HomeHealth & BehaviorBehavior & Discipline

Ask the Experts

My 5-year-old's behavior is changing

By Debra Collins, Family therapist


Since starting full-day kindergarten, my 5-year-old has had a complete change in her behavior! She was a child I would brag about how blessed I was that she was so easygoing and laid back. I never had to raise my voice or ask her to do something more than once or twice. Well now she is a kid on the edge! She uses words like stupid, dumb, damn, idiot and is more aggressive and full of anger it seems at times. I am at a loss as to why, except for the obvious. I know she is still adjusting to the full-day schedule and I have made some changes in my work. I used to run a full-day, in-home daycare program that she was in with our friend of three years. (You could say they were like siblings.) Now he no longer attends and my daughter only sees the children that are still in care two days a week just two hours each day. I know these are all big changes for a 5-year-old. I guess I just want someone to tell me this is all normal and not to worry. I also want some advice how to discipline as I've never really had to.


Yes, it is normal for children to have an adjustment period transitioning from preschool to kindergarten. As a daycare provider, you have undoubtedly witnessed this yourself. In fact, you may have soothed other mothers regarding this issue, but it is different when it is your child. You forget and worry. I'm not clear if you are still running your daycare from home or not. But, even if you have reduced your hours, it would be understandable that your daughter would be angry that her friends get to stay with you and she doesn't.

Her new vocabulary is certainly a concern. Talk with her teacher to find out how your daughter expresses herself during the school day, and how she is handling the use of inappropriate language and behavior in the classroom. Set limits with your daughter's use of "damn," "idiot" and so forth. You may want to encourage her to express her anger more appropriately. Storybooks are great at this age to launch a discussion about feelings and you can use the story to give examples of what behaviors or solutions you do or don't like. Try Mean Soup by Betsy Everitt for expressing anger, and Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes and The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn for school anxiety.

In regards to your discipline question, I imagine you have been disciplining her since she was testing her independence at age 2 or 3. Clearly she knows your limits, and that is why she usually does what she is told the first time. So, although your parenting skills may need to grow and change as she does, give yourself credit for what has worked for you in the past. For additional parenting resources try books by: Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish; Jane Nelsen and Lynn Lott; and Lawrence E. Shapiro, PH.D.

A reader recently wrote in with this comment about the article:

"This article is somewhat helpful, but it assumes the parent knows how to discipline, and that the child is responsive to it. My 4-year-old hasn't had to deal with any transitions lately, but he's been testing limits a lot! If he doesn't do what we ask, or mouths off to us, he has to go to the 'naughty spot' for 4-5min (like a time-out). Recently when we warn him that if he repeats his behavior he will have to go to the naughty spot, he just says 'well, I will just get up and run around and scream'. If we then threaten to send him to his room instead, he says 'well, I will just kick/hit the walls/floor/door and scream and jump on my bed and throw all my blankets/stuffed animals on the floor.' This talking back to us makes us very angry and his defiance leaves us wondering how to punish him. The last time he pulled this stunt, I made him sit in a cardboard box in a dark room, explaining that if he doesn't respect our house and family, then we can take them away from him. Also, we explained that if he throws/breaks toys, we will take them away and give (donate) them to other children that will appreciate them. Of course, I have no idea what the psychological impact of having him sit in a cardboard box is (note: there is no top on the box), but there has got to be a better way! We have even tried spankings, but he just says 'well, if you can hit me, then I can hit you/Daddy/my brother, then'. Yes, this is a 4-year-old talking! He is extremely bright, and that worries me. My husband and I work all day so he and his brother go to a daycare center. I've asked how they discipline, but they just use time-outs and he seems to want to please his teachers and earn respect of his peers, so he doesn't act out when he's punished at daycare. I'm worried since I don't want this behavior to continue or escalate, or be carried over into kindergarten. Please help!"

Debra Collins responds:

Parents use tactics that are not helpful and often counterproductive when they are stressed. I think you have answered your own question as to the psychological impact this is having on your child. Your "punishment" can have either one of two outcomes. Children respond by either becoming withdrawn or acting out. Clearly isolating him and threatening him is creating a power struggle. It is also not a safe method and could get out of control very easily. He may want to please his teachers and peers because the environment and discipline method feels better to him. He is trying to let you know, by his behavior, that your relationship needs help. Children that are very bright and articulate can be a challenge to parents because it is not clear how much they truly understand. Their verbal skills are often more advanced than their life experiences and coping skills. I strongly urge you to get support for learning effective discipline skills. You can look for parenting classes in your area. Many large managed healthcare programs offer classes, or you can contact your county's mental health office for referrals. Private family therapists also offer parenting skills support.

Next: Inside your kindergartner's brain

Debra Collins is a licensed marriage and family therapist and has worked in both primary and middle schools as a school counselor. She gives workshops to teachers and students and offers parenting classes in the San Francisco Bay Area. To learn more, visit her website.

Advice from our experts is not a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment from a health-care provider or learning expert familiar with your unique situation. We recommend consulting a qualified professional if you have concerns about your child's condition.

