DD is awful at home but lovely everywhere else.(15 Posts)
DD is 4.5, very clever, articulate, funny and kind. She has a big personality, loud and goofy. I'd say 80% of the time she is just that, but she can be absolutely awful. When she is with other people, when she's out of the home with us, or when she is at school she's an absolute dream, but when she gets home she loses it. All we hear from school is how helpful and kind she is, and how good she is at her work.
She is an only child and only Grandchild. She has plenty of friends that we engage with outside of school. She does dance once a week. DH is part time and cares for her Mon\Tue afternoon (shes only in half days) so basically she gets a lot of 1-1 time. We are consentient in punishment (she has 10 points at the start of the day, if she gets to 0 she loses her bedtime story. Any hitting or kicking its an instant loss of story. Story is the thing that means the most to her)
The problem is that she likes to be in control or be the boss. She likes to (try to) dictate what she does and when we disagree she flips out. We never give in. She says words she shouldn't (stupid, shut up, idiot) and on occasions she's hit or kicked us. What I cant stand is that she doesn't let anything go. So say we have an argument about doing an activity before or after lunch, she'll have a tantrum, it will end in her hitting or losing her story, she will calm down and then she will try to have a go at getting her way again. This child has enormous will power and can hold a grudge for ages. This weekend has been the tipping point. She lost her story Fri, Sat and Sunday and she slammed her door in temper on my hand bruising me and damaging the door. We are at our wits end.... I really need some tactics to help calm this rage in her. Myself and DH are both calm people (although I do lose my temper occasionally, as everyone does).
This sounds hard and my first thought was tiredness as if a child is managing to do their best at school they can often come home exhausted where we see harder behaviour?
I would try lots of positive praise so she is getting really good time with you and when she's behaving in an angry way never show anger back but stay calm and kind which is sounds you are and I love your not allowing a story when needed which I think is a good way of supporting that behaviour has been wrong.
Also the fact that she likes feeling the boss may be that she likes to feel listened to and that her desires count and is there a way of letting her feel this on some things eg would you like to chose dinner for tomorrow and what would you like to do after school, your turn to chose?
Parenting can be so tough at times and it sounds like you're doing great as a lot of these things just pass as the child matures. I hope!
Ps I also pick which fights really matter eg if doing an activity before or after lunch doesn't particularly matter it may make her feel calmer that her wishes are important to you but equally she should respect the times when you have a good reason the activity can't be when she says and I'd acknowledge her disappointment with empathy and explain kindly why. Our DC can be like this too btw
We have recognising that 'picking our fights' is one way we can move on. At the same time, we don't want to pander to the whim of a 4 year old. Its a funny situation because she's quite exceptional in terms of language and social interaction and has been since she was tiny. This means she can reason and argue very well and sometimes this means adults talk with her like she is a peer. Sometimes (and this is funny) she talks about the 'kids' at nursery and what they were doing. I just don't think she sees herself as a child. And this is problematic as she lacks the emotional control (because she is 4....) so it turns into a blow -up. I too hope this passes with her getting older although I am DREADING puberty! ha
Would you consider using more "natural consequences" rather than story? It's a long way to bedtime in the morning and also I find I'm stuck if they lose a specific privilege as then I have no threat left! Re: doing activities, I try to offer a choice eg. Jigsaw or garden, and if I have to go somewhere, I'll say "shall we go to the shop first or do the gardening first?". I don't mind my threenager thinking he's in charge as long as I get my stuff done!
I agree with UniversalTruth about it being a long way to story. Maybe you could try a sanction at the time of the crime - so hitting you before lunch equals not having a picnic in the garden/a sad face on a chart/no ice cream for pudding or whatever. I think if you have had a particularly bad day then a story is the best thing to do at the end. It shows her that despite her bad behaviour she is still loved. It is a calm end to a frazzled day. It signals that she can start afresh behaviour wise.
It does sound like you are locked in a power struggle. I know it's easy to misread these situations from the outside, but here is what I notice from your post:
- an emphasis on "calm" as the ideal state
- a refusal to allow your child autonomy
I understand why you can't let your child make ALL the decisions, but it does sound a little like sometimes she may be clamped down on just so she knows her place. Sorry if I am off beam with that but could there be a germ of truth in it?
There's nothing wrong with being strong-willed and it's a quality that will serve her well in adult life if allowed to thrive - could she be given some responsibilities? The anger sounds like she is very frustrated - I wonder if some more exercise could help in the afternoons? Or a different class? Martial arts? Does she enjoy the dance lessons?
For clarity these are the phrases that stood out to me
"The problem is that she likes to be in control or be the boss.
We never give in.
What I cant stand is that she doesn't let anything go... she will try to have a go at getting her way again.
This child has enormous will power.
I really need some tactics to help calm this rage in her."
Hope I don't offend you OP, it sounds like you really love your daughter, I spose when you ask for "tactics" I wonder if you could also try to understand her and respect who she is - the fact that she doesn't let go and tries to get her way again, quite simply says to me that she really wanted whatever it was that she was fighting for. Not that she was engaging in defiant behaviour for the hell of it - but that she genuinely wanted something, enough that she still wants it hours later.
