Please Help! My preschooler is exhausting me with her behavior!

Becky - posted on 01/07/2010 ( 10 moms have responded )

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I have an almost 4-year old daughter who is very spirited and defiant. It seems like every conversation we have is a battle! Given a choice, she demands something I didn't suggest. When told to do something (put on shoes; clean up toys) I have to tell her at least 3 times. By the third time I'm putting her in time out. She constantly talks back to me. I'm correcting her behavior every minute of every day it seems like. I cherish the times when she's sleeping because then I can relax!!! I love her to pieces, and there are plenty of fun times, but the frusterating times are consuming more and more time every day. I'm not opposed to spanking, but it's a last resort. First I verbally correct her, or put her in time out, or take away a toy, etc. Any suggestions???

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Onella - posted on 01/07/2010

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i understand your situation fully..my daughter is 3yrs old and she has also started talking back..i think its a phase but first i sit her down and talk to her making sure we keep eye contact so she knows im serious..i tell her that she has to listen to me when i speak and talking back is what bad girls do and bad girls dont get ice cream or get to watch cartoons..choose something u know she likes to do and let her know that privilege can be taken away..if it happens again i pluck her lips..i usually dont have to go that far because once she see's the finger comming she apologizes..lol

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Jenn - posted on 01/13/2010

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Well after reading on what all u moms are going threw with your 4 year old im glad im not the only one going threw this....I've even watch nanny 911...lol ... and shes said dont back down show your the boss and they get it.... but when...lol...its never ending trying but "I" will stick with it

Becky - posted on 01/12/2010

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Char, thanks for the tips. I might try some type of incentive like that.



Avon, my daughter looks at me and responds to me like the 16 year-old you described!!! Thanks for the idea about the prize box. I might try that.



Ashley, thanks for your advice. After finding out that she's a perfect little angel at preschool, I think she's probably not ADD / ODD. I've done the "stay in jammies all day because she refuses to get dressed and I don't want to deal with that battle". I take toys away and put them on top of the fridge where she can see them but not reach them, but I usually return them the next day. I will try your idea of keeping them until she picks up her toys with no problem. That is a real problem with her...not responding after the FIRST time I ask her to do something. I get so frusterated at having to count to 3 EVERY time I ask her to do something! I need to try some positive reinforcement. Thanks so much you guys!!!

Ashley - posted on 01/09/2010

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I have a 6yo that has been diagnosed with ADD... I started him in therapy when he was 18 months old and they wouldnt put him on meds until he was 6 ( that was a LAST resort for me, also but i started asking for it at 5). Heres the thing, evenif she DOES have adhd or odd NO ONE will diagnose until they have been in school for at least 6 weeks and can be evaluated by the teacher also. My suggestion, as someone who has been there, is to contact Early Intervention in your state. They provide OT, PT, speech therapy, and a special instructor (someone who will help with more acedemic type stuff) all paid for by medicaid. You also may want to take her to a Neurologst, they can scan her brain because kids' brains who are truely add\adhd\odd are different and that will help with earlier diagnosis. It is also important to remember that whoever invented the terrible 2s thing OBVIOUSLY got rid of their kid before they turned 3 because 3s are SOO much worse!!! Be consistant, firm but caring, and remember to BREATH!!! Most of all PICK YOUR BATTLES!!! If its not a safety issue, let her have her way, just do it so that you arent letting her "win" a battle. Like if you are going to be home all day instead of getting her clothes for her tell her to go get her clothes herself, let her stay in jammies all day if she doesnt want to get dressed... if she wont pick up her toys, YOU pick them up, then put them in a CLEAR container with a lid, out of her reach but somewhere she can see them, toys that dont get picked up go in time out. And they dont come out until she can take care of the toys she has left.Once she has no more toys to play with start with the earliest and give them back one by one, as a reward for good behavior in other areas. When she cleans up that toy you can start giving them back, one by one. You may have to do the whoe process a couple of times but eventually shell get it. And going a few days without anything to play with is pretty good incentive.... Definantly see a child behavioral psychologist, they can observe your child and give you child specfic suggestions on how to deal with her behavior. I know that Ive suggested you see a lot of specialist but I did all of that and never had to pay a dime to any of them, Medicaid paid for everything I did.

