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Manners disappeared...HELP!

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
My daughter is 5, and up until about a year and a half ago she had perfect manners. She always said please, thank you, you're welcome, and sorry since she could speak. She never needed to be reminded. Now, we can't get her to use these words, period. No amount of coaxing, bribery, begging, or even discipline will work. She flat out refuses! My husband and I are baffled, our family and friends have run out of advice, and we are at our breaking point. I should mention that using her manners is not the only issue we have with her. She absolutely will not do anything she doesn't want to do. If it's not her idea, forget it. If she has to do something to earn a privelege, say clean her room to have a friend over, she will refuse to touch her room, but will scream, yell, and insist that she still get the reward of the sleepover. No punishment we have tried works, only seems to make her more difficult to deal with. She acts as though we have no right to refuse her what she wants or punish her! We have sat her down and tried to explain why she has to listen and why she can't act like she does, and she seems to understand, she's very intelligent, but she immediately goes right back to her same ways. She currently has no priveleges, no toys, nothing. She has to earn everything back. We never wanted to have to resort to this kind of parenting, but we are out of ideas. Does anyone have any experience with this kind of behavior? Any advice is greatly appreciated!
post #2 of 4

Hey there, sounds like you've gotten into a bad pattern there. What about flipping everything around and getting rid of punishment entirely. Kids give up when they have nothing to lose. Only notice her positive choices. At first it might take some digging, but you can find things she is doing that you like. Only notice those. Don't even comment on the negative choices. Be very strict about modeling only great manners and positive respectful communication yourself. Use ONLY natural/logical consequences. "Oh, I'm really sorry honey, but a clean room means a friend over, no exceptions." Then drop the subject. It is really possible to turn this around ONLY through positive reinforcement. No more punishments. She'll no longer work for this system, she has given up. 

 

Keep us posted!

post #3 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by lauren View Post
 

Hey there, sounds like you've gotten into a bad pattern there. What about flipping everything around and getting rid of punishment entirely. Kids give up when they have nothing to lose. Only notice her positive choices. At first it might take some digging, but you can find things she is doing that you like. Only notice those. Don't even comment on the negative choices. Be very strict about modeling only great manners and positive respectful communication yourself. Use ONLY natural/logical consequences. "Oh, I'm really sorry honey, but a clean room means a friend over, no exceptions." Then drop the subject. It is really possible to turn this around ONLY through positive reinforcement. No more punishments. She'll no longer work for this system, she has given up. 

 

Keep us posted!

These are my thoughts too. Ignore the bad behavior but have the logical consequence thing. 

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
I hadn't even thought of that! I know negative attention is still attention, and some kids are just so set on being the center of attention 24/7 that they will misbehave to get your attention when you're focused on something else for once, so this makes sense. I took child psych in college, and she has still baffled me, but this idea could work! I'll see how that works, thank you so much!
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