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parenting help needed

Posted by Anonymous   + Show Post

My daughter is 4.5 years old, will be 5 in August, and is a complete handful. She has always been a handful. She has always been determined to have her own way, and there are times when I give in because I can't take it anymore. There are other times when I explode at her because she just takes it too far. I have had her evaluated by a child psychiatrist on the advice of her pediatrician, and my gut instinct was right. There is nothing wrong with her. She has no form of any disorder. She just has to have her own way regardless of the cost. She has a 9 year old older sister. We used the same parenting methods. Her older sister is a dream-- sweet, polite, cooperative while YDD fights everything! I actually started counseling to try to figure out how to parent this kid because spanking was bordering on abusive, and I didn't want to be that mom. How the fuck can a 4 year old not care about a spanking?

Recently after discussing my parenting issues with my counselor, she recommended a book on parenting strong-willed children. I read that fucking book cover to cover. Then I read it out loud to DH. Then DH and I started to put a plan into action in order to help her get her behavior under control. We would tell her what we needed her to do and attach a consequence. "Sara, you will hold my hand in the store or you will get a time out." We have a specific time out area in the house, and if she needs time out when we are out, we take her to the car and strap her in her carseat for the allotted time.

I thought it was starting to work. She was starting to cooperate. She was starting to listen.

Yeah right. Sara decided a few days ago that she was no longer toilet trained. She is peeing and shitting her pants like a baby. I know she's just playing us. She has done this before. This is her old standby. I know she is trying to see what will happen. She was such a mess tonight that I put her in the shower. We live in a duplex with a shared hot water heater. The upstairs neighbors had used it all up and she got a cold shower which made me feel horrible. Then I made her wash out her own panties which made me feel vindicated because she hated it so.

I don't know what to do. I don't know how to parent her. I don't know how she turned out so different than her older sister.

I'll take any advice or bashing (although I doubt I could be bashed any further than I am currently bashing myself).

Posted by Anonymous on Nov. 21, 2013 at 9:23 PM
Replies (71-72):
by on Nov. 21, 2013 at 11:13 PM

Exactly, I do the same things, trying to prevent issues.

Some kids don't learn until they mess up... it's just how they operate, they learn from their mistakes.

Quoting Anonymous:

You have given me a completely different way to think about her. Thank you. I am so frustrated most of the time that I don't take the time to let her know how much I love her. I also need to try not to prevent problems because that's where many of our fights with her begin.

Quoting KrissyKC:

My Abby (5) is the same way.   I wish I could parent the way that she responds best every time, but I am often times like you.   Exhausted and give in so I don't lose it, or I end up yelling at her too.   She is soooo oppositional.

The times I have the best responses from her is when I remind myself that it must be so difficult to always feel like she has to be her own voice and protector.  Because of her own oppositional nature and her own way of thinking, she is often feeling like she must rise up and come against everything that doesn't go 100% her way.   I have to soften my tone and my responses while keeping firm with the rules and expectations.   She, above all of my other children, must be convinced that she is safe, loved, and that we have her best interest in mind in order to be able to address the real issue.

I've found that taking time to breathe is so vital to dealing with a child like this.   To speak with gentle authority is key.

I've also found that trying to "prevent" problems before they arise actually backfires.   She then starts to feel controlled and attacked before she even gets a chance to mis-behave.   I take away from her the responsibility for the behavior when I'm on her about how she should behave first.   Does that make sense?     For example, my eldest could be told, "the plate is hot, so don't touch it."   My second could be told the same thing.   My third, nope... she would fight me to touch it just because I didn't just let her choose to not touch it herself.   That's not to say that I cannot set rules or tell her things, but I had to let her have the responsibility for controlling herself, and I had to just give her realistic consequences.

Yes, on rare occasions we spank and use other disciplines, too, but the best thing I can do for her is to step back and let her fall.   However, I do teach and encourage manners and such as that.   In regards to discipline, I do it this way more with her.   

Bad behavior:    Threw a toy at the wall and screamed something mean to me when asking her to clean up.

I walk away.   Not because I am weak, but because I don't have anything to prove.   I am the parent, so I don't need to stand there in her face and force it.   Instead, I walk away.

Later, when she is calm and expects something, I will not do whatever it is that she's expecting.   It might be, "But you were going to take me to ballet tonight."   "Sorry, nope, I am not talking you."    "But, WHY"...  "Because you were very disrespectful when you screamed and threw your toy and your room still isn't cleaned up."   THey important step though, no matter what she does (no apology, no chore, nothing..) you still don't take her to ballet that night.   "Thanks for your apology, if you continue to make the decision to respect me, then I will probably be more than happy to take you to ballet on Thursday."

by Platinum Member on Nov. 21, 2013 at 11:22 PM

we also noticed that he does better when he has responsibility.  he likes responsibility.  when he has something to do- he gets into less stuff.  

so like when i have to go potty, i ask him "ben watch your brother for mommy" and he loves it.  or when the dryer buzzer goes off he goes and puts the laundry in the basket.  or when we are getting ready to go out it's his job to go down the check list with me of what needs to be in the diaper bag.  -granted all of those things aren't normal responsibilities for a 7 year old but they definitely make a positive difference in our lives.  

Quoting Anonymous:

I probably definitely do need to focus more on the positive. Maybe I can give her a sticker every time she has dry pants. She loves stickers.

Quoting happymommy1105:

my older son is very strong willed.  

we read "parenting the strong willed child" and what we took from it- and the part we focused on was- praising the positive.  we praise praise praise.  

it works for us.

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