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need support with my 4yo dd

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  • need support with my 4yo dd

    Hello everyone,
    I am new to the forums, and come looking for some support regarding my 4 yo daughter. Our situation is difficult right now in our family, we are on a very small budget, my husband is finshing a Phd and has been working on it the last 4 years, I am with my dd1(4yo) and dd2(2yo) all day everyday alone because dh is working. So I think a lot of my frustration is related to general burnout.
    However I have some questions about my dd1. I have felt worried about her lately because she is increasingly competitive about everything, how much love we give her little sister compared to her, she asserts during every topic of conversation that she is the best at this or that, that we love her the best, that she is the most magical(it is cute when she says this). But it makes me feel sad for her, cause it seems like she is really insecure and thats why she has to be the best at everything. Is this an age related thing? or shoudl I be worried about this attitude?
    My next thing is the violence directed at little sister. If her llittle sister bugs her, she won't think twice about hitting her or pushing her. I understand that dd2 is kind of a pistol and difficult for dd1 to deal with, but the way she does it just seems so thoughtless. Is this typical with siblings?
    Next, what is the deal with getting dressed!!!!! She can do most of it(i think) herself. She seems to have trouble with the underpants, and coat(is that normal for a four year old?) . She won't focus on getting dressed. If I try to do it for her, she squirms and won't cooporate. It is very irritating. I hve to keep refocusing her while she does it and it takes usually fifteen minutes. I am just not sure of her motives when she is acting that way.
    Next is the questions, does anyone elses child ask questions NONSTOP. Ahhhh. I am kind of an introvert, and the nonstop questions is taking a toll on me. The questions are things that she often knows the answer too. So I don't understand her motives here either.
    And finally, running away. This scares the cr*p out of me. If she is frustrated by a rule or descision I have made that we are going to follow, sometimes she will just run away. I usually respond by chasing after her yelling, seething, freiking out, because what else can I do. She has done this in really dangerous places like outside the grocery store right by a busy road. She has also done it at the park and at her school and outside our apartments several times. I usually get really angry and yell at her and can't even look at her for a few hours. I don't have any idea how to respond to this. It is sooo dangerous, and she keeps doing it.
    So those are my concerns. Sorry it is so long. Thank you for all your help.

  • #2
    it sounds like you're under a great deal of stress! first, i'd recommend you find some sort of outlet to give you a break every so often. you have to take care of yourself, too, or you can't be the best mom you can be.

    second, i highly recommend "Siblings W/out Rivalry" to help w/the sibling/competition issue. i also really like "Raising Your Children Compassionately". it talks a bit about competition as well. Rosenberg says that he tells his children "i love you because you're you. no one else can be you. you are special to me." and he talks about ways through the "do you love me best?" dilemmas.

    the getting dressed thing seems to involve 2 issues: getting dressed and focus. my ds1 had trouble w/that for a while. we've done a couple things: make a game of it, set a timer, take pictures of the stages and show him which one to do next, order things so getting dressed comes before something else, like breakfast, the park, etc.

    questions: totally developmental. this stage comes and goes, too, i think. they're trying to satisfy their curiosity, or she may be trying to interact w/you. if she's extroverted and you're introverted, she may need a bit more interaction to satisfy her extroverted needs.

    i will have to think about the running away and get back to you. my brain is tapped out this early, hopefully someone else will jump in here, too.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hello Dandelion! I was going to reply yesterday but felt like I needed to prepare a bit to answer your many layered questions.
      So I think a lot of my frustration is related to general burnout.
      I agree and can relate, I have a 4yr old and an 16mo old and with your husband working hard I know you must have very little energy for your children and even less for needed self care!
      I have felt worried about her lately because she is increasingly competitive
      I think this is general sibling rivalry that may be magnified by your husband being there less and you being worn out. Have you looked at Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too ? It really had some great approaches to reset out language and treatment of siblings to create a less competitive atmosphere.
      Here is an online article too-Sibling Solutions
      My next thing is the violence directed at little sister.
      I think this is directly related to sibling competition. Supporting Sibling Friendships

      Next, what is the deal with getting dressed!!!! The inability to focus is so normal at this age. They have so much going on in their head! I am surprised it only takes you 15 minutes! I tell my 4yr old that "now is the time I am ready to help you with your clothes"
      he may say "well I am not ready I am playing" so I say OK I am going downstairs to make breakfast. I take the clothes with me and when he come down I remind him one more that dressing is what we need to do next. I try real hard for it to avoid being a big power struggle. Look at this book if you can, amazing ideas-
      Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles: Winning for a Lifetime

      Next is the questions, does anyone else's child ask questions NONSTOP. Ahhhh. I am kind of an introvert, and the nonstop questions is taking a toll on me. The questions are things that she often knows the answer too. So I don't understand her motives here either.
      I think she is longing for a connection with you and feels like maybe your relationship is suffering. This may be her 4 yr old way to try and fix it. 4 yr olds do seem to be little chatter boxes anyway and mine does it a lot more if I am doing cleaning or computer stuff and he wants me to play with him! I do miss the sounds of silence sometime! I try to set him up with a project or building towers, play a few minutes and go back to what I was doing. Playing music pleases both my kids and they play together nicely longer.

      If she is frustrated by a rule or decision I have made that we are going to follow, sometimes she will just run away.
      That does sound scary! she seems like she is very affected by the power struggles you both have.

      Here are some other links to ideas and techniques that have helped me with my 4yr old and our relationship.
      Compassionate Connection
      Attachment Parenting and Nonviolent Communication
      by Inbal Kashtan


      Love Without Strings Attached
      by Alfie Kohn


      Love Enough for Two
      by Pam Leo


      I think maybe a little silliness would be good!
      One Minute Wackiness

      You have a lot on your hands and I know that it is hard. I hear how you feel out of balance, are tired and frustrated. Try to find local people who you can spend time with to ease off the stress who are attachment parents. My group has always provided support when I am having tough patches.
      Let us know how it goes!

      Comment


      • #4
        Well I think the above is great stuff from Naomi and PaxMamma.

        In regards to:

        Originally posted by dandelion View Post
        she is increasingly competitive about everything, how much love we give her little sister compared to her, she asserts during every topic of conversation that she is the best at this or that, that we love her the best, that she is the most magical(it is cute when she says this). But it makes me feel sad for her, cause it seems like she is really insecure and that's why she has to be the best at everything. Is this an age related thing? or should I be worried about this attitude?
        I think the competitive thing is very typical at this age. For instance, never wanting to lose at a game. But, also make sure that you, or any other adult in her life, is not comparing her to other children which could be making her insecure and more competitive. eg. "why can't you sit still like your sister" or "your sister is so good at cleaning up". There's a good explanation of this in Siblings Without Rivalry (third recommendation of the book )

        I have a big "why" guy and I agree it is exhausting. Though, I think he does it mostly to get information not particularly to connect with me. There's a couple of things that I do to help me deal with the "whys" but I'm not sure how helpful they would be if your child is talking to connect and not just to gain information.

        Anyways, here's what I do:

        a) Make sure you are answering the right question. For instance when a child does that classic string of "why" questions where your every response is met by another "why" it may because you are answering the wrong question. It's quite likely that your child is still asking you the answer to the first question when you now are explaining the answer to another question that you assumed he has moved on to. So, the child keeps asking because his question continues to go unanswered.

        b)Try and get your child to ask a question as a full sentence as opposed to just saying "Why?". This helps prevent what I talked about above as well as slowing them down a little.

        Wish I had time to say more,

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