wife to Jake, mommy to my 3 crazy munchkins, Lily (7), Jonah (5.5) and Kate (4). Taking this crazy blessed life one day at a time.


My Spirited Girl..... HELP!

Okay, friends, neighbors, family and acquaintances, I need you help. I need some advice on how to deal my spirited 5 1/2 year old.

Almost every time we go somewhere (a party, somewhere to play, some one's house, or if people come over to our house), Lily goes nuts. She is fine before hand, but once we get there, she suddenly starts running around, talking/yelling way too loudly, climbing on anything and everything (including people), pulling at people's clothes, and most of all, not listening. It's like she is so wound up that she can't even hear anything. She usually ends up doing things that are too dangerous or hurtful or doing something that could break or hurt someone else. She is literally bouncing off of the walls and acts like she is going crazy!

I feel like I have tried everything and I can not figure out how to get through to her when she is acting like this.

I also do not know WHY she is acting this way. I get that she is excited and all, but the way she acts is totally overboard. She is uncontrollable.

I hate seeing her like that because I feel so helpless and I feel like a bad mom for not being able to get her to settle down. It is also rather embarrassing and I don't like seeing people annoyed with her.

Does anyone have any advice on how I can handle this or why she is acting this way??

Of course I love Lily to pieces, and I want to let her be herself, but she needs to learn that there are boundaries and we have to be respectful of others and of other people's things and property.

Also, when Lily gets this way, Jonah and Kate see what she is doing and start acting up as well. If you pluck Lily out of the situation, Jonah and Kate would be just fine and well behaved, but with Lily in there, all 3 start acting up and it just becomes way too much and too stressful for me to handle.


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AmiableJAK said...

Try sitting her down before people come over or you get into a social situation and discuss the behavior your expect of her. She is at an age where she can be in control of her behavior, and some expectations are appropriate, but help her set these goals ahead of time.
Decide on what to do if she starts acting up. Let her help determine what should happen. Ask if she would rather be put in time out or be asked to be excused to her room. Or if you are going out, will you have to cut the visit short or have her do a time out sort of thing.
Does this help?

Hannah Bartholomew said...

One trick we use with Penelope (and Bea, now, who is starting to really embrace her wild side) is what we call "self control." I've also heard mamas do a similar thing with "quiet bunny." Here it is: when P is starting to spin out of control, I pull her over and tell her simply, "Hey. Self control." (Or, "Hey, show me quiet bunny"). This is our code for her to take a deep breath and fold her hands, fingers interlocked, and keep them in her lap or in front of her heart. She has to be quiet and stay like this for 30 seconds to a minute until she regains her composure. It's like a non-punishment time-out. We use it when she's simply getting too hyper or excited, not when she's actually done anything wrong. Something about keeping your hands interlocked forces calm over the body/mind. I do it too, when I'm starting to lose my cool - and the girls are starting to see that they need to cool it if I'M having to get self-control! :)
Of course, like any good trick, you have to teach it to her ahead of time and practice it randomly for about a week before she'll do it on command at a playdate.
We actually tried it as "quiet bunny" first, but the girls took that image to a silly place and would just giggle the whole time. "Self-control" seems to be the right code word for us. To each his own, right?
All that said, I'm learning to not be afraid of taking them out of the situation completely if they just can't get it together. Like last night, we went to IHOP as a treat but the girls just wouldn't stop wiggling and climbing under the table and starting mini food fights... I finally said, "ok, we're done." and left WAY before dinner was over. It was a bummer to me but it wasn't like I was having a great time with them acting crazy either. GOOD LUCK. Spirited kids - they can WEAR US OUT. :)