Daughter Being Mean to Other Kids

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by 1234567, May 20, 2010.

  1. 1234567

    1234567 Guest

    My daughter is 5 and has had a good year so far. No discipline issues except I was told in the fall conference she could be bossy at times.

    A few weeks ago her teacher told me she was being ugly to other little girls in the class, that everyone wants to play with her (which is good, I guess), but sometimes she will line them up and pick who she wants to play with. :mad:

    Her teacher told me that a child in her class gave the class gifts. The gifts were different for each child. My daughter did not like she was given, so she went up to the little girl who got it for her, put her hand on her hip, wagged her finger in the little girl's face, and told her she should have given her the gift she wanted.

    I told the teacher not to give her the gift, made her write a note of apology, and told her I was disappointed in her.

    A couple of questions. I don't want her to be a mean child. She has had no instances of physical aggression, but she is mouthy and sometimes rude. She talks, and sometimes acts, like a teenager. She is very bright but likes to get her own way. When it happens, we talk about it and punish as needed.

    Do you think her behavior, while rude, is typical 5 year old behavior? Do you think the punishment was appropriate? Too lenient?
  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Personally, I think that consequences you gave her were very appropriate. Not having the gift and apologizing is good.

    You know, I don't believe it's really typical 5 year old behavior, but I'm not sure it's some great looming issue. I think you ask the teacher is she knows any good teaching videos relating to the issue. Go to the local library and see if they have any age appropriate books or videos about being a good friend, etc. Talk to your friends that have kids, your paster, etc. There are books and videos out there that can be the starting point for some lessons your daughter needs.

    She needs to learn empathy.

    Let me tell you a story. About 19 years ago a woman I great admired (who passed of cancer about 12 years ago) was talking to me about raising my daughter. I told her that I wanted her, and any future children, to have empathy and sensitivity for others. She gave me this scenario:

    If easy child and her friend are playing and there is only one cookie left and you see easy child split the cookie and give it to her friend, the natural response is, "easy child, what a good kid you are to share your last cookie, I'm so proud of you." But if you rather wait until the friend is gone and say, "easy child, did you see how happy you made your friend when you shared your cookie?"

    It's subtle, but the difference is the first comment focuses on a reward for doing something nice while the second response focuses on how the child's actions affect another person.

  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't think the behavior is typical, but I can't see her having a disability or childhood disorder either. As long as she can control herself and doesn't rage when you discipline her, you can probably reign her in. I always made my kids apologize to the child in person.

    In kindergarten, it is common for kids to be drawn to very attractive, outgoing little ones and to vie for their friendship. When they get older though kids are more picky about who they like to hang with and why. It's good that you want to get a handle on it early. (I've raised five kids to fourteen so far and have seen this sort of pattern). I agree that "catching her being good" is better than negativity. If she shows empathy, praise her!

    Within my five child pack, some have more natural empathy than others. My oldest girl is very caring while my oldest son can be kind of cold at times. Now my youngest daughter is Miss Popularity and very kind, BUT she can turn into a Mean Girl too at times!!! I think they all can. It's a matter of degree...some will post nasty stuff on the internet and really try to destroy another child. My child would never go that far, but she's not above excluding somebody for a while. It's personality differences too.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: May 21, 2010
  4. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Your daughter is young, but I've seen this behavior in pre-schoolers (my own daughter, for one). I would suggest that you be very consistent with your daughter and, if necessary, use natural consequences. Ex: she's mean to another child at the park? She goes home immediately because we aren't mean to other children. ;-)

    I think girls especially are starting to work on their social order at younger ages. The big thing is to is to watch for relational aggression (the most common form of girl bullying, google it!). You can also work to teach her empathy in others by having her give of herself: have a lemonade stand & donate the money to charity, give her unwanted toys to needy kids, etc. We found role playing helped with my daughter: we acted out bad scenarios to give her a taste of how she made others feel and good scenarios so she could approach situations in a more positive manner.

    I wouldn't make myself crazy over your daughter's actions at this point but I would consistently address the good and bad behavior. She needs to learn how to be respectful to the other children so that she isn't eventually left out.
  5. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    It sounds within normal to me. I think you and the teacher handled it well. Maybe ask the school social worker for some social stories that deal with being a good friend and bullying.

    Hopefully if she ever lines the girls up again, she gets taken in from recess and the other girls get encouragement to stand up for themselves.
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Sorry, it doesn't sound normal to me. Not too way off normal, but a few flags in there for me, that would have me at least making a few discreet enquiries.

    After all - your mummy instinct is firing off here, you felt this was a bit "off". Something about your daughter, and the things you mentioned, are concerning you. And if you are concerned, then I think you need to arrange to get her assessed by a neuropsychologist.

    The others may be right - it could be nothing, it could just be a little kid being a bit too pushy in this situation. But you mention stuff tat is socially inappropriate, is lacking in empathy, is very egocentric and controlling, and also her sounding like she's a lot older - also she's female, which while it makes Asperger's less likely, also means that Asperger's, if there, is going to most likely be a bit different to the usual.

