My niece is 7 going on 8 and has some definite behavioral issues that we are working through. The biggest thing lately is that, she has no respect for her grandma and is down right mean to her. She says things like, "I hate you", "I hate this family", etc. I understand that kids sometimes say things they don't mean but when it comes to grandma she says mean things without even a second thought. She also says no or completely ignores her when grandma asks her to do something. Sometimes, for no reason, she'll just start screaming at grandma and when it gets really bad she's been known to hit, kick, scratch, or bite! It doesn't seem to matter what her punishment is (but we don't spank) she continues to act a fool especially around grandma. When she's calm and we talk about it she states that it isn't her fault she's behaving this way because she cannot help it. I don't understand because grandma will do anything for her and absolutely adores her! So my question is, has anyone been in a similar situation? Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions to help us get her to take responsibility for herself? What kinds of consequences might help? We've tried taking her toys, grounding her to her room, not allowing her to go to grandmas, soap in her mouth, taking away fun activities like horseback riding, going to the movies or the zoo and nothing seems to get her attention! HELP!!
This situation invites a systematic program of behavior management. You will find such a system in Lynn Clark's book SOS Help for Parents (see www.sosprograms.com). Be sure to follow his instructions precisely.
My 6 year old used to be extremely violent and would actually hit me he once bit my hand so hard I cried and had a very nasty mark I would put him in time out take his toys and we would have a talk I would wait till he stopped screaming and punching and kicking and id ask him how he felt why he felt that way and explain how and why his actions were wrong after months of this he stopped one day he accidently hit me and walked up to me kissed the area where he hit me and said he was sorry he didnt mean it. sometimes you have to find what works for both of you and stick to it even if its hard and sometimes you will need a time out and you can walk outside as long as your child is safe and breath because its gonna be ok
Thank you for the validation, I really appreciate and needed it!! Since she isn't our child it does make things a little more challenging. We have been working on talking about why she feels the way she does and what she can do to to effectively help herself out when she is upset or sad. I am just glad to hear that after continued repetition, it does make a difference. We will continue to discuss her feelings with her. I have renewed hope that in time things will change. Thanks again!!
positive behavioural strategies work really well, make sure grandma and you can find when she is acting well and praise her, make sure it is geniune but dont forget to do it, if she gets more attention from good behaviour than negative it will certainly help sway the balance. Dont feel you have to give material rewards all the time and spoil your child, but we all like to be noticed and praised. so it in same way as we say 'lovely manners' when they say their pleases and thankyou's, dont forget to say 'you made me really proud when you offered that to grandma' 'wow you made us all really happy when you showed grandma your beautiful smile etc' there are lots she probably can be praised for and more will come as she realises this is better than people being upset with her, to really make this work use your punishments to align with this positive behavior management so use reflection time, remove her from the situation and your gaze for a set period, starting from when she is cal, (at first this may mean she will tantrum for quite some time, stick with it and she will know you mean it) dont let anyone speak to her during this time and when you tell her that she is being given time to reflect on her behaviour make it clear that it is not acceptable. before allowing her out of the time out have a debrief, 'why do you think I took you out of the room?' ;how do you think that makes Grandma feel?; does acting that way make you feel proud of yourself? what should you do to make it right and what will you do next time? (this should always include an apology but also can include a way to make it up to the person or a strategy for not getting cross, distraction etc) I think it is really important not only that children learn not to do things, but why they shouldnt and to take ownership of their behaviour. I always encourage my children to do what they think is right because not only will I be proud of them and other people will like them but because they should be proud of themselves, their decisions and have self respect. This certainly takes more time than taking a toy away, screaming or hitting but cuts the problem from the root.
sorry should have been calm- so 5 minutes of screaming and lashing out does not count, it has to be 5 minutes of reflection, If they are not willing to communicate during debrief or apologise after that, then leave it another 5 minutes, until sorted. stick to your guns with this one, however you may wish you never started, it may take time with a headstrong child but I promise does work (I have been a parent, a childminder, a volunteer and work in a school with children with special educational needs as well as working in classrooms) you just have to be consistent, they will soon get the idea they have to cooperate and the whole process gets much shorter, often going straight to one of the debrief questions to stop the behaviour (eg ;is that making you proud?), dont shout, dont backdown, make sure where they are supposed to reflect is boring, (stairway, back step, loo etc) no books, music, television.
please read advice below, it is particularly important as a step parent to be able to positive in behaviour management, if you feel like a cheerleader at times you probably have it right, the child may feel judged and children arent daft, find things you really can say positively as often as you can. Try not to make it about appearance as often as behaviour and personality and most importantly a good attitude. Gosh you were really helpful there thanks, give them opportunities to shine and little jobs so they feel valued and learn to respect things. Let them know when they handled a situation well and always look for the positives.
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