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4 year old behaviour - how would you deal with this?

(23 Posts)
lollystar Tue 30-Sep-08 21:11:55

My 4 year old has developed such a stubborn streak these past couple of months, I'm struggling to cope with it and am just butting heads with her. How do you cope with it? Tip of the iceberg example -

DD - want go to nanny's
Me - can't, mummy has to go to work now, you can go on Friday (MIL looks after her on fridays)
DD - (kicking, screaming, hitting out, tears generally streaming down her face) don't want to, want to go nanny's NOW

and so on...

I'm finding that I'm having an argument with her and getting really wound up, which is bloody stupid. She's 4, I'm 27 and the one in control (allegedly). Everything else I cope with reasonably well, this has me in tears almost every time. I have to let my DH sort her out which then make me feel completely useless.
Anyone got any good techniques they fancy sharing?

maxineb Tue 30-Sep-08 21:33:12

hi i'm 26 and my son winds me up. I have a 5 years old boy as well as a 5 month old girl. My son always tries things on with me, but now I've started to crack down on it. for instance: if he doesn't do as he is asked too (go to sleep when he is asked), he's not allowed to go outside and play with his friends. If he back chats then he doesn't go to grandma's or loses his toys. you need to take charge and not give in. Do not let someone else take over the situation otherwise she will keep doing it.

hugeheadofhair Tue 30-Sep-08 21:33:33

I have found that counting to three helps. If the undesirable behaviour hasn't stopped at three (or the desirable behaviour started) there is a consequence. My usual consequences are sitting on the bottom step (naughty step) or taking a pasta out of their pasta jar. Or if there can be a natural consequence than I'll do that, like too much splashing at bath time means out of the bath.

The absolute key to this method is though that you DO NOT argue or get drawn into a fight. Just counting. They can talk and plead but you continue counting. It really works, both for the children and for you, because the counting helps with keeping your own emotions under control.

So it goes something like this (after some practice):
DD want to go to nanny's
You: can't, mummy has to go to work. you can go on friday
DD: kicking screaming hitting out: Don't want to, want to go now!
You: (firm and calm You know my answer and I will count to three and you'll stop screaming and finish your drawing (or whatever) - telling them what they should do works better than telling them what they shouldn't do)
DD: But I want to go to nanny's
You: One
DD: Now now now! Take me now!
YOu: two
DD: you're not listening, I want nana!
You: three

and then you take her to the bottom step and don't say another word about it! Ignore completely, even if she continues screaming. After 4 minutes she can come off. You still don't lecture her. If she is still tantruming, you just repeat the counting exercise.

Soon she'll stop doing what she does once you've counted to two! And after a little while you don't even have to explain why you start counting, it just means they have to stop misbehaving and they jolly well know if they are.

This is the 1-2-3-Magic method, perhaps you can google it.

I do it with my 3DSs, and find it works, and more so when I don't (or pretend not to) get angry. Cool emotionless counting, they can't stand it!

compo Tue 30-Sep-08 21:35:11

I would say as calmly as you can 'you are being silly, mummy is going to leave the room no until you have calmed down' and then follow through

compo Tue 30-Sep-08 21:36:53

oh yes counting helps here too.
for example 'please tidy your toys away now'
mass hysteria all round
'I will count to 5 and if you haven't started tidying up you will go to bed with no story'
works so far although dh did say to me the other day 'what the hell will we do when counting doesn't work any more'!!!

hugeheadofhair Tue 30-Sep-08 21:38:03

don't worry compo, it still works with my nearly nine year old!

singyswife Tue 30-Sep-08 21:38:34

hugehead of hair, I do this and I have NEVER go to 3. The other one we do is the 3 strike method if they are being particularly bad. Tell them when you leave the house or start a project what you expect; Then say that any sillly/bad behaviour will result in one strike. 3 strikes and it's game over. Again, I have NEVER reached 3 strikes because they have been told in advance what will happen if I reach 3.

giddly Tue 30-Sep-08 21:41:53

I find that sometimes (not always!) the "how to talk how children will listen" tpe of thing works with my DD in situations like this as it removes the confrontation.

"Want to go to nanny's"
" I know you're upset you can't go to Nanny's. Id like to go too. Wouldn't it be lovely if I didn't have to go to work, and we could both go to Nanny's and have lunch with her (or whatever)...... Still, you can go on Friday."

forkhandles Tue 30-Sep-08 21:42:00

counting still works at nine - that's great, DD is 5 and was wondering if it would wear off soon!

Something funny happened at tea today, the cat jumped on the table and I asked DS (almost 3) to push him off, but he couldn't quite reach and so he told the cat to get down and then started counting, how cute

hugeheadofhair Tue 30-Sep-08 21:42:34

That's right,singyswife, I hardly ever reach 3 nowadays. But at first there are usually a few times where you will have to follow through, because the children don't know what will happen or want to test it out. But very soon they catch on to it and start moving at two!

