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What can I do about continuous bad behaviour? Help!

(21 Posts)
Caz10 Fri 09-Sep-11 09:59:17

Please help as my 3.5yr old is driving me batty and I don't think I'm handling this correctly! It is constant! All low level stuff and all day....

I think I am ok with handling the "biggies" - eg if she were to hit someone/do something else completely unnacceptable - but truth be told she very rarely does. So she probably appears fairly well behaved! But every last little thing is a battle and I feel like I am constantly nagging her, which can't help things.

Examples are things like:
- asking her to do things - can you please take off your shoes/pick up that book/not climb on that high wall/let your friend have a shot etc etc-I watch her friends and nursery classmates respond willingly, 1st time. I ask nicely but firmly once or twice, she won't do it, I speak more firmly, maybe get down to her level etc etc, she won't do it - she will only do it when it comes with a threat or a bribe! And a fairly harsh tone. Now I having nothing against using harsh tone when needed, but...
- she can be very unkind to other children - I've posted about this before, but I'm quite saddeded by her responses sometimes - another child comes skipping up to her in the playpark or whatever, they will be met with "go away" or "this is mine you can't have a shot" etc. I am a friendly chatty person, and like to think the behaviour I model is kind, polite etc - she is soooo grumpy and rude all of the time!
- I watch her at "activities" (sorry I hate that word! grin), other children line up, listen, generally comply! She is always zooming off in the other direction, going on things she's not meant to be on, touching things she's not meant to touch etc etc

As I said, all low level, nothing life threatning (although the rudeness really does get to me) but I'd just love it if once she wasn't getting into trouble/giving her teachers etc a hard time. She is a happy, smart, funny and when she feels like it very affectionate little girl - but I feel as she gets older and gets further and further into the school system this side of her will get lost and overshadowed if her behaviour doesn't improve sad

Sorry this is an essay, congratulations if you've made it this far! Can anyone suggest ways to deal with this? Or tell me stories of their now angelic children who were like this at 3.5?!

An0therName Fri 09-Sep-11 10:14:53

So are nursery concerned at all? Maybe talk to them
it does sound pretty normal for that age really -maybe you are expecting a bit much and it has a downward spiral? There is a wide range of normal for behavoir at that age and older so I wouldn't compare her too much

is she getting enough sleep, does she eat ok - both can have major effects on behavoiur
does she have friends that she does like playing with?
There is a book playful parenting which I really liked that had some good ideas of how to lighten the mood

Caz10 Fri 09-Sep-11 12:15:17

Thanks for replying! Nursery are not concerned but they are not amused either I don't think! Again I would hazard a guess at it being all low level stuff, needing asked/told 3 times not to do something, not willingly helping to tidy up etc. No big deals, but a PITA to deal with, and eventually will impact on her learning. I've heard that book recommended before on here so will take a look. She has a few very good friends and one on one plays very well with them, lots of kindness and cooperation there. Although sometimes it makes her play up if eg a 3rd child wants to join in.

An0therName Fri 09-Sep-11 20:15:44

the other one that I find helpful is No cry discipline solution by Elizabeth Pantley
I suggest having a word with nursery about how they deal with it as it sometimes can help having the same approach

sneakybeak Fri 09-Sep-11 20:20:39

Caz - you and I have the same DD smile

Funnily enough I'm pretty sure we were on the BF boards back in the day...

Anyway, I really sympathize.

Today i asked her to stop throwing stuff down the stairs, she carried on, and actually threw stuff at me as I was walking (calmly) up there to stop her. Absolutely horrible. I (stupidly) said if she carried on we weren't going to Nannas. she said she didn't care hmm DD - one. Mummy - nil.

I have Playful Parenting. Nice book. Bit American but does help lighten the mood.

I have no advice but will hijack any suggestions you get!

Oh and we have a sticker chart going on to. damn you supernanny

Sleepglorioussleep Fri 09-Sep-11 20:58:16

Don't believe them that they don't care until you have followed through with one such threat and given the threat on the next occasion. If then they don't care, well maybe they don't!

