August 10, 2012,
M.W. asks from Fort Collins, CO on September 13, 2010
Is My Daughter Really a Spoiled Brat?!?!?
All judgments aside please. I'm just a mom, looking for the kind hearted advice of other moms out there.
So my daughter will be turning 4 next week. And we will be celebrating her birthday this weekend, and honestly I'm not looking forward to it what so ever!
She has a terrible attitude, never takes anything I say seriously, back talks me all the time. Is mean and terrible to her sister. And has been given everything she has ever wanted by her grandmother. I'm literally at my whits end! At night when I put her to bed I just want to cry because I miss my sweet little baby she once was. My husband and I have decided to be a little more stern with her discipline. By taking away her blanket (her most cherished item) for hours at a time, and sending her to bed after she's had three chances to do what's be told. We have spanked her on some occasions but that doesn't seem to make a difference. It doesn't matter how loud I yell, or how angry I get to make my point clear she just thinks it all a joke. She will listen to her father better than me, but she's still pushing the limits quite a bit.
She started preschool 3 weeks ago, and that seems to have help a LITTLE bit, at least we get a break from each other for a while.
Because my mom has given her so much and is always taking her shopping and spoiling her I fear that makes her worse. She doesn't value anything. She will play with things for a day or two and then has no interest in them again. I remember being so much more appreciative of my toys then she is. I've asked my mom to stop buying them so much, but she says, it's her money and she enjoys making them happy! But all it does is give me more insanity!
My husband and I went to a Baseball game the other day, and I brought both my girls back a souvenir (a cute teddy bear) My youngest LOVES it! and my 4yr old was disappointed! She said, I don't like it, it's ugly, take it back. My heart shattered! I thought how insensitive can she be! She's very ungrateful! Oh and did I mention that she tells lies all the time?
Does anyone have any advice on how to deal with her better? And how to get her back to the appreciative, nice girl she once was?
1 mom found this helpful
M.H. answers from Chicago on September 13, 2010
My girlfriend has 3 girls, 5 year old twins and a 6 year old. When yelling does not work, she whispers to them. She said that has helped with them listening.
1 mom found this helpful
D.P. answers from Pittsburgh on September 13, 2010
K.B. answers from Tulsa on September 13, 2010
I am the one who buys my daughter too many toys, in part because I have the best memories of growing up with certain toys and because she is an only child. Plus, we have a friend with a used consignment store who allows us to trade anything anytime. This has resulted in her having too many toys.
I have removed and sold toys without telling her, but I don't suggest it. I would get a box of lawn bags and pack up all but the bare minimum toys. I would place the rest in the attic or somewhere she can't see or get to them. That way if she REALLY misses something you can get it back.
J.M. answers from Boston on September 13, 2010
Okay, not being mean, or at least, not trying to be.
Your daughter isn't acting the way that she is because her grandmother gives her too much stuff. Her grandmother doesn't live there, doesn't set rules and expectations. There are lots and lots of kids whose grandparents spoil them with material goods, but the kids still know that is because of the special grandparent relationship, not because everything is to be taken for granted.
Try 1-2-3 Magic. You need to be consistent all the time. Not the occasional spanking or yelling.
Being "spoiled" is not about having ungrateful behavior, it's about the absence of polite, kind behavior, if that makes sense. You can't teach a negative. You can only teach her the right way to act. That means rewarding good behavior. Of course you want to extinguish bad behavior, but she doesn't know how to act "appreciative" or sensitive to your feelings - she's four. Case in point, the gift after the baseball game. When she was rude, instead of being hurt, you should say "that's too bad that you don't like it. I'll take it back and give it to someone who appreciates it." Then take it back. Follow through. When she pitches a fit, explain that she hurt your feelings because you bought something nice for her and she was rude about it. Model polite behavior about how she could have said thank you.
