My dd is 4. she is your typical stubborn-bull headed-wise- sweet intelligent little girl. But won't listen to a DAMN thing I say. She just does what she wants. Until I am left screaming at her. I am so tired of yelling. I don't really do spankings. I have...but mostly yelling. My husband is over seas with the Army National Guard and so there is a little more stress than a normal person would normally have...I also have a 2 year old son. How do I gain control over her!?!? I try calm...it works sometimes. If I heard other moms stories about how their typical day at home would consist of maybe i would feel better. I stay at home. What do other moms do during the day with their kids on a typucal day. How do you discipline and what reactions do you get from them? How many times do you have to repeat yourself before you go through with a threat. (take away toys-put in time outetc..) I'm so very frustrated. I'm drained emotionally and physically. My husband is coming home from Kosovo in 3 weeks for a 2 week leave and I KNOW that once he leaves again it'll be hell all over again until he comes home for good 7 months later. I also need to know what you ladies do to unwind yourself and escape the metalness of kids. My kids give me absolute HELL at bedtime and I ma fighting with them everynight over bed time...and they usually end up in my bed which I KNOW is part of the HUGE problem. I just say to myself I can't deal with any more stress...and thats how they end up getting what they want. I feel like I'm drowning here....
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Your kids, especially the dd, don't take you seriously any more. She has heard it all, mom yells, we ignore it and nothing happens yada yada....Coping skills are needed here. There are some excellent books around on parenting, toddler taming, and so forth. Go to your nearest big store or library and find some. Then follow it up. You are tiring yourself out, and the kids are taking advantage of your lack of energy and resolve. They are winning at the moment. It is hard to do it on your own...Is there a possibility of putting the older child into day care or kindergarten for a couple of days a week so you can recover, and have time to read the parenting books ? There are so many strategies for dealing with kids. Educate yourself. Cheers, Sera
My son is four and as stubborn as they come. He knows what he is supposed to do and how he is supposed to behave. We do not give warning now. If he doesn't respond he gets the punishment.. no ifs ands or buts.. the 2 yr old will mimic and disrespect you because the 4 yr old does.. You need to get it under control and establish dominance. A good swat on the behind with an open palm may be in order.
This is what we had to do. Part of my son's behavioural isssues are linked to his sleep apnea and resulting sleep deprivation side effects.. but over all my family has adopted this approach with our kids. The childs job is to be a child.. behave well, be respectful and do well in school. For such we give them all we can in luxuries and love... this doesn't mean spoil them.
In my large family we have set up the rules and consequence structure up front for all to see and learn. Thus it is clearly defined that these are the rules, if you break them this is what happens. It is important to be respected by your children. You are a parent and have the power of such.
Make sure that you and your spouse put up a united front. In your case you are both.. being a military brat I know how rough we kids can be on our mothers when Dad is away. If there is disrespect going on it needs to be curtailed ASAP. What works? It is trial and error and depends on each child.
What we had to do and has nipped many problems in the bud is take everything away...
For instance, If our son was going to misbehave be disrespectful to us, his teachers, or siblings, friends... he would suffer the loss of everything we provided for him that was a luxury. No toys, TV, games, trips to the park, outtings of any kind.. nothing. He had books to read, paper and pencils to draw and write, and a lot of alone time in his room. He was so stubborn a three or four minute time out 30 times a day was nothing. A day alone in an empty room.. that got the point across real quick.
There is no cruelty here, he had food, shelter, our love and attention, school, and the occasional special outing (birthday or family event).. just none of the perks a responsible child/young adult can earn... It was amazing how quickly all the children involved turned around. All the children in my family and extended family quickly readjusted their attitudes to earn their priviledges back, and gave us love and respect in return.
In many cases it was apparent the disrespect was stemming from an over inflatted sense of entitlement. What are our children entitled to? Love, food, shelter, and education... All the rest are luxuries. Luxuries are dependent on our willingness to provide them.
