How do I handle My 4 year old's behavior?

Jody - posted on 12/19/2012 ( 1 mom has responded )

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My daughter has been through alot. Her father and I were teenage parents and currently we are going through a custody battle. He hid her from me for a month and currently she is with me all but two days a week. When she comes home her behavior is at its worse. Talking back, destorying the house if I leave her alone for a min, hurting her 9 month old brother. any atentions better than none. I have tried alot to change her behavior, its only when i'm around. I kno her dads telling her to act up, he sents her home with tons of sugary things at 6 at night. any tips? and how normal is this? She has been craving male attention. I haven't kept her from her dad and dont bad talk him.

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Eva - posted on 12/19/2012

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She sounds like she has a lot of insecurities. Have you sat down and had a talk with her, at her level? It sounds like she's upset she has to leave her dad and doesn't emotionally understand the split custody. You need to explain that you're not to blame, that you want her and her daddy to have fun together and wish this wasn't so hard on her. Ask her to tell you about everything they did on the weekend, get excited about it, help her stay in that moment so she doesn't feel dumped or abandoned now that it's over. Show that you support her, that it's not you vs. dad.

Show lots of support for her relationship with her dad, maybe have her do art for him (That you encourage her to gift nicely, like a drawing in an envelope with a bow on it) and give to him when he sees her next. Bake cookies on Friday that she can bring to daddy's house.

Make sure she has an accessible picture of them together, like in a frame by her bed. Ask him if he can give her anything of his to leave at your place, like one of his baseball hats, or something else she might emotionally assign to him (if he has any small sporting trophies, a cool key fob or anything else "special" she can keep with her.)

She needs to know you're not the enemy, that when he leaves her with you, it's not because you're "taking her away from him."

My dad had custody of me and my brother on weekends when I was little; we got loaded up on junk food (McDonalds and chocolate) too. I consider that part normal. I just roll my eyes and say "Men."

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