January 10, 2008,
B.S. asks from Stockton, CA on May 17, 2007
4 Year Old Daughter Getting Mad Easily
Hi there, My 4 year old daughter gets mad and frustrated very easily. When she gets mad at me for disciplining her she tells me, "That's it! I'm not your friend, I don't love you, your mean, you don't love me." No matter how much I reassure her that I do love her... she tells me "no you don't" Beleive me.... I ALWAYS tell her I love her and show her affection. I hug her and tell her how special she is to me. I also explain to her that when she is naughty she gets consequences...i.e.time outs....but she still tells me the same thing. I know that she isn't happy about her time outs when she gets in trouble... but gosh...without trying to sound "like a baby" but sometimes it really hurts my feelings that she says stuff like that. Any advice....on how to deal with this...how can I help her understand other than the usual love and embracing that I do give her.
J.M. answers from Fresno on May 18, 2007
Dr. Brazelton writes wonderful books about how to handle children. Google him and you can find the books, they have been very helpful to us, he is very kind and has a wonderful approach
A.C. answers from Fresno on May 17, 2007
I so know what you are talking about! My 3 almost 4 year old is going through this right now!! I have been going crazy! Her and I read a book called When I get angry! It teaches children how to recognize what being angry feels like then shows them how to let of steam! It talks about taking deep breaths and taking a walk. I have also linked for her to Spongebob which has really helped and it sounds rediculous but on one show spongebob had gotten mad and started saying tartar sauce over and over! And, Allison walked up to me and asked if she should find a word to use when she is angry and I thought it was an awesome idea! I just have to remind her when she starts saying mean things, that she has better words to use! So we are getting better day by day! I am still using time out and no tv time when she does forget her angry word but it is finally starting to smooth out! Good Luck!
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M.G. answers from Modesto on May 18, 2007
To be honest, this sounds like the typical 4 year old. They don't mean what they say; they are just trying to get themselves out of their punishment or wanting attention. My son sometimes still says things like this, and he is almost 7. Like you, I also give my son lots and lots of hugs, kisses, attention, comfort, and listen attentively. When he gets overly upset, and makes comments like "you’re the worst mom ever!" I calmly tell him, "I now that you don't mean that, you’re upset and you need to calm down. Why don't you take a break and we will talk about it when you are calm". This usually works. Sometimes he carries on with a bit of a tantrum, sometimes flailing on the floor, and at that point I calmly tell him that he is acting inappropriately, and that I will talk to him when he can talk to me nicely. I know it is challenging, but this is the way that I have found most helpful. I have tried hugging him when he gets "mean", but usually that does not help, and then he begins to have tantrums just to get a hug, or a tickle on the tummy. If you ignore the behavior, and inform your daughter that that behavior is not acceptable, eventually it will stop, or at least not occur as often. I gained this advice from my mother in law, and also my mom, and so far it has worked great!
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C.N. answers from San Luis Obispo on May 18, 2007
No, you are not being a baby, you are trying your very best to be a good mother, and it is the hardest job in the world. Doesn't Oprah say that too?
Four year old little girls are very hard headed little things. They have not developed a conscience yet. Look up Maslow's Scale of Development on the internet. Your only reply to her hurtful words should be - I am your mother and I tell you what to do and you do it - or some such, you make up your own words, but that is the jist of what you tell her.
Then you immediately take her to her room, and she stays there until YOU tell her that she can come out. She can have a tantrum, kick, scream, throw up, cry with snot running down her nose, but you just keep quiet and let her do her thing. After she is quiet, then take her to the bathroom, clean her up and get on with life. Keep on doing this until she realizes that she is not going to get away with treating you that way, and that she will get the same treatment everytime she talks like that to you, or doesn't mind you. It will carry on for quite a long time, or not, but you need to stick to your guns, tell you husband that I said so. ....and I know what I am talking about.
This is a good way to teach her civility, and believe me, that is one of the most important things that you will ever teach her. If you don't get this stopped now, then you will be miserable for the rest of your life with her. She should not be bossing her parents, and she should be taught to be kind and loving to people, starting with you.
My great grand daughter started this when she was three, and now that she has had this treatment, she is still naughty sometimes, but she is civil to adults, and is a happier child. Go for it, you can't lose.
