Losing my mind with stb 4yo DD.. HELP post #15 - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 19 Old 10-08-2011, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DD is 4 in December.  I've had a hard time with her lately.  She's doing a lot of the willful defiance stuff.  If I ask her not to do something, she'll get a smirk on her face, look me dead in the eye, and do what I just asked her not to do.  Example?  Knocking her sister down.  The natural consequence of her sister getting hurt and not wanting to play with her anymore doesn't seem to phase her.  I would say that she's oblivious socially, and I know she has social issues.  However, she seems so manipulative and menacing when she looks at me, and I know that's a ridiculous thing to say of a child her age.  I just don't get it.  It happens so many times per day.  What do I do?
 

She was also cared for by my MIL, and we put an end to it because we did not see a positive influence on her at all.  The family kids she was with, 6-8yo girls who are growing up way too fast and are very rebellious, influenced her quite a bit.  If we discuss something NOT being okay (calling people certain names, rebellious behavior, violence towards her sister, not taking turns) she'll turn around and tell me that cousin J did it and cousin J is a big girl so she should listen to cousin J. 

 

Naptime and bedtime are also issues.  We try the whole "gentle transitioning" thing and it doesn't help too much.  Everything happens at the same time of day, every day.  She still flips when naptime nears, and she violently protests.  She kicks me, hits me, screams bloody murder (and it doesn't help that we've just moved into a new building.  I'm horrified to wonder what my neighbors may think).  She still needs her naps, or she won't be able to function throughout the afternoon.  She refuses to nap, and she instead stays in her room and plays with her toys.  Fine, but she needs that nap.  If I wanted to do away with it, we'd need to do a lot of schedule re-arranging that I'm not sure she would tolerate.  I've tried laying down with her, in my bed.  She still lashes out at me violently and screams, so not an option.  Bedtime IS an issue but not as much as naptime.  She enjoys bedtime more because we have more of a routine with it, with reading a story and blowing out a candle, etc.  I've tried to do some of the same things with naptime, but she just wasn't having it.

 

She also has meltdowns, or starts crying abruptly, for the smallest things.  If I ask her not to do something, the screaming and crying starts.  It is incredibly hard for me to be patient.  I have huge rage and anger issues and it is very, very difficult for me to keep them at bay.  A lot of times I say things to her I really shouldn't. 

 

I need some support to keep myself sane.

 


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#2 of 19 Old 10-08-2011, 12:23 PM
 
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((WindyCityMom))

 

I'm so sorry, it's such a hard place to be.  I'm right there with you, my son will turn 4 in Dec and he can be a holy terror.

 

You talk about natural consequences, which are great, but have you introduced logical consequences?  I know it's becoming unpopular around here, but time outs work very well for us.  It's more like, if he can't participate in an activity appropriately then he'll be removed from the activity. 

 

The only other thing I can offer is looking into food sensitivities.  I know when I feed my son a clean diet (no sugar whatsoever, no milk, plenty of veggies and fruits, limited carbs) his behavior is like night and day.

 

Oh, let me throw out another idea.  Did she recently drop her afternoon nap?  I've found that even though my son is fighting me harder about naps he does much, much better on the days that he does nap.  Just an idea.  Sometimes nap time turns into quiet time reading in bed while I put his sister down, but just sitting quietly and recharging helps him calm down.


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#3 of 19 Old 10-08-2011, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Lazurii View Post

((WindyCityMom))

 

I'm so sorry, it's such a hard place to be.  I'm right there with you, my son will turn 4 in Dec and he can be a holy terror.

 

You talk about natural consequences, which are great, but have you introduced logical consequences?  I know it's becoming unpopular around here, but time outs work very well for us.  It's more like, if he can't participate in an activity appropriately then he'll be removed from the activity. 

 

The only other thing I can offer is looking into food sensitivities.  I know when I feed my son a clean diet (no sugar whatsoever, no milk, plenty of veggies and fruits, limited carbs) his behavior is like night and day.

 

Oh, let me throw out another idea.  Did she recently drop her afternoon nap?  I've found that even though my son is fighting me harder about naps he does much, much better on the days that he does nap.  Just an idea.  Sometimes nap time turns into quiet time reading in bed while I put his sister down, but just sitting quietly and recharging helps him calm down.


Thanks a ton.  Nap time is every day, always has been.  She's just been fighting it.  She wants to keep playing, and we have talks about sleeping giving her energy to play more when she wakes up.  She doesn't care.  "But I can play NOW!".

