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Please help...4 year old daughter acting like a stroppy teenager.

(8 Posts)
RenagadeMum Mon 06-Jul-09 19:09:12

Hi Mumsnet
I am new to this, so please be kind.

I have a 4 year old daughter, who is really lovely, most of the time.
But lately, she is speaking to me in a way that is frankly rude and disrespectful. She answer back so often and seems to have adopted a whining voice when even asking for the simplest thing, even before I have said no!
We have had many stresses going on the past month with my DHs job, but this predates that. I can fully see the link, but it seems more than that.
It is really hard to know what to do as sometimes she is great, and other times, when we have had a really fun day, done everything she wants and had a good laugh, her head starts to rotate like in 'The Exorcist' and I seem to lose her. I know she is tired as she is the youngest in her class.

I have tried over the past few months:
Naughty step
Putting a favourite toy on a shelf
Taking her away from the situation and talking quietly to her

I have not smacked her, but sometimes it feels like the 'soft'punishments are really not working and she no fears the right word? I think I mean respects me. My MIL was horrified by the way she is speaking to me and said there was no way she would have taken that from my DH or SIL and a firm ssmack would have startled them out of it.

Any advice, please?

slowreadingprogress Mon 06-Jul-09 20:11:12

I think you have to accept that nothing will work straight away. Your role is not to hit her but to teach her smile and she needs more time than being 4 to learn!

I would certainly make sure she knows you don't speak to her when she either whines, or is rude. She needs to know that mum does not like to spend time with her when she does that. You need to set standards for yourself in terms of how you're spoken to, and show her the boundary.

Above all, speak to her politely at all times, role model how you want her to speak, remember to thank her for little things she might do etc etc. It's easy to impose standards on kids that we don't actually keep to ourselves and I think it's always worth remembering that kids learn by copying us rather than by listening to what we tell them to do!

MissisBoot Mon 06-Jul-09 20:15:22

DD is going through a whiney phase atm - I ask her to try and remember in her normal voice - its like she gets stuck whining and needs a gentle reminder to get her back to normal.

Ignoring is the only thing that works with my 4yo. She's bright enough to know right from wrong and giving her attention for any bad behaviour is only fuelling it.

fettle Mon 06-Jul-09 20:45:22

Hi RenagadeMum - just want to reassure you that you are not alone - you've just described my just turned 5 daughter!grin

It is hard, but keeping calm probably is the best option - advice that I'm finding really hard to keep myself as I feel I am dealing with an alien sometimes. However, I really don't think that smacking will help (although I've been sorely tempted I can shamefully admitblush).

We've instigated a "coin" system where DD gets 10x5p pieces on a Saturday morning. Every time she is really good, does something without being asked, really kind or helpful she is given another coin to put in her box, (She also gets a coin for sleeping through the night as we were having real trouble with her waking a 5am) but if she is misbehaving, answering back, moaning excessively and won't stop after being asked 3 times she has a coin taken away.

So far, it is working quite well and she enjoys shopping on the following Saturday with her "coins" - not a lot she can buy with about £1.00-£1.50 which is what she tends to end up with, but we are teaching her she can save up one week to the next to buy a bigger item. Thereby giving her another valuable life lesson in saving!wink

But I'm hoping as with most things in childhood it is just another phase and it will pass at some point (hopefully before the real teenage angst starts!!grin).


bigchris Mon 06-Jul-09 20:49:19

is she just coming to the end of reception? because my 5 year old is and his behaviour gets owrse by the day
I think they are knackered by school, excited because everyone keeps talking about sports days, summer fairs, holidays etc
they need letting loose in huge open spaces so they can behave like feral animals for 6 weeks grin

fishie Mon 06-Jul-09 20:52:17

ds is often like this when he is tired or hungry. or bored but that usually leads to some sort of mischievous endeavour.

distraction is better than confrontation and also gives the stroppy one a way out without losing face.

smee Mon 06-Jul-09 21:01:23

Four is the worse age imo. I'd never have believed it until I got there. Have you tried walking away Renegade? Works for me - I give DS a warning, then calmly walk away and say he can come and get me when he's ready to stop/ behave/ say sorry/ whatever really. Works for both of us, as it stops me shouting blush

RenagadeMum Tue 07-Jul-09 09:14:12

Thank you all so much! I never expected to get such helpful and kind advice and to not feel alone in this.
Yes Bigchris, she is at the end of reception and this may have alot to do with it (problem is, I know the holidays are coming up and slightly dreading it!)
Smee, walking away sounds like a good one, sometimes I really need to!
Fettle, I like the idea of the coins, as nice to concentrate on positive stuff. Only problem is, sometimes we start on good things like that and never end up following through!

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