Also, tell your neighbors, friends, relatives that you are doing and "intervention", people like that kind of talk nowadays, and that is exactly what you are doing.
In the middle times when she is being civil, then don't bring up anything that has happened in the past, just get on with your relationship and build, build, build. Sincerely, C. N.
L.F. answers from San Diego on May 18, 2007
Teach her some ways to deal with her anger. The things she says are meant to hurt you because she is angry or hurt and is lashing back at you, but don't take them seriously. I think a lot of girls go through this at that age, and again when they become teenagers their emotions become overwhelming.
L.R. answers from Fresno on May 18, 2007
I just thought maybe somebody was reading my mind and decided to write a post for me. hee hee. Oh I feel your misery. I have a 4 year old and she does the same exact thing. Hands on the hips and tongue ready to come out at me. I just tell her I love her too and give her a hug. I really feel this is a phase (I hope). I also believe in the 1-2-3 Magic. A friend gave it to me. I haven't finished reading it but it has some great ideas to all sorts of problems from toddlers to teenagers. Hang in there, you are not the only one with an honory 4 year old. I see your a paralegal. I am a legal assistant!!!
R.L. answers from Sacramento on May 18, 2007
It sounds like you are doing everything to let your daughter know love you love her. When our children say things like that it hurts, but she is saying those things distract you from her punishment. It is much more fun to have your reassure her that you love her than to go into time out. Do not react when she says those things. She realises it gets a reaction from you. Your daughter does love you, its the time out that she doesn't love. She is expressing that feeling to you. If you just say 'okay' while calmly putting her in time out, she will eventually stop because she not getting the reaction that she wants. Remember, Your daughter DOES love you, You are NOT mean, Your daughter knows you love her.
I have childrens book, "I'll Always Be Your Friend" by Sam McBratney, that I read to my daughter sometimes. The little fox tells his mommy that he will never be her friend, because she tells him it time to come inside. In the end he say he is her friend again and she tells him 'That's good, because I will always be your friend.'
I hope this will help you. Take care.
K.P. answers from Las Vegas on May 17, 2007
Hi B., That sucks that you are going through this already. I know my turn will come very very soon and sadly it will probably last until the late teen years. I'm thinking your daughter knows how much you love her but she also knows she did something wrong and she is upset with the fact that she is being "called out" on it. She knows how much it upsets you when she tells you that she doesn't love you (even though she knows she does) or that you don't love her (even though she knows you do). I guess as hard as it has to be for you try not to react to her saying things like that and continue doing what you always do. You are a great mother and she knows it too. Kids are stinkers sometimes (as you surely know) and they are plenty smarter than we think as Dr. Phil says :)
R. answers from Las Vegas on May 17, 2007
My 4-year-old daughter has been doing the same thing too! I don't know about yours, but mine likes to imitate the way older kids act. When she sees them act like that in a movie or at the park, she wants to be that way too. SO, whenever she gets upset for not getting her way, or getting in trouble she tells me those things. I just do what you do, tell her I love her and tell her how her words hurt my feelings. I ask her how it would feel if mommy told her those things...wouldn't it hurt your feelings? She sometimes comes around after that, but sometimes she just continues on. I just tell her that it is not ok to act like that, and I walk away. SHe eventually comes back and apologizes or her dad will come home and have a talk about her behavior. She is really sensitive to him. I sometimes tell her that is she is going to talk mean to me then she can go and sit in her bed until she is ready to apologize. It usually works. I don't know if this helps, but at least you know you ARE NOT alone.
A.M. answers from San Francisco on May 18, 2007
I understand how it can hurt your feelings when she says things like that and I don't think your a baby. One thing you can do is acknowledge her feelings. Say something like, " I know your mad at me right now and that's okay. I love you." Then continue on with your timeout or consequence. After her consequence time is over and she has cooled down explain to her how her words make you feel in as few words as possible. If you want to tell her that her words make you feel sad you can also give her an example of when something made her feel sad so that she understands what sad means. Mainly be specific.
As far as her discipline goes, do you let her know why she is being given a time out. Are you being specific with what actions caused her to get a time out. Sometimes just saying your on time out because your bad, mean, or in trouble doesn't give kids a clear understanding of their actions and consequences. I hope this helps.