I am at a loss as to how to punish my six year old

Canada
June 11, 2009 10:03am CST
Hi Everyone, My six year old is a spoiled brat...there, I've said it. She is my husband's first child and his family never thought that he would have children of his own, as a result of this, she was showered with constant attention, presents etc. Since her younger sister has come along, things have changed now that all the attention is not geared towards her. If I tell her to do something and her dad is around she just stands there and stares at me (almost daring) and doesn't do what I ask. If she gets in trouble for something she knows she's not supposed to be doing, she'll stand there and smirk at me (that is really infuriating...if she wasn't my kid, I would've clocked her by now). Time out is bullcrap and does not work, hitting is out and sending her room to play with her stuff doesn't seem like much of a punishment. When her dad is at work, she will listen for the most part however, he has a bad habit of overriding my decisions (a major source of contention between us) so punishing her just seems pointless because it doesn't matter what I say, in the end, she gets her own way. The only thing I can think of to take away now is playing outside and her favorite TV Show. Any other suggestions, comments?
3 people like this
15 responses
• United States
11 Jun 09
Well, it is her way of making sure she is the center of what is going on. It all comes down to jealousy. I think your best option is to start fresh. First of all, as irritated as you may be you need to talk to her about her feelings. Since you're not her real mom she may really feel replaced now. She's not old enough to do much, but encourage her to have a close bond to the baby. Let her help get bottles or diapers, let her play with the baby when you're watching. The more she becomes apart of things, the less she's going to worry about going out of the way to get your attention. Kids are just not wired to accept things like this easily. When she does do the bad things, turn around walk away and pretend she's not even there. It will get old for her really quick when she doesn't get any response for what she's doing. I know that's not an easy thing, but you can't reward her with negative attention. Focus all your time and energy on the positive breakthroughs. Try it for awhile because it will take awhile for her to give in. If it doesn't work after a few months you may want to take her to a counselour to talk to. They tend to get to the root of the problem pretty easily, and it may help you understand eachother and come up with solutions that will work for everybody.
2 people like this
• Canada
11 Jun 09
Thanks for the advice. BTW...I am her real mom ;) My husband is the step parent as far as my oldest daughter is concerned, the other two kids we've had together.
@sid556 (31005)
• United States
2 Oct 09
The biggest problem of all is the fact that your husband over rides your punishments and lets her have her way. You and your husband need to talk and come to an agreement on this for the sake of your marriage and for that little girl's sake. She is only 6 and can still be turned around. Discipline has to be consistent and if that little girl knows that she can easily play her dad, she will. If this doesn't get fixed then you guys are in for one big ride with this girl as she gets older. It will get worse and it will be harder to correct. Talk with the hubby!!
1 person likes this
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
2 Oct 09
I second this!! Without consistency, even a GOOD kid can easily and quickly turn into a huge brat. Sooo frustrating that consistency seems to be lacking with so many people.
• India
12 Jun 09
You should tell her daddy to do most things for her...I have seen in most cases (including mine) the fathers are there only to spoil the children. Fathers dont need to do the real parenting job, you know feeding and cooking and washing and caring thruout the day and when a child wants something (say a milkshake), its usually the mother she'll look towards for help. Next time your daughter asks for something, tell her to wait for daddy since she thinks mommy doesnt care for her much. And if mommy does really care, then that feeling has to be mutual, she also has to care for mommy as much...caring from a six yr old would mean listening to mommy so that mommy doesnt get unnecessarily stressed. Also try and involve her more with the baby...little children can be wonderful babysitters if you give them that importance...try and make her feel important as the elder sister. I hope things work out better.
1 person likes this
@bird123 (10518)
• United States
12 Jun 09
Who said kids aren't smart these days. Everybody wants to rule the world even at this young age. The solution is to get dad on board. If you set rules and they are let off the hook, why would anyone listen??? If you and her dad are uniform, she will learn not to fight you because it will do no good.
