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3.5 year old DD has become unmanageable. HELP!

(5 Posts)
bellbottom Thu 11-Aug-11 21:17:49

Lately my DD has taken her dominant character to the absolute limits. She is trying to boss me around at every opportunity, telling me how it's going to be, shouting at me for attention, telling me off for not answering her straight away, threatening me with consequences, has even hit me on a couple of occasions. If i offer her a consequence for her actions she then throws one back at me.
She's even acting up with eating, which I have not had one problem with since she was born.
I am at my wits end. Feel so bullied and provoked all the time. I do of course try to keep my cool, give her a chance to rectify things, follow through with consequences etc. But it's becoming a terrible power struggle. I feel like I don't know her at the moment. If I send her out of the room and close the door so that I can't hear her shouting at me for example (if trying to speak on phone) she will bash the door repeatedly.
I raise her on my own and she's always done very well, is very forward in her development, very sociable and popular, strong willed and strong character. But she has always been extreme when it comes to letting me talk. It's a constant struggle if I try to have a conversation with anyone around her and I'm now getting so sick of the fact there are no signs of improvement.

This particular phase started the day we returned from a 2 week stay with my parents, who as usual smothered her with all the lavish attention that she wants, which is their right and she loves the holidays there. Since coming home it feels she is trying to establish that she rules the roost around here. She has always had that tendency when we come back from staying with them, but this is just so out of control.

Is this a normal stage tp go through at 3.5 or 4 years? How best to handle it? How long does it last?

Going nuts. PLease help someone! Thanks :-)

Zipitydooda Thu 11-Aug-11 21:33:35

I don't think I can be of any help but if it makes you feel any better my DS2 age 3y 7months sounds just like your DD. He's always been so sweet, although full of personality and confidence but has turned into devil-child. My DS1 was a really hard baby but by this age was lovely so I really am stuck about what to do. He doesn't seem to care about consequences of his action either.
Perhaps someone can reassure us it's just a phase?

stickyj Thu 11-Aug-11 21:42:46

Attention seeking, ignore shouty behaviour and praise good. Girls are bossy and she sounds as if she's been Queen Bee for a while. Establish your roles for a while ie mummy and daughter....time out will work for both of you. You can tell her you want ten minutes of quiet time to read a book/whatever and then you will,have the energy to chat to her. If she gives you that time, make a fuss of her and then swap roles. Give her ten minutes of "her" time {quick cup of tea) and let her know that when she's ready, after at leat ten minutes, it's mummy and her time. You can extend this gradually until they are teens, when they will no longer want to breathe the same air as you smile

2ddornot2dd Thu 11-Aug-11 23:11:55

I had a really terrible time with DD1 from 2.5 onwards for about a year. I got her out of it by praising the good. I have been told that to make it work you need to say 8 good things for every one bad. It can be a struggle to find anything good to say, but the more you work at it the easier it will get.

If you don't already, you need to decide which rules are important to you and stick to them. If you ask her to do something and she doesn't, pretend to be suprised "oh, you haven't picked that toy up, it's not like you not to be helpful, you're usually such a helpful girl".

I tried to give her real treats with one to one time (trips swimming, baking etc) which she knew were special time, and then focus on her completely.

It took about a month to completely change her - she's gone from being a violent ill-mannered brat to being absolutely lovely.

bellbottom Fri 12-Aug-11 11:11:40

Thank you greatly everyone!!!! I have literally noted down all your advice in point form and stuck it to the fridge!!! Depserate for lasting change.

2ddornot2dd - your words really ring true. If I'm honest with myself I've known for a long time now that I tend to be a bit of a day dreamer, I get lost in my thoughts and then I suddenly realise that dd is telling me something about what she's done or pointing out how well she did it and I am miles away. I keep catching myself doing it but I just have so much on my mind and every time it happens I feel so guilty. I need to make it a very conscious mission to step up in the positive praise where it's due as I think she must be frustrated. Lately been going in a negative spiral - always needing to correct her bad behaviour, but deep down I know it's coming from somewhere, as actually overall she has always been very good and fair and usually makes it very clear where you stand with her, which is something I'm very glad for. So I think, it is indeed, up to me! I like your approach to being surprised when she doesn't do something and I will definately use that!
It's so great to hear a success story like yours and to know it can be turned around in a month! Well done you and thanks for being there :-)

Anyone else like to contribute advice or tips then I think this would be a useful thread for many people with pre-schoolers ;-)

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