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Please help me with my battles with my 4yr old dd....

(28 Posts)
shhhh Sun 31-May-09 20:13:01


Im fully expecting backlash and blame but here goes...

DD has just turned 4, she has gone from being a delightful little girl to a handful (all since she started preschool about 8 months ago).

The last 2 weeks she has gone down hill. Dh believes she is intellegent and knows what she is doing hence the behaviour.

She has been ill with chicken pocks the last 2 weeks and prior to that ds was ill with chicken pocks so I think she is treid of us nothing being able to do much iykwim but this week will be the 1st normality since a month ago..

Thing is she is a little madam..sad. She back answers everything, if you tell her off she answers back with "don't tell me what to do, or don't shout at me etc"

Im not entirely innocent and on occasions have shouted at her, smacked her hand etc but mainly out of frustration.
Im trying my best the last week and am trying to listen to her and to talk to her more about actions BUT find it hard when faced with her shouting at me or kicking me or even biting her brother (2 yrs).

She honestly atm is like a teenager sad.

Where have I gone wrong, what do I do..? I want to walk away from it all. Im finding her tiring and hard work.
Dh is finding the same.

She is playing on being ill but no idea about the rest...

I just want to be a wonderful mum and want her to love me....

whjy is she like this..? on the outside to friends/preschool she is lovely. Never steps a foot wrong...

TIA. Please be gentle on

wrinklytum Sun 31-May-09 20:19:53

Don't worry,they are all like this at times!

I have found the best methods with ds are

Naughty step.
Time out.
"If you don't do xyz by the time I have counted to 10 you will not be able to (Insert watch TV,play game,have story or whatever here)
In serious circumstances I remove priveledges.

Am evil mum.

Many may disagree but have found this works,usually.

The fact she acts out with you and not elsewhere shows she is secure enopugh to vent her feelings with you IYKWIM so please don't worry.DS has many moments especially now he is in reception and testing more boundaries.I am sure soon more issues will crop up.Oh the joys of being a parent !

MuppetsMuggle Sun 31-May-09 20:24:02

I'm having the same prob at the moment, in the last week she has been a right little moo.

I think my DD feels a little insecure as we've had alot of upheaval in the last 5 weeks, with me being really ill and then us finally moving, not that this is any excuse for her behaviour.

I'm still not 100% and I do believe she knows what shes doing half the time and some times she laughs when she back chats or something like it, and as i'm not 100% shes playing on that as she knows i can't deal with her screaming at the moment grrr.

shhhh Sun 31-May-09 20:26:34

Thanks wrinkly,I just feel like life atm is a constant battle.

We have over indulged both her and ds over the years but have suddenly realised that we need to change as much and the dk's and today saw us stand our ground on a new toy dd wanted.
I guess I just feel that she will turn around in years time and realy say I hate you iykwim and I don't want that. YET I don't want to walked over.

Im usually the strong one with the kids (im a sahm and dh's works away a bit) so I have to be BUT for some reason the last weeks I have been doubting myself and doubting my role as a mummy. I feel maybe its my fault why she is as she is..she says awful things and it really guts me sad.

The tips you have given have all been things we have done with dd, I know mner's seem to go on about the other parenting method (can't rmember name) where you listen more to kids, don't reprimand etc but I don't feel it would work with dd..I have backed off as it is the last week and she seems to have gone worse..

gagarin Sun 31-May-09 20:29:38

Sorry to say but IMO she knows you find her difficult. You know she's not silly.

And she's only 4 so the fact that she gets an underlying vibe that she is hard work or difficult means she will be feeling panicked inside - and this comes out as unpleasant attention seeking behaviour. She'll be keen for any type of attention - esp if her little brother seems more angelic than her at the moment (it won't last!)

So truely - the classic "you will get more of what you pay attention to" approach really works. Point out all her good behaviours - "good TV watching", "good sitting" "good listening" etc just like they do at school.

