akanagy , Parent asks:

How can I make my 6 year old daughter nice to others?

She is loud and rude to everyone around her. It's her way or no way. She's very demanding and getting more and more out of control everyday. She has an older brother that is 9 and he's well mannered and all around good child. I just don't understand what I did wrong to create a little monster.
In Topics: Bullying and teasing, Friendships and peer relationships, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago



Boys Town National Hotline
Aug 30, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Parenting young children can be exhausting. It is the most important responsibility you will ever have. Preparing a child to succeed in life is an awesome task and one that must be taken seriously. Like most parents, you will occasionally need some help and advice when you are having a tough time with your kids.

It is usually not helpful to look for what we have done wrong that makes our children misbehave, but to focus on what we can do to improve their behaviors. We recommend first to look at what she does and says when told "no". Then, think of what you would like her to say and do when given a "no" answer. This becomes the steps to the skill, "Accepting No For an Answer".

Now, to teach her this skill you can do it in three simple steps;

1. Show and tell the positive behavior.
Be brief and specific.
Tell the do's.
Get on her eye level.

"Honey, when someone tells you "no" that you can't do what you want, look at them, say "okay" and just move on to something else"

2. Practice.
Make it fun.
Use pretend situations, games or actual situations.
Be brief.

"Let's pretend that you want to play with your friend's Barbie and she says that you can't" Instead of getting mad or trying to take it from her, just look at her, say okay and move onto something else. Let's say I am your friend, show me what you would do."

3. Show Approval.
Use words of praise and encouragement.
Include smiles, touches, hugs, etc.

"Honey, that was super! That is just how you should handle it. She might even be more willing to let you play with it if you are nice." Give her a hug or a pat on the back.

Also teach her other skills that would help her be nice to others.
Sharing With Others
Taking Turns
Using Manners such as Please and Thank you
Asking Nicely
Using Inside Voices
Following Instructions

Be sure to praise and reinforce your daughter whenever you see or hear her use these skills. Point out and praise your 9 year old when he demonstrates these skills as well. Good luck and don't forget it is practice that makes perfect, so practice, practice, practice.

Boys Town National Hotline

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Aug 24, 2009

Best Answer!

what's this?
from a fellow member
Hi akanagy,

I'd first try to think back to see if the beginning of this behavior correlates to something that may have happened to your daughter in her life. Sometimes kids react to big changes at school or home by becoming "little monsters" since they don't have the ability to articulate that something has made them mad, sad, stressed, etc. So I'd check that out first. Also good to think about her physical health. My four year old went through a really tough patch of behavior recently and his pediatrician finally figured out that he was having some really bad tummy troubles. He didn't tell me that he didn't feel well...he SHOWED me!

So assuming all that's ok and your daughter is physically and emotionally healthy. I think you're just going to have to start investing a lot of time and energy into getting her back on track. I'd start by having a conversation and letting her know that her recent behavior is not ok. Give her very specific examples of things she's said and done that are rude and disrespectful and let her know how it made you feel when she did them. Explain that people have a choice about who they spend time with and if she continues to act like that kids at school will choose not to hang out with her. Let her know that you also have a choice about who you spend time with. Let her know what your expectations are in terms of her behavior and then tell her that if she chooses not to meet those expectations, she will not be able to be with the rest of your family. We occasionally invoke a "zero tolerance" policy with our little guy. We let him know up front what kinds of behavior we won't tolerate (whining and crying about what we're having for dinner for example) and then if he does one of them he gets sent immediately and without discussion to his room. We tell him that when he's ready to come out and be a respectful member of our family he's welcome to join us. Then we carry on with dinner or whatever and within a few minutes he pops back in with a whole new attitude. He doesn't want to miss what we're doing so he shapes up so he can come out and be part of it!

I've also found that it's really helpful to "catch" him when he's doing something right. I'll just say "Hey I love how you're behaving at the dinner table right now. It makes me feel really happy when you eat what we're having for dinner and when you talk in a normal voice. I'm having a lot of fun with you right now!" He responds really well and I can see him trying to do more of the same.

I think if you give her really clear expectations about how she needs to behave, don't tolerate anything that doesn't meet those expectations, and reward the good things she does, you'll be able to say goodbye to the monster in your house and hello to your beautiful little girl.

Good luck! Kat

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