Discipline for a 4/5 year old?

Yumei - posted on 10/08/2013 ( 12 moms have responded )

4

0

0

My daughter is going to be 5 soon. She used to be a very sweet girl, although not very obedient all the time, recently it has become worse. At day care, she cannot keep quiet during nap time (or quiet time if they do not want to nap), she talks back to her teacher. At home, if she does not get what she wants, she will whine, cry, throw stuff at me, hit her brother, etc. Sometimes I feel her emotions were just exploding for no reason. It usually does not end well, either she hysterically cried and mad, or both of us being really mad. I tried to calm her down, talk her out, and sometimes after a long day of work and commute, I lost myself and spank her. Even that does not help. My husband and I had tried time-out, but it does not seem to help. And she is not responding well to scolding at all. She will be defensive and more rebellious. It feels like a vicious cycle. What can I do?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

Rosie - posted on 01/30/2014

3

0

0

Hello Yumei,

It can be very frustrating at times and I am mother to a 4 and 7 year old boy.
My advice to you is this. Your husband and you are the captains of your ship, therefore what you say goes.

Choose a day when your daughter's behavior is good and tell her, eg, 'mummy and daddy are going to sit down and have a chat with you about some very important things'.

When you are seated, speak directly to her, calmly and gently. Now your daughter has favourite things, we all do. This worked wonders for me, but I will get to it in just a moment. Sole purpose for punishment is to teach her that there will be consequences for her actions. Draw up a chart from M-S, so you can be ready to highlight the good things she does through this time, so as to not completely focus on the negative. It may be in Monday's box, you write for example, '..........
was kind and helpful to mummy today'.

When you sit her down, be seated with your Husband. Your daughter needs to see you are an aligned force together. Base your conversation around this:

'Mummy and Daddy are going to talk to you about your behavior, because sometimes when you don't listen and don't do the right thing, it makes us feel very sad.

What are her most treasured possession? Fave teddy bear, bike? Whatever it is that she loves most, needs to come into this picture.

If it's say a bear, you need to lay down the 'law' so to speak.

Tell her that when she does not listen, you will take her bear away for a period of time, say half hr. If you say this, under all circumstances, you must follow through. Consistency is key.

'If you hit mummy, mummy will take your special bear away and you will sit inside your room to think about it'.

'If you do not do what mummy or daddy or teacher asks, your bear will be taken away and you will sit inside your room to think about it'.

'If you argue, your bear will taken away and you will sit inside your room to think about it'.

Now a few things for you....

Clear a space she will need to be bored. No substitute bear and nothing to do whilst she is in this space, except realise her behavior brought
this on itself.

It may take a week of screaming and crying before you first see a sign that this is working, so don't give up. There is a lot at stake here.

Once she settles in the room, sometimes its 5 mins, sometimes 45 mins, go to the room calmly and kneel down so your eyes are level. You need an apology. She needs to understand why she was sent, and what you won't tolerate.

'Mummy sent you to the room and took away bear because you hit me, and that is NOT acceptable'. Voice steady and have her look right into your eyes. This too is important. If she breaks away, ask her to look back at mummy's eyes.
'I took bear away because you broke the rule and that made mummy feel sad'.

Calmly ask for an apology. At first, this may not come but if she does not want to comply, she may need to sit and think about it. Let her make the choice. If she apologises, tell her she can now come out and play as normal. If not, she may need another few mins in the room to think. You must have her give you these basic steps in order for her obedience to grow.

So long winded, my apologies. If time out doesn't work, try something else and be very consistent. You will know what is acceptable and what you might let slide. When you see her behaviour acting up, stern warn her immediately.

'You are not listening to Mummy right now. I need you to calm down or mummy will take bear and send you to the room'. Give her a chance to be warned. Only once. Its up to her how she proceeds but it will met with consequences.

Your voice needs to be authoritative. You may have the loveliest of voices :) for this, don't yell, but put on your commanding voice.

As I said, highlight and encourage good behaviour on a chart. Give love and cuddles etc.

