To dislike my child a lot of the time

(43 Posts)
Justmeagain78 Sat 23-Jul-16 20:52:12

Dd is four and I love her and would do anything for her but her behavioural problems are taking their toll on me. Every single day starts with her playing up - refusing to wear her clothes, not letting me brush her hair, not getting ready for preschool. She has friendships but I often witness her being horrible to other children and refusing to share. We often have to leave places because she's tantruming. Bedtime is a nightmare - I feel sick when it comes around because she messes about so much and gives me so much cheek I am brought to the brink of pulling my hair out. Now it's the summer holidays I am confiscating her toys regularly because she is hitting me and being abusive so it's not like she's getting away with it but I'm tired of all the battles and humiliation of her not doing as she's told especially in front of other people. I'm at my wits end, I just want to feel happy again but right now I wish I was dead. Please be kind, I can't talk to anyone I know about this because I'm too ashamed of my failure.

BoopTheSnoot Sat 23-Jul-16 21:02:22

You're not a failure at all. Kids can be bloody hard work, show me someone who says their child is never hard work and I'll show you a liar.
They're stubborn, they tantrum, they give cheek, they make a mess, they run you ragged and, most importantly, they grow out of it! It doesn't last forever.
If it's any consolation my two have been a pair of buggers the last few days as well, to the point I've been in tears.
We're all just chugging along and doing the best we can. Hang in there flowers

CwtchMeQuick Sat 23-Jul-16 21:03:38

I feel exactly the same about my 4yo at the moment. His behaviour is exactly how you describe. I don't have any answers but I just want you to know that you're not alone and you are definitely not a failure. There's no shame in admitting you're finding this difficult, do you have anyone to support you?

Nanny0gg Sat 23-Jul-16 21:06:09

Try turning it around.

Don't punish - reward. Have a sticker chart and every time you can brush her hair or she gets dressed etc without arguing she gets a sticker.

After say, 10, she can choose a DVD or an activity she loves or her favourite food for tea.

Maybe don't take her to places where you know she will play up - do some one-to-one things with her for now.

Reinforce that you won't respond unless she talks politely to you (but be civil in return rather than barking orders)

I know it can be challenging with a 'spirited' child grin but there can be light at the end of the tunnel!

JellyMouldJnr Sat 23-Jul-16 21:07:12

You've just described my four year old exactly. She's a blinking nightmare. No advice but empathy!

ThisFenceIsComfy Sat 23-Jul-16 21:07:37

Hey look she is four. I don't mean that in a "God why aren't you more patient" way. I mean that in a "hey, four year olds can be arseholes" kind of way.

Not sharing and being mean sometimes? Watch Secret Life of Four Year Olds. They can be mean sometimes to each other. Does she have friends? Is she consistently horrible to other kids? If not, then just reminders of how to share, interact will be fine.

The hitting is a problem but really really not unusual. Try a calm but firm "No hitting, that hurts" but no other reaction. I found that my DS would almost thrive on the drama of my reaction so I just toned my reaction down.

I would hazard a guess that a sizeable minority nearly all four year olds battle against the 'boring' stuff of the day: bedtimes, teeth, clothes etc. So don't feel like you're a crap mum.

I found the Calm Parents, Happy Kids useful in places.

But don't beat yourself up if sometimes all the parenting techniques in the world don't work. Little children can be utter tyrants.

PuntasticUsername Sat 23-Jul-16 21:07:59

Of course you're not a failure. You know things are going wrong with your DD and you're here asking for support - that says a lot. I'm sure people here will have some good recommendations for techniques/books to read and stuff. From me, have a big "solidarity" and "hang in there" - children are incredibly testing at times and we've all had our share of desperate moments.

ThisFenceIsComfy Sat 23-Jul-16 21:09:06

Also it's summer, Pimms of an evening helps greatly.

littleladyluna Sat 23-Jul-16 21:31:51

I work with ages three to eight and agree with a previous poster that four year olds can be arseholes.

