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Delightful almost five doesn't do nights
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Delightful almost five doesn't do nights

My 5yr old is wonderful. She is charming and fun. Strangers stop in the store to talk to her. My future in-laws buy her presents within day of meeting her. And she isn't selfish or spoiled about it. She is sweet and loving. She gives hugs and kisses, helps clean, compliments others, and loves to give gifts.

Biologically she is my neice. Her birthparents are kind of losers; in and out of her life. They call sometimes; then don't call for weeks; visit one month; then bail the next two. I have a court order for visitation so I can't stop those, although i suspect they trigger my girl's problems.

The past few weeks her behavior has been, at best, erratic. She isn't BAD. She doesn't hit or fight or throw tantrums. She is... STUBBORN. I mean... to the extreme. She lies a lot but it's stupid lies. "Did you wash your face" "yes" "but it's still dirty" "well i washed it" "you're lying" "no I'm not" "I can see the food" "OH OK, I'll go wash it now". She doesn't do what she's told... at all. Pick up your toys, come in the house, feed the pets... nothing.

These are relatively typical behaviors though, so I've been using behavior modification techniques-- a reward system with beads for points, an earned allowance, special movie nights, etc and then appropriate consequences.

but the past few nights have been a disaster. She WILL NOT stay in bed. Night before last, she went into the kitchen, got out a permanent marker and colored on her carpet. Last night, she got up in the middle of the night, got plastic disposable cups out of the kitchen, got our milk out, lined up the cups in rows (like 20 cups), and filled them up with all the milk we had in the house. She knew what she did when i asked her the next day. She even remembered where she put the jugs. When I asked her why, she just said "i wanted to". What's going on with my baby?
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I believe your method of managing her behavior is not really tuned to the needs of a five-year-old. She requires a more straightforward, uncomplicated approach. You can find such a method in Lynn Clark's book SOS Help for Parents (see www.sosprograms. com). My sense is that when you implene ta more systematic, efficient method of addressing this behavior she will be fine.
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