4 Year old so rude!!!! :( - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-27-2002, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm looking for help and encouragement.

My dd is 4 years 9 months and has entered what seems to be such a negative phase. She doesn't listen, she's rude, she uses a bossy, mean voice all the time.

Here is just ONE example of many daily interactions:

"DD, would you like some milk?"

"Mom! (rolls eyes) I told you I want APPLE JUICE!"- said in a very mean and angry way.

I feel like I've tried everything- answering nicely, making her ask nicely, making her apologize, answering just as meanly, ignoring.

Some days I feel we just spend the whole day snapping at each other, and I hate that negative energy!!! Other days I remain calm and postive and just keep gently correcting but then I finally say to myself- "I am putting out so much positive energy and all I get in return is nastiness!!"

I am in tears as I write this- she used to be so sweet and loving. What did I do wrong????

In her defense, she has had a lot going on in the last 12 months: we moved to a new state, she started pre-school, I had a baby, and she weaned. But these just feel like worn out excuses, repeated once too often.

Right now I just feel like a failure as a mother

Today we went to a LLL meeting and she interrupted constantly, used a nasty voice, swung a broom by a baby, wouldn't get something from my bag that I asked for, spilled her goldfish on the floor on purpose, kicked the beanbag her brother was resting on. I saw other moms giving me "the look" and I didn't blame them- I was very embarrassed and upset.

SOmetimes she acts like her "old self" but I feel like I am excusing her behavior constantly. I don't like to use "punishment" per se, but I have been taking away her video lately. I just don't seem to be getting anywhere with the gentle discipline techniques that used to work so well. I am just so discouraged!

Advice? BTDT? Encouragement? Please help.
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Old 09-27-2002, 04:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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they say a door never closes without a window being opened...

right now I'm watching a 6 month old, in addition to my dd (4 years) and my ds (5 months). Well I was walking around with the 6 month old, who was fussy, when I heard my own son start to fuss. He was playing on our bed. I asked the aforementioned demon-daughter to go keep her brother happy until I could put down the 6 month old.

Things were suspiciously quiet so I checked on them....BOTH MY CHILDREN ARE CURLED UP TOGETHER ON THE BED SOUND ASLEEP!!!!! They fell asleep together, without me! That has never happened before!




So she is still my same sweetie some of the time. And I guess part of her bad behaviour was due to being tired.

After seeing her sweetly curled up asleep with her baby brother, I no longer want to give her away....but I still need help, mamas.

Thanks in advance....mamacrab
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Old 09-27-2002, 04:41 PM
 
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well, I don't have any wonderful words of encouragement because my son is acting the same way!!!!!! He'll be five in two weeks and I hope things change. It's been really hard to see my sweet baby boy that way. I AM WITH YOU ON THIS ONE!!! What helps sometimes is I tell him off. I don't yell or belittle him. I do let him know that I love him but the way he is behaving is pissing me off and the I will not hang out with someone who treats me bad. I think it's healthy for kids to see you get mad (not out of control); it's only from you she will learn to be human. When my son realizes I am not going to take that, he chills for a while.

Good luck to BOTH of us!

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Old 09-28-2002, 12:49 AM
 
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I think one important thing to keep in mind is that these little ones are works in progress(arent we all?) I tend to freak out when my kids act naughty, but I instead need to think of this as a teachable moment and realize it is a good thing. Because if they were only ever good, how would they learn that there are consequences for being bad?

Ok, practical advice: if my son would have said that to me about the juice, I would have said(very calmly) "I am your mother, you are not allowed to speak to me that way. It is very disrespectful and I am a person worthy of your respect. You may go to your room now. When you are ready to apologaize and speak to me kindly, you may come out and ask for juice."
As far as the La Leche League goes, sorry, but when she started acting that way, you should have taken her out. I would have given one warning, "If you continue to act this way, we will leave" And then do it. Especially in that situation, there are mothers there really lookling for advice adn prolly a lot of new, overwhelmed mothers and they shouldnt have to deal with it. had it been my son, I also would have sent him to his room or withheld a privelege, bc leaving la leche league wouldnt have reallly been a negative consequence for him.

