5 yr old daughter driving me up the wall

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  shanette 1 year, 8 months ago.

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    Hi there

    I am having serious trouble with my 5 yr old daughter.  She has a VERY strong personality, and just will not listen.  Everytime she is disciplined, she would walk away with a smile.

    She is the youngest of 3 kids.  Her two older brothers are aged 8 and 6.  I don’t have this issue with them.

    She absolutely loves getting a reaction out of me.

    I also have this issue where she will go up to strange men, and give them hugs or try to hold their hands etc.  This is really embarrassing for me, because I get angry at her and then yell at her in front of them.  This obviously makes the person feel uncomfortable too.  I don’t know what to do to get her to stop this behaviour.  I have disciplined her a few times, but she just ignore me as soon as the next stranger comes along.  This is so dangerous, because someone might take advantage of her.

    Now, I also need to give some background as to our life as a family.  My ex and I got divorced 3 years ago, meaning my little girl was only 2 years old, and my boys 6 and 4.

    I am in a relationship with a wonderful man who treats us all very well and is very loving and caring, but when it comes to my kids, he is very strict (which I appreciate, because they walk all over me).  I will talk and talk and plead for them (actually my girl) to stop misbehaving but she just refuses to listen.  Sometimes when he talks to her, she listens, but also only for a while.  He is also getting at a stage where he is very irritated with her … my boys doesn’t have the same issue and shows respect to all adults .. something she just doesn’t do.  Everyone in her eyes are her playmate and she can do whatever she pleases.

    What do I do to get her to listen and behave like a little girl should?








    From my own experience, and having talked to my child about this, strict is good, if it’s the bio dad dishing out the strictness.  If it is the “step parent”  they are not obeying because they respect him, quite the opposite.  They obey out of fear, or because they have to. 

    Further, it’s not your new partners responsibility to raise your kids, it’s yours, and while it is good that he be involved to the degree that you allow him to be involved, I dont think  you should relinquish  control of your kids to your new partner.  As good as his intentions may be, he is not their father and never will be, and the more he tries to force that on them, the more they will kick against it.  The new partner, should not attempt to be anything other than a “big brother” if that makes sense.  There are those that will disagree with me, and that’s quite ok.  Kids are just as sensitive as we are, and we sometimes forget they have feelings, needs and agendas of their own.  

    Where is your ex, in terms of the kids?  Does he fearute in their lives?  Could you maybe contact him and ask for his help? 

    With respect, but, you are the kids mother and you are responsible for them, and you will need to toughen up.  They walk all over you, because they are allowed to walk all over you.  You will have to set rules and boundaries with clearly known consequences if the rules are broken. ( one rule could be, no talking to strangers and no holding strangers hands, and if you do, I will give you a hiding – and then you do it every time, until she learns that it’s not on).  I know it’s not the way things are done these days, but I believe firmly, talking to and trying to reason with kids is bull.  They step out of line, they get a hiding and finished.    Talking and reasoning just causes more stress on you ( as you can see) and does not improve matters at all. 

    My son is twelve and going into the teenage years, and I have told him clearly, and I have been told this is harsh but that is just how it is.  It is my house, where I pay the bills and consequently I make the rules.  If he wants to live there, it’s on my terms and my terms only.  If he does not like it, he is welcome to find himself somewhere else to llive.  He will not hangout with the wrong croud in my house, drink, smoke, do drugs, have sex, give me attitude, bang doors, destroy things – becasue I just work too hard and sacrifice too much for him to put up with teenage crap.  This does not mean that I am not going to be sensitive to puberty and peer pressure, and not love him and hold him when the first cow breaks his heart.  The love will always be there, and I encourage talking openly about everythng and anything.  We laugh and play and have a heap of fun together and I really enjoy it – BUT, that does not mean I am going to take any nonsense at all. 

    I am no psychologist, but I would say that your child is looking for attention.  I know that we all have to do life, but step away from the issues, and just spend time having fun together where you arent lecturing or reasoning or telling her what to do or what not to do.  Sometimes my son and I go and swing, and see who can get higher, or we go for a jog, and I race him home, or this is going to sound stupid, but we had such fun – I told him when we were kids and growing up we used walk the airport from one end to the other (while waiting for my dad every week) ride all the escalators, climb all the stairs, ride the lifts – and the other day at the airport we did that and he loved it.  He thought it was the best fun ever, and it didn’t cost a cent. Of course, when we were kids we were not supervised and we were bloody naughty, and that is also ok, because kids must be allowed to be kids as well, and a lot of being a child is lost in this country where we live behind bars and kids cant do what kids do. 

    Maybe an opinion from a therapist is not a bad idea.  You could maybe take her for play therapy, where she will open up to a therapist and you can find out what is  going on in her head and why she is acting out. 

    Good luck. 




    She is definitely a very strong character, but I do tend to agree she is looking for attention. Have you thought of doing  a short parenting course where you can get ideas on different ways to understand and correct the behaviour by changing what you do? You get good ones through The Family Life Centre in Johannesburg, or they will be able to advise you of somewhere close to you. In my own experience this is a good way to get some tools to cope with these trickier parenting moments. It also gives you perspective when you hear what other people are going through.



    My son was was also doing the samething eversince he was 1 year old, he only started to change after he turned 5, he is now 6, still has mood swings but they not as bad as before and talks to me like i’m his peer even though i have been strick on him, i also thought there’s something wrong that i’m doing.  what work for me is that when he does all the craziness i simply ignore him and later when he sees that he’s not getting his way, he come and apologises and ask nicely.  It is a draining process but be patient, he will pass the stage.



    Hi. Does your daughter suffer from Allergies? I read an article about Allergy sufferers who do seem to have a problem with bed wetting. Does your child have a slight squint? I was recently at a chiropractor and there was a lady there who had the same problem with her daughter. The chiropractor was amazing. He said that the nerves leading to her bladder were slightly compressed because her spine was out of alignment. Her brain was getting the signal too late for her to go to the toilet. It was worse at night. After he had done the re-alignment of her lower spine, the problem improved dramatically. He said that as soon as she noticed her child’s eyes squinting, she should bring her in again as this was a symptom of the spine being out of alignment again……sounds far fetched but the mom said it was amazing as it did the trick. Worth a try!



    Sorry this was meant for the parent whose child is still wetting the bed!!! Not your cheeky girl!

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