Honestly, this is going to be a lot of work. Raising polite kids is a lot of work. But it's not your mom's job to raise her. I think you could talk to your mom about expecting a pleasant "thank you" after she gives a gift, and you could teach your daughter about the joy of giving to others by donating some of the toys that she doesn't play with. But I think that you are expecting too much "thoughtfulness" from a 4 year old, she's just learning how to act and cannot really think of others yet.
Best of luck.
8 moms found this helpful
R.J. answers from Seattle on September 13, 2010
I would suggest turning what you're doing on it's head, since it's not working (been there, done that).
Here's a couple things to try:
1) Take away *everything* EXCEPT her lovey. Tell her from now on, her lovey is safe because she actually loves and cares for it. ONE toy at a time can be brought out. Say, maybe one a week. If she really cares for them, then MAYBE she might get to have 2 toys/ 3 toys/ etc. If she throws a fit, away it/they go... and she can start of with 1 toy again. Earning them back one by one by caring for them and treating them well.
2) Model how you want her to act. My husband yells, slams doors, etc. He doesn't get that our son is just copying my husband's behavior. Instead, next time you're about to yell/ lose your temper announce that YOU are going on timeout. Then, after you've calmed down and are untouchable :), it's time to meet out discipline. Punishing angry doesn't usually have a lot of effect, because it's not discipline. It's venting/retaliation/intimidation. The intimidation works on some kids and adults. Many, however, it just ticks them off.
(( In my house I have a rule about yelling: It's OKAY for ANYONE to yell IF: you're far away or there's danger. <Laughing> Of COURSE I've broken my own rule. We all snap from time to time. And I'm human. So I take a time out to calm down, and apologize, and we work through the issue. But as long as we all follow the rule of thumb (danger or far away), it works out fairly.))
Anyhow... there's tons of things you can try... but get the drift about turning things on their head?
6 moms found this helpful
P.W. answers from Dallas on September 13, 2010
Advise grandma no more gifts. Birthdays and holidays, but please run by you first to be sure appropriate.
No more anger. It only fuels the fire. In my opinion the blankie is not the best place to impose a consequence. The consequence should fit the crime.
I'm not surprised a 4 year old is insensitive.
I'm sure your little girl is a handful, but I'm not so sure your expectations are in line with her age. You may have to toughen up a bit. If a 4 year old's honesty about not liking your gift hurts your feelings.......wait until she is 13. Ouch! Try not to take these things personally. She is a little girl just learning about emotions, etc...
BUY the "Love and Logic" books. I think they will really help you understand how to deal with your daughter effectively without anger.
6 moms found this helpful
S.H. answers from Honolulu on September 13, 2010
YOU are the parent... not Grandma.
Do not demote yourself... nor your Husband.
By the time my kids were that age, we taught our kids... that WE are the parents... and that, they or Grandma had to ask our 'permission' first... for any 'treats.' Not in a dictatorial way... but, my kids, KNOW the pecking order and WHO is a 'parent' and who is not. My mom, Grandma... knows that... now... after a lot of gently coaxing and 'practice.'
So that... Grandma and my kids, know now, that 'treats' are not an entitlement...
all the best,
5 moms found this helpful
G.H. answers from Chicago on September 13, 2010
De-Toy her, take away ALL her toys & have her earn them back...don't take away her special blanket, in fact let her know that since she loves & takes care of it she can keep it.
As far as you & your husband being a "little more stern with her discipline" you have to be A LOT more stern. Turning your daughters behavior around is crucial if you want a happy home & a respectful daughter. You don't want people looking at you in public shaking there head while watching your daughter disrespect you.
When she said she didn't like the bear you should have taken it from her & told her she should never say that to anyone that gives her a gift. At xmas or birthday time I always remind my kids (3,5,6) that if they don't care for a gift they are to never tell someone that they don't like it, they are to smile & say thank you NO MATTER WHAT & thank God they have listened.
Don't expect your mom to change her ways. If she won't listen to your request let her know she has a choice, keep the toys at her house or the will go in a bag put away. This is your child & you have to do what's right for her. You don't want her teachers or other parents talking about what a brat your daughter is.
