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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<p>What to do with a really snotty six year old?  anyone have any thoughts?  No consequences or punishments seem to really phase her.  We can send her to bed early, put her in time out, take away privelages.... we will ask her to stop a certain behavior and she will look at us, and in her snottiest voice say "or what?".... there is no or what... I'm out of ideas.  I do not know.  It is breaking my heart that she treats her parents so disrespectfully.  And what's worse is I can see her 1.5y/o sister picking up on some of her bad habits.  She's got an amazingly strong little personality that will serve her well when she is older, but right now it is difficult to figure out how to parent her.  Right now, she seems to think that she runs the show, and while I don't want to give her the impression that grown ups can force their will on smaller people simply because they are bigger..... I don't want my life to be this controlled by the behavior of my own child.  I also feel the need to mention that she does sincerely have a very, very kind heart and her goodness comes through more and more often.... it really boils down to her inability to handle adverse emotions, and so far, no reaction I've had to her having feelings has seemed to make any difference to the behaviors that follow.  any advice/experience shared would be greatly appreciated.</p>
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<p>love and light,</p>
<p>Fury</p>
 

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<p>I deal with similar, and it's very, very difficult. </p>
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<p>One thing that helps with DD is to give her more responsibility and treat her more adultly.  She's just "that way".  Sometimes she's truly impossible, but sometimes she needs to be listened to as to why doesn't "want to" do whatever I'm asking.  I compromize a lot.  I try to keep our long-term connection in mind.  I try to ask if she needs a hug when she's winding up, and a few times I've found out that she's hurting over something that happened at school or in her head.</p>
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<p>That's what I do on a good day.  This morning AND last night Iost my temper and stormed off to my bedroom for my own timeout.  It was good to read your thread because it's always easier to give someone else advice than to help yourself, you know??</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
<p>I know she's making neural connections, building pathways that are harder and harder to re-route the longer this goes on.  I've tried to be strict, I've tried being extra loving, I've tried having firm boundaries.... she just has a mind of her own.  Or as she says "i think my mind has a mind of it's own"....  she doesn't want to be this way, she doesn't like it anymore than we do.  I'm starting to suspect food allergies, but there's just so much crap and additives everywhere in nearly everything that I wouldn't even know where to start trying to figure out what's triggering this.  We've nearly completely eliminated processed sugar from her diet, and there has been improvement, but not as dramatic of improvement as I had anticipated or hoped there would be.  It is always nice to know there are other people out there struggling through similar things.... just doing the best we can in the moment with the way our children are in the moment.  Blessed be!</p>
 

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<p>Funny, we have huge issues with sugar here, too.  I think a lot of the reason why returning to school this week was so different and attitude-y was because of all the holiday sugar in the house and out and about.  It really impacts her behavior and puts her on the crazy train.</p>
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<p>Another thing that helps is just one thing at a time.  Today I told her that she's not allowed to yell/scream for me anymore--we need to go get each other and speak civilly.  Because hearing MOM!!!!!!!!! at the top of her lungs from the other room sets me off.  Especially when I rush to get there and find out she needs a juice.</p>
 

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<p>Have you tried: "That was rude. Please say that more politely." 6 year olds are still working on emotion in language and sometimes need direct instruction to understand how their tone comes across. I remember being yelled at for being 'sassy' and being very frustrated that my parents weren't hearing what I was saying. If they'd taken the time to say "I understand you're upset, but your voice sounds very rude" and given me some suggestions for rephrasing, I think it would have helped. We do this a lot for our 6 year old and she is getting better.</p>
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<p>For the 'or what?' sometimes I say the truth "Or I'm going to be really angry."</p>
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<p>Have you read "How to Talk So Your Children Will Listen" by Faber & Mazlish? She's at a really good age for the ideas for this to work. I'd also recommend  Kids, Parents & Power Struggles by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. My all time favorite book is Playful Parenting because it talks about the need for connection before correction. I do find that my 6 year old is much more reasonable when we've had time for connection.</p>
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<p>The final thing that I'd say is that I'm hearing different messages in your post, and I wonder if she's also getting mixed messages? You say "No consequences or punishments seem to really phase her.  We can send her to bed early, put her in time out, take away privileges.." and then you say "I don't want to give her the impression that grown ups can force their will on smaller people simply because they are bigger..." So it sounds to me like sometimes you're doing punishments, but that you're not very comfortable with them. What's your underlying philosophy/message that you want to send? What's your ideal for how you would deal with this? I'd start there and work your way backward.</p>
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<p>For example: I'm OK with timeouts in our house because sometimes we need separation and because I'm very sound sensitive. I can't stand to have dd screaming in my ear, so I send her to her room if she's being completely unreasonable. We do connect after, but in the throes of a tantrum, she's not ready for that connection. Dd is going to go to bed 15 minutes earlier than her brother today because she threw a major fit when it was time to get out of bed this morning. The 15 minutes earlier is because she clearly needs more sleep, not because of the fit. Dd was having a fit yesterday and kicking the wall (yes, the child really does need more sleep). I looked at her and said "If you kick a hole in the wall, you will need to help fix it." She stopped kicking the wall. If she's made a hole in the wall, she would have contributed to the cost of the repair from her money, spent some of her play time with me going to get the supplies and in helping patch/paint the hole.</p>
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<p>We rarely use removal of privileges, and only for things that are directly related to the offense. So if ds and dd are arguing about who gets to play on the computer, the computer goes into timeout for an hour or so (i.e. we remove the privilege of using it).But I don't believe removing privileges for an unrelated offense teaches my child anything other than that random bad things happen when you act out.</p>
 