((hugs)) I think this is a pretty normal 4 year old thing and they do become nice again (5s are mostly wonderful )
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Old 09-28-2002, 02:04 AM
 
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Almost every 4-going-on-5 yr old I know is going through this phase including my own. She has become BOSSY, often rude, etc. She has always been pretty mellow and sweet tempered.

I think something developmental is going on at this age and they are working on figuring out their place in the scheme of things. I think it will pass. But as a mom it is definitely trying at times.

No advice, but I do relate to what you are experiencing.

Alison
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Old 09-28-2002, 02:16 AM
 
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I thought my dd was the only one!! She has been in the bossy rude mode for about a year and a half. I have no advice at all but I find comfort in the fact she isn't the only one. I thought it was all my fault.

OUR DAUGHTERS ARE PROTECTED SHOULDN'T OUR SONS BE TOO! :
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Old 10-01-2002, 10:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sheacoby, Mom at Home, BoysrUs, and Isadore-

Thanks for all your replies, thoughts, and ideas. I was feeling really discouraged when I posted, and its was so nice to hear that my daughter isn't the only one going through this phase. I am really trying to work with her on using a nice voice and expressing herself politely. I've decide to focus on that one thing for now. You're right BoysRUs, it can be a "teachable moment."

Thanks again, mamas!
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Old 10-02-2002, 12:42 PM
 
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My DD is 3.5 but over the summer there was a 6 week period when all I ever said was "I will always love you but I cannot stand this behavior". She was not the same child she had always been. I hated to admit it but I couldn't stand being around her she was so rude. Well,in our case it turns out that she was going through that phase where kids reorganize before they make a big developmental leap. One morning she woke up was her old self again but with a new twist, she all of a sudden knew almost all her letters, the sounds they made and recognized numbers up to 10. We had only begun working on these a very little bit a few mornings a week a few months earlier. Those 6 weeks or so seemed to last forever but fortunately they didn't and I hope that your dd's phase comes to pass soon too.
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Old 10-02-2002, 01:50 PM
 
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Hi:

I would hazard that you've done nothing wrong and that your daughter is mimicing behavior she sees outside of your home.
Anyways when my daughters were younger we read The BFG by Rauol Dahl. The BFG (big friendly giant) drinks something called "froqswoggle" I recall perhaps correctly. This is a "sparkling" beverage except that the bubbles start at the top of the liquid and move down. When imbibed the effect is to have gas travel in a downward fashion leading to well.... The BFG who dispenses dreams to little children at night delights in the drinking of this fluid and in the loud gastronomic results. He has no sense that his atmospheric disturbances are impolite or anything but something to be proud of. So, during an audience with Queeen Elizabeth at her castle the BFG and the Queen meet. She is awaiting a bagpipe concert later in the day. - I am rambling here but will get to the point eventually - The BFG and the little girl who is his best friend have a nice visit with the queen. Things are going so well that he decides it's time to demonstrate his prowess with froqswoggle and downs I think more than he ever has before to impress the Queen. His stomach is already rumbling as his friend tries to get him to stop. The rapport from his indiscretion is detected by seismographs around the world and blows out most of the windows of Buckingham palace. The Queen, ever mindful of the feelings of others and decorum, "replies" "I think I should have preffered the bagpipes." This lead to a game between daughters and I wherein we tried to speak as the very paragons of thoughfullness and manners. The effects on my then youunger brat were I think good. I think I benefitted too. The effects, however, do not seem to be long-lasting as that daughter, now 16, seems to be going to school with Attilette the Hun, and demonstrates enough attitude for me to consider a therapeutic beheading. Nevertheless, centering on another book we just read, steeped in dash and decorum, I have begun the same game with her again - and again I think to good effect on the both of us.

by your leave
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Old 10-03-2002, 02:39 PM
 
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THANK YOU!