Comments from readers

"My 5-year-old son has also developed troubling behavior over the course of kindergarten. There are some very strong personalities in his class, and he has observed many aggressive behaviors that he is modeling at home. I think they need to have more outlets for emotional expression in class. There is too much paper and pencil work...too much emphasis on academics at this age, when social skills are the foundation that they should be reinforcing. He builds up a lot of frustration at school, and kind of blows up at home. He screams and cries over things that used to be no issue (changing plans), he has become increasingly self-defensive and has lost a lot of self-esteem in his school environment. When he expresses his anger by screaming, throwing accusations, and he is just not reachable, I tell him to sit in his 'puffy chair' with an animal or book or crayons and paper, and I will talk to him when he calms down. Afterwards, we answer five questions together on paper by drawing or writing words. 1. How do you feel when you scream? 2. How do you think it makes Mommy feel? 3. How do you think it makes Daddy feel? 4. What other ways can you show your feelings? 5. How can you remember to use these ways? Of course, he may answer "I don't know" to some of these questions at first, but the questions stick with him, and he really reflects on it later. This has been VERY helpful, and the key seems to be to not take his outbursts personally, and to show that you love him, and you are there to help. This creates a bond of trust so that he can express his feelings without feeling threatened. Also, our questions activity gives him a chance to logically analyze what happened and what the effects are for his behavior. Also, we are removing him from the public school environment, as I believe that it does not help develop the 'whole child', and instead puts way too much emphasis on equating yourself to a number causing much animosity, confusion, and harmful competition with peers. His new school does not give grades, has 7 - 10 children in his age group of 5 - 9-year-olds, and fosters creative expression. If this is not an option for your family, try the questions activity (more than once), and offer your love and guidance. DO NOT take the frustrations of a child personally. "
"Its all normal, I think its just the big transformation of being at home and having to adjust to being around a new enviorment and with a lot of different personalities. Every family have their own way of teaching and sadly to say most of them I dont agree with but i guess its ok for them. so just try to work with her on it. "
"I have a 5yr old son, whose behavior has recently change within the past 2months. This new behavior is only being displayed at school. He gets angry when he is being told no or time to stop a particular asignment. His vocabulary is consist of words like "loser, kill, hate, don't care,and kick" he throws chairs in school, locked the teacher out of the classroom and hits the other kids. He has nothing good to say about the teacher. Recently he was suspended from school and the school is asking that he present a psychological evaluation upon return. His behavior is completely different at home. Help "
"I had silimilar issues with my child regarding destroying his room or a part of our home when punished. His counsler told me to remind him IF he destroys his room, then we will remove EVERYTHING, except a blanket & pillow. He was on edge, but held his destructive behaivor. We also gave him suggestions on ways he could release his anger - screaming into a pillow, jumping jacks. However, he still had to serve his punishment, but we reduced it after he made the right choice of not destroying. Hope this helps. "
"this is the issue with my 5 year old "
"My kid has ADHD but their are other behaviors like she needs to rub things that she likes with her finger and brush or touch things until it feels just right and she flaps her hands has difficulty making friends and sometimes makes noises and forgerts things people tell her "
"Hi, I have a 5 year old, who's behavior has gotten worst over the last 2 months. My son is in kindergarten , he does not listen, he hits other kids and he is always disrespected the teacher when she is talking to him. I have punish him, I put him in the corner, I make him write front and back page. Last I take everything from him. And still my son acts out in school. I asked a million and one questions. Is anyone bothering you or teasing you. But he says no. I'm just not understanding. Mom in need, I need help! "
"We are going through this same thing. Our son will be 5 in a few weeks. We changed his school to one closer to home. He gets there and he just zones out. Does not want to anything they are doing and the aggression has kicked in. I watch the web cam and I just want to cry. We are in play therapy, but it is a slow process. I have no idea whether it is working because of the warning it will get worse before better. I have bought The Total Transformation series and will start watching it tonight. This is seriously the most disturbing thing I've ever been through. I want to help my child but have no clue. We have tried focusing on the poslitve (really hard to do when you watch him torment the teachers and hear about it later), time outs (sometimes work). I am at a loss. Anything that any reader has done that has worked or some words of encouragement wouild be great. "
"To the parent commented on 1/4/12, it sounds like something may have happened during or even before the holidays. If you don't think it has anything to do with the bullies, then maybe you should pay close attention to others she maybe surrounded by, ie. teacher, outside of school or even relatives and family. "
"A 3-year-old needs the Naughty Couch or the Thinking Chair for 1 minute per year of age [like a time-out]--a 4-year-old needs the three R's. Remove him from the environment and distract him with a toy or something. "
"I have the exact same problem as the parent who commented on 1/4/12. I do not know what to do. Additionally she is suddenly mouthy and also very forgetful when it comes to following through with my requests. She seems very moody. I feel as if she has suddenly turned 12. "
"hi i have a 5 yr old she is a bubbly child and can get aong with any one but just recently she broke up from school holidays ever since then she is very quite and grumpy and she wont interact with anything not even her brother she won't even eat her food properly i know she isnt being bllied in school as i have followed this up she has lots of friends im worried what is wrong with her i have asked her but she says nothing i dont no whats wrong with her she has never done this before can you please help me thank you "
