Reddit user Scarabic has a daughter who is almost 6 years old, and she has become a bit of a troublemaker. He explained:

My almost six year old daughter is showing a lot of defiance right now. Refusing to do what she’s asked, crossing her eyes and frowning, never expressing any gratitude or even a moment’s consideration for others. She entered kindergarten a couple months ago so is going through a transition, and we have a two-year-old toddler, so she’s had a couple years of having to come second. She’s also just strong willed and wants what she wants.

While Scarabic affirmed that his daughter’s defiant behavior is something he can handle, he said it has put a lot of stress on his wife, the mother of his two children.

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Scarabic described himself as a “commanding presence,” meaning he has the ability “cut through his daughter’s tantrums and generally spin her back into a good orbit.” When he’s not disciplining her, he said he is able to have a warm and affectionate relationship with her.

Scarabic’s wife, on the other hand, doesn’t have that commanding presence, and it’s started to put a strain on her and their daughter’s relationship. He wrote:

My wife is very different—quiet, compassionate and open hearted. She isn’t having any fun dealing with a child who defies her openly. And she doesn’t have a commanding presence she can fall back on. Our daughter and her strong will run amok over this, sometimes screaming at mom and calling her names.

The strain their daughter’s behavior is putting on Scarabic’s wife is causing her to take it personally. He added that it doesn’t help that their daughter shows him respect, but not his wife.

Scarabic explained that he and his wife have sat their daughter down as a group in order to talk to her about her behavior. Their daughter simply responds by asking her mom to be more like her dad.

Now he’s worried that he has “calibrated” her to being more responsive to a commanding parenting style, something his wife “doesn’t have in her.”

Worried about my daughter and wife. from Parenting

He wrote:

The two of them have gotten to a bad place. Mom frowns a lot, and when I ask her what’s wrong, she doesn’t say that the kid is exhibiting defiance or failing to control her emotions, she says, “she’s being a total twat to me again.” I feel like things have been dysfunctional for long enough that she’s taking it personally now and not looking at it as “six-year-old being defiant.” […]

She took the kid out of daycare to spend more time with her and try to turn this around, but it’s only gotten worse. Mom is bitter that her compassion is ill rewarded. Daughter just doesn’t get it. We ask her why she can’t respect her mom more and she just stands there stony faced.

Scarabic said he’s sharing his issues in order to get advice from other parents who have gone through similar experiences.

Many commented with their suggestions:


Do you have any advice of your own?

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