My husband and I have a 3 year old daughter with whom we have been having difficulty with disciplining. She bites, kicks, hits, pinches, etc. very often. She will act out this behavior on anyone (mother, father, younger sister, children at a play area, etc.) She does not want to listen to anything, whether it is to stop a poor behavior, not to unlock doors and run outside, etc. We feel often that she is purposely defiant, whether she knows why she is behaving this way or not. We have tried many methods: time-out, behavior charts, talking to her at eye level, trying to ask her to express why she is angry or why she behaved a certain way and we have tried focusing and encouraging her on all of her good behaviors. We have done all of the above and still feel a bit hopeless for she continues to behave in this manner. We are also concerned for additional reasons: 1) we have a 1 year old and we do not want her to learn the same behavior 2) We want to find a solution as quickly as possible so that this does not continue and follow her throughout her life.
Additionally, she did not display this behavior prior to daycare. She learned it (biting, hitting, etc) there. We took her out of daycare but her bad behavior continues.
We do not know how to use time-out for she will not stay in time out ever. It becomes a game to her.
We have the following questions:
1) How do you get a child to stay in time-out if they refuse, even if you keep putting them back?
2) What do you do if they exhibit poor behavior most of the day (for example 10 times or more)? I have read that if you punish a child all the time it means nothing to them any more and they just except it.
3)Where do we go from here? What are we doing wrong? What additional methods can we try?
I am not ignoring some of your questions, but want to respond to the last one. You should arrange an evaluation with a pediatric mental health professional right away. Any other guidance I could offer you would be beside the point. Your daughter's behavior is way outside the normal spectrum and demands intervention of a clinical nature. As an aside, your daughter did not 'learn' the aggressive behavior in the daycare. It may be the case that the onset of the behavior coincided with her time in daycare, but the beahvior itself is a symptom of her feeling vulnerable.
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