DD is 3.6 and generally great but I'm finding I'm really struggling with her. She's generally pretty good, loves DS (11 months) but I find it really hard to cope with her when she plays up. Having to tell her 10 times to do things, messing about when its time to leave from a play date, nursery etc, repeatedly doing things she shouldn't after being told not to.
I think DH and I have too high expectations, we know she can do something so expect her to do so every time. And we aren't very consistent in our disciplining, too much shouting sometimes. I just don't feel I have a good bond with her at the moment and am often irritated by her She is very emotional and always needs a lot of discussion about EVERYTHING!
How do I turn it around? It's been really hard since DS arrived and I'm still not getting much sleep. I miss spending time alone with her and I guess she does too.
Sorry this is a bit of a ramble, but with summer holidays looming I want to look forward to more time together, and not wish I was getting a few hours' break.
I was feeling similarly with my dd who is a year younger than yours. I read about 123 magic on mumsnet and it has really worked for us. It eliminates shouting and emotion, it is really calm and doesn't humiliate or berate but it does put mum and dad properly in charge.
It does involve time out which i was shying away from, but i have a calm down cushion and she sits on and she is in my sight, and on it for a short period literally 1 minute. My dd is much more obedient almost overnight. Personally I was trying to reason with her too much and this turned into cross lectures which got me nowhere except upset!. It has transformed things here with my strong willed little girl and she is much happier for it. It's a simple method, it involves counting when the child is misbehaving, but in a very particular (quite quiet) way, there's quite a bit online explaining, but I did get the book after having some innital success and it filled in some blanks for me. It is by Thomas Phelan
It is really hard when you're sleep deprived. My 13mo still wakes several times a night sometimes, and when I've had a bad night's sleep I am much quicker to snap and shout at DD (2.11).
Can you afford to get some part-time childcare for DS and do something just with DD each week? Or perhaps you could 'swap' childrenr with a friend - have her DC one day for an hour or so, and she has one of yours for an hour or so? Then even if you have bad days you will know you are giving her quality one on one time too. I am hoping to do this soon as I know my DD seems to be feeling more threatened and clingy since DS has been asserting himself a bit more.
I find being outside as much as possible helps - somehow things don't get so het up if we are all running around in the park or whatever.
I know what you mean about repeating yourself - this drives me absolutely mad! I think it helps if you have a strategy that doesn't involve repeating. I've never used a time-out type thing, but I guess that might be worth looking into to see if it would suit you. I try to say first of all "Hey, I don't want you to do x, please stop that now". Then I move to "I am not going to let you do x" and physically stop her grabbing toys off her brother, jumping in the flowerbeds, whatever it is she's up to (this inevitably produces wails!). Then I try to calmly explain to her what I've done, "I know you wanted to do x but I had to stop you doing x because it was hurting y, damaging v, very annoying etc." Then try to distract to something else, or if for example I can't stop her throwing sand out of the sandbox, just admit we have to go in and do something else, because it's pointless to get locked into battle.
(It doesn't always go to plan though! Very hard to get out of pattern of snapping and shouting sometimes...)
The other thing I think helps is reminding myself that I can go a bit slower sometimes - I rush around like I have to get to the shops in a certain time, or have to get food on the table as soon as the kids get grumpy, and create a lot of stress for myself that makes me snappy. When I try to slow it all down and just let them wait, or follow their meandering lead, it can sometimes help things be a bit calmer.
Very much agree with Badchat, would like to add there are a few tricks I picked up on the way (with two girls, 3. and 1.3). I try not no preach (simply doesn't work), or punish (also doesn't work), or shout (works even less - I learned the hard way), but create a situation where she gets the punishment by default, by her own actions - if you know what I mean. For example if she shouts at me angrily about something, I give her a look, or say 'I don't respond well to such tone' and leave her, wherever she is. She'll follow me in 3 minutes with kind words. Or, if she doesn't get ready in time, doesn't want to put on her shoes etc... I don't ask her to do it more than twice, but say, ok, would you like to stay at home instead? That's ok, your sis and I are going and we'll be back soon. You can stay, that's ok. I had to 'leave her' at home only once (I was walking to the car, she could see me leave from the window, she was ready in 3 seconds and since then I just have to say 'ok, well, you can stay, that's fine' and she jumps to get ready). Try to keep calm and think of various ways to get her walk into her own trap - instead of any form of direct punishment.
Thanks so much for the replies and ideas. Lots of good advice and tips.
There is definitely too much discussion, which quickly turns into a power struggle and I should just let her learn the consequences of not doing as she's asked/told. And I do rush around too much, getting myself in a state, which isn't good for any of us.
I can definitely get DH to take the baby more so we can have some girl time together, she'd love that. I made a big effort to do so when DS was tiny and that seems to have slipped. And I've orders 123 Magic.
Today was good as I was calmer, will keep working at it