4 Year Old Daughter Making Me Insane

Updated on March 01, 2010
A.P. asks from Addison, IL
35 answers

I was just wondering if we are going through a normal phase. My 4 year old daughter is in the midst of the terrible 4's..(forget the terrible 2's, 4 is way worse!!)Lately I have felt and sounded like a maniac, and I hate to keep behaving that way. I need some ways to deal with the stress of dealing with her attitude, talking back, not listening, etc. My husband tries to be the buffer between us when he can, but I am at home with her all day. I do get a break while she is in pre-k, but it is only for two and a half hours 3 days a week. I occasionally get out of the house alone or with the hubby, and I calm down, relax and enjoy myself. I come home thinking everything will be better, I will be able to handle her now...then boom, she does or says something so unacceptable that I am back to the crazy mom attitude. My husband has told me that I am definately not as happy as I used to be. I am starting to wonder if I should seek professional help. I see alot of moms that seem to have it together better than me. Is this just a front? When they get home do they deal with the same issues? I feel very insecure right now about my parenting skills. In public, she is usually great, with an occasional meltdown. But for the most part it is just at home, which for that I am thankful. Is this common? Are there alot of mom's with crazy 4 year olds? Please tell me this will pass. Right now the only discipline that works on her is to send her to her room for however many minutes(sitting on the bed, not playing. She hates this) Plus me screaming like a banshee...which I hate. Any advice??

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K.T.

answers from Chicago on

One thing I noticed: she's sassy at home and good in public, yes?

This means she's already learned the boundary of public behavior- which means you're doing a great job!

If they let their guard down and push boundaries at home, it's because you've taught them that home and parents are the right place to do that. Then it's up to you to set the limits and follow through. Home is their "laboratory" and that's a good thing.

Mine is the same way- a completely different child at school and in public than at home. At school, she's quiet, polite, plays nicely, shares, listens, etc. At home- holy terror. But she's stretching her boundaries in a comfortable environment and I'd rather she does that then act out at school or in public.

Good job, Mom!

K.

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N.J.

answers from Chicago on

I too have a 4 year old that I would love to say is a precious angel but I would be lying! She too acts crazy and I, like you, feel like I am one step away from the crazy house!

Hang in there...most kids go through a phase that we can say are a bit trying on us parents but don't feel like you are alone!

It sounds like you are doing the right things with punishment. The only thing I might add is....when she throws a tantrum or acts out of line then tell her if she continues to act like this then you will have to take her favorite movie or toy and put it in time out. This really works for me since my daughter is really into princess movies! She hates to see her movies go into hiding and now knows once I have "that look" in my eyes, she better stop or away goes her fav's!

Good luck and keep the faith!

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A.F.

answers from Chicago on

You are not alone. Not at all.

I do know that 4-year olds are more independent and a way to show their independence is to be mouthy, irritable, insane little people! This behavior drives a wedge between you and her. They are finding their way in this world.

Have you ever heard of Jim Fay and The Love and Logic Institue?
Jim has made a huge difference in how I parent: http://www.loveandlogic.com/

Good luck. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

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T.H.

answers from Chicago on

Hi there! I have a girl who's just over 3 and has challenging days. I'll share some things I've learned about dealing with her that are successful. It's become all about prevention of her getting attitude and it takes a lot of work but it's so rewarding when it pays off. I talk talk talk all day. I tell her why what she's doing is wrong, and what the right way is to do something. I tell her why I tell her no. I tell her why we need to pick up or do anything I ask her to do. I praise her a lot when she finally gets it. I've found ways to stop saying no, by saying yes. If she's not hurting someone or herself, or isn't breaking anything and something is really no big deal, let it go. For example, the other day we were eating dinner. She gets up, walks over to the couch, and starts pulling the cushions off. I was about to reprimand her, but then remembered Grandma did this with her a few weeks ago and it was ok then. Does it hurt the couch? No, does it hurt her? No, so I let it go.She had fun and we had no screaming. She kept pulling ornaments off the christmas tree. I took each one, told her a story about it and put it up too high for her to reach. Now I hold her up, look at it and talk about it. She's happy to see it and have that quality moment with me, I'm not screaming about the tree. (of course our tree has ornaments on the top third only but it's only one christmas and it's a story to share with her in the future) Prevent prevent prevent...

