I'm not sure how to deal with my daughter's behavior?

Laci - posted on 06/24/2012 ( 4 moms have responded )




Kymburlyn's behavior I feel is way more than I can handle. She literally will not listen to me for anything. She listens to other's just fine but when it comes time for me to tell her something or to get on to her for doing something wrong she just looks at me like i've lost my mind and just goes on about doing what she was getting into trouble with in the first place. I've tried everything from spanking to a timeout chair to yelling to just talking to asking and etc. etc. etc. but NOTHING seems to work for her and I just don't know what to do. From the time she was born up until this past February I had been a stay at home mom with her and my other daughter and trust me they have seen and been through their fair share of things. From their dad being on drugs to never getting a job, going through DCS twice, living every month (summer and winter) for a couple weeks with no electricity, never being in a stable enviornment, moving from place to place, living in a homeless shelter for 2 months, sitting a car for 11 - 12 hours everyday for 2 months, me and their father splitting up and him not being a part of their life anymore, etc. etc. Their lives have been really rough and they have been through way more than any child that age should go through but this past February I went back to work and worked 12 hours a day 6 days a week sometimes 7 and I only got to spend 2 hours a day with them but I'm now home with them 24/7 and it's like I'm not even here. She is making her little sister just like her and I feel like I'm going to have a nervous break down if I can't get some control of the situation. When I ask her to do something she says "No, I don't want too". She was doing really good with potty traingin and it just all of a sudden stopped. Now I can't even put panties on her because she refuses to let me know when she needs to use the potty or anything. Today I went into their bedroom and she had pooped and takin her diaper off and she had it everywhere. all over the beds the floor and themselves. Then when I whip her and put her in timeout she just cries for a minute then it's like nothing happened and she goes back to doing exactly what she was doing before. PLEASE if anyone has any advice on how I can possibly fix this problem please let me know I am well open for suggestions.


Jenni - posted on 06/25/2012




Number 1 is involvement. Make sure you are keeping your little ones busy and engaged. Boredom is one of the biggest causes of negative behaviour. Use playing with them as a time to teach manners and other useful behaviours by modelling them in your role play.

Children are not born knowing what behaviours are acceptable or unacceptable in our society. They must be taught which behaviours will have negative consequences and which will reap positive rewards and praise. It takes a lot of patience, repetition and consistency. You must follow through *every* time. They must know what to expect. When you decide on a consequence for a certain behaviour, execute every time they engage in that negative behaviour.

Some discipline measures that have worked in my home:

1. Making rules and boundaries very clear. Go over them often with your child. I found this very useful for shopping trips. I'd set 3 rules for going into a store and we'd repeat them before getting out of the car. If they broke any in the store, they'd receive a warning. On the 2nd offense removal to quiet spot for a time out and a warning that we would leave the store/play place/park if they continue. On the 3rd time we'd leave. I've only had to leave a public place twice with my son (who has sensory issues) and I have 3 children all close in age.

2. Role playing- if your child made a poor decision, you can act out with them a better solution for in the future.

3. Modelling behaviour- manners, how you deal with your emotions, taking time outs yourself when you get frustrated or angry

4. 123 magic- a great tool to encourage listening skills in toddlers and preschoolers.


5. Use logical/natural consequences whenever you can in place of time outs. (If you rely on one discipline method, children tend to become desensitized to it.) Logical/nat consequences are great for teaching the lesson of "why" your child shouldn't engage in a negative behaviour. They are consequences that fit the crime.


A simple example would be; your child refuses to eat dinner, they don't have dessert. Your child refuses to tidy up their toys, they get put away in your room for the day. They give you a difficult time about bed time, they don't get a story.

6. Redirection- instead of saying "No! Don't do that!" and wind up sounding like a broken record to your child. Tell them what they *can* do:

"Here have this plastic bowl to play with, we can't play with the glass one, it might break."

"We shouldn't jump on the couch, it might break. But we *can* take the cushions off and jump on those."

