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To ask how you deal with low level bad behaviour

30 replies

wouldthatbeworse · 22/12/2019 20:43

DD3.5 is rarely really naughty but persistently does not listen. Basic things like getting dressed / going for a wee take ages and descend into a stand off. She’s quite highly strung.

What do you do when your young kids continuously refuse to do as you ask? We’ve tried naughty corner, and taking away favoured things. We are quite guilty of empty threats (e.g. we won’t go wherever we’re going, no tv) which has to stop.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?


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fraggleplop · 22/12/2019 20:45

My daughter is very well behaved but listening and doing basic things can be challenging sometimes.

I often count to 5 which seems to work.


Choufleur · 22/12/2019 20:46

Walk away and ignore. Tell them you’ll do the fun things they want to do once they’ve done what you want them to do. Don’t argue. Just be factual.


wouldthatbeworse · 22/12/2019 20:47

@fraggleplop counting used to work but doesn’t any more. But you have reminded me of an old thread I read once where lots of people used a countdown style timer. That might appeal to my kid. Solidarity to you

OP posts:

wouldthatbeworse · 22/12/2019 20:49

Thanks @Choufleur. Good advice. But what if it’s something functional like getting ready for nursery/supermarket

OP posts:

dontcallmeduck · 22/12/2019 20:51

To be honest I help. If it’s getting dressed I say ok I’ll do one sock you do the other, then I pull back a bit until they’re doing it as a routine. Sometimes if DS is tired I still help at 6 otherwise he wouldn’t do it.


DrinkReprehensibly · 22/12/2019 20:53

It's the only control they have that age. Give her some autonomy and a false feeling of control. Let her choose what order to do things or a choice between two or three outfits or shoes etc. Then she gets control over something but it's not the control of whether to do it or not do it.


NChangeForNoReason · 22/12/2019 20:55

Take them tI'm not saying they should get away with bad behaviour but sometimes u have to pick ur battles. If they won't get ready, take them As they are ... I'm sure when they see everyone else in their day clothes they will happily get changed in the car!!


Weepingwillows12 · 22/12/2019 21:00

I am dealing with this now too. I think pick your battles. My ds is worse when hes tired. I know it but still seem to end up in stand offs with me asking him to do things and him not doing it when I could have simplified initially or helped.

At the moment I am trying the approach of make sure hes listening so eye level and eye contact, keep it simple so one instruction at a time and getting him to repeat it back. Bad behaviour like hitting his brother is instant punishment (which he knows) so removing a toy overnight. Counting often still works. I also try and follow through with threats so if we are out and he runs off, I warn him twice then leave. It has worked a bit. Awful tantrums on the day but he does seem to get it now. Unless hes tired Wink


Kensie · 22/12/2019 21:01

I almost always use the warning, 321 and then punishment.

E.g if DS refuses to do as I ask I will say a second time 'if you don't do X I will do it for you/I will take away X/ we will go straight home' and I always follow through with it. Obviously this depends on what he has done and what consequence actually suits the situation. For example I wouldn't threaten to go home mid weekly shop, I would say 'behave or you can not choose a magazine to take home'. I almost never get to 3, never mind 1.

However if it's something you cannot give a pre warning about and need to deal with immediately e.g if it's something like throwing a toy/being nasty to another child I will take him out of the situation and sit him on the naughty step straight away. I do always have a chat with him after to explain that his actions were not nice and he has to agree to apologise and play nicely before he goes back.


HPandTheNeverEndingBedtime · 22/12/2019 21:06

I think you have to be very careful about the way you phrase your instructions especially if your DC isn't normally naughty. They may not be doing it on purpose a countdown timer, visual prompts can help.

Also if this is your first DC know that it is very normal for them to take forever to get ready. DD is 10 now, academically very bright but still takes ages to sort herself out in the morning even though she can change after sports training in about 2 minutes. When she was little I used to lay both of our clothes out on the bed and race her to get dressed that used to work well.


Stompythedinosaur · 22/12/2019 21:09

I tended to distract or try to turn things into a game. For example, if they don't want to get dressed then I would made the dc's trousers look sad because they missed the best friend "legs", or I'd pretend the dc's feet were rabbits and needed to get down the trouser burrow or something.


HPandTheNeverEndingBedtime · 22/12/2019 21:12

When I say be carefulhow you phrase instructions I mean give very specific positive directions. This works for all ages, its no good telling a child to behave, it's too abstract. I need you to walk next to me, You have to put your shoes on so that we can XyZ.

When and then works well: 'When you do XyZ, then we can ABC'


wouldthatbeworse · 22/12/2019 21:33

Thanks everyone. Some great advice here.
@DrinkReprehensibly I completely agree it’s about control. She is better when she picks her clothes but sometimes we can’t get her to even do that.

Today she was hiding behind the Christmas tree in her pants laughing at us for ages. I was trying to get her ready to see her cousins - something she’d been looking forward to for days. We had to take away 3 things before she would let me dress her

Me and DH have history of not following through threats. We need to be more careful what We threaten. We’re not really going to cancel Christmas over not wearing trousers

OP posts:

CFlemingSmith · 22/12/2019 21:35

A) obviously you need to start following through on what you’re saying
B) false choices.”would you like to do this or this first?” when really it doesn’t matter what they do first
C) lots of positive praise when the correct thing is done
D) stickers/star charts etc
E) “I bet you can’t do this really well” reverse psychology works a treat


Choufleur · 22/12/2019 22:20

And pick your battles. If they won’t get dressed then they go to supermarket/nursery in Pjs. It’s not the end of the world.


fruitpastille · 22/12/2019 23:46

Agree with reverse psychology. And being v positive when they do the right thing. I find "I bet you can't do x before I count to 20" more effective than "You better do this before I count to 20 or else.. "

And also not making things a battle if they don't need to be. I usually help with getting dressed because it's less stressful and gets the result I want.

