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What discipline techniques worked for you? 4 yo challenging

(16 Posts)
rhetorician Fri 26-Apr-13 21:07:11

Just interested. DD is 4 and often quite challenging. Defiant, doesn't listen, won't do as she is asked etc. The usual (I think). She did recently have a spell in hospital which has set things back, but if you have/had a challenging child, what techniques worked for you?

LittleMissLucy Sat 27-Apr-13 04:01:44

Praise the good stuff, as much as possible. Say thank you when she does something helpful or responds positively to a request. Ignore the smaller challenging stuff, redirect, and when highly challenged, explain why its not acceptable. She is 4 she understands. If she needs greater motivation, I'd suggest possibly saying "well we are planning on going out to the playground this afternoon, but we can't do it if you're not going to help me..." or something along those lines. But I would save this and keep it simple. Threats aren't good, but consequences are helpful and have to be followed up on. And good luck as this, like all things will pass.

MaryRobinson Sat 27-Apr-13 08:18:42

I think it is very easy to get into an extremely negative cycle with behaviors that you've described. If you can say things in a way which avoids a confrontation occurring. E.g. Don't say "set the table" say "darling, we're setting the table now, I've got the forks for you". Not "put on your shoes" but "left shoe first?".
How much screen time does she get? Do you notice a difference on the days when she has little or zero screen time?
When you say "won't do as she's told" can ou give an exple of what happens?

MaryRobinson Sat 27-Apr-13 08:19:08

That's can you give an example

Maria33 Sat 27-Apr-13 08:27:59

I would recommend Complete Secrets of Happy Children by Stephen Biddulph which basically recommends clear, consistent boundaries, time outs and lots of love and attention for the good stuff. Good liick! Mine were hideous at 4 but seem reasonably well adjusted at the moment.. (Probably just a phase ;))

rhetorician Sat 27-Apr-13 08:32:59

She watches about 30 mins of tv most days. Not doing as she is told...well, yesterday she needed to change her top so we could go to the library, which she wanted to do. She wouldn't. Ran away. Hid. Shutouts, point blank refused. Despite saying if you want to go to library you first have to chane your top, she wouldn't. So we didn't go. And countless similar examples.

rhetorician Sat 27-Apr-13 08:59:05

MaryRobinson yes, it is, but it is equally hard to retrain yourself in the ways you describe. Conflict is a real trigger for crappy behaviour

rhetorician Sat 27-Apr-13 09:13:38

And before you tell me to pick my battles, I already overlook a lot. Messy eating, just to take one example.

MaryRobinson Sat 27-Apr-13 16:21:16

I know it's hard- but I do think it's worth it. She will mirror how she sees you react, so a pleasant atmosphere will be created by you.

For me personally I prioritize the table manners above the clean clothes in public. (Although if you saw my 5.5 year old eating you might well raise an eyebrow). With the perfect vision given with hindsight I'd handle the tee shirt with "Poppet, have a look at your tee shirt in the mirror, can you see any dirt? Yes, shall I get you a clean one?" "No, sure? ok then". If it was really essential that she changed, then I'd say "when you want me to help change your tee shirt I'll be here"

The table manners for me are a constant "let's pretend we're at a restaurant", "Oh dear, I can't understand you when there is food in your mouth, would you like a drink?" "Fork in the other hand darling!"
It's definitely a work in progress, and I will add that one of the twins (3.5) is a less messy eater than her older sister, so there is a natural development at play too.

Tee2072 Sat 27-Apr-13 16:30:30

Consequences for bad behaviour, praise for good:

If you don't get your shoes on you will not get a treat at the shop.

Good job!! You put your shoes on as soon as mummy said to!

MaryRobinson Sat 27-Apr-13 16:32:02

Posted too soon. I'm always recommending Playful Parenting here, one of the things it talks about is knowing which things Press-your-buttons (hate the phrase) so you can plan out the reaction you want to have then you have a much better chance of it happening.

MaryRobinson Sat 27-Apr-13 16:36:12

tee I'm sorry to disagree but the fact op's daughter chose not changing her top of going to the library demonstrates a strength of character behind her four year old version of "make-me". I believe she is looking for solutions which are not predicated on her superior power.

Tee2072 Sat 27-Apr-13 16:38:12

Sorry I said anything.

plantsitter Sat 27-Apr-13 16:40:14

We have just started a marble jar (she gets a marble for doing what she's told or taken away if she's naughty. Treat when full). We're using really pretty marbles so she's actually more bothered about them than the treat! It's working well. I'm trying to be v clear and warningy about losing one and have only taken one away in the last 3 weeks.

I personally wouldn't bother about changing tops unless it was a hot/cold issue and then I would take a Cardi and let her find out for herself. I wouldn't make not going out a consequence as gives her too much control and then you're stuck in house with grumpy 4 yr old.

Good luck. I'm finding 4 quite... erm... challenging! !

rhetorician Sat 27-Apr-13 17:51:56

Please don't fall out! Strength of character, for sure. And Mary's approach much much better than the one I took. I try very hard to be calm, patient and non conflictual, and a lot of the time it works. Yesterday a bad day, made massively worse by tiredness on her part, as always...

Emperorsnewclothesshow Sat 27-Apr-13 20:50:59

1. Have a set of non negotiable family rules and make sure kids know what they are.
2. Enforce those rules every single time the kids break them and stick to them yourself. ("no shouting", "no hitting", ...) Consistent and calm is the way to do this. I usually give a couple of warnings and then it's 3 minutes time out (e.g. talking in a whiny voice).
My 3 year old was laughing all the way to the time out in the beginning but after a couple of weeks of this he knows that the rules are non-negotiable. When he tried to escape the time out initially i shut the door. Basically he needs to know who is boss. This was never necessary with my DC 1 btw, I think some kids are just pushing the boundaries more.
You can also make up other consequences for bad behaviour. Like removal of privileges for bad behaviour, much more efficient than dishing out rewards for good behaviour.
3. Ramp up the quality time, and one to one time.
4. Lots of positive praise for the good stuff.
5. Ideally all careers stick to the same punishments and rules, but sometimes hard to achieve...

What never worked for me is ignoring bad behaviour... It just made my 3 year old pushing for the limits how far he can go.

Being firm helps me stay in control and I don't shout at the kids anymore and they are happy because they know what to expect.

Am dealing with all this right now, so it is my favourite subject...

Good luck!

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