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Temper Tantrums from 5 1/2 year old girl with typically sweet dispositi...
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Temper Tantrums from 5 1/2 year old girl with typically sweet disposition

Our daughter is 5 1/2.  She is the middle child with 2 sisters (ages 4 and 7 1/2). She has been attending pre-school for 2 years and she will enter Kindergarten in the Fall.  She is very bright and loves to be involved with everyone.  Although she is closer in age to her younger sister, she typically wants to associate with her big sister.  Since she was a toddler, she has been having temper tantrums. My typical response was to ignore them or to put her in her room for a time out. This could go on for 30-60 minutes of crying and screaming at the top of her lungs. I talked to her teacher before she started preschool (at 3 1/2).  She never had a problem at school.  The teacher reported that she was very well behaved and followed typical classroom rules better than most 3 year olds.  The next year of pre-school, same story.  The teachers described her as a very loving, bright little girl who always behaved.  At birthday parties or play dates, I can always count on her to behave.  She typically saves the tantrums for us or occasionally her grandparents.  The tantrums start out when we have to say "no" or "not right now, but in a few minutes".  She starts screaming and stomping her foot and becomes completly unreasonable.  She has thrashed out at us too.  We have even spanked her a couple of times, but it does no good.  I am concerned that she is starting to get the reputation of being the "naughty" one within our family because she tends to pick the most fights with her sisters and throws the most extreme temper tantrums.  She seems to always be craving attention and is very jealous of her older sister.  We try to give her special attention, but it never seems enough.  People who know her can't believe that she could ever act this way.  Our immediate neighbors have heard otherwise.  She screams like someone is murdering her and I am constantly shutting the windows because the houses in our neighborhood are very close together.  I wasn't overly concerned when she had toddler temper tantrums, but now I'm very worried.  How should we handle this?  I am looking for practical old fashion parenting advice.  Plus I want to reinforce to her that she is special and important to us and not the "bad seed" in the family.
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The fact that your daughter behaves well in out-of-family situations is encouraging. It indicates that you are facing a behavior problems vs symptoms of mood disorder, e.g. Now, the behavior certainly needs to be addressed, and the recommended intervention is a systematic behavior management plan. It sounds like you have attempted some sensible responses, and all you need to do is enhance the systematic way in which you respond. Here's an example (and talk with your daughter about the plan you intend to implement): Whenever your daughter starts to display such a  tantrum, tell her to stop. If she does not, say to her : "(Name), unless you stop you are going to time out." If she does not stop, send her to a time out chair (adult-size chair) for a period of ten minutes. Use a cooking timer to track the time, and start the timer only when your daughter is seated and quiet. If she responds by crying, yelling, etc., quietly (not yelling) tell her that you will start the timer when she is quiet. The plan is simple and effective; just be sure you are faithful to it - do not vary the approach.
5 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Wow.  I just wanted to say that I am going through the exact same thing.  This is the first time I have been on this website and this is the first question I looked at for this exact same reason!  I have a wonderful, loving 5 1/2 year old boy who is an angel in pre-school and day care situations.  The child care providers even comment on how he behaves so much better than the other boys his age, yet, he can throw some of the most awful tantrums.  He has started biting and scratching not to mention kicking when he doesn't get his way.  I am divorced and believe that there may not be much in the way of discipline on the other end.  I also believe that he gets his way constantly from his other parent/family.  I try time outs but sometimes have a hard time getting him to stop fighting me to go sit in time out.  I am going to try some kind of reward system for his good behavior and keeping a log book of the situations that cause his tantrums.  I hope this works and I hope you have success with your system.
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Avatar_n_tn
I also have a daughter the same as mentioned above. She also has a very sassy mouth to everyone in the house. Outside the house she is an angel, very energetic, and has lots of friends.  She is also extremely wise beyond her years.  She is 6 1/2, a middle child, and seems always starved for negative attention.  I have tried everything! Time outs, spankings, reasoning with her calmly, telling her I will only listen when she calms down and talks nicely.  Yesterday I had had enough and sent her to a time out. She refused to go. As her temper and yelling escalated I grounded her to her room for 2 days, meals in room and everything.  I'm hoping this will make her realize that the yelling and mouthyness will no longer be tolerated.  I'm looking for new ideas. We have tried the 123 Magic appproach, with not much sucess. We also had her tested for ADHD, but was told she is normal, just emotional. Is there any new ideas for me out there?
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Avatar_n_tn
How relieved I was to log on to this web site and see that other Moms are having problems with "tantrums-outburst-melt downs."
I am the Grandmother of a 4 yr. old who scares the beejesus out of everyone with her fits. My daughter and her husband are beyond knowing what to try to get her out of this behavior. She kicks, screams (shrill & loud), spits and nothing helps.  It's like she needs to be exorcised (just kiddin) NOT
Where was your answer though?  A time out is not possible in the middle of the Mall or in a resturant or in the back seat of the car when your driving to get somewhere for an appointment.
What is the answer when all else has failed.  Please advise, should you try something that seems to be or has worked.  Thanks and Bless ya'all.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello,
I'm curious to know if you noticed any unusual behaviors in Infancy/Toddler age? I'm having similar problems with my 6 yr. old. He's spitting, hitting: pets, parents, siblings, and guests in our home. Also, throwing objects, name calling, and shrieking--to the point of hurting my ears. He has 2 older siblings that have NEVER acted like this. When he was still crawling he would bang his head on the floor. (I told the pediatrician, he wasn't concerned) When he began walking he started to throw things. And it went downhill from there. We rarely go out as a family, because this can happen anywhere. He doesn't hold back from these behaviors around neighbors, extended family, friends, at church, etc., however, he has not shown this to his teachers at school. His siblings have begun to really resent him because of his treatment of them, and how their belongings are sometimes taken and broken by him. And like your granddaughter, he can be very sweet and loving at times, but his mood can change in minutes, for no apparent reason.  The pediatrician eventually referred us to a psychiatrist. He told us that he will either outgrow it, or get worse. The Dr. seems to think he might have Oppositional Defiant Disorder. But how can you diagnose a 6 yr old? Besides, depending on his mood, he'll either give you the answers he thinks you want, or make something up to yank your chain. The Dr. talked us into trying Depakote to treat the rage episodes. I'm really not thrilled about giving him meds, esp. since it's barely taking the edge off the rage episodes. I guess I would be more comfortable with it if it really made a major change to the point where we could lead normal lives. Have meds been suggested/tried for your granddaughter?
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A related discussion, temper tantrums was started.
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A related discussion, 6 yr old Granddaughter was started.
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A related discussion, This is so nice to see others with the same was started.
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A related discussion, temper trantrums was started.
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