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3 year old still refuses to say sorry

(18 Posts)
WhenSheWasBadSheWasHorrid Thu 04-Dec-14 14:38:23

Wondering if anyone has any experience of this. Dd (nearly 4) is well behaved at preschool but can act like a stubborn little madam for us (dh and I).
She is hard to discipline - used to sit on the step quite well but now refuses to and gets off all the time.
She is also really rude especially to me (calls me a poo poo head and yells no you naughty mummy).
Worse of all is the utter refusal to say sorry, off the off chance she accidentally says it she immediately takes it back (no I didn't say it).

I'm really at a loss as to what to do with her. She pushes against every boundary we impose. She is so well behaved at preschool but as soon as I pick her up she virtually explodes at me.

I'm starting to dread spending tins with her, which is awful as she can be lovely but she's a control freak and I'm suck of the tantrums.

Twitterqueen Thu 04-Dec-14 14:45:37

Hmmm. I was going to say "she's only 3, don't push it"
Then I read the rest of your thread and thought "Ok, this isn't good"
Then i got to the bit about being a control freak and went back to my 1st position again.

I'm not sure that a 3 year old can be a control freak tbh. Where does she get this from?

Maybe instead of punishing, and the naughty step and enforcing the word 'sorry' (all of which is very controlling) you could try consequences instead.
ie. "Well it's a shame you won't say sorry because that means you can't go to the playground / have a story."

or "Such a pity you've been so naughty because now I'm afraid you don't deserve to have xyz."

I don't mean to be hard on you OP! this is meant to be helpful

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHorrid Thu 04-Dec-14 14:54:09

Just re read my op - so many spelling mistakes I'm amazed you understood it at all.

We do do what you have suggested - you can only have 1 story not two because of x. It can help a little but I feel like I'm constantly bribing her to behave (which can't work long term).

WookieCookiee Thu 04-Dec-14 15:05:11

Is this new? Does it coincide with the start of preschool? She may just be very very tired and emotionally wound up after the supreme effort of behaving well at preschool.
Try not to take it personally and I would try not reacting at all to rudeness and tantrums and really praise being pleasant and not rude. Have something quiet that she can succeed at set up straight after preschool, maybe a bit of quiet TV to help her wind down.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHorrid Thu 04-Dec-14 15:24:57

I'm sorry I'm going to sound really dismissive - we do the quiet TV time with her after school (after the 10 minute meltdown on the way home).

It does help for a little bit but if I try and leave the room - to make dinner or god forbid pee. She crystal her eyes out "but who will look after me? No mummy you are a naughty poo poo."

Sorry I'm doing a lot of whining - I'm just fed up, everyone else gets to see my perfect daughter and I get stuck with the screaming, nightmare that wants her own way 100% of the time.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHorrid Thu 04-Dec-14 15:26:49

Oh it's not new - but there has been an escalation since I went back to work (was on mat leave).

FelixTitling Thu 04-Dec-14 15:30:43

Got to do school pick up, so have to dash but this was my dd and I wish I had known how to deal with it at the time.

You have to change your approach to match her personality.

look at this websit

I'll post again tonight when I have more time.

TiggyD Thu 04-Dec-14 15:45:14

If she gets off the naughty undesirable behaviour step, you'll have to think of a punishment she can't ignore. Try putting a favourite toy in time out, somewhere really high.

And of course, be lovely with her when she's being lovely.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHorrid Thu 04-Dec-14 20:35:40

Really hoping you come back felix would love to hear from someone who has been there and if you don't I'll track you down grin

fasterthanthewind Thu 04-Dec-14 20:54:57

does it really matter if she calls you a naughty poo poo? My 2 year old does it all the time (5 year old sometimes as well) and 99% of the time it's a battle I just can't be bothered to fight. They think it's funny/naughty, it's pretty harmless, and they'll grow out of it.

I dunno, I think that small children feel so powerless, so at the mercy of adults, and when we come down on them hard that can just cement their feelings of defiance.

With my lot (even the 2 year old) I know that insisting on a 'sorry' is often the wrong thing for the wrong-doer (I do insist a lot, btw, as it's not the wrong thing for the person who's been hurt/upset). I think most children know if they've done something bad, and if their nose is rubbed in it then they feel defiant, and in their heads its as if their bad thing is erased by the bad thing that the parent has then done.

naturalbaby Thu 04-Dec-14 21:01:04

My nearly 4yr old is exactly the same! He has been a pretty angelic child but has also been a bit spoiled and thinks he rules the roost. He is going through a phase of realising that he doesn't and is rebelling a bit. I do ignore a lot of minor stuff but have started telling him his behaviour is making me very upset and cross which seems to be working with him.

The aha parenting website is brilliant.

woodychip Thu 04-Dec-14 21:03:34

What does it matter at 3? As long as you explain naughty behaviour so she understands surely she doesn't have to say sorry to be sorry when she sees consequences for her behaviour. And I say this as someone who is quite strict about saying sorry when they are older. I think 3 is too young and you are being too tough on her. You don't have to punish every misdemeanour. They can't help being naughty all the time. Sometimes it's just a 3 year old not managing to control behaviour. Just ignore the name calling. If you pay attention to it she'll know it gets a reaction out of you and do it all the more.

