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4 yr old temper and wetting pants
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4 yr old temper and wetting pants

my 4 yr. old is in preschool. Her teachers say she is well advanced over other children in class. She goes to school 3x a week for 3 hrs. She acts great there and never has accidents in her pants. My 2 ?s are when we are at home she sometimes wets her pant 4x in one day. She even goes to her room and will hide her wet panties in her room and put a clean pair on thinking I will not go it was an accident." How do I know if she is doing it on purpose or whether she can't help it? Should I discipline, ignore or what? My other rather serious ? is that when we are in public and it is time to leave wherever we are. She will start crying out, holding her arms up at me, and will not stop crying to where it causes a major scene! I can't even talk to her because she is so far gone into her crying. I try to ignore it for a few minutes and then get down to her level and tell her to take a deep breath and tell me what is wrong. She continues her actions and usually lasts for 30-45 minutes. We are usually in a parking lot and people are walking by looking at me like I have kidnapped her. If she doesn't act his way in the parking lot then she does as soon as I get her in her carseat, at this time she starts to kick the seat in front of her where her 15 mth. sister is sitting. I have three girls total. my other is 2 yrs. old. So when my 4 yr. old acts this way they see and hear her behavior and get upset. That gets me more upset. So then I will proceed to get her back out of the car and sit with her in the parking lot until she chooses to calm down. While her other two sisters sit and wait patiently in the car watching a dvd! Very draining! What can I do to discipline this type of behaior in the atmosphere? Never pulls this behavior with her dad, or where I can be better capable of disciplining her. She knows when we are away from home, I have my hands full with all three girls! She is getting the best of me and winning! THANK YOU FOR ANY HELP! BETWEEN MY MOM AND MOTHER-IN-LAW'S ADVICE THINGS JUST AREN'T GETTING ANY BETTER!

This discussion is related to 3 1/2 wetting problem.
Tags: 4 yr old
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Working backwards here --

You wrote,"Never pulls this behavior with her dad, or where I can be better capable of disciplining her. She knows when we are away from home, I have my hands full with all three girls! She is getting the best of me and winning!"

You are right-- that's exactly what it sounds like.
While not always practical, my suggestion is based on something I read in a few books -- here it goes:

-- since her issues focus on when she knows she can get to you, when you are out -- then for a time being, if at all possible, she does not go out with you.
-- You can tell her that she is not allowed to go with you because of her behavior -- specifically the crying fits.
-- You can tell her that after a few months, you are willing to try again -- but that if she misbehaves, there will be consequences AND she will go back to not being allowed to go out.

Now, I  say this again because I read this advice in two separate books that were discussing the exact topic you bring up here. For me, if I tried to tell my husband that for a two month period I was leaving my son at home each time I went shopping -- his answer would be "You think so huh?"  So I'm not sure that its practical.

So an alternative would be this:
- when she starts the fit, you tell her that her behavior is inappropriate, and that she will receive a time out for it
- once your are home, administer the time out- don't back down no matter what
-- unless she is going to hurt herself or one of the other children, don't give her any more attention during the fit -- don't talk to her or anything if possible-- once you have advised her that she needs to stop (because, as you mention, she does not do this anywhere else-- lucky you she is reserving this for you:)
-- if you are consistent in not giving her the attention during the fit, and administering a time out after the fit, eventually she will stop- because she is not getting to you anymore.

Its hard -- but it can work. I think not taking her with you would be a faster approach-- sort of quick hitting for her in terms of obvious consequences-- but again, that may just not be practical.

As for the wetting several times a day, at that age it is probably impossible to tell whether its intentional or not.  You could try seeing what events are occurring just before each time she wets her pants -- to see if there is a pattern there. If you can't see one, then you might want to take her for a medical check up just to make sure there is no UTI or irritation or anything like that. If all checks out, then to be honest, it is not really that uncommon for 4 year olds to still have accidents.

Good luck.

If you want to know about the books, they are How to Behave So Your Children Will Too and The Self Disciplined Child.
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