I agree with those suggesting a grandmotherly type to watch your daughter. In the alternative, if there is a nearby university, a graduate student in psychology or human development might be a good choice. Good luck with this tough situation.
Personally, I like Tae Kwon Do. Most dojo's have kids program, complete with after school pick-up. IF Jr. went to one with a kid's after school program all through elementary school. It worked very well.
Not only did he get regular exercise, he ended up with a black belt. The values that Tae Kwon Do teaches are exactly what you want you kid to learn; self-confidence, respect for others, and solving problems constructively. Also, he was hanging out with other kids that shared those values. Peer pressure is incredibly important even at the young ages. A kid having tantrums doesn't have many friends.
The program my son was in allowed for later pick-up, too. I'm very happy with this choice and it worked well for our sometimes hectic schedules.
I am a Kindergarten teacher of 28 years. I have found the best thing for kids like this is the Tae Know Do type of afterschool. It does WONDERS for the kid! It gives them an outlet for all of their energy AND teaches them self control and respect!
Rustbreeches, I agree with you. And I don't see ANYTHING racist in your observation, even slightly. I think you're showing enormous respect for a culture where elders are respected (with a healthy dose of fear ) and saying that anyone could benefit from emulating that proven relationship structure.
I realize that I'm generalizing here, but as is often the case when I generalize, I don't care. ~ Dave Barry
Sure, why not, instead of using your brain and finding an appropriate reward/punishment system based on effective parenting skills and maybe the help of a counselor, just smack the shit out of her.
I actually agree that "smacking the shit out of her" is an inappropriate, emotional response. I just disagree that that is what spanking is about.
Spanking done correctly (and yes, it CAN be done correctly) is NEVER an emotional response. I have been, as a child, spanked in love (only a couple of rare times) and hit by an abusive parent in lack of control/flare-out/anger, these occurring during the same time period (Mom didn't know about Dad's actions at that time, this being a big factor in the divorce once she found out. My Dad was mentally ill. He was Jekyll and Hyde).
But at that age, younger than 6, there was ZERO possibility of me mixing those two actions up. It wasn't merely apples and oranges; it was apples and 747s. Had anybody ever suggested to me that Mom and Dad were actually doing the very same thing, I would have looked at you like you were crazy.
Mom's approach: "DT, come here. Sit down and look at me. You were just doing XYZ. Weren't you? Do you remember when we talked about XYZ the last time you did it? Good. Now, remind me what we said about XYZ. So that was wrong of you to do that. Do you see that that was wrong of you to do that? The first time you did XYZ, we had consequence 1 and said what consequence 2 would be. Do you remember those discussions? Good. Then the next time you did XYZ, we had consequence 2, and I said that as consequence 3, I would have to spank you. Do you remember me saying that? Good. So I have to spank you now, because you decided to do XYZ again. Now tell me again why doing XYZ is wrong, just so I can make sure you understand. Thank you. And you remember me saying that I would have to spank you if you did XYZ again? That's right. So now, turn over my knee. I'm sorry I have to do this, but your actions do have consequences, and you knew in advance what those consequences are. Smack. Okay, now tell me again why I just had to spank you. So you agree that XYZ is wrong? Good. Now then, what do you think will happen the next time you decide to do XYZ? That's right. How could you avoid that? Right, by not doing XYZ again. So you understand? Good. I hope we never have to do this again and that you'll make a better choice next time. Let me give you a hug."
Literally. It was SO drawn out, so much more talk than action, zero anger involved, that we kids would be thinking, "Sheesh, hurry up and get it OVER with, would you?"
Dad's approach: I could not summarize it like above, because it was never the same. The essence of unpredictability. Often but not always started with Dad being mad or having a bad day himself. (Mom NEVER spanked us when she was mad or having a bad day herself; if she had any question that she was feeling emotional herself, she postponed the discipline until she wasn't.) With Dad, there was zero discussion, zero explanation. He would just have something be the final straw, not even always something we did, and he would abruptly snap and lash out.
He scared me. Mom never scared me, not even when about to spank me. He acted in anger. She never did when disciplining us. He was totally unpredictable. With her the consequences were SO predictable that the only way you ever advanced to that level and got spanked was to see if she really would (she would) or to forget the previous consequences in the moment of action (in which case it made a better and more lasting reminder so you wouldn't forget next time).
Night and day. Yes, some spanking is done incorrectly and in anger. But it CAN also be done correctly and in discipline and with clear understanding of the reasons by the child.
