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I can’t deal with 6yo behaviours


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#1 Brienne

Posted 12 April 2019 - 08:49 AM

I don’t know what to do with my almost 6 year old preppy.

The behaviours have been getting worse since kindy.

She is amazing at prep. Top of her class for reading she has won the behaviour reward more times than any other kid so far.

At home though. Is a different story.

She is either so silly that she purposely does things she is not allowed and breaks house rules or screaming the house down and saying I hate you.

Here is an example of how bed time went last night.
We had a nice night, had dinner, she asked politely to play a board game after dinner.
Half way through the game, she started being silly and trying to cheat. Then she started smashing around the game and making the pieces fly off. I gave her warning that if she continues that behaviour, we will pack the game up. Then as a consequence we packed the game up.

So then I said it’s shower time. Flat refused. I dealt with it calmly, explained why she needed to shower and ran the shower for her. Instead of going in the shower, she ran down to the middle of the stairs and started doing freaking Star jumps on them. She KNOWS we never do dangerous things like that on the stairs and that is a hard house rule. When chastised, she continued. Removed her physically and she ran back up to do it.

I explained very firmly why this is not to happen and she still did it. At this point, I smacked her (which I never do, because I know it doesn’t work, I just didn’t know what else to do so turned back to the discipline I got a shower a child). She just laughed in my face. At which point I then yelled at her and she just screamed back at me.

After that I couldn’t engage any longer and I just went in my room to take 5 before continuing on this. She just banged on the door and screamed I hate you the entire time.

I’m honestly so overwhelmed sometimes that I don’t want to come home from work. She won’t let me calm her or cuddle her and nothing I say helps. Sometimes if she’s screaming at me, I just have to lock myself in a room or to sit outside in the yard while she yells insults at me and screams at me.

I don’t know what to do! If this was a relationship, I would leave. Obviously I know I’m doing something wrong and I need to parent better..
Sometimes I wish I just wasn’t here, or I could just get in my car and just drive until I was so far away and not come back. She would obviously be better off with someone she didn’t hate so much. If i’m so pathetic that I can’t even emotionally deal with her now, how Ann i supposed to deal with her as a teenager.

Please be kind with responses, I already feel like enough of a failure as it is.

Edited by Brienne, 12 April 2019 - 08:50 AM.


#2 Mmmcheese

Posted 12 April 2019 - 09:10 AM

Prep was a tough year here. Such enormously big changes for them. They are exhausted from holding it in all day and when they get home it all just bursts out. She doesn't hate you, though it probably feels that way. We picked our battles at that time. Eg. We didn't bathe everynight and we dropped extra activities eg. Swimming. Took her 6 months to find her groove with the routine of school. Many parents recommend the book 'how to talk so kids will listen' as a good one for tips. Good luck, it's a hard transition starting school for the whole family!

#3 Greenscorpio

Posted 12 April 2019 - 09:22 AM

I agree with the previous poster that Prep is a difficult year. Maybe she is trying so hard to behave well at school and then it all unravels at home...

It sounds like you are doing the right thing though in regards to logical consequences, such as packing up the game.

However, despite Prep being a difficult year, you mentioned that her behaviour is getting worse? If what you described is occurring on a regular basis, it might be worth talking to your GP and seeking a referral for a developmental paed.

Good luck and please don’t think you’re a failure! Sounds like you’re doing your best and putting a lot of thought into this.

#4 Lou-bags

Posted 12 April 2019 - 09:28 AM

My eldest (5.5yo) behaves like that when he’s tired. Uncooperative, antagonizing etc. He actually told me the other night he wasn’t doing what I wanted because he wanted me to yell at him so he could cry. I think being tired along with the effort of behaving and learning at school can build up.

Could you try changing up your bedtime routine on those days? Or starting it earlier? We also skip bathing on those days if he says no. I don’t care enough about daily showers/baths to fight him on it. I’ll do a quick flannel wipe down if necessary. But usually just hands and face.

I also find the book ‘how to talk so little kids will listen’ really helpful.

Of course, many times I just lose my sh*t too. It’s hard to stay calm when they act like that, laughing in your face is so infuriating right?

I feel you, OP, kids are next level hard work at times. Hope you snag on something that helps. Hang in there 💪🏻

#5 Lou-bags

Posted 12 April 2019 - 09:30 AM

Also... she shouts she hates you and behaves like this with you because she feels safe in your love. She knows she can be a right so and so and it won’t push you away, you’ll be that loving constant in her life. So while it’s bloody awful and hard, never ever doubt that she’s meant to be with you. This isn’t about you, it’s about her working through her feelings and not having the tools yet to do that without this kind of stuff.

