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Newest Member: qwerty22 (45695)

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User Topic: Willful 4 year old
courageous
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Member # 34477
Default  Posted: 10:59 AM, August 24th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

So my youngest turned 4 this summer. She has been extreme difficult ever since she got back from summer bisitation with her dad and owife. I'm pretty sure that there's no structure over there and she can be very manipulative (she's super adorable). She blantantly disobeys me.

I have to spank her at least once a day. She even spanks herself. Time outs don't work because she won't stay still.

She is extremely clingy to me. She wants me all the time. She doesn't listen to me or my parents. My ds7 tries to help but he also likes to stir her up.

I'm at my wit's end. Any suggestions would be grateful. She has always been strong willed but not so defiant. Help!!!


Me: BW (35)
Him: ExWH (31) EA/PA with MOW coworker
Married 9 years, 2 small kids
dday 3/12/2011 divorced fall 2012

My ipad does a lot of crazy typos.


Posts: 658 | Registered: Jan 2012
fireproof
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Member # 36126
Default  Posted: 11:06 AM, August 24th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I saw this and it seemed to be effective although draining.

You get at the same eye level and say you are putting her in time out and then ask her do you know why you are in time out? If she doesn't tell her.

Then set a timer if she moves place her back in time out and don't say anything. Repeat always restarting the clock and ignoring any yelling etc.

At the end you can tell her next time the solution for ex if Mommy asks you to do XYZ please do it. Then hug her.

It seemed to work and leaves the spanking out. Good luck.

The other option I would try is a Mommy and daughter hour each week- just something to connect and no distractions.

[This message edited by fireproof at 11:07 AM, August 24th (Sunday)]


Posts: 1054 | Registered: Jul 2012
UnexpectedSong
♀ Member
Member # 21761
Default  Posted: 12:56 PM, August 24th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

What does she defy you about?

Can you tell her what to do instead of what not to do?

Stop the spanking. It's clearly not working.


WW(SA)
"Feedback is the breakfast of champions." - Boris Becker

Posts: 6113 | Registered: Nov 2008 | From: California
Softcentre
Member
Member # 39166
Default  Posted: 2:57 PM, August 24th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I have a 4 yr old and 7 yr old. I do what fireproof said (although not always as calmly as I'd like!).

My 4yr old's preschool helped me to help him voice his feelings. They explained that it can be hard for him to know what he's feeling, let alone why. so I try to say "I can see you're feeling [emotion]" or "Are you feeling [emotion]?" and sometimes he'll calm down.

I also get them to talk about their feelings/worries each night as part of our bedtime routine:

We open imaginary worry boxes and they tell me what's inside them. They also open their feelings boxes and tell me about anything they felt strongly that day. We talk, see if any of the worries can be thrown out. I reassure them that it's ok to feel [emotion]. They get a hug and then we pray about it. It's helped a lot.

Also...hugging helps us all.The more hugs, the better we all seem to act towards each other. the problem is,it's so easy to get into an angry spiral and forget to do that.

I'm not perfect, I get it wrong lots, but when I remember to do these things, it helps.


Me: BW
Him: STBXWH 'The Arse' - passive aggressive, tt'ing, gaslighting...multiple EA's with different women (1 'proven') and at least 1 PA

Took a while, but I like the me I am, without him.

"Until God opens the next do


Posts: 1097 | Registered: May 2013 | From: UK
courageous
♀ Member
Member # 34477
Default  Posted: 5:11 PM, August 24th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

What does she defy you about?

Things she has defied me on today:

Wanting to walk across the parking lot without holding my hand- I have always explained that cars can't see her and it would make me sad if she got hurt. For that I just wouldn't let her hand go or I would hold her clothes so she gets her way and I do too.... That's a fight also.

Refusing to get dressed... I gave her the option to pick her clothes out or I could do it for her. She wanted to pick her clothes out herself but then refused to put the clothes she picked out on.

Everyone in the house has finished eating breakfast except her. I sat with her while she ate. I walked out of the room to get something and when I came back she had left the table and was playing with toys. I told her that breakfast was now over since she left the table and she yelled at me that it wasn't and to put her food back (for those who are wondering she already had plenty to eat.. I didn't starve her).

Bedtime/nap time is the worst. I would lay with her but then she pokes me in the eyes, presses her head against mine until it hurts. She won't obey me even after I warn her that if she continues that I will leave. Once I get up to leave she then is obedient for a few seconds. I either lay back down with her or sometimes leaves (then she screams for me).

I feel the issue is that she is often ignored by exwh during visitation as he pays our ds7 only attention. Owifetress is hands off also.