My cousins and nieces, nephews and son thrive in this system.. oftimes they act out to get your attention, or the attention of those that they are feeling deprivation from (Your missing husband).
All children will go through phases and test their parental units. They want to find the boundry and see how far they can push beyond it. If the punsihment is worth it or easily ignored they will keep on going. WE have to spank, in addition to taking everything away for weeks on end if need be. Presenting a united front between the parents is the most important thing in conjunction with consistancy in discipline. It is not going to work if you are unwittingly undermining each other or giving in to the kids whims.
Best of luck finding a solution that works best for you.
If we learn by our mistakes, I am working on one hell of an education.
We tried a reward system it worked for about a month until my son learned how bad he could be and what good things he needed to do to cancel out the bad deeds. Man did he learn to work the system, and he strived for nuetral days, trying to rack up good deeds to cancel out the bad accumulated earlier. This is the general system. We had a ring that green and black beads were placed on.. this provided a visual indicator of how good my son was being.
We had doing chores(picking up and putting away his toys, maybe elping to dust, fold laundry, hand me clean dishes, feed the dog..etc nothing intensive.. he is just four), good manners, good sleep habits, doing lessons, etc.. each would be worth so many green (Good beads).
Black beads.. (bad beads) were earned for talking back, disobedience, open defience, temper tantrums, bad manners.. etc. each offense had a value.
First we took every thing away telling him when he can behave as a respectful good bo he can earn his toys and privaledges back.
If he had no toys or privaledges to earn back. For every green bead beyond black, we would give him a dime for his piggy bank. Otherwise he could choose a toy/privaledge to earn back.
Once again this worked for a while but eventually we had to go to only good behavior will be tolerated. Bad behavior will cost you everything until we are willing to give you a bit back. This has been working for three months solid now. My son is behaving like a little gentle man, is doing well at school, and is a happy exhuberant child. Also no more need for that occasional spanking.
If we learn by our mistakes, I am working on one hell of an education.
MissTee, I would stop the exhausting yelling and give your daughter one warning and then consequences. The consequences have to be given EVERYTIME or she won't take you seriously. Timeouts worked for me or taking away something. Spanking never worked for us. If you are consistent with consequences it will get her behavior under control and save you a lot of energy. Can you join a mom's club so that you all can get out and socialize? Your last line of your post says everything - you are too tired and give in - this is what is causing your problems. Take a few days and stick with it and don't give in and you will gain control back in your household and will get more rest. By giving in you think that you are saving energy but you are making the whole situation worse and are actually losing more energy. Bedtime - Have you ever watched Supernanny fix the bedtime problems? Take a few nights and just keep returning them to their beds and don't talk to them. They will get the message that you mean business and that they are going to sleep there and it is actually nice to sleep in your own bed. The whole trick here is to not get upset and just keep taking them back to their bed with no discussion. (I think you tell them the first two times that they have to sleep in their beds but after that silence). Staying calm with give you the focus to keep doing it. It will work. You might spend an hour taking them back to bed constantly but if you just pay this one high price one or two nights the reward you will get is them not giving you trouble at bedtime.
Consistency is key when dealing with children. If you give them a warning and they repeat the behavior there has to be a consiquence. If you don't follow through on the consiquence even one time they know they can get away with it again.
I know having a 4 year old can be very tough, especially if you are doing it on your own. But you need to set the tone of what is acceptable behavior. She needs to know what will happen if she does one of the unacceptable things and you need to follow through with it if it happens.
I think some of her acting out could be because of her missing her father. Maybe you could take some time with just her (does you son still take a nap) and draw pictures or make cards for you husband and mail him something once a week. This could be a way for her to still feel connected to him and you could be doing something positive together.
Where she is 4, is there some sort of preschool you could enroll her in? She may also benefit from interacting and socializing with kids her own age. It will also help her use some of her energy in a more positive way.
