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Nearly 4 year old girl won't listen to/look at me

(65 Posts)
Boomerwang Sat 06-Feb-16 17:35:52

It's driving me nuts. Making me lose my temper. We're going through potty training (two weeks, very slow going) so my nerves are already a bit jangled. My problem is that she won't listen to me or do anything I say without a fight about it. For instance after doing her wee on the potty and me being excited and happy about it for her sake, she tried to pick up the potty to empty it. Past experience has taught me she throws it all over the place in the bathroom so I asked her to leave it. She ignored me so I stopped her hands and asked her again to leave it. She went for it again so the third time I said 'LEAVE IT' and unbelievably she tried to pick it up AGAIN. This is just an example of many similar situations, but this is the latest one that actually made me completely lose it. I screamed 'JUST LEAVE IT ALONE!' and took her wrist and led her to the sofa out of the way (jerk, no, pull, yes) where she pulled that unhappy fish face and said sorry.

I used to think it was because of distractions like the TV being on so she wasn't paying attention, but this one was clearly not about that. It's as though she can't understand what I'm saying, or can't link what I'm saying to what she is doing.

She doesn't have any other obvious developmental problems (she's behind with everything by about 6 months, but the progress is at a seemingly normal rate)

Before I ask or tell her anything I ask her to look at me. That's another one I'm having problems with. I have to say it several times while she's playing with some toy or other. When I get her to look at me I say something then I ask her to repeat it back to me. She can't say a word of it. For instance, I say 'when you need a wee, tell mummy'. Then I say 'what do you do when you need a wee?' and she can't tell me...

How can I effectively get her attention, make her listen and understand what I want from her? I'm getting so frustrated that I don't want to even bother asking/telling her things any more, I just want to pick her up and plop her down somewhere because it's so much easier in the short term...

Ferguson Sat 06-Feb-16 18:25:00

Goodness! Shouldn't be like that at FOUR - sounds like you've left it a bit late to get control.

Our DS used to insist on emptying the potty himself, which used to worry me (Dad) but he managed, though I think he was more like 2 or 3 then.

I'll look back sometime, see if anyone has more useful advice than me.

ocelot41 Sat 06-Feb-16 18:30:45

Have you had her hearing checked? Worth ruling out. My little boy started tuning me out when he had glue ear

MabelBee Sat 06-Feb-16 18:32:26

I have a four year old like this. I think it's pretty normal and it certainly isn't related to you having left it too late to get control! I try not to make too big a deal of it, keep praising the good. I have a half plan to try the marble jar for good behaviour as sticker charts have been quite successful previously. I think if I gave her a marble for every time she listened without me having to repeat myself, she'd really get into that. She loves praise and attention. Punishment is like water off a ducks back. Upsets her but no behavioural changes.

Sleepybunny Sat 06-Feb-16 18:32:36

Sounds tricky, could she be tired? My 3 year old had regressed a bit and does this at times. Hugely frustrating. Throwing potty training on top would send be batty too.

popperdoodles Sat 06-Feb-16 18:35:55

Does she go to nursery or pre school? I would be speaking to them about how she is there

SofiaAmes Sat 06-Feb-16 18:36:41

Could you try a different approach? For example, in the above situation: Perhaps instead of telling her what not to do you could give her a suggestion of what to do. So instead of saying "leave it" you could say, "now that you have done your wee, time to wash your hands." or something of the sort. I found that my dc's (but particularly my ds) were much more responsive to redirection than contradiction.
Also, in the situation that you are describing, is it possible that every time your dd wee's she see you pick up the potty and empty it afterwards, so she is just trying to mimic your behavior (which she sees as correct behavior) and at 4, just isn't able to do it? In which case, maybe you can figure out how to help her empty the potty herself as she is actually just trying to be good.

By the way, our child minder potty trained my dc's on a regular toilet at 22 months and it was fantastic because there was no emptying of potties and/or transitioning to a normal size toilet. They just balanced themselves on the toilet.

MabelBee Sat 06-Feb-16 18:41:25

Oh yes, mine is much worse when tired. When the clocks changed last year I brought bed time forward and her behaviour improved loads.

Boomerwang Sat 06-Feb-16 21:10:44

Hi guys thanks for the responses.

She had a hearing problem when she was younger, and it was her daycare who pointed out that she didn't seem to listen. We took her to the doctor who cleaned out her ears and then daycare said things had improved.

I stand face to face with her when she doesn't respond and I say her name again, and the words 'look at me' and it still takes two or three times until she does - fleetingly - and then away again. She parrots a lot, and will repeat words that someone has said in a different room at the time, so I'm sure it's not her hearing.

She is trying to help when it comes to the potty, which is nice and I appreciated it the first time, but I have since told her that I'll take her potty to the bathroom from now on. Since I told her 'no' so many times, it shouldn't matter anyway - she should have heeded me when I asked her to leave it alone.