3.5 is pretty young really.


Branleuse · 22/12/2019 23:49

Hiding and giggling behind a tree is her just playing, not really naughty. Shes 3. Give yourself more time to get ready


Bananalanacake · 22/12/2019 23:54

good advice here. but how do you get them to stop shouting and being so loud all the time. shouting at them to be quiet seems counter productive.


MyNewBearTotoro · 22/12/2019 23:55

You need to follow through with your consequences but consequences should also be something immediate and ideally something natural.

So if she refuses to come from behind the Christmas tree maybe you’ll have to take it down/ relocate it for a few days or you’ll have to take her to her cousins in her pants or there won’t be time to make a snack/ choose a toy/ choose music etc for the car. Big threats like cancelling Christmas won’t be as effective as something you can carry out immediately and especially not if you’re not going to carry them out.

Break instructions down into smaller chunks and give her some control, so don’t say ‘get dressed’ but rather ‘come and choose your top to wear and show your cousins.’

As well as consequences rewearing good behaviour is also really important. Lots of praise but reward charts can also work well, so if there are things she consistently doesn’t do such as getting dressed then set up a reward chart so every day she gets dressed within 5 minutes of being asked (you can use a timer for this) she gets a sticker and when she gets 5 (or more of you prefer) stickers she gets a small treat.


Sh05 · 23/12/2019 00:02

My daughter is nearly 4 and likes to think she is in charge, if she doesn't want to get dressed I'll say something like, " I know you can't do it yourself so I'll help you" which means she will rush to prove me wrong and quickly start dressing. I always end up helping but she thinks she's done it herself so it's a win win.
I agree with pp that they're not purposefully being slow, it's just how children of that age are.
It's also really important to follow through so only threaten stuff that you know won't be massively impossible or upsetting to them. I don't think they mean to drive us crazy so it would be awful if theyre going to have to miss out of something they've been hugely looking forward to. Small threats will work and are easier to follow through


Mypathtriedtokillme · 23/12/2019 00:33

Illusion of control and choice.
Do you want to wear this or this? Do you want a bath or a shower? (Either way is getting clean)

Rewards rather than punishment.
If you can get dressed before the timer/dressed before me then you get a sticker etc
Or I don’t think you could ever bet me in a getting dressed/into your pj’s race... then yell out what piece of clothing your putting on.
Get her up earlier than I give her extra time to get ready and a star chart with all the steps down so she can do things herself. She gets stars/stickers that add up to a visable reward (doesn’t have to be toys but things like make baking Soda volcanos/a movie with popcorn/make a blanket cubby house/make cookies works well with my kids)
I know as soon as I start rushing my girls it turns to crap.
Head it off before it becomes a stand off with distraction like a joke, silly song, story or a random fact (Like did you know wombats poos are squares. Do you think they have square bottoms?)

Feed the good behaviour with praise and starve the bad/anything you don’t like.

So instead of getting frustrated and taking things away when she was hiding behind the tree. Ignore her completely but praise her to high heaven when she chooses to do what you want.


Beseen19 · 23/12/2019 00:59

Not sure the giving extra time suggestion would work for my DS2. I'm a SAHM and don't really have to be anywhere but even when I give him 2 hours he is still shaking his naked bum winding me up!

If its earlyish and he is being grumpy and moaning about it he gets put back to bed, he gets up v early and some days he is not ready. He would never fall back asleep again but often the process of being put back to bed is enough to kick start him.

Other wise I often do 1,2, 3 very firmly. Occasionally I just get myself ready and say "ok that's mummy away' and get my shoes on and out the door. That always gets him moving. Not sure what my threats will be when hes a bit less obsessed with me!

He is always worst after another family member helps him get ready. He is not independent at all and wants the help even though he is absolutely perfectly capable of getting ready and shoes on so I spend a lot of my time trying to police that. We have in laws staying for christmas and I came through to him clutching his pjs saying quietly so I couldn't hear "Grandma, can you help me put my pyjamas on please". They don't know that one time doing it for him will be a week of me spending hours trying to get his damn clothes on!


Laserbird16 · 23/12/2019 05:00

I'm in the trenches with you. My DD1 who is 3.5 is exactly like this.

I have no definitive answers but playing seems to work best for is. For example her trouser legs are hungry and I make a little mouth out of the leg and eat her foot. Or weirdly the stripes on her underwear make her camoflauged so I can't see her if she is wearing her undies blah blah. Very tedious when we are rushed, quite hilarious when we're not. Any attempt to reprimand her dissolves into crying. I also tell her ' we need to go in X minutes, if you are not ready you will go as you are' and then put her in the car in whatever state she is in, fairly easy for me as we live in Australia and I would go naked if it was socially acceptable as it so hot.

Sometimes she is a delight sometimes she isn't. Just waiting for the age of reason...I heard it is 6, let it be 6!


Candlesonthetable · 23/12/2019 06:52

We have problems with this with our four year old still! What has worked is using his alter-ego - Roly the puppy. While Candles Junior won't get dressed or walk nicely along the street, Roly is a beautifully behaved canine! It's soooo boring, but if I take the time to say "Roly-dog, go and fetch your pants, good puppy" or "OK Roly, let's clip on your lead and take you for a walk" everything goes much more smoothly!

I do follow through on my threats and we have an established 1-2-3 system working, but it sours the atmosphere and makes everyone miserable and tense (including me!) so if possible I like to use play to motivate before resorting to 1-2-3.


Mypathtriedtokillme · 23/12/2019 07:32

It’s not 6.

6 seems to be the age of ‘I’m sooo awesome’, oh so many feelings and smartarsery.

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