I don't know how to handle this! My almost 4 year old daughter is threatening me, as in, "Mommy, if you don't make me mac n' cheese, I'm going to freak out!" or "If you don't let me watch TV, I'm going to hit you!" Those are the usual threats, either freaking out, or hitting me, or that she won't sleep at night. I have told her that it is not okay to threaten me. But usually I just say, "ok, you can freak out, I'm sorry that you are upset you can't have whatever it is she wants." When she says she's going to hit me, I say, "No, it's not okay to hit me." and I usually walk away from her. Today I said, "Okay, fine, hit me." So she did. Obviously it didn't hurt - she just hit my leg. But I am honestly getting to my wits end here with the threatening. What would you do? Any suggestions?
Honestly I would tell my 4 year old daughter that I do not like the way she is speaking to me. I would then give her a nicer way to say it and ask her to repeat it though not word for word or anything. If she refused to say it nicer than I would send her to her room and tell her she could come out after she decided to speak nicely to me. I never time it as there is no need, she actually seems to need the alone time and comes back out completely happy. 99% of the time though she will repeat what I ask as I am very firm about it. However, if it gets out of control and it turns into a tantrum then into her room she goes to cool down. I do not want my daughter to disrespect me so I think now is the time to teach her the proper way to express herself.
I would tell her that you don't like it and it's not a nice way to talk but I would ignore it otherwise. I think it sounds like a phase. Just let her know in other ways that you're listening to her and paying attention to her.
In the same boat here, when he's not being a perfect angel - crazy times!
Some other replies we use:
"Oh my, you're going to freak out? What will that look like? Will you grow wings and flap around the house? Show me!" (turning it into playful parenting... but sometimes this causes a new upset of "I didn't WANT you to play that game!"
"I can't hear a word you're saying when you make demands. If you can ask a question, I'd love to know what you're saying." then I prompt: "Mama, would you please...."
"You can be as angry as you need to be and you can yell and stomp your feet but you may not hit. Do you need to yell to show me how mad you are?"
We're on a zero tolerance path re hitting pinching poking etc etc etc. The implement he uses immediately goes "away", and if he's using his hands, we move our bodies away and tell him why.
Then we wonder about pee, poop, sleep and food needs. But aggressive behavior is no longer a reliable hint about those things like it used to be.
Mom of one child (2008), wife of one husband, tender of dogs, cats and chickens. Household interests: ocean life (kid), bitcoins (husband), simplifying (me).
My youngest is 12 y.o. so take my advice with that in mind.
I think with the insight you have on your daughter and some intuition, sometimes you can finesse the moment with a playful response like LCBMAX described. When it works, it feels awesome.
Aliyahsmommy advice is basically what I did when my kids threatened me with extortion. "You may not hit me, or anyone else, ever. So you are going to spend a little time in your room so you can cool off. By the way, hitting me and threatening to freak out do not make me feel like doing anything at all nice for you, much less make mac n cheese for you or let you watch tv."
As to cause, your daughter is reacting to having a younger sibling. She's not an only anymore. Do you routinely spend some time alone with her? If so, great. She's old enough for preschool. It's not for everyone, I know.
Understand that these things didn't always work immediately. They didn't 'cure' my kids of confrontations, the confrontations simply changed. But we teach them how to treat us. I try to consistently treat everyone respectfully, even when I'm angry. So I want my kids to learn to do the same thing, be respectful even when they're really angry.