Need some help with my 4.5 year old -- backtalk - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 07-30-2009, 06:34 PM - Thread Starter
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I am having a very hard time with my DD. The constant sassy, back-talking, rude, LOUD, whiny behavior is just driving me crazy. That and she refuses to do anything I ask her to do and turns and walks away if I try to talk to her about it.

We have talked numerous times about how that kind of talk is NOT OKAY and hurts people. We have talked about how it is important to listen to me because I need to keep her and her little brother safe. (The kids were playing outside -- DD is 4.5, DS is 2. ) She was pushing DS around in a stroller, then he wanted to get out, but couldn't. I told her "it's fine to push him around and play in the stroller, but please don't buckle him in because he could tip the stroller over if he tries to get out) Okay. So one minute later she does just that. She just doesn't care AT ALL about what DH and I ask her to do. It leads to me screaming a lot which I really really hate to do.

At the table, we'll say "Honey, please sit up in your seat. If you are having trouble sitting at the table, you will need to sit in your booster." Then, when she doesn't sit right on her chair (I mean, puts her feet on the table, etc) and we put her in her booster she throws a huge fit about how mean and horrible we are. Well, throwing a fit at the table isn't okay either, so then we tell her that if she needs to scream and get it out, she can do it in her room. Then more screaming.

Anyway. I think you get the picture.

Any advice? I wasn't in the past, but at this point, I am open to punitive suggestions.
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#2 of 7 Old 07-31-2009, 04:11 PM
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You're describing my dd, only she's 5, not 4.5. Actually, things are SLOWLY getting better, but the past 4-6 months have been filled with whining, crying, tantrums, declarations that "I can do what I want! I don't have to ______." I was ready to strangle her on more than one occasion (as in daily).

I don't really know that what I did helped. We sort of just muddled through. There are a few things that work better than others:

1. Dd really needs to feel 'heard'. When she's having a hard time, she needs to tell us exactly how she feels, multiple times. The thing that works best for this is the 'reflective listening' speeches ala "How to Talk So Your Children Will Listen". I simply repeat back to her what she's said. Then she complains some more, and I say something like "You sound really mad/sad/frustrated."

2. I'm back to my old mantra of 30 minutes of 'connection' time every day. In reality my kids don't get it every day and it varies with how they are feeling (and how I'm feeling). This week, dd hasn't asked for it, and when I've offered, she's been busy doing other things. I spent a lot of time last week with dd playing 'finger family', where dd pretended that our fingers were members of a family and did things together. I was thoroughly bored, but clearly she needed it!

Ds has needed the connection time this week, and has asked to do things he likes (like take a walk to see the Max trains).

But 30 minutes of connection time, where the child leads the activity helps my kids tremendously.

3. Rethinking our routines. We'd been doing chores as part of the bedtime routine, but since we agreed to let the kids stay out later, dd was simply too tired to do them without whining and arguing. So, we've moved our 15 minutes of chore time to right after dinner. That has a double benefit. Not only does dd have more energy, but there's an incentive to get done -- going out to play!

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#3 of 7 Old 08-01-2009, 02:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your response! I'm thinking muddle through might be our only solution. Bleh. We've actually had a few good days, so that makes it feel a little more bareable.

I will try to be more conscious of giving her one on one time -- but as you know, that can be hard with a younger sibling.

And hey, all the other 59 of you viewers! You all don't have trouble with your 4 year olds? :
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#4 of 7 Old 08-01-2009, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by ani'smommy View Post
And hey, all the other 59 of you viewers! You all don't have trouble with your 4 year olds? :
Ok, so I will say something then, even though I don't have a solution!

My youngest is only 3,5 now, so we aren't quite there yet, but my granddaughter (who lives with us about half the time) who is 4,5 is a lot like you describe at the moment.

I can remember from my big ones that 4 - 4,5 years old was very challenging with a lot of back-talk and rude behaviour, especially with my girl, but then suddenly they were nice, calm, well-behaved, aiming-to-please five-year-olds! I'm not sure whether this is because of, or in spite of, something I did as a parent.
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#5 of 7 Old 08-01-2009, 04:11 PM
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In all my years of being a nanny, sitter, teacher, 4's were generally my least favorite/most challenging age to deal with and often they grow out of it w/o us even having to do anything but keep ourselves from strangling the little buggers

I did find though when I was getting in power struggles if I made it silly all of a sudden like a tickle attack coming on or swooping in, picking up dc and hugging them close while saying something silly *usually* worked to shift our energies enough to go on w/the day and make it be a good one, instead of a series of crappy things that led to one big fat horrible day, which of course there were plenty.

We start treating 4's like big kids at times when they're still pretty young in the whole scheme of things. They're really still trying to figure out how the world works, what the limits are to their new independence, etc We have to keep that in mind, keep our patience, do stuff that is renewing for ourselves so we have energy to give to these lil munchkins. Even if you can't get time away during the day from your dc do something that's good for you both. When I was a nanny for me it was regular get togethers w/other mamas for hang out time while the kids played or hikes all together, especially since being outside in the woods is what really refuels me.
Good luck!!

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#6 of 7 Old 08-03-2009, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
but the past 4-6 months have been filled with whining, crying, tantrums, declarations that "I can do what I want! I don't have to ______." I was ready to strangle her on more than one occasion (as in daily).
That is us with our 4.75 year old. The I can do what I wants and I don't have to listen to yous and You can't tell me what I can dos -oy. She actually had a HUGE meltdown this afternoon. I tried staying calm. I tried the "wow-it sounds like you are frustrated"-this just makes her more mad. Its like you are patronizing her-so many books say to do this-but it just doesn't work with my daughter. Not that I have any answers-I am still in the thick of it-and sometimes I can diffuse it-sometimes it escalates into a huge mess (like it did this afternoon). It feels good when I can diffuse it-and what works with her one day will not work the next. I try to be silly with her-but a lot of times she thinks you are laughing at her-and gets furious. Even if I am not laughing at her-its her perception.

So not a lot of advice-just keep trying different things. The connection is so hard-I try with her-but in her case-the second I stop doing one on one time with her to go do something else (cook, clean, take care of her younger sister) she goes nuts. Its hard. let me know if you figure it out
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#7 of 7 Old 05-24-2011, 08:24 PM
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I was doing a search for ideas of how to handle backtalk, esp from my 6.5 yo DD and came across this thread.  My DD is strong willed, likes to play the victim and can be very vocal of her displeasure of the world at times.  And she has been that way since she was little. 


How is it with your older DD?  Has it gotten easier?





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