Running out of ideas for punishments that Work for 5 year old

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Shadow89, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. Shadow89

    Shadow89 New Member

    I have a very stubborn five year old daughter and she loves to push buttons. Lately any time I or her father tell her to stop doing something, like running in the house or jumping on the couch she will either just ignore us completely or start whining. She gets so many warnings before she is sent to her room, where she will scream until she is sick or falls asleep. She has tried this screaming fit in the stores to get what she wants and I just ignore her, usually she will stop but its ridiculously embarrassing and I cant always just take her to the bathroom or walk out of the store. I have tried the time out chair, she screams until she gets sick ( thats when she started going to her room) I have tried spanking, no amount of spanking works on her. I have tried talking to her and reasoning it out and she acts like shes listening but then will start the same bad behavior with in ten minutes.
    This is getting ridiculous and hard to handle when I have a 2 month old baby and I am trying to get a home baby sitting job, but want to get her back under control. She only started this behavior when she turned five. its like a switch went off in her head and she turned into someone elses child.
    I have bipolar, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Manic depression and I'm hoping this isn't an early sign of the bipolar. To me it seems like shes having a hard time expressing her anger, I need help finding ways to help her express her feelings better. Im lost.
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Hi, and welcome.

    Didn't want you to think we're not around... I'm squeezing this in between work meetings, but... a couple of flags went off in my head on this...

    1) When did she turn 5? I'm guessing, either about the time the baby was born, or within a few months of that, right?
    2) There is a new baby around.

    PART of this may in fact be totally normal - but the approach being taken needs to recognize what is going on, first. If this is full-blown sibling rivalry, you have to change the approach. Punishment will NOT work. It just further proves to her that you love the new baby and hate her. It destroys her bond with you.

    Somehow, I'd be looking for ways to address the whole sibling thing, as a first avenue...
  3. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I am sure you will get lots of ideas here. I just have a couple of questions, did she start this around the time you were getting ready for the baby???
    Also, having been a teacher for a long long time (as well as owned a group day care) we would see that kids around 5/6 go have similar issues to toddler/terrible twos. The same triggers hit them but at this age...separation, monsters etc. are even bigger fears and they are unable to deal with these things because they are cognitively even more aware. We talked about it so much I started digging out my old child development books and looking online and sure enough it is a documented trend for lots of kids. Once we realized kids were not just falling apart and it was developmental, it helped us to cope and treat it better.
    These things may not explain the entire seriousness of your issue, but may be contributors. (or not??)

    Anyway, I too have found punishment does nothing, spanking when my difficult child was young just caused him to fight nothing happened for me to give a consequence...I was just the bad guy and he had to defend himself. I only tried it twice in huge issues of safety (inc. using a knife to destroy a trampoline). For us (way different kid, way different issues I realize) I have to identify what triggers him, avoid those as much as possible. He needs logical consequences for the big issues and I let lots go for now...we tick things off bit by bit. Most people call it picking and choosing your battles. He also has a behavior/mood regulation program where he has learned that he needs to be in a calm/following directions place (green zone) and if he gets moderately out of control (yellow zone) or crazy out of control(red zone) he is being taught how to get back into green. It is really working great! Not just at school but at home and he has Integrated Listening Systems (ILS) workers who take him out for a few hours and they work on things too...we all use the same words to help him. TONS of consistency, routine, keeping his anxiety as low as possible and helping him to stay in a more cooperative place.

    Dont know if that helps, but???? Hang in is not an easy thing.
  4. keista

    keista New Member

    Hello and welcome!

    5 is an age where kids try and push their limits and assert independence. The new sibling also adds a dimension to this.

    in my opinion you need to stop the warnings. You keep giving the warnings in the hope that she will eventually comply. She refuses to heed the warnings because she now knows there will be several. As long as she ignores the warnings, she can go on doing whatever she is doing. She already knows the rule, she's been warned. If she does X she goes to her room. Period. However, considering she is prone to tantrums over such punishments (in my opinion this is the sibling rivalry part) you might consider rewards for stopping the behavior.

    Just two days ago I learned the fine distinction between a bribe and a reward. Bribe=I'll give you a cookie so you should behave. Reward=If you behave, I'll give you a cookie. It is such a fine line, isn't it?

    So, try offering a reward if she stops. Treats usually work well with kids, and it doesn't even have to be much. A single Hershey's kiss can do wonders! They can be only for "Well behaved big sisters" Or if she's running, tell her to stop because if she's running you can't catch her to give her a hug.