Ludways Thu 04-Dec-14 21:15:58

I think you've already had some good advice re behaviour, but I just wanted to comment on her not saying sorry. My ds had a hatred of the word, refused point blank to say it and would get very upset if anyone pushed for it. I tried to teach him other words to express regret, such as I wish I hadn't hurt you or I regret..., he's 13 now and says it with no problem. He hasn't grown up rude, inconsiderate or spoilt, which is what some people said would happen.

ProveMeWrong Thu 04-Dec-14 21:27:26

I say "shall we have a sorry cuddle?" I don't demand adult style apologies. Sorry is a word that can be said without meaning anyway. And a cuddle... now that is usually reciprocated. I'd say she us repeating the telling offs you are giving her back to you, so I'd stop doing so much telling off, you are backing yourself in a corner. It's normal at this age to need to blow off steam after preschool, and she feels safe directing it at you, which shows she has a secure, happy relationship with you. Don't stress it, if she can do it at school, this is just a phase, so try to let her have her odd madam moments when it's not putting her on anyone else in harm's way. Walk away! Sorry cuddle when she calms down.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHorrid Thu 04-Dec-14 21:46:25

Definitely going to take on board the does it really matter if she says sorry. I know she knows right from wrong.
She behaves really well outside of the home so I know she is capable of good behaviour (preschool teachers said they couldn't imagine her playing up).

Will concentrate on praise praise praise. Already try and do that but will allow her to blow off steam at home and will just walk away.

for what it's worth I don't do the you have been naughty thing - my mum is a primary teacher and has drilled it into me not to label kids as naughty

Thanks for all your replies.

FelixTitling Thu 04-Dec-14 21:54:45

Sorry I had to dash.

I just saw a similarity to my own dd who is 11 now and still a challenge. I made all the classic mistakes in thinking along the lines of 'punishment' and wanting her to behave at home as she did out of the house. Eventually I realized that all I was doing was pushing her away. The advice given on the aha website went against everything I thought I knew, but out of desperation I followed it. And it worked! my dd is a bright, feisty, emotionally needy little girl and It only ever goes pear-shaped now if I react badly to her challenges. we've worked on it so much over the last couple of years and things have really changed. She bottles so much up during her day, at school she's seen as a confident high achiever, and I realize now that I'm her release valve and when she needs to blow its going to be at me. It's not personal, it's almost an honour.

Your little dd has so many changes to deal with at the moment; so much stuff going on. She's taking it out on you because she trusts you. Next time she plays up stop what you're doing and pick her up give hugs and cuddles, sing her a lullaby, whatever soothes her. don't say too much just let her get it all out. after she's finished, and she's ready to talk you can ask her what it was all about it. She may not be able to tell you but you can discuss her behavior and impose some sanctions if necessary. but it may be by then that she is genuinely sorry and you'll be able to tell that whether she says the word or not.

If you're cooking the tea, just turn it all off give her what she needs. If you eat toast for a few days while you get on top of this, that's not a bad thing. If you need to wee and she wont let you ask her if she'll come and 'read' a story or chat to you while you're on the loo. It wont last forever.

I also have a dh who is mostly not here, he backs me up 100% with discipline issues, but it's hard having to take the lead all the time. I'm still a shouty mum sometimes; none of us are perfect, but our relationship is lovely at the moment. we're at the 'talking about puberty' stage and i'm so flattered she is coming to me for chats about it all.

There's some brilliant advice upthread about making sure you get a regular break and ignoring silly behavior and taking things lightly. Definitely do this if you can.

Also, if it's any consolation my ds (9) is never a challenge in this way, so I really do think it's a personality thing.

Sorry this is such an epic post blush. Just take it one little step at a time and I know you'll get there quickly.

Iggly Thu 04-Dec-14 22:00:59

She sounds like she's tired and letting her guard down with you after being on her best behaviour all at nursery. You mention going back to work - it took my ds a long long time to adjust to me going back when he was about 3.

I would try and be more positive with her and cut her some slack. If she says poo poo then ignore! (I remember being shocked when my pfb used that phrase. With my second I shrugged my shoulders!).

When you pick her up, give her a snack. If you can, stick her on a buggy board instead of making her walk as I'm sure she's been running about all day.

I would also explain very briefly about saying sorry - and telling her how other people might feel. You can also check the other person and say something to them like "dd knows not to do x/y/z, I hope you are OK" I.e. modelling good behaviour.

WhenSheWasBadSheWasHorrid Thu 04-Dec-14 22:14:19

Thank you so much for coming back felix - I think I am you 8 years ago. Dd is bright (I know all parents think their kids is bright - sorry) but she is very emotionally needy.
Ds (he's only one and will probably regret saying this) is soooo much easier than dd. Far less intense, minimal separation anxiety. Happy to go off and play.

I really struggle with dd's need for constant attention, I'm an introvert and I need space whereas dd needs company.
Will try and stop more often and have extra cuddles, playtime and fun with her.

*iggly^ yep she needs a snack after preschool, it's harder for her to scream at me while shovelling in food grin

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