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-   -   Chronically Unhappy 5 Year Old.... (http://www.diaperswappers.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1514849)

badmisterkitty 05-06-2013 01:38 PM

Chronically Unhappy 5 Year Old....
 
You've helped me with this kid in the past, so I'm sure you all can help me again....

I had a really disheartening, disappointing experience today. DD is in PreK and her school had a teacher appreciation thing where classroom parents helped the kids through lunch and recess while they ate a catered meal in peace. I helped, but was only able to stay through the lunch portion.

From the second I got there until I left, my DD was grumpy, whiney and argumentative. Nothing I was doing was making her happy. The teacher left a little write up on the routine and we followed it, but my DD insisted on whining at every turn because I wasn't devoting 100% of my attention on her and her alone. Helloooooo? Twenty other kids that need attention, too!

She was upset when I left and it just tears my heart out. I just sat in the car wondering why she's so unhappy with me all the time.

Now, I'm guessing her behavior is perfectly normal. I've met other kids like her. Kids who cling tight to mom when she's around but are perfectly fine without her. My DD is DELIGHTFUL when I'm not around.

But lately, our home life has gotten horrible. She back talks, screams, yells, is argumentative all the time, and absolutely refuses to play nice with her sister. She continues to act like an only child even though she is the oldest of 3. She's the kind of kid who, if you offered her a cookie and her mood was just right, she'd yell at you and tell you she didn't want a cookie. then you could say, okay no cookie, and she'd fall to the floor screaming because she didn't get a cookie. Absolutely nothing I do makes her happy.

She went through a tantrum phase late last year and I didn't think I'd make it through that, but now I'm losing the battle with the constant arguing.

I don't know what to do. Everyone else I know gets this sweet, happy child and all she does is argue with me. I've tried to be a middle of the road parent, tried setting boundaries without being too rigid. If I can't get through a day where she doesn't scream that she wants to move out, how am I going to handle the years ahead?

I'm just really, really lost.

mibarra 05-06-2013 01:42 PM

So tough mama! No real advice but lots of hugs! Does she get any one on one mama time?

badmisterkitty 05-06-2013 01:54 PM

Re: Chronically Unhappy 5 Year Old....
 
She gets more than half of all the time I spend with my kids. She demands it. My poor 2 year old is already lost in the shuffle and the baby is content enough now, but WILL be lost in the shuffle later. I work M-F until 5 pm. We get up in the morning and go through the routine. She is grumpy when she wakes up and grumpy if it's her turn to brush teeth first and grumpy when it's NOT her turn to brush teeth first.

I get home at 5 and she gets mad if I find her hiding spot too quickly. She is at my feet arguing the whole time I make dinner, she actually does pretty well while we're eating and then after supper she gets my whole attention.

MakingHome 05-06-2013 02:11 PM

Re: Chronically Unhappy 5 Year Old....
 
Honestly? She is this way because you put up with it. She is not that way at school because she can not get away with it there.

She should not be able to be rude to siblings. "In our home we speak kindly to each other and you will not talk to my daughter that way again, do you understand?"

She needs you to discipline and teach her what is right, which, it sounds like, (for a time) will be moment by moment thing from the time she wakes up. "Does mama grump aroun and stomp around all morning, demanding everyone do things my way or else? No of course not and you shouldn't either. Now straighten up your face and stop grumping." Then see that she does. Then move on. Then something else will arise, for example, her: "I don't *WANT* eggs, i want cereal for breakfast!!!! (Stomp whine fuss moan)" you: "we're having eggs and in our family we are thankful for the food that we get. If you can't be kind and thankful to mommy who buys your food, cooks it for you, and works to see that you are healthy and strong. Go sit on your bed and only come out if you can be grateful for eggs and eat them cheerfully." Her: "no! I hate eggs. (Even though she ate them fine last week); I want cereal!!" You: (escorting her to her room) "you may not come out of your room or have any breakfast until you can be kind and thankful for eggs." Her: slips out of her room with a sulky look on her face. You: "nope. Back in your room. You may not come out until..." (Ad nauseum).

You have to be firm and consistent and be stubborn one time longer than she is. Do not let her continue to run and rule and ruin your home like this any longer.

badmisterkitty 05-06-2013 02:30 PM

Re: Chronically Unhappy 5 Year Old....
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by MakingHome (Post 16569005)
Honestly? She is this way because you put up with it. She is not that way at school because she can not get away with it there.

She should not be able to be rude to siblings. "In our home we speak kindly to each other and you will not talk to my daughter that way again, do you understand?"

