How to deal with 6 yo and attitude, name calling, and yelling... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 04-28-2011, 11:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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#2 of 6 Old 04-28-2011, 08:50 PM
 
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Sounds like a tough situation. One of the things that we (dh and I) say alot is that a child who doesn't feel right, doesn't act right.

 

YOu said she's been acting like this for months. Did the start of it coincide with the birth of number four? A big move? Some other major family change? We have three, coming on four kids, and my eldest is almost 8. We also unschool. He often tells me he feels like I spend all of my time with the younger kids, and is not really looking forward to number four b/c he's afraid that after the baby is born there will be no attention left for him. 

 

As a six yr old in a family of four siblings, she is the eldest, and if she is naturally very sweet and caring, and nurturing, perhaps she is feeling too responsible for younger ones. Maybe she wants to be young too, and be babied a bit? In the situation with the bike, on my best parenting day, I probably would have just calmly taken a warm, wet cloth over to where she was obviously engaged in something and gently washed her hands for her using the cloth. Problem solved, no need for conflict or anger, punishment or banishment. That would be my best day :) On a day when I had three other, younger kids to take care of, I mostly would have reacted very much like you did. 

 

Do you date her? I wonder if trying to spend some intentional one on one special time with her might fill up her cup. I have really noticed with y middle child (dd, almost 6) that what she needs when she's acting hateful is to be filled up to overflowing with love. I personally would not isolate her as punishment when she is being unkind, as I tend to think that if she is feeling angry and hurt anyhow, sending her to her room can be perceived by her as you cutting her off from what she needs most (your love, etc).

 

This next part might be hard to hear, it was when my friend said it to me, but it helped me, so I'm going to say it anyway. 

 

When children lash out and try to hurt us, it is because they are feeling hurt by us.

 

For some reason, perhaps she is feeling hurt that she can't express, so she is trying to push you away before you can push her away. We went through a period of our daughter saying she hated us and was going to run away and being very angry. We realized that much of it was coming from things that I/we would say to her in moments of frustration, and she was taking those things to heart and they were really hurting her deeply. When we realized this, we began to respond to her hurtful comments and her anger with things like " India, we love you so much more than you could guess. You are so special to us." We would literally tell her dozens of things that we thought were wonderful about her particular spirit, about her heart, about who she was to us. One night, I held her as she was freaking out and told her I loved her probably 50 times in a row. Within a few days of overwhelming her with love, she stopped saying hateful things. 

 

I don't know if any of that will help, but it did with us. As soon as we felt an outburst coming on, we would stop and flood her with love. I still do this with her today if she is having lots of conflict with siblings, lots of crying, etc, in a day. I will actually tell her that she looks like she needs her cup to be filled up and sit her on my lap and love her to bits. It almost always helps to turn the day around (and also helps me to feel more positive about our relationship and her presence in my life, which helps me to be more patient when we do have meltdowns....)

 

 

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#3 of 6 Old 04-29-2011, 10:03 PM
 
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I thought about your post all day.  Really needed to hear it.  My son is 5 and has moments of crazy, emotional defiance. He was in the middle of one of these recently and was calling me stupid and saying he hated me. I tried playful parenting and then, not knowing what else to do said he had to go to his room to calm down. When I started walking away from him he just cried and cried. Turning back his eyes looked so miserable I just picked him up and was so surprised that my prickly little boy melted into me and just cuddled. We sat and cuddled for at least ten minutes and then he was happy and ready to play again. Then I read your post and it just fit. When I feel like walking away from them- it's probably the moment they need my presence the most.  Thanks for sharing.

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Originally Posted by canadiangranola View Post

Sounds like a tough situation. One of the things that we (dh and I) say alot is that a child who doesn't feel right, doesn't act right.

 

YOu said she's been acting like this for months. Did the start of it coincide with the birth of number four? A big move? Some other major family change? We have three, coming on four kids, and my eldest is almost 8. We also unschool. He often tells me he feels like I spend all of my time with the younger kids, and is not really looking forward to number four b/c he's afraid that after the baby is born there will be no attention left for him. 

