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Old 05-06-2013, 02:02 PM   #11
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Is she getting enough sleep?

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Old 05-06-2013, 02:06 PM   #12
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Re: Chronically Unhappy 5 Year Old....

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Is she getting enough sleep?
No idea. Her bedtime 8-8:30. I wake her up at 6:40 at the latest. She's in a much better mood if she wakes up on her own. I'd prefer bedtime to be between 7:30 and 8, but it almost never happens like that, even with out strict routine. Do you think that extra 30 minutes would make a difference? Her 2 year old sister has the same sleep schedule and is happy as can be every single morning.
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Old 05-06-2013, 02:17 PM   #13
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You might try some therapy for the two of you to help you find a starting place. Some people just aren't cheerful. Some people need a lot more help figuring out how to deal with disappointment. A therapist might be able to help you figure out why things are different at home and get them back on track.
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Old 05-06-2013, 03:00 PM   #14
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Re: Chronically Unhappy 5 Year Old....

You have a smart cookie in her!

When she's around others, she 'needs' to behave, she 'has' to be nice to others if she wants to get her way, she has to be sweet if she wants her teacher to think of her favorably. And she's so tired of the 'appearance' and she unleashes her worst behavior around you. (when she was clingy/whiny at school, her teacher wasnt there, right?)

Mama, she's saving all her pent up anger, disappointments and bad days to be let loose on you because you are the one constant in her life that she knows she can rely on, even when she's at her crabbiest best.

I think you need to give her some more time to mature and realise that EVERYBODY else feels grumpy/sad/angry, except they dont express it all the time.

BUT, a huge but...I know it can get very, very, very tiring to have to constantly double-check your next sentence with her, lest she does the opposite. You must have bitten your lips red!
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Old 05-06-2013, 03:07 PM   #15
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Re: Chronically Unhappy 5 Year Old....

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You have a smart cookie in her!

When she's around others, she 'needs' to behave, she 'has' to be nice to others if she wants to get her way, she has to be sweet if she wants her teacher to think of her favorably. And she's so tired of the 'appearance' and she unleashes her worst behavior around you. (when she was clingy/whiny at school, her teacher wasnt there, right?)

Mama, she's saving all her pent up anger, disappointments and bad days to be let loose on you because you are the one constant in her life that she knows she can rely on, even when she's at her crabbiest best.

I think you need to give her some more time to mature and realise that EVERYBODY else feels grumpy/sad/angry, except they dont express it all the time.

BUT, a huge but...I know it can get very, very, very tiring to have to constantly double-check your next sentence with her, lest she does the opposite. You must have bitten your lips red!
This is interesting to me, too. I have a love-hate relationship with her clingy-ness. I also often wonder if I am expecting too much too soon. I readily admit that we tried to expect too much from her back when she was 2-3 years old because we just didn't know any better. So I tried to back off. But then everything escalated so now I feel like I'm nagging her about everything all the time.

I mean, seriously, how many different things can she possibly think to ask me where the answer is legitimately no?
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Old 05-06-2013, 03:26 PM   #16
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Re: Chronically Unhappy 5 Year Old....

I think you need to hit this from a lot of angles.

1) Show her examples of her behavior. Find some books that center around being grumpy and read them and discuss them with her. Focus on the characters in the book. Who is being grumpy? Why? Are they any fun to be around? What helps them not be grumpy? What causes them to be grumpy? Is being grumpy helping them? What would be a better way for them to get what they want? This will get her wheels turning about attitudes in general. You might also find some interesting things out from her.

2) Do what MakingHome suggested. Don't give her a bunch of choices. Be firm and don't waver in the hopes that maybe, just maybe this time she will be happy. You KNOW that if you offer her a choice of eggs or cereal she will want muffins. When she refuses to choose, choose for her and move on. If SHE chooses not to move on, then simply state that she needs to go to her room until she's ready to be polite.
Her time out should be in her room and away from everything going on. You decide when she needs to go in. She decides when she's nice enough to come out.
Above all, DO NOT ARGUE with her. It is easier said than done, but I promise, this is key. The moment we begin to open negotiations with our pint sized tyrants, they grab control of the situation and run with it. It is so stinkin easy to get drawn into an argument. The less we say, the better.

3) Give her positive reinforcement for ANYTHING she does without complaining. (Connect it to the book if you can.) When she gets in the car without fussing, acknowledge it. When she eats her dinner without arguing, acknowledge it. If hugs or high fives are her currency, add those. The idea is to remind BOTH of you that she has the ability to be pleasant and build on it.
Once you are both convinced she can be pleasant, transfer it to an activity that she usually grumps about. Get her on board with the "working together as a team" mentality as opposed to you against her. Present it to her in terms of you both working towards it. Your part will be to remind her before said activity, encourage her through it, and (possibly) reward her after. Her job is to actually do it.