The diet thing is spot on, too.  A few days ago I made muffins, she had no idea, they were out of her reach, but she woke up before me and after my DH had gone to work, found the muffins, and ate FOUR of them.  They were pretty sugary, and I feel like I'm still paying for it today.  She doesn't seem to have an issue with carbs, just sugar and dyes. 

 

As for logical consequences, most things happen here at home.  If she's hurting her sister, taking her toys away, etc, and doesn't stop when asked, she is removed from the situation and is free to play in her room.  That results in a temper tantrum meltdown and things get thrown around, she screams so much she loses her voice a little, she hyperventilates... it's just not a good situation for anyone :(

 

Not only do I want to regain my sanity a little, but I want her to be HAPPY.


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#4 of 19 Old 10-08-2011, 01:00 PM
 
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If she's really fighting that nap you may have already missed that window right before she's actually sleepy and hence she gets overtired and angry.  How long is she actually sleeping at night and during the day?  Perhaps start naptime earlier and see if that helps.  Once she's getting enough sleep you may see the other behaviors fade out or happen less often.


Cathy mom to 13 y/o DD, 10 y/o DD, 7 y/o DS

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#5 of 19 Old 10-08-2011, 01:26 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WindyCityMom View Post

 

Not only do I want to regain my sanity a little, but I want her to be HAPPY.



I feel like this about BuggaBoo, he just seems miserable all the time.  Have you read "Raising your Spirited Child"?  I know most of it was spot on for BuggaBoo, and when I had more energy to follow the recommendations (I'm working on depression) then things seem to go smoother.


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#6 of 19 Old 10-08-2011, 06:38 PM
 
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Would you be willing to try skipping the nap (not even trying... ie. absolutely no power struggle) and putting her to bed earlier?  Try it for a week maybe and see if there's any improvement?  I believe you when you say she still needs a nap *with her current bedtime*, but perhaps she would also do ok with no nap and a longer stretch of sleep at night?  Maybe she'd just sleep in longer (which would be ok I guess only if you don't have to be at preschool or somewhere at a certain time)?  The transition can be tough, and there will still be yes-nap days scattered in with the no-nap days, but at the end life gets much easier (no-naps definitely beats daily power struggles hands-down!).

 

I know there are lots of kids who still take a nap at that age, but lots of kids have also dropped the nap by that point.  I'd say from my own circle of acquaintances, friends and family members most of the kiddos that age no longer took naps.  So, it's not unlikely that she's at least really close to being at a point of switching to no naps. 

 

Just thought I'd throw it out there anyway....


Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#7 of 19 Old 10-08-2011, 07:45 PM
 
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She might be ready to stop napping. There is an adjustment period when they stop napping where they're cranky in the afternoon, but that doesn't mean she isn't ready to stop.

3.5-year-olds are into power struggles, and particularly over input (food), output (potty), and sleep, because those are the three areas where they have the most power and therefore where they can establish their autonomy. Autonomy is a really big issue at that age. I'd try to give her autonomy wherever you can, and she might not fight you as badly in other areas.
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#8 of 19 Old 10-09-2011, 10:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone.  She usually goes to bed around 8 and wakes up at 7-8am, so she might be getting enough sleep.  She just gets really tired and cranky when she misses the nap.  How much would you recommend pushing bedtime up (gradually, of course!).  Maybe she's getting TOO much sleep?


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#9 of 19 Old 10-10-2011, 06:51 AM
 
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Just follow her cues.  I think if you skip the nap you'll see when she is ready for bed.  IIRC on the days when my ds first started giving up his nap he would often go to bed up to 2hrs earlier than usual.  I wouldn't let him go to sleep too early though or it would feel like a late nap to him and he would wake up again raring to go.  I found that, for my ds, as long as I kept him up till 7pm then he would STTN.  Of course every kid is different.  I'd maybe push dinner a bit earlier then watch and see what she is "telling" you with her behaviour and body language.  From what you wrote in your OP I do think it's worth a try, but be aware that you will probably have some grumpy evenings to deal with as she gets used to the new schedule.


Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010

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#10 of 19 Old 10-10-2011, 08:51 AM
 
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Recently my son has a short-changed night followed by a day with no nap.  He went to bed at 5pm, woke up once at 6:30pm, and then STTN until 7am.  He woke up a very happy boy, he's usually kind of cranky.  We're not super strict on bedtimes around here, so he'll go to be between 7pm-10pm.

 

Okay, I thought all of that was relevant.  Glean useful information if possible.


