Is My Daughter Really a Spoiled Brat?!?!?

Updated on August 10, 2012
M.W. asks from Fort Collins, CO
29 answers

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?

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answers from Chicago on

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.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Sticker chart! Smiley face for every day she does NOT disbey/act like a brat. No gifts til she fills up the chart.

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answers from Tulsa on

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.

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answers from Boston on

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


answers from Seattle on

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


answers from Dallas on

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.

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answers from Honolulu on

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,

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answers from Chicago on

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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answers from Portland on

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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answers from Chicago on

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!

Good Luck!

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answers from St. Louis on

I think the gift giving should come to somewhat of a hault. I had to finally tell my mom, if shes going to keep buying stuff, its staying at her house. I mean, they dont need that many toys, and neither does your house or your sanity. No, shes not a spoiled little brat, it sounds pretty typical for her age. My daughter does a lot of the same things as your daughter . My daughter only gets gifts now for, very special occasions, her bday, or Christmas. Children tend to be more rude to their parents then they would to anyone else. If she is disrespectful to others, like her teacher, then I would worry. My daughter is an angel to her teacher. The only advice I can give, is be consistant with disipline and keep enforcing manners and so forth. My daughter still talks back and gets in trouble, but actually has very good manners with other people. WEIRD! Good luck!

P.S. If your mom wants to do something for the kids, tell her to put that money in an account for college. Haha!

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answers from Philadelphia on

However you decide to raise her be consistent. Discipline is nesscary

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answers from San Antonio on

Rotate her toys -- if she has too many, put a box full in the closet and in a month, unpack it and repack it with other toys. They'll be 'fresh' and 'new' for another month.

Discipline -- I think kids need CONSISTENCY and PREDICTABILITY. If she can predict what a punishment would be (because she recieves it consistently), then she can choose to obey or not obey.

So to answer your title "is she spoiled" I'd say yes. THAT's why she doesn't appreciate things. If you really want to be stern with her, tell her if she doesn't like it, to throw it away in the trash. Perhaps get her a trashbag and bin and then she can donate the bag full of stuff to the local Goodwill. Kids CAN have too many toys. Your mom needs to leave some of those toys she buys the kids at HER house if she wants your daugther to have them. Tell your mom that some toys she's giving your 4-yr old are getting thrown in the trash b/c your daughter doesn't want them. Maybe that will stop them from entering your home.

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answers from Tulsa on

If she doesn't appreciate what she has, give it to someone who will.
Anytime she is disrespectful, rude, etc.....she gets a time out. Don't yell, that tells her she's getting to you. Keep it up. She didn't get like this overnight, and she won't stop until she realizes it's not worth it.

Tell Mom while it may be her money, it's your child. She's not doing your daughter a loving kindness by spoiling her. What she needs most from your Mom is love, attention and guidance. Mom needs to let her know that she backs you up 110%. I love giving my grandsons things they enjoy, and I also love them enough to want them to be good boys now, and good men someday.

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answers from New York on

first don't let her go shopping with grandma for a while... just tell your daughter she can't go anymore because you don't like how she acts.. try not to yell.. just talk to her.. if she is nasty.. just take something away.. and then you walk away too and ignore her .. tell your other child how good she is... bring this one out for ice cream .... and make it know she is getting ice cream or going to a movie because she has been nice.... then your child says she doesn't like the bear take it away... and tell her you will keep it.. and you will love it.. if she is mean.. just sit her in a chair and tell her she is in time out until she becomes nice... just keep being a little mean to her.. kind of.. and be nice to the good one.. tell the older daughter that if she starts to be nice she can go with grandma or she can go with you for ice cream.. if grandma comes by.. tell her she can't give her a gift.. just tell her NO.. this is your child.. good luck

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answers from Denver on

4 and 5 year olds lie, and they often say mean things. Some of this is her age. She needs to know you love her - no matter what, even when you don't like the way she is acting (and it's perfectly okay to say "I always love you, but I don't LIKE how you are acting right now.") My thoughts on what you write here:

1) I don't think you should take away her blanket, since it sounds like she needs it for comfort. It's important to show her respect, just as you want her to show YOU respect. That means if something helps her cope, it's off limits (she is only 4, after all). For us, no matter WHAT our kids do, the prized stuffed animal that they use for comfort is NEVER taken away. Other things are fair game.

I will usually tell my oldest he needs to do something by the count of 5 or he will lose "X". He can be pretty materialistic too, but there are certain toys he'd really miss (or he could lose movie night or dessert or a play date). It's important to WARN first - "If you keep doing (or not doing) X, you will lose Y. I want you to stop (or do) X by the count of 5 or you will lose Y." Then follow through. Be tough. She may say that you are mean or she hates you. If so, say "Well, I still love you." (though when I am told I am mean, I usually just say "Yep, I am mean - I'm a mean mean mommy" - which sometimes makes my son laugh).

