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Doesn't listen....

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  • Doesn't listen....

    HI Everyone-
    I'm hoping you can help... I'm new to API - but this is something i believe instinctually. My 3 1/2 year old is beginning not to listen. When I try and talk to her after she has behaved inapppropriately (ie hitting her sister, taking her sister's toys, etc.) she just laughs at me and runs away. this makes me very angry and I just have to walk away otherwise I feel I'll say (or do) something I know I'll regret. I'm concerned that my pre-schooler will view this "walking" away as a "victory" on her part... She and I are very close and I would say we are "attached". Many times all I need to do is give her a look and she'll stop what she is doing that is inappropriate. Please help me...
    Thanks
    Laura M.

  • #2
    This may not help much but 100% age-appropriate. My daughter is 4.5 but has developmental delays so is much like a 3.5 year old. For us, life is still all about redirection. "Gentle hands" then redirection to somewhere or something else.

    We also do a lot of time-ins. That enables both of us to step away from the action(s) and focus on something else.

    How old is her sister?

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    • #3
      HI-
      Thanks for the reply. Her sister just turned a year. I try and redirect her, but sometimes it just doesn't help. Also, it always seems like (this is probably the reason) when I'm spending time with her sister (or she's sitting on my lap, etc. I think she is having hard time sharing my attention with her sister. Does this make sense?
      Thanks
      LZM

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      • #4
        Hi Laura,

        It does sound as though this is developmentally appropriate, and you may be right that she's feeling a little jealous of her sister. It can be a hard transition for the older sibling when the younger one becomes more mobile.

        She likely won't see your walking away as a victory. To her, it's not about winning or losing the power struggle. Even if it were, having you walk away likely isn't the thing she wanted, so that wouldn't be a "win" for her. She just wants her needs met. She is hitting because she wants you to do something, and she is frustrated, and she doesn't know what else to do.

        Think of the hitting as your daughter's way of communicating with you. She might be telling you that she needs more attention, or that she's jealous, or that she's hungry or tired. Thinking of it as a communication. and that might help you stop yourself from reacting in frustration or anger. She just doesn't have the cognitive ability yet to translate her feelings into words. Her left brain and her right brain don't have those pathways yet. She needs your help to form them. She needs you to understand the need driving the behavior, and to help her find a better way to communicate and meet it.

        You might try putting her feelings into words for her. "Do you feel like you want Mommy's attention?" or "Do you want your sister to get off of Mommy's lap now?" Then empathize with her. "You want my attention and it frustrates you when I am giving attention to your sister." Then after she is feeling heard, you can try asking her to tell you in a different way. Sometime when you aren't in this crisis, perhaps have a meeting on the couch with her, and tell her that it hurts you when she hits you, and ask her if she can think of another way that she could tell you that she's upset. Around this age my daughter and I had this discussion, and she decided she would clap her hands and stomp her feet to tell us she was upset.

        You could also try a playful approach. When she hits, if you think she is hitting because she is wanting attention, try saying, "I sure hope you don't hit that pillow over there, because if you do, then your sister and I might have to chase you!" (or bop you with a pillow, or whatever she would find fun). You might find that after a few times of trying this, she realizes that she can engage you by hitting the pillow. She might go up the pillow and give you a playful look and hit it. You've then taught her another way to get her needs met.

        Have you read "Siblings Without Rivalry" by Faber and Mazlish or "Playful Parenting" by Lawrence Cohen? Both of these might help you navigate some of these aggressive behaviors.

        I know it's hard to see your little girl hitting, and it's hard not to react. Hang in there!

        Comment


        • #5
          As adults, we naturally interpret our children's behavior in adult form. If another adult laughed and walked away after we'd expressed our disapproval we'd be furious because that kind of response is indicative of a complete lack of regard or respect for our feelings. Not so with little ones. Your daughter is likely laughing and walking away because she now understands that she has disappointed you. Her response,in my opinion, likely means that she knows her behavior was unacceptable and she's embarrassed. I've seen other AP'ed children around her age laugh and evade Mom after an indiscretion and I'm certain it's because they finally intellectual accept that this action was less than desirable. Try verbalizing these concepts to her after she mis-behaves.

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          • #6
            THANKS Ladies! I knew I could count on you for some perspective!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by WildBlueberry
              You could also try a playful approach. When she hits, if you think she is hitting because she is wanting attention, try saying, "I sure hope you don't hit that pillow over there, because if you do, then your sister and I might have to chase you!" (or bop you with a pillow, or whatever she would find fun). You might find that after a few times of trying this, she realizes that she can engage you by hitting the pillow. She might go up the pillow and give you a playful look and hit it. You've then taught her another way to get her needs met.
              This is exactly what I was going to suggest but I just couldn't figure out how to put it into words. LOL This is what we do with pillows.

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