my mouthy 4yr old girl - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 12-03-2001, 07:23 PM - Thread Starter
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First of all, thanks for taking the time to read this. I have a wonderful little girl, who( just within the last couple of months) has been driving her parents crazy with talking back. We don't hit or even punish for that matter. We have never had a reason to until now. We have had 4 blissfull years, and now we don't know what to do!

I know that she is doing a great job using her words, but how do we teach her...I don't think respect is the right word...well, that not everything has to be an arguement, that ultimately results in her being sent to her room in tears for not listening to us when we just want her to do something simple, like...oh I dont know... not step on the dog!

The whole power struggle really bugs me. We offer choices, but it never fails that she wants to do something that wasn't even a choice. Then when she finds out that it isn't a choice she says things like,"I can do it if I want". I'm not going to sit there and argue with a 4 yr old. So I tell her what I want her to do. Then she usually gets mouthy again so I send her to her room for a minute or two then I go and talk to her about it.

What else are we supposed to do? Any suggestions would be helpful here.
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#2 of 10 Old 12-03-2001, 08:57 PM
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I don't have an answer for you but I wanted to let you know that our four year old son is behaving the same way. It is sooo frustrating. I've thought about changing his name to Contrary. I suspect that it has to do with him becoming more and more independent. Anyway, good luck and if you find something that works let me know!
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#3 of 10 Old 12-03-2001, 09:45 PM
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My dd has been doing this too. I used to take away priviledges, like having friend over, watching magic school bus, ect, however it never really worked to stop the behaviour anything beyond the immediate situation. So I got Natural Family Living, The Mothering Magazine Guide to Parenting. I would highly reccommend this book. It has really opened my eyes to effective parenting. One thing it says is to simply make rules for your family. For ex, "In this family, we do not hit each other", or "In this family we do not talk to each other in this manner", all the while looking directly into the child's eyes, and speaking calmly. TTo my suprise it really worked the first time I used it. I am so happy not to have to resort to threats. We never really did timeouts, and never hit, so I didn't know what else to try. This book really gives some good alternatives.

One thing I really like is at the end of the discipline chapter, it has this reminder chart you can copy and hang on the fridge to remind yourself of your alternatives. Some of the things it lists are:
Use positive reinforcement
Use natural or logical consequences
Simply insist
give a reason
Redirect your child
Make rules
Ignore some behaviour
Use the golden rule
ect..... Obviously not everything applies to your situation, but this book really helped me.
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#4 of 10 Old 12-03-2001, 11:07 PM
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If you stumble upon something that works I'd love to know. i wish I had an easy answer. I will give you an observation which I have noticed with my 3 1/2 yr old ds. When I spend quality time with him I have less arguments. IE: we went to a big pond last week with my mother and sister. The plan was to walk around it. He's done it before and before we went he said he wanted to do it again. I was looking forward to it. When we got there he started to whine and say he didn't want to. I said okay and told my mother and sis to go on without us. Instead my ds and I skipped rocks and wrote in the sand with sticks. It was one of the best times. A real treat since my dd was back at home. The fact that I chose my ds over my mother and sis's company made my ds feel really good--and me to. His whole character changes when we get quality time of hanging out together. It feels like we're on the same team for awhile.

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#5 of 10 Old 12-06-2001, 01:07 AM
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Lucy, thanks for the book suggestion. I've been meaning to get that book, but just haven't done it yet.
We are so there with you all! I've been worried that I've been too lenient or given her too many choices. She is exactly as you described in the first post (I don't know how to get back there to find your name). My 4yo dd can be such a wonderful joy and she's been so easy up until now. We have the same issue of...respect?.....sometimes I really need her to do what I say (like putting shoes on, etc) without negotiation, bargins, choices,.......
I realize how tense I am when I feel such relief (and surprise) when she does what I say the first time. Believe me, that doesn't occur very often these days.
I am hoping it is a phase of independence. It seems that with each milestone we've reached so far, there is a time of uncertainty before we settle back in.
Thanks for listening
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#6 of 10 Old 12-17-2001, 05:47 PM
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I am totally with you all. Just this morning my dd and I had another battle. She is nearly 4. (2 more months) and I have been dealing with this "new" attitude for just about a year. I don't know what to do anymore.