Avon - posted on 01/09/2010

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Yes, she is testing her boundaries to see if you will stay in charge or give in. They say there are two times in life you will fight with your child. When they are between 2-4 and this fight you should win to show them you are in charge so they can listen and learn from you. Then again when they are 16 or so and this fight the child should win. This is the fight where they are saying "mom, you taught me all this stuff. Now let me go and let me do it. I am not a little kid anymore." If she has to spend most of waking time without toys and in time out then so be it. Eventually she will grow tired of the consequences. Hang in there. You are the den master and she will get that as long as you are CONSISTENT! Even when you just want to say I give up. Even in public, at family and friends house, when on vacation. I had to walk away several times from a grocery store because of their behaviors. You can do it and you can get through to her. Remember even at 4 communicate to her always (how it makes you feel, how it is unacceptable and the other choices she can make instead of) especially the consequences for such behavior. Hang in there mom! I also found the reward system especially effective. A prize box, tickets, stickers. When I asked them to do something and they did not talk back, I would give them a ticket, praise them and let them know how proud of them I was for listening to Mommy without resistance. When they earned 3 or more tickets they could get a prize from the prize box (which consisted of inexpensive items kids love.)

Char - posted on 01/09/2010

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My Daughter is 4 also and I have seen the same thing from her. This is the steps I have taken to help curb it. A strong dose of Love and Logic with little extra help things. If she does not do what I ask on the first time I go to the 1,2,3. If by 3 she has not started doing what I ask, what she is doing is done for the day. Like TV or playing with a game. No second chance. I just started Handipoints. Have not used it long enough to see if it will help. It is a online game with points for chores and you get to pick the chores and grade them. The better they do, the more points they have to spend on things for the avitar cat they pick. But so far so good with it. Hope this helps, I often say I have a 4 year old going on 14. Testing is something that will not stop. Hang in there.

Becky - posted on 01/08/2010

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Nichole, I hear your pain!!! One thing I remember about the 2s is they don't always understand exactly what you mean. I remember one time I had a "talk" with my daughter about her behavior and her response was, "wow mommy, that's a lot of words!" So much for that! LOL! Good luck with yours!

Sarah, you're right about testing my boundaries. I found out today after talking to her preschool teacher that she is an ANGEL there! Go figure! Now I KNOW she is making the choice to misbehave, and that she is capable of behaving well!!! The teen years scare me! I just take one day at a time, and hope and pray that teaching her respect will one day rub off on her. I did notice a much better day today. Yesterday she'd had a candy cane and she was out of control. I'm banishing all foods with food coloring from now on! Wish me luck! Thanks!

Sarah - posted on 01/08/2010

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You may have to go to your last resort. She is testing her boundaries and will continue to do so until you have made it clear that you won't tolerate it anymore. Just remember this is the preview for the teen years. You need to make sure she knows you're in charge.

Nichole - posted on 01/07/2010

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oh dear... people keep telling me that my little girl is just being 2... the trouble is she's not 2 yet. She started with the tantrums, no, and mine around 1. It's been getting worse everyday. I know that working full time, going to school, and taking care of her I am very tired; but this is getting to be too much. She's wonderful; but I'm not really sure what else to do. She didn't want to clean up, so I told her she couldn't have any more toys... she said ok and laughed. I put her in time out. I ignore the tantrums, even with how tired I am I don't ever just give in. Let me know how things go with the doc. I know 2 is a little young for these things; but perhaps your doc has ideas.

Good luck

Becky - posted on 01/07/2010

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Thanks for your reply. This is the way she has been since she was a year old. I half-jokingly asked my mom, "Is there such thing as the 'terrible ones'?" I've taken so many things away, and it doesn't change her behavior in the long run. After reading a couple of other posts, I'm wondering if she has ADHD and/or ODD. I will probably schedule an appointment with her doctor.

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