6-yr-old tantrums

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6-yr-old tantrums

Postby busmother » 11 May 2016, 20:02

My darling daughter has always had a definite will of her own - she has never taken no for an answer but everything has to be negotiated. Frustrating, but I always felt that in the long term this was probably a positive thing. I asked her nursery teacher once if she was a bit bossy with the other children. 'No', she said,' she's a leader. She knows what she wants and she's very good at asking the other children to do it'. But I digress. Since she started school in August, her protests whenever she doesn't get her own way have got more and more petulant and whiny, very often accompanied by sobs and tears. I put this down to tiredness, to the strain of doing what she's told to please the teacher all day (she LOVES school, and is apparently a model pupil). But it just seems to be getting worse, with a full-on lying down on the pavement screaming toddler-style tantrum last week, so just hoping someone here has some brilliant strategies for dealing with something like this? Or even just some moral support.
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Re: 6-yr-old tantrums

Postby mamapup » 11 May 2016, 21:25

Moral support I can offer but not much else as we are two years behind.
I'm sure that's not easy to deal with day in, day out. And I know you know that model behaviour out, pesky behaviour at home is the good way round, however annoying it is!

So just some hugs. Sorry. X
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Re: 6-yr-old tantrums

Postby junglewonderland » 12 May 2016, 05:40

Hugs from here too. Do you think it could also be an adjustment to the baby? Koala's behaviour was appalling for a good six months after Taz was born.
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Re: 6-yr-old tantrums

Postby StJuniper » 12 May 2016, 11:14

What are your current strategies for dealing with them? I'm another who is several years away from that age, but for mine a tantrum means immediately being moved to their bedroom until they've got control of themselves, then usually role-playing a better way to deal with whatever the issues was and/or talking through what went wrong and why...
Mama to two boys, the Scout Kid P, 02/26/12 and the Feral Kid R 12/15/13, and one little Tumbleweed girl, 05/27/16.
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Re: 6-yr-old tantrums

Postby busmother » 13 May 2016, 10:54

I was trying to think what my strategies are. Often what happens is she asks for something, I say no and, as she always has done, she'll then give me an entirely sensible argument as to why she should have it, but in a really whiny way. Either I am swayed by her arguments and let her have whatever it is, or I get really annoyed with the whining and stick to my guns, at which point she gets really upset. StJ, I didn't think it was anything to do with the baby, but now I think about it, perhaps I have gone with the easy option of letting her have her way, despite the whining more often than I should because I'm tired or distracted. And the combination of school and baby means she does get a lot less mummy-time than she used to, and she is much more needy now as well - won't go off to play by herself or with W but wants to be with me, doing things with me.

I have always tried not to say no to things unless I really need to, but there seem to be a lot more grey areas now than when they were smaller where I'd rather she didn't do something (usually because it's messy / needs a lot of input from me), but I could probably accommodate it if I re-thought what we were having for tea / spent more time tidying up later on etc. And actually given how much time we waste on the aftermath of the negotiations and tears, we probably would have just as much time. Writing this down, I do just need to give her more time and accept that she needs it rather than getting frustrated because she used to be so self-sufficient. She loves No3 and playing with him, so there's no direct resentment, but inevitably it has changed our relationship.

As far as strategies for the tantrums go - not very systematic. The actual lying on the pavement one was on the way to school, so going to the room was not an option. I think I just dragged her along with me and sat her on a wall to calm down before we went in. I was fuming with her - it was something really stupid (to me), though I can't even remember what it was. Normally I try and ignore her or send her to sit on the stairs if she's being really disruptive. She hates being on her own so being sent to her room would be a really really harsh punishment for her. But she will argue and try and shout me down even just sending her to the stairs, so I tend to only even try it if I'm really fed up. I'm such a bad parent! Clearly totally inconsistent and unhelpful. Must do better!
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Re: 6-yr-old tantrums

