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Help! Can't stand 5 year old daughter?? Am I crazy?

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Old 03-28-2006, 04:34 PM   #1
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Help! Can't stand 5 year old daughter?? Am I crazy?

I simply cannot stand my 5 year old daughter. My husband and I have two kids 5 and 2 (both girls) but the oldest is driving us nuts. She is very intelligent, independent and friendly but it EXTREMELY emotional. She tunes out any comments that come from my husband and I immediatly if it is not in her favor. She gets a blank stare on her face and just looks completely through us. Anytime we punish her her behavoir worsens to the point of not even remembering the punishment. A 5 minute time out turns into a 2 hour brawl (clawing the floor, saying "please take care of me, I'm just a little girl","don't leave me here... don't let me die" using any tactics possible to manipulate us). All the while her sister will be sitting 4 feet from her in time out as well being completely quiet staring at her.

My husband and I both stay home with the kids. We are not generally stressed about anything and very happy with our 2 year old's behavoir. She reacts well to punishment going to time out when told or when spoken to on her level about her actions. Our oldest was the complete opposite at 2 - throwing toys at the walls when punished and losing it completely. Our only source of stress currently is dealing with our 5 year old.

I don't even know where to begin. My main frustrations come from the fact that I can't even hold a simple conversation with my 5 year old without her blocking me out completely or on the other hand having a fit. Every time I try to do something special with her (for example going to get ice cream) she will ruin the experience by throwing a fit about something extremely small before we can even get out the front door, totally preventing the experience.

She is very high strung and believes she knows more than her father and I. She rarely will even let me help her with her homework. If we try to correct her another session of crying or whining starts. It is getting to the point to where we can't help but show preference for the younger child even though I know it is horrible to do so. We still have to reward the youngest for being a good girl.

This happens so frequently that I'm starting to lose it. I'm starting to say mean things to her out of frustration that I've never said before that I know can't help the situation. My husband is as well. Over the past year I have genuinely began to dislike her. We haven't been able to enjoy anything together. I worry when the time is approaching for her to get out of school wondering if we are going to have a bad day or a terrible day.

We recently went out of town for 4 days and she didn't even want to talk to me on the phone when I called. She didn't even care to see us when we got back. I'm scared that this is how the rest of our lives are going to be.

The only thing different in our lives/parenting between the two children is that the youngest was breastfed longer and I also attempted a natural birth which somehow makes me feel like we are closer. But we have used the same methods and shown the same love for both children.

I don't know what to do. I look at her in the eyes and it's just blank. There is no feeling there anymore. How is this possible? I feel like a horrible parent. I just don't want to be around her at all.

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Old 03-28-2006, 07:47 PM   #2
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Re: Help! Can't stand 5 year old daughter?? Am I crazy?

Sounds frustrating. I don't have a 5 year old so I cannot offer much help. What came to mind when I read your post is that maybe you could completely change your tactic with her. Stop time outs and punishments and only respond to her positive behaviors. Just keep offering tons and tons of positive priaise when she is displaying good behaviors and ingnore bad behaviors as much as possible.

Do you think maybe she seeks negative attention? I fear I will do that with my son. Not give enough positive attention when he is displaying good behavior and only give negative attention when he is acting up. I noticed that you gave your 2 year old a time out. That IMO is negative attention for a behavior. I don't think a time out is something that will work for a 2 year old. They cannot put together their action with the time out yet. Yet they get the negative attention during the time out. This may be what happened.

I am not trying to say anything negative to you. Just trying to point out something you may not have considered. I really hope you can find something that works for your situation. I can't imagine getting to that level of frustration. I feel for you guys - sorry that you are going through this.

Old 03-28-2006, 09:18 PM   #3
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Re: Help! Can't stand 5 year old daughter?? Am I crazy?

I think I would take her to a children's hospital where she could be evaluated. if she is acting this way at 5...just imagine what 14 will be like!!! She may need special care for some reason. Maybe even meds. I don't like giving children meds...but if she were evaluated by children's doctor's who deal with nothing but children, they may come to some conlcusion of why she's this way. You have to do something...right???

Old 03-28-2006, 10:06 PM   #4
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Re: Help! Can't stand 5 year old daughter?? Am I crazy?