Some days it is as though my ds has a secret evil twin! He is 4yr 8mo and a different kid than he was at the start of summer. I am so relieved to know that, hey, this is just a phase and not the result of some parenting/personal flaw! He is growing and changing and PUSHING the limits. It is like that saying -" when he was good, he was very good and when he was bad . . . "

My dh has really shone as the hero in this phase. He is calm and collected when I am wanting to cry. He echos my words and meaning so ds doesn't think mom is the only one who feels this way. Things like "It is not respectful to talk to your mom like that - it really hurt her feelings." seem to change the tone quickly. I have also spoke to other family memeber to help me reinforce that there are certain standards of behavior we must meet.

Thanks again. I guess we all just keep going, one day at a time
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Old 10-03-2002, 04:07 PM
 
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Quote:
I guess we all just keep going, one day at a time
ITA

NO advice here, just wanted to thank all you mothers for sharing your experience, I love the support here!


Mamasoleil
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Old 10-09-2002, 10:11 AM
 
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Here's another long suffering mother of a 4 yo demon. Three years old was so beautiful!!!!! I miss my lovely ds, and the moments when I see him are getting rarer. But I have heard they go through another "terrible two's" sort of thing around 4 or 5, trying to push things to find their place,etc. We also had baby this year, so it's hard to tell what the problem is.

Also wanted to add that we recently found out a lot of it was due to severe hearing loss from undiagnosed glue ear. This also causes him to hear strange noises in his head and he's become terrified to be alone, resulting is what we thought was disobedience (ie. refusing to go and get him pyjamas, etc. bc he didn't want to go into another room alone). Anyway, don't just assume there isn't some actual cause of the problem.
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Old 10-11-2002, 02:03 AM
 
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my guy is the same way ~ all sweetness and hugs one moment, "SHUT UP DAD" the next

these guys are ALL about discovering the POWER they wield in our world ~ hence the sudden fascination with tone of voice and words and physical actions that produce amazing responses in us

four-year olds are the world's most instinctive researchers, and the most creative ~ it's certainly hard to encourage their growth and exploration WITHIN the limits of our society

for ds, i've discovered if i give him one tiny, minute GLIMPSE that i will let him get away with inappropriate behavior, he will escalate and make all our lives crazy. so for him i have to be VERY consistent in our expectations: respect things including animals and people. that's it, but everything ties into that. reminders have to be consistent, gentle and firm, or he gets very upset and 'acts out' even more ~ this is currently an issue with dh, power struggles are a big deal at the moment hehe. i also try to encourage ds to vocalize what he's feeling as much as possible, instead of being physical ie I AM MAD I AM REALLY MAD AT YOU RIGHT NOW MOMMY

try to pin down the triggers ~ ds definitely has his breaking point when he's tired ~ past that and he truly cannot control himself well. we've also discovered through a little experimentation LOL that food colorings and addititives may be playing a part ~ like clockwork we have 15 minutes to leave the store after giving him a cookie, or we *will* have to pay for something broken/opened/flung LOL

when i'm having a really hard day, we try to get outside and run/play/bike it off (well i'm lazy and walk LOL) ~ this gets harder in our cold midwest winters as we all are stircrazy. i try to remember that when he is acting the craziest and i am SO angry and frustrated and feeling HORRIBLE about myself as a parent, THAT is when he needs me to LOVE him the most. try just stopping and giving her a big hug and quietly saying i really love you but i need to take a time out right now ~ it's amazing to watch their little faces, ds usually cries out of sheer relief and my heart shatters into a million pieces of pure adoration

good luck, this too shall pass and our kids will be so much more confident in their ability to express emotion than we'd ever expect
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Old 10-11-2002, 06:15 AM
 
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Yes yes! Me too-I've seen 2 daughters through the 4 y.o bossy rude stage and watched most of my friends' 4 y.o dd's do the same thing!
My younger dd is actually just a couple months past 5 now but already I can see that, thankfully, much of it has passed. I still call her the Queen of Sass every now and then but I see this behavior less every day.
Have any of you ever read the series of books put out called My One-Year Old, My Two-Year Old, etc-I think they go up to 10 or 12 y.o? I forget who the exact author is but if I'm not mistaken they are from the Gesell Institute-you can find them at any bookstore by title anyway.
I have been reassured over and over by these books. I think they do a very good job of explaining what is going on developmentally with children at each age to explain their behaviors. They are also quick and easy to read so you don't need huge amounts of quiet time to process what you read.
I can't tell you how many times I've been reading and said-actually said out loud b/c I was so relieved-OMG that's my kid!
Good luck everyone!
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Old 10-16-2002, 11:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you to all the new posters- this thread has been a true sanity-saver for me. I was so worried about my daughter, our relationship, my parenting, etc- this thread has allowed me to calm down and see her behavior as a normal (although trying!) stage. I really can't thank you all enough for sharing your stories! It was particularly reassuring to hear from 13moons who has seen TWO daughters through this stage and indicated that it *will* pass. "Queen of Sass," LOL- that describes my daughter to a tee.