Remember the thing about the elephant - someone says to you "don't think of an elephant!" - and you can't help it - you think of it. Like wise with behaviour "don't kick your brother" - she'll think that's what she wants to do. "Don't fidgit" - it becomes impossible to sit still.

And add in a few white lies - tell her nice things about herself. Tell her what you like about her. She knows what you DON'T like about her but does she know what you do like? If you can't think of anything blush then make it up! Keep saying positive things - "you've got such a lovely smile"; "you are so clever to be able to work the TV"; "aren't you grown up going to school".

And be (pleasantly!) a bit down on her brother's skills - "he's a bit silly that he can't do ??? isn't he? When he's a clever big boy he'll be able you can"

She's only little. She used to be your only one. She may well have this interpreation of going to school (subconsciously) "mummy kept him at home and sent me away". He's two now so he's becoming his own person and invading her time with her mummy.

Things will get better - but staying positive is the only way forward.

And yes - your dh may be right she's doing some of this on purpose - but ask youself WHY?

gagarin Sun 31-May-09 20:33:57

And the technique is NOT that you don't reprimand - it's that when you do have to reprimand (for dangerous actions - not for p[etty stuff) you clearly identify the behaviour you DON'T want and then almost IMMEDIATELY find something about her that is positive and praise that - so she knows ahat it is you do want!

gagarin Sun 31-May-09 20:36:08

Muppets - why isn't you being ill (and her being scared?) and moving (which is terrifying for adults never mind children!) not any excuse?

I think it's quite a good one!

NellyTheElephant Sun 31-May-09 20:46:25

She sounds like my DD (also 4). I am hating myself at the moment, sometimes I think all DH and I do is tell her off, but she can be so unbelievably TRYING. Not helped by having a 7 wk old DS (so we are knackered and she is attention seeking) and a 2 yr old DD who really is a very easy sunny child who consequently rarely gets told off (fueling jealousy issues, although the two DDs do adore each other and play well most of the time).

Truth is she is an utterly adorable girl. Her nursery school have nothing but praise for her, when she goes on play dates mothers always comment particularly on how well behaved and polite she is etc and I think 'are they really talking about my daughter????' I try to make time to do something with just her once a week or so and we have such a fabulous time together on our own, she is sweet, funny, chatty, obedient... (as opposed to obstructive, violent, surly and disobedient at other times), so it's clearly an attention thing, but I'm getting nowhere. Everything has deteriorated terribly since DS arrived.

I don't have any advice to offer as clearly whatever I am doing isn't working at all. I think gagarin's advice sounds great.... I just wish i could live by it... tomorrow is another day............

shhhh Sun 31-May-09 20:53:31

thanks muppets and gagarin...

Thing is she gets sooooo much attention from me, dh and gp's and esp when dh is home we try and split it so that we either do stuff togther or dh has dd and I have ds or vice versa..

I swim with ds on a sat so dd has dh for a few hours and has 1:1. Painting, playing in garden,swimming, shopping etc.

She also gets heaps of praise. I don't find it hard to compliment her and tell her daily (several times a day) how much we love her, how pretty she is and even on good behaviour etc we tell her.. She loves it but then still does stuff to ds.sad.

She will try and cover it up at times or will even say "yes I bit him.." matter of factly hmm.

Yes, we also have the laughing when being told off...I suggested to dh its nervous but he isn't so sure..hmm.

Other thing...........she will say "mummy I don't like you" sad.

I try and step back on reprimanding when dh is home but she turns on me. Dh could tell her off etc and she still goes back to him. In fact would easily go to her bedroom and scream for daddy. If I go she tell me to go away. Its daddy she wants...I can';t understand. IMO I wouldn;t want the person near me who had shouted at me iykwim....

Sycamoretreeisvile Sun 31-May-09 21:02:26

Without question, I have found the best tactic is to stay calm, utterly ignore tantrums and then as soon as she deigns to join the room again just act like the tantrum never happened.

If she's rude, I tell her it's unpleasant and if she doesn't stop then xyz will be the consequence (removal of toy etc).