As far as bedtime, I stick with a very strict routine with my 5 year old. She gets a bath, we do her hair in braids (to cut down on morning tangles), she brushes her teeth, and she gets one story in her bed. When the story is done she gets a hug and kiss and I leave. She use to fight me for more stories, a song, anything to keep me in the room longer. I would reassure her I loved her and leave the room. There were some nights she would cry, but I wouldn't go in. I had to teach her that once she's in bed that's it. It may be tough at first, but if you can do this your nights will be a lot easier.
You need to have time for you, especially where you don't have help right now. Take back control of your home. It is going to get worse before it gets better, but once it is you will be happier and so will your kids.
Agree with HappyMom - consistancy is the key....when my triplets were 4 - you cant even imagine the chaos....and if I even one time let them get away with something - it was worse for days...
Your house is not a democracy till they get alot older, at this age its a dictatorship and you are the dictator! lol
My kids got one warning, I got down to his or her eye level and stated firmly "you will not throw toys - someone could get hurt, something could get broke - if you do this again you will have no toys for the rest of the day" and if the kid did it again, I followed through each and every time without fail - sometimes they pushed and yes sometimes I felt really bad that the kid couldnt play - but it works...
Also about yelling, I am a yeller at heart, and have learned it is almost better to spank then to yell, your kids will tune you right out, they get to know what tone and volume level you need to get to before they take you serious...keep your tone as calm as you can, and as quiet as you can, they have to hush to hear you. It takes practice but it helps too
Children want attention. If you don't give them the good kind....they will do whatever it takes to get attention....even if it is you getting mad and yelling. Consequences of their actions must be consistant and stern. A switch worked wonders for us. In this day and time you can't send them to their room. After all most kids have all the things they like in their room. Like the TV or games and their toys. Maybe a good place to start is to make a place in your house she doesn't like to go and make that "time out". If that doesn't work go for the switch. I know she won't like that. Just a small one a few times on her legs will make her walk and talk!!!! Just don't over do it or when your mad. Children don't come with instructions and one kind of punishment doesn't work on all of them. So if something doesn't work, try something else. Try to keep your cool and let them know you are in charge! Show her if she does wrong she will be punished (every time). She'll get the message after she gets punished enough. I know its hard to spank or switch....but in your case, unfortunately that may be what it takes.
You have to be consistent, above all things. Right now you are being consistant in a non-productive way. You scream and yell and your dd knows that mom's bark is worse than her bite. Tell your child what you expect of them and the consequences if they don't do as they are told.
Example: You tell your child to pick up her toys.
Tell her dinner is in five minutes, you need to pick up your toys, please. If they are not picked up in five minutes you will lose them (or whatever punishment you pick).
If she ignores you, wait five minutes and say "time's up, you are losing these toys because you refuse to pick them up." Then take them away and put them in time out for as long as you chose.
She is going to make a huge fuss for a few times after you do this, but eventually she'll know when mommy says pick up the toys you pick them up or lose them.
This goes for any negative behavior. My son used to be just like your dd, especially at gramma's house. One day he was acting up at grammas and I told him to lower his voice or we will leave. He didn't lower his voice and we left. Yeah, he screamed all the way home but next time he behaved. We've left malls, restaurants, the list could go on. But he knows now that we expect him to behave or he'll have to leave wherever he's having fun at. He also knows if he misbehaves at preschool he'll lose a train (his most favorite toy) and not get to play on his swingset before dinner. It doesn't seem like much but it was for him.
I've also used this technique on an unruly day care class (I work in the afternoons) and when the kids refused to pick up their toys I took away swing priveledges. They were mad when we joined the other classes on the playground and they couldn't swing. It didn't take long before I got this class picking up their toys quickly so we could go swing. You have to find your child's favorite activity or toys, or something they love doing, and use it as your leverage. She's going to act is her life is over, but in the end you're teaching her a valuable lesson - minding your parents.