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#11 of 19 Old 10-14-2011, 04:23 PM
 
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Hey Windy City Mom,

 

I'm a dad. I have four kids and I proudly brag that their behavior is usually fantastic. All of our kids responded differently to different discipline styles. And, bear in mind, when I say "discipline" I mean the dictionary definition, as in "Training to act in accordance with rules." Many people confuse discipline with "punishment", which is a retributive act for rebellious behavior.

 

For instance, my son was often disciplined with a time-out, which he responded well to. While my daughter scoffed at a time out and it barely fazed her. My son, now 10, rarely gets a time out, and if he does, it's never for 10 minutes, maybe a just a few. We've disciplined him enough that 3 minutes seems to work just as well as 10 would. Instead, we have moved on to push ups for him or removing privileges. (you should see the looks of approval when my wife demands that he "give her 20" in the middle of the grocery store winky.gif   )

 

Many children do not respond well to being removed from the rest of the family. And while I get the well intentioned reasoning, it often becomes vindictive in nature. If the removed period is subject to a parent's whims it can become unfair to the child. Time out works best when you stick to the time frame and do not speak to the child. I've seen time out applied so wrong, so often it causes harm to the relationship. The rules to time out are simple for parent and child. Tell the child what they did wrong, place them in the time out chair (it should be the same place every time so the child can have reasonable expectations for what is happening), and set a timer. If the child gets up from the chair, do not speak, calmly place the child back in the chair.

 

I've seen parents scream when the child gets up. This is a retributive act and is therefore "punishment". Do not yell at your child. Again, calmly put the child back.

I've seen parents increase the time out length depending on the infraction. Do not do this, the child begins to understand that your feelings and anger affect their punishment and this is wrong. Hitting, spitting, lying, etc all have the same time out length.

I've seen parents, after the child repeatedly gets up from the time out chair, threaten further punishments such as spanking. This is, again, more about you as a parent then what the child has done. The child serves the timeout, that's it.

 

If you do time out correctly and gently, you should not have to wage a war with them for long if they should get up. Two weeks, tops, and your child will get up when the timer goes off. Two weeks and all of your yelling and screaming and hostile attitude toward your child will disappear. I find it so sad when gentle parents resort to yelling and screaming and, sometimes *gasp* name-calling when their child fails to be disciplined. If you're at that point, and I know many gentle parents who have found themselves there, you may as well break out the paddle, for you are no longer gentle disciplining.

 

If time out doesn't work for you, I urge you to find a form of discipline that does not depend on arbitrary rules on your emotions.

 

 

 

Quote:
However, she seems so manipulative and menacing when she looks at me, and I know that's a ridiculous thing to say of a child her age.

 

It really isn't. I've known many small children who are menacing. Remember that they cannot menace YOU now, but they can later in life. Take advantage of the time you have now to show your child love and it'll pay tenfold later!

 

Good luck!

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#12 of 19 Old 10-27-2011, 11:04 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WindyCityMom View Post

Thanks everyone.  She usually goes to bed around 8 and wakes up at 7-8am, so she might be getting enough sleep.  She just gets really tired and cranky when she misses the nap.  How much would you recommend pushing bedtime up (gradually, of course!).  Maybe she's getting TOO much sleep?


I would not say she's getting too much sleep- kids that age really need 12 hours! And it does sound like she's in transition, ready to drop the nap, but likely is getting overtired by 8.

Have you read Happy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child? The dr recommends that children no longer napping start the bedtime process between 7-7:30. That's what we do with our 4year old DS. He goes to bed by 7:30 after 30 min of stories and wakes up around 7:30, and rarely naps. About 1-2 times per week he will fall asleep in his room during quiet time (we homeschool so both boys get quiet time each day for an hour). It helps everyone get some space and time to focus on their own quiet activities and get a bit of downtime.

Maybe she needs a rest period during the day where she is not told to nap but just enoy a little quiet time?

HTH
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#13 of 19 Old 11-01-2011, 09:25 AM
 
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Some of my experiences:  take what works for you and leave the rest :) 

 

When I worked in a daycare center in the years B.K. most of the children lay down for naps. But throughout the years I discovered, there was Always One Child Who Did Not Nap.  This child still needed to sit in the dark room playing with a very quiet toy on the cot.  (Not free play, but only Very Quiet Play) The point of the midday nap is to recharge batteries.

