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  • more 4 year old problems

    It seems that 4 years old, well, maybe starting in the 3's, is a very difficult age when one is trying to raise "unconditionally, attached, gently, positively, etc... however we want to put it. I seem to be at a loss. I don't want to have her turn into a brat! When I tell her no for something, for example, watch a movie or tv, she gets angry and hits, scratches, pinches at me, screams, or throws things. Okay, hold her so she cant hit? anything she throws, I take away...I'll try to post an update when I have an example that I can remember the details, but essentially it's a reasonable no response to a thing she wants to do. Another issue: she never wants to "get ready for the day" - ie. brush teeth, get dressed, brush hair. I try to make it fun.. tell stories during teeth brushing, pretend there's a family in her mouth (long explanation for that), for getting dressed we play a carnival game where she chooses from 3 outfits after fun questions and dancing,etc.. and now she still won't do it - and today it's almost 10:00! So what do you do? Sometimes issues arise when other people are around, specifically DH and my brothers and their families, and they think she's being "disobedient", etc... well, I guess she is? I really should have better examples for you.... But for now, what do we do with a 4 year old??? What to do when she calls me "you are a baby, you are a poopy" and more like that? What to do when she sticks out tongue and spits? One can't just ignore that, right?
    So I've read unconditional parenting and how to listen to make kids talk, etc. and am now looking at "Positive discipline for preschoolers" ... Okay, enough from me, I think its more of a rant right now, but I really need some ideas or advice.
    thanks
    Cheryl

  • #2
    So there with you!
    My four year old lost it this morning because I didn't want to give him the last of the frozen waffles, trying to ration them for another day!
    Its hard not to just want them to be mindlessly compliant, or a more calm and easy going personality. Yes, in the middle of his 'fit' I did want that!

    I recently read this article and I really helped me rethink my approach-
    Toddlers: To Tame or to Trust
    by Naomi Aldort

    I know ours are preschoolers but the concept is the same!
    One father confessed to me that he regretted the attachment approach he and his wife had practiced with their daughter. At age four, she was "wild and demanding" while their friend's child, who "grew up in a crib" and attended day care, was "so cooperative".

    Because I have heard this report many times from different parents, I cannot say that this is just a difference in the children's personalities. The real question is whether that other child is really cooperative, or is she actually compliant and resigned? Is the bonded and trusting child really "wild and demanding" or simply alive, trusting, and assertive? Maybe the difficulty is not in the child but in our attitude and approach as parents. Maybe what is needed is an extension of the attachment attitude with all the trust, validation and respect that comes with it - for many more years.
    We have a similar issue with our son and getting dressed after a few weeks, it is less of a struggle. We try to put them on before we go downstairs and if that dosn't work after breakfast. He is enjoying picking them out himself on some days. He likes us to help him put his shirt on and if I need to move on to other things I tell him "now is the time I am ready to help you" - sometimes he takes it and if he dosn't he puts it on himself. We still have 'those days' -We certainly NEVER have everything under control and if you husband and his brothers think punitive methods of parenting have a higher 'GREAT DAY' percentage they are fooling themselves!
    AP parents look to the long term- not forcing a child to behave a certain way before they are ready. We don't want them having emotional baggage from childhood to process because they never learned how to deal with anger. aka "Let's raise children who won't have to recover from their childhood" - Pam Leo
    We don't want to scare a child into behaving "because mommy and daddy only love you when we do what you want" aka Kohn

    You daughter is developing skills to handle emotions. Who says a four year old has to have everything figured out?
    I know the name calling and spitting are throwing YOU out of balance.
    IT sounds very much like you both are in a power struggle! I bet she spits at you to piss you off! This book really helped me with that stuff!
    Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles: Winning for a Lifetime There is a part in it that reminds you that "your kid is not out to get you" I remind myself that as a mantra in my head sometimes!

    more stuff!

    Being "In Control" — The Possible and Impossible in Parenting
    by Patty Wipfler


    Spirited four year old and discipline (second question on page) Judy Arnall mentioned some NVC in her response. Have you begin to use that with her... that also really helped my relationship with my son.

    So I think you can tell you are not alone in this 4 year old thing. Try not to let those naysayers second guess the good work you are doing.
    Last edited by naomifrederickmd; 02-20-2009, 10:00 AM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by cheryljoy View Post
      but essentially it's a reasonable no response to a thing she wants to do.
      this really jumped out at me. the problem, i think, is that you see it as "reasonable" whereas she does not. it's not reasonable to her that she not get to watch t.v. or must be dressed at a certain time, etc. 4 y.o.s do not have the same external constructs as adults and really can't see any reason why things should be the way adults say they must be. and, frankly, i tend to agree w/the 4 y.o. quite a bit.

      my recommendation would be to try to look at the situations in terms of "needs". she's trying to get what you need and you're trying to get what you need. examine the situation and find a way to get EVERYONE's needs mets. your needs an hers don't have to be in conflict.

      talk w/her about how to solve these issues. when my son was that age (i think even younger) i told him i was not comfortable w/the amount of t.v. that he was watching because it was taking away from his time doing other things that involved more activity and energy. he said "but i really like t.v." i said, that's okay, how can we both get what we want here? and HE came up w/the idea to watch one t.v. program a day. worked for both of us.

      more recently (about a month ago) we were having issues w/getting dressed. we have to be out the door by 8:15 for school/work and he was taking so long to get dressed we were late constantly. i expressed to him my issue and he said he's too tired to get dressed in the morning. so, what to do? again, HE, came up with the solution! "How about i get dressed at nite and sleep in my clothes so i don't have to do it in the morning?" perfect!

      when she yells, spits, etc at you, i'd express exactly what you feel. "that hurts my feelings. i have a need to be treated with respect. please stop." then go about your business. let her know how you feel, it's not acceptable. it won't cure her instantly, but she'll eventually get it. or, sometimes when mine start acting this way, i'll say "oh, it looks like you're running low on love. i'm going to fill you up" then i hug and kiss all over them until they're laughing and squealing w/delight, anger gone.