I have a little grumpy guss who likes to argue. He'll be 5 this July. He's worse when he's tired or hungry, so I try really hard to stay on top of sleep and eating. His older brother liked to argue.
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Old 05-06-2013, 03:33 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beckyc
You have a smart cookie in her!

When she's around others, she 'needs' to behave, she 'has' to be nice to others if she wants to get her way, she has to be sweet if she wants her teacher to think of her favorably. And she's so tired of the 'appearance' and she unleashes her worst behavior around you. (when she was clingy/whiny at school, her teacher wasnt there, right?)

Mama, she's saving all her pent up anger, disappointments and bad days to be let loose on you because you are the one constant in her life that she knows she can rely on, even when she's at her crabbiest best.

I think you need to give her some more time to mature and realise that EVERYBODY else feels grumpy/sad/angry, except they dont express it all the time.

BUT, a huge but...I know it can get very, very, very tiring to have to constantly double-check your next sentence with her, lest she does the opposite. You must have bitten your lips red!
This is how my 7yo DS is is. Granted he has ASD and ADHD but still. I am actually comforted by the thought that he trusts me enough to feel secure to vent. But I have limits. He will not be rude, disobedient or disrespectful without consequence. He knows this. It does not mean he doesn't continually try, though.

Op, if you are not concerned with a medical reason she could be acting out then I have to agree with the advice from makinghome and and (I'm blanking here) to also use positive reinforcement. Poor choices are dealt with here by losing the privilege of being around others or having that toy. Likewise, the opposite is true. Good choices get more rewards! It works.
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Old 05-06-2013, 03:49 PM   #18
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Re: Chronically Unhappy 5 Year Old....

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Originally Posted by beckyc View Post
You have a smart cookie in her!

When she's around others, she 'needs' to behave, she 'has' to be nice to others if she wants to get her way, she has to be sweet if she wants her teacher to think of her favorably. And she's so tired of the 'appearance' and she unleashes her worst behavior around you. (when she was clingy/whiny at school, her teacher wasnt there, right?)

Mama, she's saving all her pent up anger, disappointments and bad days to be let loose on you because you are the one constant in her life that she knows she can rely on, even when she's at her crabbiest best.

I think you need to give her some more time to mature and realise that EVERYBODY else feels grumpy/sad/angry, except they dont express it all the time.

BUT, a huge but...I know it can get very, very, very tiring to have to constantly double-check your next sentence with her, lest she does the opposite. You must have bitten your lips red!
I really agree with this. I was a child very much like your daughter. Just difficult, not happy, etc. Everything, from brushing my hair to what I was going to eat or not was a battle. As an adult, whenever I mention to someone who knew me as a kid that my two year old is difficult, all I get are comments about karma Basically, I grew out of it, but it took a long time.

Yes, she's doing this with you as you're her mom and you're the only person she really can act like this with, for better or worse. She already knows she would be embarrassed to act that way in class. As she gets older, there will be more and more settings in which she'll think about whether her behavior would be embarrassing, and eventually she will act "normal" at home, too. It will take some time. One thing that helped me was having an older brother - as the younger sibling I wanted his attention and approval - and especially did not like it when he called me out on bad behavior. I know she is the oldest, but having her peers, like classmates and friends, approval means a lot to her.

I disagree that every child will respond to a totally hardass style of parenting. I didn't. When made to sit to finish my dinner or eat something, I would sit for hours and hours and hours.

In the meantime, I don't know the answer to preserve your sanity. Maybe a little more ignoring? Like, "I'm sorry, we're having waffles for breakfast today." End of discussion. She can then tantrum without intervention if she needs to. Or if there are certain trigger issues, some strategies to make everyone happy. Like for me, food pickiness was epic, so I was allowed to make/have a PBJ whenever instead of eating what was served.
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Old 05-06-2013, 04:03 PM   #19
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Re: Chronically Unhappy 5 Year Old....

I need to bow out for the evening, but I wanted to point out that we don't have food battles. I used the cookie example to illustrate how argumentative she can be.

I also need to stress again that I do not tolerate her behavior. That's why I think I need a new approach. Time outs aren't working, nor are any of the other negative consequence things we use, so I'm glad to see suggestions for working on the positive.
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Old 05-06-2013, 04:04 PM   #20
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Re: Chronically Unhappy 5 Year Old....

A thought that I don't believe has been mentioned yet, is to play with her diet. My oldest was a lot like that, but when we cut out wheat, it made a huge difference.
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