Parenting K-6 Kids/A difficult 6 year old


w.j.Forsyth wrote at 2011-12-03 12:10:10
w.j.forsyth ( Foster Parent )

hi Linda !

First off all do you have a partner ? it sounds like your not having a easy time of it, so take a deep breath and think of your role in this situation.

When you have a child which is a bright child and somehow the boundaries have all but disappeared then this has to be accepted ( to enforce new boundaries or enforce existing boundaries ) is going to be a slow and delicate process involving the 3 steps forward and 1 step back ! a bright child understands that by messing about ,you will be late for your job/appointment etc and that they are in control ! what can you do about it ? that was the challenge and how you respond opens the door for the next challenge, this is where your role as now changed into the role of a shrewd diplomat , your child not only wants your undivided attention she is getting it on her terms ( i.e. being late / the wetting ,control over her sibling , and once you have tried all the tested methods from an array of experts you are left with what can you do about it , my own experience with this type of child says ok keep them safe and remove from your relationship as many sources of conflict as possible ( give in but don't let them now # we have dealt with so many of these types of children over the years, we know that there is no quick fix # hence our reading this forum )it hurts to let a child win but once they have overstepped that mark ! and they realize you actually wont install any penalties it becomes a nasty game in which you are forced to play along with them .You say she tries to negotiate everything! that means she controls to a degree every decision that effects her ! Your child is not responding to the stars and rewards etc she has all the rewards she wants/needs in your reactions ! so how do you react? this is both the cause and the answer , Do you show Temper / frustration / cry or ignore her and how does she react ? laugh at you ? smirk ,kick out at you , or walk away from you or maybe totally blank you.

From personal experience you will not gain the upper hand with a child like this all you can do now is to sort of make the best of a bad job , think about all of your requests ! do you really have to have that confrontation and most important try to shield your other child, keep any confrontations away from her ! i don't think there is that easy fix but you must look at your own actions to keep your own sanity and playdown the negative feelings that come from this sort of situation . we have never won with a child like this but you can maintain a sort of damage limitation with them .hopefully your child may get simply bored with the challenging behavior if she sees no benefit of carrying the game on, but definitely seek the advice of has many professionals as possible maybe there may be a root cause . remember your not alone and there is no such thing as the perfect parent .

Yours W.j.Forsyth  

Feminist Mum Wife wrote at 2012-12-06 17:06:53
My difficult 6 year old values nothing more than her own way except perhaps my undivided attention. With 2 other children to care and nurture I cannot offer undivided attention to my bright, capable but super challenging 6 year old.

Battling against her is destructive to our mother daughter relationship & to how her brothers & sisters regard her. As she creates turmoil & angst in a bid to have thing her way they draw closer together and eventually I expect she will become isolated from them.

Finding ways to reduce the friction is key to us all living more harmoniously.  It always feels like a complete 'mother fail' that the same parenting tools that work well for the other children are totally ineffective for my 'difficult 6 year old'. Further I expect my highly emotive reactions to the frustration she causes will damaging to her in later life. She won't recall her abominable behavior but she will remember my anger, tears & words.

Reducing areas of conflict & reducing the battle of wills will make for a happier home, even though it appears to be an approach that is contrary to most parenting tools.

If the cost of compliance is breaking your child's will the cost is too high. The best quality of these difficult, chaos inducing, tantr throwing 6 year olds is their will.  I take comfort in the knowledge that many of is have the responsibility if nurturing this kind of child and believe the advice of not trying to change them is intuitively sound.

Parenting K-6 Kids

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Cathy Bailey


I can answer questions on dealing with the difficult behavior of babies, toddlers, preschoolers, school children and teenagers. I can also help with issues such as bed wetting, head lice, thumb sucking and other childhood concerns. I can offer advice on children and homework, communicating with your childís teacher and coping with bullying, amongst other school issues. If there is a parenting issue I canít answer, I am honest about it, and try my best to refer the questioner to somewhere where they can find an answer.
I am the author of a website dedicated to helping parents deal with challenging and difficult behavior.


I am a mother of two boys, aged 13 and 7. My husband and I have fostered various children and we have adopted one (the 7 year old). I have been a teacher since 1991, both in secondary schools, and now in a primary school. I have run various language clubs in nurseries, teaching French and Spanish through games, songs and other fun activities.

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I have a BA Honors Degree from London University in French and Spanish, and a P.G.C.E. (teaching qualification) from Cambridge University.

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