 

Sometimes I have made a point to buy a great toy that uses rechargeable batteries-  of course nowadays our phones simply work for this purpose, eh?  Demonstrate to the child how the toy's functions slloooowww down, and the sound gets distorted, because the batteries are wearing down.  Then pop them out, place them in a charger, and show her how it plugs in to be recharged.  Talk to her about how our bodies need this-- even when we are adults, a little "recharge" in the late afternoon gives us a much better outlook on life! Maybe naptime does not need to be in the bedroom but on the couch, where you both sit with the lights out, maybe have a special battery powered tealight or nightlight for "quiet time."  You can use this time to quietly knit or read a book, and she can also learn to knit or look through ABC cards.  I prefer something that doesn't require eyes to get tired from the dim light....

 

One of my children napped daily well into his 6th year!  But the next child was done napping well before 4.  My last child was finished taking daily naps at 3, but occasionally during growth spurts would curl up and fall asleep in the afternoon.

 

As I tried to draw out her naptimes I would send her outside into the fenced play area in the yard to play after lunch.  15-20 minutes of fresh air and sunshine right after lunch- even on cloudy days or bundled in mittens and hat-- made ALL the difference in the world.  I used this time to pick up after lunch, tend to a sibling, and keep an eye on her. Really, they LOVE this "alone outside" time...  mine loved to dig in sand especially.  Then I would call her inside to have a cooky with mommy.  I never ever called her inside for NAP, mind you, only called her inside to have a cooky with mommy.  I never wanted to call my child to COME if I was going to make them do something unpleasant.  I am a HUGE FAN of teaching children to COME PROMPTLY when called, so the calling was ALWAYS given a reward.  Even now, I don't call my kids to come empty the dishwasher! I call them to come have a cooky break with me- and hey let's empty the dishwasher together real quick first.

 

So we'd wash hands, singing ABCs and scrubbing good, getting in a good hand massage, scrubbing the nails with a brush (let her pick one out next time you are shopping).  We would take off shoes and give the toesies a little rub (we popped toe knuckles) and even a little scrub if they needed it, especially on hot sweaty feet.  We'd go sit and enjoy a cooky, having a little chat, and then I'd pull out a few books and ask her which ones she would like to read.   Then we'd go lay down on the couch or bed and I'd start reading.  I liked the book, No Nap Today and HIGHLY recommend it particularly for a stubborn napper. We'd laugh at that silly kid all the way to the end of the book.  Amazingly, 9 times out of 10 this kid would let me then act out the book all the way to the point of leaving the room.

 

Some kids had a nap chart, with stickers and a prize at the end....  if you have a good nap 5 days, then on Saturday we'll go to the park.  

 

The reality is it probably IS time to transition out of naptime but that doesn't mean you can't have an afternoon quiet time. I enforced one until I had 6 and a couple started to go to a charter school rather than all homeschooling.  Even when I had a 12, 10, 8, 6, 4 and 2 yo, there was afternoon quiet time from 1-3 every day.  The olders did quiet work, the transitioners were allowed a stack of books to read or a puzzle. *I* needed a nap through all those years!!!!

 

 

 

 

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#14 of 19 Old 11-01-2011, 06:47 PM
 
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My DD is 3.5 and sounds so much like your DD.  She has a deep need to just be contrary.  It makes simple tasks so hard.  A lot of folks have addressed the sleep thing, which will probably help a lot.  But I wanted to share a game that DD and I play that has worked for us when she refuses to do what I ask.  

 

Here is how we play.  First one of us will initiate by saying, let's play the no game.  I think it is important to make clear when the game starts and ends.

Then I will tell her to *not* do whatever I want her to do.  So if we are struggling to get her dressed and that is what we are playing the game about, I'll say, "don't put on your undies!" and then pretend to keep them from her or try to prevent her from putting them on (but only resisting the tiniest bit so she actually gets them on).  Then we will do the same thing with pants and shirt and anything else that she needs to do.  

 

It works so well to get her to do exactly what is needed while being able to push against me.  I get my needs met, and she gets her needs met.  I think she really likes the game because it gives her a safe space to be contrary while knowing she is actually doing what I want her to do.  Sometimes when we are starting to butt heads about something, she will has to play the game.  I love it because it turns what could be a very trying situation into a playful solution that works for us both.   There are still plenty of other times when she doesn't want to play it or it isn't appropriate, but it is one little trick that has worked. 

 

Again, not sure if it would work with all children.  DH thinks it is reinforcing her contrary attitude and really hates the game.  But I think it is providing a healthy place for those feelings she has.  So, I thought I'd just mention it.

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#15 of 19 Old 11-03-2011, 01:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone!

