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My daughter is 5 years old. She often "plays" rudely with me. For example, she'll kick me, and I cannot explain clearly to her that the behavior is impolite.

How should I respond when she behaves like this?

Sometimes I kick her (and as a result, she becomes or angry or cries), and I have told her that when she kicks me it hurts me (in fact, my daughter understands what I mean, as sometimes she may say "sorry" to me).

Sometimes, I ignore her behavior and do something else by myself.

How can I best educate my daughter?

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

Firstly, you should never "fight back" by kicking back if you are not comfortable with her behaviour. Play-fighting is fine if you have a level of control and it's all in fun, but that doesn't seem to be the case here, if she's crying.

Secondly, the best thing you can do is to say "ow!" and let her know that she hurt you, tell her that that's not correct/acceptable behaviour, and if she continues, to give her a time-out. The super-nanny guidelines here are quite good.

Getting angry won't help, and if she's looking for attention, ignoring her will just encourage worse behaviour.

Finally, one thing your question shows is that you have trouble being consistent. It's key that every time your daughter misbehaves you punish her the same way, and don't give up because it's hard to listen to the tantrums.

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thank you very much, i am supprised to get the professional response timely!! – iamsyt Dec 7 '11 at 12:58
My 5 year old daughter is the exact same way. If she hurts me and I say "ow, that hurt" she will say sorry but I don't know if she really knows what sorry means. I then ask her if she wants me to kick or hit her back and she says no. Then when I ask her why she says it would hurt and she would feel sad, so I tell her that is how she makes mommy feel when she does it. I think that helps her get the picture a little more clearly. – jlg Dec 7 '11 at 19:13

I agree with "deworde" response. However, I like to add another prospective.

Every human behavior has a root cause. Trying to control the symptoms is not enough.

Kicking is a quick and easy expression of inner negative feeling. The person may be conscious or unconscious of the reason for the feeling.

Children realize the fact that they are dependent on others (parents). A dependent person is always looking for fairness/justice. With justice they can be confident that their needs (that they cannot obtain by themselves) will be met.

Accordingly, before deciding that it is only a behavioral issue, we must ensure that our actions reflect justice. We owe it to them to continuously assure them that they can rely on us. We can achieve this by communicating our love and dedication to our children at all times. They are weak and vulnerable.

What I have said does not mean we do not correct ill behaviors. However, we must not create the triggers for them.

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+1. It's a good point that you should be looking for patterns of when your daughter behaves this way. If something's triggering it, better to fox that, than just rely on discipline. – deworde Dec 8 '11 at 16:49
FIX that, not fox that. Blasted Mobile Autocorrect. – deworde Dec 9 '11 at 10:23

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