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Old 05-06-2013, 04:05 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by BSWmama View Post

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.
I was thinking about this, too. It's like she uses up all her goodness and patience at school and then can get out all her other emotions with you at home. She knows it's safe to do at home and that you'll love her no matter what.

My DS is 4 and does this sometimes. But it doesn't sound like it's as often as your DD. I don't really have advice I guess, just that point of view to offer. It helps me sometimes to think of DS's behavior that way.

The points chart a PP mentioned sounds like a great idea. Other people have mentioned good things too. The only other thing I can think of is maybe there's something in her diet that makes her feel unwell or irritable? I know some kids are sensitive to dairy, soy, gluten, sugar, artificial dyes, or whatever else.

Finally, hugs!! You are a good mom and you will all survive.


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Old 05-06-2013, 04:46 PM   #22
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Re: Chronically Unhappy 5 Year Old....

We have one of these too in our house, but in addition, she likes to dominate conversations so nobody can speak etc at every chance. We remind her she is not an only child and never was one (not our oldest). Most importantly, "Grumpy Grumpertons" have to go to their room until they can respect themselves and others by being nice. We have found (the hard way) that not particapating in the arguement/bad behavior ends it quickly. We often state, "We are sorry you feel that way. Everyone gets mad or does not agree but this is the way it is____. We do not want "Grumpy Grumpertons" around so go to your room until you are done feeling mad/sad/angry." Or "We are sorry you embarased your self by doing_____. Now you have____ as a punishment for your bad behavior. Maybe next time you can contain yourself and enjoy___. The choice is yours." Recently this child loss attending two birthday parties. One for throwing a fit on a microphone at a birthday party and the other for repeated not listening and not doing as told. The parties were the best of the year and her older sister was invited too. Yes, it was hard not letting her attend the "mini carniva"l in the yard with rides and all - not kidding crazy large b-day. I wanted to do a "just this once" change punishment but knew the long term results would not be good. As we left I asked told her it was hard for me to not let her go. I asked, "When was she going to 'get it' and learn?" She stated, "Today."
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Old 05-06-2013, 05:01 PM   #23
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Re: Chronically Unhappy 5 Year Old....

My 5 year old has gone through stages like this, he is also perfectly happy and well behaved when I am not around at school or with others, but at home he could find anything to be angry or upset about.

What we do, (and he seems to be mostly coming out of it now so it's either working or he just outgrew it!) is keeping a strict routine. He always brushes teeth first, or we alternate picking out books for bed. Everything the same every day and very "fair" so there is no arguing (he has a brother 13 months younger than him, so lots of his crabbiness seems to stem from things not being "fair" in his mind).

He still gets upset, or mad at me, but I totally ignore it. If he needs to brush his teeth and is crabby, who cares, I don't let it get to me. If he won't do it, I count to 3 and he gets a timeout and tries again, and again, and again, until it happens. He still gets mad, but rarely gets to the timeout point anymore.

I agree with what others are saying that she is just so much more comfortable with you that she lets it out where she feels safe.

Another thing mentioned that helped us was making sure that we got 1-1 time, something that we talk about or do that is just us. Not even anything big, but I make a HUGE deal about how much fun I am having with him and how much I love him. Like way over the top. He eats it up and is always in a much better mood after those times.

I really think it's partly personality (my son would cry when he woke up from naps for years because he just needed to unwind before doing or thinking about anything else), and partly a testing limits phase. If she doesn't have the behavior at school I wouldn't make a big deal about it and just wait it out, while still enforcing whatever your family rules are.
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Old 05-06-2013, 06:22 PM   #24
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I don't have time to write much, but just wanted to offer hugs and reinforce to you that this is not caused by poor parenting on your part in any way ("because you let her get away with it" just isn't true). I too have the 4 yr old version of your DD and it's such a hard personality to deal with. So sorry, mama. I so wish we had control over personality, or that I had some magic advice for you, but it's so hardwired in some kids that we just have to dig deep and be there for them even when they're nuts and sooo challenging!!
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Old 05-06-2013, 07:40 PM   #25
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Re: Chronically Unhappy 5 Year Old....