1 person likes this
@Bearballew (1149)
• United States
11 Jun 09
First of all, good for you for seeing there is a problem! A lot of adults do not see disobedience in children anymore. Children are raising themselves. We give more attention to training a puppy in the ways she should go than disciplining children for fear of 'hurting their feelings'. Feelings shmeelings. When a child is wrong, they NEED to be corrected. It should always be from love, in order to train this child to do what's right and be productive in life. Brats don't succeed in life... truly succeed. They might be rich, but successful in life, love, marriage, family, faith, friends?? Who wants those things from a brat. So good job Mom for identifying! Secondly, you and Dad HAVE to be on the same page. Write a Partner Covenant. Get down on paper how much you are dedicated to each other and the BEST for these girls. They are precious and need you to be on the same page. List your goals for the girls. Covenant to each other that you will back each other's discipline! You may not always agree, parents make mistakes, but you need to back each other in front of the children. You can later, in private, discuss that you didn't agree with the discipline/punishment. However, children are always looking for loopholes and weak links! Be strong and UNITED in front of them! Your Husband, the Father, needs to back you. His support speaks VOLUMES to the children. You will be important to him and you will have value when he is and is not there. Next step, write the contract with the Oldest Child. List the responsibilities of being six in this family: cleaning room, putting toys and clothes where they belong, being respectful to other family members, getting homework done, being a helper, using manners, speaking kindly.... List the punishments for breaking Family Rules. You're going to have to get creative here. You already know what DOESN'T work, so don't list any of those things. Think of new things. No dessert for her when the other members get it. Taking away favorite clothes/shoes/toys that need to be "purchased" back by a week's worth of positive behavior. Early bedtime. (This one KILLS my kids, because they want to be treated like a big kid!) Baby bedtime for a 6 year old.. ouch. Let her know that once she starts acting like and being respectful like a big kid, then she can have her regular bedtime back. Everyone signs the contract. Mom, Dad, everyone. Then POST it. That way when there is doubt, you all can look it up. NO one can change the contract without everyone coming to the table again. Finally, keep a chart of responsibilities and behavior. This seems like a lot of work, but it's worth it! Just as there are punishments for disobedience, there are rewards for outstanding, faithful behavior! Talk about going somewhere, a special meal, a movie rental.. something attainable, but not overboard (You said she gets many gifts, so I would lean towards a family activity of her choosing). Give stars or stickers for the things she's doing well. I would remove them for poor behavior also. That way she sees there is give and take. We have four children and each one requires a different punishment. All have responsibilites they are held accountable for, even the 2 year old. My best advice: be consistant (the posted contract should help there) and follow through, follow through, FOLLOW THROUGH! She'll get the picture and it will set the stage for Nubmer Two to learn quickly that Mom and Dad are in partnership and NOT a force to dominate! Parents are to guide and love. I'd push my kids out of the way of a moving truck speeding down the road. Some would call that child abuse, but I call it another day to be part of that precious Child's life. Hope you get some great tips and that things turn around for your family. There is so much potential left!!
@deebomb (15322)
• United States
11 Jun 09
Being a parent is the most difficult and rewarding job in the world. A partner can make it easier or difficult. You need to get your husband on the same wave that your on. Some people think that allowing a child to act as the child wants is easier than getting them to act as they should but pay for it in the long run. You have to get your husband to see this. maybe turning the responsibility of your daughter over to him when he is home will open his eyes to her behavior.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jun 09
I beleive taking away her favorite things will help I think your on the right track you just need your husband to reinforce the way you discipline. its not going to do you any good if your the bad guy and your husband is always the good guy he has to be the bad guy sometimes as well. this is normal i see it all the time one parent spoiling their child and the other parent having to deal with the results.
1 person likes this
@sjvenden27 (1850)
• United States
11 Jun 09
Honestly before you can get a real handle on the six year old you need to have a sit down with your husband!!! Explain that he overrides you, and that in the end its not helping the situation.. Besides the fact that your daughter is getting her way when dads around its unminding your authority.. Which can create even bigger problems later... Like for one, allow him to override you, is teaching both of your daughters that what a man says goes, do not stand up for yourself... Also it is sending both of them mixed signals; when dad is around we dont have to listen to anything she says, because daddy doesnt. It sounds like a simple solution, but its going to take a lot of work on both you and your husband working together as a team. If one of you do not agree with what the other one is doing with your children; DO NOT DISCUSS IT IN FRONT OF THE CHILDREN. Mixed signals again or little ones putting their two cents in, when its up to the two of you.. Once you and your husband do come up with a game plan, you both have to work on it, not just one. Granted he works; but it will be easy for him to go backwards after a hard days work, or you do because thats just how its been... Good luck
@leyisa (487)
• Canada
11 Jun 09
Hi Jaydee...I hear ya! :) My eldest, who is 8, was the first granddaughter of the family and she was and still is spoiled silly by my father, my brothers, etc...I recently had another little girl and I find that my older one is becomign a bit bratty...Just as you say, the attention is no longer fully on her b/c it has now been shifted to the baby. She will ask me something and when I say no, she will run to my hubby and ask him and ofcourse, he is the softy so he say yes. I tend to lose my patience with her alot and get mad at her and then I always feel bad about it. I always feel guilty for yelling at her but I don't know what else to do. I am not in favour of physical punishment since my brothers and I were physically punished as kids (not severely or anything). Either way, I always told myself that I would never lay a hand on a child, and I haven't. What I do when she gets out of hand is take away her Nintendo DS or make her go to her room and stay there for the rest of the night. As you mentioned, I also won't let her play outside with her friends if she gets out of hand. The one trick that I have tried in the past couple of weeks that seems to be workign well is the following, which a friend of mine actually told me about: My daughter has a piggy bank for her weekly allowance. Anyhow, a few weeks ago I made a deal with her - IF during the day, she acts rude or bratty or doesn't listen to waht I say, She has to give me .050 cents from her piggy bank (it's not much, but to an 8 years old, it's a looot). And if she isn't being a brat and has acted politely etc, I will give her .50cents (on top of her normal allowance). This actually seems to be workign...Some ppl call it bribing, I call it parenting :)
• China
12 Jun 09
Children will grow up,they may come to know a lot of things.