The punishments do not sound like they are working, I wonder if positive reinforcement would have more effect?
Hi, thanks so much for your responses.
I agree on most of the points, especially that story is right at the end of the day so if it is lost at the beginning, there's not much incentive for her to stay well behaved all day.
@deadgood I appreciate what you are saying about autonomy. Sometimes we do tell her what to do instead of her having choice so we will try to relax ourselves and not sweat the small stuff.
I have researched 'bossyness' before and had a go at some of the advice on the internet such as 'let her be the boss for the day'. Or give her choices X first or Y first. But you know in practice sometimes they just have to do what they're told in order for us to get out the door!
There is a very similar trait of hers that her dad has that if you ask him to do something he doesn't want to do or remind him, he says no. And then the more you push, the more he pushes back. I think its called Oppositional Defiance or something.
As I said in my previous post she almost always gets positive feedback from school, however the teacher did note that there was a disconnect with her accepting that she is a child. So basically she calls the other children 'the kids' or 'the little ones' and prefers to hang out with the grown ups (or her peers 8 yr old sisters in the yard before school). She does have a very high level of intelligence and so we try to adapt to that. She has responsibilities at home such as helping me with the washing (she sorts colours or underwear), keeping her room clean and helping to unload the dishwasher. When I clean with antibacterial wipes she gets some baby wipes and 'cleans' her toy kitchen or toys.
She does need an enormous amount of exercise, she's basically a Border Collie in toddler form! you have to run and run and run her to tire her out. She does climbing and swimming on a Friday and she was going to dance on a Saturday but she told us that it was making her too tired and she didn't want to get 'up and out' straight away on a Saturday after a week at school ....fair enough. I do like the idea of martial arts though....
Thanks so much for everyone who has replied to this thread. Ive got some really good ideas to try, and I must remind myself to give her more choice. Little wins and all that!
I have a 4yo DD who is also an only grandchild and I recognise your Miss Bossy Boots, she lives here too!! But when I've seen her play at nursery she does defer to other children and seems to get on just fine.
I agree with other posters that counting down from 10 and losing points until bed-time is a long stretch.
Not that I have all the answers, but I have a more immediate system in place , so the next thing on the agenda that she'd like to do: jigsaw, iPad, getting a pudding, painting- anything. "Please stop, or you won't get <thing> "in 1 ... you won't get <thing> in 2 and it's going at .. " It goes if we get to 3. Usually followed by big tantrum. Then we find something else to do and if she helps me especially well with something eg. putting a bin liner on, unloading part of the dishwasher, tidying up her toys; she'll get the <thing> back, or we get to do whatever it was.
Hold your nerve! This behaviour seems to come in waves for us and she pushes and pushes and pushes me to the limit and then she'll be adorable for a week!
Good luck with it OP, you sound like a great mum.
The thing you said about your husband having a similar trait. I wonder is this something you don't particularly like in your husband? It's not quite the same thing, but when I see my partner exhibiting a trait that I dislike in HIS father - my FIL - it makes me react much more strongly than I otherwise would.
No idea if it's a "thing" but it just struck me as similar. Maybe you are having a more marked reaction to it because you have to deal with the fully-fledged, adult version in your husband!
Hope you find a way forward with your miniature grown-up x
Have a look at a book called The Explosive Child, it's fantastic to teach you all to negotiate rather than ending up stuck in a battle of wills. It's often seen as a parenting fail to have a child who won't do as they're told because you said so, but if that's your child, parent her in a way that she can respond positively to, rather than risk her growing up believing she's naughty.
Also try rewarding good behaviour rather than punishing bad - that can end up with spiralling naughtiness IME.
I think bedtime story should be non negotiable. It's a lovely, calm way to end the day and I don't personally think it should be withdrawn as a punishment. Perhaps accrue points to earn extra story time?
I think she is feeding off the attention even negative attention is like a drug to them sometimes so if she is playing up she is still soaking it up because you are saying x y z to her when she kicks out say please dont kickmummy/daddy dont mention the punishment of no story say dd that hurt come and do something else instead what nice thing do you want to do and punish right away if she goes to far no arguement or discussion she is to young to understand the no story at bedtime its to long a gap. Tbf she sounds as naughty as the next 4 year old but try and nip it in the bud it will pass or it should
<nods> reward the positive bomb her with it does work the naughty will fade
I cant say how much this has helped. Showed DH yesterday and he marvelled at the range and balance of advice given. There is so much we can take away.
@Philphilconnors thanks for the book recommendation - love books....
@mrsjayy thanks for reminding me to incentivise rather than penalise
@deadgood thanks for all the advice. R.E trait that's in Dad and Daughter. Its infuriating. I know when DH is pushing back the only thing I can do is back off - the more I push the more he pushes back. I will have to try that with her.
@pieceofcake I'm glad to know there's another one of her around. I know self assuredness and confidence will be a benefit to her in later life...its hard to deal with now though! BTW its interesting but the kind of people she likes to engage with are mirrors of her self. She doesn't like to boss quiet peers around, she loves when she meets another 'strong girl' like herself. Is yours the same?
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.