I am a teacher and have 3 kids; 8, 5 and 3. I have been blessed with great kids. I got my taste of behavioral problems when I started teaching. I had kids coming in with all kinds of behavioral problems. I had a girl student that sounds just like your girl. I literally hated this girland was happy when she was not in school because it made my day easier. We tried many experiments with her. The best was the positive reinforcement. Even if it's something simple like, "I am so pleased you hung your coat up!" Make a joke and give a smile. It's tough going to start but you must bite your tongue. I've almost bitten mine off several times! lol You should also see a counslor. There are so many new behavioral problems out there and new methods with dealing. The best thing to do is hug her, tell her you love her. If she struggles, bites, or kicks, hold her tighter. Bend down and look her in her eyes, get on her level and when she starts to scream, you whisper. You'll be amazed at how fast they stop so they can hear what you're saying. I have read a wonderful book called, "The Strong willed Child" by Dr. James Dobson. I strongly suggest reading it. Good luck.

Old 03-28-2006, 11:13 PM   #5
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Re: Help! Can't stand 5 year old daughter?? Am I crazy?


I'm not a parent, but I'm 19 years old and I have a lot to say about the situation.

You're not a bad mother, it is more than normal to get mad at your children, especially when they're being difficult, but I will say that as the adult you need to work on controlling yourself more.

I'm the oldest of two children. I have a now 17 year old brother. I was a great child, and my brother was definitely the little terror, however, my parents paid so much more attention to him as a child, treated him to things, treated him nicer, and you know, even stupid things like going to the mall together, it would be the three of them walking together and me in the back. They didn't even bother to glance at me. My parents have never been too good controlling emotions, so I was called every name in the book. Now that my parents are divorced and I live with my mom, I'm still called every name in the book amongst being told that I'm exactly like my father.

Anyway, after years of being completely ignored and treated like nothing by my parents I began to resent them, and at 12 years old, I remember the day clearly where I knew I hated them. I honestly have never hated two people more.

I don't speak to my father at all, and though I live with my mom, I don't see her often and when I do, I don't bother to have any sort of conversation with her because it's pointless.

And honestly, kids learn by example. The more you keep talking to her the way you say you do sometimes, and the more you yell, the more she'll yell back. Everyone in the world needs the same thing: someone to listen to them. A 5 year old is no different, just younger.

Don't make her think that being mean to someone because they were mean to you fixes all problems.

"Kill 'em with kindness."

You need to love your kids equally or you'll have one like me that literally can't stomach her parents voices.

Old 03-29-2006, 02:31 AM   #6
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Re: Help! Can't stand 5 year old daughter?? Am I crazy?

I don't want to jump the gun here, but many things about your daughter's behavior jumped out at me to think that it may be more than simply "bad behavior" and her being a "brat." There are lots of signs of possible Asperger's in your description. I'm 18, and just recently diagnosed with Asperger's, and I can see a lot of myself as a young child (and even now, to some degree) when you talk about your daughter: the thought that she's tuning you out when you instruct her, the fear of talking to you on the phone, and especially, how she seems to throw tantrums over the smallest, most insignificant things. (Lack of feeling and empathy is also common in Asperger's, something that I don't really have.) You also mentioned that she is very intelligent and independent. By any chance, does she have a lot of hobbies, interests that she's almost obsessed with? For example, does she know everything there is under the sun about a specific subject? If so, this also points to Asperger's. Since I have never actually witnessed your daughter's behavior, I may be completely off here, but I just thought I'd mention the possibility. If she truly does have Asperger's, you can save your relationship by learning to understand why she acts the way she does. My mother and I are extremely close, but we would fight constantly. It has lessened over the past year, now that my mom knows that a lot of my arguments and fits are caused by my OCD and Asperger's. I just don't want you to have to suffer through what my mom had to: thinking she was a bad parent because she couldn't control me, and having everyone else comment on what a brat I supposedly was... God bless, and feel free to ask me any questions! I'll be more than happy to try and help you!
"Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.'"
-Hans Asperger

Old 03-29-2006, 05:56 AM   #7
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Re: Help! Can't stand 5 year old daughter?? Am I crazy?

