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DD (aged 4) behaviour is driving DP & I apart what can I do?

(22 Posts)
MuppetsMuggle Wed 16-Sep-09 11:54:29

I was in tears most of the night last night as everytime DD gets tired or is told she can't do something she kicks off, DP then geenrally takes control and DD then kicks, punches, scratches or anything violent towards him. he then looses his temper understandably, i try and calm DD down if I see her getting to wound up so DP can tell her what she did wrong and get her to apologise.

shes the same with me sometimes but mainly DP, and he said last night I wrap DD in cotton wool as I don't like it when he tells her off and that she is driving a wedge between us. The only time we argue is when DD has been like this, and i'm at breaking point.

We have both declared we want to spend our lives together but this driving us apart I can't bear to think about life without DP and it pains me to think this but if DD drove DP away I would resent her for it and I feel so bad about even thinking this.

I really need some advice and its getting me so down as during the day she is brilliant with both DP & I its just at night or when shes told not to do anything.

Seona1973 Wed 16-Sep-09 12:01:09

in what way does your lo kick off? How does your dp take control? Sometimes it is the way dh says things rather than what he says that can cause a tantrum with my dd. He can be a bit more aggressive and have a harsher tone then me so we can get different reactions from her.

MuppetsMuggle Wed 16-Sep-09 12:09:01

Kicks off by screaming hitting, kicking scratching iykwim.

DP generally is the more calm one out of the pair of us when we try and tell DD off.
He trys to calm her down but then because she lashes out he tends to lose his temper quickly so therefore goes at a bull at a gate saying i'll take this that and the other away before letting DD calm down and apologise which in turn makes the screaming etc worse

DP just sits down with her and tells her why she can't do xyz or we've left somewhere when she didn't want to and tells her its wrong to behave in the way she does.

minxofmancunia Wed 16-Sep-09 12:09:39

my dd (3) does this and has done for a long time and it's caused rows between us too. She's extremely strong willed and naturally defiant.

Your dds triggers seem to be the same as mine, tiredness and getting her own way. You can't avoid tiredness but you can ignore them! Also I find wind down after a certain time helpful, dh has a tendency to over stimulate dd by tossing her about/tickling her and then suddenly deciding he wants to do something and just leaving her. I've insisted on quiet time from 6.30pm usually in the from of a peppa pig dvd! It calms her down, settles her and distracts her.

Try time out and completely ignoring her for the violence both of you. Leave her to calm donw on her own and refuse any kind of interaction until she's stopped screaming. It's important you both have the same strategy.

I really feel for you, it's horrible, good luck smile x

viennesewhirl Wed 16-Sep-09 12:11:59

It's not your dd who's driving a wedge between you, it's you two who's doing it by not agreeing on how to handle her behaviour. I think you should be careful to be aware of this distinction - if you were to split up, it's not because of dd, it's because you couldn't handle her together.

Dh and I have differences of opinion too (he also thinks I'm too soft) and I know how stressful it can be. (I'm still fuming about a comment he made this morning).

I would recommend firstly trying to talk to your dp about it to develop a strategy to deal with tantrums that you both stick to. i.e. time outs, maybe? (how old is she?). Firm telling her "no hitting" etc. Be clear on what you both won't do (ie spanking), and that you must both be consistent. (So if you say to her "I'm going to count to 3, and if by the time I get to 3, you haven't stopped screaming, there'll be no bedtime story tonight", and she doesn't stop, then that's it - no story. Follow through.)

But also - let one person handle a situation at a time! I know this can be hard, but leave dp to deal with her if he was with her when she kicked off; go to another room, do something else. It should be easier if you've agreed on how to handle these situations, so you don't think he's doing it 'wrong'.

If he keeps coming in and taking over from you when she has a tantrum, you're both sending the message that you can't cope with her by yourself and that you need reinforcements in the shape of dp. And if you then take over again when dp is too angry, you reinforce the message that you're the soft, cosy one, and dp is the strict, tough one.

I think you both need to be on the same page in terms of how to handle this, and you have to have enough faith in each other to let one of you deal with her at a time, without the other interfering. Otherwise she's going to play you off against each other.

viennesewhirl Wed 16-Sep-09 12:13:27

Also - if it's worse when she's tired, try to recognise the 'danger zone', and keep her calm. Pre-empt the violence and have gentle activities after a certain time.

MuppetsMuggle Wed 16-Sep-09 12:15:18

MOM Its good to hear on some level we're not the only ones suffering. I have said to DP that at 7pm after her bath its just time to sit in front of a dvd and chill.

I put her to bed at 7:30 and put the rest of the DVD on but DP insists this is wrong and it just keeps her awake does some nights but not all nights, and generally its on timer for about 20 mins and once its off its off.

DP has a tendancy to get it sorted so rather than leave her to scream he is there so hes getting her more wound up and letting her calm down but will not take my point of view on it


MarmadukeScarlet Wed 16-Sep-09 12:18:29

I would recommend trying to find a parenting class called 'The incredible Years' in your area.

This is not damming your parenting at all, I had a 4 yr old DS, who has SN communication issues which caused all manner of frustrations and tantrums, I was a horrid shouty mother with a screaming child. I didn't believe anything would work, I resented my DH being at work all day whilst I was exhausted/worn down by the extreme behaviour and it caused rows.