    Find positive ways to reinforce positive behavior. Reduce the amount of time negative behavior continues.

    by the way, my girls will still, on occasion, forget themselves and start standing on the couch. These days I just look at them and ask them if they think MY couch is a jungle gym? They immediately sit down properly.
  5. Shadow89

    Shadow89 New Member

    She did actually start around the time that I became pregnant. So a little before she actually turned five. (which was in may) and he was born in late July which is when it really increase. We also had to go to the hospital twice a week for the last three months of the pregnancy and we were always in and out of the hospital and I know she hated that. So I dont think that helped with the sibling thing. She seems to really like him, she helps me bathe him feed him play with him and what not but I can see where she would think that we love him more even thought that is totally not true. He does take a lot of attention, and it seems like the only attention she gets is all negative. So tonight were doing a milkshake night for her, watching a movie and then building a haunted gingerbread house and making Halloween decor. So hopefully if we give her more positive attention and really pick and choose the negative attention we will see progress. I just cant believe how much her personality changed in just a few months.
    It truly makes me want to get "fixed".
    I was also thinking about what has changed in the last few weeks that would make her get in trouble at school twice in one week. My dad passed away quite suddenly three weeks ago he had a heart attack and she knew about that and then not even a week later he passed away in his sleep. She wasnt very close to him because he was quite grumpy but I think I became a little withdrawn from everyone including her for a few days and maybe that had something to do with her behavior at school? Or maybe she cared about him more than I thought. We did live with him for three years of her life, but she didnt seem really upset when he passed. I told her he went to heaven and that he was watching over us. She seemed more worried because she thought that only old people die, and he was in his early 60's and then she became more worried about nana passing away, she has an amazing bond with my mom. But I told her that when its our time its our time and its nothing to be frightened of, that when she dies she will go to heaven and be happy. Were not really religious but she really likes reading the childrens bible and learning about it so I try and support her with that.
    I dont know its just a thought, thank you all for your advice it truly means a lot.
  6. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Good insight. Kids perceive things in their own special way. I am so sorry about your dad passing. you did nothing wrong, but she probably did worry about not only the death thing, but you. Kids will always turn it on themselves, no matter what you tell them. The world (and it is natural for them to think so at a young age) revolves around them. That means they should get everything they want and unfortunately that everything that happens has something to do with them.

    Just in case, I am sure you have thought this already, but I plan for "bonding"time with my son and it is not negotiable...(unless he is out of control at the time...then we will rearrange) But for THAT special time-- I never threaten to use it as a consequence because then he would have nothing to look forward to. There are other priveleges he can earn/not earn. But those special times are just a given part of the routine like brushing teeth.

    Sounds like it was a huge change and she didn't have such issues before so hopefully it is not a serious, life long issue, providing you guys attend to it, which you obviously are. And in my humble opinion, I'd stilll go ahead with all of the evaluations, because she may be more mildly affected by something and then when a life stressor comes along, she responds in a more serious way than other kids will. (a lower threshold for stress) Just in case. But I might not go to medication options etc. until the life situations settle a little more unless the doctors find something positively wrong. I would work behaviorally with her a little longer. Give yourselves a chance to settle after all the big changes. Take care of yourself, you are blessed to have eachother.
  7. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    My basic rule of thumb these days with child rearing (speaking just for myself, of course :)) is: if it doesn't work, give it up. Punishment has no effect on my son. It makes him depressed (I think), low in self-esteem and doesn't change his behaviour. So I never punish him - not that I was particularly philosophically inclined that way anyway. Of course I do get cross with him, and I do tell him when his behaviour is inappropriate. He does take notice of this (the fifth time if not the first, lol). I also explain things to him. Ask him to do things respectfully. Oh - and the BIG thing I do with him, which has more effect than anything else, is that I give him LOTS of praise and encouragement (as Keista says below). I remind myself all the time that I just make just a big a deal out of something he does well or right as out of something he does wrong or badly. He loves getting gold stars and doesn't seem particularly bothered about the "prize" at the end of it - our last chart went on for literally months. I tell him whenever he is polite, or empathetic, or brave or funny... It makes him grow inside, he likes it, makes him feel good about himself.
    I remember wanting to be respected as a child and feeling that adults did not "see" me and I try to respect and to see my son. Just because he is a child with a child's eye view of the world does not mean that he is not a person worthy of respect.
    So... if punishment is not working for your 5 year old, maybe you should stop punishing her. What do you think?
  8. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    If the root of the issues is new babay's arrival, try not to mention the baby as a reason why you cannot do such and such.Ie: she wants to play a game and you're feedong baby. Just say "I'm not quite ready, give me x minutes and we'll do it".
    You can also practice "baby wearing". I know it helped me A LOT. I would wrap baby girl and be able to be with my boys just like before (or almost! lol).
    Try to reserve some positive one on one time as well. Even if you want to pull your hair off, still make plans with her. It will help the both of you. That's something I have to do with V. V is SO different when there is nobody else around. It's good to experience his sweet side, even if it's not everyday.
    Welcome !
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    To expand that a bit... this doesn't mean not correcting her, it means doing it differently...
  10. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    I suspect a lot of this acting out is age... Plus loss of Mommy being all hers... Plus Papa dying. You say they weren't close, but if she is close to Nana, then she was around him quite a bit. (FWIW, my Grandpa was grumpy, and I absolutely adored him.)