#6 JoanJett

Posted 12 April 2019 - 09:33 AM

It's easy to forget how hard kids have to work at school, not just academically, but more the fact that they spend ALL day following someone else's rules and agendas.  Even their "free" time is not free, as the playground is full of rules (sometimes for the sake of rules).  They spend all day accommodating a very wide range of other kids' behaviour as well.

Your daughter is obviously managing school very well.  Home is her safe space and your family are her safe people.  Unfortunately, you're copping the fallout of all that frustration that she's felt all day.  A lot of what you describe sounds like a power struggle and her seeking reactions. We went through something similar for a good 2-3 years with my younger son - everyone thought he was perfect, because he was at school, but at home he was a raging inferno.

Things that might help is to give her "silly" time - give her a block of time when she gets to make rules and you have to follow them.  You can put the limits in place, so they are things that you feel comfortable accommodating, but it could be like a cheating round of board games, Simon says with her in charge of you, her picking a dinner, or dessert before dinner - anything where she feels a sense that she is in charge for a small fraction of the day.

Also maybe some cuddle time before or after dinner where you can both share your day.  Talk about the things you found difficult and how you managed the emotions around it.  Give her the chance to share the highs and lows of her day, as kids often think they are the only ones experiencing those feelings. It will help you feel more connected and less in a battle zone.

If you can, try showers/baths earlier in the evening, or even in the morning if you can accommodate it.  

Walking away is the best thing you can do when you feel overwhelmed.  Ignoring is hard, but she's going to keep pushing you.  When you come back, explain that you needed to collect yourself so that you didn't respond inappropriately.

It's really hard to manage this kind of behaviour, because it feels like you get the "worst" of your child, but you aren't alone.  If you find strategies and books like the one suggested don't get you anywhere, it can be worth seeing a Psychologist for help for strategies for yourself as a parent and for some play therapy around regulation for your daughter.

Good luck - I really feel for you, as we've been there and it's hard to keep being the adult in the room when you feel pushed to the limit.

#7 countrychic29

Posted 12 April 2019 - 09:34 AM

My preppy is the same, almost 6 and I just don’t know what to do with her??
Like you OP she is top of class, teachers pet and loves school.
At home she is all over the place happy, screaming, kind, naughty, most of all inconsiderate
I’m trying to give a little but her behaviour is just not acceptable so at the moment I feel like all I do is tell her off. Which isn’t fun for either of us.
I feel for us it is sleep and diet related, one tiny adjustment and the day goes to s*^+ just hoping it is a phase

#8 ~J_WTF~

Posted 12 April 2019 - 09:35 AM

You are not alone OP and you are not a failure, you came here because you want to help your kid, that says a lot!  

My kid is like that and much more. She has ASD. I lock myself in my en-suite when the meltdowns are occurring sometimes because she is screaming and me and hurting me and it’s takes every thing I have not to react to that.

It’s exhausting... mentally, psychically, emotionally.

I am firmly in camp see your GP and get a referral to developmental paed to check out what is going on. It might be nothing or it might be something but with way you will have more answers than you have now.

But know you are not failing her, not in anyway!

Edited by ~J_F~, 12 April 2019 - 09:35 AM.


#9 Crombek

Posted 12 April 2019 - 09:35 AM

I would seek out a professional to help with this. It could be as simple as tiredness, but you are struggling and the fact that it is getting worse is a concern. It could be a simple behaviour management issue, but it could also equally be something else hidden in the chaos and you need someone experienced to help you look at your family unit as a whole and sort through it.

Look for an experienced child psychologist in your area. You can visit your gp for a mental health plan to help if cost is a concern.

#10 DaLittleEd

Posted 12 April 2019 - 09:35 AM

So, take this with a pinch of salt because I only have a younger child, but she does sound similar.

We do logical consequences, but I also often end up ignoring DD until she calms down. I either go to another room or send her to another room (depending on what we are doing etc). I just calmly say "I am going to another room and we will talk when you are ready", which sounds like what you are doing when you go to your room for time out - it's a legit strategy! Any form or engaging seems to make the behaviour worse, the ignoring calms it down quicker.

#11 Mmmcheese

Posted 12 April 2019 - 09:37 AM

Agree with loubags, my DD often seemed to be picking a fight so she could let all her big emotions out. We found really physical play with rough and tumble and wrestling worked as a physical outlet for those emotions also. (Which is hard when you are soooool tired.) And agree with everything joanjett said too.

#12 22Fruitmincepies

Posted 12 April 2019 - 09:45 AM

My FYOS kid is so tired and in need of the holidays. The other day something very minor lead to her yelling at me “I’m so angry with you I want to kick you over!”  I actually mentioned to her teacher that I was impressed that what they learned this term on feelings had been effective enough that DD was able to articulate the feeling rather than acting on it. Her teacher said all the kids were tired and unable to cope and they were doing very little teaching this week.