You didn't mention what your daughter is like at school. Does the teacher see the same behavior in your daughter? If not, it could be a problem at home, maybe not your parenting, but something else in the environment.

I'm mostly bothered by your use of terms like "can't stand my daughter", etc. It's going to be hard to fix this when you have such feelings. One technique I've heard for helping these feeling is to sit on her bed and watch her while she is sleeping. They always look so sweet when asleep, it just makes it easier to connect with why you lover her then, instead of when she's throwing a temper tantrum.

I also would recommend the "Strong Willed Child" book. It did wonders for my niece.

Old 03-29-2006, 06:51 AM   #8
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Re: Help! Can't stand 5 year old daughter?? Am I crazy?

At school she is great - top speller in her school's kindergarten, great conduct, etc... She doesn't get frustrated when she has trouble with something, she controls her emotions. I don't push her when it comes to academics and haven't put any pressure on her. Her father and I don't fight or yell in front of the kids. We are extremely relaxed people usually. We are always very supportive and loving towards her. The only reason we show any favoritism towards the younger child is in a situation where the youngest is doing what she is told and gets rewarded and the oldest doesn't. We don't show favoritism by giving out different degrees of affection.

The reason I am worried is I'm starting to become stressed and yell. This problem isn't a result of me being stressed and yelling. I am losing my patience because of her behavior.

It's not that I don't love her... when I say I can't stand her it means I can't stand her behavior. I'm just not scared to say it. I've read The Strong Willed Child, Dare to Discipline, and Girls Will Be Girls among other parenting books. I have read a booked about bi-racial children called Why Doesn't Anyone Else Look Like Me, which states that around her age is when children start to notice the social differences between different races. My daughter is both African American / Caucasian. I haven't heard anything from her teacher in regards to her being abused at school and she is generally happy when she talks about her friends and her days there.

One thing that I do notice is that she is spoiled at my mother's house. She stays there every Saturday and my mother allows her to call her mommy, she lets her drink from sippy cups if she wants to and she feeds her junk food. My mom gives in at every occasion. But, when my mom does punish her and send her to time out, she does the same thing (clawing the floor, asking "Take Care of Me I'm just a little girl", "Don't let me die").

We don't understand why she is saying these kind of things. We can't tell if she knows it's a manipulation or if it's something she's seen on TV. We know it's not genuine emotion because if she sees something interesting she will just snap out of it and laugh or change her focus. She has never had a pet die. We never have neglected or caused her to fear for her life or any of us. The only thing I can think of is that my mom's aunt (who lives with my mom) currently has skin cancer.

Last edited by KMama; 03-29-2006 at 06:52 AM.

Old 03-29-2006, 07:08 AM   #9
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Re: Help! Can't stand 5 year old daughter?? Am I crazy?

It's also common with some Asperger's children to be "angels" at school. I'm one of them. This is because they feel that they can be free to express their true inner anxieties at home with their mother, the only one they feel understands them. It's also a matter of pent-up frustrations from school: after dealing with idiotic kids, annoying sounds, and difficult assignments they can't understand because they think differently, they tend to just explode once they walk in the door. My school day hasn't finished yet, and I'm already ready to burst into tears of frustration, and know I will the minute I get to my dorm room... I'd be concerned about the "don't let me die" thing. This sounds like a definite anxiety problem, possibly an obsession or phobia, and shouldn't be dismissed as manipulation. If she constantly screams this along with "take care of me," it certainly sounds more of a fear of neglect and abandonment rather than trying to get her own way...
"Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.'"
-Hans Asperger

Old 03-29-2006, 11:32 AM   #10
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Re: Help! Can't stand 5 year old daughter?? Am I crazy?

kmama, I would contact an agency that speicilises in children, the school may be able to refer you or be able to point you in the right direction in finding someone who could come to your home and observe her behaviour, they will be able to tell you if there is a reason for your daughters behaviour or weather its more behavioural, as someone else pointed out, the looking right through you could be a sign of something other than just a 5 year old deciding to tune out. I know it can be difficult to really connect with a child that doesnt seem to want to connect with you but hang in there, have her eveluated so you know what you are dealing with. If it is behavioural, there are parenting support groups out there, find one, sometimes it can be easier with support from others that are in the same boat. I know you dont hate your daughter, im sure you love her to bits, its the behaviour that is driving you nuts and that doesnt make you bad parents, just frustrated ones, but you do need to get a handle on your emotions if your going to be able to help your daughter. Good luck and please keep us updated

Old 03-29-2006, 12:06 PM   #11
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Re: Help! Can't stand 5 year old daughter?? Am I crazy?