She needs you to discipline and teach her what is right, which, it sounds like, (for a time) will be moment by moment thing from the time she wakes up. "Does mama grump aroun and stomp around all morning, demanding everyone do things my way or else? No of course not and you shouldn't either. Now straighten up your face and stop grumping." Then see that she does. Then move on. Then something else will arise, for example, her: "I don't *WANT* eggs, i want cereal for breakfast!!!! (Stomp whine fuss moan)" you: "we're having eggs and in our family we are thankful for the food that we get. If you can't be kind and thankful to mommy who buys your food, cooks it for you, and works to see that you are healthy and strong. Go sit on your bed and only come out if you can be grateful for eggs and eat them cheerfully." Her: "no! I hate eggs. (Even though she ate them fine last week); I want cereal!!" You: (escorting her to her room) "you may not come out of your room or have any breakfast until you can be kind and thankful for eggs." Her: slips out of her room with a sulky look on her face. You: "nope. Back in your room. You may not come out until..." (Ad nauseum).

You have to be firm and consistent and be stubborn one time longer than she is. Do not let her continue to run and rule and ruin your home like this any longer.

This is all good advice and everything, but it's presuming I don't do anything to correct her. I spend all day correcting her sometimes. She seemingly prefers to spend whole weekends in time out.

I'm trying to figure out how to make her more flexible, more cheerful and just more happy to exist!

rumblepurr 05-06-2013 02:44 PM

Re: Chronically Unhappy 5 Year Old....
 
Have you been doing positive reinforcement? Earning privileges by not whining or complaining for short periods of time?

I get a lot more out of the boys when I say they have to earn their special toys, tv time, or games. I have a wipe board chart for behaviors we are working on and they get points when I see the good behavior and points removed for the behavior we are trying to change. When they reach a certain # of points they get to do the reward of choice.
Every day starts with 5 points and goes from there. That way you always have some to take away. If they complain about the loss, say they can always earn more right away by not complaining for 1 min. They stop, for even one minute, they get the point. Literally LOL!

For instance I felt like I had to nag-nag-nag all the time for them to do their chores, or I was pulling teeth to get them to focus on finishing school so we could do other things. So, now they earned points for doing chores without asking, and for staying on task with school. Points were removed each time I asked them to do a chore or stay focused. It's been working really well!

MakingHome 05-06-2013 02:45 PM

Re: Chronically Unhappy 5 Year Old....
 
If you are consistent and don't allow her to grump and go through life that way, and if you make the alternative truly something that she doesn't like, she will eventually opt to rejoin normal life and be cheerful. From your post it sounds like she gets away with it sometimes and like you try to appease her with choices and variances, etc. If that is the case, stop allowing even one instance of appeasement or kowtowing. It sounds like she is making everyone miserable. Her choices to be rude and grumpy should be making life miserable for *her*, not for everyone else (although yes it does cramp our style as parents from time to time as we have to enforce consequences that do change what we'd rather be doing).

If I'm off, ignore my advice but it really sounds like she's not convinced that she has to be a generally kind and pleasant person in order to get through everyday family life. To me it sounds like she needs more consistency and perhaps in a way that she feels it more keenly (i.e., maybe she doesnt care two straws about time out, but shell feel it if she loses x/y/z --and continues losing q/r/s/t/u/v/w... etc and on and on until she gets with the program), so she'll absolutely get the message.

MunkyCrazy 05-06-2013 02:51 PM

Re: Chronically Unhappy 5 Year Old....
 
Sounds similar to my 5 year old except he's also a grump in school and when I'm not around. He's beginning therapy soon and has an appointment with a pediatric neuro developmental behavior center in a few weeks. Wish I had some helpful info but all I can offer is :hugs:

isabelsmummy 05-06-2013 02:59 PM

Re: Chronically Unhappy 5 Year Old....
 
I have the 4yr old version of your dd. It's hell.
I'm generally a very firm parent but when that wasn't working I tried a more gentle approach with options but that isn't working either. The days that work best for us are when I'm alone with her and can run the house like a boot camp. No exceptions, no letting up, no choices if you're grumpy etc.. Usually after an entire morning of screaming she'll behave after lunch.

It's hard to do that with other children around though.

You have my sympathy that's for sure!

badmisterkitty 05-06-2013 03:00 PM

Re: Chronically Unhappy 5 Year Old....
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rumblepurr (Post 16569097)
Have you been doing positive reinforcement? Earning privileges by not whining or complaining for short periods of time?

I get a lot more out of the boys when I say they have to earn their special toys, tv time, or games. I have a wipe board chart for behaviors we are working on and they get points when I see the good behavior and points removed for the behavior we are trying to change. When they reach a certain # of points they get to do the reward of choice.
Every day starts with 5 points and goes from there. That way you always have some to take away. If they complain about the loss, say they can always earn more right away by not complaining for 1 min. They stop, for even one minute, they get the point. Literally LOL!

For instance I felt like I had to nag-nag-nag all the time for them to do their chores, or I was pulling teeth to get them to focus on finishing school so we could do other things. So, now they earned points for doing chores without asking, and for staying on task with school. Points were removed each time I asked them to do a chore or stay focused. It's been working really well!

I think this might be something that we need. I always seem to revert to time outs because they are easy. A chart with points and rewards is not as easy, but it's pretty clear that setting expectations and issuing time outs isn't the answer for her. So that's where I'm trying to get. Stopping the behavior before it starts and keeping a generally happy countenance.


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