Another thing I found out was she is the perfect imitation of me. The more I yell and get mad, the more pissy her attitude became. I realized she's becoming me. It was quite a shocking epiphany for me to realize I was responsible for her anger and rage. My recommendation is to stop yelling, stop saying no all the time. Quit punishing (unless it's a breakage or hurt thing). Show her, explain to her, talk softly (they do listen, but you have to talk more). Try to understand where she's coming from. How frustrating is it for her to have this crazy woman yelling all the time? Kids have no clue how to do life. Teach her. Let her help with things. I found letting my daughter help with laundry and dishes makes her happy and proud (and quite easy to deal with). Let go of time, and just BE with her. Ease up on yourself too. All moms have issues, don't ever think you're alone, because there's millions before you with the same thoughts and concerns. Now, tell your hubby to take over tonight, grab a glass of wine and take a long hot bubble bath, and try to relax. Then start tomorrow with a big hug and kiss for your kids, and take the foot of the gas, ease up.

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A.R.

answers from Chicago on

I feel like I was in your shoes just yesterday!! My daughter is 6 but we were where you are last year this time. I remember a couple of truly horrible days where she would wake me up by screaming at me and biting me, etc and the whole day would be spent trying to get her to tell me what was wrong, keeping her "grounded" in her room, etc. WHEW!
This year, she is well-behaved for the most part, doesn't lash out with words, fists, teeth, or feet... and we can't believe she is the same child!

What we did: We were consistent. Even when it was stressful on us to be, we still were. She knew wrong from right (and we reminded her so she would not forget!!) and she knew what the consequences were. If we threatened something, then we had to follow through (no threats to throw away every single toy, etc that you can't follow through!) We made a simple paper stoplight too- warnings got yellow lights, punishment got red lights- she got a "treat" if she was on green light all day (like me reading an extra story, etc) and then another, more special treat for being "green" all week (a book from bookstore, etc.)

Also, something that took a few months, but was WELL worth it was setting an absolute bedtime for her. It was 8pm, no exceptions! That means you have to be home in time to get started putting her to bed, so that can be a pain too, but once it's routine, it is SOOOOO worth it!

You have the benefit of better behavior because of the schedule, PLUS some alone time after she is asleep.

Another thing I realized is that we did not have a schedule for our day, and I loathe schedules, so that was hard for me, but I realized she would wake up not knowing how the day would go and be in a frenzy then act out... so I would try to plan one simple craft, include her in cooking/baking I was going to do, etc. and it would not only keep her from being bored, but if she had that to look forward to the next day, she would act better!

You could take her out too- getting out of the house seems to lift everyone's spirits in the winter. How about going to the Gail Borden Public Library? (It's in Elgin) They have a play space that both of your children would enjoy. They also have various storytimes, or maybe she could play a game on their computers for awhile, check out a new video or new toy. My daughter LOVED books on tape too- that would keep her settled for a half hour or so!

Try some physical things with her to get the energy out- maybe go swimming at The Centre (again, in Elgin) or sign her up for a toddler dance class? Even putting on some peppy music and bouncing around the living room might get her in better spirits.

I do know that it frustrated me that the more time I spent with my daughter, the worse she seemed to cling and behave... we also implemented "30 minutes of playtime in your room" and made sure that she knew it was not punishment, but that we needed alone time. This was pretty horrible at first, but once she got used to it, she really did self-entertain better!

Also, you can try eliminating things from her diet and see if it helps- my daughter gets VERY aggressive if she has any Red #40- it's in everything!!- or Juicy Juice for some reason.

