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My 41/2 year old is very defiant and just mean. What can I do?

My ex husband and I have split custody of our daughter, so she sees me 5 days one week and two days the next. When her father drops her off after his 5 day stretch, she is very mean and refuses to listen or talk to anyone. She's even told me that she hated me and wanted to cut me (I have no clue where she is getting that from since Sesame Street, Dora and Diego are the primary things on our tv at all times) She'll scream at the top of her lungs if she doesn't want to do something because her Grandma doesn't make her do it. I asked my ex about possibly putting her into therapy but he refused. I think that she needs to connect with her feelings. She used to be this sweet little girl who always listened and giggled all of the time. Now she's mean and screams all of the time. I don't know what to do, I'm at wits end with it! I want my little girl back!

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Asked by Anonymous at 7:18 PM on Jan. 11, 2009 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Answers (12)
  • I would take her to therapy regardless of what my ex husband wanted. Are you legally bound to get his permission or agreement?

    Answer by mistynights234 at 7:28 PM on Jan. 11, 2009

  • I am legally bound to go through him when it concerns seeing a dr. We even have to agree on her pediatrician (I hate her pediatrician and found another one and he keeps saying it's too far for him to travel, and it's only 10 mins further)

    Answer by Anonymous at 7:49 PM on Jan. 11, 2009

  • Do you all have a court mediator? Or can you ask for hearing on this? I would def do what you had to do in order to get your daughter into therapy.

    Answer by mistynights234 at 8:12 PM on Jan. 11, 2009

  • I think she's trying to make you feel her pain. A lot of toddlers use the expression "to cut somebody" , to use a term they very well know, meaning "I want you to feel the pain".
    She's smart enough to understand that you, mom, whom she identifies with, are the one she needs and wants to confide in. She's too young to be able to express her feelings with the proper words. She's going trough a very hard time and I think you should be patient, be strong, make sure she knows you love her and she can always count on you...and you'll always be there for her.
    I apologize for mispelling and so on (english is not my primary language).
    Good luck.


    Answer by AtHomeArchitect at 9:53 PM on Jan. 11, 2009

  • ok. here goes... a two part-er. stick to your guns. make sure you talk to her during a calm, fun time, after reading together in the evening, or something. tell her "you know that i don't like the way you act after you've been gone for so long at daddy's" (don't lay ANY blame on him). "it makes me sad when we fight, and i think it makes you sad, too. so. we need to make a deal. however you act at daddy's house is ok with me, if it's ok with him. how you've been acting here is NOT ok with me. you know the right way to act when we're together. i need you to make good choices, and act the right way when you're with me."

    Answer by vickiathome at 12:52 AM on Jan. 12, 2009

  • when she's in a rage, saying hurtful things, say "well, i love YOU". let her know that it's ok to be angry . ask her to go sit in a big chair, or on a pillow in a quiet spot (no tv), & pull herself together, and calm herself down. when she is ready to act right, she can join you. this is ALL language she'll understand. when she's starting, ask her to go sit on her pillow (or yell into it, if she wants) and get it together. be consistent. every time you see it about to start, tell her to go have a seat until she's ready . if you're out, and she's doing this, walk away from your shopping cart or whatever, take her out to the car, & have her calm down. then go back and finish. when feeling neglected or unimportant, even negative attention is fulfilling for her. try this before a shrink. also think about putting her in a preschool that is near both her homes. the consistency & discipline will help. good luck!

    Answer by vickiathome at 12:55 AM on Jan. 12, 2009

  • It must be very hard for her having her world fall apart like this. In addition to a divorce, it sounds like you and your ex are still in disagreement about everything. I would stay consistent and loving and if it gets worse, maybe see your lawyer about what can be done about seeing a counselor. Also, make sure that you are ALWAYS positive in your attitude about her father and her visits to him. If she knows that you are okay with it, it will affect her attitude about it.

    Answer by kemclaughlin at 2:27 PM on Jan. 12, 2009

  • The problem is not when shes going to his house its when she comes back home And she was only 7 mo old when we got divorced she lived with me full time until the end of 06 And excuse me for being bitter as I say this it's when he finally decided he was going to try to step up and play daddy as he then took me to court for full custody which he was denied after only wanting to see her MWF for 3hr/day


    Answer by Anonymous at 1:20 AM on Jan. 14, 2009

  • But in all honesty this has only happened over the last few months when she began being so defiant she has been in the same Preschool for the last two years so I know its not trouble at school because she's always excited to go I think that its a combination of her dad or fiance saying things to her and or them letting her do whatever she wants I have tried to sit down with her dad and calmly talk about how we were going to parent her from separate homes having the same expectations for her cleaning up her room etc and he'll blow me off


    Answer by Anonymous at 1:21 AM on Jan. 14, 2009

  • Oh and I wanted to add that we do not talk about her father or his fiance at my house unless she brings them up, which she rarely does.  She'll talk about going to the beach or to the water park or things along those lines but never anything out of the ordinary.  She does however tell me that the fiances son is mean to her.  My daughter has asked why her "real daddy" and I don't live together (she also calls my husband Daddy, by her own choice I still call him by name when I refer to him with her) and I usually tell her that Mommy and Daddy are friends but we don't love each other but we both love you!  And she'll smile and walk away.  She just seems lost.  We have the same routine, and she's always excited to help with her brother so I don't understand what's going on.


    Answer by Anonymous at 1:35 AM on Jan. 14, 2009

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