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How do I stay calm?

My 3 dd is SO mischevious (that is what my mother calls it). I am home with her and my other dd (7mo) for 11 hrs straight 6 days a week. My oldest is constantly getting into things, she pesters her sister relentlessly, and she will not listen. Timeouts do not work. I set her in timeout for 3 minutes and she goes right back to what she was doing. By the end of the day I feel like I'm losing control. How can I make her understand that she has to behave? I feel like I'm a failure as a mother! :(

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Asked by Anonymous at 10:00 PM on May. 14, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Answers (11)
  • Oh boy. Do I sympathize with you. My 2 1/2 yr. old son is doing the same thing. Of my 3 children, he is the worst. My parents curse came true--"I hope you have a child just like you". He has been driving me crazy for the past three weeks. I have had to put him in quiet time. I made him go into his bedroom and told him not to come out until I said that he could come out. I let him play with his toys and then I shut his door and didn't open that door until I had calmed down. Good luck

    Answer by dustbunny at 12:46 AM on May. 15, 2009

  • Well, it sounds like your daughter doesn't consider time outs to be anything at all. After all, she goes into time out, she comes out of time out and nothing has changed. You need to find different disciplines that actually work for her. Target your discipline specific to her behavior. Is she being too rough? Then take her hands and help her practice being gentle. Is she throwing something? Take it away. Help her practice the behavior you expect her to see and everytime she does something irritating, have her practice how to do it properly. Is she whining? Tell her to use her manners and then then help her repeat back her request properly. Also, time outs can still be used, but not for every offense. If she refuses to listen, put her in time out UNTIL she listens, not just for 3 minutes. Let her behavior determine how long, not her age. Also remember, positive reinforcement - praise her when she's being good!

    Answer by JPsMommy605 at 9:03 AM on May. 15, 2009

  • Do you make her appologize after the time out? That is the worst part for my kids. I make them say I am sorry for doing "X". then I tell them I love them and to not do it again and that they had a time out because I don't want them to get into the habit of doing "X". They HATE appologizing and don't return to the bad behavior (at least not for a week or so).

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:53 AM on May. 15, 2009

  • Yes, I agree with JPsMommy605! Let's talk about positive reinforcement! So often we want to punish or take away things from kids to get them to change their behavior. That is not how behavior modification works! Yes of course you want the bad behavior to go away, but you also have to replace that behavior with a good behavior. To get a positive behavior to continue, you have to reinforce it! CATCH HER BEING GOOD! Pick two or three behaviors that you want to see more of. These "good behaviors" would probably be the opposite of the "bad behaviors" you want to stop. Example, When she hits, say to her," Mommy wants to see nice hands, or easy touches." Then, have her show you easy touches, and PRAISE HER! Then when you catch her "being good" and using the easy touches on her own, PRAISE HER AGAIN! Say,"Mommy loves it when you use easy touches, or nice hands. (to be continued)

    Answer by LovetoTeach247 at 10:54 AM on May. 15, 2009

  • You can reinforce the good behavior with your words, hugs, giving high 5's, butterfly kisses, thumbs up,whatever she will really ,really love to receive from you. You can also use things like stickers, or candy, etc, but saying words or gesturing is easier and quicker. When you first start using the positive reinforcement, remember to praise or reward really often! This helps her realize that her good behavior gets her mom's attention, not the bad behavior. She needs to hear the positive remarks, many, many more times than the negative. More than likely, the fact that you have a 7 month old is part of the reason for her behavior. She is probably wanting to get your attention because you are busy with the baby. This is typical for young kids. Remember to be consistent and continue time out when needed. Being truly aggressive, biting siblings,etc warrents a time out. I hope this helps!

    Answer by LovetoTeach247 at 11:05 AM on May. 15, 2009

  • You are not a bad mama! Show yourself some love and respect and maybe dd wil pick up on that. Try time-ins and toy time-outs, too. Also, try to find some time in the day to play with just her or her and your younger child. This is pretty normal behavior, though. so don't think she is extra bad or you are awful. :)

    Answer by EiEiO at 12:33 PM on May. 15, 2009

  • I wanted to add, that I know you have housework and things to do, but maybe while baby is napping older dd can help you put clothes in the washer or dryer, unload the dishwasher, dust with an old rag. That way you get things done and she thinks you are playing with her. :)
    Is baby sitting up? Some things they can play together are stacking cups, "tea" party, peek a boo..that way you can get a breather. I have four kids very close in age and sometimes I think I am going to LOSE MY MIND!!

    Answer by EiEiO at 12:42 PM on May. 15, 2009

  • You are an awesome mom. I'm a working mom and can't imagine having the two kids all the time. Just an idea to break up that 11 hours.... get out for play dates. Send your child somewhere on a schedule, to grandmas house, a friends house for an hour on Tuesdays and then have a playmate come over to your house?

    I found at age 4, the girls can play together with little observation. Hope that helps!

    when I've got the kids on weekends, I plan my day else, they are bouncing off the walls, as am I.

    Answer by lynnard at 1:01 PM on May. 15, 2009

  • Time outs may not work they way you are doing them. Why only three minuts? Put her in time out, away from anything fun or enertaining, and make her stay there till. If she gets into something, make her clean up the mess. If she refuses, you can either have her stand with her nose to the wall till she chooses to clean up the mess, or you can spank her till she chooses ( the time out method works sooo much better though), if she is pestering her sister, you need to expain what she is doing wrong, and send her to time out, if she does it again once she gets out, then send her right back into time out and keep her there till she verbaly agrees to stop. If she spends all day in time out, then okay. She will eventually get with the program.

    And most important, when she does get into trouble, you need to explain in simple word what she did wrong and what she need to do different, then she NEEDs to repeat that back. cont.

    Answer by daughteroftruth at 1:25 PM on May. 15, 2009

  • cont.. it takes an average of 21 days to change a behavior, or break a bad habit, and when you are dealing with behavior of a small child, it will allways get worse before it gets better. but that is why you have to stay consistant.

    No yelling, no loosing your cool.. time out doesn't have to be difficult. But every tiem you give in it will take longer and longer to get a handle on her behavior. Good luck. PM me if you wnat any more pointers... i am very blessed to be lilving witha couple who have worked in behavior managment and modification for about 25 yrs now, with kids of all ages and of all mental states. I have learned alot as they have helped me with my kids.

    Answer by daughteroftruth at 1:30 PM on May. 15, 2009

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