My cousin's ex-wife disliked there son since he was born and by the time he was five she officially declined her parenthood rights on him and he stays with my cousin for good. There younger daughter she likes and treated well.
I am sure it is not your case but things like that happened.

Old 03-30-2006, 06:46 AM   #12
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Re: Help! Can't stand 5 year old daughter?? Am I crazy?

I would agree that you should purchase and read "The Strong Willed Child" by Dr. James Dobson

I believe it will be very helpful to you.

Old 04-06-2006, 06:05 PM   #13
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Re: Help! Can't stand 5 year old daughter?? Am I crazy?

I am a mom of 4 kids, ages 7, 6, 3, and 1. We had some similiar things going on with our 6 year old daughter since she was small. I had always felt that there was something different about her. I loved her so much, yet I did not always feel that love back. I would go to hug her, and she seemed to hug me, but because she knew she had to, not because she wanted to. Her empathy was really lacking. She would not do things to please others, she would only do things to please herself. She was only motivated by reward. Traditional time outs never worked with her. Well, for years we went back and forth about whether we needed to do something about this. Finally, I thought, it will not hurt to talk to a specialist about this. We brought her to a children's hospital and had her evaluated by a developmental pediatrician. My daughter was diagnosed with PDD-NOS. It is part of the autism spectrum disorders, as is Aspergers (which someone else mentioned). You should do a little reading about some of the different developmental problems. Something may jump out at you. It definately sounds like more than just normal 5year old behavior. I read a book called "Your Struggling Child." This book covers many different disorders. It might be helpful to you. Good luck!

Old 04-07-2006, 03:35 PM   #14
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Smile Re: Help! Can't stand 5 year old daughter?? Am I crazy?

This thread makes me very sad! The title of the thread "can't stand five year old daughter" I really can't accept.

Firstly, your daughter is crying out for attention, and love. It seems she has learnt a behaviour that guarantees attention, although negative, it gets your attention! You say she is highly strung, highly strung children are more sensitive, and so require more acceptance and more love!

She was your first child, and you say it wasn't a natural birth, and you didn't breastfeed as long! I know that sometimes when we don't deliver naturally, we don't always find it as easy to bond with the baby! also breastfeeding is another bonding factor. Did you suffer from any postnatal depression after having her, as that can also cause a lack of bonding with a baby! When I talk about problems with bonding, that can work both ways, with baby also not bonding with the mother as it should, due to unforseen problems at the time!

Now on top of everything else, you have another child, which in your older childs eyes, can do no wrong!

I don't think your daughter needs medication, she just needs her positives to be noted, and not to feel that you dislike her, which she will be picking up on! Perhaps you and your husband could arange a babysitter for your youngest, and ask the older child what she would love to do! then give her quality time, lots of love and praise, I'm sure that is all she needs.

Please try to curb the nasty comments to her, even though I know it can be difficult, as I know from experience with myself, it stays with you.

Best of luck

Old 04-07-2006, 04:00 PM   #15
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Re: Help! Can't stand 5 year old daughter?? Am I crazy?

From Birth to the age of 2 children's survival instincts pick up the facial gestures, body stances and verbal tone of their parents as their own response mechanisms. Maybe this blank stare is effective for one or both of the parents, along with the other negative responses that she has picked up on. I understand parents do not like to be held accountable, but there's no where else a blank stare could come from, unless the child has this type of stare while in a good mood also; which is sign of autism, and needs medical assistance, not the approval and support from a **** for criticizing your kid. I'm sorry, but while even looking for support and a solution, the statement "I can't stand my kid" or very close to it, was said in the presence of adults...don't you think we can pick that up? Your statement should have been revised- it didn't need to be so harsh to be effective. Maybe if you followed yourself with a mirror when you're in a bad mood you'll find where your daughter's characteristics come from.

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