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Mum struggling with getting 3yo to stop doing stuff she's told not to

(11 Posts)
crazywriter Mon 18-Apr-16 16:50:36

I know this is a stage, but I'm actually at my wits end and hoping that someone can help.

My 3yo, 4 in July, is constantly doing everything we tell her not to. We've do the naughty step and taking favourite toys from her but she just doesn't seem to learn.

Yesterday, she was in our room again, playing with my makeup. On numerous occasions she's been told not to do it. I've kept it out of reach but just happened to leave it out yesterday morning accidentally after not using it in a while. My fault for leaving it out, but she really needs to learn to stop.

Today, she went into her dad's bagpipes. It's been a long time since she's done this and knows his bagpipes are off limits unless he is with her to let her use his old chanter "to be like daddy". I have no idea what she's done to them, so had to text husband to say he's going to have something to fix when he gets home.

We also have a new baby in the house, and we're constantly telling her not to touch her face, not to get her hair in her face and other similar things. Just yesterday he was putting her own feet in her sister's mouth, after numerous times of being told off for doing it.

Yes, we should keep everything out of reach, but at nearly 4yo, surely she should be learning that no means no! She knows exactly what the word means and knows what happens when she does it again. Right now, I have her sitting on my computer desk chair with nothing, telling her she can sit in silence for doing stuff she was told not to yet again. I don't even know where to go from here, because it seems like everything I try doesn't work.

BTW, this all happened before the new baby, so it's not regression. She's just never seemed to get the idea that if she just behaves, things are a lot smoother. I expect some acting out and some telling off during the day, but not every hour or so for the same things over and over again.

So, please, I just really need some support her and some tips on where to move forward with this. I don't want to be constantly telling her off. Thank you in advance!

TeaBelle Mon 18-Apr-16 16:56:46

I think you need to priotitise what you really want her to stop. Rearrange as necessary so that her access to your bedroom is stopped and keep out of bounds items away. You may also want to rethink her contact with baby - does it really matter if baby has a bit of hair in her face?
Once you've identified priorities then praise like mad - aim to praise 3 times for each time you punish. I like logical consequence rather than punishment for the sake of punishment

BombadierFritz Mon 18-Apr-16 17:00:46

Its all about avoidance at this age. Try to only say no once a day and just either let some things go or prevent them happening in the first place. Its the quicker and saner route to happiness. Keep her busy, redirect when she looks like she is about to cause mischief, put stuff away, carry baby round or monitor so you can stop and redirect before she fiddles round with hair etc

TeaBelle Mon 18-Apr-16 17:04:45

Also, I forgot to.mention that dd responds better to positive instructions e.g. instead of 'no hitting ', she responds to 'gentle hands please' much quicker. She can't yet quite grasp that I'm talking about something in the negative sense

BombadierFritz Mon 18-Apr-16 17:17:57

Yes, they dont hear the 'no' as well - so if you say 'no hitting' you just put the idea 'hitting' in her head

BombadierFritz Mon 18-Apr-16 17:23:28

I always liked dr searswww.askdrsears.com/topics/parenting/discipline-behavior/25-ways-talk-so-children-will-listen

crazywriter Mon 18-Apr-16 17:24:12

Thanks, both.

The hair in the face is more because the baby gets annoyed and starts crying and then pulls on 4yo's hair. The 4yo then gets upset and cries over it. We've tried the whole "well, don't do it and then she won't grab" but that clearly isn't working. If it wasn't for that, I'd let that one go. Not the poking in the face or feet in the mouth though (don't even now where the latter has come from).

We've tried "gentle, please," but that instruction isn't helping either. She just nods and then does everything she knows she's not supposed to. I've helped her by taking her hand gently and showing her what to do that way, but within 10 minutes it's all forgotten about.

It's gotten to the point where I've told her if she carries on she can't play with her sister at all because she's not being safe. I don't want to stop her from interacting with her sister, but some of the stuff is just dangerous, even when I'm just sat next to them.

Tried the praising when she does good, but still carries on with the bad. Can't carry the baby around constantly, although the baby seems to want me to right now because she's teething!

She has toys, books and is allowed free reign in the garden (when dry because it's enclosed) and she still decides to do the naughty. I try crafts with her, but they last all of 10 seconds because she has the attention span of a goldfish!