    I saw similar things with easy child 2/difficult child 2. Not the control over her friends in this way, but in the "she was fine until she was about six" routine.

    Getting her assessed sooner gives you a better chance of something being picked up. If she's bright, she will learn to slide by and will mask symptoms as she gets older, because she will learn (the hard way) that she has to fit in.

    I do think you stepping in the way you did was very good. She needs to learn, and even if this is Asperger's - well, she is still capable of learning how to behave appropriately. But she may need more intensive lessons as well as a different way of teaching them.

  7. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I would be more in the camp of girls starting to learn to be in control of friends at younger ages these days.

    I have a grandchild who will be 4 in June. For at least the last six months she has been owning and disowning us as best friends. A couple of months ago her cousin who is one year younger was here and she was her best friend every other 10 minutes. LOL. It astounded me to hear her say last weekend when I thought we were going to have a friend of ours come over with her little girl to play in the pool with Keyana, and she said..oh I dont like her anymore, she has different hair. I dont like her hair anymore. She isnt my friend. HUH? I dont get it unless she is getting this stuff from school.
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    OK, the parent here is the one on the spot. There have been a range of opinions put forward here and all of it is valid. I think it is now time for the parental instinct to be considered. After all - this could be any little girl and it could just be normal push and shove of little girl friendships. Or it might be more. Only the mother on the spot can really say what her gut feelings are.

    All I'm saying - if the parent instinct is saying, "Hmm, I think this might be more, possibly," then that is enough to go get things checked out. If the evaluation comes back that it's just normal girl stuff, and if tat set's a mother's mind at rest - then at least you know, at least it was checked out.

    But if an early evaluation turns up something, hopefully mild, that can benefit from some early intervention - then it is good to find out early, so that she can streamline in to a normal socialisation program.

    Here's hoping it's just kids being kids. Girls especially at this age can be really nasty and controlling with one another, despite parents doing their best to teach "niceness".

    And maybe it's cultural - we do get kids like that over here, but form my experience with my own girls and their classmates - it was the ones who behaved like tis who have turned out to have some sort of problem. And the ones whose parents just shrugged it off, who have bigger problems now the girl is older.

    So maybe in Australia, because of the subtle cultural differences, this IS a good indicator of other problems compared to what is 'normal' in the US, for example.

    Not saying you guys are weird. Or we are. Just that we're all different.

  9. 1234567

    1234567 Guest

    Thanks for all the opinions!

    I don't think Aspberger's or anything on the spectrum is what's going on here, and although I'm fairly educated on those topics I will do some more research to get more information. I work as a counselor, although what I do is more college/career planning, I have taken some psychopathology classes and this could be a case of me knowing too much and worrying. I have been very stressed at work lately, which manifests itself into anxiety, which manifests me into working myself up almost into panic attacks. I found a spot on my chest the other day, and within ten minutes I had diagnosed my self with skin cancer that had spread and left my children motherless. ;) So....my worrying about things certainly isn't new, but I also want to deal with her behavior appropriately and nip it in the bud whatever the cause.

    I think that she does okay most of the time, but then something like this will happen and I see all the other nice, quiet, compliant kids in class and she is always questioning why we do things or giving her opinions on things and they all seem so easy compared to her. She has a case of pain-in-the-ass-itis.

    Example: She had a program at school on Friday. Sitting down for a long period of time is never easy for her but she can do it now and rarely gets in trouble at circle time or during story time any more. She does pout if she doesn't get to sit by the teacher, etc., but she can focus for short periods of time. During the program at school, the kids from each class did a song. Her song was 3 out of 6 maybe. After her song, she ran over to the teacher. Teacher looked annoyed and shewed her back to her seat. She walked back over to her seat sadly. After the last song, she ran back over to teacher. Keep in mind all the other little children have managed to be still all this time. The second time, the teacher nods and she runs to the bathroom.

    After the show, teacher comes up to me and asks if she goes to the bathroom a lot at home. I'm pretty incredulous, like I understand the whole rudness issue above and am glad she told me, but now she is criticizing bathroom use? When we get in the car I ask her if she goes to the bathroom a lot at school and she says yes, but then follows up with, "But Mom, sometimes I stay a long time because we have been practicing and practicing that song over and over again, and it's nice to get away." :faint: I was like OMG don't ask to go to the bathroom unless you have to GO or they are not going to let you go when you ask anymore.

    Then I ask her if she asked her teacher to go to the bathroom twice. She said no, and I asked what she asked her the first time when she got sent back to her spot. She said, "Oh, I just told her my growin' pains were back." Can you imagine, in the middle of a show, a little kid coming up to you to discuss their growing pains?

    I've turned off Disney Channel---she loved Hannah and Wizards, but while I love them too, they are a little mouthy and she emulates things she sees as funny. We've also been role playing. I put one donut on the plate and told her that she and her Daddy both wanted that donut and it was the last one, what should she do? While I was going for offering the donut to the other person, instead she broke it in half and called it even. ;) That worked as well, I guess.

