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Published: 13 years ago
Status:       RR [Message recommended by a moderator!]
This is a reply to # 1,515,614

Re: my difficult child. Please offer some insight


I know it is difficult to hear,
but you will have to get tough.
I am talking tough LOVE though.

I taught preschool when my child
was young. She was in a different
class than I so was always in
trouble since she wanted to be
by me but was not allowed. She
was taught to use a time out
chair. It worked. She was younger
so it was easier. At five your
daughter has basically gone into
business for herself and knows
how to push your buttons and
how to get her way. My suggestion
would be to have a family meeting.
Discuss it with your partner and
then formulate a plan. What worked
really well for us was a reward
system. We gave our daughter a
little diary. It can just be a
small notebook even. Something
they will call their own. My
daughter has kept that silly
book all her life. Anyway, at
an early age, it represented a
challenge and with each accomplishment
she received a sticker. I had a
happy stamp too I found at a
educational supply store so I
used that too. It was self inking
so really nice. With so many stamps
or stickers, she would get a reward
once a week, like a pizza night
or a sleepover. It is easy to set
up the reward system since you
know what your child would like.
Clean up her diet also. Chemicals
in processed foods often contribute
to behavioral difficulties. Making
sure your child is not tired or
hungry also helps. Healthy snacks
also helps establish a good diet
and nutrition.

At the family meeting, with your
daughter and your partner, explain
that things are going to change so
everyone is a lot happier. Tell
your daughter what you expect from
her and what she can expect from
you, including rewards and time outs.
Then set a start day, and begin to
use the plan. Reinforce good behavior,
and without screaming and pleading,
when the bad behavior begins, ask
your daughter to take a time out.
It can be in a chair or her room.
I liked setting a timer as then
my daughter was cued to the timer
and not to me which cut out a lot
of battle time. If she was rude,
we asked her to go to her room and
return when she felt better. This
sometimes was a few minutes, and
other times much longer. She would
come out and say, I feel better now.
It teaches them personal responsibility
for their actions. We always thought,
she had the right to be upset but not
in front of everyone necessarily. It
is best to be flexible too. And, yes,
there will be times when everything
hits the walls. That is part of the
learning process when kids are pushing
to find new boundaries. It will take
creativity and patience since it can
be difficult to allow them to rage
during a time out but it is what is
needed to help them find how to
control and comfort themselves.

More than anything, family meetings
kept us together as a family and also
gave us family goals. We had a chance
once a week to really interact and
reflect on how things were going.
What this really taught our daughter
was that she WAS part of a family unit
and that she could rely on us for
support and that concept took us through
all the difficult periods in her life
when she was being pulled into a lot
of different directions. She always
knew she could count on us and the

Keep the timeouts short for now.
I did not use stickers for timeouts
but did reinforce with hugs and
pats of encouragement. Rewards for
good behavior at preschool would be
appropriate and hopefully would work
well for you.

I think it sounds like your daughter
would really benefit from preschool
since it gives her less structure to
acclimate to others in. During real
school there are more boundaries.
It would probably be better to teach
your daughter to respect boundaries
than to try to shield her from them.
You can teach her there is a time to
play and a time to work. Engaging her
to help you will also be of benefit.
Little chores build self-esteem and
give her something to be proud of.

It may be difficult, but especially
with another child coming, you will
not regret making the effort to build
a good foundation for family peace.

Best wishes,



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