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SUPER definat 3.5 year old. She is going to end up hurt or deadi f I don't correct this problem...

okay we have tried every form of discipline in the book. Nothing seems to work. It is so bad that in the mountains this weekend I broke my foot trying to catch her. she was starting to climb on the rocks by a over look and I told her to get down. every time I told her to get down she climbed higher. I was so scared she was going to fall hundreds of feet to her death I dove after her slipped and broke my foot. She was only a step or two away it should not have been an issue but she jiust doesn't listen. We did not let her out of the car the rest of the drive except to go inside buildings. She says 'no' to even the simplest request and does the opposite of what you ask her. Time out is no big deal to her. Privilege loss is no big for her since she doesn't have anything she 'loves' (she plays with cups, spoons, papers, the dog leash, pillows.. not toys) Even spanking seems to not phase her except for about 10 seconds of tears... then back to being defiant. Any ideas? I am sure she will out grow it but dang she is going to get hurt or dead just because she is a brat!?

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Asked by Anonymous at 8:54 PM on Jul. 2, 2011 in General Parenting

Answers (12)
  • I'm so sorry, that's tough. Maybe you could put her on one of the kid leashes when you're out and tell her it's because she doesn't listen and it's the only way to keep her safe.
    I hear you about loosing privelidges and toys and such. With my girls it's dresses. They disobey and need something taken away it's dresses. They may not wear nighties or dresses for a specified amount of time. That's that! Every day we talk about what they did that caused their dresses to be taken away. DD wore pants to church, which is always a dress occasion for them and people commented on her pants and she told them, I didn't listen to mommy:(
    Good luck and stay strong even if you think the punishments aren't working or having any effect on her just keep with them, they will eventually.

    Answer by AmandaH321 at 9:07 PM on Jul. 2, 2011

  • maybe hot sauce discipline will help..

    Answer by danichaos at 11:59 PM on Jul. 2, 2011

  • I read that children who show extreme defiance usually cannot be punished with words used in a harsh tone. It eventually will create a large defensive wall as a teen/young adult which will be harder to deal with than what you are experiencing now. Instead, adopt a strong authoritative tone that sounds like your words mean "the law" and they are not up for discussion. Since she shows no attachment to material items, I would try taking her away from areas she enjoys. For instance, if you tell her to not leave the yard, but she does it, then she spends the whole day inside. Try positive reinforcement when she does something right. Kids at this age respond really well to things such as sticker boards. You can buy a fun calendar and fun stickers and when she has successfully made it through a day she can pick a sticker to put on the calendar and make it a big thing that everyone participates in.

    Answer by Gingerwheel at 12:11 AM on Jul. 3, 2011

  • I found this off babycenter:

    As exasperating as his behavior is, your preschooler's defiance is really about his asserting himself. While a toddler defies his parents because he's caught up in the excitement of his autonomy, a preschooler is likely to be reacting to something. When your 3- or 4-year-old doesn't comply with a request you've made, what he's saying, in essence, is, "I don't like your rules."


    Answer by Gingerwheel at 12:13 AM on Jul. 3, 2011

  • I think there is something to Gingerwheel's quote from Babycenter.
    I think moving forward in situations like this can be helped by changing the frame or lens through which you're viewing things. Seeing behaviors & tendencies as signals or as indications of issues, rather than seeing behavior as the issue or problem itself (and thus focusing exclusively on stopping/changing a behavior), generally is more helpful. This can be tricky but it is a worthy goal and the Babycenter comment illustrates what it could look like. So it would be seeing/decoding a "message" in the behavior, & therefore understanding your child differently (or, understanding her more accurately, for who she is & why she's doing what she does.) This is different than simply reacting to behavior for what it means to you, or what it triggers inside you (automatic reactions.)
    A message of "I don't like your rules" could elicit the response of "Tough," but that is