      Comment


      • #4
        We are having a lot of the same issues in our house. One thing I've discovered (and keep re-discovering) is that the worst of my son's behaviour occurs when I'm trying the most to change him. Of course, one could argue that I'm only trying so hard to change him because he is acting so "badly" but I really believe it's the other way around.

        I may not be punishing him or using logical consequences but I'm trying HARD to influence him instead of guide him. Inadvertently giving him the message that he will do things wrong, that he needs to be changed. I find for me this is also tied up with trust and faith. At these times he knows I don't trust him to be a "good person". I have lost faith in gentle parenting and more specifically the concept that our little guys are fundamentally "good". (Usually this lose of faith/uncertainty is unconscious, but my actions are not.)

        When I realize I've gotten to this point I verbally reaffirm my faith and trust in him and make sure I start acting like I trust him. If I were having a particular issue I tell him my concerns about the issue and how I'm feeling and then force myself to STOP. As in stop expecting a particular behaviour from him at this point or even any kind of response. Often I have to go into another part of the house after I have this interaction because hanging around kind seems like I'm waiting for a response or to see a "new and improved behaviour". Kind of a symbolic: " I've told you how I feel and know I am trusting you with that info. I don't need to wait around and see how you interpret it. I am just going about my daily life trusting you."

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi Cheryl, I HEAR you sister!!!

          I posted another post above about my 3.4 year old, seems it's pretty common, I should have added that MY daughter who is 3.4 does the same as yours, she FREAKS out if we have to do something she doesn't want, for example she wanted corn for dinner and it was rotton so we threw it in the recycling bin, she kept screaming about the corn for about ten minutes and told me she would cry forever if she could not have it....it renders me speechless sometimes....so really I have no answers but can't wait to read the replies esp of mums who have experienced these things!!!

          Keep me posted I might need it!!!!

          MissyLoo

          Comment


          • #6
            I think I am a little more strict than most here, this is my first day and I'm just learning how people on here feel. But for us, this is what we do.

            Hitting, spitting, biting, yelling, screaming, etc.

            "No ________(whatever it was that was done). When you want to be a nice young (man, lady) then come talk to me.

            and walk away. They learn that they MUST treat you with respect to get the attention they crave. NOW, with yelling, it can be dealt with depending on why they are yelling. If they are yelling AT me and calling me names, the above applies. If they are yelling about a situation, then usually we talk through it after I calm them down.

            For the clothes, we set boundaries...

            You need to get yourself dressed. When you are dressed, let me know and I will get you breakfast.

            You need to brush your teeth. When you are done, let me know and I will read you a story.

            That kind of thing. I set the expectation, and I don't continue until they follow through. BUT, I am not unreasonable, unless there is a REASON for them to get dressed, we run around in jammies all day. For days when I know we are leaving, I usually try to put clothes out the night before, allowing the kids to help. This way, there are no complaints about what they are going to wear.

            For tooth brushing, we are honest.

            If you don't brush your teeth, your teeth will get yucky and hurt.

            So far, no issues with tooth brushing. But, my kids also pick out their own brushes and toothpaste. Each has their own toothpaste, so ds3 has little bear, dd5 has Princess, ds7 has sponge bob.

            As I said, I am getting the feeling that I am stricter than most parents on here, but hopefully I can find my place here anyway.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Petie View Post
              As I said, I am getting the feeling that I am stricter than most parents on here, but hopefully I can find my place here ay.
              EVERYONE'S experience, opinions, values, are important. we are all striving to parent w/in the guidelines of the 8 Principles. i look forward to what you have to contribute. welcome to our forum!

              Comment


              • #8
                We try the "your teeth will fall out" line with DS but it doesn't work, sadly.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by PaxMamma View Post
                  EVERYONE'S experience, opinions, values, are important. we are all striving to parent w/in the guidelines of the 8 Principles. i look forward to what you have to contribute. welcome to our forum!
                  What are the 8 principles?

                  Found them they didn't show as a link.....

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    the 8 Principles of Attachment Parenting International are the support behind what we do here and what API is all about. you should be able to click on where i wrote "8 Principles" above and it will take you there. if not, click on this or copy/paste into your browser:
                    http://www.attachmentparenting.org/p...principles.php

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by PaxMamma View Post
                      the 8 Principles of Attachment Parenting International are the support behind what we do here and what API is all about. you should be able to click on where i wrote "8 Principles" above and it will take you there. if not, click on this or copy/paste into your browser:
                      http://www.attachmentparenting.org/p...principles.php
                      Thankyou for the link...interesting, seems I am an unintentional AP who has found some like minded souls...NOW...anyone in Australia???

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