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4.5 year old controlling behaviour - please help

(7 Posts)
nickEcave Thu 20-Nov-14 10:12:06

I am at my wits end how to deal with my 4.5 year old DD2's behaviour. She has always been strong willed and prone to tantrums so I've picked my battles and maybe let her get away with things as a toddler that I wouldn't have let her more laid back older sister get away with. However we are absolutely strict on rudeness, hitting etc. and she is punished with being sent to her room and having toys taken away etc.

Since she started Reception in September the tantrums have got worse - several a day on a bad day, often lasting an hour or so each. The morning is a particular flash point. I'm meeting regularly with her reception teacher who says she is perfectly happy at school - lots of friends, engaged with learning etc etc. - but every morning she refuses to get dressed, screams that she hates school and wants to stay at home with me and cries all the way to school. Apparently she is fine the second I leave the playground, so I feel this behaviour is directed at me and is about controlling me. This has been going on every day for over 2 months and it's making mine, DH and DD1 life a misery. DD1 (7) is laid back but quite sensitive and is starting to get really upset by DD2s endless tantrums.

Any advice very gratefully accepted. I've always felt fairly on top of parenting my two DDs but this is really starting to get to me.

ChimesAndCarols Thu 20-Nov-14 12:15:22

Tantrums usually continue if they are having effect. If you take away the attention (making sure she is safe) then she will be playing to herself only.

Don't argue with her in the morning about getting dressed - just take her to school in her will only have to do it once.

Even negative feedback for a tantrum will be seen by her as attention. It will be hard but you will only have to do it a few times and she will realise that she is playing to an empty theatre!

Iggly Thu 20-Nov-14 21:15:42

Are you sure she is OK?

She is probably tired to be honest. Especially as it is worse since being at school.

Have you spoken to her, in a non confrontational way, when she is calmer about school and what she likes and doesn't like? My ds seems happy but every now and then has told me about hitting incidents (him being hit). The teacher didn't realise it bothered him (he is in reception).

I would also give her ways to communicate with you. When she kicks off, remind her calmly, that she should tell you, not scream. Warn her you will leave the room if she screams until she calms down. Then a big cuddle when she does.

Deckmyballs Thu 20-Nov-14 21:38:16

I have this my 3yo (nearly 4). Her nursery claim she is fantastic but at home she is just a nightmare on a good day. Today she had a fit 4 times for no real reason. The tantrums last for a good half hour at least and involve hitting/biting/nipping/pushing/shoutingand screaming. She is not smacked. She is ignored while in the tantrum (other methods have been used and this seems most effective). When she comes out of it she is full of apologies and wanting affection and to forget about it. Cue an hour later and we're back to the start...

Sorry I have no advice, just sympathy

nickEcave Fri 21-Nov-14 12:43:25

Deck, mine is exactly the same.

Iggly, DD was doing full-time hours in the Nursery class of the same school last year, so moving to Reception was not such a big move for her. One of the Nursery staff from last year is her TA this year and she has seen no change in her behaviour while she is at school. I have had several meetings with the teacher and DD genuinely does like school and is not having any problems. The issue is with getting ready for school and leaving the house in the morning. I had been letting her eat breakfast in her nightdress but then she wouldn't get dressed afterwards, so today I got tough and said no breakfast until you're ready for school. She spent 1 hour and 20 minutes stropping. I had to physically put her into her clothes and carry her out the door. Took a piece of toast to feed her walking to school as she had not had breakfast.

Chimes I spoke to her teacher today about bringing her in in nightclothes with uniform in a bag but teacher was not AT ALL keen on this. I guess she's worried it might create bad behaviour in other children. It is a 5 minute walk to school (I don't drive) but probably too cold to take her in nightclothes this time of year!

Iggly Fri 21-Nov-14 20:08:41

Reception is more tiring than school ... I would cut her some slack. My ds was at preschool beforehand, he's an autumn baby so five now and still was tired after school. Every child I know has been. They play up at home more than school.

I would also chat to your dd. It is surprising what they do reveal!

newnamenewnom Fri 21-Nov-14 20:15:35

My DD 6 has been very controlling for a while. Hers is linked to her anxiety and is worse when she is tired or hungry. I'm sure you do get a good breakfast into your daughter. Do you find that helps. Could you try earlier bedtimes as well.
I'm wondering if your daughter has some separation anxiety which is why she doesn't want to go to school. My DD suffers from separation anxiety which makes her very angry towards me after separations and reluctant to go out without me on occasion.

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