I have started reading and rereading some discipline books just to get us through and to help my dd in any way I can. I was rereading some of Sears' The Discipline Book and I flipped right to "tantrums in older children." He said that it is common for some fours to go through another tantrum satge- the relief when I read that!!!! My dd has been throwing one or two tantrums every day- way more than she *ever* did during the supposedly "terrible twos." I am still trying to decide the best way to deal with them.

Some of the tantrums are when she doesn't get what she wants, etc. But the worst tantrums by FAR are the ones after she has done something wrong and then feels bad about it. She was crying and screaming for a full 25 min after accidentally spraying cold water on her friend (she had been washing dishes and accidentally sprayed him with the rinser attachment). "It's all my fault! This is so horrible! Gunter hates me now!" I'm laughing as I write this, because it sounds so melodramatic, but there is nothing funny about the state she can get herself into and the shame she seems to feel. We have always parented her with total respect for her self-esteem so I don't know where all the shame and guilt comes from???

Anyway, I've reread some Sears and know I'm going to get "Kids, parents, and Power Struggles," "Raising your Spirited Child," and perhaps those Gesell books. They are dated, but I agree they can be very reassuring.

Thanks again, everyone, form the bottom of my heart. This has been so helpful to me!!!
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Old 10-16-2002, 12:18 PM
 
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Yes -- boys too, at least mine! He's much better now, at 6. It helped to be unresponsive to the bossiness.

I.e. - "Mom, I SAID juice!"
Mom promptly sits down with a magazine.
"Mom. Give me juice!"
Mom says "I'm sorry. I don't respond to that."
Then one of three things might happen:
1) "Oh. Yeah. Okay. Can I have please, please have some juice?"
Mommy "Sure! I'd be happy to pour you some juice." Or
2) He gets up and gets his own darn juice. Which is fine. Or
3) He drinks the milk.

I tried to be careful to avoid saying things like, "Be polite to me because I am your mother." What I really want is for him to be polite to everyone, because politeness is a good thing. Not just be polite to people who have power over you.

As far as going into situations like the LL meeting -- I find that I really need to plan ahead. Talk to him about what is going to be happening, let him know what I expect of him. Let him know what happens if he does otherwise. Help him pack a bag of things he'd like to keep busy with while we're there. One funny thing I've noticed is that now sometimes he'll say "I really don't want to go to that. I hate it. There is nothing for me and it is boring. Can I please visit a friend instead?" Which I think is quite reasonable, and often quite possible.

Someon said -- and I think it made sense -- that kids become more difficult when they are undergoing major growth. I've always noticed ds loosing some charm when he is learning something new and challenging -- like potty training, or reading, etc. And I think 4 is a time when suddenly they can start doing a lot more for themselves. They are officially out of the toddler stage. So, in a sense, it is like they need to find their "balance" again, and they do get nicer once that is accomplished.
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Old 10-21-2002, 03:26 PM
 
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I am so glad Ifound this thread. We are also going through a rocky phase right now. What upsets me most is that it really disrupts family life. It's so hard to deal with it and not take it personally. I like cattranes and mamaduck advice and I think part of my son's misbehavior results from the fact that he gets away with too many things. Once my doctor told me that I have to pick my battles and I just find it to stressful to fight about every tiny little thing. Silly things like you have to eat/drink your food in the kitchen. Of course, ds ignores me and takes the plate with him, in his room or in the living room. Of course, somebody spills the glass which he conveniently placed right in front of him on the carpet. Sometimes I really flip and yell, sometimes I wipe it up quitely thinking it's an old rug anyway and he is ONLY four years old. There are a ton of examples and I wish I knew how to deal with it better. It is so depressing when you begin the day with a good mood and then junior comes out of his bedroom weeping because his breakfast milk is not ready and he can't find the toy he took to bed and insists in wearing the shirt that is in the lundry. And then there is the sibling who also need your attention.... Parenting is hard work and it's good to know that othere people are in similar situations.
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Old 10-21-2002, 03:36 PM
 