Various other ideas I used to keep her entertained at 4/5 yrs old:

Fill a shallow rubbermaid container 1/2 way with uncooked rice. Let her play in it like a sandbox with scoops, measures, etc. You can add beans too- or let her decorate a lump of playdough by sticking in pasta, beans, rice, etc. Make a "snowman" like this!

Use regular kitchen tongs to pick things up and transfer from container to container- like clothespins or cubes of ice, blocks, etc. It will take her concentration!

Send her on a treasure hunt (find two things smaller than your toe and report back to me!) It is even more fun if you pretend she is a spy and use a silly voice.

Print worksheets or coloring sheets from computer and play "school" with her. Maybe give her a chalk board or dry erase board (a dry erase marker and aluminum baking pan works just as well) to practice writing?

Hope this helps,
Best of wishes!!
A. R (feel free to email me if you want also:
[email protected]____.com I have lots of great websites I can send you with things to make and do!)

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B.

answers from Chicago on

Hi A.- No you are not alone, all moms feel like theey are losing their minds at one time or another. As a SAHM of 4 children 7 yrs, 5 years,4 years, and 3 months I have one bit of advice. Address the behavior as unemotionally as possible. It is HARD but with 3 girls who like to be "mini-mommies" and TRY to control the house, me, my husband etc It is the best I can give. I have especially seen these behaviors in my oldest daughter, if you can calmly let your daughter know the behavior is unacceptable and her behavior and not her is what you have a problem with she might realize that she cannot get to you (not YOU ARE A BAD GIRL but I don't like your choices right now so you need to go to your room and think about what you are doing.

I regards to the advice from one mother who feels criticizing is helpful, I advise all mom's read the book Mommy Wars. It is an amazing and enlightening book with short essays which are easy to read when you have a moment or two. It is affirming and thought provoking. We as mothers need to support instead of judge. Good Luck to you A.!
B.

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D.P.

answers from Chicago on

The more you yell at her and show her unacceptable behavior she will follow your lead. PLus if you dont act that way towards her brother then some jealousy can come out making the behavior worse. I was at the point of yelling and losing it with my daughter but I have come to realize when I talk to her calmly EXPLAIN why she did what she did was wrong sincerely she is apt to listen to me 90% MORE. Plus some kids look for the yelling and screaming and crazy behavior from the parent, it's their way of getting attention whether negative or not. She probably does need your attention maybe a few hours out of the day just for her and her Dad should do the same. Kids need that and some don't do well when it comes to sharing attention.I hope you get some relif :)Maybe talking to your docotor about how you feel and get some help temporarily. Do you get to have any playtime with other kids and moms? That might really be a great idea!

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D.A.

answers from Chicago on

You are not alone. I also have a challenging 4 year old. Some days she seems mature and wonderful. She enjoys being helpful. But before you know it her mood swings, she becomes defiant! She talks back, ignores me when I tell her to do something, then pouts, whines and cries when I send her to her room. No one ever said 4 would be this bad. My husband and I find ourselves at our witts end more often than not. Anyway, I think this is typical behavior for this age, that they are learning their bounaries and asserting their independence. Good luck.

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B.D.

answers from Chicago on

Dear A.,

I know you have gotten a lot of responses. I just wanted to try and shed light on why she might be doing this. At the age 4 they realize that they are starting to grow up and be more independent. With going to school it is fun, scarry and a lot of times overwhelming. Kids aren't like adults and don't know how to react to certain situations. So she at times she may feel that she is old enough to know what to do. Other times she may feel very lonely and what to cling to you. here are some ideas that might make this a smoother ride for the both of you. Keep in mind not all children react to things the same way.