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<p>Listen to Lynn!</p>
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<p>DH and I tried very hard ot lead by example. We talked to our kids the way we wanted them to talk to us. I'm not suggesting that you are not doing this - you no doubt are - but you can make a point of telling your dd "these are appropriate words to use - what you said is not appropriate". Other phrases can be things like "It makes me uncomfortable when you talk that way, and it makes you sound like a mean person. I know you aren't mean, so try to find another way to get your point across". Tell her and show her that yuo respect her opinion, but she needs to express it in a way that shows respect to you. Try to "catch her being good", and acknowledge when she does use appropriate language and tone.</p>
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<p>Remember, too, that she has started to develop some bad habits, and bad habits are hard to break. In a calm moment, sit down and talk to her about her tone and attitude. Tell her that she needs to make a change, and that you want to help. Ask her for suggestions on how to move in a more positive direction. She may have some great ideas! If not, you can offer some suggestions, and let her choose. You might come up with a code word that you say to let her know that she sounded snotty, and should try again.</p>
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<p>While I don't think punishment is very effective, I do believe in well-timed rewards. If she seems to be making a sincere effort to improve, take her out for ice cream or buy her a new coloring book. It's not a bribe if it's given after the fact.</p>
 

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<p>I have this issue with the 6yo I babysit for (M-F before PM kindergarden) He just gets such a tone! And its strange to me, thats not something  my family does or did. None of us really have tone issues. So I am at a loss as what to do. Up until now, I have just been asking him to not use sass when we talk. That I like to talk to people who talk to each other in pleasant tone. Its only kinda working because he knows he can be as sassy and bossy as he wants later on. He's argues with EVERYTHING I say too. Even things that are obvious. Like today I was letting the dogs in and just commented "huh, it's started snowing a little" then immediately "No, its not" <span><img alt="headscratch.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/headscratch.gif"> um, look outside? Is this really something that you have to be snappy and nasty about?</span></p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
<p>Deadhead, I have actually been trying to focus on "catching her being good" lately and trying to explain to her after the heat of the moment has passed that I value her opinions and would love to hear them, but it just isn't polite to talk to people the way she does, and in fact, people would be better able to listen if she found nicer words.  Lynn, I started off very "non punishment" oriented, connection before correction kind of thing and didn't get the kind of kid that the people who write those books are parenting.  I've tried a number of various "punishments" for different lengths of time and none of them seem to work.  I have made the most headway recently by trying to explain things to her when she is calm and just letting her know that it hurts my heart when she treats me and the people I love the way she does.... She is slowly getting it... and I can see the progress. and I don't want to sound ungrateful, she is so much better now than she was even six months ago.  I guess the hardest part for me is the embarrassment in public, or the family members who obviously want me to "do something" when she acts up-- of course, we're talking spanking because we're talking about people who got spanked and spank(ed) their own children.  I have tried that too, I don't like it, it doesn't sit well in my heart.  I don't believe we should hit people we love.  But I feel very judged when in the presence of family, and even some strangers, because I'm not spanking her and making her do exactly what I want.  For instance, I went to spend the weekend with my sister-in-law and we were visiting a friend of hers with a few kids.  Her friend's 11 year old boy threw a tomato at my dd's head, dd then called him a "bastard" and his mom informed me that was not acceptable behavior and if that was her kid she would "spank her @$$".  All the while I'm thinking, and what about your pre-teen boy who is throwing rotting vegetables at the head's of little girls?  But regardless, the point of that story is I feel constantly like people think I'm a terrible parent and that is just not the case.  DD1's behavior is constantly embarrassing me, and I know that I can't demand she change any faster, when there has been/is continuing to be such dramatic improvement, just to shield me from a little embarrassment.  I guess the bigger question is, how do I make peace with her behavior and her figuring out how to be a person and deal with her emotions in this world--- without feeling like I've got to "do something" about it right now to appease everyone else?</p>
 