 

As a six yr old in a family of four siblings, she is the eldest, and if she is naturally very sweet and caring, and nurturing, perhaps she is feeling too responsible for younger ones. Maybe she wants to be young too, and be babied a bit? In the situation with the bike, on my best parenting day, I probably would have just calmly taken a warm, wet cloth over to where she was obviously engaged in something and gently washed her hands for her using the cloth. Problem solved, no need for conflict or anger, punishment or banishment. That would be my best day :) On a day when I had three other, younger kids to take care of, I mostly would have reacted very much like you did. 

 

Do you date her? I wonder if trying to spend some intentional one on one special time with her might fill up her cup. I have really noticed with y middle child (dd, almost 6) that what she needs when she's acting hateful is to be filled up to overflowing with love. I personally would not isolate her as punishment when she is being unkind, as I tend to think that if she is feeling angry and hurt anyhow, sending her to her room can be perceived by her as you cutting her off from what she needs most (your love, etc).

 

This next part might be hard to hear, it was when my friend said it to me, but it helped me, so I'm going to say it anyway. 

 

When children lash out and try to hurt us, it is because they are feeling hurt by us.

 

For some reason, perhaps she is feeling hurt that she can't express, so she is trying to push you away before you can push her away. We went through a period of our daughter saying she hated us and was going to run away and being very angry. We realized that much of it was coming from things that I/we would say to her in moments of frustration, and she was taking those things to heart and they were really hurting her deeply. When we realized this, we began to respond to her hurtful comments and her anger with things like " India, we love you so much more than you could guess. You are so special to us." We would literally tell her dozens of things that we thought were wonderful about her particular spirit, about her heart, about who she was to us. One night, I held her as she was freaking out and told her I loved her probably 50 times in a row. Within a few days of overwhelming her with love, she stopped saying hateful things. 

 

I don't know if any of that will help, but it did with us. As soon as we felt an outburst coming on, we would stop and flood her with love. I still do this with her today if she is having lots of conflict with siblings, lots of crying, etc, in a day. I will actually tell her that she looks like she needs her cup to be filled up and sit her on my lap and love her to bits. It almost always helps to turn the day around (and also helps me to feel more positive about our relationship and her presence in my life, which helps me to be more patient when we do have meltdowns....)

 

 



 

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#4 of 6 Old 04-29-2011, 11:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Canadiangranola, thanks so much for the reply. You have great advice!  I just read your post to DH;) 

 

We noticed her acting this way since my mom, who she is very close to, moved 10 hours away, and since my dad died.  She has also said a couple times that I don't have much time do things with her.  I have a 6 month old, a 21 month old and a 3 1/2 year old, so she is definitely right about not having alot of time to do things with her.  So I think spending one on one time with her is a great idea, as well as one on one time with her and DH.  I makes me so sad to think that she feels hurt by us and that is why she lashes out, but it make sense.  I can't wait till we get past all this!

 

 


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#5 of 6 Old 04-30-2011, 08:11 AM
 
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I recommend The Explosive Child a lot, and it tags back to the other advice posted.  But, you might really enjoy reading it and it might set your mind at ease as far as taking a less punitive approach when dealing with defiance and rudeness.  I found the same thing with my DD--when she could not get her way she would just melt down and scream and I was so afraid that if I didn't "handle" it she'd be that way for life.  But instead, I found that empathy and kindness and a well-timed hug basically eliminated the issue.  The book also has some good advice on how to neutralize situations like the one you described before it gets to confrontation.  I highly recommend it!

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#6 of 6 Old 04-30-2011, 09:37 AM
 
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Along with the one on one time make sure she's getting enough sleep, that can make everything worse behaviorwise. 

I would also work on removing the threats of punishments and taking things away as you are realizing don't often work in the heat of the moment.  Focus on the big things and don't sweat the small stuff-is it really important for her to wash hands after shopping?  (for example)  ((()))


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