Oh, Behave: 5-year old daughter plays with scissors too much

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I’m so mad at my
five-year-old daughter. In the past, on separate occasions, she has cut
up photos, her sister’s books, doll clothes and the cord to some of her
sister’s toys. She was punished and banned from using scissors
indefinitely. Today, she was caught trying to cut the power cord to her
Nintendo charger. For some reason, there were scissors left in the
girls’ room, and of course, nobody admits to putting them in there. What
is wrong with her? How can I ever stop this?

Children are curious and like to cut and paste things. Five-year-olds
don’t necessarily have the capacity to think through what they are
cutting and what the repercussions of this activity might be. Banning
them from using scissors sounds like a good idea, but the idea of
removing scissors is a better one. Scissors left in the room is an
invitation for trouble and keeping them out of reach is helping her to
avoid the current temptation. As parents we need to think of ways we can
keep our kids out of trouble at each of the developmental stages.
Scissors out of reach forever are a silly idea, but right now it makes
good sense.

I’d let go of finding out, “Who left the scissors in the room” and just
reinforce the notion that everyone needs to put the scissors away and
out of reach until further notice.

In addition to keeping scissors out of reach I would introduce times
when cutting is part of the day (making things, strings off of parcels)
to encourage the appropriate and constructive use of scissors in the
learning process of ‘what not to do’ and ‘what to do’ with scissors and
why. The end of this could be a time when your child shows good judgment
and can be presented with their own scissors as a way of reinforcing
their new learning about the ins-and-outs of what to cut and why.

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