How do you deal with children with horrible behaviors?

Kathryn - posted on 01/13/2009 ( 5 moms have responded )

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My 4 yr old Daughter has an attitude problem bad. We have tried everything and it isnt working. Maddy constantly says no, yells, screams. I am at a breaking point. I took her to a counselor and they said shes too young for meds, to do a one on one talk, etc

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Nancy - posted on 01/21/2009

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Seems like little girls these days turn into teenage attitude stage at about 3 :). I have an almost 6 yr old who was quite a handful. I sympathize with both of you!! I can share what I think helped the situation. Their behavior won`t change overnight, but at least you may feel like you`ve gained control rather then them controlling you. There`s no real magic, but key things are 1) remind them of the consequence, and 2) Follow through with them. You can customize these to what works best for you, but I tried many things and tended to be the I can`t take this anymore, that`s wrong, don`t do it again, I`m warning you... Once I started associating consequences to her behavior and then following through, it changed. Not overnight, but at least it changed. I can give you an example to be a little more prescriptive but we always encountered the What you just did is unacceptable, and if it continues you will lose the privilige of ... (taking away a favorite toy, television, whatever is your child`s enjoyment). In the early stages, it was always a test and you could be guaranteed something else immediately followed. They say this is where they feel what they can get away with. As hard as it sometimes can be, immediately follow with the consequence. The one trap is you can only threaten with things you can actually execute. Using the if you do this, we`re not going to grammy`s tomorrow knowing you will go no matter what is your biggest trap. Take away priviliges, outings etc. that you can truly execute. I found myself struggling at times thinking we were all losing out on an outing that wasn`t happening because of a behavior but only when I learnt to follow through did things REALLY change. And you give 1 and only 1 warning. I sat with her and explained what we would do and how we would execute before we started this system. Expect the first little while to be challenging as you will need to repeat and take away many things before it finally start sinking in. Hope this helps

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Shawn - posted on 01/22/2009

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Oh can I relate to this one!! My younger son is quite a fire ball!! Have her issues started recently, or did they happen to start when you had the baby? I know sometimes kids will respond to a major change, like a birth, through behaviors, b/c they don't have the communication skills to talk to us like an adult. Obviously, having two kids of my own, when you have another, I know it can change the amount of time devoted to the oldest. If she feels like she is not getting the attention she used to, kids will do whatever they can to get your attention, even if it means negative attention. Don't know your situation, but just a thought. I know my fireball is the younger, so he got more of the attention. He did all kinds of things to get under my skin..stopping, yelling, screaming, kicking the wall in the corner, trying to hit us, spitting(I think that was the worst!), so your not alone. He is 6yrs and much better now, but still occasionally will lose control. The one thing that we found that worked is us staying in control. All her behavior is about control, and if you lose yours, your child has won the battle, which is what they want. We ignored the yelling, screaming, and were calm with the "no's". He was simply told in a calm voice, "you can either do what your asked or I will help you do it, it's your choice." Anything we said to him when he was mad and spitting fire was calm. We also were very consistent with him and always followed through with what we said. It took some time of doing this consistently before we noticed a difference. We also gave him control over little things and if we couldn't give him control, we tried to give him a choice between some things. It is not easy, and there were times that I reacted in ways I shouldn't have, but that is all part of learning as a parent. There were several times I had to put him in his room to cool off for a short time and then go deal with him. Stay strong, calm, and consistent, it will get better!

Melissa - posted on 01/22/2009

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I have to agree with Nancy. Talk to your daughter. Tell her that "____" behavior is unacceptable and if she does "___" beahavior then she will get 1 warning if she still repeats "___" behavior there will be a consequence "x" priviledge taken away. And the most important thing is to actually follow through. A few times of that and your daughter will catch on. It is a constant work in progress that is for sure....we are going through the same thing with our 3 year old.

Lindsey - posted on 01/20/2009

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Check out the book "Good Behavior" by Stephen Garber... You can get it on amazon for about $5 with shipping. Good luck.

Tammi - posted on 01/16/2009

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I'm having the same problem with my 4 year old daughter and I totally sympatize with you.  I even get the talk back and the mimicing me, drives me crazy and i'm constantly counting to 10 to keep my cool.  Alot of the behavior is to get attention and when I ignore Chantelle she calms down and apoligizes within a few minutes as she really does not like the silent treatment.  Once she has calmed down I then speak to her and she always asks why I was ignoring her.  I just ask her "Why do you think I was ignoring you?"  She will then tell me because she was screaming and being nasty, I reply to her that she is correct and everytime she acts like that I will ignore her.  As embarassing as it is out in public she brings herself around real quick with a silent treatment.  Other than that advice or insight I can only suggest that you try to perhaps find a workshop or class of somesort in your area for dealing with behavioral issues.  I have looked for things like that where I live here in Canada but have yet to find anything.



Good luck and remember 1 2 3 4 5 ........you get it i'm sure :)

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