I have a six yr old girl, who does not seem to listen to anything whatsoever. She is very disobedient and high strung. I love her dearly but am at wits end trying to make her listen and behave appropriately.I am concerned that it is my fault, seeing as I have not been with her father since she was six months old. Also he has not been in her life as he chose not to be.
She also makes a lot of sexual gestures and comments and this is a huge concern of mine. So I was wondering what I should do, and why this might be happening. I also have a nine yr old boy, who is the opposite. What can I do to help her? Any suggestions I am willing to take any step to help her out, and find out what what is going on in her little mind.
From: “Leah Youmans”
COUNSELLING ANSWER BY ILAXI PATEL
Hi Leah Youmans,
A very difficult child is active and intense. She has less threshold of tolerance and frustrate easily. They have the nervous temperaments, fear gripping back on their minds when they foresee disapproval, disinterest or even scorn. The child feels a sense of failure and gradually their behavior pattern changes. They become stubborn, stop listening and act in strange ways. A family break up is stressful for a child at any age. In case of younger children, psychologists feel, they are most vulnerable to the stresses of divorce and child may have to contend with the feelings that originated in his or her parents’ breakup. A six yr old child grows up to awareness of a parental separation and as such, the helplessness strikes on tender mind suffocating her to speak but her attitudinal behavior changes to concern. They crave for attention and as a result, they throw all sorts of tantrums and stop listening and disobey.
It so happens that early schooling too is like a room full of strangers. They face the separation anxiety and children sometimes respond by reverting to infantile behavior. A five/six year old will act like a toddler or show negative behavior and become upset at the parent’s sudden disappearance. Reading readiness is also a hotly debated topic in educational and psychological circles. In the past, nursery schools and kindergartens focused on teaching four and five year old, basic social and motor skills: how to follow instructions, participate in group activities and hold a crayon or pencil for best results. Not until the first grade, when they were six or so, were most children considered emotionally and mentally ready to be taught reading and arithmetic. Some parents feel early headstart in life and esp. a single parent is quite apprehensive and go for early training which might make the child feel failure and think they do not know and can’t accomplish.
Moreover, sibling rivalry is a major concern these days. In experiencing the give and take of relationship with parents and family, the child become aware of feelings of mutual love and trust, a child moves beyond self involvement to interest in other people. A child should be free of mind from ‘me’ and ‘mine’. The parent need to
demonstrate equal love. A six year child do not have self controlled ways to channel her frustrations and to vent her emotion. If you want the child to behave better, decide on the specific behavior you would like to change. Tell her exactly what you want her to do and show how to do it. If she whines when she wants something, tell her to ask you, ‘Jessy, when you want a chocolate ice-cream scoop, say, “Mom, may have have a choco ice-cream?” If she isn’t listening, you demonstrate yourself on how to listen to her and than, calmly say what you want her to listen. The calmer you are, the child will be less aggressive. Moreover, adopt ‘Praise’ theory.Focus your praise on behavior and not the child. You are interested in controlling the child, so praise the behavior. Say, “It’s good girl that you are sitting so quiety and listening to me. I am so happy.” Continue as new behavior needs that support.Praise correct things and by this way, your expectations are seen and you continue to hold your own model of good behavior before her. Children should learn to experience consequences of their acts and it teaches them to be responsible for what they do.Discipline is setting boundaries. Do not be a critic but be a model and guide ‘Do as I say and not as I do’ For this, the parent need to focus on self managing and ask yourself :
1. By my approach of discipling, what I want the child to do?
2. What I want her to learn?
3. Is my style of guidance and direction, cool and calm way?
4. How is she faring under my guidance
5. Am I getting positive results? If not, why? What are loop-holes?
6. Is my guidance consistent with my own values?
7. Am I pressurizing the kid too much?
8. Am I devoting love, time to the kid?
9. Am I frustrated, get irritated soon, hyper over things?
Here, you need a change where you feel you lag behind. This will help change the child’s attitude too. Just remember, Great Kids too, misbehave!
Now, using sexual gestures and comments is indeed a concern! Children should be encouraged to indulge in playing games and activities and join in same age groups. Normally, girls prefer dads and boys prefer moms and this is quite a normal tendency of opposite sex attraction. When the girl misses a dad, she feels alone.
Sexual gestures come out of awareness and feelings – Recognising achievements and encouragement is missed when she is successful and strive for recognition of some praiseworthy work done. She would mean to say, “Watch me Daddy, watch me mom” but when dad’s motivation and encouragement is missing, frustration grips. Moreover, exposure to television, violence, adult behavior is risky. Stop such shows and do not allow kids to watch nor should a parent watch it. Even a scene on sex is anxiety for a kid and in wierdest mood swings, the child exhibit sexual gestures and comments. Instil good habits, say ‘You’re too early for this’ and under no circumstances, allow the child to use sexual gestures and comments. Discipline should be on priority and express your views. It is also important that your children really know how much you love them. Siblings always feel that their parents love them less and hence, it’s best to create a better bond with your kids.Demonstrate love and participate in your child’s life. Say, “Jessy, I have been so busy lately that I have’nt got time to tell you a story” I miss it. I enjoy being with you. I will tell you the story today (or on sunday) and we can have great fun together” Keep the commitment too. Make her feel special. Make her feel that you’re happy to be her mom. Say, “I am lucky to be your mom as you are a loving girl like Red Riding Hood”.
3 Effective keys to stop Misbehavior reflects in the image above. Stop Tantrums – Don’t allow tantrums and be firm but do not spank. Nor use abusive speech to the child. Children are too sensitive and need all the love that you can give – They sparkle like gems then.
This may work positive. Listen to her and she listens to you. Give gold stars for good behavior and avoid for bad. Keep counting…..patience is the rarest virtue.