And it was that clear to me, well before age 6, that there was a whopping difference in those two scenarios. Never in a million years would I have confused them.
Last edited by dressagetraks; Nov. 3, 2012 at 10:09 PM.
Grandmotherly type with a success rate of raising kids that became good adults. Black, white, or full on Smurf Purple! Good Grannies are good Grannes, period.
I know the type! My Mom Died when I was six.
I was trouble before then. With my Mom being sick, and unable to do much, and my Dad working.....well life was not easy. I even walked out of Catholic School in first grade because the Sister would not let me go to the bathroom. I went anyway, and then walked out the doors and walked a mile and a half home! My Dad was angry, but not at me. He was angry that a teacher would not allow a child to go to the bathroom. I never went back to that school, but he did realize he had a very strong willed child.
My Grannies, both of them became sitters, and I learned respect, responsibility, consequences.
Yep, I got a swat here and there. Deserved, and did me no harm. But it was rare, as they led by example.
I wish you the best. It can't be easy. And I hope, in a few years,you will look back on this and chuckle.
Who said anything about "smacking the shit out of her"?
No wonder there are so many spoiled children!
Spanking of any sort is considered punishment (positive punishment in this case). The only time punishment is ever remotely effective is if it is applied immediately following (or better yet during) the offending behavior. But even then, unless you apply it persistently without fail, effects are short-term. In my opinion, it's far better to work within the boundaries of positive and negative reinforcement when doing behavioral shaping (and reap the long term benefits).
Spoiled children aren't as such because they are lacking a licking--they are like that because the parents aren't consistent and or persistent with their behavioral shaping.
I am sorry to sound so cold in this explanation, but behavioral shaping and modification is the essence of child-rearing. And the crappy thing is there is no broad solution for all kids which makes it difficult for parents--some will be easier to shape than others by nature. That is what I've observed in my two years in a lab as well as babysitting and nannying for the last eight.
If your child isn't threatening to set anyone on fire, I personally consider her fine and manageable, as I actually nannied two boys (briefly) who tried to set me on fire. The parents had a beating stick they used on the boys--didn't make a lick (no pun intended) of difference to their behavior.
Like others said, an older type might be better. Someone who can really act like "mom" in your stead. I am also a huge fan of putting kids in activities that, through peer pressure, make them behave. Is there anything that captures her interest and would focus her energy? My impression is she doesn't like the instability of things and she's trying to assert control--and in the process, it's getting pent up and resulting in tantrums. Some athletic activity might alleviate this.
If you do decide punishment is the way to go, you need to be very clear with the caretaker. Timing is everything, and there can be no anger, no emotion whatsoever. Both of you need to be on the same page for when punishment is necessary.
WOW. Go out of town and I have so many responses, many *assuming* quite a bit, but regardless I thank you all for your input. FWIW, I used "monster" in the title to get maximum views/responses, not because I think she is one--I thought that would have been obvious.
1. She gets plenty of sleep. In bed by 7:30, usually asleep 10 min later, and I don't get her up for school until 7:15. Average 6 yo sleeps 10 hours/day, mine sleeps 11-12. One of my friends suggested that since this means she only spends about an hour before and after school with me, that part of the problem may be that she's acting out because she thinks she'll get to spend more time with me, which unfortunately for both of us, is not going to happen!
2. I rarely get this behavior from her. I do discipline--I am pretty darn consistent and try to measure the harshness of the consequence to the degree of disobedience. Even "tone" or "attitude" lands a time-out until she can speak nicely. She's definitely had days where it seemed like her butt was in the time-out chair all night. I have occasionally spanked, even though I don't like that as a punishment. As I said before I also have done various reward charts and rewards for positive behavior, too. She spends every other weekend with her father, however, and he is inconsistent and permissive. This has been discussed over and over, but I had him speak to the last nanny to get a feel from someone other than me that he has to change. She spends quite a bit of time at the barn, and I discussed all this with the barn owner and her 2 young adult children who have watched her and she's not been that bad for them either.
3. I do pay as well as I can afford--by round up didn't mean a buck or two total. Going rate around here is $10-11/hr., I've paid closer to $12-14 (depending on experience) and then rounded the overall weekly time up to the nearest hour, usually resulting in a few more bucks/week on top of that. I had our first nanny for 4 years and she also got bday, Xmas bonuses, etc. I get that people would put up with a lot more if the money was great, but there is no way I could afford to double my rate long term.
