An incredibly long rant, not sure if anyone will actually stick it out and read but if nothing else it will help me to get this out and vent! :-) Thanks in advance to anyone who reads.
Probably better to explain with examples what my concerns are, but first a little background:
Our DD will be 4 in 2 mos., we still let her have a nuk (pacifier) before nap and bed time. We've tried working with her to give it up before, but she has a very hard time calming herself down and sleeping without it. We tried and her sleep was awful for a week, then she got sick (bad asthma) and we gave it back to her to help her rest.
She still bangs her head. A lot. When she's frustrated she bangs her head on anything she can find. We've tried to help her come up with other ways to get out her frustrations, but this is what she does.
Also, DD takes out a lot of frustration on my husband. She rarely will hit or yell at me, but she hits, kicks, yells, etc. at him. He is normally very patient and very kind, whereas I have a little more of a temper. DH and I have different ideas about discipline--I don't believe in or do time outs, punishment outside of natural consequences, etc. He grudgingly will agree with me but in the heat of the moment he forgets and sticks her in time outs.
--Last weekend I had to wake her up from sleep in the car, she was really mad. (It was cold, I have a 6-mo-old baby, and I can't see that garage/car from the house.) She wanted her nuk, and I told her she could have it if she wanted to take a nap. She refused to take a nap but wanted the nuk anyway. She kept following me around the house, yelling at the top of her lungs "I want you to DIE!!! I want you to go away forever! Go AWAY!" After multiple throwing things, slamming doors, etc. it became eerily calm. I went in her room, where she had found a nuk under her bed, and she was calmly sitting on the floor.
--Yesterday she wanted a piece of bread with her dinner, which we told her she eat to eat more of the other food in front of her first. (Food she normally loves she we know she wasn't refusing because she dislikes it; also if we give her bread before her meal she'll ONLY eat bread/butter so now we encourage eating other food before eating bread.) She got out of her chair and started screaming at both of us "I want you to DIE!!! I want BREAD!!!" And then she hit my husband. My husband made her stand in the corner (which I don't agree with, as stated above), after multiple attempts at getting out she finally stayed there 3 min. Afterwards I tried explaining to her that I felt very sad, her dad made a special trip to the store for pumpkins, a Halloween movie, and caramel apples so we could have a fun family night but now we all felt sad. She started to cry, which made me think she felt remorse--when I asked her what she felt sad about she sobbed "I'll never have a caramel apple!"
--Today we went grocery shopping, and she was upset the whole time because she wanted us to buy her a doll. (We said today was not a trip to buy her stuff.) In the checkout aisle there was of course, a doll in a tutu and she begged us to buy it. We said things like "I know it's hard when you want something and can't have it, but today is not a trip to buy you a doll". She started running out the door and my husband went after her. She tried running into a busy street with cars, kicked hit and punched him; head-butted him, etc. The entire trip home she was screaming, banging her head on the car seat as well as the back of my husband's seat, her knee, etc.
When I tell people I know about it, their initial reactions are "Oh my gosh, what's wrong with her?" as though she has some sort of mental health issue. Secondly, the reaction is that we are not strict enough with our punishment. My husband thinks she needs more time in the corner, things taken away, etc. He is a very gentle, calm individual but he has reached his breaking point with her and has no patience anymore. He has even hinted around that we might need to spank her to get her to listen to us.
Is this normal almost-4 behavior? Has my ideas about discipline gotten her out of control? Does it sound like she has some mental health issues? (We have a lot of depression, bipolar in my family so I worry--I am very proactive about seeking therapy etc. and have a professional background in mental health so I'm not opposed to seeking help from a non-MD).
Thanks, and sorry for the rant.