Anyway, I’d have a look at the dynamics leading up to the blow up. Can you simplify things to ask less of her behaviour-wise when tired?

#13 eponee

Posted 12 April 2019 - 09:53 AM

View PostLou-bags, on 12 April 2019 - 09:28 AM, said:

My eldest (5.5yo) behaves like that when he’s tired. Uncooperative, antagonizing etc. He actually told me the other night he wasn’t doing what I wanted because he wanted me to yell at him so he could cry. I think being tired along with the effort of behaving and learning at school can build up.

Could you try changing up your bedtime routine on those days? Or starting it earlier? We also skip bathing on those days if he says no. I don’t care enough about daily showers/baths to fight him on it. I’ll do a quick flannel wipe down if necessary. But usually just hands and face.

I also find the book ‘how to talk so little kids will listen’ really helpful.

Of course, many times I just lose my sh*t too. It’s hard to stay calm when they act like that, laughing in your face is so infuriating right?

I feel you, OP, kids are next level hard work at times. Hope you snag on something that helps. Hang in there

:(

#14 Mollyksy

Posted 12 April 2019 - 09:54 AM

Oh thank goodness it just isnt my DS (FYOS) and our house! No ideas just empathy and relief or isnt just my reality! I agree that school takes so much out of them plus DS is in before and after school care so his day is 8 til 4.30 or so. Not too bad but it's taking a toll.

#15 beccaj

Posted 12 April 2019 - 09:56 AM

The first term of Prep is such a big change for them, with mine they were just exhausted by the end of it.  Behaviour is closely linked to how tired my kids are. Even now as tweens a big week will result in ratty behaviour.

We found we had to get them into bed earlier, lots more down time and fight the battle that is worth having. Some great suggestions about changing the routine by JoanJett.

Instead of a shower could you have a big bubble bath together some nights and be silly.  I can remember my DD telling me through tears one night that having a shower was just too hard. She saw it as just another big task that she had to do, she went back to showering with one of us for a bit so she could just stand there and not have to do anything.

Its holidays soon, if the behaviours continue after some downtime then perhaps a visit to a GP might be needed.

#16 mayahlb

Posted 12 April 2019 - 10:20 AM

Prep sucks and the vast majority of kids are exhausted. (Parents too).

My kids needed serious downtime after school just relaxing or doing something that didn’t require rules. A bike ride or spending time jumping it out on the trampoline were usually the best options. Something that gets their body moving and involves sensory input would kept them calm down a bit. Even now at 8.5 and 10 they need at least an hour a day to just relax.

We also had to change up the routine and we did a wash before dinner and then pretty much bed after dinner. Both my kids absolutely needed a 6.30 bedtime FYOS. Otherwise they were too tired and prone to losing it.

However if it is getting worse it can’t hurt to look at getting some professional help. Start with the GP. Often “issues” might not turn up until your school starts school and the expectations are different and impact greatly on how they are coping. My oldest is autistic and I can tell you now the first year or so were rough. And he loves school! But school has rules and expectations and lots of things to do and how to act and by the time he’d spent 6 hours “masking” to be like the other kids his body and brain were screaming for a break. So he would go hone and take it out at home because home and mum are safe. He can let out all those big emotions because he knows Mum will make it all better. An OT and psych helped us somewhat manage this in such a way that he could still get that break while also knowing what to do to process and release that emotional storm going on.

Also I spoke to the school and they implemented more “brain breaks” not just for my kid but for the whole class. Actually they do it throughout the school. It isn’t unusual to see a class outside doing some star jumps or hoping around or playing Simon says for 10mins to “calm the fidgets and sync the Brian and body” as one teacher told me. Then again this is the same school that makes them run a lap of the over after assembly so they are nice and focused on returning to class.

#17 hellsmail

Posted 12 April 2019 - 10:20 AM

my son was like this in prep and grade 1 and I was talking to his teacher about how good and kind he was at school and the teacher told me they only have a certain amount of goodness in them and he must run out by time we get home.  knowing this and picking battles helped  he now is a nice 24 yr old

#18 *Super*Mombie3

Posted 12 April 2019 - 11:01 AM

View Post22Fruitmincepies, on 12 April 2019 - 09:45 AM, said:

My FYOS kid is so tired and in need of the holidays. The other day something very minor lead to her yelling at me “I’m so angry with you I want to kick you over!”  I actually mentioned to her teacher that I was impressed that what they learned this term on feelings had been effective enough that DD was able to articulate the feeling rather than acting on it. Her teacher said all the kids were tired and unable to cope and they were doing very little teaching this week.

Anyway, I’d have a look at the dynamics leading up to the blow up. Can you simplify things to ask less of her behaviour-wise when tired?

