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I need some serious help with DD1 (4)

(20 Posts)
FoghornLeghorn Mon 11-Aug-08 07:11:10

To say I am struggling with DD1 atm, is possibly the understatement of the century. She never listens, I always shout and to be perfectly honest there are times when I really struggle.

I am no saint, I shout and I know I shouldn't, DH hates it and is forever telling me to stop .... I am trying to stop before I launch into one and take a minute to calm down before I react to whatever it is she is doing/has done. If I don't shout I find myself talking through gritted teeth at her, which having listened to DH do it the other day is absolutely horrible and possibly frightening for DD.

DD1 is 4 (just) and simply doesn't listen to a word she is told .... it's got the stage that she could quite easily be doing something dangerous i.e running towards a road or something and if I told her to stop, she wouldn't ! She has to be told something 4-5 times before she listens and this isn't because she's decided to listen, this is because I've ended up shouting or punishing her. She answers DH & I back. She shouts (because I shout, I know).
I am just so at a loss with what to do with her

For example, I decided last night that instead of shouting at her today I would remove a toy/DVD everytime she did something she shouldn't so it's 7am and I have removed 3 things already, 2 for taking her sisters dummy on 2 occassions (she hasn't had a dummy for over a year but recently keeps taking DD2's) and 1 for standing on the arm of the sofa and jumping off, asked her 3 times not to do it, she just looked at me and did it anyway so when I told her I was taking a DVD away she shouted at me 'OOKKKAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY' !

I don't really know what I am expecting from this thread - I know I will get flamed for the shouting etc but that's fine, I just need something to change before it really impacts our relationship because there are times I really feel like I just want to be away from her and I hate feeling like that

twentypence Mon 11-Aug-08 07:18:19

It will get worse before it gets better - she will have to be retrained that you will not shout - however hard she tries.

And that means you can't shout - however hard it gets you have to be stronger than her curiosity about just what it will take to mummy to shout. And 4 year olds are very curious.

I think you also have to ignore small things to start with, as that will stop her upping the ante by doing bigger and bigger things.

Don't ask her not to do something she hasn't done yet - the sofa thing. Wait for her to do it and then calmly take her to her room (or the hall or something) and tell her she can come back when she is ready to behave. When she reappears do not mention it. If she immediately does it again, then same deal except explain that she is in time out for "xxxx" be as specific as possible, one sentence only and then repeat the time out.

Reward good behaviour with a compliment. "it makes me happy when you xxxxx" again be specific.

Lastly remember you are the adult, and you have vowed not to shout. Shouting will only make the first stages of giving up harder, so stay firm.

twentypence Mon 11-Aug-08 07:21:15

Oh and just to say that she will have to learn to listen the first time - because you aren't going to repeat yourself. At the moment she isn't listening the first 4 times because she knows she will hear it again and again and again. There is simply no point listening until you get cross.

Slouchy Mon 11-Aug-08 07:49:06

My 4 year old dd1 was just like this. She is now nearly 6, and better on the whole.

Does she start school soon? this gave my dd a real focus/channel for her energy, so she was doing constructive things with it instead of thinking of ways to be destructive.

(Oh, and I shouted. These days I tend to send her out of the room instead so we both get chance to calm down)

FoghornLeghorn Mon 11-Aug-08 07:55:45

Thanks for the responses

Slouchy - yes she starts school in September which I think will be great for her.

Twentypence - Thanks for your advice. I totally agree with ignoring the small things, I know I should pick my battles but it's so hard when I and she both know she shouldn't be doing even the little things yet she does them anyway to get a reaction

There have been lots of things going on lately which I think would've impacted her behaviour i.e I went back to work for 6 months and DH stayed at home, we have a new baby due, we've just had an outbreak of Chicken Pox which has left us pretty housebound..... however, none of these things are the cause of her bad behaviour, I just don't think they would've helped.

AbbeyA Mon 11-Aug-08 08:02:28

You have made a good start by realising that shouting is a problem. I think that twentypence has excellent advice.
It is difficult, but I found that being negative turned the day into a downward spiral. If you find it hard, go into a different room, count to ten and go back and try and find something positive to comment on.
It will take time to change-good luck.

Miggsie Mon 11-Aug-08 08:40:12

...don't overly berate yourself for shouting.
We all do it, and you have recognised that you maybe do it too much.
My friend's dd was as you describe yours to be and her granny used to say "in one ear out the other", she seemed to forget things about 20 seconds after being told stuff, whether shouted at or told normaly.

Try to deal with the shouting but don't be surprised if she is still a bit vague, that just might be her way, she'll pay attention a bit later on, my friend's dd is much better now she is 5.

good luck with the calming down!

FoghornLeghorn Wed 13-Aug-08 16:54:00

OK day 3 and it's starting to go downhill again ..... shite weather not helping one iota !

