|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Curbing Manipulative Behavior

Elementary School Expert Advice from Barbara Potts

Q: I'm having problems with my six-year-old stepdaughter. She has failed kindergarten because she won't do the work. She is able to read, but refuses to. When she gets upset with someone because she they ask her to do something, she makes herself vomit. We tried punishing her by taking away the things she likes. We tried spanking her. We tried ignoring it and making her go places with vomit on her. To my knowledge, there is nothing mentally wrong with this child. Is there a possibility that it could be a psychological problem and if so, why hasn't the school or anyone else caught on yet? What should we do?

A: Your stepdaughter needs some help with these issues right away. She has learned to use these very manipulative behaviors to get what she wants, even though they make her physically uncomfortable. The consequences you've tried are not working and could be considered abusive, so it's time to get additional help.

The school counselor or your pediatrician can refer you to a therapist in your community who can help with these behaviors. You will want to find someone who will work with your entire family, as you will need to work together to improve the problems that you are experiencing.

Since no one else has seen these extreme behaviors, perhaps it is only when she is with family members that your stepdaughter exhibits them. The school staff apparently has seen the problems she is having with achievement since she is going to repeat kindergarten. Be sure to let the teacher and school counselor know that you are pursuing therapy for your family.

More on: Expert Advice

Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

Healthy Smile Checklist for Kids
Have better dental check-ups with this free printable checklist that helps keep your child flossing, brushing, and smiling! Brought to you by Philips Sonicare.

Kindergarten Readiness App
It's kindergarten registration time! Use this interactive kindergarten readiness checklist, complete with fun games and activities, to practice the essential skills your child needs for this next big step. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

8 Easter Egg Decorating Ideas
Need some fun ideas for decorating Easter eggs with the kids? Look no further for colorful and cool designs!

7 Ways to Curb Kids' Exposure to Violence
American children are exposed to violence more often than you might think. Learn how to limit your child's exposure to violence and manage the mental health and behavioral effects it can cause.