IF I have to implement this kind of "punishment" she can wail for a very long time but eventually runs out of steam and I am then just as bright and breezy as I can be, and whenever possible I try and make a joke or do some role play to pull her round.

BiscuitStuffer Sun 31-May-09 21:08:14

How about some quality one to one time with her? sounds like she's after some attention maybe?

MuppetsMuggle Sun 31-May-09 21:16:02

Gagarin - I know its not an excuse as such, but I spend all the time I can with her esp on half terms, we've been everywhere this week and TBH been spoilt rotten. She is normally such a good child, just this week she has been a nightmare, and as i said i'm still not 100% so trying to stay calm when you feel like i do it is very hard. I can't walk everywhere, I can't constantly do things with my hands.

I always try and compliment her when I can, we paint, we colour, we do puzzles, we bake, she loves helping with the housework, which I do compliment her on all of this, as she is very creative.

I feel so run down and like a really bad mum

Sycamoretreeisvile Sun 31-May-09 21:24:03

You are not a bad mum - listen to all those lovely things you are doing with your DD and for her - and you're posting here because you're so concerned.

They are madams at this age mostly. I'd say my DD was pretty amazing in terms of her behaviour most of the time, but she's just about to hit four and suddenly out of nowhere she as started these manic shouting tantrums if she doesn't get her way, or no one will play with her "I AM NOT COMING DOWN FROM THIS ROOM, EVER! DO YOU HEAR ME - NO ONE CAN COME AND PLAY WITH ME NOW, NOT EVER!" and on and on.

DH and I just try and smile at each other and turn the radio up grin

shhhh Sun 31-May-09 21:40:19

Im glad I started this thread as its made me see that there are a few of us in the same situation...

Biscuit,she isn't short of attention..she does things as a family, alone with dh or fact I went shopping with her yesterday.

Nelly,your dd sounds exactly like ours grin. I stand there amazed when others comment on how good and cute she is hmm Makes me feel good though, I guess I should be happy that she is good outside of the home..just a beast in it.!

So, tomorrow is a new day and I will try the tactics given here..I guess I need to rise above it and to ignore as much as I can...

shhhh Sun 31-May-09 21:43:52

Its madness isn't it !

I can't believe that these lo's are only 4....!

The back chat dd gives us is unreal...she just seems so defiant..

Sycamore,thankssmile. Yes,I do sit there and think, she is lucky as dh & I do try and do the best we can but I guess as parents there's no guide and its like the blind leading the blind..

babyhouse Sun 31-May-09 21:51:17

Know exactly where u are coming from, I have a 4 yr old DD too and she is making me tear my hair out at the moment!!! Please dont take any criticism though, just advice, you have to find a way to deal with the behaviour that suits you all. My situation slightly different as have an older DS and I think she copies him when he is being stroppy!
As you she is great at pre-school and with other people but...
Have done all the naughty step and depriving of privelages too which work for a bit then she comes back with a sorry and a sunny smile and an ''I love you Mummy'', until the next time.....
Hoping to see advice that will work for me too!

Sycamoretreeisvile Sun 31-May-09 21:52:13

So true, but she sounds really spirited and confident - so congrats. What brilliant qualities for a young girl to have.

babyhouse Sun 31-May-09 21:55:57

Agree with Sycamore, she sounds like she will be a strong woman one day - maybe the next female PM!!! Thats what I like to think about my DD, she will bounce through life with far more confidence and security than I have!

Overmydeadbody Sun 31-May-09 22:01:20

Shhh your DD sounds like a perfectly normal little 4 yr old, seriously! It isn't the 4 yr olds acting like teenagers, it's more that teenagers revert to 4yr old behaviour grin

I've read all your posts, and it just crossed my mind that maybe she is getting too much 1:1 attention form you and your DH, so too much adult-led activities and control over everything she does, when maybe she just needs a little more freedom? (without the watchful eye of an adult constntly ready to intervene, help and correct/reprimand?)

