Lately my 4.5 year old has started ignoring the things my husband and I request of her to the point where it has becoming a serious safety issue. Today my husband put the (heavy wood) kitchen chairs up on top of the table to prepare for our carpet cleaning, and asked her to please not touch the chairs as they could fall off the table and hurt her. While I was leaving a message for someone on the phone she went over to the table and pulled a chair off, which smashed her head into the table and landed on her back - she was pinned on her stomach on the carpet. It was absolutely horrifying to watch but she was somehow fine. The way her back bent under the chair, she could have seriously been injured. Then, this afternoon we were at the pool and she was with her older brother in 2 ft deep water. They had been splashing and playing happily and their baby brother was crying to nurse. So I asked them to stay in the same area and showed her that I would be sitting at the nearby table watching them. I showed her how the water got deeper to her right, and shallower to her left, and told her she needed to stay on this side of the lifeguard stand, otherwise her feet wouldn't be able to touch the bottom. She is a good swimmer (for 4.5, has had 3 series of swim lessons this summer) and was wearing a life jacket as an extra precaution. Because she is unpredictable. Sigh. So I had just gotten the baby latched on and heard the lifeguard's whistle...she had simply lifted the rope and gone into the deeper area at the foot of the slides, where no one except the people coming down the slides can go. Then she got sucked into the current from the slides and was carried into the deeper water. I could not freaking believe it. So here are two great examples in one single day. My son said he had told her to come with him toward the shallow water (both of them knew the area below the slides was off limits) and said she thought it was funny to run away from him.
Ignoring me when I ask her to brush her teeth is one thing but this is an entirely different realm. And I don't feel like the seriousness of it is getting through at all. If she was running toward a street and I told her to stop, I have very little confidence that she would do it.
Just a bit of background, she is the middle child of three and has been difficult since she was about 3 years old, which is before her baby brother was even conceived. :) My husband and I have a very solid marriage and we have a very positive, happy, stable home environment. I don't work, I spend all of my days with the kids and they get a lot of love, attention and nurturing. For discipline, we use a combination of consequences and time outs (which are more decompressing time for her as she has a temper like a volcano). We understand the importance of consistency and we don't let bad behavior slide by. Yet, she is one of those people who always has to have the last word. If we ask her not to do something, she *always* seems to have to do it one last time before complying. Has to always push the boundaries. It gets tiring...we can live with that but we cannot live with her disobeying us to degree she has lately. I'm starting to get seriously scared that she's this hard to handle and not even 5 yrs old. Her older brother is nearly 7 and has never been like this at all. This is my solace when I think I am failing as a parent. :) I am quite desperate for suggestions.
Edited by Gracecody - 8/8/12 at 11:21pm