I have an 11 year old version of your child, and she's been like this for ever. If she gets up grumpy, I go tell her to go back to bed, and to get up on the right side this time. Also during the day, when she is all "everything is your fault" I ignore. AND I don't let her stomp off to her room. I make her sit in the kitchen/living room/where ever we are and just sit and not argue and "learn to behave like a civilized human". Of course my DD is older. I find the "time in" is better, but I find the key is to not allow them to whine and complain the whole time.
I also agree on catching the good moments, and praising and rewarding those.
But I know what you mean with your cookie example. She will always want to do the opposite of what I say. I feel for you, and I hope you find something that works for your family
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Old 05-06-2013, 10:00 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by isabelsmummy View Post
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!
I feel your pain ladies my boys are so awful most of the time. I have tried everything too. I was such a bad kid I guess its payback
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Old 05-06-2013, 11:04 PM   #27
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Positive incentives work well for us. We use coins because dd2 is motivated by stuff - she wants to buy stuff. She learns math from counting her money and she learns to wait and work towards things she wants. If you don't like using cash, a social worker once suggested marbles in a jar - when the jar is full she gets something special. Not good (wrong message) but maybe a date with mom or dad or something for the family that celebrates the achievement. You can make it a joint effort with the 2yo too - they can earn it together.

She may also be unhappy. Play therapy can be great with young kids.
Jamie, anthropologist mom to O (12-18-99), E (12-30-04) and R (4-22-10) Married to my best friend .
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Old 05-06-2013, 11:36 PM   #28
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Re: Chronically Unhappy 5 Year Old....

Where is the hide under chair icon? I am similar to your dd, and will share my tomorrow. Don't want to loose this thread. Hang in there. It can be tough.
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Old 05-07-2013, 12:08 AM   #29
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Re: Chronically Unhappy 5 Year Old....

Can it be a personality conflict? It sounds like a 3rd party (therapist) could help you both...her to work on her behavior and you how to work with her behavior. DS2 is such a hard personality much like your dd's. He's slowly growing out of some things but in others I think it's just who he is and he will have to face the reality of it. For now I just send him to his room and tell him he can come out when he's ready to be a more productive member of the family; sort of like a time-out but he doesn't have to stay a set amount of time just until he's ready.
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Old 05-07-2013, 08:48 AM   #30
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Re: Chronically Unhappy 5 Year Old....

Thank you all for chiming in last night. I appreciate your insight very much!

Miracle of miracles, she was an angel last night, down to the last moment her eyes were open. I praised her for willingly leaving Grandma & Grandpa's house without a fight. Okay, she fought a tiny bit, but sometimes it's way worse.

I much prefer a gentler parenting style. When I say time out, I am nearby. I stopped forcing her in her room alone several years ago. She ain't havin' it, at least not yet. There may be time for that later.

I do need to buckle down and enforce every single instance of disrespect. I don't ignore it, but sometimes I just speak with her about it and don't do a punishment. And since we know she's not super affected by punishments, the positive approach may be what's needed.

The notion that her good behavior is all tapped out by the time she gets home seems so logical. I had never even considered it before, but I will certainly be taking it into consideration now.

I mentioned to her the idea of putting up a chart and she could get stickers for not arguing with me and earn a reward. I need some reward ideas that aren't a new toy and cost less than $10. I was thinking ice cream for her and me, or even McDonalds. There's a special park here we don't go to very often, so perhaps that. What else? Zoo is too expensive and I'm not interesting in rewarding her with toys, but maybe new markers?
Amy ~ Everything in moderation, WOH, glass half full, not committed to any labels, try, try again mama to 3! H 11/07 and M 8/10 and B 8/12
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