DD 6, in year 1 said something very similar a couple days ago.  I've been encouraging her to use her words instead of hitting/kicking.  

DD has had some big meltdowns this term too OP. School holidays may well help. Dds definitely expressed the fact she's tired.  I remember in fyos that after about week 5 in first term her behaviour got really bad.  In second term it took a bit longer, by the end of the year I think it was week 8-9 before she started to really feel it.  School is exhausting for them.  DD also has anxiety, not diagnosed but I'm like 99% sure, I've got it myself.  So we have before school meltdowns too, Thursdays was because she knew she was getting a substitute teacher. Once I realised she was anxious about things gotten better at helping her through it and she's getting better at articulating why.  There was lots of screaming and tears and talking. I did have to insist she go to school in the end and at try it.  I gave her a necklace of mine to wear so she'd feel close to me, which helped her be brave.  They certainly have very big emotions at this age and emotional regulation goes out the window when they're tired or mentally exhausted but sometimes like with DDs anxiety there's more to it than that. She had a great day and so now she feels a little more comfortable about substitute teachers, baby steps.

#19 Jenflea

Posted 12 April 2019 - 11:46 AM

I found it certainly helped DD if she knew in advance her teacher wasn't going to be there, we could talk about how she'd have a sub and who it might be etc.

If we turned up and someone else opened the door, she'd cry and refuse to go in. By first grade she was so much better about it all!

#20 Feral-as-Meggs

Posted 12 April 2019 - 12:06 PM

I would have a chat to the teacher, just in case the “behaviour reward” means they are trying to manage her behaviour there by catching her doing the right thing.  

That’s how classroom awards often work in DS school.

But I also agree with PPs about the tiredness,
And kids picking a fight to get the emotional release and then cry and get cuddles.   Sometimes you can head it off by offering a big silly runaround and then some cuddles in advance.

#21 Contrebasse

Posted 12 April 2019 - 12:36 PM

I also have a child who is well behaved at school but prone to tantrums at home. We found a psychologist very helpful.

She helped us to set firm boundaries to help DD to feel secure. e.g. the minute you hurt or yell at anyone you need to leave the room (or be forcibly removed if necessary) until you are ready to be civil. I had been escaping to my room to avoid being hit but the advice we received was not to let DD control the family space.

#22 RuntotheRiver

Posted 12 April 2019 - 04:17 PM

Tied and just able to let go at home... so it all comes out with parents.  Where they feel save and can be themselves.

It sounds like she is overwhelmed also. It’s a lot to process at 6. First year of school is busy, social, long days, new faces, teachers, rules. To hold it all in for 6 hours, it has to come out at some point. Rather it’s at home than school.

I did shower thing every second - third day. I did bath with a toy, to calm things down. Healthy afternoon tea with a small treat.  Didn’t suggest any activities really and no after school things.

#23 Lou-bags

Posted 12 April 2019 - 05:51 PM

 eponee, on 12 April 2019 - 09:53 AM, said:



:(

Awful right? We talked about other ways he could try to let his feelings out, rather than pushing me for a reaction so he can let it out. I was as impressed with his personal insight as I was devastated that he felt that way. I never yelled until I had his brother, my patience has been thinner much to my dismay. It was certainly a bit of a wake up call 😥

#24 blimkybill

Posted 12 April 2019 - 06:08 PM

 RuntotheRiver, on 12 April 2019 - 04:17 PM, said:

Tied and just able to let go at home... so it all comes out with parents.  Where they feel save and can be themselves.

It sounds like she is overwhelmed also. It’s a lot to process at 6. First year of school is busy, social, long days, new faces, teachers, rules. To hold it all in for 6 hours, it has to come out at some point. Rather it’s at home than school.

I did shower thing every second - third day. I did bath with a toy, to calm things down. Healthy afternoon tea with a small treat.  Didn’t suggest any activities really and no after school things.
Agree with all the people who have said this kind of thing.
Once a child is overwhelmed they have much less capacity to respond to logical consequences,  to use their words well, or to follow rules. It sounded like your DD had reached the end of her capacity to be rational during that board game.
In this state, or even better as prevention, responses like time alone in a safe space, physical play, outdoor time, sensory experiences like swinging, bouncing or water play, can be more effective than logical consequences.  It's also helpful to use your words to help your child understand their own behaviour (which they probably don't understand) eg, "you're getting silly, maybe your brain is tired from thinking and following rules, maybe you need some time alone/time on the swing to help you feel better"

#25 blimkybill

Posted 12 April 2019 - 06:11 PM

Also there are programs to teach children to recognize their own emotional/arousal state and learn what strategies will help them get back to a more regulated state. Eg Zones of Regulation.  Often used for children with developmental difficulties however I think this program would be great for any child struggling in the way your DD is.




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