An0therName Fri 09-Sep-11 21:32:40

Sleep you are right - my DS1 was about 3.5 ish - going swimming with his dad - playing up loads - DH said if you don't get changed now we are going home - he didn't they went home - apparently he yelled all the way home - we also had to do the no stories a couple of nights - that felt really mean -

Tgger Fri 09-Sep-11 22:06:15

I am whispering this, but do you think you might give her too many instructions- be a bit shhhhhhhhhhhh controlling?

Have you tried ignoring the smaller stuff and only asking her to do the important things and seeing if this works?

She seems a normal, inquisitive 3.5 year old to me who is very curious about the world and doesn't see (yet) why she should be "socialised" and do what everyone else is doing- and why should she really?! They are still so self-orientated at this age, I think all you can do is gently correct her responses when they are a bit rude, but I wouldn't be too hard on her.

I bet in a year or so's time she will have changed. Their brains develop enormously between 3.5 and 5. I am amazed at the change in my boy who is now approaching 5- he is so reasonable and does what he's told all the time (hope I haven't fated it.......) It's hard work in the meantime, but don't wish the time away.....enjoy your quirky DD.

skybluepearl Fri 09-Sep-11 22:27:22

I'm very chatty too and try to model good behaviour. I wonder if I'm too chatty at times though? Have found giving my 3 year old tons of attention when out in social situations works wonders. Makes me wonder if the grumpyness is a way of trying to get my attention? I also sometimes reward friendly interaction - a penny sweet at the end of the day for being nice to specific people.

skybluepearl Fri 09-Sep-11 22:29:00

oh yes and is she getting enough sleep?

Caz10 Sat 10-Sep-11 20:31:15

Thanks all so much, lots to think about!
Sleep - no I'm pretty sure she is not getting enough, and the sneaky defiant little manouevres get much worse when she is over tired! But I'm putting her to bed earlier than ever and she still pops at at 6am without fail...sigh...

tggr - no need to whisper grin! I don't think I am overly strict - in fact I am starting to worry that my neglectful attitude up till now might be to blame! I'm not one to expect a toddler to stay clean etc, so have been very free and easy with DD climbing trees, running around nekkid etc! Now wondering if she is not used to boundaries being set? I'm glad to hear there is a difference between 3.5-5!

sneakybeak what sorts of things do you use your sticker chart for? How was your dd today?

skybluepearl I find social situations bring out the worst in her lol - I know a 3yr old cannot be expected to sit quietly, but just a couple of sentences without interruption would be good!

She is very very active and physical, and when she is overtired/acting up, goes into hyper overdrive and gets really physical, jumping around, being rough etc - any ways around that?

I liked the No Cry Sleep Solution so will be looking for that book, thank you anothername

sneakybeak Sat 10-Sep-11 20:35:09

Our sticker chart has 4 sections: going to bed without a fuss, getting up after 7am (has appropriate clock), brushing teeth, and getting dressed without a fuss. So she has the opportunity to 'win' 4 stickers each day.

It does work. Takes LOADS of perseverance, but yes tonight she went to bed nicely and didn't piss about make a fuss. Tomorrow her chart will be full so I'm taking her to the nightmare that is soft play.

An0therName Sat 10-Sep-11 20:54:25

do you have a quiet time in the day - my DS1 - very active - needed and still needs really some downtime - when he was 3 it was after preschool, he would have lunch and then veg out in front of cbeebies for a bit - if he didn't have itthat then things wouldn't go well
what time is her bed time?
and my friends whose DS really got hyper and quite naughty - more than your DD sounds - hitting, breaking things etc - when lots of kids around - she would give him one warning and if he didn't calm down they went home
and the sleep clock did help my DS sleep later - and us get more sleep which helped!