Is she competitive? Can you turn getting dressed into a game? Set a timer and tell her that if she gets dressed before the buzzer goes off she gets a sticker. Motivate rather than punish. Praise her for things she does well. Tell her you are proud of her when she does something you've asked of her. Say please and thank you to her and hope she catches on.

Find her currency and use it. You are not alone and her behaviour is quite normal. Feel free to PM me if you'd like some more advice.

LovelyBath77 Sat 23-Jul-16 21:33:12

Sounds like she wants to be more independant. I notice you mention she doesn't want you doing stuff, maybe she could do some things like brushing hair? Also being positive can help and consistent.

WoahSlowDown Sat 23-Jul-16 21:35:23

Does she sleep enough? I found sleep was the difference between nice kids and horrible kids.

JeffreyNeedsAHobby Sat 23-Jul-16 21:40:34

When DD was 4 she went through a similar phase. It sounds a bit soft but the best thing I found was either a firm cuddle and talk of working as a team so that she would have time to watch TV/play before we had to leave or, if they are being stroppy and rude to mimick them and put on a funny voice and frowny face. Maybe dd was unusual but she'd usually crack a small smile and then I could get her to see how funny she looked and we'd laugh and I'd go on to say "so, if you want something you just had to ask with a please/you know there was no point in asking for cake when you just had one, so maybe try again tomorrow" and generally explaining why. I think a lot of her frustration was being big enough to 'do' things but not having the control or understanding of why she couldn't at that moment. I never did time out though (dd wanted it too much and it put me off thinking it would be a punishment!) and would just say no and ignore if worst came to the worst and all else failed. Keep explaining though don't just think once should be enough. IME they can be a bit like fish or have selective hearing grin

youarenotkiddingme Sat 23-Jul-16 21:41:11

In agree with the turn it positive.

So "if you are in pyjamas, teeth brushed and in bed in 5 minutes you can have a story".
But when you give the positive instructio it has to be followed by walking off and busying yourself. A lot of children argue because an adult is present to argue with!

It's controversial but I wouldn't then nag or punish DS for ignoring me. In fact I'd have just left him if he didn't listen. Ds hated being ignored more than anything so quickly learnt the best way to get my attention was to be there when I offered it!

stonecircle Sat 23-Jul-16 21:44:06

I have 3 children - all grown up now. My middle child led me a merry dance when he was little and I can remember feeling like you do now. I remember DH telling me to 'give him a chance' so it must have been obvious I was at my wits end with him. He had so much energy and was just so demanding and full of drama - not at all like his easy going younger and older siblings.

Fast forward to now. He is ABSOLUTELY gorgeous - popular, kind, funny, clever, excellent company and an absolute joy. He still has loads of energy but channels it into sport. He lights up any room he walks into. So don't despair!

AnecdotalEvidence Sat 23-Jul-16 21:45:06

Definitely agree with trying to be more positive.
Stop punishing - you will never punish a child into behaving well and being nicer.
Lots of positive attention for things she does well. Reward charts & stickers for routines. Focus on the good. Ignore the bad. Change your language from don't to do. Instead of telling her to stop doing something, tell her what you want her to do instead.

And you're not failing - she's 4. It will get better.

exWifebeginsat40 Sat 23-Jul-16 21:45:10

i'm just going to say OP that if you do feel suicidal you must ring an ambulance or go to A&E. you don't have to feel this wretched. please get some help.

yumyumpoppycat Sat 23-Jul-16 21:49:10

I also found 4 to be tricker than 2 or 3 but it settles back down a bit. Currently my 10 yo is getting on my nerves which is why I clicked on this thread!

It does sound like things are extra tough for you to say you wish you were dead though... I know what you mean and am guessing its just you wish things were easier but do you think there might be some depression making it harder for you to cope?

Drogon Sat 23-Jul-16 21:50:32

Your DD sounds like my almost 3 year old DD! She's so bloody sassy it's not even cute, it's just annoying and irritating.

