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To expect more from my 3 1/2 year old daughter? At a loss.

(42 Posts)
Slightlyneuroricnat Tue 18-Mar-14 17:03:35

I had a thread on here a few weeks back but I can't find it.
I'm at a bit of a loss with my daughters behaviour.
She is 3 1/2 and had a sister of 2.
She is good as good some days and a joy to be around.
Others she is constantly hitting, to not only her younger sister but also to other children out at play areas.
Today, we went to a soft play area as it was one of her friends parties and within half an hour she had pulled hair / pushed over / punched at least 5 children.
The only reason I didn't leave sooner was because I'd driven a friend there and felt bad leaving her there a good hour from home.
Obviously each time she was taken out at say down for a good 5 minutes, I explained why it was naughty, she apologised to the child and then a few minutes later she went on to do it again.
We eventually did leave and as soon as we were home I sat her down and explained how bad her behaviour was, took away her favourite toy and whilst she seemed upset at the time Shea now happily playing with her hundreds of other toys so I have no idea if this is having any impact at all.
Can anyone advise me that's been through this?

TheBody Tue 18-Mar-14 17:11:13

I would punish her immediately. so sit down on a chair for a while, depending on the offence. apologise to the child hurt.

serious breach as in punching go straight home. no iffs no butts.

zero tolerance on violence and make it boring so any outbreak and she looses her fun. no toys etc just the chair.

however twinned with this have you tried star charts for great behaviour? keep reminding her of the rules, praising her when she's behaved well.

I think at her age the consequences of behaviour need to be immediate whether good or bad.

be absolutely firm and watch her like a hawk for flash points.

she will grow out if it op though.

Slightlyneuroricnat Tue 18-Mar-14 17:19:43

Thanks for the reply.
She's such a good kid in every other way, I just don't get where this physical aggression comes from.
Sometimes I watch her and she swings her arms around whilst she runs through parks etc just to knock people down.
I think you're right, I will have to take her straight home after the first time as it isn't working sitting down having these time outs etc.

HappyAsASandboy Tue 18-Mar-14 17:29:14

I agree with the previous poster, consequences have to be immediate and relative. I personally don't go home due to bad behaviour, because I want to send the message that I am in control of what we do; the children's behaviour doesn't dictate our plans. But I know a lot of people do go home, so there must be merit in it.

I think at 3.5 years, it is more important to explain what they've done wrong and model the correct behaviour than it is to 'punish'. I think you need to do quite over the top explain actions of what was wrong with the behaviour ("it is very unkind to hit. You hurt Melanie when you hit her and now she is sad. You need to give Melanie a hug and tell her you're sorry"). Then distract away from the situation and play with your DD in the way you want her to play.

This is all very hard work! But in my experience (I have three year old twins), three years is just a bit too young to let them play without quite close supervision and intervention.

A good book to explain how children learn to control their impulses and behave as society expects is What every parent should know. I found its explanations of what happens in young brains fascinating, and it makes me think more about how I deal with situations. It isn't expensive on amazon and is quite short (and so quick!) to read.

Good luck!

TheBody Tue 18-Mar-14 17:34:05

Happy your first paragraph is a good point.

op sounds daft but if she's so full of this could you explore a martial arts/sports club type activity.

may help discipline and channel?

Slightlyneuroricnat Tue 18-Mar-14 17:55:38

We've done all this and she still continues so that's why we've then had to resort to leaving / taking toys away as it was having no effect.
She is currently doing swimming lessons / gymnastics / music classes.
She has hit the instructors out of frustration if something doesn't go her way, she doesn't seem to have the fear of strangers / authoritive people that other kids seem to have! X

Sortyourmakeupout Tue 18-Mar-14 18:10:27

It sounds as if your giving her mixed messages op. She needs to feel the impact immediately. I would have removed her from the party and taken her out to the car.

TheBody Tue 18-Mar-14 18:13:53

don't despair though op sure she will grow out of it and you know if she was a boy her behaviour might be regarded as 'spirited and a typical boy' girls get very little leeway with bad behaviour.

keep sanctions immediate and consistent and unpleasantly boring.

keep praising the good.

Slightlyneuroricnat Tue 18-Mar-14 18:21:03

I know, I should have taken her home after the first incident but had driven my friend there so felt bad doing that as she wouldn't have been able to get home.
I will do that next time it happens without fail as the talking to her and time out isn't working.

cerealqueen Tue 18-Mar-14 18:25:39

Would taking away treats help, eg no favourite dvd, book, for a certain amount of time? Or a full star chart with a reward she choses and she has to keep the stars by not hitting etc?

cerealqueen Tue 18-Mar-14 18:25:53


Thetallesttower Tue 18-Mar-14 18:31:16

Perhaps she is a little young for those classes if she's hitting out. I do think hitting is quite normal though, many many children go through this. I think close monitoring when out, a very swift removal for any infraction and go home if more than two/three incidents may be the way forward.