We have been telling once and then sitting on the naughty step for 1 minute. No shouting (until today).

The no shouting is definitely helping but I need an alternative to the naughty step as she just sits and flicks the switches or taps on the walls or bangs her feet - the naughty step isn't phasing her at all.

Elk Wed 13-Aug-08 17:10:51

When I decided to stop shouting I put an elastic band round my wrist, the idea was to 'flick' it if I wanted to shout. However, I found that just wearing it was enough to stop me.

The other thing I started doing was going right up to my dd1, getting right down to her level abd then saying what I wanted to say.

I find it really difficult to be consistent.

Could you change the naughty step perhaps to a corner/mat and call it the thinking step saying it is to think about her behaviour (just and idea -used at dd's old nursery)

PoorOldEnid Wed 13-Aug-08 17:13:21

let her jump off the sofa

she is probably bored witless

whats wrong with banging her feet on the naughty step? at least she is sitting on it

I would try to relax personally and let her have a bit more fun

singyswife Wed 13-Aug-08 17:16:38

A chair in the middle of the room away from everything would probably help. Getting down to their level is a good idea. The experts (supernannyetc) say that they push their luck again on day 3 just to see if you are consistent. Just stick with it. Maybe move the naughty area though. Good luck

Romy7 Wed 13-Aug-08 17:23:34

experts also say 1 minute for each year of life. ie 4 minutes on naughty step/ whatever.

i shout too grin.

dd2 hates the naughty step - it makes her wail very loudly. my rule is that once she has stopped wailing/ the 4 minutes are up, i will come and discuss her behaviour with her. i do expect her to explain to me why i sent her for time out, so that i know she understands which behaviour is not acceptable.

we don't call it the naughty step btw - it's 'time out' to sit and think. it just happens to be the step...

twentypence Wed 13-Aug-08 20:01:02

Nothing wrong with flicking switches or banging feet - she isn't supposed to look all broken and hunted. Just taken away from whatever it was she was doing.

Like a pause point in a packet of Pringles. It just gives your brain a little space to decide whether to continue eating/jumping off sofas!

Romy7 Wed 13-Aug-08 20:28:08

<reflectively>
it is nice when they look broken and hunted though. at least you think they are listening. doesn't happen much here.

i do like them to stop squawking in time out though. who can think when there's that row going on?

notnowbernard Wed 13-Aug-08 20:34:26

I personally find it more challenging dealing with the drip-drip effect of the petty, minor misdemeanours (constant jumping over furniture, whining over NOTHING, fighting over ridiculously unimportant object) than anything serious - eg violence, outright naughtiness, lying

I too fall into the shouting trap (frequently yell at the dds to keep the volume down hmm)

Sometimes I can let it all go, but there are times when I just wish they would listen to me, and do what I ask, ^just once^...

If it's any consolation, dd1 is 4.8 and in the last couple of months is a lot calmer, and less stroppy than say, 6m ago

kbaby Wed 13-Aug-08 20:57:13

Oh no DD has just turned 4 and the last month been like this. I dont shout on the whole but when I hear her say things to her brother that ive said to her I cringe. Tonight for example she has told him off and said ' that is it you are not having any toys ever again and i am going to smack you now'

I have only smacked her once when I was at the end of my teather as nothing I seemed to be saying was sinking in. Obv it was!!

I tend to ignore a lot of the trivial things which is hard sometimes esp if your having a bad day because they all seem to wind you up then.
I cant offer any advice on how to prevent this as I am struggling with a stroppy/arguementative 4yr old too.

windyweather Wed 13-Aug-08 21:04:41

Does she have a hearing problem, just a suggestion.
My dd shouts and has hearing prob in past, we all shout now out of habbit.

funnypeculiar Wed 13-Aug-08 21:08:45

Another one to try - that I have found has transformed my communication with my 5 yo. If he's not listening, I say 'Tell me when you're ready to listen" Then ignore him. I don't know if it's the air of mystery grin or whether it just means he can finish what he's doing then pay me attention (rather than me dictating) but it has really, really made it easier to get through to him. We started using it because he was ignoring me SO much I started thinking there had to be a hearing problem...

SlowDown Wed 13-Aug-08 21:16:28

Our ds 4.2 is stroppy too! Sometimes he gets out of bed and just starts shouting at everyone e.g. 'you can't come in the kitchen daddy, go away'. I agree with notnowbernard. It's the smaller bad behaviour that is hard to deal with. Like if they shout and are being generally rude or obnoxious, is it better to ignore or time-out?

SlowDown Wed 13-Aug-08 21:19:03

..Or as I do sometimes, is it better to try and find out why they seem so cross - aren't you supposed to try and help them understand their emotions or something (so says the latest child book I've read) grin. So maybe if they're jumping off the sofa say 'I think you might be showing me you're a bit bored. Would you like to find something else to play with?' I dunno, it's confusing!!

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