The biggest issue is getting her to sleep. Do I put her in time out when she is suppose to be sleeping? I have told her repeatedly that I would be willing to lay with her until she goes to sleep if she will be obedient.

Can you tell her what to do instead of what not to do?

I have done that. I have even given her a couple of options and she still refuses to do anything.

I also hug and kiss my kids a lot. I tell them I love them numerous times a day.


Me: BW (35)
Him: ExWH (31) EA/PA with MOW coworker
Married 9 years, 2 small kids
dday 3/12/2011 divorced fall 2012

My ipad does a lot of crazy typos.


Posts: 658 | Registered: Jan 2012
Red Sox Nation
♂ Member
Member # 26358
Default  Posted: 5:48 PM, August 24th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I have told her repeatedly that I would be willing to lay with her until she goes to sleep if she will be obedient.

I have a friend who made that same bargain. Still gets visits in the night from her 16-year-old daughter - a daughter who has drug issues, a misdemeanor on her record for violence, and is often rude and boorish to her mom and friends.

It may be slightly cute at 4. It is not cute at 16.

All toddlers and pre-schoolers go through a stage where they test their limits. Every one of them. They want to control their lives, but they don't really know what to do with that control. They need limits. They may stamp their feet and throw a tantrum when they don't get their way, but deep down they appreciate those limits.

Do not bargain with children. It gives them too much control. Instead, offer them choices. She can choose to go to sleep, now. Or she can do without any desserts tomorrow. It's up to her. Right now, the more she disobeys, the more attention she gets.

That's why time outs are effective (one minute for each year of age). Put her in time out and tell her to be silent and not play with anything. If she disobeys, tell her the clock is reset and take away a toy. You might end up with no toys in the room - that's fine. You can give them back in a few days or a couple of weeks.

Eventually you'll find her language. Something that you take away that she will actually miss.

The important thing is never to let her gain anything (cuddling, attention) from tantrums or disobedience. The second she disobeys, just say "time out", put her in her room and refuse to interact with her except to reset the clock if she continues. Afterward, you don't resume the activity you were doing. I made a lot of progress with my son when poor behavior not only resulted in a time out, but in the end of whatever game we were playing.

Bargaining always causes more problems. If you ask her to be obedient, the implication is that it's something that can be bargained. Her presented choice should always be easy. Either she chooses something slightly distasteful, like a punishment, or she chooses to stop her disobedience.

And no spanking. Obedience through fear doesn't teach understanding.


When someone tells you who she is, listen; when someone shows you who she is, listen carefully.

Posts: 1908 | Registered: Nov 2009 | From: Midwest
Softcentre
Member
Member # 39166
Default  Posted: 5:50 PM, August 24th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

She's hurting. If this happens after she's been separated from you, then she is probably feeling separation anxiety and is testing whether you really still love her. Something I found that helped with this was to reassure my boys that no matter where I am, I love them. No matter what they do, I love them. Even when I'm shouty, I still love them. It's not ok to do [action], but I still love them and nothing they can do can ever change that.


Me: BW
Him: STBXWH 'The Arse' - passive aggressive, tt'ing, gaslighting...multiple EA's with different women (1 'proven') and at least 1 PA

Took a while, but I like the me I am, without him.

"Until God opens the next do


Posts: 1097 | Registered: May 2013 | From: UK
UnexpectedSong
♀ Member
Member # 21761
Default  Posted: 6:03 PM, August 24th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Ah ok. I feel for you. My now 9yo son was also a willful 4yo. My SILs always laughed that he was payback for my H as a willful child.

Wanting to walk across the parking lot without holding my hand- I have always explained that cars can't see her and it would make me sad if she got hurt

Kids don't understand that we would be sad if they got hurt. What happens if you kept talking about something different and just held her hand as you walked?

I sat with her while she ate. I walked out of the room to get something and when I came back she had left the table and was playing with toys.

Again, what would happen if you just didn't talk about it? If you assumed eating was all done?

For me, a lot of times I just ignored. They can wear pajamas out once or twice. Kids are pretty good self regulators about food. If they stop eating, they're probably done.


WW(SA)
"Feedback is the breakfast of champions." - Boris Becker

Posts: 6113 | Registered: Nov 2008 | From: California
Tripletrouble
♀ Member
Member # 39169
Default  Posted: 8:41 PM, August 24th (Sunday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Oh my... I had an extremely strong willed son that is now a well mannered high school senior. He had me at my wits end more than I can tell you. The James Dobson books The Strong Willed Child and Parenting Isn't for Cowards both helped me. Figuring out what discipline worked for him took time. I was judged by family, friends, teachers, and strangers for my son's highly defiant behavior. My advise is have a plan and be consistent. Even when my son acted as if he didn't care about the consequences, I knew he did and he was just putting on a brave face. Stay strong, don't argue or bargain, and be consistent. Good luck, I feel your pain!