    Add in all the upheaval in the last couple of months - new baby, funerals, odd people showing up at Nana's and your home... Nothing's normal for her right now.

    No big secret that my kids' bio mom passed away in July. Onyxx just got more like herself for a bit. Jett didn't seem to have any reaction at all - and then. I've noticed lately that he's becoming passively defiant, at the same time as beginning to speak more clearly (no one in our home baby talks him at all). Now, Jett's Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) at the very least, likely Aspie... But in his case, what changed was his life got smoother with less transitioning (no 2x-a-week + every-other-weekend) visits. He came out of his shell some when Onyxx went into the foster home, and then BAM - here comes the anger.

    Does your daughter miss her Papa? I mean, you know it's possible. And of course, things are different for Nana. And you loved your Dad very, very much... It's natural for you to withdraw just a little, to grieve. And... Jett was up my and husband's rear ends for about a month after bio passed - they weren't exactly "close", but he was likely terrified that something would happen to husband... Or me... And he verbalized it, once, saying we were OLDER than she was.

    It's not easy. :hugs: ...And... No one mentioned a signature... Helps us keep everyone straight. (Even if we do know you in real life.)
  11. keista

    keista New Member


    I think you just hit the nail on the head if her behavior escalated recently. This kind of anxiety can really eat up a child (even an adult) Hopefully with your support she will understand and accept those heartaches life brings us. The best way to "be prepared" is to continually make more great memories, so if possible, increase the time she spends with nana. It doesn't have to be in person. Phone, mail, email, skype, whatever will do.
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    N..hey, this is Keyana's grandma even though I dont think you know me too well. You probably know more about my son because the two of you were having your kids at the same time. He actually just had another little girl a week You two keep doing things at the same time! LOL

    Personally I dont think this is ALL just due to current circumstances though some of it undoubtedly is. I dont buy into the never punishing a child thing either. If you dont punish them how on earth are they going to learn that they are have done something wrong and there is a consequence to what they have done? Your mom is a smart cookie. We think alike on many things.

    Right now A is probably testing her limits with you and daddy. I dont know what she is doing in school to get letters sent home. I dont know what all you have tried either. I can tell you what is being done with Keyana. Would that help? I will tell you just in case.

    We rarely have to go to spanking and that is only for the extreme safety issues. I think I have done it one time when she threw a fit over her car seat and unbuckled it while I was driving and flat refused to buckle it back and I had to pull over. I did spank her then. Not badly. Two swats to the behind but it left a lasting impression and she hasnt done it again. Not a lasting impression on her butt...a lasting impression in her mind.

    Most of the times when I have to correct a behavior with Keyana I use 1 2 3 magic. She doesnt like being removed from being the center of our attention so we use that to our advantage. At her mothers house, they have been having good luck with either time outs or chores. She is made to wash the toilet, sweep floors, load the dishwasher, empty litter boxes, wipe down counters, scrub the floor on her hands and knees. Things like that depending on what she has done. Her step father is army. He feels that her and her older brother are getting too old to spank for anything other than safety issues like running out in the road or something extremely dangerous so he is wanting to use something that will use energy and make them think while doing it. I kind of like this approach.
  13. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Ah, thereby hangs a debate, Janet :) How will they learn if you don't "punish" (but it does rather depend on the child), you wonder. My sense is that they do it by

    - the tone of the voice
    - expression of disapproval
    - explanations, before and after the undesirable behaviour
    - peer disapproval (very educational, this one)
    - asking the child to repair any damage done in whatever way possible
    - letting the child experience the natural consequences of the behaviour
    - rewarding the behaviour you DO want