Either its over clothes, shoes, etc. or over nothing except she just doesn't want to listen.

The last time we battled I found myself actually arguing back at her and I know I shouldn't. She makes me absolutely crazed.

Our mornings are the same 5 days a week. I get up, start the kids (son-5) stirring, shower, make sure they are awake and starting to dress and while I get ready I coax them to be done. I assist where needed and usually its a-okay. I try not to get "into it" with them. It only frustrates me for the entire day and I dread the next. needless to say, I am dreading tomorrow.

One thing that helps (when I remember it) is a phrase a friend once told me - and you can use this for nearly everything in your life - "Let go or be dragged"

I have Natural Family Living and I will read that section to see if I can use anything in it..... short of cancelling christmas I don't know what else to do.

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#7 of 10 Old 01-02-2002, 12:50 AM
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I have the same problem with my 3 1/2 ds. He is 95% of the time very cooperative and considerate but lately he has been very, very fresh to us and his little brother. I think maybe it is a jealousy issue. I have made time when my dh is home to have mommy/james time without the baby. we read "special" books, play games and do all manner of things that the "baby" can't. yet the other day, we were in a rush at the store and I would not let him open the car door with the key, something he does not do on a regular basis but loces none the less. Well he got very angry and said " your are a really mean mommy!" I got sort of mad and said " really, how is that?" I then went on to lost all the things this "mean" mommy did for and with him that day and asked " does that sound like a mean mommy." of course he said no and I explained to him that we do not talk to each other like that and it hurts my feelings and makes me mad when I try so hard to be good to him all the time and then he says that I am mean. He is getting better when I talk to him about how he makes me feel when he talks back and now he is even starting to say " I am sorry for being fresh mommy it wasn't very nice a me" I do what Lucy suggested. My ds is very sensitive and does not like to make anyone sad so if he thinks he is making me sad by talking back he soon changes his toon.
I think it seems here that this is just a phase we all have to weather. They will grow out of it eventually : we hope! So good luck, and thanks for the book ideas I can't wait to get to the bookstore.

We may not have it all together, but together we have it all
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#8 of 10 Old 01-03-2002, 05:45 AM
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My almost 5 yr old dd has been doing the same thing. It is just so hard when your lovely sweet child turns into a demanding mouthy child. What ever happened to the days of "Can I please have a sandwich?" instead of "Make me lunch now!" It has been driving me and dh crazy. I keep saying that who ever said the twos were terrible were wrong.

Thanks you happy2bme for bringing up this question and thanks to Lucy for the book recommendation and post. I am going to try some of the suggestions that Lucy made and see if that helps.
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#9 of 10 Old 03-17-2002, 10:50 PM
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We call her the resister in our house now.
My dd has been acting out it seems for about
6 months now. She was 4 yrs this FEB.
Of course my husband insists she gets it
from me.

Clothes, food, activities- everything is a challenge.
Its worse of course when she is tired. Since we
are dropping naps, it gets real interesting.

I am glad to hear that I am not alone.

The best advice I can offer, which I repeat to myself
on a moment to moment basis, is " patience is
a virtue" and of course this too shall pass.
The test is mine. She has been such a gift and my incentive to grow spiritually. I know we will both get to where we are
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#10 of 10 Old 03-17-2002, 11:55 PM
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I am happy to report that since she turned 4 (or right before it seems) my dd has been very cooperative and using her words in a very pleasant manner.

Her preschool teacher even complimented her on it and I am sure that just makes her day!

We still have our moments when she is too tired but they are few and far between. So, YES! it is a phase that they go through....YAY!

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