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
2 Oct 09
I realize this was awhile ago but I figured I'd give you a few suggestions. I have step kids too, and I was quite clear with them that I don't physically punish, I don't spank my little one either and I never have. I do have certain expectations though, and my husband knew about it - things like they need to each clean up their OWN messes - ANY of them, from dishes, clothes, trash, anything taken out in the kitchen, etc etc, and their own bathroom every week, their rooms from time to time etc. I would call all the kids privelaged, not necessarily spoiled because they didn't always have attitudes. I have explained to them that when you have FIVE people in the family, that means things cannot be geared toward just ONE person. Each person has to consider how what they do, say, and how they act influences every other person. Also mom and dad can ALWAYS say no, or maybe, and that isn't license for them to have tantrums. If they do have tantrums, that means losses of other privelages (NOT rights) like the phone, friends over, going outside, tv, computer, xbox, etc. Things that I wouldn't take away? Books and reading, educational computer games, art type things. As far as you and hubby not being on the same page, THAT is something for the two of you to discuss away from your daughter. You need to present a unified front and not have him overriding you, or she will continue to try and get her way and be a brat. I would explain to him that if he continues to fight you on this, then she'll just be a brat, and it's not your job to combat that or try to fix it because he's just undoing any of the good you're doing. Kids follow the path of least resistance, whoever will grant what they want they will follow to the ends of the earth. Anyway, consistency is important, so just let hubby know that things could improve, or they could get worse, and it's up to him. All sorts of things could be taken away from her. At the worst, you could strip her room bare so she has no toys or nothing to play with or get into and you could send her there when she is acting bratty, because there is literally nothing in there. Taking away the tv sometimes works well, taking away playing outside or with friends, or cancelling any fun things you have planned with her for the week might work, such as if you'd planned a playdate with friends, a trip to the park, an ice cream outing, things like that.
@x_Jo_x (1042)
12 Jun 09
I would recommend sitting your husband down and agreeing a set of rule, and things that she can/cant do. Then make sure you stick to it, both of you. And she will soon learn that she wont break either of you. Also think of a reeeeaallly affective punnishment. Take something special away from her, or dont allow her to do something she really likes. Good idea about the playing outside and tv watching. My parents told my little sister she couldnt watch tv for a whole week when she was naughty, that seemed to work quite well with her. Maybe think about taking some of her toys away? get her to pick out her 5 favourite toys and when she is naughty one of them gets taken away, then if she is naughty again another one gets taken etc... and if she is good for one whole day she can pick one to have back. That kinda thing might work Good luck!
@mommaj (22851)
• United States
12 Jun 09
You poor dear. The first thing you have to do is both agree on punishment and rules. Until he stops overriding you, you are right, punishment is useless. I suggest ignore the child. Your observation of her smirking when she is in trouble probably means she wanted the attention, and she knows it doesn't matter what you say anyway. If it doesn't matter what you say, don't say anything (within reason). You can't let her physically hurt someone else, such as her sister. That would warrant punishment. Talk to your husband first. Tell him if he doesn't start backing you then you won't punish her for a week and see how he likes his little darling. She is just trying you. If you can't follow through on punishments don't give them. My suggestion is whatever she does, don't say a word to her. If she makes a mess just clean it up without even looking at her. Don't even talk to her after she is bad. Turn your back and walk away from her. Still treat her the same until she is bad and then just ignore her. That is how she has been getting "special attention" from you. She already gets whatever she wants except your undivided "special" treatment. Something else to try is tell her if she doesn't get in trouble for a two whole days you will take her to the playground or library,something special just for her only with her. If you can't keep your promise don't make it. She just might try to behave if it is something she really wants to do.
@flaky03 (225)
• Philippines
12 Jun 09
It would be better if you would consult with a counselor. regarding your child if it is too serious. Our suggestions may or may not help resolve or lighten the issue. Remember, what your child as of now will reflect as she grow up.
@eileenleyva (10964)
• Philippines
12 Jun 09
I'm sorry Jaydee but have you ever even considered that your child is only six years old and does not know how to make you fall in love with her? She could just be trying to win you and you are thinking about punishing her. You both need loving and since you are the adult you should be the one devising ways on how to reach out. Bond together like a real mother and daughter. Your husband will be most grateful to you.
• Malaysia
12 Jun 09
Hello there,my name is Michael and i am a student of Early Childhood Education. 6 years old is the age where children should not be punished for what they do yet.Because children from infant until the age of 12 are not prone to be punished and they will be turned out more rebellious when they are older.It is the children nature for them to be demanding for more attention when they are young.Sometimes children also turned out aggressive due to the media effects such as television. Have your child watch television lately or stucked with it for a longer time?If he does my advice is to not let him do so too much because television could cause aggression and increase den sensitization to violence and also somehow increase passitivity and slows imagination.