One idea is that when she acts out instead of getting mad, just walk her to her room. After her time out go in and explain why she was in there and how it made you feel seeing her act like that. Ask her questions about how she felt. A lot of times they act up to get our attention. One thing that I noticed with my son is that once he started acting up and I started treating him like he was a big kid it helped. I started giving him chores. He just wanted to help. Now he feeds the cat. He helps set the table for dinner every night.

He still gets mouthy which I hate to tell you is something that is going to happen for the rest of their lives. So try not to give the satisfaction of seeing you mad. Good Luck.
B.

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F.O.

answers from Chicago on

I am so happy you posted this, my daughter is 5 but when she was 4 it started to get bad. She is defiant and sometimes the backtalk drive me nuts too. I am told that she is just testing me to my limits as stressfull as it is. Has your daughter been clingy also. Mine has, exspecially when I am trying to do something. It sounds to me you are the right thing by time outs. Your daughter also can be testing you becauase of her sibling. Sometimes my daughter wants attention becauase we also constantly have my 2 God Children here, ages 19 months and 3 weeks. So she is not the baby while they are around. So it is normal.

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J.P.

answers from Chicago on

I had that too!! My only way of coping was to get out of the house. When my twins got like that I would say, "Time for a ride." Sometime we would go for a drive and look at things or we would go to a pet store and look at animals or fish, or the library. Ya know anything just to rejuice my patience and to get us back on good ground with each other. This really worked for us and got me through the "phase." Just an idea. It worked for me. Good luck.

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M.C.

answers from Chicago on

Save your sanity. Instead of screaming like a banchee and putting her in time-out after the screaming isn't working. Just go right to the time-out. Give her one warning when the back-talking or behavioral (sp?) issues begin. Tell her it's unacceptable for her to be doing X and that if she continues, it's a time-out. Count to THREE and actually GET to three. Put her in time-out. I've had the same issue with my soon-to-be 4-year old. I think that as they get older and we can talk with them more, we feel that we can reason with them more and give them more chances to correct their behavior. Your yelling is only making you frustrated and clearly doesn't seem to be even working. Why do it? If you eventually will be getting her in t/o anyway, just skip the insanity step and put her in her room. You get an immediate break without escalating your voice or stress-levels. And, of course, she's going to hate sitting on the bed and not playing; that's why it's a punishment. When the 4 minutes are up. Go to her calmly, ask her to tell you why she went in time-out and help her to explain it if she didn't seem to understand. Ask for an apology and then tell her you love her, give her a hug and a kiss and then send her on her merry way to plauy. You need to let her know that while you don't love her behavior you will always love HER. Good luck!!!

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R.

answers from Chicago on

I could have written your letter! I am now trying to focus on only 1 thing that I deem as bad behavior(and will leave the rest for later): yelling/demanding. Since talking with her about how to properly act isn't effective, I am simply just completely ingnoring it. If she demands milk instead of juice, I just stay quiet and say nothing until she acts for it nicely. SInce she will cry either way, I am hoping that by not responding to it, it will stop it. Of course, she yells and throws her cup, tells me she doesn't like me, etc., but hopefully after a couple weeks it will sink in.

She is perfectly fine at pre-school and outside the house (with an occassional meltdown if hiungry or tired). She is also great when her brother is not around. I think much of this stems from sibling rivalry. If you get any great advice, please forward to me!

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L.I.

answers from Chicago on

I know exactly how you are feeling.... some days we have good days, the others he is like a terror. My son never had the terrible two's, but I think is making up for it now. Time outs sometimes work, but then again sometimes it doesn't. If you come up with anything let me know!

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G.M.

answers from Chicago on

This is the best advice I could give to any parent in any situation for any age. Study the Parenting With Dignity books! Mac Bledsoe, yes Drew Bledsoe's father has written a marvelous set of books in collaboration with his wife, both educators.