"This relates to a lot of what I'm currently going through right now. I have a 5 year old son who recently started kindergarten and his behavior in school has been abysmal to say the least. Before started kindergarten, he was a happy child in school, very bright and cooperative in class. His way of expressing anger was to bite his arm. And let me tell you when he did it, he would really bite down on his arm and many times left bruises. But other than that, he was very well behaved. We have managed to stop him from biting and disciplined by taking away his toys, movies, etc. It would seem that since he has stopped biting himself, his behavior has become more aggressive towards his teachers. He is now hitting, pinching, biting, spitting and throwing objects in the classroom. His behavior is directed towards the teachers and he has in fact hit them and bit them. We have done everything from talking to him and explaining the consequences to spanking, punishing and timeout. While he doesn’t behave this way at home, daycare, or with his occupational therapist, I’m concern that this behavior in school is going to cause him serious problems in the future and I just don’t know what else to do. He definitely needs a way to channel is anger but I don’t know where to start and I don’t make enough money to put him in an activity. I’m already paying an arm and leg for the daycare. This is hard for me to ask but I need help. Desperate mom in tears "
"How do we get help for oue 13 year old son who has been texting constantly with other students about sex..I found all these text messages and was extremely upset which now make sense on why his grades has been dropping constantly. Additionally He has been contacting talk girl services who are also sending him very naughty messages. I am not sure what to do if I should change him to a private scholl or get him some counseling..Please advice..Thanks "
"I have a three year old girl that will be 4 in january that has been acting unruly and saying things like idiot or damn when she falls and being really mean to her 1 1/2 year old brother which gets into everything and throws fits and wants everything that everyone has and they both have gotten so worst since i have a newborn son which is a month old. I don't know what to do? I stress out eveery day I can't feed the baby and tend to him while there fighting and my son is gettting into stuff and my daughter wants me to do this and that but i can't just neglect the newborn. My son wants my attention and things constantly to. I do everything for them I just can't always do it right then and there. I will be feeding the baby making a sipper cup and running after my son. Any suggestions on how to jugle a 3,1,and 1 month year old. My daughters mouth and my sons screaming and stressing trying to do it all is killing me? I just wish my daughter would be a angel again, well sh! e wasn't perfect but its gotten 3 times worst. I have no time to do anything and always tired and have to wake up with the baby? My husband trys to help but the newborn tents to cry for me alot and m daughter is used to being around me because he worked 12 hour shifts 1-11 or later. My son also gets jelious it seems of the newborn. ???? "
"This article ignores the fact that kindergarten has gone gazoonkas in the past decade. The kindergarten that is suitable for 4- and 5-year-olds includes play time, nap time, snack time, class "jobs" and a little reading or ABCs instruction. Instead, self-aggrandizing educators and politicians have turned kindergarten into 1st grade in an effort to produce Nietzschean superwomen and supermen by third grade. Topping it off, this goes for a full day, not the old half day, because parents need or want to work. Kindergarten is child abuse these days. As Jim Cramer famously said about Wall Street and mortgages, "This is NUTS. They're NUTS. They know NOTHING!" "
"My four year old daughter has been going through a lot of changes this past year. Her father and I divorced and he is not a consistent part in her life at all these days. Once a "daddy's girl" she has not seen him in over six months. I am have been in a relationship for more than a year now where my partner is very involved in my daughters life. We are very positive with all three children and try to be even more positive making sure we give praise to help curve her insecurities. My four year old is very negative to herself and others. She says things like your ugly and fat. She is always very insecure about how cute she is. She says that her sisters are dressed cuter than she is. She is around lots of children because she attends preschool. She calls the other children names and say their clothes and etc are ugly. She is constantly putting down other children. It has come to the point when she draws pictures she will not draw her sisters in skirts or dresses because even i! n her drawings she does not want her sisters being cuter than her. I do not know what else to do other than the things I've been doing which is reassuring her shes beautiful, loved and everything else that I can say positively. She is also being very testy. Doing things she knows she is not supposed to do. She is the oldest of three girls and is a very beautiful smart little girl. I am just so lost on how to manage her insecurities and make her more confident in herself and stop being so negative to siblings and friends. "
"I am a believer that children in kindergarten should only have a half day of school. It is way to much for them to take in. Our society has put to much pressure on our children. They need education yes but they also need to be children. We adults have enough pressures as adults why are we doing this to our children. "
"Hi, I have a boy and he is 5 year old, and a girl 3 year old. They are great kidas but my 5 year old winning is driving me to insanity. He cries every time he can have things his way, and specially when he gets no as an answer. My 3 year old sometimes follow his path and now I have to deal with 2 winning kids stead of one. sometimes he reacts so bad with no that he trough himself on the ground and give a show. I don't believe on spanking but many times i fell get him up of the floor with some spaking(haven't done it). I talk to him and constantly tells him to stop winning I am not sure if this is good either is not helping. I punished him takling tv time and video game time that he really play once on the while. What should I do to stop this behavior specially when he gets upset and trough himself on the gound. Thanks for the advice "
