Lone parent struggling with childs behaviour

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    I have been a single parent to my now 5 year old daughter since she was 4 months old. Her father has no involvement at all.

    I am really really struggling with her behaviour at the moment. If I ask her to do something and she doesn’t want to do it, its 0-100 in seconds and she shouts, screams and when I try time out she bites, kicks and scratches me. Repeatedly comes out of her room when she is in a time out. I have tried removing all of her toys etc from her room, tried early bedtimes for bad behaviour but nothing seems to work and it just goes on for hours on end.

    Nothing has changed in our lives, she has lots of lovely friends at school so I just do not know what is causing it or what to do about it because I exhaust all forms of punishment and nothing works and I just feel like nothing else can be done so I end up sitting feeling so so low about it because I have no control.

    i don’t know what to expect from here, I am just at my wits end and its really affecting me mentally because I am on my own so have no backup 🙁

    #15673 Report


    Hi ljpme88

    Personally, I choose my battles with the kids wisely. I wouldn’t expect a 5 yr old to tidy an entire room unaided, despite messing it up unaided! Kids are kids and they don’t always follow instructions as we expect, they’re easily distracted, have a short attention span and 5 is still young. Just fresh back into school consider that she might be over tired? I wouldn’t tolerate biting, scratching, hitting from my kids, and likewise I don’t feel the need to punish them in a physical manner. When they were younger I used a cushion next to me for time out, I found it easier than running up and down to their bedroom, plus you can’t see what they’re doing whilst in the bedroom. If they choose to spend a 4 minute period screaming and throwing themselves around on the floor, that’s their choice, just don’t react and stay calm. I’ve congratulated mine on a beautiful ‘performance’ prior to now but you need to stay calm. So long as they remain in contact with the cushion it’s all good. Use an egg timer or such like so she has a visual sign of how long she has to remain, then just debrief with her afterwards on why she shouldn’t do x,y and z, hug and move on. Repeat as necessary. I didn’t hold my children there on the cushion, if they moved, I picked them up and put them back. Initially Id be aware that the next hour could literally be spent collecting/returning the child to the cushion but they learned pretty quick that if mum was cheesed off about something, the quickest way to move on was just serve the time! Consistency is key.

    Dont feel like you’re the only person in the world facing a challenging child 😁

    #15785 Report



    They are little madams aren’t they!

    My daughter is 6 and I am also a lone parent. We have had some power struggles at home since she started school 2 years ago. I have a theory that social pressure has started at school and that our family (1 adult and 1 child) is different to most of her class mates. My daughter was/is being asked questions that she can’t answer … ‘where is your dad?’ ‘do you see him on the weekend’ ‘draw a family portrait’ etc. I have since discovered that these questions embarrassed her and this translates to anger towards me. I then also became angry too…. our home was a screaming, crying crazy zone. I knew something had to give so I googled, signed up to parenting groups and read books on children etc.   I recommend Beyond Toddlerdom by Dr Christopher Green. (its american but if you can get past that, it is quite useful).

    I read in Beyond Toddlerdom  … Whatever the child’s behaviour whether it is restless, anger, clinging, or withdrawal. These children are shouting at the top of their voices ‘I don’t know what it is I am feeling but it hurts’

    Some of the practical things I have done to help my daughter manage her emotions…

    Shown her photos of her Dad

    Explained in positive and child friendly manner why she doesn’t see her dad. (he lives far away and made a choice not to see us. I feel sorry for him that he doesn’t get to see how amazing you are. I am very lucky to see you every day)

    Explained all families are different and special. We are lucky to have each other.

    I have recently had a fairy move in to our home and she leaves magic reminder notes every night and a small gift on a Saturday morning if my daughter does as the fairy asks. (make your bed, brush your teeth and i will sprinkle extra fairy dust on you tonight while sleeping)

    I am trying really hard to not loose my $h*t and not sweat the little things and rewarding good and ignoring negative.

    Good Luck


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