She does ask now if she can play with her sister, but then does all the stuff she's been told not to do in the past, rather than doing the stuff we praise her for. Sometimes she can be really good and help to calm her down, but it's like she thinks "I've been praised so much, I'll get away with doing this."

It seems to have been the whole weekend she's been on the naughty step for one thing or another, stuff she knows she's not supposed to do. It hasn't helped she's been off nursery all last week with the chicken pox. She wasn't really ill with them, so I had to find stuff for her to do to entertain herself since we couldn't go out in case she infected others. She'll be back in tomorrow, thank goodness! Maybe it just seems like it's all the time because it's this weekend when she's at her wits end herself with being stuck doing nothing. Once her spots scabbed over on Wednesday, she was allowed to do stuff outside around others again and it was a little easier, but I had to give it 48 hours until she was allowed back at nursery (nursery requirement).

I think I was just hoping there was something else that I hadn't tried or something that others had tried that I hadn't even thought of that worked. Looks like it's just a stage I'm having to weather through again.

BombadierFritz Mon 18-Apr-16 17:35:17

Good luck! It can be a trying age flowers

228agreenend Mon 18-Apr-16 17:41:15

is she attention seeking? Some kids learn that by being naughty, they have your attention.

There was a programme about violent kids on to quite recently. In the first one, when the lad was behaving and playing nicely, the dad went off to have a cigarette. Consequently, to get his dad's attention, he played up. The expert put in boundaries, and made sure that any consequences were carried through.

I learnt a lot from the book Toddler Taming when mine were younger.

Artioo2 Mon 18-Apr-16 17:43:28

Think of it from her point of view. Makeup, bagpipes and a new baby! They all sound fascinating, I don't blame her at all for wanting to investigate, I would and im 42. smile It's completely healthy and natural for her to be fascinated by stuff, especially 'banned' stuff. Why else would you be banning it unless it was really brilliant, after all? She might understand that you don't want her to do it, but the fascination is stronger. She wants to play moee than she doesn't want to be told off.

Can you provide alternatives? Some cheap makeup or empty makeup containers, something noisy and squeezy like bagpipes, and give her very specific 'jobs' to do with the baby, like changing a nappy? Then instead of 'no' and 'don't' you can redirect with 'hey, yeah, makeup! Let's play with your makeup!' etc.

crazywriter Mon 18-Apr-16 18:13:30

Greenend It's not acting out for attention. She gets plenty of that for good things, even with a nb in the house. I've made sure to give her attention and get her involved with so much in the house. She asks to do the washing up with me, and even though it takes twice as long, I'll let her do some of it suitable for her age.

I actively try to focus on the good and see that she is doing good more than focus on the bad. This weekend and into today has just been very trying. I'm really not sure if it's actually just because after a week of being stuck indoors really she's just gotten fed up and wants to get out. I told her she's going to nursery tomorrow and she cheered and danced on the spot.

Artioo, if only that had worked in the first place. She hasn't actually gone into the bagpipes, but does have a chanter of her own. Even with that, she wants DH's chanter or unravel some thread stuff...not even sure what it is and I've put it out of reach for hubby to check when he gets home.

She does help with the baby. She helps with nappy changing and feeding, like getting wipes, bibs etc, and still just loves to do everything she's not supposed to.

I can see why she wants to do it, but it's finding a way to get her to stop. I just have to forget once (easy with a nb in the house) and she somehow instinctively knows.

I have just had a chat with her and this is the first time she seems to have understood completely what she has done wrong. She's come up to me and told me she needs to say "sorry" and give "kisses and cuddles." When asked what she did that was naughty, she told me she went into mummy and daddy's room. I asked her if she was allowed to do that and she said no, only play in her room with her toys. That's about as far as I'm going to get with her comms skills (her speech is delayed), so I'm happy that she's managed to say that to me. So, I've praised her for knowing but said that she will have to say sorry to daddy when he gets home. I've already made a point to him not to give her a double telling off when she gets home.

She's now asked to play with her sister, but decided against it when baby sister cried because she wanted to hold her hand. She's gone back to her phone (a calculator!) to "talk to nanna" to tell her what's happened today. I'm not sure if it's a breakthrough or not, but something seems to have gotten through today.

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