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Dr. L
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
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Experience:  Licensed as psychologist and marriage and family therapist
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My 5 year old daughter laughs when I reprimand her. I ask

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My 5 year old daughter laughs when I reprimand her. I ask her if she acts like that at her dad's, but she said she doesn't. I put her in time out and she laughs and then cries herself to sleep. What do I do?



Welcome! It sounds as if you are pretty frustrated with your daughter laughing when you are trying to correct her behavior. Many times children her age will laugh if they feel anxious. When she has had time to calm down some, she probably cries because she is upset because she failed to meet your expectations.


Another way to approach behavior challenges in children is to focus on what they are doing right. When you "catch her being good" and praise her, she is getting you attention. Make sure you also remember to tell her what to do....when children hear no without direction on what to do, they are likely to just get into more mischief.


As far as her not doing this at her father's house, are you sure this account is accurate? Children sometimes like to play one parent against the other, especially if they perceive the each parent has different expectations. If you have not already, you might consider discussing the situation with her father. It might be that she is doing the same thing at his house.


I hope this information is helpful to you. Please let me know if you need any clarifications. If not please remember to accept my answer.





I would like to suggest a very good website for you to look at in order to get some additional support and information:

The Love and Logic method of parenting is extremely successful and puts the parent in the driver's seat. Right now it sounds like your daughter is running circles around you and you are getting worn out.

Her laughter may be a defense mechanism that hides her true feelings. That seems quite possible given the fact that she later cries herself to sleep. The reality is that at age 5 she still has a limited vocabulary and likely is still learning how to match her internal feelings with her outside behavior. That is, she may feel hurt and sad inside when she is disciplined, but not be sure of how to express that. She may also see crying as something babies do and she certainly doesn't want to be thought of as a baby! So...there may be several things going on here.

Another suggestion is to give her some pieces of paper and some crayons and ask her to draw. As I stated, a child of her age is still learning about words, yet drawing out their feelings and experiences is much easier. So after she is in time out,you might ask her to sit with you and draw for awhile...asking her to draw how she feels inside and to tell you a story based on what she has drawn. You are likely to be surprised by what she puts on paper.

Having your child laugh at you when you are trying to convey an important lesson about behavior can be challenging. Hang in their mom!

Please let me know if I can be of further service.

Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1168
Experience: Licensed as psychologist and marriage and family therapist
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