They do not tell you what to teach your children, you decide what is important to you, but they teach you how to make it happen with respect to everyone and keeping your dignity and the child's dignity. There is nothing like it out there. It also explains why many common ways of dealing with children and teenagers fail. He has a book Parenting With Dignity that was the original book and also a Parenting With Dignity The Early Years. He addresses meal times, bed time, shopping, etc. in a very entertaining and easy to understand way. You get the tools and strategies you need. Give it a try!

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J.A.

answers from Chicago on

My daughter is 4 and seems to be a very big challenge right now too. I feel your pain.

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H.D.

answers from San Francisco on

HEHE! I couldn't help but grin reading your post. NO dear, you aren't going insane, welcome to motherhood, at it's worst. =)
Four year olds really start exploring their worlds and use their mouths to voice how they feel about it. You are handling it right, don't worry about her screaming. If you let in and let her out of her room then she "wins". Just put on your headphones, sing at the top of your lungs and keep an eye on the clock.
I also have a sassy 4 year old and she has learned how to march HERSELF upstairs and close the door (sometimes with a bang). If it has been a seriously bad incident I tell her to wait until I let her out, if it is somewhat minor I tell her she can come out "when she is ready". She knows that if she lets herself out she has to come and say she is sorry, and she does.
We all need time out sometime and we all need to scream and shout, kids are just better at doing it than we are, hehe!
Kiss the girl and thank God that you have her, believe me she will be in school before you know it and you will wonder where your time with her went. Every age has its advantages and disadvantages, trust your gut, go with the flow and relax when you can. =) *HUG*

M.S.

answers from Chicago on

I am having the same problem with my daughter and she is only 3!! Ever since she started daycare/preschool, I can see that she is picking up bad habits from other children there. She has NEVER thrown herself on the ground having a tantrum before, and she did the other day and wouldnt listen to me for the rest of the day. Lately she just crys and whines about everything and it was driving me nuts. I would lose it and scream at her (like you said you did) but that wasnt doing anything but making us both upset. Now, I try (not always successfully) to tell her we can talk when she calms down, and put her in a "time out-ish" situation and when she stops whining and calms down we talk. Also we talk in the morning when we are getting ready for school, about how we are gonna be "good girls" today and explain how and why it is unacceptable to do the bad things she does. It hasnt completly gotten rid of the bad behavior, but it is helping alot. She likes when she is able to please me, so when she is good, i explain that I am really happy when she is a good girl. Good luck!

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M.

answers from Chicago on

We bought a DVD set called 1,2,3 Magic - it works, no yelling, no discussions. It is well worth the investment. You can find it online, just google it. Works like magic on my 3 year old son and 4 year old daughter.

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J.F.

answers from Chicago on

she maybe learning it from school, but your normal, for the other mom's that is a front, and you need to breath and take deep breathes then take something she really likes away for couple of days. timeout don't work on all kids. or if she has activeties she does take one away and explain the reasons why my daughter who is now 6 yrs old went thru and she still is. School is alot of it. she also maybe jealous of the baby let her help you make a big deal out of it. and also you hubby has to back you up on the punishment you give your daughter. and you need to stick to it even if she cries. your fine believe me I want to yell and scream but that don't help the child she will do it even more if she sees it is not bothering you she will stop. hope this helps J. believe it could be a lot of things that is bothering her also sit down and color with her and ask her to draw a picture how she feels thats one way of getting something out of her. let me know email me any time

L.M.

answers from Columbus on

I have a 4 year old who thinks that she is 40!
my 9 year old thinks that she is 19~ and my 29 yr old husband is like my 3rd child!
so I feel your distress and insanity!
my 2 daughters will fight over a crumb that they found, and my lil one is the AGGRESSIVE one while my oldest is the PASSIVE - SHY one, but she will be the closet instigator!
I feel like I am always yelling, punishing,breaking up fights, or healing a boo boo!

and no matter what I do... it never seems to get better.. the tension that is!
and the hubby is always at work so its always me and the girls!

my 4 yr old is so HYPER i just dont understand how she keeps on going forever and does not get tired!
she is always jumping, running, spinning, doing something that is dangerous, so I have to always be with her to watch and discipline her.
and that just goes in one ear and out the other!

so i feel you.. believe me!!!!!!!!!!!