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C.C. answers from Philadelphia on September 14, 2010
However you decide to raise her be consistent. Discipline is nesscary
3 moms found this helpful
N.S. answers from Chicago on September 13, 2010
I don't know if this will help with a 4-year old, but recently I hit upon something that helped with my 9-year old. She is showered with expensive gifts (see post about her wanting a computer, an iPod Touch, a new cell phone, a Coach purse and diamonds for her birthday. She ended up with a new computer, a cell phone and a big vacation with Grandma as gifts!) She will act spoiled, ask for expensive items and wrinkle her nose at less expensive things. Her behavior gets worse the more you give her, and there's nothing we can do about Grandma or anyone else buying her stuff. I've been on here asking for advice too!
Kids get weird, just like adults do, if they feel they are getting more than they deserve. If someone in your family suddenly bought you a new car, then they bought you a computer, then they bought you an expensive vacation, you'd feel weird too. As an adult you'd either refuse the gifts or try to give back. A child can't refuse a gift (what child can?) They don't know how to give back, and so they are left with feelings too big for them.
They act out. You react by punishment. This reinforces the idea that they don't deserve the gifts. The behavior worsens. I've been there.
The ONLY thing that has worked for me is having my daughter give back. She draws pictures, makes cards, picks flowers, does chores etc. The more work she does, the BETTER her behavior gets! She was positively ghastly right after her birthday and I HAD it so she worked her little tail off writing thank-yous to EVERYONE. She didn't complain, and after she was done she was so proud. The bad behavior stopped. As a note, I didn't frame the thank yous as punishment, I told her that people had spent a lot of money on her and she needed to thank them properly.
When my daughter gets spoiled and she's acting like a brat she always gets much better after she gives back. The more we praise her as being a big helper, the better her behavior gets.
Next time your mom buys your 4-year old a gift, help her to write a thank-you to grandma. You don't have to frame it as a punishment, just let her know that's what we do when someone does something nice for us. You can make it fun, she can draw a picture etc. Also, help her to make something for your mom every time she goes over there. She will learn the joy of giving which will help her to be a better receiver. That was advice I got from mamapedia and it's great advice.
You can also go through her toys with her and help her to get rid of the ones she doesn't play with. Maybe you can go together to donate them to the library. My daughter loved it when we did that and she always goes to check and see if her toys are in the cabinet at the library. She gets excited when they are not because she knows they are getting played with.
I tried the punishment route and it didn't work. Please try this route, it worked for me and it's much more positive!
3 moms found this helpful
P.M. answers from Portland on September 13, 2010
You could be trying to raise a personality type that is out of sync with your parenting type. It happens; I was raised by a mom who was a terrible match for me and two of my three sisters (all of us mismatched in different ways, by the way).
The Dr. Sears suggestion below has been helpful for a few families I've known, but didn't really help one family address a problems child's behavior at all. All families I've known, even those with one or more seriously ill-tempered or poorly behaved children, have done well, sometimes miraculously so, trying the techniques in How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Faber and Mazlish.
Either way, it appears that spanking, and perhaps deprivations, are only making your daughter a harder case. I strongly suggest How to Listen because I've seen the results, and because I worked for a few years as a tutor with some very angry, at-risk high school kids and fell into this pattern of respectful communication sort of instinctively. It was amazingly effective, even though it appeared "soft." Some very tough kids quickly started working their brains out for me.
Please give it a try. I think you'll begin to see positivive changes with your first experiments in applying the principles.
I'd like to add that forcing apologies from children can quickly become another "lie" of convenience – just say you're sorry so you can get back to what you want to do. I never demand apologies or even thank you's from my grandson. He learns them by watching how the polite adults in his life handle disagreements, gifts, etc. Then he does them because that's how our family works. He has actually apologized to me as long as a week after a moment of bad temper – he just needed that time to process the interaction and get to an authentic sense of "sorry."
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