Willful Disobedience and Attitude in 4yo - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 01-23-2012, 09:58 AM - Thread Starter
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I've posted about DD before, I currently have a post about her raging tantrums in the special needs forum, but i feel like this is actually typical 4yo stuff, so I'm putting it here.  I just don't know how to deal with it.

DD will not do anything you ask her to.  If she snatches a toy away from her 2yo sister, and we ask her to give it back, she crosses her arms and gives us a snippy "no!".  Over and over.  She won't pick up her things- and I know- I usually do natural consequences.  It just doesn't work- and quite frankly I'm sick and pregnant and I don't have the energy to clean up after a tornado.  My 2yo helps to the best of her ability but she needs help from her sister- it's not fair for me to make my 2yo do most of the work!  Sure I help here and there, but I'm sorry- if you dump four baskets of blocks out into the hallway, you are going to be the one to pick them up.  Yet she says no.  No, no, NO!.  He excuse for everything is that she's tired.  "I'm too tired".  "If I clean fast, I get tired."  "If I clean slow, I get tired."  She just won't do it.


This morning our struggle is her wiping herself.  She has been on the toilet for an hour protesting.  She has wiped herself since she was TWO YEARS OLD.  Suddenly she's "too tired".  Her breakfast is on the table, she knows that.  I will reheat it when she's ready to come and eat.  She's just saying "Nope, I don't wipe myself anymore.  I'm too tired".  So nonchalant, so matter-of-fact.  I'm NOT going to do it for her.  She's not crying, not upset, just pushing my buttons.  I'm waiting for her to just give up and do it already.  Yet she's still yelling at me, demanding I go over there and wipe her.  Yet she does it every other time she goes to the bathroom.... I just don't get it. 


Anyways- things like this happen quite often.  I'd think she was starved for attention but she gets plenty of that.  "Mama, lets play horses".  Ok.  "Mama, lets dance."  Ok.  "Mama, let me fix your hair."  Ok *ouch*.  I bake with her, I craft with her, I paint with her, I play with her.  We snuggle, read stories, she's not a neglected unloved child.  Why is she testing me?

Me (25) DW (26) DD1 (8) DD2 (6) DD 3 (3)
Two cats, two dogs, complete chaos.
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#2 of 6 Old 01-23-2012, 10:32 AM
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Hi WindyCityMom - I am over in the Sept. due date group with you smile.gif - and my nearly 3 1/2 year old sounds quite similar.  Rather than telling me he is too tired though, if I ask him to do something, he'll tell me he has no hands.  Or if I ask him to get up, he'll tell me he has no legs.  So maddening.  And I am pretty sure he does nothing at all the first time he is asked.  Ever.  I will be following your post to see what suggestions come in!

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#3 of 6 Old 01-23-2012, 05:28 PM
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Well, my kids have started saying "that hurts my ears" to each other.  And, loud sounds are painful to me when pg...I just want to crawl in a hole.  Is it possible she's saying she's tired all the time because you are saying it?  It's funny to me to hear the kids make excuses to each other when I realize it's a version of what I say to them all the time.  And, well, it makes me try a lot harder not to make them!


Also, lately my almost 3yo is not eating well.  It's a combo of living on junk food and snacks while traveling and having a sugar addiction, followed by a bad virus that left none of us wanting to eat for several weeks.  So, I've just started putting a few bites on a little plate for her.  She is always welcome to have as much as she wants, but I always give it to her in small portions, and never ask much of her at the beginning of a meal.  I'm just gently, slowly, retraining the bad habit she's gotten into.


If you were to put away most of the toys so that there were only a few out, then she couldn't dump 4 boxes of blocks.  I don't what else you could do around your house to scale the temptations way way back.  Lessen the opportunity for battle, if you will.  I find, when my kids are acting like that, that it's better for ME to be the one in the position to hold out, not them.  So, if they want more toys, then they have to pick up what's there.  It's not asking too much because it's only one small basket full.  I'm always happy to switch them...but not to make a bigger mess.  Want more food?  Sure, then finish the orange you asked for.  Knowing that I only gave her one slice keeps my conscience light.  So, I'm free to live my life and not be held hostage by a 3yo with an opinion.  I have the leverage. 


Another thought is that I've found sometimes my kids haven't realized what they are doing.  Having a heart to heart with them really clears the air.  Four, imo, is not too young for that.  After I had just done something with them, and then they start acting that way to me, I talk about what a friend is, and how they aren't acting like one to me.  I also point out that "lots of kids do stuff like that when they want their mama's attention.  Well, I just did x with you, and somebody is going to have to make supper.  So, knock it off and go place nicely.  Or, you'll have to sit on your bed while I do this because I don't have to listen to you xyz for an hour.  What's it gonna be?" 

"If you keep doing the same things you've always done, you'll keep getting the same results you've always gotten."

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#4 of 6 Old 01-24-2012, 04:13 AM
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#5 of 6 Old 01-24-2012, 12:00 PM
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Maybe you have already done this, but if your daughter is also dealing with extreme temper tantrums, you might want to research food and environmental allergies. For example, I was just reading how the natural food coloring annato (outlawed in EU) can cause extreme tantrums and head banging. ((hugs))

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#6 of 6 Old 01-24-2012, 10:17 PM
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I'm so sorry.  It is SO HARD!!!  My DD is almost 4 and does a lot of the things you describe.  Mine doesn't wipe, but I've given up that battle because I am just glad she finally (knock on wood) uses the toilet.  She started going pee and poo in her pants when I was about 8 months pregnant, until, oh about 2 weeks ago.  Anyway, I just wash the skids out of her undies, and sometimes she tells me she has burning pee, and I tell her, "well, if you'd wipe, you wouldn't get that."  I guess I'm lucky it hasn't gone full blown UTI.  Also, my kid won't pick up her stuff either.  I really, really need to do a toy purge and put half of it away and rotate it.  But gosh, who has the time to do that?  I guess it would end up saving time in the long run!  I hope things get better for you and that it's just a phase.

Mama to a daughter (3/2008) and a son (7/2011)
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