Sometime as a father i feel lost on how to deal with my soon to be 5yr old daughter. Overall she is a good girl. She is quiet at school and when she is out as she has always had an anxiety issue with strangers. It has not stopped her from doing things as she enjoys it but is very quiet until she gets comfortable. She was adopted from Guatemala when she was 10 months. It is that when home she gets pretty wild and loud. She seems to like giving her mother and me a hard time when we ask her to do things. She ends up doing it but it is a small battle until she ends up in time out or i need to raise my voice. Her eating is terrible and this becomes a battle. She does not want to eat breakfast and very little at each meal but want snacks. Sometimes you wonder as a parent if you are ding the right thing. We use timed time outs but is there any other advice you can give to try to get her to listen better without it getting to a timeout or raised voices?
It is important to pick your battles, so to speak, and does not make sense to get into struggles about eating. Be firm about not offering snacks if your daughter does not eat the regular meals. Otherwise you'll be encouraging the very behavior you are trying to stop. Follow Lynn Clark's guidelines in SOS Help for Parents and you'll enjoy success on the behavior management front.
I would reccommend that you read Parenting with Love and Logic. I use this as a teacher. I feel it is great when children are defiant. Remember that children are human beings new to the earth-so they, like adults, need controll. Give children controll by offering choices that are not threats. Do you want to go to bed now or in 5 minutes? Do you want a glass of milk or a glass of water? Just think about the request you are asking and frame it into a choice. You have to be creative. You have to be ok with either choice. Just make sure it is not a threat because children know when they are being manipulated. Remember, that if a child is being defiant it is a good thing in the sense that this child has an opinion and a sense of themselves. they need to learn to be respectful and to compromise-to reframe their defiance into positive and loving communication. Allways remebr that children obsorb and then animate everything you do. So if you yell, children will yell. If you demand children will demand. they are learning constantly by modeling after you.This is advice from a teacher and I know it is different as a parent-but I hope it helps.
Thanks for both responses and ill will get those books. I have one more question about the eating. She is very picky so can she eat what she wants for the meal or does she need to eat what we have prepared. Say we are having stew yet she wants peanut butter and jelly?
There's no right vs wrong way to go in this regard. It's perfectly reasonable to offer an alternative (but not necessarily one she dictates - for example, peanut butter & jelly might always be the alternative). But you would not be acting unreasonably if you take the stance that you'll prepare a meal, then it's up to her to eat it or not, but not offer other options. Both routes are perfectly fine.
This is one of those situations where you can "choose your battles." the love and logic book talks about this and I beleive he uses the banking analogy. You make deposites in the form of letting your child make mini decisions. You can say, "Ok, you can choose to have pb and j on one night this week. Which would you choose? She can have a night she gets to choose. (It should be clear that this is dinner foods, not like icecream for diner). When you let her make these decisions, then she will feel gratified and happy. Then you can say, we will choose on the other nights. The analogy is you are making a withdrawel. She has to eat the stew, because you are eating the pb and j on her night. This is a fair compromise. Remember, you are allways the one with power because you are setting up the compromises. It is important to model respect for her. Really respect the fact that she is picky. As an adult I am sure you don't like certain foods. You can give the message to her that she can have her specific tastes, but that she needs to be respectful in turn. You can even use the line, "We respect what you like to eat, you can respect what we like to eat." You can also get her opinion about what would make the stew taste good to her. What would she like in it? I know sometimes young children don't like things that are combined and mixed together. Perhaps you could separate some of the things like separated meat or vegetables. The trick is to let her have her input and to respect it, but to teach her she needs to make compromises as well. If you give in and prepare a separate thing every meal, you are spoiling her and teaching her she doesn't have to care about others. Children respond well to plans and compromises.
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