Disconnection with 4 yr old DD - Mothering Forums
Gentle Discipline > Disconnection with 4 yr old DD
GradysMom's Avatar GradysMom 06:28 AM 11-07-2013

I really am not sure where to start... I did AP and EBF for 3 years with both kids. I have been attempting to be a gentle disciplinarian.   I stay at home and home school. I have mood and temper issues and have spent a great deal of time this year getting on track and medicated and doing what I can to improve part of the roots of my problems...


Now I have a DD who just won't do things for her self that her brother was doing at the same age.  She is not motivated to do many of them and tries me at every corner with insisting I do things for her like getting shoes and sock on.  I always thought my son was a bit advanced... and I know my daughter is very smart ... but she doesn't apply any energy to getting basic things in life done.  She puts off getting dressed, she knows how but often won't do it till I am in the room and then we have a daily argument about what to wear... everything is an argument/disagreement. Everything.  And she is a stubborn  stubborn girl.  If she needs my attention she punches my arm.  She acts up in stores... I am walking out of stores without food and other things because she just wants to waves her arms near glass bottle or scream in the produce section to tell me something I already knew and was getting ready to tell her I would be getting it.


Hell she just punched me and demanded lunch (at 8 am) so she can have her candy after lunch.


Yesterday she wouldn't put on her shoes to leave chick-fil-A (a long delayed "treat").  I told her to just pick up her shoes and leave carrying them... and she and her brother didn't even see me walk out the store.  I was on the side walk just watching them through the glass.  She was laying on her stomach whining for her brother to put her shoes on for her.  When he realized I was out side he didn't know what to do.  When I finally got them to the car I slapped her hand  and yelled and yelled.  I am so disappointed in my self and mad at her for bringing the worst in me out.


Is she a psycopath? am I?


She has all these flippant responses.  Sassy sassy things she says and does and I don't feel connected to her at all.  I swear she is just trying to aggravate me on purpose.  I know this has got to be messed up thinking but she has me at my wits end with bad nasty habits... of just aggravating me.

GradysMom's Avatar GradysMom 07:42 AM 11-07-2013

I forgot to mention she lies all the time and doesn't seem to get how wrong it is.  

josiebristol's Avatar josiebristol 02:11 PM 11-07-2013

I am crying right now as I reply to this post.  I have similar issues with my almost 3 year old son.  He is crabby from the moment he wakes up, demanding things and then never being satisfied with my delivery.  No matter how much to the exact specifications of his request it is!  I have resorted to spanking, time out, taking things away, putting him in a room and shutting the door, yelling, you name it.  And then I cry and cry, and feel like the worst mom in the world.  I have read Becky Baily, Dr. Lehman (not my choice), Dr. Sears, and other well known parenting authors for some advice that works.  I have to tell you that lately, we have been getting along.  I still do time out when he defiantly disobeys or hits, and a "safe place" when he needs to cool down.  I ignore his yelling and ask him to use words or I can't hear.  I try not to make a big deal that he goes all day without an accident at pre-school but pees his pants all day at home (sometimes 1-2 minutes after I ask him to go and he says there is "no pee in there").  It seems that I have copied and pasted several different methods from all my sources into a program that works-ish.  I give myself small victory tokens for every time I avoid losing my temper.  It is soooooo hard, but today I can say I am not hitting, I am yelling less, and I don't care that he just peed his pants again and then asked if I was happy.  (By the way, I have been making him take off the peed unders and redress himself, which is a pain for him....we will see if this works).  The main point is, keep trying anything and everything because your kid is not a statistic, he is a human and like you, motivated by different things.  Best of luck and know you are not alone!!

Barney0304's Avatar Barney0304 03:39 PM 11-07-2013

My heart goes out to you. I know exactly what you are going through. NO you are NOT a pyschopath and neither is your daughter. My daugher woke me up at 5 am yelling to read her a story, she is very persistent and will cry and tantrum for 15 mins. She will follow me around the house on my leg.

She is a very smart little girl who is crying out for attention.  I have gone to counseling to help deal with the behavior issues.

My daugther is three and has always been a high needs child (she had severe colic as a baby). Here is what is working for me:

use a sticker system (sounds simple but it works), make up a chart say when she puts her shoes on by herself she gets a sticker. Put the the chart up the fridge. Go to the store and pick out stickers that she likes. This has worked with us, and I have seen improvements in her behavior. My daughter has even given my son stickers for his good behavior.