"my 6 year old is getting out of controll he lies repeatedly and and no mater what i do ground him spank him send him to his room take all his toys away send him to bed early yell at him have multiple talks about his behavior i have tries everything and it seems that nothing works does any ine have any advise to what i can do? "
"I have a question. My grandson is 5 years old and has been tested. He is of 2nd grade level. My daughter in law keeps complaining and I also noticed it that he does not liston. He does what he what to do. You can take things away from him. It doesn't matter. Time out. No T. V. It does not matter. How do you handle this??? Please help. "
"My son turned 5 in June.He is a very smart little boy.He was in daycare/preschool from 1 1/2 yrs to 4 yrs.His school closed down due to not having enough students at the time.They were a very good school & he never had any problems & rarely got into trouble.He has since been home with me & his baby sister,who is now 1 1/2 yrs. I've been trying a rountie & school activity like setting for him at home,to prepare him for kindergarten.He was very excited to start kindergarten & we talked about all the rules & read the school guide lines together alot. On his 1st half day at kindergarten he began the day good when I dropped him off,no problems at all.When I came to pick him up,a teacher came out to my car to speak with me.He did not want to listen to anyone or anything the teachers tried with him.He spat at kis/teachers,would not talk to any of the teachers when they tried talking with him on his behavior.Apparently his ugly behavior progressed throughout the day & even hit a tea! cher before I picked him up.I was shocked at all of what she had told me because I've heard or seen him act out that badly.We both had a talk with him & he seemed to understand.When we got home I talked to him more about it & he got a whipping & things taken away for ugly behavior.The teacher told me & him that if he behaves that way the 2nd assesment day that he will not be able to start kindergarten until next year.I'm still in shock at how the day went, his 1st half day of school & would love if I could get some helpful tips or some sort of answers. I've read lots of book & have tried different things to see how he responds to it.All in all he is a behaved chld,with me.But sometimes when it comes to him staying the night with family or friend,he acts out & will not listen to any other adults.I've had many talks with him, using didn't things to compare so he can understand.Please help! "
"My boyfriend and I have 3 kids. Two of which are mine and then he has a daughter. His daughter and my son are both 5 years old and they fight constantly and its causing us to fight. i dont know what else to do. we have used timeout chairs and taken stuff from them but the act like they have never done anything wrong. They especially like to act out in public. My son constantly cries about everything especially when he gets in trouble. His daughter just doesnt listen to me at all and when i tell him how she acts he defends her. i dont know what to do anymore but if something doesnt change then its going to cause us to split up and i dont want that at all. Please give me any advice that will help us. "
"My 6 year old daughter has a new friend on the block who is also 6 (actually they are one day apart in age). The girls have hit it off and call each other bff's and even though they argue like grown young girls they still handle it and usually by themselves but it is frustrating to hear sometimes. The friend's mom has been completely awesome and we have had a great open communication flow but lately I have found myself not agreeing with what the other mom considers "bad or disrespectful behavior" Both girls have young brothers (one age 4 and the other age 3) that they are with all the time and when they get to play together they do not like the brother's around and tend to be rude and not let them participate. I consider this normal because my daughter wants to have time with her friend alone and not have her brother constantly there. The friend's mom thinks they should allow the younger brother to play with them and share with him. This makes her very angry. Then, th! e girls are very persistent on asking when their next play date can be, when can they spend the night with each other, etc...I again think that is normal behavior for a 6 year old. This she finds to be disrespectful and frustrating and no is no and does not like them trying to plan ahead. The other mom thinks that because she has to ask them 3 times to clean up for my daughter to leave and because they both say "ahh man, but we are not done playing", that they are arguing with her and she will not tolerate it. She has not let them play together for 3 weeks and when they finally did she said she was still not pleased with the same behaviors and they can "try again maybe next weekend". I do not see any of these things to be serious but normal behavior of 6 year olds who just want to play together and have some alone time without their younger siblings in their business. Should I just disconnect us from them? Am I being to easy on them? I talk with my daughter and she ad! mits to some bad behavior but it is a two wasy street and my d! aughter is a great kid. Please help! I am on the verge of laying into the mom..' "
"I also have a very bright child who verbally defies discipline but actually also responds well to discipline. They can be unbelievably rude in their approach to talking to you. It makes me furious but if I can stay calm its the winning way. Some of my tactics are; 1. when things get too bad introduce a reward chart (see supernanny's charts and ideas). 2. take toys away (give warnings first). If they say don't care and continue, keep taking favourite toys away. They do care and eventually give up. 3. remain calm and keep going with discipline. 4. bring up language use and acceptable and unacceptable behaviour at a calm time. Talk about what you expect. 5. Tell your child what you expect from them when you leave the house in the morning, or when they have finished dinner, good luck! "