This might take a solid week to get anywhere, but please hang in there. Your Husband and yourself must be on the same team. Talk about how you will support each other, away from earshot of your daughter.

You are the boss. Fullstop.
You set the punishment. Fullstop.
Your house, your rules.

Explain what will happen over your chat if she doesn't abide by the rules.
Follow through! !! You must!
Apology. Does she understand how this upset you?

Keep at it. It sounds like hard work, but worth every minute for your daughter. She will have teachers, employers etc, all in which to come in time. Orderly direction and an understanding of consequences for actions, is dire. For the sake of an unseen emergency, and for everything else in between.

Good luck and God bless.
:)

Katie - posted on 10/15/2013

4

4

1

4-5 is plenty old enough to understand there are consequences for behaviors. I am a big supporter of both positive and negative consequences. For the daycare issues, I would suggest a sticker chart. Start small, like if she does good for the day, she gets a sticker, then if she gets three she gets a small prize or privelage. Then extend the number of stickers needed to get stuff as she gets the hang of it.

As for the not listening at home, I had the same problem with my daughter at that age. We implemented "room time" where she was to go to her room (not as punishment but calm time) and she could decide when she was ready to come out and be nice. If she wasn't nice, she had to go back in until she could. Now (she's almost 8) she does it on her own and will often say, "mom, I need room time".

I also agree with Lisa in witholding attention can sometimes be the best teacher. I would say to my girl, "I am not going to talk to you when you are (being sassy, not listening, etc). I will talk to you when you can ask nicely" or something along those lines. It was tough the first few times, but it worked very well. I just had to learn to stick to the not talking to her until she could be nice. Once she figured out I wasn't going to interact with her, she straightened her behavior right up.

12 Comments

View replies by

Rosie - posted on 01/30/2014

3

0

0

Believe me, I know what you're saying :) it can be so testing and frustrating. Im pleased to hear you're doing much better. :)

You're welcome :) I hope it all goes well. :)

Yumei - posted on 01/30/2014

4

0

0

Rosie,

Thank you very much for the kind post. I really appreciate you taking the time to write down your thoughts. Very helpful.

It might be just a stage of life for her. She is doing much better now, and I do try to be more consistent with punishment for her and that helped a lot. I think it is the worst when I cannot be calm while talking to her. It is a test of my patience big time. Once I realize this, I try harder to control my emotions, and it is easier for her to calm down and comply. It is not easy, but it is totally worth the time and effort.

Thank you so much and cannot wait to read your other helpful thought.

Rosie - posted on 01/30/2014

3

0

0

Oh... and lastly, give her jobs to do alongside you. Handing the washing, peeling the carrots etc. Tell her she is helpful and that you're proud of her. Busy hands work well too :)

Rachel - posted on 10/22/2013

1

0

0

I also have a 4 year old son, in school he so active and having fun with the teacher and classmates. He has a very good IQ when it comes to oral test, figures and values. But it is nightmare for him doing the writing session. He does some letters, numbers and words but he is telling his teacher that he is tired already.

He likes playing more than writing.... maybe because of his age?

We discussed this issue with the teachers and we are advised to wait for a little while until such time that he will be the one to ask.

Yumei - posted on 10/21/2013

4

0

0

Thank you all very much for the response!

I have tried talking, ignoring and/or time-out; but not very effectively. There might be issues with my execution, so I will really think about it, build a plan to carry it through and help her realize the consequences. Many thanks to you!

Tracy - posted on 10/20/2013

207

5

2

Without punishment or judgment, have you tried TALKING to her? Is there something bugging her that she doesn't know how to put it into words? When my daughter (who is emotional and 4 years old) gets like that, you can usually see if it's a difference between something going on that she can't emotionally explain (which is usually the case, if parents will take time to look - something we all have to work on) or just pushing boundaries. If she is in the middle of an emotional attack like that, don't escalate it by getting angry. I sit down on the floor and talk softly to my daughter. I say things like "I am speaking to you calmly, do the same with me and then *I can hear* what is bugging you". Usually that helps tremendously. If she is intent on letting the emotions control her, I will calmly tell her that she needs a "reset" and put her in her room. She can have the door open as long as she isn't screaming AT me or anyone else. It's a chance for her to release her emotions and know it's ok to HAVE emotions, but that sometimes the audience isn't the best outlet for them. If she DOES scream at people during this time, the door will be closed. She will usually contain herself enough to keep the door open. A few minutes of crying or whatnot and she has released what she needed, then we can talk. Most importantly, always be willing to listen to whatever she has to say. She has as many emotions as you do but has far fewer tools to express them effectively. Give her the room to have and experience emotions but guide her in how to express her needs most effectively.