 

Right now we are struggling with

 

  • eye rolling and smirking when we talk to her about her misbehavior
  • snatching things from her sister, hiding them behind her back, telling me she doesn't have it, and getting furious with me
  • lying.  this is a huge one.  i know it is a phase that will pass, but how do you deal?  50% of what she says is a lie, and they are not just "the sky is pink" or being silly.  She lies to get her sister in trouble, lies to get the cats in trouble, etc.  Even to get daddy in trouble!  She doesn't say "the cat did it", she'll come to me with an elaborate story.  When I confront her about misbehavior, she'll flat out lie to me.
  • fighting.  she has been randomly smacking her sister, the cats, me.... i was holding my 22mo in my lap, called my 3yo to ask her something, and she spaced out and just slapped my 22mo in the face!  she does this frequently.
  • understanding limits-  i burned my hand, she wanted me to push her on the swing, i couldn't because it hurt me badly.  i showed her the burn.  she was still angry at me and threw a tantrum.  she even said "i don't care". 
  • Being bossy.  She tells her little sister what to do with a toy- an elaborate game, elaborate details, whatver... and her sister of course grabs the block or whatever and plays in a different way.  DD freaks out, hits, screams, "NOOO YOU"RE DOING IT WRONG!!" and lashes out on the 22mo.  My 22mo no longe rwants to play with her and hides from her a lot.  I feel like DD is turning into a monster.
  • Today, we were coloring.  I had a stack of paper on the table.  My 22mo gave me a sheet.  DD1 immediately starts FREAKING out hitting me and screaming that it was her paper and she had it first.  She did not, her sister got it from the pile and gave it to me.  DD1 already had her own sheet, which I pointed out, showed her, etc.  She continued to carry on so much that I had to put the crayons away as she was throwing them.  Even after I asked her if she'd like to trade sheets.  I didn't really know what to do in that situation.

 

 

Can someone please give me MORE help?

 

 

Oh, and bedtime.  It is now 6pm.  She wakes up before I do, DH gives her breakfast before he goes to work, I wake up a few hours later, she's coloring contently or playing blocks or something.  She doesn't seem to be overtired anymore, just a monster child :(

 

I'm thinking of maybe getting a video of this behavior.


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#16 of 19 Old 11-04-2011, 04:41 PM
 
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I have a friend whose child had behavior like this-  she was diagnosed with OCD, they found an appropriate medication and she went to a preschool (and now Kgarten) with a great special ed teacher and an IEP in place.  It wasn't her dream for her family- they homeschool their older girls- but it was the right steps for THIS child and everyone is happier.

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#17 of 19 Old 11-05-2011, 11:19 AM
 
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Windy City Momma,

 

What techniques are you currently trying? What are you doing to curb this behavior?

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#18 of 19 Old 11-05-2011, 01:51 PM
 
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I can't help but wonder how you are handling this?   Have you thought about talking to someone for your own sanity?  Maybe they could even help shed some light on the situation.  Not to be an alarmist, but ... most of this seems like normal, albiet extreme behavior, but some of it seems very much like red flags. 

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#19 of 19 Old 11-08-2011, 05:41 AM
 
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I agree, it would be helpful to know what you've tried or what your usual techniques are.  I remember having a very difficult time when my DD was this age.  I really hated it.

The game MamaRuga does really helped us too.  Have you read Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen? (Do you have time to read Playful Parenting?)

  •  How much outside time or exercise does she get?  From what you have written she sounds frustrated, which can come from excess energy.  When my DD starts to get snarky or attitude-y, a quick bike ride around the block or walk to the park usually helps.  Maybe a small trampoline is in order, so she can jump out her irritations?
  • How much one on one time does she get with you or DH?  She seems to take alot out on her sister.  Is it because her sister is there and smaller or because she is actually upset with her sister? 
  • What about responsibilities around the house?  When DD was this age someone gave me the advice to give her things to be responsible for to help her feel independent and more of an active particpant in the daily routine.
  • When she is rolling her eyes at you when you try to talk to her about misbehavior, she is telling you she isn't ready to talk about it.  Is it possible to stop the action, tell her no it is not safe or hurts your sister or whatever, and then talk about it later?  Like at bedtime or another calm time?

 

I also believe this age period is why preschool was invented. (Just kidding.)  But a break for both you might be helpful.

Another book that might have useful tips is Raising your Spirited Child.  (That is where I got the trampoline idea.)

 

I hope some of this helps.  Good luck!

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