----also I can agree with this statement:~~~~~Mine is the same way- a completely different child at school and in public than at home. At school, she's quiet, polite, plays nicely, shares, listens, etc. At home- holy terror----

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P.

answers from Chicago on

We should get together and go have a drink.... I also have a 4 year old that I am always yelling at. He is actually 4 1/2 and it is getting better. One time I went as far as locking ALL his toys in a closet for a week and unplugged his TV. After that I would say things changed for the better. I let him know that there are consequences to his actions because before I would threaten him a few times and then just make him sit for a few minutes. It is a phase and it does pass as mine is passing slow but surley. I think 4's are far worse than 2 and any mom who doesn't loose it every now and then has to be hiding it all in. I lost it so many times that I too thought I needed help. But just hang in there take a breath and it will be over soon. I also have a 18 month old and am NOT looking forward to the 4's with her. You are not the only one out there feeling like this. So the drink offer still stands ;-)

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C.F.

answers from Chicago on

WOW...I was just about to post the SAME THING!!!

CAN SOMEONE GIVE US HELP PLEASE!

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P.

answers from Chicago on

A.,
I sympathize with all that you are going through. I am a stay at home mom to an almost 3 year old and a six month old. I love the fact that I can be home with my girls but found shortly after the birth of my second daughter that something wasn't quite right. I was "on edge" all the time and even the smallest infraction from my then 26 month old daughter would cause me to become extremely angry and lash out. The reaction did not fit the crime. I was angry all the time it seemed. I yelled all the time it seemed. I feel that this negative behavior from me was causing my daughter to act out. I finally did contact my OB to discuss it and she prescribed a low dosage of Lexapro an antianxiety/antidepressant medication. I can't begin to tell you the difference it has made for me and my family. I am a much better mother and wife now. In addition my daughter appears to be a much happier child as well. I really do think that they play off of our behaviors. I do not suggest this option lightly as you need to find what is best for you. I can only say that it has made a world of difference for me. I wish you luck.

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T.W.

answers from Chicago on

Wow, we are in the same boat. I have a 4yo girl and a 20 month old girl and I am going nuts too. I know that some of my oldest's actions are due to jealousy from the little one. Our little ones are at a cute (and nontalking back) stage. I have tried to give my oldest more one on one time and more responsibility (helping with dinner, washing her sister, etc). She has responded well. But we still have the occasional meltdown and I send her to her room just like you do. I have noticed that on days when I dont yell and scream, she is better behaved. Try to hang in there, its tough!!!

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A.

answers from Chicago on

A.,

I just want to say that my almost 3 year old son is getting difficult now. And like one other lady said, he may almost be doing what I do. If I yell, thats what he learns. I need to try to calm down and explain stuff to him. But with a 6 mos old baby I can't always seem to do that. Thanks for posting this so I can look at other people's responses.

The main reason I am posting is to say IGNORE Jennifer. Yes, some people don't have the luxury of staying home and taking care of their kids. But people who say things like that are ALL TALK AND NO ACTION!!! If they had the chance to do that, lets see if they don't have crazy days with the kids and don't need to vent. All stay at home moms have bad days!! And the kids are always testing our patience. Yes, its a great job! I like to say being a SAHM is the hardest job I love to do! Hang in there and ignore people's remarks!! They either have no clue what its really like to do this 24/7/365 or if they are SAHM then they probably have nannies and housekeepers etc etc and don't have to do have the stuff other moms do.

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R.

answers from Chicago on

I want to second (or third?) the advice of 1-2-3 Magic. It's a nice program--there's a video and a book. I used to recommend it to parents when I worked in the schools... now I get to use it on my own child! Don't feel insecure about your parenting. These sorts of things/phases happen to everyone, and if someone says it doesn't, then they're lying!

