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My 4 year old strong willed child
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My 4 year old strong willed child

I need guidance with how I need to handle my strong willed child.

My daughter is 4 years old. She attends a private school where I expected her to become a positive leader. Instead, she has become the child that screams and disobeys the teacher when asked to behave properly. I can easily rule out that school is the problem due to the fact that she adores going to school. She prepares her clothes the night before and always confirms with me with glee that school is open when she wakes up.My hisband and I have now kept a firm discipline on her due to her careless actions. She does not respect her friends by disrupting them so they can pay attention to her and she realizes when she does something wrong, yet does it again 10-15 minutes later. When asked why she's punished, she will explain it without hesitation. At home, I was having to repeat myself several times (with the last time being a yelling request) before she would complete the task - now, I do not repeat, she does straight to reflection time in her room without toys. She always wants to have the last word. And she demands an explanation for every my every request. Today, I do not let her win on any front. I ask, if she doesn't comply, she goes to her room (timeout does not work anymore and removing her treasures either). I'm having to ask her to "zip it" to ensure that I have the last word. Oh, and she constantly has to talk. She can never be quiet.

I'm worried that I'm missing something that I should be doing (besides keeping a firm discipline on her).  

Any suggestions?

JO112
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Avatar_f_tn
The discipline approach you describe sounds troublesome. I'd suggest that you seriously consider easing up on the discipline. You don't want to crush her  personality. Before deciding that this is an issue of willful behavior alone, I'd encourage you to consider other alternatives. Have the teachers given you an opinion about what they think is going on with her? Based on what you wrote, is it possible that she's so excited to be in school and to see her friends that it's hard for her to control herself. Maybe she's struggling to learn emotional self control across many situations. Most 4 year olds don't jump when their parents tell them to do something. The art is finding ways to chip away at this in ways that support her independence but teach her to regulate her feelings and behavior. It's a gradual process not a struggle at domination. There's a lot to be said for positive rewards for appropriate behavior instead of negative consequences for misbehavior. Adults are quick to invoke rules when they feel uncomfortable or that they are losing control. Although not all kids (people) work for incentives, it is by far the best first step to try consistently for a period of weeks/months, It needs to be very specific. Instead of "be good and I'll get you a present," it needs to specify behaviors that you want her to progress in (e.g., taking turns, sharing toys) and offer positive reinforcement whenever she shows any effort in that direction. I hope you will consider these alternatives.
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416668_tn?1241746394
What you described fits my 5-1/2 year old daughter perfectly.  I have tried positive parenting as suggested by SL345 with no improvement.  I can say that her behavior has gotten a little better in the last year.  I have been told that she will grow out of it, but I am afraid that it will just get worse.  I wish I could help you, but the reason I am here today is to try and find some answers myself!  

I was contacted by my daughter's preschool teacher last year, and I received a call today from the school counsler about my daughter's behavior.  I decided to enroll in a "common sense parenting class."  I will keep you informed and hope you do the same.  Maybe we can figure this out together!  Good luck.  
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Avatar_n_tn
I also have a strong willed 4 year old boy.  While I do believe that the positive parenting approach is good for certain behaviors, it does not work well as the only approach to a strong willed child.  The strong willed child actually needs a firmer hand than the more compliant child.  I have taken my son to counselors and have tested for ADD and ADHD, but the only result is that he is "strong willed".  Everything you described about your daughter at school and at home is very similar to my son.  It is just something that is built into their personalities.  They want to have everything explained to them, even if your sure they already know the answer.  And they like to argue on everything, just to see if they can win the fight.  I'm afraid to say that it will be a battle of the wills for some time to come.  The only thing I can offer is that you must pick your battles and make sure you can win the ones you pick.  It is very important to win the battle and show that you are the parent and you mean business.  I do agree with SL345 that you do not want to break your child's spirit and personality.  There must be an even balance of love and discipline.  I suggest that you buy a few different books on the strong willed child.  You will see so many stories that you can relate to and it will give you some different parenting and disciplining techniques to try.  Keep in mind that the strong willed child is usually a successful and strong adult...we parents just have to keep our sanity while we work to get our children to adulthood in one piece!!  Good luck!!
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Avatar_f_tn
SOunds like a communication problem to me.

Your daughter sounds wonderfully opinionated:) It is not a bad thing, trust me. You are so lucky that she likes school - my 4 year old starting to behave like a teenager and hide his head under pillows when it is time to get up.

What is wrong with her constantly talking, or having a last word? I wish my son was talking more - he has excellent vocabulary, but many times when I try to talk to him about things, he says "mommy - I do not want to talk". Please appreciate what you have.
"Zip it" sounds very rude to me, why are you so rude to her?
As for her not doing something - ask one time, wait 6-10 seconds, ask again, wait 5-10 seconds, then take your hand and lead her to whatever she is supposed to be doing.
Child behavior therapist showed me thart little trick - works immediately. Do not let her to get out of things, timeout for not doing things is very useless because it allows her to get out of doing whatever she is asked to do. Showing that she will  not get out of fulfiling your request is working, please turst me on this one. AND DO NOT YELL.
As for not respecting her friends - talk to the teacher about teaching appropriate social skills, i.e. as to how to join into a play.
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Avatar_n_tn
My son is 4 1/2 years old and is one of the sweetest boys you'll ever meet (most of the time)....However he can turn it off like a switch.  I want to be able to enjoy him the way I always dreamed of when I had children.  I find myself raising my voice more often than not...and yes, spanking his behind....moreso to get his attention....I realize that spanking to some, is not an effective solution. But sometimes I feel that it is the only way to stop him in his tracks.
The last two days, he has ran off from me despite telling him to come back...or please stay away from the road, so you can be safe..etc....He looks at me with these devlish grin, and just keeps going.  It's all I can do to contain myself without screaming at the top of my lungs.  He does this running off thing quite often...and I don't know how to get it through to him that this is not appropriate behavior.  For instance, I got a hold of him yesterday, swatted his butt,and took him straight to his room......removed his TV...and explained to him why I was doing that..(you ran away, you could have been hurt..etc)......He says he understands....but the next day he does it again....and again....I feel like I'm consistent with discipline, but I feel that there has to be something else I can try.  Above all, I love my boys (3 year old also)0...and I HATE yelling....they certainly know how to push my buttons.

My boys recently started daycare/preschool...and on Friday I got a report that My 4 year old was acting up.  I just want my kids to be respectful and productive members of society.......HELP?!?  

I'm just not satisfied that "they will grow out of it"......I see a lot of  other kids that are their ages, who do not behave in these ways...I realize that it is behavior modification on the parents' part and the childs part...I need help...I would like to establish solid discipline before this becomes a huge problem....
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