"My daughter is exactly the same. She was the perfect little angel, always listened, did as she was told and was never rude. Since she has started kindy at the beginning if the year she had turned into a monster! Always running around the house, so defiant, never listens and always shouting back at me etc with some kind of excuse as to why she can't do wat I'm asking her to do. It's like since she's started school I have a different child. I'm not liking it at all and am at my Whitsun end. HELP!! What do I do to get my sweet baby girl back? "
"I was having a lot of the same problems with my 5-year-old son. So I took him to the doctor about it. I explained to his doctor what he was doing. He said it sounded as though he had a case of ADHD. So we put him on med at first they didn't help him. So I took him back, I said this couldn't be it, he was acting the same, just crying a lot now. He said that it was because he only started him off on a low dosage to get him started and he put him on a higher dose. He's doing much better now and I doing very well in school. So my advice to you is if you have tried all the disciplining, then try talking with his doctor and just ask if he might think that it could be possible that he might have ADHD. No one wants there child to have this problem, but now is certainly the time to find out if this is the problem before he or she goes through too much school and loses everything he's worked for from PreK up."
"my 5 year old started crying when me or my husband drop her of at school its weird cuz she didnt cry at the begining of school her words to me are im scared and i miss you i tell her that im coming back to pick her up that i will never leave her there i really dont know what is going on she also sleeps in her own bed but i have to put it right next to me she has this thing that i think relaxes her is to grab either of my fingers and rub on the tip of my nail its been since she was a baby her doctor said its like a safety blanket for her then when i leave her at school as soon as i leave her teacher says she stopes the crying and now sheaslo is trying to make her self gag when she cries so that they will think shes sick and send her home i hope somebody can help i dont know what to do"
"I disagree with Debra but at the same time no i don't disagree! I have a four year old and a five year old. My five yr old is in school while my four yr old stays home due to her birthday (whitch i dont agree with the system on that). Anyways i have to discipline in diffrent ways, although my oldest is in school my four yr old is extremly bright at all things.(she can complet my five yr old school work at a more steady pace and understand a lot more then she does). That being said i have to get on to them diffrent, I tell my four yr old all the time that if you can,t play nice with others then il have to put you in time out i also tell her that if you don,t treat your toys with respect then i will give them to someone who cares more about them! I do not think that will mess a child up cause mine understand that they can be tooken away and another little girl could be playing with her toys it works every time. You are constantly exploring each others behavior and limits its ! all about how far they can puch mommy and daddy to see what they will do next. Now carboard boxes are a no in my oppion (if at all it means somthing to you) but yes i do disaplen with time out,putting her in bed early, not getting a treat after dinner ect. Recentky i started a movie night on every saturday! If she or my oldest daughter are bad they know that movie night can be tooken away. Be Creative. They know what they like and how to get it also.My last resort is punishment by poping ther hand. They Hate That, but they know if you contiune to be bad then this Will happen you can switch things up stick with what works, show them that yes mommy and daddy do have a limit and it can be serpast witch will end in getting in trouble. If you have family that the girls/boys love alot and you go to them like we do almost every sunday after church tell (hey you were bad remember when i asked you to do somthing and you told me no or you took somthing that doesnt belong to you.) The! ses things work with my kids thay are great little people you ! have to look at them like that. I am a firm believer that if they act this way now then yes it will repeat it self as they get older. set exsample for them and stick to them, don't do somthing one day and then somthing diffrent another.Its all a growing experince for the both of you and a family the things you do today will make a Big impact on there lifes in the future! Hey im 23 and have been married for almost six yrs the level of stress in my life is crazy but i always always push that to the side and handle my kids with the way i think God himself would want me to hanfle it. Keep trying find somthing that works and stick to it you know best don't let someone tell you to go to somebody to get help i mean you might as well just give all perenting skills to that person trust in God and do what YOU think is right i beileve you should take Debras advise if there is an extreamly disfuctinal person in your house hold to were your child is no longer safe when he is getting pun! ish! Trust in your self and be there for them they will learn just stick to one thing and another thing while my oldest is at school my yongest is home when my child walk through the door from school i hug her and give her my undivided attention with school work,what she learned the things she did that day while not egnoring my youngest. I have talt my child that when sis comes home she need to focus and she can't if your trying to mess with her. when my four year old gets in school she to will have to focus on school just like my daughter and we will all do it together mommy daddy sis and lil sis as one so that we all no that we are loved and we have a great happy family good luck and i hope this works for you guys. you guys are doing a great job but i wouldn't try the cardoard box thing i mean they are little people and not animals and i do mean that in the nicest way posable. Go mommy and daddy you guys can do it! God Bless you and your family..."
"to the parent who posted this in the first place. good for you for caring enough too admit that you are not in the place you want too be. I personally am going through the same very thing right that this moment and that is how i found son was the same, really never had too say anything twice too him, i could take him anywhere and he would behave, or make friends etc. now, from the moment of hi, or good morning its a battle. i have been looking and looking for anything i can find. part to find out why and the other as a mother too figure out what too do. i have tried ignoring, going down too his level and trying too talk with him and such...nothing is working. i am hoping it is a phase as there will be many and as long as parents care enough too seek advice good or bad i am listening:) I wish you luck and stick with it... 'this too shall pass' "