For the record, I do this exact same procedure with adults and you would be SHOCKED how quickly deep arguing and anger disappears. My uncle's girlfriend was crazy and screaming at him and calling him names. When I came into the room to see what the problem was, she attacked me (verbally). I kept calm and just kept repeating QUIETLY "I am speaking to you like an ADULT, I expect that you do the same for me". Within a minute or so she was apologizing to me and we were TALKING about whatever set her off. I was able to show her how her reaction was completely unwarranted and she spent days apologizing to everyone because she saw just how much her emotions controlled her at that moment. This method has worked for me countless times for all ages. (of course, you can't put adults in a room like a kid. I simply tell adults "if you can't speak to me the way I am speaking to you, then I will not listen to you". If they don't calm down, simply ignore their existence until they are willing to speak in a way that deems them "worthy" of addressing another human being. - it's truly awe inspiring to see how much of human behavior is simply attention seeking - even your own behaviors!)

Lisa - posted on 10/15/2013

201

12

45

My son is 6 and has high functioning autism. He is very manipulative and loves to argue, especially with me. He hates it when I stop talking to him. So, when he acts out, I ignore him. I tell him that I will talk to him again when he can be nice. He hates being ignored and soon becomes desperate for that interaction. When he says something nice and is calm, I talk again.

I have learned that children, especially social ones like mine and yours will take any kind of reinforcement, positive or negative. My son has actually told my husband that he loves arguing with me.

You could try withdrawing your attention and not getting drawn into arguments or power struggles. It might take a while but it works for us.

Karenda - posted on 10/14/2013

50

12

0

I found the ages 4/5 fairly hard as well - I think it's a common issue as kids start to become more independent and test the boundaries. I typically am a positive parenting person, so I try to find the root of the problem. It sounds like your daughter is going through a developmental jump in her emotional development. For dealing with emotions I really like the blogger Dr. Laura Markham - http://www.ahaparenting.com/ - she has a lot of techniques and good advice about dealing with children's emotional development. One of her suggestions is to make sure to play physical games with the kids and get them giggling every day. This releases built up emotional tension. I notice when my kids are being a pain I can do this and they calm right down and behave much better afterward.

http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-to...

Debbie - posted on 10/08/2013

59

0

11

Children learn at a very young age that they can get away with bad behavior. At first, it's cute and even funny to us, then it becomes the fight of a lifetime! Children don't know how to manage the feelings that come over them at times, and must be taught how to deal with the frustration and anxiety as well as they happiness and sadness they may feel, in appropriate ways. We can nip it in the bud the first time it happens by becoming the leader in our homes. We are the parent and we are the example of what is acceptable behavior. I was a young mother and hadn't developed coping skills raising three children under four-years-old. I discovered a great program written just for frustrated mothers who wanted to raise responsible children and have a loving family environment, which mine was not! I loved the title of the book, From Combat Zone To Love at Home: The Happy Face Token System. I wanted happy faces, I wanted a happy face. As I read, I discovered a simple and unique token system that enabled me to be consistent and follow through. It allowed my strong willed children to willingly comply happily and cheerfully the first time I asked. This program turned out to be a long-term family plan that helped me teach the principles and concepts I wanted to teach. The children loved the program and we used it all the way through high school in various forms, which the book goes into great detail of how to adapt for various ages. The great thing is that the more difficult the child is, the better the system works! You'll find that spankings become a rarity, (though I am an advocate when necessary) and earning tokens become the priority. You will soon become the best mom in the whole world, as you get what you need to bring happy faces to your family.

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms