My 3 year old daughter has become increasingly negative. Sometimes, whenever I say something she'll automatically say no or somehow indicate her contrary feelings. Once, when she was in one of these moods she even refused a trip to Disneyland! She reconsidered a second later and said , "yes," very sweetly. Sometimes she just wants to say 'no' to everything. This wouldn't concern me as much but she's also very mean verbally to other children. She told another child that she looked ugly in her dress-up costume and also that she sings everything wrong and can't dance well. I tried telling her that her words hurt other people's feelings and that it is not good behavior but it has no effect on her. Whenever I dislike a certain behavior of her's I always explain to her why it is socially unacceptable and this technique has always worked (time-outs are quite rare in our house) except for her negativity. My daughter listens intently to everything I tell her and she's very bright; normally she is very receptive to corrections that I make to her behavior. This is really my only social/behavior problem I've ever had with her. Is this just part of her personality? And if so should I try to change it now? How? My husband and I are never this negative and I don't know how she got on this negativity streak but it's really bringing me down. If anyone's made it through this please tell me how.
it's so great that you care for your daughter and that you want her to grow to be nicer. Some parents would blow this off and hope they get better on their own. What would probably happen is at school age- the teachers would end up having to fix her.
You also know how smart your daughter is and this is normal in that smart kiddos try to push us sometimes when they are young to see whose will is stronger.... I have 2 grown boys. I am quiet and pretty passive, rational, and not at all hypersensitive or overly emotional either. But I did have 2 rules. Believe me, children want boundaries.
(1) your daughter sounds smart, and I think I can tell that she DOES understand when you reason with her.
(2) saying NO to an adult is unacceptable. I teach preschool and I do not accept it. What I mean is, they can say it- because I can't stop it but I still follow thru and they DO have to obey.
(3) when another person is hurt with words or actions, we want to reconcile- Sadie can learn this now- in some way she needs to get across that she should not have hurt them and she wants to try again. Teach her to word all these apologies positively also.
You will be so glad you take care of this now, believe me..... I didn't get a handle on this until my eldest son was in 2nd grade and he embarrassed me terribly in public at the school were I worked and where he attended. Ummm BTW he is 29 has a psychology degree and owns his own business. He is fine, (and he loves his momma)
I am going to read between the lines here, and I don't want you to get offended because I have only "met you" through this one paragraph, and you may think I am not being fair to think I see this about you so if this does not fit you and your husband I am sorry.
The fact that you are so loving and positive it wonderful. I know mommas like this- I teach preschool and they try to stay so loving and positive they let things slide to avoid confrontations in public. Your child will do this in public if she does it at home. So I am going to ask if you try these ideas you will follow thru at all times. Society will have RESPECT for you not dislike you for it, and it is also human nature in an rational adults to avoid a scene.
here are some examples:
"Sadie" will be asked by you or dad to comply with something and you will be at the park. She will yell NO back at you. immediately say back to her- say to me "ok dad", if she says NO again and does not comply she has won and nothing happens/ that is the old parents- the new parents will use that "thinking time"- sternly take her by the hand and walk back to the car or stay there if you want to and she gets a time out- 3 minutes- you two do not speak except you say one time- "when I ask you to do something, you need to obey" 3 minutes are up-dad asks "Will you obey dad when he asks you to say sorry to Brooke for throwing sand?" now notice that is worded positively- walk with her to Brooke- all she really has to say is "sorry Brooke I will play nicer"...and the apology ends positively---- will it happen again? Maybe- will she be perfect from then on? No- Smart children will even test us to see if we get tired of trying- so try all this for a month and see if she does improve- She will not be perfect, but she should show improvement after a month
of course she has to obey anything you tell her to do - it takes us adults about a half a second to decide to ask a child to do something but we know they need to do it or we wouldn't have asked. YOU have to mean business. Until she realizes this by you being stern with her, she will end up in school doing this with her teachers and you would have wasted all these years (and you will be embarrassed).
Hurting other's feelings with our words: Immediately and sternly take daughter by the hand and take her aside- You hurt Brooke in her heart when you said xyz-
She will feel better if you talk nicely, and say nice things- This will take a few minutes- She will need help at first- but she will be able to do this on her own after a while- she has to think of something kind to say along with her apology. even if it is that Brooke is a good friend- (maybe she doesn't dance well or have pretty hair) walk with her by the hand and have her say something like
"You are a good friend Brooke sorry if I hurt you-(and the reconciliation offer)- I will try to talk nicer." (We follow with a hug or kiss on the cheek) Parents will love you for this and your child even if she is known to be unkind will get a second chance and a third chance because they know the parents care and are trying.
here to chat if you ned me- try it for a month and see if she improves...
remember disobedience is not the same as forgetfulness- she will forget- you'll probably be reminding her of things til she is 13- but this is about outright disobedience and not showing respect for other's feelings.
Simply dont concern your self sometimes the more you make of something the worse it becomes, she will probably change anyway perhaps its her moody phase, if she is doing okay at school and with other people ,,it could be too many words.and you are overly anxious about it
Your story about Disney brought back a funny memory. My middle son went through a negative phase - he'd say no to anything when he was about 4. One day a group of kids were over and I put out a bowl of candies and told everyone they could choose 4. He said no I'll choose 3. I could tell by his face he immediately regretted saying that - but everyone chose 4, he chose 3, and I put the bowl away. Haha. He knew right then, that was dumb.
The thing is, your daughter will need to mature out of saying whatever crosses her mind because other people will do that to her and it hurts. My guess is, what she said to that other little girl is the truth. Everyone THINKS those things, and that's fine, but they know just to think it quietly and don't say it. I sense from what you're saying that your daughter WILL mature out of this, as my son did, and not grow up to one of those brainless people who just say stupid insulting things right out loud and then are surprised no one ever invites them to things.
Just keep saying what you're saying. You could point out, that the girl is a bad dancer but it takes courage to participate if you aren't good at something so the girl has a lot of courage which is better than dancing skills. Just point out the obvious.
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