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racermom -- I think that "choosing your battles" refers to proactive decisions. It does not mean letting your child "get away" with ignoring instructions. If you tell your ds not to take his plate into the living room, and he does, then you need to confront him about that. The decision not to "choose that battle" would have to come before you even told him not to do that. A certain amount of prediction is involved -- if you know your kid is going to make something into a fight, then perhaps don't give the instruction in the first place. But once you do -- then you need to see it through.

This does not mean you can't change your mind -- but you still need to address it. For instance, "Oh. You know what ds -- I asked you not to take your plate into the livingroom. If you have a problem with that, come talk to me about it. Maybe I would change my mind and let you. But it is not okay to ignore me. In our family, we listen to each other's requests."

Yes -- parenting is hard work. The general "moodiness" of young children can be very discouraging. But their enthusiasm (in the right moments) is equally uplifting -- and I can't imagine what would be worthwhile in a life without them!
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Old 10-22-2002, 12:37 PM
 
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Mamaduck, it's not that I give up that early. Usually I tell him to eat his food in the kitchen. I explain the reasons to him, tell him that crumbs attract bugs, that I have to clean it up and sometimes I even bluntly tell him "because I say so, because I am your mom and I wish that you respect what I am asking you to do." This usually leads to whining or arguing and very often I don't feel like that because I am exhausted, because the baby cries, etc.

And yes, I find that parenting is hard work. If that sounds negative but I don't mean it like that. the kids are clearly the best thing I have ever done in my life but also the most challenging. A four year old, especially when he or she is the first-born can sometimes appear a lot more mature than he/she actually is. Being able to read letters or numbers doesn't mean that they are able to process a written text. People might have expectations that cannot be met by the child. What I am trying to say is that this behavior is also part of building an identity, part of growing up. It's the parents job to guide the child through this phase. I am asking myself why is he so rude today, why does he treat me like that. It's not that the child does it deliberately but to express something else. I guess we all know that but it's just hard sometimes not to loose it and deal with it.
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Old 10-22-2002, 02:12 PM
 
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Sorry racermom. I think I am misunderstanding something. Orignally you posted that part of the problem you saw was that your kids "get away with too much." And that maybe it is a result of trying to pick your battles?

I was trying to say that I agree with the doctor you saw -- it is very important for my own sanity to consciously choose my battles with my kids. BUT if I misapply the principle of choosing my battles, then yes -- it is going to lead to more problems that it solves. "Getting away with too much" will lead to more rudeness and power struggles.

I.e. -- if the rule about eating only in the kitchen is causing power struggles everyday, and you are beginning to think that it is more trouble than it is worth -- a good example of "choosing your battles" would be to abolish that rule. And make it clear to your kids "this is not longer a rule."

But if you decide to have that rule, allowing your kids to wear you down and you find yourself "giving in" frequently because you don't have the energy for it -- that is not an example of what is meant by "choosing your battles." That is more of an example of loosing a battle you've already chosen.

A happy medium might be to make a rule that only certain types of food must be kept in the kitchen. Cups with no lids. Cereal with milk. Yogurt. Then you are setting your limits, and qualifying them in a way that allows your children some control as well.

Am I making any sense at all? I'm really not trying to critisize -- just to try and pin-point the problem you are describing. And we all do it, btw -- we all get tired of arguing and give in on stuff from time to time! It is just when it happens a lot -- what you said is true. If limits are not real, then the kids start to challenge ALL the limits!
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Old 10-30-2002, 02:07 AM
 
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Heya,

Mine is 3, and I guess we skipped the supposed "year of bliss" between terrible twos and the tyrannical fours. Actually, that is not completely true - my babe is quite kind, gentle, sensitive and very, very smart. Especially when she's well rested! But tired?? Holy monster. She does have a 4 yr. old cousin who lives out of town and whom we visited briefly, but long enough for her to pick up some unbeLIEVable tricks.

