Our expert says:
This is a worrying sign, and while much younger kids might not realize that what they see as a game would be unpleasant for a pet, by 6 it should be entirely clear to her. When she breaks toys, don't replace them, explaining that you can't aford to replace toys she takes apart, and suggesting she try to fix them, instead.
I agree with Maria and Purple, that while time is useful, a disciplinary code, with clear rules applying to the important things, and clear and reliable consequences for breaking the rules, is very important.
As Maria hints, the hurting of animals is a more sinister sign, posibly, as it can be associated with current or later hurting of people too, so discipline at this sage may be important in discouraging someone from developing into someone who is careless of the feelings of others. But as Purple comments, kids are also unfortunately brilliant at recognizing what sort of behaviour is guaranteed to get the desired reaction from you. And as she says, consistency is absolutely essential.
And kids need limits - not providing any limits is an almost abusive form of neglect
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