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advice for friend

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
My family spends quite a huge amount of time with another family (we see each other normally every day at least for a short time- we are neighbors, good friends, help eachother out a lot.) We both have DD's who are just shy of 3 yrs. old. The girls will both be 3 in June. Their DD has turned into quite the screamer over the past few months and is rude to my DD and sometimes to other children.

If you say anything to their DD that she does not want to hear (the comment can come from her parents, my DD or from my DH or myself) she either screams or runs and slams a door to whichever room she has chosen to hide in. After someone goes in to get her, she screams more and more, kicks sometimes, throws things sometimes, and just overall becomes quite a mess. She does this when it is time to go home, clean up, change activities, and many other times, even if she is given a few warnings, such as "you have 5 more minutes", and then "you have two more minutes", etc.

She often comes over to play and then immediately proclaims that she does not want to talk to my DD when my DD tries to talk to her or start to play with a toy together. She screams if I tell her to be nice. Her parents always ask, "didn't you want to come over to play" and then tell her, "well then you need to be nice." This works occassionally, but most times it just sets her off to screaming. They either go home, play in other rooms, or she gets over it at some point. My DD used to get upset by this and scream also, but now she just says "you need to be nice to me if you want to play." I guess she has heard us say it quite a few times.

Our DD's have a relationship similar to sisters since they have known eachother since the beginnings of their times and have spent soooo much time together. This is why I think their DD behaves worse around our DD than around other children.

Overall, she seems to be having major tantrums (even if they don't sound too bad by my description- they are bad and we all agree!) and they happen numerous times each day. We can often hear her screaming when we walk down the hall in our building or when we are outside and the windows are open. So they are obviously happening more often than we witness first hand. Her parents finally are becoming verbal to us about needing to do something to change this behavior.

The other day her mom, my friend, told me that she doesn't want her DD to be "such a brat" but just does not know what to do to change her behavior. The conversation didn't go anywhere b/c her DD didn't want to put away toys that I had just asked the girls to do put away and she began kicking, screaming, and throwing the toys. Mom picked her up, told me we would finish the conversation later, and left. Now I am not sure how to bring it back up without sounding like "your DD is awful and needs help" and I am not sure what advice to give her. I have not had to deal with this with my DD. Any advice or suggestions that I could pass on would be greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 11

you sound a lovely friend...

...I wish you lived near me!

I have a child who has behaved/does behave in this way. I think he is "brat" too and will tell my closest friends this when I feel down. The reason I tell my friends that he is like this and that it drives me nuts is because I desparately want their help and understanding.

In my opinion I think your friend has as good as said "help me!". Ask her what she thinks she needs to help her daughter. Perhaps she needs to visit her doctor for some expert advice or to look at her diet. Perhaps your friend needs a break from her daughter so she can cope better. Perhaps you can look on the internet together for some parenting sites that may be helpful. There are lots of options.

But don't turn your back on her. Praise her parenting and all the wonderful things about her daughter. Let her know it is not personal and that some children just need more help getting to grips with the world.

Hang in there!
post #3 of 11
some children just need more help getting to grips with the world.
I think this is a wonderful thing to recognize -- really and truly. I'd like a t-shirt that says this for everytime someone gives me a dirty look about my toddler's behavior!

Age 3-4 can be such a tough time. Sometimes all we can do is clench our teeth and ride it out.

But I agree that looking for what the child needs -- on whatever level -- and trying to meet that need, is the best approach. Does she need more sleep, better food, etc.. But probably it is more of a psychological need -- like, does she experience enough control of her world? Does she feel understood? Is she being taught helpful ways to express her feelings? I'm making stabs in the dark -- probably the issues of what she needs are an area that only her parents can be experts in.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your advice and feedback. I think she is sleeping enough and eating fairly well. She speaks pretty clearly and can be understood and has the opportunity to do a lot of what SHE wants to. I think one of the big problmes is that when her parents say the word "no" they don't stick to it. This has probably taught her that it is okay to do almost anything. She is in preschool 2 days a week and spends the rest of the time with mom and dad. I think I will suggest talking to the pediatrician b/c I know they really like their ped. and take his advice seriously. (I can't say the same for my own ped.)
post #5 of 11
I think you just found out the answer- her parents say no and don't stick to it. So they have, in essence, taught her to tantrum. To change that, I think really stopping to think before they say no and really sticking to it when they do will be key. She also may benefit from some help with transitions since it sounds like these are tough for her. Some kids need more of a rythem and more elaborate transition than a few warnings. Songs, verses, and rymes, can all be encorporated into routines to help with tranistions.
post #6 of 11
While I haven't read it, my good friend is reading The Explosive Child to try to deal with her ds. She loves it. It sounds like it may be a good book for your friend to check out. If Khrisday is right, your friend may be suffering from what I call"mush mama syndrome" -too mushy and wish-washy when it comes to disciplining!! : Then again, I think some kids are just like that-my little ds may be heading in this direction. Hmmm....maybe I need to go get this book..I wonder if it helps to prevent these annoying toddler/preschool episodes!:

post #7 of 11
She should also talk to her dd's pre school teacher. My SIL has been having some trouble with her 6 yr old dd and has received some really good insight from her teacher. This is the one person who has direct experience with dd so can probably offer some really good comments about her behaviour. A ped. doesn't spend enough time with patients to comment on personality issues IMO.
post #8 of 11
Originally posted by julieshayna
I think one of the big problmes is that when her parents say the word "no" they don't stick to it.
I agree with khrisday, I think that is the problem. Even before I got that far in the thread, I was going to ask you if they appeased her or were inconsistent. I have seen this wreck more parent-child relationships...

Somehow she has come to believe that screaming will solve her problems. Unless they can consistently (lovingly) make that clear to her that it will not ever work, she has no reason to behave any other way.
post #9 of 11
I have one other suggestion.

My best luck with DD when we have playgroups or parties is to speak with her before the event and tell her what I expect of her in terms of her behavior. I have learned to be very proactive because we often found ourselves in the middle of a screamfest at other people's homes. This has been the only thing that has worked for us. And of course I use positive reinforcement when she is behaving well at someone else's house.

Luckily for me, my DD does not go into these types of rages that you describe but I think that's because I have worked hard to deal with it since she was about 17 months old. She's now 3 and I rarely have to speak with her before an event about being "friendly".

Good luck to your friend. I really can relate!
post #10 of 11
Talking to the preschool teachers is a good idea too. If the child is the same for them at preschool the problem may be something to work on together. But my guess is that she is a darling at preschool because they have good boundaries for her and they stick to them. If this childs mom talks to the teachers she may get some good help with doing the same things at home.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for your insights. Supposedly she is a darling at preschool, but she has told me herself of a few incidents when she has talked back to the teacher. Hmm.... Okay- so how do you tell a good friend that she needs to use the word "no", use it firmly, and stick to it w/o making her feel as though she has no idea how to parent or take any offense. I can work this out I guess. Hopefully it will go smoothly.
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