I am blessed in that I, too, have a wonderful & patient husband. Even though we were blindsided with this new and wondrous occasional behaviour, we managed to sit down (a few times now) and discuss it between us, how we would handle it together. Someone up there wrote exactly what we do - she is not allowed to speak to us in a hurtful, disrespectful manner. We are quite aware that she is pushing, pushing, learning. We were fortunate enough to see her cousin in action, including her parents & grandma's responses, and there is NO way we are letting it go that far.

We do follow the "some things are allowed in the living room, some things are kitchen only" rule. She doesn't disobey us now, but let's say she did, or that she was four and did, and let's say she spilled her drink on the floor? She'd be in there with a towel wiping it up, right before she went to her room. Even at 3.

I know that wasn't the point of the last few posts, but I thought I might suggest some responsibility where choices are concerned.

Happy Halloween Little Monsters!
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Old 10-30-2002, 04:16 AM
 
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Y'all are scaring me! My MIL was just visiting and she said the reward for the terrible twos and threes is the fabulous fours and fives. But I've heard of four being a really difficult age as well.

We definitely have had the tyrannical twos and threes. Well, two didn't actually seem that bad to me. The time right around 20 months I remember as being difficult. Lots of frustration and meltdowns on a daily basis for several months. Then a bit after two she seemed much easier to deal with. I remember when she was 2.5 and other than some of the bedtime stuff being hard, in general she was pretty easy to get along with. But three, ugh. Yes, she can be very bossy. She still uses a high chair when she wants too. So many times she'd be sitting in the high chair and would want more milk. "AAAAHHHHH" (banging milk cup on tray). "Molly can you say, 'more milk, please, mommy' if you want more milk?" "MILK...please." Of course in a petulant tone, but I can't have everything.

For months I've been telling her how to ask, and it's finally sinking in. I've actually heard her start to get upset and then switch over to a pleasant tone of voice and say, "More milk please." Whenever I ask if she wants something, she'll say, "Yes, PLEASE!" Or "Umm, no thank you." Although she's been saying that for awhile, even when I tell her something that is going to happen. But she still has the "I NEVER get to do anything" "I'm bored, this is boring" "Go and get my toy, NOW!!! Get up, get UP!" Last night it was, "I'm NOT going to bed! I'm going to watch MOLLY tv!"

I guess I'm in for years and years of this, huh?
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Old 10-30-2002, 08:17 PM
 
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I have to chime in that our (now 6 year old - and sweet and polite again) dd1 totally went through this at 4!!! OMG - she changed from the sweetest, most polite, nice to be around kid into the bossiest, rudest child you have ever seen! And she saved most of this terrible behavior for me. They trust you the most and know it is safe to express/explore the newly found freedom/control/independence with you. Teachers and volunteer parents at school would comment to me what a sweet, polite child I had - one mom said "what a joy". I almost laughed and asked if she was sure she was talking about MY kid...
I also often got "Get me juice!" Excuse me? I would tell her "I will respond to polite requests." I would only tell this once - and no big long lectures on how and why - they tune you out anyway. After that, I would ignore her completely until she asked nicely. When she did, I would jump up with "sure!" or "be glad to".
Sometimes, when ignoring became impossible, I would send her to her room with instructions to "come down when you are fun to be around". Or you could say "will use nice words" or "be respectful". Whatever sounds right to you. I like having them in control of when to come back - however long it takes them to compose themselves. I would sometimes give a choice - "you can use that voice in your room or a polite voice downstairs".
Just want to say it is so normal - she will go back to being your sweet kid. Take breaks some evenings when your dh gets home - to keep your sanity. Hire a neighborhood girl to help out with the kids while you clean, make dinner, etc. Make sure she gets to bed at a decent time - for you as much as her - you need that alone/grown up time in the evenings to recharge.
Good luck!
Kirsten
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