Postby emzit » 13 May 2016, 12:32

Muncher has been really whiny lately, if we're happy to say yes to what he wants we just ask him to ask in a nice voice, not a whiny one, and he now immediately switches to ask politely. He often starts to whine, realises what he's doing and changes his tone. If you ask her to give you her reasons in a nice voice so you can listen properly do you think that would work? Obviously you'd already know if you want to be persuaded or not so if you want to stick with no, just don't ask and give her that opportunity.
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Re: 6-yr-old tantrums

Postby Treeb » 13 May 2016, 14:01

L is a major bargainer/negotiator too. He's only 3 1/2 so a bit of a different stage, but when he gets whiny or tantrumy we do as emzit suggests and ask him to rephrase it in a nicer tone before we'll consider his request. It doesn't always work, and occasionally results in an even bigger tantrum, after which we take the opportunity to talk about how things could have gone differently. It might also be worth talking about it at a calm time, totally separate from any situation of negotiating or tantrum, and just last out what your expectations are and how you will be reacting if/when she does get whiny.

If it is a case of baby jealousy is it possible for you to find a little extra one-on-one time to spend together in a positive way? Even just ten minutes now and then can make a difference.
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Re: 6-yr-old tantrums

Postby BLTMama » 13 May 2016, 18:06

Badger is another negotiator (we call her the Little Litigator), and although she hasn't thrown a HUGE wobbler very recently, she was definitely doing it well into 5YO. With her a lot of it is anxiety -- I try to make sure she understands what the plan is beforehand, even if it's something completely everyday, so she doesn't get worried about too many 'what ifs'.

I also have cut back *some* on constant requests by laying out the plan for things like grocery shopping beforehand (today we're just buying what's on the list) and get her to repeat back and agree. If she wants to negotiate, we do it beforehand, when we're both calmer and the treats/toys/whatever aren't right in front of her. Then I have her help me read the list or get things off shelves (even though I have to grit my teeth at how much longer it all takes). So when she asks for something, I can say "remember, we're just getting what's on the list today" and repeat it ad nauseum.

She also goes through periods of being quite clingy and needy, which I try to put off firmly but kindly in the moment (it's time to go to school now), but make sure to have some quiet one-on-one time as soon as possible afterward. If one-on-one time isn't possible -- LT is in the nearly-3 phase where he cannot be left alone for two minutes without some incredible mess ensuing -- then I let her choose the activity and focus on her as much as possible.

I'm also terribly inconsistent! Right now I'm trying to set draconian new snacking rules (no food or non-water drinks anywhere except at the table, set meals and snacks but NOTHING between other than self-serve fruit) and it's constant constant CONSTANT whining and bargaining from both of them, to which I give in because I'm exhausted of talking about it just often enough to keep them bugging me. We do our best. It's just a phase. This too shall pass. :)
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Re: 6-yr-old tantrums

Postby Kitcameron » 17 May 2016, 07:56

My nearly 4 yo has some major screaming tantrums when she doesn't get a reward for something. Eg last night ee agreed if she stayed in bed quietly until the sun came up on her clock in the morning she could watch 2 episodes of Octonauts, her favourite ATM. If she needed to be strongly reminded in the morning (Ie if I actually have to go through to her to quieten her down rather than just reminding her from my own bed) it would go down to 1 episode. She shouted me through 10 minutes before the sun came up. I didn't want he king CM so had to go through to her. She asked if she could have 3 episodes and I explained the agreement we made the night before and she kicked off, screaming Octonauts, Octonauts, Octonauts over and over again. I warned her if she carried on shed loose the one episode she had remaining and she just screamed and shouted at me, almost hitting me at one point. I sat with her and told her I'd talk to her when she calmed down and started talking nicely to me but no, she just kept on screaming etc. I should have offered her a hug to help her calm down I think but I dont know if she'd have accepted it. In the end I had to go sort CM out as she did wake her up but it was 6.30 by then anyway so that wasn't so much an issue. She wouldn't go downstairs with DH for ages. Just wanted to scream at me until I gave in, which I didn't. Eventually she asked for a cuddle and we sat for a bit together on the sofa and then I explained why she couldn't have Octonauts but too much cos she was on the verge of going back to begging for it again ing been reminded about it. She doesn't really engage with the conversation and if I ask her if she knows why she can't have it she can't or won't tell me.

