I have a 6-year-old daughter. Today, my babysitter said that my child hit her teacher. She hit her in the mouth and didn't say sorry when the teacher asked her to say sorry. Then the teacher said she doesn't tell me anything anymore because I don't do anything, since my child comes back acting the same everyday.

I try my best! I don't believe in violence. I have a system of a calender I use with the letter p on it for when she misbehaves in school. I take away her favorite toy for a day for each bad thing she does. Once she talked back to her teacher I took away her toy. It's been a while since I heard anything from her teachers.

I feel like a bad parent. I don't see anything wrong with my child but she does not listen to me and she does what she wants. I constantly have to repeat myself to her for anything I ask her.

  • It seems like removing the toy isn't working any more. What are some other consequences that she might take more seriously? "No TV" works well on both my kids, for example.
    – A E
    Jan 6, 2016 at 9:34
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    Does the talking back occur only when you aren't around (e.g. at school)? (And let the teacher know you're disappointed that you're not getting regular feedback -- if I didn't hear anything, I'd assume my kid was behaving, too!)
    – Acire
    Jan 6, 2016 at 14:34
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    I have had to ask myself "am I a bad parent" and if I find a way to get better then whatever made me ask is a good thing. It sounds like your child is violent, defiant, and un-repentant. Over time those are not self-resolving problems, they tend to grow not shrink. It is likely your discipline is powerless, but from experience I can tell you that careful examination can show plenty of non-violent discipline methods that associate a higher cost than the perceived benefit with a negative behavior. Boredom -> stand in the corner. Vanity -> lose the wardrobe except one simple outfit. etc Jan 8, 2016 at 0:28
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    Her teacher isn't acting in a good way either. She can't know if you are trying your best or not, she should know that. The litle difference is that a teacher is supposed to know how to deal with this problems Jan 13, 2016 at 14:46
  • I don't believe in physical discipline but I'm not going to let my child hit on me without hitting them back. Honestly she might need a good spanking. I'm just saying how I feel you get physical on me and I'm going to get physical with you. Two wrongs don't make a right but my now 5 year old daughter smacked me in my face when she was 4 so I spanked her and never had that problem again
    – user26023
    Jan 6, 2017 at 2:03

1 Answer 1


There's a bit of variation in your question in that you say you don't see the problematic behaviors at home but then she doesn't listen to you. This is an important distinction: whether the problem is global or specific.

I offered this in a parenting group, and it wound up being a meaningful exercise: Make a list of the top 10 things your child needs from its primary caretaker (there were a bunch of foster parents). Now remove "Discipline" and place it 11th. Discipline becomes a problem when numbers 1-10 aren't being met. And then of course it's a problem.* As a completely irrelevant example, I'll include my list from 2011 (my kids were 2 and 4)

  1. Love
  2. Proper Nutrition (at least not hungry)
  3. Security (knowing who I can trust and where I will sleep, blankie)
  4. Consistency (the rules don't change from day to day)
  5. Support (I know where I can turn if I have a problem)
  6. A voice (I am being heard)
  7. Exercise
  8. Structure (probably more important for many kids)
  9. Positivity (kindness, generosity, thank-yous)
  10. Gifts and/or rewards

I do not claim to be right in terms of my 10; however, I do believe that discipline problems run deeper than impulsive acting out.

Punishment/reward strategies are often all that a child needs, but when it doesn't seem to be meeting your needs as a parent, you can take a global look at your lifestyle/household to see if there are possible changes (like partners not yelling at each other in front of their kids).

*Then there are kids that have a mental illness. Discipline will only go so far. Although zealots will claim all ADHD can be treated without medication and that major depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia are "adult problems," failing to get a mental health evaluation when nothing else seems to be helping ...

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