinner?" Be sure to offer acceptable choices, and respect the ones she makes. Don't give your child a choice between ice cream and fresh fruit for dessert if you know that you're really trying to steer her toward the fruit and that ice cream isn't a choice you can live with.



Draw the line. Make sure your kindergartner understands what is — and isn't — okay to say. So if the word "Yuck" is verboten at the dinner table, or if you don't appreciate her responding to an earnest explanation with a sarcastic "Duh!" make that clear. "It's vital to set limits and stick to them," says Wade Horn, a clinical psychologist in Gaithersburg, Maryland. "If you don't, you're inviting defiance."



Also remind your child that she doesn't have to give voice to every thought that runs through her head. Grandma doesn't need to be told, however innocently, that her pie is runny, and the bagger at the grocery store doesn't need to hear from your 5-year-old that he could stand to lose a little weight.



Get behind the back talk. When your child verbally lashes out, let her know that you care about her feelings, even if you don't approve of the way she's expressing them. Acknowledging her emotions — "Boy, you sound really angry about this"— often takes the wind out of a child's sails, because it removes you from the adversarial role. If you can get past her tone, you can focus on the message she's trying to convey. "Are you mad because you have to stop coloring to pick up your socks?" If she can talk about it calmly, try to come up with a compromise you both can live with. Perhaps she can finish the drawing she's working on, then put her socks in the laundry basket, for instance.



More often than not, though, you'll need to save the soul-searching sessions for later. It's best to work on the deeper issues involved in back talk well after tempers have cooled, so revisit the subject when you can hash it out in a more level-headed way. "I know you get angry when I ask you to pick up after yourself, but did you think that calling me 'stupid' would make me back off? What would work better next time?"



Focus on solutions. You may discover — in your child's calmer, more polite moments — the real reasons behind her defiant outbursts. Maybe she gets angry about cleaning up because you always ask when she's in the middle of something. If so, offer to give her a five-minute warning the next time you need her to do her chores. Perhaps she gets out of bed every night not because "It's a stupid bed!" but because she's afraid of the shadows moving across the wall. In that case, buy her a flashlight to keep on her nightstand, or install window shades to block the spooky shadows. If you keep an eye on your goal — harmony and mutual respect — you'll be better able to keep your cool when your kindergartner mouths off.

TASHA - posted on 06/17/2013

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I would find the single most important toy, or thing he loves and take it away from him. Every child deals with things differently and you should develop a points system and once he gets to 5 points he gets rewarded. If he talks back take away a point from him so that he can know that there are consequences to his actions.

Leslie - posted on 08/09/2009

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Now is the time to nip it - otherwise, it will only be more and more difficult with time. My husband is real creative with our discipline and he once made 2 of our girls sit in chairs facing each other and say nice things to each other for 5 minutes, without repeating the same thing twice. (You could have your one daughter do this to the sister she's not being nice to.) We also found that finding the things they love the most make ideal tools to use - if it's a hand held gameboy, etc. we would take it away whenever one of them would have an episode like you are describing. Whatever you promise your child you are going to do, make sure you follow through so they know you're serious. I know a lot of people do not endorse it, but we also spanked when one of them was very rude. I didn't use my hand (but, a wooden spoon), and always counted to 10 before spanking so that I wasn't acting through my anger or frustration. Thankfully, by the time they were 6 or 7, I rarely had to resort to this. I am proud to have 3 extremely considerate and polite teenagers now and I'm now convinced that the discipline we used then have been the reason we are so blessed now. Another tip is to encourage and teach her how to use polite language and praise her at the smallest improvement each time.

Rachel - posted on 03/15/2014

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give here a spanking. it always helps. however, do not turn her over your knee and swat her bare bottom for five minutes, but lovingly tell her that she is going to be spanked for her actions. The routine at my house it usually this: "Go to your room and I will be there in a minute to spank you." I let her stay up in her room fir a few minutes then go up there with a wooden spoon in my hand. I calmly but firmly tell her, "Because of your naughty behavior, you will get seven swats." Then I strip of her pants and panties and lay her gently across my lap. After she has received her punishment, I let her up, hug her, and send her off to play.