No words of advice but sympathy and lots of wine

Msqueen33 Sat 23-Jul-16 21:55:29

My three year old and seven year old are awful. Three year doesn't talk and screams constantly. She's now refusing shoes and has perfected a great 'just fuck off' look. Seven year old has such a smart mouth and a sassy attitude. Ironically my six year old with autism is the easiest by far at the moment.

wheresthel1ght Sat 23-Jul-16 21:57:01

My almost 3 year old is exactly the same at home although thankfully she behaves beautifully when other people are about mostly.

I have had to lock myself in my bathroom today because I was ready to maim someone. She has developed a genius ability to push every one of my buttons and for a variety of reasons my patience has been non existent today

OohMavis Sat 23-Jul-16 21:57:27

It's hard. Kids are hard. You're not a failure.

It all sounds pretty negative in your house at the moment. Is there maybe an element of a vicious circle going on? She misbehaves/is difficult, you become grumpier and more tired the worse her behaviour his, she responds to this with more difficult and bad behaviour... round and round it goes?

I found this was the case with DS. He is naturally a negative little soul. He gets it from his dad wink and sometimes it's hard to manage - we're opposites. We went through a stage of just completely pissing eachother off. I found it hard to break the cycle, he isn't the type to be naturally cheerful so it was up to me. I also discovered I wasn't spending nearly as much 1-1 time with him as I thought I had been, so we weren't connecting at all.

lougle Sat 23-Jul-16 22:06:57

Is she your first/only? If so, it may seem worse because you don't have others being equally awful to show you that she's not behaving unusually. I have three girls close in age and find that they take it in turns to be the best/worst behaved and the most reasonable/unreasonable.

I used to find that I talked far too much when DDs tantrummed - if only I could explain the rationale, they'd understand and follow my instruction. Now I find it much more effective to ask nicely, then if they kick up a fuss, I just repeat the key word and leave them to it. So, for instance:

"DD1, can you put your shoes on; we need to go to the shops."
"Oh why?! I hate the flaming shops! Why can't you just go on your own and Daddy stay here with me. I don't want to go to the stinking shops and I hate putting my stupid shoes on!"
"DD1, shoes".

It really does help.

randomer Sat 23-Jul-16 22:10:28

hey please take care of you....do you have any support?

acdcfan Sat 23-Jul-16 22:28:45

I feel your pain, my partner has a 6 year old, we're trying to parent him between us and your post echoed his behaviour... Every day is an enormous struggle and he won't behave anywhere, to the point where we don't like to take him anywhere sad Sounds like lots of people are having or have had similar experiences so just hoping to ride it out. Sick of people judging us as bad parents cos we have a child who's so disrespectful though...

HeteronormativeHaybales Sat 23-Jul-16 22:33:42

In the nicest possible way, she's four, it comes with the territory! Why are you taking 4yo behaviour so very personally, as some kind of slight on you - feeling shame and humiliation? Your dd can't understand that adult angst, though she will pick up on it and it will puzzle and bewilder her and, likely as not, lead to her ramping up the behaviour. You need to work out what's going on there for you.

Can i just, for a moment, list the expressions you've used:
behavioural problems
horrible
nightmare
I feel sick
brink of pulling my hair out
abusive
humiliation
wits' end
wish I was dead
ashamed
failure

All that is a very heavy burden indeed for a 4yo to carry and a very heavy burden for you. It's as if your dd is a barometer somehow for your success or otherwise as a parent, and some kind of signal to the outside world of how good a person you are. Again, too heavy a burden. It would be very helpful to you if you could work out why exactly you have so much invested in your dd being 'good'. Could you write out that list of words I have made and, against it, note down the actual behaviours that are causing these feelings (refused to brush her teeth, called her friend a name, etc) and see if they match up, iyswim?

I think it would be vital to 'catch her being good', both so you see and perceive a different side to her and she has that side to her reflected in your praise.

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