It's the same when she wanders in the road - time and time again I've told her not to and she still does it. It's like she can't connect what I'm saying to what she is doing. However that can't be true, because if I ask her what she's painting she can tell me. Or if I ask what she is doing, she can say she is painting. More abstract things like 'what did you do with daddy this morning' she can answer too - even if it's just 'daddy tickled me'

We have both a potty and a child's toilet seat cover. The reason for the potty is speed because getting up on the step stool and then trying to turn around, pull knickers down without falling over and then jump over the splash guard just takes too long on her own.

Littlefish Sat 06-Feb-16 21:21:31

I would suggest speaking to your health visitor to find out about a referral to speech and language. The fact that she is parroting what she hears, is struggling with eye contact and following instructions would make me a little concerned. I presume she is due to start school in September?

popperdoodles Sun 07-Feb-16 07:35:36

I second seeing the health visitor. Sorry but it would be best to get her understanding fully checked out before school

SevenSeconds Sun 07-Feb-16 07:39:20

Agree - get her hearing checked again. Could be glue ear.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Sun 07-Feb-16 07:45:15

It doesn't sound like a discipline or naughtiness issue.

I would definitely ask for an assessment. Firstly of her hearing as she has had issues before then maybe a referral to a paediatrician. Sounds to me like something is not quite as it should be with her processing

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Sun 07-Feb-16 07:47:03

No one can diagnose anything on here but.sorry..your post has some issues in it familiar to me and a few red flags for ASD so I would definitely have an assessment done (and sorry if it upsets you I said that, but it is the truth)

JennyOnAPlate Sun 07-Feb-16 07:48:30

I would have a chat with your doctor at this point. I don't think what you're describing is generally "normal" for an almost 4 year old and if she were mine I would want to get her checked out.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Sun 07-Feb-16 07:48:41

It could be linked to her mild delay or her hearing though. Hearing would be the first thing checked anyway.

I don't think it's helpful for people to talk about her as being out of control. Sounds like she has a little more trouble responding and organising herself, for whatever reason.

ChalkHearts Sun 07-Feb-16 07:52:58

At nearly 4 most children aren't around 6 months behind. That's quite a lot behind.

I'm sorry but I really do think there's a chance this is a developmental problem rather than a behaviour problem.

Jw35 Sun 07-Feb-16 08:06:53

I'd see your gp/hv. Sounds like a developmental issue or an underling problem that needs checking out

Fairylea Sun 07-Feb-16 08:12:39

I don't mean to alarm you but I would definitely push for an asd (autism) assessment. My ds is 3.8 and has asd and social communication disorder and your dd sounds very similar. There is no way my ds would understand anything about potty training yet and has no safety awareness. He repeats back anything you say to him but his comprehension is very poor.

twofalls Sun 07-Feb-16 08:15:24

Ferguson what a completely unhelpful post.

OP just seconding others - I would have a chat to your GP about it. If there is a problem with hearing or otherwise the sooner you get help the better. If there is no problem then at least you have ruled it out. thanks

Soooosie Sun 07-Feb-16 08:19:12

Do you say no constantly? Maybe she sees you as a nag. Negative attention is better then no attention. Personally I think it's unessessary to shout and loose your rag.

You didn't explain WHY she shouldn't move the potty. An alternative to saying no would have been to tell her that you can do it together. It's not the end of the earth if a bit of wee falls out.

fanjoforthemammaries7850 Sun 07-Feb-16 08:21:06

It doesn't sound like that's what it is soosie

Sirzy Sun 07-Feb-16 08:29:02

Have nursery noticed any similar problems?

I agree with others I would speak to your HV and take it from there

Bisghetti Sun 07-Feb-16 08:36:25

Her behaviour rings a few alarm bells for me too. My ds (5.5) has ASD and had some similar behaviours. If she's delayed by 6 months at this age (a fairly noticeable delay I'd imagine) I presume she's already seeing a paediatrician but if not it's definitely worth getting a referral to a developmental paed, who specialises in development (as opposed to general health).

lostinmiddlemarch Sun 07-Feb-16 08:56:35

I think her problem is probably just being four, but it's worth getting everything checked to be certain.

I have a four year old and it is extraordinary how little she cares about my agenda for her life smile She's discovered that if she just detaches a little bit, she can completely ignore me and live in her own world when she feels like it. Which she does, sometimes. She doesn't see why she should look at e when she's trying to do this. She doesn't see why she should stop doing something if I've told her not to do it, provided she can still get her hands on whatever it is. I'm not saying she's just naughty, exactly, just that it's a symptom of her being old enough to be autonomous (or sometimes, because she's feeling stressed by all she's been asked to do). At the same time, the way my DD does it, it is rather naughty and we are trying to positively reinforce when she does listen.

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