Good luck and hang in there...

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J.S.

answers from Chicago on

I have a crazy 4 year old boy also who likes to add hitting and throwing things into his fits. He thinks he is the boss and tries telling us what to do. I loose it like you do to but I think alot of my problem is stress from work and never getting out. If you get to mad or upset try and go to another room to calm away from your daughter. But something my husband and I have been trying is do not give attention when the child is being that way. If she starts talking back or acting out just ignore her, walk away, continue what you are doing. It has worked a litte with my son. I think it is that they want attention and getting a rise out of us is attention that they seem to find amusing. Hope it helps a little bit.

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J.

answers from Chicago on

I thought A. R.'s advice about routines and setting up consequences was great. Many kids really really respond well to behavior charts, green-yellow-red systems, and a daily routine. I didn't believe it until I tried it. For the screaming thing, I always recommend the book Magic 1-2-3 just because it puts the consequences/rules at the forefront. So it's not you v. the child, it's the rule and the consequences and her choice to make the consequences happen. It takes a lot of effort to be consistent when they are pushing your buttons, though. (not to mention the saint-like patience, which I haven't yet managed to achieve.)

As for the other parents and what's normal - some kids just are more challenging; some go through a "phase" and then it's over. For me, one thing that was actually pretty comforting for me was realizing that yes, my son is more challenging to parent than some kids are. (and not as much as others, but people don't usually advertise their problems.) Maybe your daughter is more difficult this year. It's ok and it's normal for you to feel stressed and stretched by it - it's hard work.

And I found five to be a much better year!

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K.M.

answers from Chicago on

I am a mother of almost adult children, and have been a family childcare provider for the last 12 years, before that teaching K and first grade for 7 years, so I am no stranger to young children. My best advicd: Do not hesitate to get professional help for you and your daughter. The two of you are locked into a behavior patterns that are not healthy for either of you. I think you may be surprised at how quickly a professional person coming along side of you can help you learn new ways of dealing with your current situation that result in some very positive changes. My guess is that your daughter is no happier about this state of affairs than you are, all the feelings that she is having as a result of this situation are probably pretty scary for her, and not doing you any good either. For all the years ahead, she needs the foundation of a positive relationship with her mother. From the perspective of having almost adult children now, these years when our children are home with us are over so very quickly. Do all you can to avoid wasting any of that precious time on the type of situation you are now locked into. You can turn this around quickly given outside help and direction. If you are foruntate enough to live in Hanover Township, contact Youth and Family Services. Professional help is available on a sliding fee scale. Bottom line, you don't have to live like this. Parenting is a tricky skill, trickier with some kids than others to be sure, and one often best learned with assistance. It's definately worth the time and effort for you, your daughter and the rest of your family. You want to get to the place where you enjoy your life when your daughter is with you, not just when you're apart. Keep this goal in mind, and find the help you need.

K.

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A.R.

answers from Chicago on

Hi A.,

Maybe your daughter needs some one-on-one attention. She could also be a little "jealous" of the baby brother. Have you try doing things with her "mommy and me" without the baby?

Just an idea.

Good luck to you!

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K.S.

answers from Chicago on

Boy it sure sounds like you are talking about my 2 1/2 yr old!! I must say all the responses are scaring me to death!! I'm not sure I will make it to 3!! Much less 4yrs old. LOL...Just want you to know that I am not a sahm but still go thru the same things (and feel guilty bacause I haven't seen her all day & now I'm screaming). It doesn't matter whether you are a sahm or work it drives us all crazy & makes us questions ourselves. The sahm just happens to have MORE time with the kids to think she is crazy!!! I can only tell you that my husband & I have really been working on being consistent (we weren't always & boy are we paying!!) it seems to help some but I don't think that there is anything out there that "Fixes" these issues. I have read all the posts & these mom's do have some great advice that I will also be trying, maybe a little from each will at least help some of the time. Best of luck I really hope that you find your sanity quickly & when you do please share how you managed it!! Oh one more thing, professional help is always a good thing, you have at least one person who will listen & not judge!!
K.