4. Since its just the 2 of us most of the time, in an effort to encourage responsibility I have let her make some decisions (what she wanted for lunch, what to wear for school, etc--low impact things). It was suggested to me by one of my friends to stop that in favor of "this is what you are eating/wearing/etc." for a while to reinforced that the bottom line is that she can have an opinion, but adults make all the decisions, the end.
5. Spirited kids are just that--intense and spirited. It is independent from spoiled or naughty or defiant or disobedient. One can be very spirited and very well behaved, they're not mutually exclusive. While I don't think my child is spoiled, obviously she is being disobedient and defiant with some people and that needs to be the focus of my effort.
I have clearly not instilled into my child that good behavior is not only appropriate with someone she respects/knows--it has to be ALL the time, with ALL people. I believe she probably exploits/manipulates because she's gotten away with that from a sitter or two, and now that's her default to see what she can get away with and escalating quickly and wildly inappropriately. I don't think I was aware of how bad her behavior has been "when the cat's away" and that will be swiftly rectified. She's pretty smart so I can see her pushing buttons immediately to find out just how serious/strict someone will be with her.
To that end I agree that it will be a good idea to try to find an older, more wise, etc. sitter that won't take any BS, and make it clear that I want a very specific/detailed picture of her behavior each day so that I can deal with any difficulties myself as well immediately. As I said before, I also have a meeting set with the school counselor, and will ask to be referred to an outside therapist as well since I don't think it can hurt to attack this from more than one angle.
Thanks for everyone's input--even those that are a bit off-base to our specific situation--you never know where a good kernel of advice will come from!
From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.
Gosh, I wish I wasn't headed out of town.... I love spirited kids/dogs/horses
Have you considered giving her some responsibility to take care of herself after school... it sounds like it's not a huge gap in time. I know it's culturally unacceptable here but I've seen kids in poor countries at 9 yrs old get off the bus, bring the little kids in the neighborhood home, change out of school clothes, tend to the livestock, get their homework done, and then go play.... without the parent home. In this situation, there was adults within the area. Still, one of the best ways to gain responsibility is to have it given to you.
Is she incapable of dealing with her long day? Some kids can't cope with the noise and stress of after school care. Could you pick her up at school and let her have a snack and do her homework in your office? There are shuttle services that might be able to drop her off at your office if you can't pick her up. If she behaves, make sure she is well rewarded at the end of the week by a fun activity with you and one of her friends.
AKB, I've done without after care and with--no apparent difference. There are no buses or shuttles that go from her school to work. Plus I'm not sure my boss would be too keen on that as a long term solution. She's spent a few Saturday mornings and half days at the office, but its not ideal for either of us.
From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.
Ah, I didn't catch she was 6. It's a bummer that doesn't work out bringing her to work. One of the best kids I knew basically grew up in the back of a vet clinic since she was about that age, and not long ago I was at another clinic and saw that set up again at another clinic. Sadly, the parents of both were also the owners of the clinic.
Is there a big brother/big sister program she can be in that may help give her someone else that can shower her with special attention when you can't? Even if that doesn't work as the nanny, maybe having someone like that with some sort of consistancy will help her, since so much has changed in her life.
I'm thinking of one kid I know that sounds like your daughter. His mother really babies him, and he knows he can bend the rules. His mom says he listens to me better than his parents or teachers... I give him lots of positive attention when he is doing things right, try hard to ignore negative behavior, don't baby or plead with him, and rules are rules. No means no, homework before playtime, etc. The rules don't bend, and he knows that with me, but I also reward good behavior with special play time and do activities that work well for him (physical things like a long hike with one on one time or thought provoking things like training the dog to dance by himself, etc). He's just a blast to be around then because he is so energetic, inquisitive, thoughtful, and just fun, probably much like your daughter. He's different, but this kid is going to do something awesome one day.
She sounds like a really awesome kid who has a great mom. Big hugs.
I suggest you contact UNC's psych department and see if any grad students would be interested in a challenge.
I don't have kids, but moms tout me as a miracle worker with their unruly kids. You know what I do? I treat them the same way I do a crazy lab puppy or a horse that bullies his owner. Clear boundaries, help them realize how to be useful, neglect the behaviors you don't want, reward the ones you do. 3 seconds to correct, with the right amount of energy to get the desired result.
She needs at least an hour a day where she's the center of attention.
I think the problem is not your daughter, who is six and is acting like a six-year-old, from what you have described. People are just flaky. I have several friends who have gone through hell trying to find and keep good sitters, and their kids were not at all "monsters." I think it is just the nature of the world of low-paying jobs. Unfortunately.