I Wasn’t Smarter Than a Five Year Old

This is Part I of a multi-part post.

Before blogs were commonplace or even the Internet for that matter, I was the mother with ‘that child’. Yes, the one with the child screaming at the top of her lungs while shopping at Target; the one you looked at in horror when the kid flailed on the ground  because she demanded to have every last sweet at the check-out stand. Boy, I wish blogs had existed back in my early parenting days — then I would have known I wasn’t the only one who’d spawned a difficult child.

I went at it the old-fashion way, consulting books and my parents, and crying on my friends’ shoulders as they sat with their well-behaved kids at playgroups — and who probably hoped I’d leave before their kids got any ideas from my tempermental child.

Oh, so you think I didn’t know you sometimes felt sorry for me? I did. Like the time when you stared at me at the mall as I was carrying my kid’s inconsolable tiny body out to the car where she could wail in peace.

How about when you saw me trying to convince her she had had enough animal crackers while I picked up the mess she’d made at the restaurant?  And, when the check out lady would ask you at the grocery store to “please let the lady with the crying child come to the front of the line”, I know you did it to help me out, right?


You also most likely hated me when you got the seat next to me on the airplane because my toddler wouldn’t shut up and let you sleep. And, you also thought she was a spoiled brat and that was probably why she was behaving this way.

“I would never allow my child to behave that way,” was doubtless going through your mind when you walked passed me at the toy isle and had to tip-toe over the crayons and small toys she had thrown about in an uncontrollable fit.

I know you did.


Because I thought the same things you did even while I was desperately trying not to rip my hair out (or my child’s) while counting to 100 during these temper tantrums.

These are the joys of having lucked out and birthed a difficult child.

The ‘difficult child’ is actually a term used to describe the type of child my husband and I had; nothing to do with genes (but I’d still tell my husband it was ‘his daughter’) or spoiling her. It had everything to do with the method of disciplining her — and it was in ways I had never had to employ with my first quiet, mild-mannered child.

To boot, as if raising a strong-willed child wasn’t hard enough, this also had an impact on our marriage. It bewildered us to see how a five year old could pit us against each other by “telling” on us. “Wait ’til daddy comes home and I tell him how mean you were!”, the little brat would threaten. And, I’d actually be mortified when I’d hear the kid say these words!


Because daddy would side with her and tell me I was too mean, I should chill, etc., in front of the proud youngster thus undermining any disciplinary action I would have undertaken in his absence — and also making me raging mad!

The good  news is this difficult child is now a teenager, and when I tell friends about this complex stage of child-rearing they never fail to ask, “How is she now?”

Before I answer this question, first  let me tell you that my husband and I made it through this mind-boggling stage of parenting — it’ll be 20 years this May —  overcoming dreadful parenting episodes by learning as we went along, and not relying on the two post-grad degrees we have between us for guidance (I know, huh? All that education!).

Instead, we were lucky to have been recommended a couple of books that gave us all the advise and strength we needed to turn our devilish child into the wonderful young lady she is today.

We owe our home’s peace and harmony (and our child probably owes her life) primarily to Dr. Stanley Trecki’s The Difficult Child, and to Dr. John K. Rosemond’s  Six-Point Plan to Raising Happy, Healthy Children. 

During the first five years of my darling child’s life, I found myself at the end of my wits; frustrated, angry and feeling like I was doing something wrong — lot’s of guilt overcame me in these challenging days of motherhood.  My husband being the tender-hearted half of our family unit struggled with the ferocious exchanges he would encounter when he would come home from work.

“How can a five-year-old make you this way?” he would ask. “You’re obviously the smarter one here, so what’s the problem?”

 Uh, oh! Just hearing this would set me off because I knew he was right, but I didn’t have the answers to deal with the willful child’s needs.

One fine day, my husband and I  were able to take a trip, without the kids, and civilly have an open discussion about our problematic child.

Little did he know I was armed with questionnaires, and a very tough disciplinary plan that would go against his calm and nurturing nature — which included an ultimatum he’d have to adhere to to keep us from going crazy.

To be continued…


  1. Anonymous says:

    This is too real and too funny at the same time. I look at photos from before kids and now – and can blame them for the accelerated aging that has taken place. Our daughter is now 7-1/2 and so fun to be with….but now starting the adventure again with twin baby boys (now 6 mos old). Wish us luck!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Twin boys?! That deserves a double dose of good luck wishes. As for parenting accelarating the aging process, I agree. I'm sure that's why I have to get my hair color every 4 weeks instead of 6. Oy!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I had difficult moments like those you explain, but never a difficult child. Good for you for not crawling into a corner and instead arming yourself with knowledge. I can't wait to read what happens next.

  4. Anonymous says:

    You are so right!! I was just thinking this morning how it is time to make the next highlight/color appt. That would be one of the last things to be cut out of our household budget.

  5. Anonymous says:

    As they say, “Kowledge is Power,” and in our situation learning what to do with a kid like this one was the key to turning her into a productive, focused and lovable child.
    I'm glad you stoped by to read!

  6. Anonymous says:

    You have me on the edge of my seat. I need to know how you learned to handle an extrovert.

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