"I completely understand, my 5 year old is getting beside himself. Almost everyday his teacher is calling home because of behavoir problems. It's like he's testing my authority. I totally believe in spankings when he gets too out of hand. It hurts me more than it hurts him. He's spoiled as hell,gets everything he needs and wants. I just don't understand why he can't be a good boy."
"I am in the exact same position as this person above with my five year old daughter, only I am a single mother and I just do not make the kind of money to afford a professional expert.My daughter is extremely bright, and is exceptionally well behaved at school, to the point where her teachers tell me they use her as a good example to the other children who are not so well behaved, yet at home it is total chaos, she throws fits and tantrums in shops, scratches and smacks me,stomps her feet and basically raises my blood pressure beyond what is normal. Please does anyone have any advise, I have tried everything. I need to find a solution out of this problem. I will add that she will apologize when her temper is calm, or if i threaten to tell her teacher, she quickly adjusts her behavior, I dont want to keep doing that as i know that it will become ineffective soon. I love her so much she really is incredible, how do i get her to listen or just respect my wishes as she does her ! teachers."
"K-12 is just a 13 year prison sentence. You abandoned your child and turned him/her over to the govt monopoly and indoctrination center. What do you think is going to happen? They will never get an education there, but they will certainly be schooled."
"well i dont have a comment about the artical listed above,which was some what helpfull.I do have concerns for my little guy.hes 5 and a only child.he is going threw a hitting stage.along with ugly words like he 'hates' us or he never wants to talk to us any more.this is something that doesent go on with the adults,he isent learning it and ive tryed everything.what do i do?"
"My 5 yr. old daughter used to talk to me and was always smiling even whne she was born always had a smile. Now she doesn't smile and she has a 2 yr.m old sister as well. My 5 yr. old is now acting like a 2 yr. old and my 2 yr. old is acting like a 5yr. old. And the 5 yr. old doesn't losten or pay attention to what she's doing anymore. i do tell my oldest that you are the older one but that's not how she act and the 2 yr old has a fit when I tell her she's still a baby and can't do what her sister does. My question is how do i have my 5 yr. old at her age and open up a little to me and also letting my 2 yr. old realize that she is 2 and not 5?"
"My son is now 5 1/2 and i remember four, it was a tough age. He was extremely bright and his verbal skills were out of this world. So he had an answer for everything. Also, he was wonderful at school and a handful at home. But, discipline and consistency did the trick. Yes, it felt redundant and i felt like i was repeating myself and going through the same thing everyday. However, it all paid off. Also, children out grow things. Always remind your children that YOU are the PARENT and they are the CHILD. Also, discipline your children the way you deem fit. You know your child better than anyone does. If something isn't working... try something else. You'll go through alot of discipline tactics, until you find one that workds. I hope this was helpful. Best of luck to you."
"For the out of control 4 year old try the book 1-2-3 Magic"
"to the parent who put their child in a cardboard box in a dark room-wtf.. u need to go seek help before you mentally tramatize ur child. Please go to ur local Human Resources Dept. Attend some parenting classes and never ever do that to a child again. Imagine being that age, in a cardboard box in a dark room,,, oh my God! "
"i am a mother of 2 kids, and work as a counsellor in a school. I think what is needed is quality time with your bright son. Perhaps he needs more mental stimulation or some creative outlet to his energies.Can you think of working out some activity time - doing something that you both enjoy? "
"my 5yr is getting frustrated about everthing screams cry es He needs everthing perfect especially when he draws or writes He talks about having his feelings hurt ???? He is my only child im a single mom "
"*The last time he pulled this stunt, I made him sit in a cardboard box in a dark room, explaining that if he doesn't respect our house and family, then we can take them away from him.* That's seriously not acceptable, that's horrific. "
"I have a five year old stepdaughter,she has been starting to not listen at all. When I discipline her she calls herself stupid and a brat. I have to repeat myself over and over trying to grooming her in behaving more respectful. She does have some set backs because of the absence of her Mother who has chosen drugs over her children. She doesn't know that. She is very close to me and at times very sweet. It's like she doesn't hear me at all. I have threatened to take away her TV. I hsve started grounding her, for short lengths of time. I sit and read do homework, bake with her. Is ther anything you could tell me..Please. thank You KP "
"The Expert been asked for specific discipline strategies by parents who have suddenly realized that time-outs (that may have worked previously) now have limited effectiveness. Naturally, The Expert's response has been to ignore the question and call the parent 'counterproductive...' I guess we're getting what we paid for?"
