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Parents of 4 year old girls, I could do with your help(12 Posts)
I am having a few problems with my 4yo DD atm, which have really come about since DS was born 6 weeks ago.
I know that his arrival has unsettled her and I feel that we have done everything we can to make this time less stressful for her but as time is going on, she is becoming more and more trying, rather than things getting better which I had hoped.
I know most of the things she is doing is normal 4 year old behaviour too, and again I am trying to make allowances for this but I could really do with some tips/suggestions on how best to tackle some of the issues.
Basically, she has started back chatting and ignoring me and DH. I told her off today (without shouting) and she yelled back at me that I was being rude. I can deaql with the yelling at me, although I don't think she should be allowed to do it but it is how to deal with it, and also the comments that she makes. What do I say to her? How many times should I be letting her say these things before I intervene? At the moment, the only thing we can do with her is to send her to her room, but lately she has started to refuse to go and screams and shouts. Again, I'm not sure whether to give in to her or whether to physically move her to her room and insist she stays there?
Last night, my parents took the DC for the night, which we were extremely grateful for. We know we are lucky in the support they give us. When I returned to collect the DC from them, I was told that DD had been a nightmare, rude, hitting, kicking, refusing to do as she was asked... Whilst I struggle to deal with these issues at home, I do get through each one. I was embarrased at her behaviour and have no told her that she will not be going there again next week. My parents have DD on her own every Saturday night and DD looks forward to this.
Her attitude towards her brother is conflicting at the best of times. She is very protective of him and will try and cover him from people that try to talk or look at him, often including DH and I. We have tried to explain to her that it is lovely that she loves him so much, but that other people love him too and would like to talk to him/spend time with him.
I always try to emphasise just how special she is to us too and she seems to be accepting this. Other times, she bounces his chair roughly and laughs as he wobbles around in it, she tries to give him back his dummy but literally shoves it in to the point where DS is coughing and gagging. She picks up and throws/breaks his toys and is generally quite rough with him.
I have tried not to keep them seperated. I have encourgaed DD to help with him and to talk to him etc but now it is getting to the point where I have to keep him away from her because I don't know what she is going to do next.
Sorry this has been long, but I hope there is someone out there who can give me a shove in the right direction with her.
"don't you dare shout at me" and walk away/put her in her room for a few minutes
you should never let her be rude or cheek you IMO
and on the flip side
find ways for lots of positive praise and cuddles. How helpful she is with baby, how she can help teach him
Absolutely no rough-housing though .. short shrift there as well
it's a balance, you'll find it
I think you need to cut her some slack. Her entire world has been turned upside down and IME it's worse at six weeks when the novelty of the new baby has worn off and your parents are expecting you to behave like a Big Girl.
(I was three when my sister was born. It took me about a decade to start liking her, to be honest. We're pretty good friends now.)
Could you have special time with her? Say doing sticking or craft or stories. I do this with my DD just before bedtime and she's like a different girl when we do. It doesn't always last though.
It's tough for her and you and I personally wouldn't put up with the shouting and rude behavoiur. I think you are right to punish her appropriately ie. bad behaviour at Nanna's means not going again.
Also agree about positive praise however negative you're feeling about her. My DD has had stages like this before, it won't be forever.
But hang on, reading back on it, she was behaving badly at her grandparents' because she wasn't there on her own, it wasn't her lovely Saturday night treat, the baby came too!
It's horrid having a new baby sibling. Thinking six weeks is long enough to 'get over it' is like thinking six weeks is enough to get over any other kind of horrible loss - which it is, it's the loss of her life with both parents' undivided love and attention.
Please cut her some slack. She's only little.
perhaps it would be better if she had lots and lots of attention from the grandparents. ie, without the younger baby along ?
Motherinferior, I (and I hope this doesn't sound sarcastic, because it isn't meant to) appreciate your last comments about loss. I would never have looked at it like that before so that is something to consider.
I think I have been quite fair and understanding since DS was born and have tried to make allowances all along the way. I do understand the importance of having quality time with her, more so now than ever really because it must be difficult for her having to share pretty much all aspects of her life now, where she is so used to being the centre of everything. We do have our own time every evening, either DH or I will bath her and then have cuddles and a bed time story. She often asks us to bring DS with us, but I like it to be just about her and spending time just us.
I do think that at times, I can be a bit lax on the positive praise thing so again, that is food for thought.
Cod, you are right when you say I should follow through on any 'threats' I make. Again, this is another area that I tend to be lax in. I know I make threats and only in really bad circumstances will I carry them out. I have told her now that she can not go to my parents house at the weekend and I intend to stick to it, partly because she needs to learn that her actions have consequences and also because as per Cod's advice, I should stick to what I say.
I have tried the "three strikes and you're out" approach ie I will ask her to do something 3 times or if she is rude or pushing the boundaries, I will speak to her 3 times. The first time, I accept she might not have heard me, so on the second time, I make sure I am a bit louder. If it gets to the third time, I get down to her, look her in the eye and repeat it, but also telling her that if it happens again, there will be a consequence. She used to respond really well to this and at the same time, I didn't feel as if I was constantly saying "no" to her all the time. This is the tactic I am using when she is rude or shouting at me.
tbh this all sounds pretty normal 4yo behaviour - not that that makes it any easier for anyone to cope with. My DD1 is 4.3 and exactly the same (we also have DD2 2.3 and DS 8weeks). I'm not convinced that much of what you describe is down to the new addition, in fact I think it sounds as though she has adjusted well.
I would also add that if she wants your DS to join in with something that is supposed to be special time for her then involve him too - its her time so should be her choice. There will be times when she doesn't want him there and she'll tell you but in the end they are going to have to do a lot of sharing so don't stop any opportunity to allow them to bond.
Babies are pretty robust - most younger siblings have been through what you describe but definitely make sure she knows how to be gentle so if she gets told off for her behaviour towards him she will know why.
Just wanted to say that it will get easier. I think it is often overlooked that the parents have to adjust a lot too when you have two to cope with. Cut yourself some slack, give yourself a pat on the back for trying so hard to get things right and enjoy watching them grow to love each other without involving you at all - 'tis great
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