I won’t name any names, but one of my five year old girls has the attitude of a PMSing teenager. Full on smart mouth, eye rolling, arms crossed, giving me the are-you-a-complete-idiot look, drama queen attitude. I am dreading the teenage years if this is what I have to look forward to. Seriously, I need to call my mom and apologize if I was half as bad as this one is. So as I always do, I reached out to my favorite Facebook group to bitch about the attitude issues and plead for help. Turns out I’m not the only one with a five year old who has major attitude. It seems that this is a pretty typical issue, which of course made me feel better. I figure if we are all going through it, chances are that there are many of you dealing with it too! I wanted to share the advice and suggestions I got for disciplining a child who has attitude from women who have either been-there-done-that or who are dealing with it now.
Tips For Disciplining A Child Who Has Attitude
My friend Kate says: Shut that down immediately with consequences. It will only get worse. Now that my kids are 8-9 I make them stop whatever they’re doing and look me in the eye. Then I ask, “do you realize how rude that was? Would you talk to [best friend of the moment]’s mom that way? Do you think it’s appropriate to talk to ME that way?” And these are rhetorical questions. Not sure how I’ll handle it when they’re Tweens (because I have no illusions that they won’t continue to throw the sass here and there)… But for now, consequences (which were all they would really “get” when they were 5) and calling them out for bad behavior seems to work.
My friend Val says: Ooooh. See I think this is fun. It’s like Survivor. Time to change up the strategy. Mom’s in charge and here comes the proof. Strategy time. A) identify the behavior you want to stop B) identify something your child values C) in a calm discussion, announce that If A happens, she will lose B. D) wait for it to happen and when she does it… “a www man…this is so sad. So sad. You are going to lose B. Maybe next time we won’t have that problem.”
My friend Jennifer (in response to Val) says: I totally did that with (her daughter’s name) once. And I put the thing on the mantle so she had to walk by it and see it all the time until I decided to give it back. It was pretty awesome. The only thing Dr. Phil ever said that made since “deal in their currency.” Whatever she likes/dislikes, use that. With my daughter we mostly just had to send her to her room. She HATES to be alone/isolated. When she would start I would say, “do you want to go to your room?” and she would stop.
My friend Katie says: The idea of “their currency” is one teachers use too.
My friend Laura says: I took away (her son’s name) Nintendo DS after a few warnings. He was running around and hiding in a Walmart on me. After a while, we talked about it. “But mom. My DS is very important to me. ” I totally rocked my answer. I said: “I know it is. And that’s why it was a good thing for me to take away when you weren’t being good. Because you’re very important to me. And I need you to be safe when we’re shopping. So now you understand how important these rules are. “
And when we are all at our wits end, we always ask ourselves WWDGD? What would Dr. G do. I call her the Child Whisperer. She’s given me advice that I’ve shared here on talking to kids about sex and how to stop yelling at your kids. She even wrote a book about child behavior and how to handle discipline, which clearly I need to read again. Side Note: This is a fantastic book and you can use it as a guide whenever you need help with discipline. I highly recommend it!
She always has the best advice. So here’s her advice on disciplining a child who has attitude: She doesn’t get to disrespect you. Ever. You know why? Because you don’t want her to ever put up with being treated that way by someone she loves. So your modeling of how a woman deserves to be treated starts now. If she can’t treat you respectfully, then she loses TV time (because of the influence), friend time because she can’t treat others that way (and when she says I wouldn’t treat *them* that way then reflect back to her the implication that her mother is somehow of less value than a friend?!?!?), loses sibling time because you can’t trust her to treat family respectfully… you get the idea.
There was also discussion of how successful the Love and Logic approach is for discipline. I’ll definitely be checking it out!
So last night I sat down with all of the kids and laid down the ground rules and that if A happens, they will lose B (each kid has a different B). I’ll keep you posted on our progress.
I’d love to hear all of your tips and advice on disciplining a child who has attitude! It really takes a village to raise kids, doesn’t it? For more tips on parenting, check out my Parenting and Family board on Pinterest.