2) When my oldest acts disappointed with a gift, I'll say something like "Oh, okay, we'll send it back and let them know not to send anymore gifts" or (if it's from me) "Oh, OK, we'll give it to a child who doesn't have a teddy bear." He changes his If he didn't, I'd follow through - though on this one, I have not yet needed to.

3) Talk to her. When she's mean to her sister, ask her how she'd feel if a bigger kid did X(what she's doing) to her? Use it as an opportunity to try to teach empathy. It's not a skill that kids just have.

4) Lies...I tell my oldest that I am HAPPY when he tells that truth. I tell him that doing a bad thing, then lying about it is doing TWO bad things. I also tell him it makes me SAD when he lies to me. It's important to thank your child and let her know you are happy when she is truthful...even if you don't LIKE that truth! And I don't mean the "I don't like this teddy bear" kind of truth (and that one was probably NOT really true) - I mean the "I broke the bowl/hit my sister" kind of truth.

Whatever you do, remember she is just a little kid, REALLY little. And for what it's worth my oldest did many of the same things at 4-5 as well, especially after the siblings came along. From everything I have seen and read, it's all pretty common. But that doesn't mean we should ignore it - it just means that our discipline needs to be tailored to teach. Everything you recount here can be a teaching opportunity, but you have to follow through on warning/consequence!

Looks like other folks have ideas about the toys. We're still working on that one here - my oldest was an only for 5 years - and not just an only child but an only grandchild for 4 sets of grandparents, so I need to read what other folks are doing about a kid being over-toyed! One of the things we have started is "no gifts please" at birthdays. Our kids know that they will get some gifts (from Mom and Dad & some other relatives), but not from their friends and not during their party. If someone brings a gift or card, we set it aside, and we open those after everyone has gone home. It's a nice mellow end to the party for our child - and alleviates his party let-down blues, we can keep track of what's happening, and we don't end up with 10+ new toys.

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answers from Grand Rapids on

I used to be very overwhelmed by discipline too!

I was lamenting to an older friend that children didn't come with instruction manuals and she said, "they do! It's called the Bible!" She recommended the book Shepherding A Child's Heart. It has changed my entire approach to discipline and I am SO happy with the results. It deals with the heart of the issues and not just the issues themselves.

If you're not a Christian, you will not like or agree with the methods in the book as they are all Bible based. If you are a Christian, you will love the book and it will change your perspective on parenting.

All I can tell you is I really love this book and recommend it to all of my friends.

Good luck! I hope you find something that works for your family.

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answers from Cheyenne on

I haven't really read the other answers, but one thing I would suggest is that when your mother takes her shopping and buys her things, let those things live at Grandma's house. That way you aren't over crowded with the toys and things, she has less at home and will hopefully appreciate more what she has, and your mother gets to deal with the aftermath that her spoiling is causing, and also gets to see how "happy" she's made your daughter. You might also consider trading toys out once in a while...pick a few toys that she doesn't play with and take them to Grandma's and bring back the same number of toys from the lot there so she doesn't get bored with the same toys all the time. Good luck!

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answers from Minneapolis on

Well, I will start with taking away a security blanket. Just broke my heart to hear it. We take things away from our boys as punishment but we take away things like the DS...Not something they have an emotional attachment to.

So onto more constructive ideas...

I hate yelling too. Just gets everyone riled up and sub-consciously, I think that is what they want. To get your emotions just as crazy as theirs are. I like to avoid repeated warnings and go straight to time out. In their room or better yet, perched on a stool in the middle of the room.

Over-toyed...All kids are today. Pack 'em away and when she is truly truly really seriously bored - Take one out. They appreciate a toy they haven't seen in a while just as much as something new. Grandma can keep on giving and you can keep on stashing away.

Stop yourself from buying them things (it is haaaard - I know). Give of yourself by reading together, taking a walk around the neighborhood - just the two of you, doing your nails, playing a board game. If she starts getting sassy, just assume she is ready to be done and let her find a solo activity until she is ready to rejoin you.

Lies -- Our pet peeve as well. We have been pretty successful in stopping this but our oldest went thru a truth stretching phase at about 7. We just kept telling him we always know when he is lying so he just shouldn't bother to start. And at that age, their lies are disastrously transparent. We have had to grit our teeth several times and stand by our "As long as you tell the truth, nothing really bad is gonna happen to you." rule.

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answers from Denver on

You can find Love and Logic DVDs, CDs and books at the public library and they will help you a ton.

