Worried my 6 year old is heading for bigger trouble! Help!

Niki - posted on 05/24/2011 ( 6 moms have responded )




My 6 year old daughter has recently started lying, hitting and screaming at me, her father and her 8 year sister. We try to reason with her and discuss/explain with her how it is unacceptable behaviour. Her punishment for any of this behaviour is having her favourite things confiscated for a time or her time with friends after school is not allowed. The problem is that this doesn't phase her. She shrugs, says, "you don't love me. You love Brooke more." turns on her heels and leaves the room. Her flippant , non-caring attitude I could see when she is 13 -14 years old, as is expected. But what do I do now at 6 years of age, instead of me having a battle of wills and me ending up in tears? I'm exhausted!


Krista - posted on 05/24/2011




Annabel makes a good point. If the punishments aren't working, maybe you need to put more focus into rewarding good behaviour. So instead of taking away privileges for bad behaviour, she needs to start earning privileges for good behaviour. If she wants to have a friend stay overnight, then she has to collect 5 stickers -- and she only gets them on days when she doesn't hit anybody.

Good luck -- poor you, I don't blame you for being exhausted. I hope that you're able to resolve things soon, for your own sake.

Annabel - posted on 05/24/2011




Could I ask how old is Brooke? and why does your daughter think you love brooke more than her? I think you need to stand your ground with her and when she starts having a temper tantrum you need to let her get it out of her system and calm down... It may be an idea to bring in a naughty step or a sad chair, where you make her sit on the sad chair in a corner of the room facing away from everyone for about 6 mins but no more than 6 mins. Then when that time is up she must say sorry to you or the person she had a go at and if she refuses then she has another min to rethink why she is on the naughty chair. I know this may sound old fashioned but at the end of the day you are the parent who knows what you are talking about and she is a child who does not know everything.... Eventually she will understand you are there to help her not punish her... Give it a go or you could try a Reward Chart and work it out together, list 5 tasks that you would like her to do during the week and if she does these tasks she will get rewards for them, maybe not every day but she can build the rewards up and maybe by the end of the week you take them to a park or on a family trip and she will really appreciate this and may change her ways. Good luck

JuLeah - posted on 05/25/2011




Okay, first of all ... don't assume, expect, or accept this behavior from a person just cuase they are 13 or 14. Teens often behave this way because we assume they will, expect it and accept it.
Now, your six yr old: All behavior is communication. She doesn't have words, so she is using the only langauge she has to tell you something is wrong. You respond with punishment?
There is a balance between setting boundaries and punishment. Don't accept the behavor, but do get to the bottom of it.
When she is not upset, ask her about the "you love Brook more" comment and see if she really feels that way.
Check in with her teachers, the parents of her friends, and other adults in her life to see if they have noticed anything or have any ideas.
There is a reason, I promise you. All behavior have a reason and serves a function. She is desperately attempting to get a need met with the only skills/tools she has.
And, you might try a reward system instead of a punishment system. Pick three things you want her to work on - hitting for example. Each hour she uses her words to express her anger and not her fists, she earns a .... when she gets enough she can trade them in for .... dinner out with just you and her, or a trip to the park with just you and her .... something she really wants.


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Niki - posted on 05/25/2011




Thanks Faith! It's starting to help already. We actually sat through a dinner tonight, the two of us and has a nice conversation about what is going on in her life. She is currently learning another language as we live in Belgium, so she was teaching me some words. Today was much better...just gotta keep ploughing through the bad bits. Thanks all.

[deleted account]

I can SO relate!! I have a daughter like that. It's REALLY hard. It's VERY exhausting and it's SO HARD to know how to respond. My daughter also does not respond well to discipline of any sort. It seems like you can take away anything and she's totally cool with that. Sometimes I feel very angry sometimes I feel fearful. Sometimes I step back and remember that her perspective is totally screwed up and one day she'll understand what a good mom she has had.
I think the first thing to remember is to not freak out. Just because she's screaming at you now doesn't mean that she's going to be pregnant and a drug addict at 15 - keep your cool, keep on caring, keep talking. Don't worry about what might happen in the future. Stay in the moment. Stay loving and as connected as you can be. Believe that it'll turn out okay - look for the positive in your daughter.
When my daughter is starting to get out of control I'll often have her physically move - depending on the level of the rant. I'll have her sit on her bed and count to 100, or I'll have her stand in the corner until she can calm down. This helps sometimes. I have to be very firm but gentle. If I yell it makes it worse, if I cave it makes it much worse. I let her know that I DO love her, but her attitude is unacceptable. That the thoughts she is thinking are lies and not the truth at all.
I think it's also really important how I treat her when she's not having an episode. Am I complimenting her when she does something right? Am I praising her when she responds calmly? Am I apologizing when I'm being too hard on her? These help... some.

Niki - posted on 05/24/2011




Thanks Annabel. Brooke is 8 years old and is by no means innocent but is generally very well behaved, respectful and shows some level of shame for things she knows she has done wrong or at least feels remorse. Taylor doesn't exhibit remorse at all. I guess what worries us is she is exhibiting is behavioural traits that her Uncle had who had a very up and down lifestyle that included booze, drugs & rock n roll that ultimately killed him or got him killed ) in the end. We know she is very intellingent and want to nurture that and guide it the right direction. Whereas my husband's parents didn't know which way to turn or what to do, I want to be proactive & preventative.
We have used the stool before and it did work quite well. We will go back to that. Thanks for the reminder!

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