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Help!! How the hell to get your 4yo to do as they are told??!!?

(77 Posts)
OhWhatAPalaver Sat 14-May-16 11:30:00

I am almost at the end of my very long and stretched tether! My dd simply ignores any of my requests for her to do anything, it's infuriating and highly embarrassing in public. Eg, she wouldn't come and get dressed at swimming today, I had to try and run around after her and drag her back to the bench to get dressed! (not really running and not really dragging as I'm 35 weeks with dd2, which is making things much harder!)
She end up screaming, shouting, hitting and kicking and I was getting more and more annoyed with her, which didn't help.
She also screams very very loud indeed. I always think I look like a really terrible parent sad
I can't physically restrain her anymore either as she's very strong, her hits and kicks really hurt.
I felt terrible today as when she tried to run away again and I grabbed her wrist to try and stop her and she fell and hurt herself, which she screamed about very loudly for a long time. She then proceeded to hit and kick me several times while I tried to get her shoes on. Needless to say we left the changing room in a hurry. I feel really bad.
Part of the problem is my frustration, the fact that I could ask her to do something a hundred times and she would still ignore me really gets to me. She almost always does as her step-dad says straight away, although even he has been tested recently.
I don't know how I'm going to cope with a newborn and my 4yo behaving this badly, please help!!

CodyKing Sat 14-May-16 11:38:13

Do not chase - say "I'm not chasing you"

Stand firm

Make things a game "bet you can't get those shoes in by the time X happens"

Always count down - never up!

Don't specify what will happen if you get to 0 - say "do you want to find out?"

Whisper - "wait till you get home" gives them time to think about what may happen - and time for you to calm down - and not give unreasonable punishments -

It will pass

SavoyCabbage Sat 14-May-16 11:44:39

Jolly them along.

'Ohhhh, look I can't find your knickers anywhere in the bag! What am I going to do? Can you look for them as you have excellent eyes. Remember when you saw that dog chasing the red ball in the park and I couldn't see the dog chasing the red ball at all! And you said there he is over there and you pointed to him and then I did see the dog chasing the red ball. Could you look for the knickers in the bag?'

Bonus points if you can get the knickers on to your head while she isn't looking.

OhWhatAPalaver Sat 14-May-16 12:08:06

Good advice, thanks. I do think half the problem is that the way I deal with it doesn't help. I'm usually really patient with her but in this later stage of pregnancy I'm finding it really difficult!
I sometimes feel like I have no authority and it just makes me feel useless.

BotBotticelli Sat 14-May-16 19:55:15

In that situation I would definitely be threatened get punishments with 3yo ds.

For example, come and get dressed now or there's no cookie in the cafe after swimming. Ds come here NOW or there's no cookie, straight home. I am gonna count to three and if you're not here by 3 getting dressed then there's no cookie: 1....2.....3

He would normally always get to me by the count of two.

OhWhatAPalaver Sun 15-May-16 08:59:07

Tried that, she still ignored me!
I do probably make life more difficult for myself as I have it in my head that she should just do as I ask and that I shouldn't have to count to 3... Mostly because she sometimes responds to me asking her to do something by saying 'count to 3 mummy!' Which kind of defeats the purpose...

KnockMeDown Sun 15-May-16 09:06:57

What motivates her? Does she like stickers, praise, being first, doing things herself? Use whatever that is. I am a great advocate of bribery, and of natural consequences. If you get dressed quickly we'll have time for a snack. If you're ready before me, you get a sticker. And always Thank you for getting ready so quickly, that was so helpful now we can do this exciting treat.

Would any of this help?

WakeUpFast Sun 15-May-16 09:08:14

Simple little trick I read somewhere that has become invaluable when out and about:

Give an order ("dd I want you to get dressed please") and say "thank you, well done" before they do it. So you basically praise them before they actually carry out what they've been asked. If they're being really disobedient, kneel down at eye level, speak firmly and say "thank you! You're brilliant for listening".

Works every time.

LoveFromUs Sun 15-May-16 09:16:43

She is 4 and you have lost all control over her and she is also miss behaving in public? You're the mother and she is the child, you shouldn't have let things get this bad.

And I would NOT be rewarding her for good behaviour I don't agree with parents that do and I also don't agree with star charts, as she should be behaving anyway.

The only advice I can give to you is to take away her toys and all the things she enjoys doing. If she asks to go somewhere outside the house such as the park or shops, tell her no because she doesn't know how to behave.

Only you can change this situation because you're the one who has let things get this bad, as mothers we should never loose control over our children.

WakeUpFast Sun 15-May-16 09:34:20

LoveFromUs, not a fan of leading by example, eh? confusedhmm

OP, ignore LoveFromUs. We all lose control sometime or other (apart from those perfect mothers who don't "loose" control over their children).

PissPotPourri Sun 15-May-16 09:38:01

Agree with wakeup, better to realise now that things are not as you would like and address them now. Have to agree with pp, I parent by jolly-ing along with a heavy dose of bribery and threats. If bribery gets you out of a situation, then wait until things are calmer to have a talk about why your ds was good and how she could have helped you more.

