My 6 year old has been so overwhelming the last 6 months and I'm not sure what is appropriate discipline. When she does not get her way she cries and screams and even occasionally hits me. She cannot be "talked" out of it until she is calm and no amount of threatening punishments makes it stop.She seems out of control in a way....crying over every little thing. My husband and I both are just fed up. Example: She wants to stay at my sisters and I say no so she refuses to get in the car and I physically put her there and she refuses to buckle. I have to get her brother from preschool and can't drive and make her stay buckled so what do I do? She wants to stay overnight at a friends and they say no so again she refuses to get in the car. It was just 4 houses down so I left her there and she eventually came up, but what is the punishment after the fact? Or even worse is she doesn't want to get dressed in the morning and is late for school or won't brush her teeth? Just now it was that she didn't want to re-rinse her hair after her shower when it still had soap in...cue crying and eventual melt down.Help please, she woke the baby and I just feel sooo angry and I'm not sure how to change her behavior?
My daughter went through a period when she did the same thing at around the same age. She's 7.5 now, and seems to be growing out of it. What I found that helped was the following:
1. Remain totally calm myself.
2. Let her know that the behavior is unacceptable, and that we leave immediately (physically removing her if necessary), and go somewhere quiet until she is done crying. I think my daughter appreciated it when I stood by her, and gently sympathized with her feelings while she raged, while still being firm about whatever my decision was.
3. Stay home when you know she is tired or overstimulated
4. Don't let a tantrum change your course of action
It's hard though if you've got a lot going on, and she is upset when you have to pick up your preschooler! I think it was easier for us to deal with this since we live out in the boonies and homeschool, so we don't have many places we need to be. The most effective thing for us, was just to stay at home if I thought that she was going to be tired. And I let her know why we weren't going places, in a gentle way. I think she understood eventually, and just didn't want to act like that anymore.
Hope that helps! It won't last forever!
I recommend checking out the collaborative problem solving approach - see Ross Greene's livesinthebalnce site. The philosophy is children do well if they can and not if they want to so no rewards or punishments are going to teach the lagging skills which are the underlying causes of her problems. The goal is to be proactive and deal with these predictable problems ahead of the time and not in the moment. It is easier to talk to a kid when you are connecting and everybody feels good about each other. In order to solve problems we need info from her - we need a clear understanding of her concerns. The cps process itself teaches skills , promotes relationship and solves problems in a mutually satisfying way. It is not a magic bullet and not easy to do , but there is always learning on the way. I also suggest getting an older sister or buddy , buddy-tutor . Also try to spend time doing things together and talking about general stuff sharing perspectives , concerns , defining problems, thinking of mutually satysfing solutions. Again it is not easy