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Almost 4 year old girl, doesn't listen, has horrible attitude
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Almost 4 year old girl, doesn't listen, has horrible attitude

For the past year my daughter has been on a downward spiral of bad behavior, some of it has stopped and other things have only gotten worse.  She yells at both my husband and myself, she tells us what to do and what not to do.  She throws fits when she doesn't get her way.  She refuses to clean up at times.  She will not go to bed when we tell her to.  When she's really angry, she'll destroy things, like the toilet or her room or even her little sisters room.  We've tried timeout, spanking, taking the toys away.  Now, I'm just so angry all the time I just yell.  I know that's not making the situation better, but I don't know what else to do.  She's so mean to us!
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You've already noticed that yelling does not help; it is just a sign of your frustration. If things are to improve, it's important that you do two things. First, maintain your equanimity. You're the adult; act reasonably. As adults, we don't like it when others yell at us, yet we sometimes think we should yell at our children. If we do yell at our children, we can be sure that we are teaching them to do the same. Second, adopt a systematic plan to address the behavior. Such a plan is detailed in Lynn Clark's book SOS: Help for Parents. Now, when I suggest adopting a systematic plan for behavior management, I'm assuming that your daughter is displaying a normal spectrum childhood behavior problem, not signs of an emotional disturbance. If an emotional disturbance is present, the systematic plan for behavior management (while necessary) may not suffice by itself. It would be prudent, given the severity of your daughter's behavior, to consult with a pediatric mental health professional to determine if there is any emotional disturbance. Is there any family history of mental or emotional disorders? If so, it increases the chances (but is no guarantee) that your daughter might display such a disorder.
8 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
We are having almost the same problem with our 4 year old girl.  I posted earlier and I'm taking their advice, but I would also like to know what they tell you.  When we put her in time-out she will not stay put, she talks or plays the whole time she is in time-out.  How do you make it time-out without holding the child still the whole time?

I just wanted to tell you that you are not alone; I understand how you are feeling.  
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Avatar_n_tn
I am not a doctor, but I know this much...  some behavioral problems can be linked to the toxins in your home, school, workplace, etc.  Sometimes a persons body lacks the ability to detoxify their bodies, so they will develop symptoms.  In this case the symptoms would most likely be hyperactivity and behavioral problems?  The chemicals most commonly found in everyones homes are actually very horrible...  and if your body can't detoxify itself a reaction is bound to occur.  Maybe try switching to non - toxic products.  

If yourself, or anyone who may read this has any questions regarding this or how to go about getting rid of all the toxins, feel free to email me...  I work with a company that deals strictly with non toxic products for your home.  

***@****

Good Luck
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Avatar_n_tn
I remember someone asked that question previously on this site. The reply was that you do not start the clock ticking for time out until the child is sitting quietly (and you tell her in advance that that's the rule). If she's talking or playing, she has to stay in time out until she's quiet, and then the clock starts for the five or 10 minutes or whatever amount of time she's supposed to stay there. If she won't stay in the chair, the advice was that you would have to hold her there until she does (this may involve biting the bullet for a while and just doing it until she understands that she won't be able to get away with the behavior).

Hope this helps.
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Avatar_n_tn
My daughter was 4 in February and she too is often a handful.  I run a home daycare and she is by far my most trying child.  When she is in a full blown tantrum I physically pick her up and put her on her bed, pretty hard sometimes, and explain (face to face and make her look in my eyes) that xyz behavior is not appropriate ... she is usually screaming and crying but I say it anyway - sometimes more than 1x - and often times loud (due to her yelling) and firm (but not me yelling) ... and then I tell her that she is staying there until she calms down and can behave appropriately, and that I will come get her once she does so.  

I know it's not the text book timeout method that I typically use but when she is so out of control this is all that works.  Well, works for us, although she has been known to be in there hysterical for so long that she has fallen asleep (which tells me that day she may have needed a nap?) but my point is just maybe try a time out "zone" per say.  My daughter happens to not move from her bed, but if yours will play with her toys ... remove them once you decide to use her room ... ahead of time.  Just a thought, it works on managing the behaviors for us, and sometimes, just sometimes, I can now get away with the threat of what we call a "big" time out as opposed to the "little" ones I give the kids in the playroom.
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Avatar_n_tn
I really appreciate your advice, but I'm not asking about how to keep my child in time-out.  She will stay in time-out, my problem is that time-out doesn't change her behavior.  She could sit there all day, but when she comes out, she'll continue to do whatever it was that she's doing.  We'll then put her back in, we tried this for several months... no change.  Then we went to taking the toys away, we took everything out of her room, then she had to earn it back.  It's been 2 months and she only has 2 toys back.  Those toys have also been taken away and given back several times.  We've tried spanking, this was my only option.  I don't feel as if she should fear me, but she should fear some kind of punishment.  It's as if she doesn't care about the consequences of her actions.  She will willingly take the spanking, then yell at me and tell me not to hurt her.  But, when I threaten a spanking if she doesn't start acting right, she'll say, "okay, spank me".  So, again, I appreciate all of your advice on how to keep a child in time-out, but that isn't my problem right now.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi there just read your forum and I too have a very simular problem but my girl is 6.  I also have a 4 yr old boy which i thought could have been the problem...jealousy and attention.  After reading a few books I am now trying to change my ways of dealing with her and even though i find this very hard I am going to try and stick to one way for a few weeks before I try another one if this doesn't work.  I have only been trying this for 1 day now but have already seen the difference.  I have to think before i ask her to do something to turn it round so it looks like she has thought about it first or that it is a play thing.  She likes to have the last word and argues with everything i say so even though this one is very hard for me, I ignore her and tell her i wont speak to her until she speaks nicely to me.  This she hates more than anything.  The thing is I think my daughter is a mini me,  just 25 years younger so i've always thought she should respect me and do as she's told but I've learnt that actions speak louder than words and she doesn't hear the words only sees and does as i do.  Not sure whether this helps you at all but Good Luck.
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Avatar_f_tn
The Doc is right on!  See my post My kids were driving me batty on the patient to patient forum on this site.
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A related discussion, Reinforcement was started.
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A related discussion, anger in a 4 year old typical? was started.
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Please somebody help me.I have a 7and 1/2year old girl.she is so stubern,so selfish,not a listener,she wants to do everything she wants.and I am furtunatly living very close by my mother_in_low and her sister.every time I want to time her out or decipline her,they get involved and my husband doesn't say anything to them.I just sit and cry.please some body help me.
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