GivePeasAChance Tue 30-Sep-08 21:44:16

Where is she actually going while you go to work? Is there a problem with where she is going? Has something happened that is making her not want to go?

singyswife Tue 30-Sep-08 21:44:17

Yep but I dont know what we will do when it doesnt work anymore.

phdlife Tue 30-Sep-08 21:44:59

hugeheadofhair - "take a pasta out of their pasta jar"?????

forkhandles Tue 30-Sep-08 21:46:56

Giddly - I agree with your suggestion about the How To Talk method. I try to use it when I can remember and find that it can diffuse a situation like this quite quickly.

hugeheadofhair Tue 30-Sep-08 21:47:57

I think you just have to find a consequence that they care about. For example my 9 year old hardly ever sits on the stairs anymore (too babyish), but he does care a great deal about his pastas, or play dates, so I use that more. My 3 year old doesn't care about pasta's (although soon he'll be ready, he is counting now)but sitting on the stairs is a real punishment for him, so that works best with him.

hugeheadofhair Tue 30-Sep-08 21:55:26

Lots of threads on here about the success of the Pasta Jar!

Basically they can earn a pasta shape with good behaviour (or marbles or whatever) and loose one with bad behaviour. They get 5 pasta's to start the week with, and at the end of the week it gets converted into money, 10p per pasta. teaches them about money and saving at the same time! Although I do confess that I convert the pasta's very rarely into money (I forget blush), but it still works. Just make sure that they can earn as well as loose them. At my house they earn a pasta if they immediately do what I ask them and I don't have to remind them, which works very well for putting shoes and coats on, leaving promptly, tidying up etc. and of course for very nice behaviour, being helpful and kind to each other.

lollystar Tue 30-Sep-08 21:57:03

Thanks all. At the moment I count to three and use the naughty step, however they're having less effect and I can't figure out why. I only ever got to two before and she would do as she was asked.
She goes to nursery monday to thursday, she loves it when she's there but she hates going. Again, this has started recently but nothing has changed. Nanny's on Friday isn't an issue at all, no problems but not feasible during the rest of the week sadly.
To be honest, I know she's feeding off me and my mood. I know I'm not helping myself at all but I just can't get a control of myself. I need to get a grip and stop arguing with her. I've started ignoring the demands as well, just blanking her and talking to her about other stuff. I'm hoping if I avoid a confrontation, I won't rise to it and we won't keep going round in this stupid circle.

forkhandles Tue 30-Sep-08 22:00:41

Lollystart - try reading the How To Talk book, it really does give your another way of dealing with things and you can take as much from it as you like. I think it's refreshing to find another way of parenting apart from the Suppernanny style.

lollystar Tue 30-Sep-08 22:03:52

I've never heard about the pasta thing but it's pure genius! Oooh I might give that a go as well.
It's her personality as well though I think - she's got a red head temper (from me blush) and she doesn't know how to control it, it took me until late teens to tame mine. And just the slightest thing sets her off - she told me the other day that it might rain, I said really? She shouted NO and kicked off. How the hell do you avoid that?!?

lollystar Tue 30-Sep-08 22:04:52

Thanks Forkhandles, I'll look that up tomorrow

hugeheadofhair Tue 30-Sep-08 22:16:40

Counting stops working if you lecture or explain at the same time. The explaining comes at a time when she is a good mood and willing to listen, which can be anytime, totally unrelated to any behaviour. At a nice breakfast explain to her (How to talk style) how the whining or tantrum makes you feel and that is behaviour that you don't expect from her because she can use a normal voice when she wants something, and that from now on, when she starts this, you will start to count, and when you get to three, there will be a consequence.

But it's essential when you are counting to do it without emotion, and don't answer to her whining questions in between. No reaction apart from the next count.

It's difficult.

I don't always succeed. I shout: ONE!
TWO! AND THAT MAKES THREEEEE! Well, I'm only human.

cory Wed 01-Oct-08 09:22:03

I think blanking her when she shouts is a good idea and that you're right. You want to show that you are in charge to the extent where you won't even be upset by her nagging, because you know she can't make you change your mind. Then be sweet and loving the moment she climbs down.

lollystar Wed 01-Oct-08 18:41:45

Thanks for the good advice. Put it to the test this afternoon. Blanked the tantrum and then talked over her to DH explaining all the nice things she has and the treats she has, and that only good girls should get these in future - not little girls who kick and smack their mummy. Then we both ignored her, once she'd started speaking quietly I said to DH that I think she should say sorry. 5 minutes later, she said sorry. So good start grin
Felt more in control today as well and didn't let DH take over.

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