I wouldn't bother taking her favourite toy away later if she's anything like my first challenging dd then she won't care and will just play with something else. The only things that truly were punishments to her were a proper time out with nothing interesting to do or, when older, screen time lost and even then it would have to be a significant amount.

Positive rewards, star charts, very quick intervention and response at the time all worked better with her- appeals to her better nature and taking away toys had no effect whatsoever.

OlympiaFox Tue 18-Mar-14 18:31:57

It's very common with that age, I notice other kids trying to hit/hitting dd and her whacking them, when they're going through that stage you just have to shadow them as much as possible so you can grab their arm/pull them back and discipline them. As long as you're intervening to let her know it's wrong and not tolerated, she'll eventually grow out of it.

Topseyt Tue 18-Mar-14 18:33:28

If I couldn't have left straight away because of having taken a friend then I would have made her sit out permanently and not rejoin the others, but then that is maybe just me. I did do things like that, although my preferred option would always have been to go straight home.

She would have got no treats, no sweets and no communication other than the necessary.

BumpyGrindy Tue 18-Mar-14 18:33:40

How is her language and speech?

LoveSewingBee Tue 18-Mar-14 18:37:13

Could it be attention seeking? Is she jealous of her little sister?

Does she get one to one quality time with you?

Could there be anything else which may have upset/unsettled her?

I am not trying to make excuses for her, but if this has suddenly started then there may be an underlying reason which needs to be addressed.

However, even so, it is important to remove her from the situation each time, explain what she has done wrong, let her have time out and then apologise and give her a new chance. Warn if it happens again you will go home and do so if indeed it happens again. If she behaves well then lots of praise.

Reward chart for good behaviour is a very good idea as it may help both of you refocusing on what goes well.

mousmous Tue 18-Mar-14 18:43:33

is she getting enough excercise? like one hour of crazy running around a day?

Slightlyneuroricnat Tue 18-Mar-14 23:27:17

In answer to a few questions,
She was 17 months when sister came along and showed no obvious jealousy, I always thought the age gap meant she was quite young to really understand the change.
it isn't really directed at younger sister unless she's ready worked up, it's like a switch and when she gets in that mood it could literally be anyone she goes for.
I'm a stay at home mum and always have been, neither at nursery etc yet, she is due ro start after the Easter holidays although with her behaviour at the minute this is another concern.
Her speech is average so I don't think it's frustration.
She seems to get embarrassed by praise at times and that's when she has hit out at instructors, they were actually saying she had done a good job.

Slightlyneuroricnat Tue 18-Mar-14 23:30:47

Also to add, she has 11 hours sleep a night although last night didn't sleep well to be fair.
We are out all day everyday at parks / children's centres / soft play etc so lots and lots if time for her to burn energy

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Tue 18-Mar-14 23:31:27

I agree with the body but also think that's too many activities for a child of that age. They get tired and that won't help her temper.

Slightlyneuroricnat Wed 19-Mar-14 07:44:22

To be fair she's always better behaved on a day she's done an activity so I think it's more that on days she doesn't and we just pop to the park / soft play she's got so much energy and just doesn't know what to do with it almost?
I'm just concerned what will happen in a few weeks when she starts nursery sad

mousmous Wed 19-Mar-14 07:51:13

don't worry. she will be fine smile

NoodleOodle Wed 19-Mar-14 07:54:13

Speak to the nursery before she starts so you can follow what they do their at home. Keep things consistent, at home and between nursery and home, and also demonstrate that you are working with her and them - rather than not bring it up out of embarrassment, as that might seem like you're doing a ditch and run (though it's obvious you're trying hard and wouldn't intentionally be doing that at all).

Consistency is key. Keep at it, it'll stick, just past the point where you want to give in with frustration and think she'll never learn, when you've pulled out your own hair and lost sleep with worry over it, then... it will stick. (IME anyway)

NoodleOodle Wed 19-Mar-14 07:55:40

*do there, not their... sigh. Need edit button! (or to proof read!)

SJBean Wed 19-Mar-14 08:01:44

It sounds like you're doing all the right things op. However it doesn't seem to be working as her behaviour is still unacceptable. I have a friend with two girls of the same age and age gap as yours and her eldest is exactly the same. She is a SAHM too (as am I) although I don't think that had any bearing on this issue. The little girls behaviour has meant that I dread meeting up with them as her daughter acts like a brat and i feel I just don't 'like' her and don't want my Dd playing with her. This then makes me feel sad as she's she's only a little girl. Please don't let this happen to your little one as it's heart breaking to think friends/ friends parents will exclude her because of her behaviour or dread spending time with her. Time to get really strict I think.

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