Penny - posted on 09/10/2011

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My favorite word was excuse me when my kids were little and acting up. This is what I said to get their attention. I would tell them until they could find a better way to talk to me I could't hear them. One time my kids were being so rude to each other they had to come up with a list of things they liked about the other person. As a parent we also have to watch how we talk to our kids and other people because kids will repeat what they see and hear. You need to also find out why she is acting this way. Ask her but be prepared for what she might say and how you both can fix it

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Amanda - posted on 01/24/2014

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Hi I need help I have a 4 year old he is so loving and caring he is quite obedient at home or shopping or if were out with friends but it all changes in an instant if we r at the doctors waiting he starts jumping showing off and is rude to people and if someone talks to him it gets worse even if we are at a school outing an I'm there he picks on his friend and acts so rude its so stressful no one be lives how good he is at home and I don't blame them with that altitude help help help

Marycles1025 - posted on 08/22/2012

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I Highly Reccomend you looking into the love and logic series. It is the best guide to parenting I have seen and used starting as early as 6 months old. The premise of love and logic is teaching the consequences to decisions/choices your little one (not you) makes from choosing not to listen, not clean up, not get dressed, not to eat their veggies, and so forth. I would start this sooner than later brfore the behavior gets worse and the consequences become ones that r irreversible and severe, which would be very sad.

Heather - posted on 09/07/2011

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My 5 year old step daughter talks to her father like he is dog meat. He told her that he would be right back he was going to the gas station and her words were "Get me a bug juice or else I will kill you." How crazy is that. I am still disturbed about it and he just said "it happens." I'm sorry I don't think this is right and I know we only have her everyother weekend but we have to do something about this. But what I'm not sure?

Jennifer - posted on 08/13/2009

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I hope it passes. We are going through the same thing. Sara is 5 and just started school...5 out of 7 days she has had a note sent home saying she was talking, telling, bossing, running, not following directions. I don't know what to do. She didn't act like this in pre-k. I took the advice to take away something (cartoons) she screamed, jumped up and down, and was even more rude than before. I hope everyone is right and that this is just a phase for all of us. Good luck with your little ones! Good to know we(mothers) aren't alone!

RC - posted on 08/13/2009

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Time outs or a 1/2 nap(being alone) usually works. However, I have noticed that it is a phase that will surely pass. Be sure to give lots of praise when she has nice comments.

Kelly - posted on 08/12/2009

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II like what Monica had to say. My daughter is very hard on herself. She is seven. So sweet sometimes and amazingly rude at others. Ultimately, she feels awful afterwards and I don't know what is worse. Hearing her talk back and be rude or hearing her talk about how bad she feels afterwards. I reward good behavior and remove favorite toys and activites for bad. Still have time outs etc. But it is also important to let her express herself and get it out of her system and when she is calm, discuss how to express herself more appropriately. Find out what was upsetting her, what did she want to accomplish and how might it have been accomplished without rudeness or tantrums.

[deleted account]

I think it is probably typical; however you need to sit down and have a talk with her and let her know that her behavior is not acceptable. Don't talk to her when she is upset though, she won't be able to listen to you at that time. Talk to her when eveything is all right. She is probably doing it for attention, so show her more love and take her out for girls night out once a month maybe. Hopefuly, she willl grow out of it.





Tina

Mary - posted on 08/12/2009

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my son is 6 years old and he is going through the same stage. i know u might feel like a terrible parent cause i do too sometimes but ur not. whatever u do keep getting on her about it. my son told me that once he starts school he's gonna stop back talking cause he doesn't want to go to the principals office. i tried to ignore him when he's acting like that but it made it worse. when i put him on time for it he started getting better. but remember it is just a stage. i hope this helps u and just hang in there and take it one day at a time.

Kathryn - posted on 08/12/2009

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I have a 4 year old daughter who is exactly like this and her Twin sisters were the same at this age. They do grow out of it! And a little explanaton about how much this behaviour hurts your feelings goes a long way. Your daughter needs to be taught that "words" do hurt aswell as actions. It does take a little while for them to get this message, so be patient!