Praise her when she does something independently. Try focusing on the positive with her and her brother to get the results you want. Do something nice for yourself each day, keep chocolate or whatever treats that make you happy.

My daughter and son are a year apart and compete for my attention. I hope that this helps you. You are not alone. I struggle every day with their behavior. The best thing is to remain calm when they tantrum and walk away. Our daughters are highly spirited children. I am a stay at home mom too, and have given 200% of myself to them.

JamieCatheryn's Avatar JamieCatheryn 07:13 PM 11-07-2013

It's far too early to diagnose a personality disorder, I do understand how you'd feel these are symptoms of one though. My brother is a sociopath and psychopath, and he did have trouble at a young age but some of that stuff is just common phase stuff they have to learn to get past. While they're young I try to catch their hand if they go to hit me and sharply rebuke that. Removing as many chances to cause trouble as possible and keeping them busy helps. Take away priviledges connected with what they've done wrong. Ask them to say what they did wrong and what to do better next time, mine have to stay in time out until they do. But I've dealt with girls like you are describing and I know how tough it is to get past the sass and flippant stuff. Refusing to let it get to you is important but oh so so so difficult. You'll have to find ways of coping, disassociating yourself from the moment, teaming up with another adult when you can to keep you sane.

katelove's Avatar katelove 05:28 AM 11-08-2013
The website www.ahaparenting.com has some techniques for helping to reconnect with our children when we feel disconnected. I find they work very well for some of the behaviour issues you mentioned *when* I can remember to practice them bag.gif
GradysMom's Avatar GradysMom 06:31 AM 11-08-2013

I really appreciate these responses.  I really expected to be ostracized for losing my cool with her.  It sound like I'm not alone and this isn't unheard of.


I did a few weeks of counseling when she was 2 because a situation my son got into regarding another boy.  While in counseling (and speaking in code) my daughter came with me.  Several times the counselor commented on her persistence and personality. She observed - since we ended up discussing DD (in code) that this was never a child that could be successfully CIO, which I tried for five seconds once because my DD would barely nap -ever-  As an infant I was lucky to get her to sleep 20 - 45 mins during any given day... truth.


Another observation from the counselor, that may have been my undoing was that she showed a lot of signs of a bi-polar personality (something that runs at least in my family, maybe Hubbies too).  I try not to think about it and focus on here and now... but some days her ways of making up accusations, lieing about simple truths and unwillingness to help her self seem so much like my very mentally ill mother is is scary.


My one big tool that seems to work, and I think helps me heal in the moment, is to hug her a lot. All the time patting her back, hug her, kiss her cheek, and fill her up with affection when she is good, and holding her close when we've had words.


My fear now of course is that I'm training her to think being with a mean person who loves you is OK.  Here's hoping we can delineate the difference as she grows up.


I'll come up with a sticker plan hopefully, and a way to keep her brilliant mind occupied more - even though she refuses to do her letters.


Here's hoping that age 5 will bring a reprieve.

Snapdragon's Avatar Snapdragon 11:45 AM 11-08-2013

In my own experience, I notice that my 3.5 year old's behavior often correlates to my own feelings/behavior. Not exclusively. But those days when I am feeling an inner calm and am smiling a lot, he is much more easy going than the days where I am grumpy already! So I would say the best thing you can do is to continue to work on yourself- continue to strengthen your inner peace and your children will follow suit. NOt in an all ornothing way- like it is not that if you get peaceful all your problems will go away and your kids will be perfect! It is more that it is one tool you can use to assist the overall dynamic of family life. Like that saying goes- peace begins inside each of us- then to the family- then to the community- then to the world.


Also, I would say err on the side of being too nice, giving too many hugs, and "spoiling" her as opposed to punishing and getting angry. I often hear parents saying- well I wanted to hug her and tell her I love her, but I thought she might learn that she can be bad and then get rewarded. I say, kids will be defiant anyway. Better to shower them and infuse them with as much love and kindness as we can while they are little, even if they behave badly. Because ultimately they will feel that at their core instead of feeling that someone is angry with them.

And my response right now does not address how to discipline or teach them to be well behaved. I think that is another issue beyond what I want to get into right now. SO I am not saying to let your kids walk all over you. I do believe in being stern or firm when I need to be. But I think the more you can infuse it all with love thebetter off everyone is.

Again I am not saying that when we are mad or unhinged we need to get extra guilty because it will ruin our kids! We are all human and we all have anger sometimes and we all mess up. I am just saying that my advice is keep working on improving your own calm, and keep giving love. If you feel confused about how to act, choose love! Good luck.