"My daughter has struggled with bedtime as well. What we learned is that once the child is exhausted, it's too late to have a pleasant bedtime. The key is to be proactive, and to have a bedtime ritual. Create a specific order of events that will be repeated every evening, for example: dinner, bath-time, brush the teeth, watch one show, read 2 books, then sleep time. When she pretends she's hurt, she's crying for attention. Sounds like she may want a little more cuddle time, so maybe build that into your routine so she knows she will be getting her mommy-cuddles at the same time every night. Invent a nightly 'I love you' game or ritual, where you find fun or cuddly ways to tell each other how much you love each other. Little things like that will make a big difference for her little insecurities, especially with her new transition to Kindergarten. Remember that it's a big change for her, and handling it in a positive way is really important for her development and your relationship. I would say, iron this out before you worry about the rest of your ironing. The chores aren't going anywhere. Being mom is our #1 job. Lastly, be kind to yourself. You are doing your best. Don't expect more from yourself than is fair. Love yourself, and you will love your kids better for it. Hope this helps : ) -Jo"
"I have a 6 yr old daughter who is really smart and independant. She has a 4 year old sister as well. My daughter started kinder this year and was very excited to do so. Lately she is not able to deal with the fact that she is tired and needs to go to bed. When she is tired she will be fussy, throw a fit on the kitchen floor cry and even try to make it a point to get away with pinching or in some hurting physical way get my attention. When I notice she is tired I walk her to the room and read her a story and before I know it she is asleep. It doesn't always happen this way. She will sometimes complain that her leg hurts and wants me to rub it until she falls asleep. At that point I am a little frustrated because I need to iron, wash dishes or whatever else needs to be done. What will help to get her into the routine of knowing when she is tired it's ok to lay in bed, we will read a book and it's time to fall asleep. I am a single mother and tend to get a little irrataded when! situations get out of hand. Please help by giving some simple advise to make mine and my daughters life a little easier. "
"My little five year old son will get mad at himself when he doesn't succeed and say he doesn't like himself. Or, if his Dad hits the ball more, he wants to be his Dad instead of himself. What's wrong? It breaks my heart!"
"My son's behavior is not very good in school. I'm not sure how to motivate him to want to have good behavior. My 5yr old son is in a preK-4 yr old class. He completes his work but gets angry when the teacher wants to correct his behavior (e.g. not walking in a straight line, talking too much in class, just not following the teacher's directions.) The teacher says that he is great one-on-one but when he gets with the other boys in the class he doesn't mind the rules and is disrepectful to the teachers. When my husband and I talk to my son about it, he apologizes (seems sincere) and indicates he was angry, just wanted to play more, or some other reason. I tell him that I love him but not the behavior and that he has to follow the teacher's rules even if he doesn't want to. For discipline, I've taken away tv and further restricted him from playing certain games. We talk about the appropriate things to do and say when he's upset. We also talk about how the teachers are there to help his 'brain grow strong' and the rules are there to help keep him safe. I know he understands what behavio! r is acceptable and not acceptable. I just don't know what to do to get him to improve his behavior. Everyday when he gets home from school, we'll talk about how his day went (did he have a fun day, did he get any time-outs, did he get angry, any tandrums, etc). Most times he initiates the discussion. My son had some similar problems at his previous preschool but his teacher indicated that he mostly had problems transitioning from 1 activity to the next. Once she realized that she would do certain things to help him with the transition. He wasn't perfect then but better. I moved him to the current school so I can have 1 place to drop off both of my children and save money. The previous school had academic studies and had a good amount of free time and organized play in the class. In the current school, the class day is very structured with most of the day doing work or activities at the childrens' desk. He's been at the new school since Nov 08. He such a sweet lovable child (even the teachers say it) who loves music and is doing very well academically. The teacher sais he's one of the top students. How can I motivate him? Again, his behavior at home is helpful, loving, mischevious at time of course, and thoughtful. He always wants to help me, be around me, talk to me, or ! play with me. If I tell him to do something, he may say (not yell) that he doesn't want to do it or ask why does he have to do it, but he always does what I ask. Help!"
"Like the other comments posted here, I am so grateful to find that my situation is not unique. My usually angelic 5-yr-old seems to have developed a split personality. Challenging authority, weepy, disobedient, openly defiant. None of my previous disciplining techniques work and she breaks into tears at the drop of a hat. She started Kindergarten this fall. She has very good verbal skills so the comment about that was an eye opener - emotionally she may not be there. What worked just now, was telling her that I am asking advise from other Mums on how best to get a 5-yr-old to listen to her Mum. "
"My 5 year old daughter has become very sullen and moody. Waking her in the morning for kindergarten has become so unpleasant (refuses to wake up, get dressed, come to breakfast, etc.) When asked if she can talk about what is bothering her, she doesn't utter one word. Mornings these days are very tearful in our house. Is this part of the 'normal' behavior described on this site. I have run out of ideas on how to empower her during this period of independence and also reinforce positive behavior because not much of that is happening. I am worried I am contributing to this behavior."
"my 5 yr old daughter is the best thing that ever happened to me no matter what i go through it is worth it but latley she is so hard to control she thinks that she can do and say what ever she wants no one understands what i'm going through because she so sweet and innocent to other poeple but when it's just me and family she thinks shes running the whole show no matter what i say she as something to say back she thinks she can do what ever she wants and when she does wrong wich is often she just pulls this real sweet innocent roll and me and everyone else falls for it I just don't know what to do she is so smart and intelligent she suprises me i can't believe some of the things she comes up with she will tell you where to go and how to get there, no matter what i do it does not work from talking to taking toys all the way to spanking it does not matter she will straight tell me that she will do what she wants when she wants i don't know what to do does anyone have any advise"
