She is a very strong willed independent 5 year old. she is a very sweet child, but has been challenging at times because she is so independent. Since she has started kindergarten her behavior has worsened and she has picked up new bad behaviors that she doesn't seem to want to stop. I have tried many thing to get her to clean her room, do homework, etc but nothing seems to work. I've tried punishments, rewards, taking away things, nothing works. She also has a "better than you" attitude towards others as if she doesn't have to listen and speaks demeaningly to everyone. She has been speaking rudely to me (her mother), her father and even her grandmother. I don't know how to encourage her to speak respectfully to others or to do what she is told. I'm worried she is not going to keep friends for very long if she continues to treat people they way she does and she won't succeed if she continues to refuse to follow directions. What can I do?
A strong willed child can be a definite challenge. It often takes more technology than some of the general parenting issues. Because this young lady is embarking on one of the milestones of her life, you can use that as an opportunity to focus on the changes it brings about.
Now that she is older and in school, things at home have had to change also. Her bedtime is different, her chores around the home have changed and the whole families’ routine has had to change.
To help her with these changes you want to provide her with some tools that she will learn to use for many years. Those tools are;
1. A calendar for her to keep track of events during the week, successful days, days off from school, etc…
2. A chart that indicates her chores for each day. These chores can have a picture and word indicating the chore. Each day there should be a box to check when the chore is completed and a second check indicating a parent has checked and approved that it is done correctly and on time.
At the bottom of the chart state what the reward is for a certain number of checkmarks at the end of the week. Be sure to follow through with the reward or there will be no motivation for her.
Set a time each day to review both her calendar and her chart. Be consistent with your expectations and times of review. Allow her to talk about her day using the calendar and chart. If things did not go well, talk with her about what could help her be more successful the next day, again asking for her input and ideas.
In the information you shared, it became evident that some social skills teaching would help your daughter also. Teaching her to Follow Instructions, to Speak Respectfully to Others and to Be Kind to Others, would be three to start with.
We recommend that a step-by-step process be used to teach these social skills.
1. Describe what you want your child to do.
2. Give her a reason for doing it that way.
3. Have her practice what you have taught her.
The conversation may sound something like this;
“Sometimes when we ask you to do something, it is hard for you to do it right away so I want to teach you something that will help.
1. When we say, please take care of your shoes you left by the door, you should – Look at whoever is talking to you, say ‘okay’, then do it right away.
2. If you can Follow Instructions that way, it will get done right away and you can get back to what you were doing.
3. Let’s give that a try, please go get us each a cookie out of the cookie jar. Now remember, look at me, say “okay” and get it right away.
Actually have her do it for the practice. Practice frequently, keep it brief and make it fun.
These social skills will benefit her throughout life but especially through this time of transition. Don’t give up; it takes time to change behaviors.
Hi, We (my husband and I) noticed similar behavior in our daughter when she started kindergarten. Her teacher explained to us that in his 20 years of teaching, he had often seen kindergarten girls form cliques, and posture for power within those cliques -- treating others rudely, or even bullying. We, like you, found the behavior intolerable, and worked very hard to improve it (enlisting the teacher's and other parents' help as well).
Here are some resources on Education.com you may find helpful (as we have):