Question:I was wondering if you had any tips for me on how to handle my 5 year old daughter who talks back non-stop and throws fits/cries a lot. We have tried everything that we can think of and nothing works. Do you have any suggestions?
Thank you for contacting us. The early school age years can certainly have their struggles and you have identified one that must be addressed before it gets out of control.
Talking back to parental authority should not be tolerated. It must be met each time with an age appropriate consequence that the child understands. It must not be met, however, with anger, even though the behavior is likely to upset you. It is important to communicate unconditional love to your child while remaining firm in your intolerance of the behavior.
Take a few minutes during an emotional calm time to talk with her about how things will be changing. Explain to her that talking back will no longer be tolerated. Each time she chooses to talk back to you she will receive an appropriate consequence. (Be sure she clearly understands the consequence, i.e. time out, sent to her room, etc. and I highly discourage physical punishment). Then, the next time she talks back to you, implement the age appropriate consequence. For example, if you tell her to put on her shoes and she refuses, simply pick her up, place her in her time out corner and begin the clock (one minute for every year she is old). Tell her the clock will start when she is quiet. Then stick to it!
Tantrums can be handled another way. Realize that as long as the tantrum works (if it helps her get her way) she will continue to do it. Once she realizes that it does not get her the desired effect, she will stop. Again, once a tantrum starts, calmly pick her up, take her to another room, close the door and leave her alone until she chooses to stop. Keep in mind that her behavior may get worse before it gets better so hang in there. We had a similar situation with our oldest child and I completely understand your exhaustion and frustration. But if you are diligent it will pay off.