HELP!! 5 Year Old with Attitude!!

Melonie Hoak - posted on 01/12/2013 ( 1 mom has responded )




Ok...I have a 5 year old girl, & for some strange reason, she plays games where she chooses one person to not be so nice too...By this, I
mean an adult family member. Usually, it ends up being my sister...She will ignore her, respond to her very nasty, have attitude when she sits near her or uses her things, & then act like it's the end of the world when she is asked to apologize after she's disciplined for it...She sometimes does it to myself, her dad, & her grandparents, but it's only ever one person at a time...I am not sure why she does this but it really bothers me that she can act like this toward the adults who love her the most...I know it bothers my sister the most & that's why she does it to her most often...I just don't understand why she's doing it at all though because she will turn around & be such a little sweetheart a little while later!! How can I correct this behavior??


Rebekah - posted on 01/12/2013




Have you had a frank conversation with her about why she is doing this? I would start there. Its pretty much like bullying behavior. Does she see kids doing that at school or on the bus or in the neighborhood? Is she the target of bullying herself? Sometimes kids act things out to try to make sense of it or try to feel a sense of control. Chances are, its not even personal...she may be role-playing, like a "game" as you said. Plus, she is getting some kind of reaction and negative attention for this behavior, which as you noticed, she is doing more of with your sister. Regardless, yes, it has to stop.

If she seems to be doing it for attention, take a look at the interactions to see if she's getting attention from you/family members, or has to compete to get it. If you are visiting family, have her bring a game or share a toy or tell a story or something positive that she can do with her aunt or grandparents that will give her attention in a positive way.

If she hasn't had a conversation with you (or at school) about bullying, now is a good time to talk about that and how it affects people. I'm sure there are tons of kids books that address it too that can communicate the message you want her to have in various kid-friendly ways.

Be very concrete and specific with her about what behaviors are not ok, and be specific about what consequences she will get if she continues to act this way.

After you've communicated all that, if it is still happening, treat it the way you'd treat any other behavior you want her to stop. Give her a warning (make her aware she's doing it) and if she doesn't stop, remove her from the situation and give the consequence. If you are visiting family and she's doing it again, I would even say its time to pack up and go home (if its reasonable to do that). She needs a strong message that this treatment towards others is unacceptable. If its happening at home to you or dad, then immediately implement a time out and/or a punishment; I don't know what discipline you've used so far, but be sure it is something that will be of meaning to her (losing a favorite activity or toy). Apologies are also a good idea...keep doing that. She's acting like its the end of the world (which is really dont like to get in trouble)...but amazingly she is still doing it, so she isn't getting the message that this is not going to be tolerated. If she's in school or daycare, you might want to talk to her teachers there too to see if they see that behavior (or if its happening around her) so that it can be dealt with across the board. Hope this helps.

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