I didn't believe that DS would respond to any reward or punishment system, but after a few weeks of this parenting course I was able to take both DS and Dd (9) to the cinema (as only adult) and watch a film DD had 'earned' with her good behaviour. DS sat beautifully the whole way through, hadn't been to a cinema before or sat still for more than 5 mins in his life with just praise at his good behaviour and a promise of stars fior his chart when we got home.

We also went to Wagamamas after and M&S shopping! This may not sound like much to some but believe me it had never happened before in my house! I was nearly in tears when I recounted the changes in behaviour to my 'class' the following week.

I also gained some good friends, and we all text each other and supported each other during and after the course.

Good luck

chocygipfeli Wed 16-Sep-09 12:18:37

Try telling her what to do instead of what not to do. Not always easy when you are Crackered yourself.

Dont turn the TV on its time for a bath, becomes, great you've put the TV on for mummy, can you help me run the bath too and collect three toys that need a bath?

Occasionally I've bathed my DD before tea if shes really tired. This seems to help.

MuppetsMuggle Wed 16-Sep-09 12:19:21

VW I agree with what you are saying and we are both trying to do that. Last nights incident was when we were in the car I was driving and DP was sat in the back with DD, she kicked off because she wanted mummy to sit with her and that was all. I didn't say anything for a while but I could see she would eventually make her self sick so all i did was ask her to calm down. and then DP took offence to that and got pissed off with me.

I have told him this morning I will try harder about not interferring when hes telling her off.

millenniumfalcon Wed 16-Sep-09 12:21:06

there's a world of difference between firm and effective discipline and losing ones temper. my dp sometimes does this because he tends to relate to the kids more as tiny adults than as children/toddlers, and he has expectations of their behaviour that are simply unrealistic. being faced with defiance, anger and violence by a small child is no excuse for responding in a similar manner. when my dp loses it in similar circumstances i tend to (unhelpfully!) hiss at him to remember who the x-year old is (i.e. he is the adult who has learned to control his emotions and is responsible for them).

cory Wed 16-Sep-09 12:21:21

very good advice from vienneswhirl

both my children have gone through this stage

my approach was always to hold them firmly but gently and keep repeating 'no I cannot let you kick, I will not let you do that'

so making sure they can't do it, but at the same time trying not to lose my temper

they grew out of it

MuppetsMuggle Wed 16-Sep-09 12:22:46

I try and praise all the good things DD does in the day, as I know what its like to be constantly critisiced so I do try but I'm constantly tired at the moment.

Funny I suggested a parenting course to DP last night - he wasn't keen on the idea but I might look into it.

MuppetsMuggle Wed 16-Sep-09 12:25:05

cory I try and hold DD and tell her its wrong and DP does but shes a very strong little girl and I can't always hold her for long as I have a multiple joint disease.

I'm trying to be consistant but sometimes its hard.

Hassled Wed 16-Sep-09 12:28:02

viennesewhirl is absolutely right - you have to present a united front. DD has almost certainly worked out that you don't agree on how to handle her, and that will make her feel unsettled and insecure and so the lashing out will get worse. If you don't agree with his approach, or vice versa, walk out of the room for the time being and discuss it calmly, later, when she's out of earshot. You have to be seen to be backing each other up. With a united front against her bad behaviour, she's more likely to throw in the towel sooner.

Pitchounette Wed 16-Sep-09 12:29:37

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viennesewhirl Wed 16-Sep-09 12:30:13

Muppets, I know it's hard, like I said, my dh infuriated me with a comment this morning - and it drives me mad that I'm dealing with 4yo and 6mo every evening (he rarely comes back till v. late, midnight-ish), and that he then comments on my parenting flaws when he is there. So I know where you're coming from - and it's all easier said than done.

MS's advice about the course and about rewards etc. makes eminent sense too. I get the best behaviour out of ds when I implement a sticker chart :-)

And I hope you didn't think my comment about dd not driving a wedge between you was out of line - when I was about 15 (and actually very square and well-behaved) my parents were always arguing about me, basically because my mum didn't agree with my dad, who was very strict and didn't want me to have short hair, or go to a young farmer's disco (!) etc. And my dad used to come into me after I was in bed and tell me I was splitting the whole family up with my behaviour. I still feel this was so unjust, and it still hurts all this time on.

Pitchounette Wed 16-Sep-09 12:32:29

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Pitchounette Wed 16-Sep-09 12:35:58

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Seona1973 Wed 16-Sep-09 12:39:37

I would never try to hold my lo's in the throes of a tantrum either. I would either keep away or even leave the room to give them a chance to calm down. There is no point trying to reason with a child who has lost control. Once they are calm, you can talk to them rationally - before that it is pointless.

MuppetsMuggle Wed 16-Sep-09 13:09:00

thanks for all your replies.

VW It is frustrating as DP is at work all day and then does his evening activites and i'm here with my 4yr old etc. and i don't think you were harsh made me realise you are right.

I tried talking to DD about it this morning telling her it was wrong and all her answer was is I love you mummy and then quivering her bottom lip.

Have told DP this is what we need to do be united etc and when he's telling her off i'll go into another room or something and he should do the same when i'm doing the telling off.

cory Wed 16-Sep-09 13:44:14

The reason I held dd was that otherwise she would try to get at someone, biting and kicking; she wouldn't just thrash around on the floor; if I left the room she would come running after; if I had locked her in (not that I ever did) she would no doubt have thrashed the room.

I still have the scar from the time when I thought 'oh, she wouldn't really do it if I just leave her unrestrained'

different children are different

but dd is now 12 and perfectly pleasant and well adjusted

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