40 somethings - me BW after 20 years
D Day April 2013
Divorced November 2013

Be happy with what you have while you work for what you want - Hellen Keller


Posts: 638 | Registered: May 2013
solus sto
♀ Member
Member # 30989
Default  Posted: 8:57 AM, August 25th (Monday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Kids are not our opponents--so the need to "get the upper hand" is unnecessary. They are not pets--so "obedience" really isn't the goal.

They are people. They respond to people and events and change like any other people. When we interpret a "willful" child's behavior negatively, as an affront to us, it sets up a vicious you-against-her cycle

There are some non-negotiables, things about which a simple explanation is given and then there is an expectation that you will be obeyed. Always, without question. If you limit these non-negotiables to the things that are critical (holding hands in parking lots, staying with you in stores--the safety stuff), you will find that easing up and offering choices at other times pretty much eliminates "defiance" (except inasmuch as children, as developing HUMANS, have developmental tasks that REQUIRE that they test boundaries in order to learn to navigate the world.

Four year olds are in one of those developmental stages, flexing independence muscles that are necessary in preparation for going to school. Using your label, they're all "defiant." They're supposed to be! And you're supposed to help her navigate these new waters, gathering new skills, in the least confrontational, most independence-promoting way--all while keeping in mind that the separation and changing households is enormously impactful to her, too (and that as an individual, her response is her own, and valid, even if different from yours and your other child's).

With my kids, the most important thing was consistently offering choices whenever possible. Even when there isn't much choice, there is at least SOME opportunity to permit a child to feel as though she can exert mastery and control: pink shirt or yellow? Cheerios or oatmeal? Walk holding hands or ride in the cart? Sandals or sneakers? (All while helping expedite--getting the choices out, helping them on; four-year-olds are still very little people, and still need help.)

It may be your expectations, rather than (or as much as) your child that require management.

Choose your battles wisely. Breakfast not done when she hops down? So what? That's not defiance--it's breakfast for a four-year-old. You might try, "Honey, there's still half a waffle. I'm putting it on the bottom shelf of the fridge so you can have it if you're hungry before lunch." (Or if she goes to school or day care, "Have you had enough to tide you over to snack time?") it simply needn't be as confrontational as you've described--it can be turned around so that you feel as though you're on the same team--which you are.

I also found it helpful to give a heads-up when a change was imminent, like a 5-minute warning before we had to put our coats on, etc.

Finally, I worked really hard not to tie things like cuddling at bedtime to behavior. I wanted that connection, myself--but mostly, I did not like sending the message that my kids were only worth snuggling if they did what I wanted when I wanted it.

Kids aren't our opponents. We're not in a battle we have to win. But it's easy to get caught in a trap of your own making--and it can set you up for a continuing cycle.

Please stop the spanking. It's serving no purpose except to heighten the sense that you're opponents.


BS-me, 52
WH (Trac-fone), 53, PD
2 kids-DD25, DS18
multiple d-days
DIVORCING
Alone, most strangely, I live on~Rupert Brooke

Posts: 8991 | Registered: Jan 2011 | From: midwest
courageous
♀ Member
Member # 34477
Default  Posted: 2:11 PM, August 27th (Wednesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I hope nobody thinks I'm mean to my kids

She's hurting. If this happens after she's been separated from you, then she is probably feeling separation anxiety and is testing whether you really still love her. Something I found that helped with this was to reassure my boys that no matter where I am, I love them. No matter what they do, I love them.

Yes I think she is hurting a lot. The kids were away from me for 42 days in the summer. DD4 has attached herself to me every day since she came home.

I asked her last night what she was feeling when I leave her room at night.... She told me that she is sad.

It's hard getting the kids back into the routine at my house when there wasn't much attention, rules, or love at exwh's house. I know for sure that DD doesn't get attention from exwh.

I have listened to Dobson's strong willed child. Dd is definitely strong willed. I don't look forward to her teen years


Me: BW (35)
Him: ExWH (31) EA/PA with MOW coworker
Married 9 years, 2 small kids
dday 3/12/2011 divorced fall 2012

My ipad does a lot of crazy typos.


Posts: 658 | Registered: Jan 2012
Topic Posts: 11

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