"Oh wow! That is a nice toy, do you think you'll get one for your birthday?"

7. Discussions- talk, talk, talk to your child. About everything. Everything they're experiencing, feeling, how their actions make others feel, what happened when they made a good decision, what happened when they made a bad decision. Let them talk and answer questions.

8. Try to reserve timeouts for when your child is having a fit because they're angry or frustrated. We use them for "cooling down". And I'm not opposed to sitting with my children and helping them work through their emotions. Teaching them to breathe, count to ten, do jumping jacks to vent anger and frustration.You can make a glitter jar with water and glitter. She can turn the glitter jar and watch the glitter fall. It helps to calm children down.

9. When they do make a good choice, acknowledge it. "Wow. I love how you shared your favourite toy with your sibling!" Try to acknowledge the positive things they do, 2x more than you reprimand their negative behaviours. Positive encouragement tends to have more of a lasting effect than criticizing negative behaviours.

10. Don't nit pick and choose your battles. Teaching children proper behaviour is a long road. Think of it as a marathon rather than a sprint. Concentrate on a few behaviours at time you wish to improve in your child.

I hope you find some of these suggestions helpful. You can also search positive discipline methods online for more resources. We have a Positive Behaviour Strategies community here on COM that you can turn to for advice and support in discipline: http://www.circleofmoms.com/positive-beh...

Best of luck and I'd be happy to answer any other questions or concerns you might have on discipline topics.


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Helen - posted on 06/26/2012




I agree with what Jenni said.

Positive reinforcement for good behaviour is far better than punishment for bad, and consistency is so important - always have the same rules and stick to them, no matter what (hard when you are tired and have no energy, but thats the time that it's most important to be consistent).

Potty training, and eating/drinking, are areas where the child has control over what happens, and most children at this age don't have much control, which is one reason why these are common areas of contention between parents/carers and the children.

Try not to make a big issue out of it when she doesn't use the potty - just clean up and act as if nothing had happened (I know its very hard, but do it anyway), making a big deal off it just makes it more fun not to use the potty, and when she does use it properly, make a huge big thing out of it - lots and lots of praise, clapping, singing and dancing (if you can bring yourself to do it) and having stickers/special treats that she only gets when she uses the potty, all help.

It sounds as if you, and your children, have had a rough time, so now that things are settling down, think of ways to help them understand that things are easier/safer/more secure now. Give them choices whenever possible (even if it's only 'do you want to wear the red top or the blue top') it'll help them feel like they have some control over what happens to them.
I found this worked wonders for our toddler, who is a very determined/stubborn 2 1/2 year old, and now even give him the choice of doing x, or going in time-out, and he usually chooses to do what we asked him to do in the first place :)

Hope this helps and that thing improve soon

Kristin - posted on 06/25/2012




Your kids need love, structure and stability. They have been through a lot in their young lives (not sure how old they are) and they have no idea when the next uproar in life is going to come. Cut your work days back from 12 hours a day to 8 hours a day. Talk to your kids, and tell them that good behavior has good consequences and bad behavior has bad consequences,. Yelling and hitting DO NOT work and a mother should not be whipping or spanking a young child to begin with. If my kids act badly then they are in their rooms until they can apologize and I usually will take away a trip to the park or a toy or something. Kids react off their parents and the calmer and firmer we are the faster they will listen and behave. My 6 yr old is ADHD and these are parenting tips told to me by the professionals. Also you may just want to back off a little from your children, dotn force them to be potty trained and just let them have some stabiltity., If she poops in her room calmly ask her why she did it and that you dont like when she does that, then sit her on the potty and tell her she needs to poop in the potty, Always follow with a hug and an I love you. To me it sounds like your daughter is doing this is a cry for attention and bad attention is better than no attention at all. Spend more time with your kids even if it is reading a story or goping to the park or making dinner together. You will be surprised by the changes that arise.

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