PissPotPourri Sun 15-May-16 09:38:38

Dd, sorry

Love from us biscuit
My parents demonstrated what your advocating and they now have 3 children who have distanced themselves...Also your theory doesn't allow for different personalities, I have identical twins who require very different parenting approaches...not every penny fits the slot and not all children just accept authority figures...
OP in my day job I witness lots of this behaviour from 3/4 year olds who notice physical changes later in their mums pregnancies. It is as if they know something is coming but cannot process what exactlysmile I also see lots of children settling happily once baby actually arrives, they step up to being big brothers/sisters, good luck to you, I'm sure your doing great, as you said she is trying her step dad too! They do push when ready to go to primary school, I see that daily toogrin*

JustABigBearAlan Sun 15-May-16 09:55:14

Bloody hell Love that's a bit harsh. I don't think op has 'lost control' over her dd. Sounds completely normal to me. Children like to test boundaries and often young children seem to have no sense of urgency.

My 5 year old often really tests my patience by not always doing as he's told. The strategies above do work though. I just find it frustrating that I have to either threathen or bribe, but he is getting better.

LoveFromUs Sun 15-May-16 09:55:48

Why are you telling her to ignore the truth? A childs behaviour reflects on the parent(s)

We all loose control? No we don't, my boys are 6 & 4 and I can say I've never lost control over them, and not once have they misbehaved in public.

We were out at the aquarium yesterday and there was a boy no older than the age of 6 hitting his father, I actually felt sorry for the little boy not the parents as they're the ones who have let the boy behave like that, a lady who I assume was the mother said "If you be good we will go to Mc Donald's"

How pathetic did cross my mind, bribing a child with food that I wouldn't even feed to an animal.

Fortunately I am happy to say I could never feel their pain.

In order to move forward you have to admit that you've messed up.

WellErrr Sun 15-May-16 10:01:07

Best thing I find is not engaging.

'DD come and get dressed please. If you don't come NOW then I will dress myself first instead.'

Then do it. Make her wait. Don't get cross, just say 'well, you had your chance. Maybe next time you will come when you're asked. I'm not chasing you.'

When I stopped chasing as pleading and cajoling things got loads better. They WANT the chase.

WellErrr Sun 15-May-16 10:02:01

Crikey Love, that's worthy of Sanctimommy.

WellErrr Sun 15-May-16 10:02:23

In fact I'm sending it in grin

GingerAndTheBiscuits Sun 15-May-16 10:03:46

4 to 4.5 was really hard work, and I had DD2 just after DD1 turned 4. A lot of the behaviour may well be linked to the pregnancy. In another, calmer moment it may be worth having a chat with her about any worries she may have about the new baby.

In the moment I've had to coach myself to stop before I react and collect myself (otherwise I turn into a banshee). I read a lot of Janet Lansbury's blog and Facebook posts, and I would really recommend Siblings without Rivalry too as it's very short.

WakeUpFast Sun 15-May-16 10:10:30

Okay, LoveFromUs, you got your attention. Now move along. You're far too superior for this thread.

SaveSomeSpendSome Sun 15-May-16 10:19:48

My dd is 3.5 and she has never hit or kicked me. She does however answer back constantly!!!

It drives me mad. There has been times when she has not followed my instructions in public and it is embarrassing.

I do say to her that when we get home she will go on the naughty step. She hates this and this usually gets her to do as she is told. I will always put her on the naughty step when we get home if she carries on. I never just forget about it.

I do shout quite abit though which i hate doing. I know i can sometimes go overboard when i shout at her but this is only when she is being persistantly naughty and not listening and nothing else works.

I have had some looks when i have shouted at her but really try not to get to this point.

Gowgirl Sun 15-May-16 10:21:53

They do grow out of about 25 flowers

LoveFromUs Sun 15-May-16 10:47:23

I didn't comment to draw attention to myself.

This is a parenting messaging board where people post for advice, I was just giving advice.

If everyone was to go easy on her, her situation wouldn't change.

LogicalThinking Sun 15-May-16 11:03:50

I think the whole negative approach of threats and consequences is not great. Save the consequences for when things are going really badly.

Take a far more positive approach.
Give her plenty of notice for what you want her to do and tell ehr what will happen next.
"We have 10 minutes left in the swimming pool, then we will go and get changed and have a drink in the cafe"
Give her more warnings at 5, 2 and 1 minute.
Keep it positive.
"Good girl, you have been such good fun in the pool today, I love bringing you swimming. I'm looking forward to that drink when we get out."
"Time to get out, let's go and get changed, can you remember which locker we had?"
"Great remembering, what would I do without you. Can you take this bag to the cubicle please?"

Keep a positive commentary, notice the things she does well, tell her what you DO want, not what you don't.

Ignore minor misbehaviour, she's just testing the boundaries - this is healthy and important for development.

LoveFromUs Totally compliant children are extremely vulnerable - they are far more likely to be manipulated by others (adults and children) because they have been taught that obedience is mandatory. They learn no negotiation skills so often suffer socially. They often attempt to regain a sense of control in their lives by controlling other children. They copy the behaviour that has been modelled to them. I'm sure you're children a perfect and you are all very popular. You must be a delight to spend time with. biscuit

CodyKing Sun 15-May-16 11:11:53

Stop counting up!! Count down because there's nothing after 0 - but you can count up forever

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