    She is very competitive. While I don't know she has a disorder, I do not think she is typical. At gymnastics, for example, there are maybe six kids in her class. When the owner yells ROTATE, they finish their turn and then the teacher will call them to line up. As soon as she hears rotate, she stops what she is doing and starts eying the other kids to make sure when the teacher calls them she will be first in line. Then she races to beat them all. This week I told her she may be first once, then she is not allowed to even try for the front of the line until the other kids have had a turn. She was first the first time, then I noticed the other little girl was first (only two there this week). As they march past me, I hear my kid say that she "let" the other little girl go first. It would be nice for her to just chill out sometime and go with the flow.
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    She may simply be a very bright kid. It happens, and they can also be a handful. Again - another reason to perhaps consider having her assessed. it helps to know what you're dealing with so you can help her along the way. Bright kids who are PCs still need support too.

    I remember easy child at this age - she wasn't hard on her friends like this, but she was a handful in the classroom because she was craving stimulation, constantly, and her teachers found that if they didn't keep shoving work at her, she would get up to mischief. Also she had a vocabulary like a thesaurus, just like difficult child 3 when he finally started talking.

    easy child 2/difficult child 2 was also a walking thesaurus - she was in early high school (age 11) and the English class were doing a poem which included the word "tintinnabulation" which the class teacher said was a good example of a made-up word which had a sort of clanging implication to its meaning, from the sound. easy child 2/difficult child 2 put her hand up and said, "Miss, it means 'the ringing of bells', it will be in the dictionary."
    The teacher didn't believe her but to her credit, looked it up.

    easy child 2/difficult child 2 would do things like lie on the floor with her ear pressed to the floorboards, listening to the sound of dancing feet, during dance class. It drove her teacher crazy...

    The same teacher also taught easy child in Kindergarten. easy child and her classmates had also been in the same long day car together, most were the children of university staff. But all had been in long day care since infancy, and this had meant that she had a class full of bright kids who had been well prepared for school. The teacher cried on my shoulder one afternoon.
    "I have a class full of leaders and no followers!" she exclaimed.

  11. 1234567

    1234567 Guest

    I guess it's just that I haven't been around other five year olds----I don't know what REGULAR five year olds do. I found the list of symptoms for ODD, you have to show 4 out of 8, at least twice a week.

    Often losing temper (My daughter will get easily frustrated, then whine about something or maybe cry, but no temper tantrums.)
    Often arguing with adults (She will try to argue until I tell her to zip it, then she may pout but she shuts up.)
    Often actively defying or refusing to comply with adults’ requests or rules (She does not often defy people, she'll just complain while she's doing it.)
    Often deliberately annoying people (No.)
    Often blaming others for his or her mistakes or misbehaviors (Yes, for sure. She was ugly to somebody because (some unjustice here).
    Being often touchy or easily annoyed by others (Yes, she doesn't have much patience for others)
    Being often angry and resentful ( I don't know how strong the emotions have to be. She complains. Example: The class next door gets to wear their swimsuits to school on Thursday, and we just get to bring our towels. We tell her she should be lucky to get what she has and she stops.)

    So while just reading the list, it seems that she has the behaviors, I don't know that she experiences the symptoms severely enough for it to not be just a normal five year old---she is whiney more often than anything, sometimes she will raise her voice at us when she is very angry example: "Mom, I said YES!" but no name-calling or tantrums.
    Being often spiteful or vindictive. the 8
  12. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I'm a substitute teacher, and I have noticed the girls are getting meaner at a younger age these days. I was used to the girl drama starting in fourth grade, and now I'm seeing it start to rear its ugly head in second grade. And the tattling...OMG. I can't count the number of times lately I've designated a "no whining zone" because I just can't stand to hear it anymore. I had someone today complain because "she's LOOKING at me, Mrs. G!"

    You say that she "zips it" when you tell her to. Does she also at school, or does she nag her teacher? Does she cry for effect at school when things don't go her way? While kindergarten is not my favorite grade, I've spent a lot of time in there. When they don't want to work, the average 5 year old will decide they don't feel good, have to go potty, break the pencil, get their feelings hurt by someone and cry, and spend the entire work period going over to the teacher and tattling about something. When they do want to work, they will sit still, focus, be engaged in the lesson, cooperate with classmates, and share their successes with great excitement.

    The being first in line thing, while it happens, does not happen with everyone. If you are concerned about her behaviors, that's an excellent reason to have her checked out.
  13. iam

    iam New Member

    What your daughter is doing is classic relational aggression. She is the mean girl in class, sadly. The difficult part is that it is not really predominantly to do with choices your daughter has made at this young age. Some studies have shown that children who see hot and cold relationships between their mother and father, and who learn manipulative behaviors from their mother usually, and even things like gossiping then often demonstrate this kind of aggression. My advice... change your behavior if you want to change your daughter's. Good luck, parenting is tough!
  14. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    Welcome to the board, iam. In case you didn't notice, this thread is 2 years old. Thanks for offering your insight. Why don't you start a thread of your own and introduce yourself to us. This is a wonderful place where everyone shares their struggles and successes while offering support and experience. Let us get to know you. Again, welcome.