So I just don't know if offering rewards for good behaviour is working. She used to earn prizes (stickers on a chart leading to small prizes) for not shouting me in the night but that led to her having a massive screaming fit one night when I lost my rag and told her no she couldn't have her sticker because she'd shouted me four times. Normally I would have said we'd talk about it in the morning to avoid the middle of the night meltdown and 2 hours awake that inevitably leads to but I was exhausted and just lost it. Not a good idea.

Problem is I try being really firm with her and she'll shout and scream and usually I can let it just wash over me, but there are times when I'm trying to do something, usually with CM and usually something necessary like getting dressed ready for preschool or whatever, when I get really cross with her. And I've heard DH give in to her screaming and just yell "fine, have it" and give in to her cos she really gets to him when she's like that. During the day, if CM isn't asleep, I guess I could send her to her room to calm down and just be out of the way if she wants to scream but I can't do that if CM is asleep or at stupid o clock in the morning when my neighbours, little princesses who all need their beauty sleep that they are, are asleep.

Sorry, this wasn't meant to turn I to such a rant, and it doesn't help anyone else at all I'm afraid. The only thing I can think of ATM is trying to be more consistent and not offering rewards/bribes that can be lost and lead to meltdown. Maybe we need to sit down together, all four of us although CM won't really understand, and write some house rules that we can always refer back to. I've also wondered about a tokens jar where she earns tokens (possibly pasta pieces) for doing nice or well behaved things and I can give them at random during the day and when the jar is full she gets a special treat like an outing somewhere. But I'd have to have a rule that if she did something nice then asked for pasta I'd have to say no otherwise it'd be just the same. I dunno.
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Re: 6-yr-old tantrums

Postby ches » 17 May 2016, 17:08

I find at this age talking less is more effective than talking more. By 4yo they are articulate enough to be skilled negotiators and especially good at learning how to create and maintain conflict. When you don't respond with words you take that power away from them. When you give into negotiation, explanation, and conversation you undermine yourself by demonstrating that your word is open to discussion. A few pointed looks or just blithe assumption that your word will be followed goes a lot further. I have two mouthy little so-and-sos who love to have the last word, and I have to be better and not needing the last word myself to set a good example.
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Re: 6-yr-old tantrums

Postby Lily » 17 May 2016, 19:20

I think you're dead right ches. I'm just starting to find that explaining my reasons doesn't work any more, but if I just tell him we're not having a discussion and then carry on as if nothing had happened, he sort of gives up and accepts the situation. In fact I'd go further and say that often he seems almost grateful to be able to stop arguing and move on. Constant negotiation must be exhausting for them, like it is for us; everyone likes knowing where they stand. Even if they don't get their way, at least they get to relax.
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Re: 6-yr-old tantrums

Postby mamapup » 18 May 2016, 06:07

I agree with Ches too. Just finding that my almost four year old negotiator will keep going forever unless we put our foot down. Also working well with two year old who likes to negotiate with,

"I won't do x anymore, I will be helpful" and then continue doing what she was doing in the first place!
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Re: 6-yr-old tantrums

Postby Kitcameron » 18 May 2016, 06:45

SM doesn't try and negotiate, she just says the same phrase over and over again. I do say to her now though "that's the end of it, you're not having x, y or z, end of" not exactly in those words but that's the gist of it lol.

DH and I have decided to sit down with her and write some house rules with her so she knows what we expect and so we can be more consistent (hopefully) with her.
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