"I'm so glad I stuimbled across this...I thought I was all alone in this, and sooo hoped it was a normal thing. Thank goodness it is!! How do you stop them, though? My 5 year old is driving us absolutely nuts lately. We are so not used to him not doing as he's asked straight away as usual. He used to be an angel, but now he's like a little tyrant! I know we're not handling it right, but still haven't seen any advice to make it stop. I've never had to discipline before, and trying to act as I normally do just ain't cutting it. Any further help here?"
"My daughter is in Kindergarten and has a problem taking instruction from her teacher. I created a behavior report for her teacher to complete daily to send home with her. She hides the form and denies ever receiving one. I tried several different techniques of discipline at home and nothing seems to work. If anyone else has had this issue with their children and has gotten it resolved please suggest..HELP!!"
"My 5 year old son started Kindergarten this year, and he has become more negative about things, even going to school. Every morning when I drop him off, his teacher has to pull him in to class, and he always tells me how horrible school was. Well, my son attends a top school in the state, and I volunteer in his class every Friday for the entire morning. I see first hand how great these teachers are. I don't understand why my son is hating school so much. He likes other kids, he enjoys learning at home, but just doesn't like the thought of going to school and he is even on a sticker program in class. This is because he's not listening to the teacher or participating when asked. There are three kids in the class like this, and it hurts to see my child singled out along with two others. Is there any positive words I can use to encourage him to look forward to school? I'm a very positive person, so I don't know where he gets all this negativity. Help!"
"I haven't yet experienced this type of behavior from my daughter and I hope never to see it from her. However, if she does exhibit something close to it, I will have this information to check back on and have my concerns resolved."
"I will speak from my own experience... First the words that we do not use: He got Poopy head, stupid and others from school and strangely enough, some cartoons use these words. I even go as far and screen television and making sure he is protected. But to my surprise we were watching several family shows like 'America's funniest videos' where a kid opened a Christmas gift and said, 'what the Hell is this!!' it took me weeks to get him to stop. Not to mention on regular daytime shows they use the words openly 'damn,bitch,shut up,and hell'. So if you walk out the door for 2minutes, someone may say it. The only channel we can watch and I walk out of the room is HGTV. Even the commercials are safe. Any hoot when my son was aabout to go to preschool, the best advice was that he WOULD most definitely pick up bbad habits, no doubt. If you do not do it at home, it came from someone/where else. Also my son would get upset at school or at out which I figured to be TRIGGERS. meaning if someone was bullying him or felt he was treated UNjustly and no one did anything or helped him cope with the emtions on the sot, it built up. Being bullied changes who they are because if they dont learn to express themselves or use their words it exploded internally into negative feeling which I think can lead to depression or anxiety. (I was depressed as a child because I held EVERYTHING in and when I had the courage to speak up,I was irate. So here are many different scenarios. I hope it helps you. The best thing I do is take my son to a park or fun activity with limited interruptions and try to get him to talk without him feeling I am prying or giving a lecture. It usually works. Maybe you and your daughter can plan a tea party weekly( me and my son have picnic in the house or outside) I tell him this is a time for us to talk and say how we feel and what we like to do. You can make up your reason. We plan pretend and he laughs. But you will get clues about how! she is feeling piece by piece. Eventually you can put the pieces together and figure out the clue to the problem( like Suzy said I was...or Bobby always...or John never shares..or Jane said she is not my friend) Once you have the clues you can give her some remedies to how she is feeling. So once again either they are simply bad habits you need to break or peek inside of her heart. Oh another thing I learned is when they say a bad word is the rhyme the bad one away, but it worked at 2 years I dont know about 5yrs. But once my son heard an aunt slip and say shit and I had to immediately rhyme to get him to stop saying it by going.. what spit, sit, it, pit, hit, sick, wick etc.. he never said it again. I read while pregnant telling them to stop only fuels their fire. Good luck to ya, sorry for the long book. But I know how you feel. you try to be a good mom, teach manners and etiquette and here comes some kids whose parent who are not as cautious and poof, there goes all the hard work...TEMPORARILY that is. As far as discipline, I woudl tell her it is not acceptable and that we will have to take away a toy or go on timeout. tell the teacher about the words she is learning and see if they can talk to the other parent of the perpetrator. Chow darlink."
"My child too has had trouble adjusting to going to Kindergarten. I find that sometimes she just gets so overwrought that all she can do is cry Mommy, mommy, mommy, over and over. I just stop whatever we are doing and hold her tight and make sure she is getting enough down and quiet time. "
"I can sympathize with this mother. I also have a kindergartner on the edge. He comes home with daily complaints of tattling and says he 'hates' so n' so and also school. He has Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism and is not currently receiving services or accommodations. His frustration is building daily and I for see some difficulties. My son has also started using words I don't approve of. Words like stupid, idiot, punk, hate, and expressing anger with other comments that sometimes I find disturbing. And when I ask his teacher....she paints a pretty picture...which is hard to believe with how unhappy my son is."