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<p>Now I will trot out a recommendation for my favorite book, which I re-read a bit of last night for my own moral support.  The Explosive Child.  The author does a great job of building you up, so that you can deal with these behaviors without getting totally authoritarian.  And the book will also help you explain to your family what you are dealing with and how you are choosing to deal with it.</p>
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<p>But in a nutshell...DD is a passionate, explosive child.  She has a temper.  That's the hand we've been dealt.  We've tried punishing her and it didn't work, and what we realized is that problem solving and dealing with her emotions are a skill she just needs help learning now--just like tying her shoes. So we're working with her, to be her guides, and help her learn the right way to handle situations.  She's not a child who is going to back down from conflict, and she needs to learn how to handle conflict constructively from us.  So time outs and spankings aren't going to help her learn.</p>
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<p>Regarding the tomato throwing episode--that is a crazy story.  No one should be throwing produce at anyone!  And funny that she called him a bastard--where'd she pick that up?  Probably from the tomato thrower, since his mom just taught your DD the word a**.  People are crazy.</p>
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<p>I am kind of hopeful that all this talk about DD's emotions and helping her to deal with them appropriately might actually HELP us have more peaceful teen years.  (Just hoping!)</p>
 

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<p>Check out the book--basically, when you see her start to wind up, say "hey--I can see you're having a really strong reaction.  What's going on?   Let's talk about it." and you keep trying to guide them to handling things maturely.  It really did help us.  I fell off the wagon (when I get pms it is really hard for me to be empathetic--I just want obedience!) but I am trying to get back on.  I hate yelling and being angry, especially when I can tell it doesn't work.  Sorry to monopolize your thread with feedback.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
<p>Madskye--- I too hate yelling and feeling angry.  and of course, sometimes I really just want obedience.  It is hard to constantly remember to work with her on everything and talk and talk and talk when sometimes I just want to get things done.  However, I have noticed that when I try to help her deal with her feelings and frustrations instead of try to boss her into doing what I want her to do, things go a lot more smoothly.  Thanks for all your feedback!</p>
 

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<p>Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves is a good book for dealing with that kind of judgment/guilt for not "doing something" about her behavior when in the presence of others.</p>
<p>Also, does she sleep well?  Not sleeping well/getting up early/going to bed late brings out all kinds of attitude with my 6 y/o unfortunately.</p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
<p>i love raising our children/raising ourselves--- that was such a wonderful book! and it did help us out immensely!  Sleep is a huge issue, along with sugar consumption........  also i believe she's a bit hypoglycemic, so if she hasn't eaten in awhile, the monster comes out.  I try to stay on top of these things and remain sympathetic-- it just sometimes gets really easy to forget why she is the way she is in the moment when life hands me 100 other things to do at the same time.  This year, my focus is to work on slowing down.  Living life in each and every moment and letting go of the things that don't fit/that there isn't time for.</p>
 

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<p>I had an issue similar to this with my daughter after she spent time (one year) in a small group with a really snotty, difficult girl.  The behavior just grafted right onto my daughter.  She was ripe for it ... quite sensitive, explosive ... She would verbatim repeat the words of this older girl, who I think must have learned it at home, as her mom is a bit of a nose in the air type.</p>
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<p>I will say it took my daughter a good year, year and half to work out of it.  Be extra meticulous that you do not talk to your mate that way, because any snotty, dismissive talk that I would do towards my husband would be scarfed right up by my daughter.  Sometimes it's not fun to acknowledge we may have this in us too, but some of us do, as spouses and it happens when we are unaware of it, in my case ...</p>
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<p>Simply, non-angrily saying, "Can you say that in a more polite way, I want to hear what you have to say."  Over and over and over again ... this will work.  It does take months and months.  But it communicates you want to hear her but you can't accept / process her mode.  Her snottiness means her message is lost on you.  I think people / kids love to know that the other person is eager to hear and respond to them.</p>
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<p>Other thoughts:  make sure that she is not watching TV.  There is such trash and nastiness in modern day culture that will reinforce this behavior.  Screen DVD's heavily or eliminate entirely.  Even some kids books mimic the nasty attitude towards parents, or an us vs them.</p>
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<p>Final thought:   is she getting enough exercise??  enough pure play?  My kids become so unhappy when they can't just play, play, play for several hours a day.  No parent.  No dance class.  No school .... and they definately have to do at least one very active thing a day (generally playing outdoors, even in COLD weather).</p>
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