5 year old behavior

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  • Dianapatrice

    My five year old is having some behavioral issues. She has two older siblings and two younger. She seems to have regressed to behaving like a 2-year-old (tantrums, running away from you, etc). We try to have some heart-to-heart talks about where this is leading, but it usually doesn’t go anywhere. Pointing out that if she doesn’t follow directions we won’t have time for this activity or that doesn’t motivate. She is spending an awful lot of time on the couch because “I can’t trust you in the play room right now”.  I’ve become extra careful not to yell (I did do that too much in the past, but have been able to form a new better habit.)

    As I said, she has two older siblings, but this is new ground. My biggest concern is not individual incidents, but her unwillingness to learn from them or be corrected. I’ve started to do “cool down times” so it doesn’t escalate… but she will refuse to do as she was previously instructed.

    She also tries to bargain a lot. I am confused why, because neither me or my husband give in to it- ever.

    All this has become a pattern, and I am worried for her. It is also taking time and opportunities from her siblings.(e.g. “Now we don’t have time to go to the park.”)

    Any thoughts? I know she can do better; she has done better in the past. How do I help her?


    I am no expert, by any means, but I also have 5 children and have dealt with similar issues.  You may want to quasi-ignore most of what’s going on.  Don’t ignore the child, but ignore the behavior… ish.  It may be a call for attention, which is understandable in a large family!  If she’s throwing something, for example, you could calmly take what she’s throwing and say something understated like, “You may not throw this. I’m going to help you follow the rules by taking it.” But try not to make a big deal about any of it.  If she sees you making a big deal, maybe that’s enough of a reaction that she feels like she’s getting at least part of what she wanted.  I would hate getting this advice, LOL, because anyone can read this and see right away that this will take a LOT of self control on your part.  That’s something I struggle with personally, but when I’ve been able to get in this type of head space, it always helps.  Good luck, mama. I’m sure I’ll be back in your shoes before too long. You’re not alone!

    Tamara Bell

    I had a quick thought when I reached the end of your post.  You mentioned that this behavior is taking away from the other children.  I would not allow that to happen as best as I could.  I would make sure to still go to the park for example, only she loses the opportunity to play and must sit next to me at the park, sit on the bench, or stand next to me the entire time.  I would make sure she knows before she acts out the consequence and then should she act out, tell her that this is what will happen because you are unsure that she will behave nicely around others.
    This may also be what is needed in your day to day.  Charlotte discussed this sort of behavior (not regressing per say but acting out) and advised that the child not be left alone to their own devises.  As they show maturity and build trust, you can gradually allow a bit more length between her and you.

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