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J.H.

answers from Chicago on

I know exactly what you're talking about, especially the part about thinking that all the other moms "seem like they have it all together". Mostly it is a front. (I've asked.)

When my oldest was 3, I stumbled on a series of books that included "Your 3 year old, Friend or Enemy". There's a book for every year of age (so I'm constantly going to the library to see what's coming up because I have 4 kids 5 and under).

I've honestly read everything from 1-2-3 Magic to Parenting with Love and Logic, and How to Make Children Mind Without Losing Your Own, Dare to Discipline, The Strong Willed Child, The Toddler Whisperer, and on and on and on. I've found something beneficial from each but no one book had the magic bullet for each of my kids.

What I really like about the very first book series I mentioned is that it describes the development of each age (physical, emotional, psychological, etc.) without necessarilyl telling you what to do about it. When my oldest was 3, I was convinced that she was OCD or severely disturbed when it turns out she was completely average and normal. (The book even recommended that moms of 3-4 year olds get away from the child once in awhile!) So when I read the "Your 4 year old...) book, I was partially prepared for the 4 year old craziness you describe. It still wasn't fun, but at least I could psych myself up for it and know it would end. Now that my second child is 4, I do handle it somewhat better because I saw it coming and have experienced my first child coming out of it.

Sorry this is so long,I didn't intend it to be.

Oh yeah, one of the best things I got from 1-2-3 Magic is that kids are really "little insane people" that absolutely do not behave like rational adults and one of the things that makes us go nuts and feel like failures is that we forget that.

I agree with everybody that the most important thing is to try and remain calm as much as possible, but don't be too hard on yourself because it's very difficult (funny how all the male book writers are telling the SAHM's to remain calm. I'd like to see their reaction when a child tries to see how close she can get her head to the toilet water before her hair touches it.)

Lastly, try and chart your blowups. Are they cyclical? I was experiencing the same kind of thing and it turns out I was diagnosed with PMDD (an extreme form of PMS) I now have an arsenal of progesterone, prozac (sarafem) and prayers and I'm much more stable. Hang in there, you'll wake up someday and notice your daughter's a whole different person.

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L.

answers from Chicago on

A.,
My daughter will be 4 next week. I am at home with her also other than her pre-school 3 days a week for 2 1/2 hours. I work part-time out of the home which helps with my sanity I think. She definately tries to push mommy's buttons at times. I do the same discipline, time out or send her to her room, both until the timer goes off, 3-4 minutes. If she won't stay, I tell her and keep telling her if necessary,that I will add time (I only add a minute or less but do not let her know). My daughter is very good in public and very good for everyone else, daddy, grandma, school, etc. That is good. They are supposed to test the boundaries at home where they feel safe and secure. Yes, it drives mom nuts! I do feel like that sometimes as well. I'm sure it is multiplied by another little one in the house as well. Your daughter may be experiencing more trying to "outdo" the new baby or getting attention, even if it is negative. It might be a good idea to see if there is something you can do with just her. Not sure since I have one but you are not alone in feeling crazy at times. Be sure to get time for yourself as well. I know that is easier said than done but needed for mental health I believe. Best of luck!

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S.R.

answers from Chicago on

A.!!

I could have written your post! I'm feeling the EXACT same way about my 4 year old daughter! No one said anything about 4 being so bad - and I thought 2 was bad! She's SO sassy, talks back, is so rude a know it all and the list goes on! She had such a fit today I had to cancel a playdate which I NEVER do! We have a new baby on the way next month so I attribute some of her behavior to that but UGHHHH! I keep hearing it's just a phase and that's how 4 is - but why couldn't someone have WARNED us!!! :) Hang in there - I'm right there with ya!

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