    Answer by girlwithC at 7:38 AM on Jul. 3, 2011

  • (cont)
    the status quo for you right now & it seems it's not working well, for her OR for you. Viewing the child's underlying message as valid & as worthy of respect doesn't automatically translate to ignoring the rule or getting permissive (that is just switching from using power over her to letting her use power over you; it's just shifting the control balance, not addressing the issue of control in the first place.) It's not about "letting her decide" or "letting her do whatever she wants." It's about taking her seriously & really getting her point of view, & communicating in a way that makes this clear.
    With "reflective listening," you can reflect (or "mirror") behavior or statements. When they whine or complain, when they cry, when they make requests (or demands), when they tantrum, when they ignore/defy requests (or commands), you can receive THESE THINGS in themselves as the "communication" (or signal) & respond to THEM

    Answer by girlwithC at 8:07 AM on Jul. 3, 2011

  • by reflecting them. This is not "engaging the content," such as evaluating & deciding whether or not a complaint makes sense or is legitimate, or deciding in the moment whether or not a request is reasonable or whether you will grant/deny it right then. It is simply taking the "message" and sending it back to the child. "You really want X," or "I see, you wish you could have/do X." Or "You aren't happy with what I asked" or "You are really bummed out because it's so unfair." Validating doesn't mean agreeing with their opinion or assessment of something; it just means seeing how it makes sense for them to feel that way or to think that, given their point of view. Validating them is letting them have their feelings, by not engaging whether they are "right" or "wrong," or trying to explain why something happened (why you aren't wrong or why you "had" to stop/prevent them) or why they "should" listen or accept something.

    Answer by girlwithC at 8:14 AM on Jul. 3, 2011

  • The more "unreasonable" something seems, the more helpful it is to simply let it be, to accept it as it is, by acknowledging it. You may KNOW that you are not unreasonable, mean or unfair, that your limits are valid & even necessary where safety is concerned, but you don't need to convince your child, or disabuse her of the notion that you are petty or mean. (You don't need to affirm this or accept blame, either; simply allow your child her feelings & opinions.) The fact of acknowledging without engaging or arguing (which is the simplest way to "allow" something), gives the kid permission to HAVE the feeling, which also brings permission to move through it & resolve it & access other thoughts & feelings. It lets them get UNSTUCK, where resisting them (trying to persuade them, or getting annoyed & arguing) triggers counter-resistance or defensiveness in kids, and encourages them to get stuck defending their validity.
    So if you

    Answer by girlwithC at 8:20 AM on Jul. 3, 2011

  • take the message or signal (from her behavior) that her defiance indicates "I don't like your rules," you can begin to consider that she feels frustrated, unheard, not valued very much, powerless, shut down. My solution or response would not be to remove all boundaries or expectations, but to acknowledge the feelings in response to them. See defiance as a signal that something feels really off for her, that she is unhappy, that messages are crossed, that she doesn't feel heard or valued. Try giving acknowledgment, without rebuttals or explanations that take away the acknowledgment! (So, not "I know you're frustrated, but..." or "I know you wanted to X, but it's not okay to...")
    In a situation such as the repeated climbing, after you restrain her, you wouldn't focus on explaining the validity of your action. You'd just reflect what happened, that led to her upset: "You were having fun climbing & I stopped you." "I kept saying

    Answer by girlwithC at 8:26 AM on Jul. 3, 2011

  • no and then I grabbed you, and you were just having fun climbing the rocks." These are examples of reflective listening that validates her experience (by acknowledging her perceptions & her feelings and letting them be as they are.)
    Of COURSE you were scared, of COURSE you were responsible for her safety & needed to act if you believed she was in danger, of COURSE you weren't unreasonable, but you don't need to explain yourself or point out that she didn't listen over & over when you'd called to her, etc. This is all validating yourself, and when we explain ourselves or try to persuade kids of why something couldn't/shouldn't happen (even if it's for valid & true reasons such as it hurts someone else or is dangerous to them), we basically are explaining why their feelings are wrong in this situation and why they shouldn't have this problem (or should just adjust.)

    So overall my suggestion is to see the issue as a signal & try

    Answer by girlwithC at 8:31 AM on Jul. 3, 2011

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