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I am having difficulty with my 5 year old daughter. Every since she was born she had everyone wrapped around her finger and everyone bent over backwards for her. It is hard to be relaxed around her. When she comes home from school the atmosphere in the house turns chaotic. She is bossy and thinks she is in charge. It is affecting my husbands relationship with her and he says that she is insolent. I have a 3 year old and 2 year old that are so easygoing but she is teaching them bad behavior and now they have been rude and disrespectful. My husband came up with the idea that he tells her she is not welcome in our house until she changes her behavior and starts to be appreciative. His plan is to live with her at a hotel for a week or so as a valuable lesson. This way the other kids can get a break and not be corrupted by her bad leadership. Is this too extreme? Any advice? Any professionals you can recommend? I love her dearly and easily overlook her rudeness, selfishness and loud crying but everyday I am completely stressed out because of her.
 

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Hi, sorry to hear about your daughter. She is most likely going through a phase and testing her boundaries but it is definitely not acceptable behavior. The most important thing to see if whether you and your husband are enabling her in any way? All of the discipline in the world won't work if your patterns allow her to get away with a bad attitude i.e. if you give into her and let her get her way. She thinks she's in charge? You need to show her that you are. It will definitely be an uphill battle but she will learn. I would suggest talking to your husband and coming up with a concrete plan so you are both on the same page about how to handle her attitude. For instance if you ask her to do something and she flat out refuses let her know she's not going anywhere until it gets done and thank her when she does it. If you have to wait 5 minutes or 50 for her to do it so be it. She may also be acting out. Is she happy at school? Perhaps she feels like your attentions are divided and this is her way of getting some control. I would consider doing a family trip just the parents and her to the playground or something and talk to her while her guard is down. I would try this first for a few weeks before separating her from the others but let her know if her behavior doesn't improve it will have consequences.
 

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I second everything suggested above.

I would also not beat yourself up. It is likely a phase and a bit of personality. I have a six year old son who is generally much as you describe. He is very "strong-willed" and that doesn't always show itself it a positive way.

Things I find that help: When he demands something I make sure he says it politely. I don't expect perfection, but "Get me water, I want water now or Water!!!!" Don't result in a him getting the water. He is much better about it now. :)
Some things he demands I can say "okay, come help me" and some things he don't happen. I have a 16 year old and 2 year old. I make sure my 16 year old doesn't give in and we are making sure our 2 year old sticks up for himself. He tells his brother no and stop all the time and moves away from him when he doesn't like what is happening (six year old also has a ton of energy)

It takes him an hour to pick up a small number of toys (2 year old does the same type of thing in 5 mins) He knows it is expected of him and knows there will be consequences if he doesn't. It isn't always pretty, but there is no reason he can't pick up a set of toys, so, he does it or loses a privilege.

Mostly, it has been the way we have reacted to the really negative behavior.
 

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I would never, ever tell a little child she is not welcome in her own house. She depends on you for her very survival and she will be terrified. A 5yo still need a lot of supervision and guidance. What kind of behaviour is she teaching her siblings?
Both mine went through a bossy stage around 5. I mostly ignore.

is she a step sibling for the other two?
 

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If this child has had everyone wrapped around her fingers since she was born, that's not something *she* did. At some point, you have to declare some boundaries, for the sake of the child as well as the rest of the family. She's not a monster, and she's not corrupting her siblings, she's a five year-old who's been overindulged. You do need to take some steps, but exiling her to a hotel sounds like a terrible idea. (If she buys it, it's horrifying. Alternatively, she adores the hotel and the one on one attention and you wind up having to admit that you've caved in and bring her home while her behavior hasn't changed at all.)

Figure out some basic rules. Tell her what they are. Make a point of how she's older now, and there are new things she should learn, she should be a good example, all that. Flatter her a little, but lay down the new rules. And enforce them at home. You don't want to bend over backwards for a five year-old, you stop bending. The adjustment will be rough, but there's no avoiding that.
 

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At 5, I really don't think she's old enough that you can "blame" her for any situation. Outlawing her to a motel sounds awful, and if it's a horrible experience for her it sounds like the sort of thing that could haunt somebody for years. You need to be her safety and her rock. That doesn't mean you always have to make her happy, but you have to be there for her.

I strongly suggest seeing a professional. Ask your pediatrician for recommendations. Your daughter is very young and there is time to sort out a lot of behavioral issues, but not if you flounder.

If for some reason counseling is not possible, I suggest "The Explosive Child." The title is misleading - you can get things out of it even if your child has behaviors that are troubling but not "explosive." I read all "parenting" books with a grain of salt, but I liked this one because I was that "explosive child" and it got me pretty well.
 

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For me, personally, sending a message that I'll abandon my kid if he doesn't do what I say, and that I'm willing to send him off to live somewhere else if I don't like his behavior, is most definitely not a message I'd want to send. The kind of reasoning your husband wants to happen by doing that isn't something a 5 year old is capable of, anyway. She'll just be terrified she's being sent away, and feel like she's bad.

It might help if you give specifics. If it's any consolation, ages 4-5 are pretty obnoxious. They have weird phobias, they have no social graces. No control over their emotions.

I guess, here are a few questions you could ask yourself:

* Are my expectations reasonable for a 5 year old? What IS reasonable to expect of someone that age? You aren't going to get complete obedience. They aren't old enough to talk to you with the politeness of a 12 year old. I guess I'm just saying, maybe she's doing the best she can.

* Is your kid frustrated in general, or speaking disrespectfully to you specifically? They don't have much control over their emotions at that age. General outbursts are pretty normal. Being bossy is also pretty normal, they just aren't very refined at that age. You can give her the right words to say, though. "I need for you to say that in a different way. Use the word 'please' and ask in a softer tone." That sort of thing.

* Are you doing things that inadvertantly reinforce the behavior? I'm not trying to blame you for the way she's acting, but I know as a parent I had to learn to use a tone of voice and nonverbals that let my kid know I'm the parent, in charge and a source of authority. Not intimidating, but assertive. And I had to give boundaries - just like you would with a friend, or a stranger. "I don't like to be touched that way. I need for you to hug me gently" while receiving a ferocious bear hug is one thing I remember. I use the phrase "It's not ok" a lot.

It's a tumultuous age. If there are things you can do together now that will help you and your husband to remember how much you love her, it might help because treating her like an enemy (not saying you're doing this, just that it's very easy to think of them that way when they're being totally obnoxious) will make things worse and not better.

Not sure if any of this helps but maybe it will at least give you some food for thought.

Good luck to you. And remember, this too shall pass!
 
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