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New bad behaviour

Recently (the last couple of weeks) my 4 yr old daughter has been hurting our dog (a chihuahua) on purpose...she's been pulling his tail and ears until he whines, she took his face in her hands and squeezed until he cried...I've caught her pushing him off the couch, just kind of being a big bully towards him....and he's a great dog and just takes it...although he's getting where he tries not to be around her anymore...but he doesnt nip at her or growl or anything....

I KNOW that she's doing these things on purpose...what I don't know is WHY she's doing them because it's not like she's been doing this all along...she just started this behaviour in the last few weeks....when I ask her why she's doing it she either shrugs her shoulders (while she has a small smile on her face) or she says something that has nothing to do with what I just asked her

Is anyone else going through this or have any ideas as to what's going on and what I should do about it....time outs arent working...she's still doing it


Asked by Lucky209 at 6:12 PM on Apr. 21, 2011 in General Parenting

Level 28 (35,060 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (7)
  • Take away THE most important thing to her for awhile as the consequence for treating the dog this way. Each child has that thing that is super important to them. Give a warning you will do it and see if it helps her to stop. Maybe she is getting more stressed as your due date gets closer and closer. Maybe the next time you shop for the baby you could add something for her. You might also reassure her how special she is to you.

    Answer by elizabr at 7:42 PM on Apr. 21, 2011

  • Has anything changed in her life that is causing stress? Does she get enough one on one time with you and your SO, plus praise when she does things right? Many times kids go for the negative attention when they do not get enough positive attention. Just an idea.........GL

    Answer by elizabr at 6:15 PM on Apr. 21, 2011

  • It sounds like she is craving power...and acting in a quick-fix way to get that. The way I have been managing this with my 3 year old is by giving him POSITIVE ways to direct power...such as:
    If he pushes his friend over for no conceivable reason, I reinforce that we don't push people...but then, I ask him what he can do to make it up to his friend and make him feel better. THIS, I feel, is giving him CONTROL over his actions and showing him how he can have a HUGE impact positively as well as negatively...and the positive gets smiles and hugs from adults and friends. When he then goes over and hugs his friend, says "I'm sorry" or whatever he chooses to say, he is empowered, but in a POSITIVE way.
    It's all power..just redirected. Because my son has a STRONG will, I feel this is vital to directing him to a kindness...because it's too easy for it to turn into bullying.

    Answer by boomamma at 10:11 PM on Apr. 21, 2011

  • Could she be expressing her sense of power?

    I would tell her that from now on, she is not allowed to play with the dog until she can show kindness. When she acts this way, I would give out pnishment. She needs to understand that being mean towardds a pet is the same as being mean towards another person.

    Answer by Jademom07 at 6:40 PM on Apr. 21, 2011

  • @elizabr.....I'm 7 months pregnant and we've been concentrating on what to buy the baby and everything but she doesnt get any less attention and I praise her every time she does the RIGHT thing...which is getting more and more rare....

    Comment by Lucky209 (original poster) at 6:43 PM on Apr. 21, 2011

  • does she go to dayacre?

    Answer by auggirl11 at 7:53 PM on Apr. 21, 2011

  • I'm a SAHM and we couldnt afford preschool so she is here with me all day

    Comment by Lucky209 (original poster) at 7:55 PM on Apr. 21, 2011