Monica - posted on 08/12/2009

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Wow... this sounds exactly like my son when he was that age. It may just be a phase... we also took a hard look at the people in his life that influenced him and realized that some of our family members he spent time with had a really negative outlook on life and events. Not to mention ourselves as his parent. We had to really watch our attitudes and make sure we were being positive about things. The same thing with the people who surround him on a daily basis. I read somewhere that this age group 5-7 also feel like they have to be perfect and they are rather hard on themselves when they don't feel as though they are. My son is almost 8 now and the negativity is better, but we still have to keep up the concious effort.

Lindsay - posted on 08/12/2009

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Oh she has dicipline and knows the rules I think its because Olivia is making big milstones and we make a big deal over it and I think she feels left out. But we do make big deal over her too for things like learning to read tying her shoes her drawings...I think the new sibling thing is finally kicking in 15 months later than right at the begining. thanks for the help we will try different things

Ma. Luisa - posted on 08/12/2009

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Maybe she just needs to know limits and discipline; know that she can count on you, but doesn't need to be rude to get your attention

Elizabeth - posted on 08/12/2009

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If she is always with her little sister she may not be feeling special thus acting out. I went through this years ago with my currently 9 year old son. Since I was alone at the time with him and baby brother it was hard to handle both of them so I would let himstay over at grandma's. When he would come home I showed him how much I missed him and he actually missed his baby brother. Sometimes just like us adults kids need there "me" time especially at age 5 when they begin the independence stage of their lives. Good luck.

Michelle - posted on 08/11/2009

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so funny that you say that - my son (who is 5) also says "I am just a bad-boy - it is too hard to be well behaved all the time"

He goes thru times when he constantly talks back, it is driving me so crazy.

He is a very competitive little boy and loves sports, competitions etc. Today I started a rewards system where he gets up to 5 points a day, and he is graded daily. He gets 1 point each for 1) being a good big brother 2) focus (could be anything, on his math, getting dressed etc.), 3) listening 4) being respectful 5) being a good helper

after 25 points he gets a small treat, go out for ice-cream of hot-chocolate then after 50 points, it is a bigger reward, either a playdate, or go to the movies.

Today is only my first day - but he really responded to it when I gave him "the rules" - so we will see.

Cyndi - posted on 08/10/2009

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I went online and found these charts for chores and behaviors after someone recommended that too. So far it's working it only being 2 days ("knock on wood) I sat down with my kids. Ask them to give me 3 chores each, then we set up a weekly chores chart where they changes chores every week. Then I ask them to help me come up with 4 rules each. They came up w/ some good ones. Then I printed it off and sing them up for the "cool cat" reward. Every night we go over the charts and they click each one that they completed. Then the computer does the points system. After each week I "grade" their performaces and it be added to their check off list. Then they get to decorate their own cats. And It tell us how many points they need to reach their goals at the end of the month. They both said they wanted $20 a month. Right now they are 8% to reach that goal. If they dont reach that goal it tell them how much they did earned.

Claire - posted on 08/10/2009

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Have you tried a reward chart for good behavior. spend a little time together designing a chart and deciding on a reward (trip to park with mummy or doing a painting to put on bedroom wall) while explaining that if she behaves in well you will put stars on so many stars get the reward but if she is rude it will take longer to get the reward

Amy - posted on 08/09/2009

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My son is five and had been like this too. What I basicly do is put him in time out and explain to him why he is being punished (not talking nice, talking back to grown ups, etc.)...then I wait a few minutes and ask him why he is being punished in his own words and how should he behave. It seems to be working so far...I have seen a huge improvement in his behavior. Sometimes I'll even throw out there that he cannot go out or cannot watch his show before bed if he doesn't behave. Best of luck and remember that its only a phase. I'm sure someday they will be the best of friends!

Kim - posted on 08/09/2009

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Remember at this age kids are mostly modeling the behavior around them. You and your husband need to stop and look at how you are talking, etc. Kids act the way we teach them. I had a friend who's .daughter was always rude to her and then she realized that it was the way her husband talk to my friend too. Kids hear their parents say things and then think it is okay. Sometimes it is even from something they are watching on tv. I know there are alot of seemingly harmless programs out there that kids watch where the characters are rude and disrespectful. Also, if you watch shows like that with your child and then laugh at those things then you are giving the kids the messge that the behavior is funny and they are confused and hurt when they act that way and you punish them.

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