    I have seen these things changing my son's behaviour. Punishment makes him angry and depressed and seems not to teach him anything. He may not be typical! Whatever works...
  14. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I took the "not punishing" comment to mean more like what happens at my house...Not using punishment as a primary form of teaching appropriate behavior. We dont want kids to just STOP doing things, we want them to do the right thing. Some kids need help learning those skills. Some kids, like mine not only dont have the appropriate skills, but can't access the breaks to stop inappropriate behaviors when they come to mind. Punishment is like banging one's head against the proverbial wall, but I never stop trying.... A consequence or threat of one may stop a behavior short term but it rarely works long term in our house. I wish it would, things would be so much easier. When he is consequenced (many times per day) it is in the form of a logical consequence and not being able to earn whatever it is he didn't earn with the appropriate behavior. (throw your gameboy at me, no more gameboy,it's mine for X amount of time) (didn't take your trash out, didn't earn your tv time) (if you dont play gentle with the neighborhood kids then you dont get to play with them today) and on and on.

    so, I took it as a comment to think outside of the box. am I wrong about that? I can't imagine any child not having any consequences or corrections. (which I think she clarified in a later post)
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2011
  15. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    From tons of experience with own and fosters...some kids respond to kindness, some to discipline, some to nothing. And until they are older, you won't know if your method helped. Some kids are just going to be is their personality...and as they grow older, not everyone will cater to their unique needs. If they can't learn how to deal with other people's ways of handling them, that's where the trouble escalates, usually around middle school.

    So you do the best, the very best that you can and hope it sinks in. You experiment. You go to therapy. No one method words for all children. Here are examples:

    1/Oldest son, who had a tendency to hit or trip, especially if somebody was beating him in a game, reponded REALLY well when we finally enforced time outs. At first it was every time he offended and I felt like he was always in his chair. But as time wore on, he offended less and less and barely spent any time in his chair. And kids stopped getting hurt around him. Doesn't mean he was perfect, but he grew up to be ok, although he has a lot of mental health issues (see Sportsfan in my signature)

    2/Pastry chef was a really well behaved child so we didn't really have to discipline her much, yet s he got involved in drugs at 12. We had just gone through a divorce and she had moved to another state. That triggered her insecurity, which she had always had, and caused dangerous behavior in order to fit in with peers. No discipline worked at her age. Nothing.

    3/Sonic--Getting him into a quiet space would calm him down. Nothing else worked. It would take a while, but he would work it out and eventually be able to be calm. He has learned A LOT how to calm himself. At eighteen, he is a fairly calm, contended young man...and he did not start out that way. I have no idea how much our method of calming him in his early years helped...if at all...or if he just matured.

    4/Jumper--Her way of expressing displeasure was to pout, sometimes without talking for an hour. She would turn her head when we tried to talk to her. Solution: We just let her be until the silent tantrum was over. Jumper is a super kid who is never a problem. I think it is more her mild temperament than anything we did right :)

    The point is, there is no one way to deal with children. And there are no guarantees as to how they will turn out. So doing our best is always a great idea...and cutting ourselves some slack as well.
  16. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Sounds about right, MWM....
  17. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Very well put MWM!
  18. buddy

    buddy New Member

  19. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Shadow, in your own best interests, you may wish to remove your picture as your avvie and find something less identifiable.
  20. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Punishment does not mean you are beating them. It means you are teaching them that that their behavior has a consequence. That is how life works. I dont know any adult in the world who doesnt live with the idea of some form of punishment hanging over their heads. Just take the simple fact of driving as an example. We have speed limits. If you drive over the speed limit you take the chance that you run the risk of getting pulled over and getting a ticket. Behavior equals punishment. If you write a check with no money in the bank, you know you will incur bad check fees. Behavior equals consequences.

    I think it is better to teach kids young that what they do will result in a consequence so that they arent shocked when they get into the real world. No one in real life is going to coddle them to make their self esteem feel better and find out why they were speeding. The cops really dont care. You were speeding, thats all they will listen to.

    Now of course with a child that is so severely disabled as Buddy's there are always exceptions to the theories. I dont think he will be living on his own. My ideas are for kids we are raising to be self sufficient adults. And of course you want to model good behavior and praise that. I dont think you throw out all the other stuff as well and just punish the kid only. Its not like you just walk around and just catch them to punish them but when they do something wrong, you have to let them know its wrong. The only time ignoring it works is if they are on the time out spot and are trying to goad you into a confrontation from that spot. Then you ignore them until they can be quiet on the spot so they can do the time out for however minutes they are old.