You need to stay calm, especially when she says things like "I don't like you". That is normal she is testing you to see what response she gets. Either ignore it or put on a monotone non emotinal voice and say "that's not a nice thing to say", unless she is saying "I don't like you" right after you have done something that has made her feel like this, in which case what she probably meant is "I don't like what you just did" and tbh she's perfectly justified to feel this, and you can acknowledge her feelings to her, let her know it's ok for her to feel upset with you. Say "Yes, you don't like that I just ...." or something.

shhhh Sun 31-May-09 22:06:29

LOL babyhouse grin.

Dh would love nothing more for her to be the next Mrs T.grin!!!

Dh says the same as you sycamore&babyhouse. He thinks she is very much like me..determined,strong willed and a little highly strung hmm smile.

I guess they can't help it when they have certain charcteristics of both dh & I..I can see so much of both of us in her.

Im just glad that I can see im not alone smile. Thanks ladies, I appreciate it.xx

MuppetsMuggle Mon 01-Jun-09 13:13:43

Thanks Ladies - I'm glad i'm not the only one going through this.

OMDB - DD has had a life with mainly adults, shes at pre-school 9-3pm mon-thurs after that is adult based, i let her get on with playing indoors when we are home. I just find sometimes as she wants me constantly at the moment, i really don't have time to breath iykwim!

chuffinell Mon 01-Jun-09 14:09:18

shhh my 4 year old is exectly the same, and she has no younger sibling to compete with

she is gorgeous out of the house - at school and other peoples houses, but her tantrums at home have become terrible. the other day she screamed at us 'Its MY turn to be the boss in this house, you do as I say' she has started stamping her feet and throwing herself on the floor and screaming at us

'i am not your best friend' 'i dont like you any more' 'You LISTEN to me''you cant tell me what to do' etc etc

DH and I have a loud conversation about non-DD related stuff and she soon shuts up. when he isnt there thou, i do find it difficult not to shout back blushand i put her in bed the other day till she calmed down

honestly its much worse than when she was in the terrible twos. i will think of you and all the responses on your post when i am struggling, and try to remember there are lots more the same as DD and hopefully it will pass

babyhouse Mon 01-Jun-09 18:00:06

Shhh, thought this would make u laugh...DD very rude to me about 5 mins ago, sent her to her room to 'think about her behaviour'. Just went to check on her as very quiet..she is asleep!!! you have to love em!
Obviously tired after a busy day, pre-school and the farm with my mum making behaviour worse!

katiek123 Mon 01-Jun-09 18:05:49

shhh 4 is a really hard age with some of 'em - my DD was a strop monster at that age - is incomparably easier now 8, got easier from age 6 onwards. best book i ever read was 'raising your spirited child' by mary sheedy kurcinka - worth a look! it helped me hugely at your stage. my DD's negativity and tantrums dominated our family life at that time. SO much better now she is older and more able to control her (very strong...) emotions. it will all settle with time, i'm quite sure.

womblingfree Mon 01-Jun-09 22:27:48

Thank God for this thread! I too have been at my wits end with DD (4.8) for the last several weeks. She threw an almighty tantrum today when DH got home from work (he gets in before me) cos she wanted to stay with her GP's who were looking after her. DH was so fed up with it he said ' FIne, go' and she did!!! Of course muggins here had to trek halfway across town to pick her up but that's another story....

I am putting it down to anxiety about starting school in September and the fact I have recently started working again after nearly a year off (8.5 hrs a week in comparison to my previous 22 so why that should bother her who knows).

She is totally oppositional in her behaviour, constantly backchatting, sleep is iffy and she's wet the bed a few times lately which is not like her at all.

I think gagarin's point about them picking up on our frustration is true so am trying to be more positive with her. Am also starting a marble jar where she gets a marble everytime she does as she's asked without answering back or arguing the toss, and 1 gets taken out everytime she backchats or ignores a request.

Will let you know how it of luck to everyone else with 4YO teenagers grin!

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