5 yr old bully - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 04-08-2009, 06:52 PM - Thread Starter
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My daughter is 5 yrs old. She has recently started to lie. Not just the little things but big things too. For example, at school she bullies kids and gets time outs... comes home saying her day is "fabulous". Parent teacher interview proves otherwise. We are continuing with timeouts but they don't seem to be working. We have taken things she likes away from her, like her bedtime toy and nightlight, sleep overs with family, video games, t.v. programs she enjoys, etc, etc. She is stealing things from school and bringing them home saying things like 'I wasn't done playing with it', or 'I did ask my teacher'...Well one phone call to the school again proves she didn't ask the teacher. We really don't know what to do right now. She never bullied or lied before she started school.
My question is why is this happening and what do I do differently to stop this?
Any help will be much appreciated.
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#2 of 6 Old 04-08-2009, 10:52 PM
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I'm sorry you're having to deal with all this, its always hard when we see our children can have such different traits. How is her schoolwork, is she keeping up with classmates or struggling? I wonder if her bullying is because she is frustrated or struggling with academics. Was she drastically different before school, and has just turned to this behavior? I'm not sure that time outs are going to solve the problem if they have shown no progress.
I would sit down with her and try to discuss what may be causing her to behave this way. Tell her that there are better ways to deal with these things, reiterate how wrong it is to take things that are not yours without permission. And instead of a negative consequence think of something good for her to look forward to if she is good. Maybe have her teacher write you a note at the end of the day about how things went, or if you pick her up talk to her then. if this is a daily problem start out by saying she can have a special treat for her good days, then ante it up to good weeks, i know this worked with DS when he was acting out at daycare. before i would leave him i would tell him how much of a good helper and friend he is that to remember if he gets timeouts we wont be able to do x or have dessert etc. Once he knew he was only hurting himself he stopped rather quickly

good luck

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#3 of 6 Old 04-08-2009, 11:33 PM
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It seems like negative consequences (punishment) isn't working, so it might be useful to try a positive program, as powerful as you can make it, if you can get the teachers on board.

Just off the top of my head, maybe a token program might work for her. She could earn tokens or stickers for each occasion of "positive" behavior: playing well with another student, sharing, etc... whatever behaviors are the opposite of what she is doing that you don't like (e.g. the opposite of bullying is probably cooperative play). Or it could be a program where she earns a sticker or token for each hour during school that she doesn't display the problematic behaviors. Then she could exchange the tokens/stickers for something desirable (a small toy, an outing with you, etc).

If she is only "bullying" once a day, and only occasionally takes something home with her that isn't hers (like once a week or so) then perhaps you could ask the teacher to send a report home each day, and with 5 "good" reports she gets to choose a fun activity with you over the weekend.

Some degree of bossiness is really common among 5 year olds, and maybe she is really just being bossy. Its also common at that age for 5 year olds to start with the "you can't play with us" and "you're not my friend anymore; Kim is" which needs to be addressed, of course, but also you shouldn't consider it too worrisome. Rather than a timeout, I would think it would be better for the teachers to simply restate the rule ("everyone can play" or "hurtful words are against the rules" with an explanation of the words she used that were hurtful). If the bullying is more extreme, such as pushing, shoving, hitting, or coersion, then a time out might be a good solution.

Lying is pretty common too and shouldn't be worrisome. Lying at that age is usually about expressing what they wish was true, and doesn't involve the same level of deceit and manipulation that adults think of when they think of lying. She wishes her day was fabulous. She wishes you believed her day was fabulous, so that she would not be punished. She wishes the teacher had given her permission to take something home.

Taking things home could be several things. Could be that she really liked that particular toy and wanted to take it home. If that is the case, can the teachers allow her to choose from some toys a toy to borrow for the evening, with the knowledge that they will be returned in the morning? Taking things home could also be anger at her teachers and a desire for retribution, but she is afraid to act out directly because she knows she will get in trouble. Taking things home could also indicate she loves school and wants to take a part of it home with her (but I doubt this is the case. If it is, perhaps the teachers could draw a special card or picture for her to take home each day).

But if it were my DD, I would probably pull her from school. It sounds like something about the school environment is causing her stress. Maybe its just a bad match between her and the teachers. Maybe there are some other kids that are causing her distress. Whatever it is, I think I would take my DD out and see if the behaviors resolved at home. You might not be in a position to do this, though.
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#4 of 6 Old 04-09-2009, 04:01 PM
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Have you considered homeschooling? It doesn't sound like being in school is bringing out the best in her at this point.

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#5 of 6 Old 04-09-2009, 05:03 PM
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Well, at least you are willing to admit her behavior is a problem. Most parents act like it's not happening.

But, I think the time outs and losing things she likes aren't working. Some kids just don't "get it". They know you are mad, and they did XYZ, but the punishments are teaching her what to do instead. They will probably just teach her not to get caught the next time.

I don't have any good ideas how you can teach her NOT to lie or bully, but I know that others here will have great ideas.

Some kids learn well through logical consequenses. My dd was much older (6th grade) I told her NOT to talk about a particular girl to other girls... but, she did it anyway, and within a half hour, the ENTIRE sixth grade of girls was mad at her. That one thing nearly ruined her whole year. She was mean, and paid a huge price. But, to this day, she will not ever say or write a mean thing to or about anybody else because she learned through the process of "that sucked, and I wish I hadn't done that".

But, she also learned a lot more from that one experience, and she's about the best friend anyone can have. She knows how it felt to be the kid that other kids left out, ignored, betrayed, used.. etc.

Maybe if something that you think she could learn from pops up, you two could talk about why that happened... what could she have done differently.. bla, bla, bla.. plus there are good books that have great stories. You guys could read together and point out how Junie B made a bad choice, and she didn't like how it worked out for her... maybe she should have done something else instead. Then you guys can talk about what Junie B Jones should have done instead.

Another good school kid book is "Marvin Redpost, Why pick on me". It's funny, but has a good message.
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#6 of 6 Old 04-12-2009, 08:24 PM
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I was having similar problems with my 5-year-old son until I found a great book called All Children Flourishing by Howard Glasser. http://www.amazon.com/All-Children-F...9578432&sr=8-1

I started using his very simply approach and my son has done a complete turn around in less than a week. I couldn't believe it. I'm still working on some aggression issues that he has with his peers, but it's now only happening because he doesn't know what else to do when kids are mean to him (we're working on brainstorming some gentle alternatives). I highly recommend at least trying this approach for a few weeks and see what happens.

Take care, Kelly
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