caspercat Sat 10-Sep-11 21:34:32

Hi all. Caz10, I too feel that we have the same child, though I hate to break it to you, my daughter has just turned 5 & her behaviour hasn't really improved with age! I feel like I spend most of my day being cross at her, & all for similar reasons to you. Tiredness is a huge factor for her, but also for me I think, I know I should be more patient and 'not sweat the small stuff'. So I wish I had some advice for you, but at the moment I can just empathise & hope for some tips from here too. Sorry to hijack also, but just wanted to ask sneakybeak about the reward chart - we have one for DD, which was working well, but not so much now. Do you offer a small reward at the end of each day if your DD gets all her stars? Or are the stars the reward til the big reward at the end of the week? We've struggled with what to offer as a reward at the end of the day, I know not to give sweets/food etc, & we did try to offer 'more 1 on 1 time' with 1 parent, but as we have a toddler too, & hubby does night duties a lot, it either got too late, or it meant her brother being left on his own to watch telly, which isn't really fair on him. So currently, if she gets 3 out of 4 'smiley faces' at least, it means she gets books at bedtime. But if she gets 2 smilies or less, she gets no books, which really upsets her, & makes me feel awful, cos no matter how badly behaved she's been in the day, I still think bedtime stories are a really important time for us both.
Sorry for what turned out to be a huge post, but any help would be really appreciated. And good luck again Caz10, I hope you get what you're looking for!!

Caz10 Sat 10-Sep-11 21:42:42

Does she get anything for the stickers sneakybeak eg 20 stickers = a sweetie or is she happy to fill the chart for it's own sake?

Anothername, yes similar routine here, mon-fri anyway, when she is up and out early for nursery, back tired and hungry at lunch time, has lunch then slumps in front of tv for a while. After that I am trying to strike a balance between going out and doing stuff and having quieter days. Boredom can be worse than her being overtired!

Bedtime is 8pm latest, but instead of going for 8 and then her not sleeping for a while, we are heading there any time after 7, so that after stories etc if she is still wired then she can "read" by herself, wind down etc and be asleep by 8. She has a gro clock but just comes through to tell me how many stars are still on it when she wakes up!

People are always saying I should be glad she is not shy, lacking confidence etc, but I really just wish she would conform a little more in the appropriate circumstances!

An0therName Sat 10-Sep-11 21:47:57

caspercat - my DS is 5 and had his moments -mainly refusing to do stuff
and I am v tired due to poor sleeping toddler
he loves the wii so that is the sanction - I might start a reward chart don't have one at the moment - but he played up loads last week and I banned it for a week - how horrible am I - I think it helped get the message that there could be consquences mine
does your DD like the computer - cbeebies website is a lot of fun - or at 5 I I think a reward at the end of the week would be ok as they can understand just about - the progress of time

sneakybeak Sun 11-Sep-11 10:13:55

To get the idea of the reward chart I did give a choc button for a day's worth of stars. Then she worked towards a bigger reward. So today we're off to soft play. She knows she's been working towards it, and has done what she needed to do to earn the reward.

Caz10 Sun 11-Sep-11 19:37:35

Oh I like the idea of that kind of reward, dd got v demanding in the way of toys etc when we were potty bribing training so want to avoid that but an "experience" treat is a good idea!

sneakybeak Sun 11-Sep-11 19:39:44

Well don't think I am an expert.

DD actually pissed in her brothers cupboard today. On purpose. I kid you not.

Took out the nappies and wipes. Got in and had a wee hmm

Just when you think you're making progress...

Tgger Sun 11-Sep-11 20:31:45

I would put her to bed earlier. My two are in bed for 6.45/7 generally and asleep soon after- or the older one "reads" if not. They're nearly 3 and nearly 5 now. They sleep until 7.

I think social situations are really tough for this age. They don't get why Mum's attention isn't on them when they want it so they play up to get it/are rude etc etc.

Best way round the hyper behaviour is to avoid getting that tired- see above. Once it's happening there's not much you can do (well that's my experience!!). At some point I was able to tell DS to calm down and he did (sometimes), but I can't quite remember when that was. You can send her to her room but to calm down if very bad but I guess this is if it's very extreme.

She does sound very normal to me! Fingers crossed she turns a corner soon.

sneakybeak Sun 11-Sep-11 20:45:58

Oh that sounds nice - reading herself to sleep. I know it's supposed to be a lovely time in the evenings but I've just about had enough by then (I put them to bed 6 nights out of 7 - DH works late shifts). I hate Belle the stinking Ballerina with a passion!

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