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answers from Boise on

Some of the behavior you describe is just normal kid behavior - losing interest in a toy, being naughty by backtalking and lying.

My 2 cents - when grandma gives her stuff, tell grandma thank you, keep the stuff in a box high up in a closet or attic or something, and have your daughter earn time with the toy by doing little chores or helping others in the family like her little siblings.

As far as the backtalking and the lying - she is so little, it is a behavior that has nothing to do with her character. Her character is still being formed and right now, she doesn't have the intellectual ability to be anything other than a silly little naughty baby. Rather than being angry with her and spanking and taking away her blanket, and thinking that her behaviors are ugly, etc, try and step back from the situation and realize that there is no such thing as a perfect parent or a perfect kid. It's all trial and error. Your daughter isn't ruined. There's still plenty of time to work with her. At this age, she has just learned how to get in a power struggle with you and win. Her way of winning is by lying or backtalking or laughing in your face. The best way to fix this is to get out of the power struggle all together. Stop trying to control her and instead guide and teach her when she is wrong in a happy, positive way by rewarding positive behavior, giving her her own choices, and ignoring negative behavior.
And my advice is from a very imperfect mom of kids that are also very spoiled.
One last thing - take her to visit a homeless shelter and maybe give some of her toys to those little kids there.

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answers from Boise on

This is a really tough question. I only have one or two little suggestions, and one overall suggestion. Attack the parts of her behavior that bug you the most. Break it down into little parts, because as one big problem, it will seem too overwhelming. That's my overall suggestion.

Here is one little suggestion, for one of those parts. When she comes home with something new from Grandma, take it away. I don't mean the moment she walks in, I mean when she sets it down. Put it in a big box. If she asks for it back, have her do something she's supposed to do to earn it back. Like if she's supposed to tidy the bookshelf in her room, tell her, "I'd be happy to find that toy for you when your bookshelf is tidy." It just might help her appreciate her toys if they're not there every time she wants them. And if she never asks for it again, donate it to a charity or a family you know who might need some new toys.

You could also have a "family meeting" with your daughters and tell them that this year you are going to give Christmas to a family that doesn't have any toys for their kids to play with. With a 4 yr old, it'll take a long time for her to decide to give away any of her toys, even if she doesn't play with them. Go through them with her and say, "You have'nt played with this in a long long time, could we give this to a kid who has no toys?" And then follow through. If possible, let her see the family when they get the toys. Seeing joy on another child's face from her unwanted toys is bound to do wonders for her.

Another thing I've done myself is to pack up all the toys. Almost all of them, anyway. I used to wake up to a trashed family room, with every single toy dumped out on the floor. My kids would just dump them out, and that was their "playing" with the toys. Then they'd find something else to dump. They didn't actually play with them! I got real tired of picking them up or trying to make my kids pick them up, so we packed them in boxes that are now in the garage. My kids now have Little People and a few trucks to play with. The room is no longer trashed, and the kids either play with what they have, or they find something else to do (like read a book or go outside--it's marvelous!) There was lots of whining at first, but no toys is really great! I'm planning to pack away the toys we currently have in our family room in a month or so and getting a box of toys out of the garage. They'll seem like new toys, and that will be a life-saver when it's cold outside. And having very few toys makes kids more appreciative of them.

I would not take away her blanket if it's one of her ways to calm herself. I'm sure there's something else you can take away, like screens. No tv or computer games can be a big threat when you're a kid.

I wonder if a small allowance would help her appreciate things. My 4 year old gets $4 a month. My 6 year old gets $6 a month. They've started to notice how much toys cost and how little money they have. Which is pretty much the reality of being a grown-up, too, isnt' it? My 6 year old just saved for 5 months to buy himself a $30 scooter. He learned delayed gratification, because he had to wait for so long, and to stick with a goal, because he really wanted to spend his money on a lot of other things in those 5 months.

I hope some of my ideas help! Good luck!

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answers from Pocatello on

So much good advice here! You mamas are all so wise.

I just wanted to throw in my experience with my 2 year old girl. She has always been a strong personality, you could classify it as a "brat". She is very demanding and throws fits when she dos not get her way. The meaner I got, the worse it got. I have to admit, my gut reaction when she is behaving poorly is to raise my voice or even yell. What I have been trying this month is, if she has a fit or does something mean like hitting, I tell her no, but I use the super nice voice. I usually have to say something like "we don't hit, it hurts" rather than "don't hit", she seems to get very defensive otherwise and starts spinning out of control. But when I am really nice, (even if I am carrying her to time out, I am trying really hard to be calm, unhurried, and basically act like I am not put out at all), it makes such a difference! She immediately starts being nice again. It has gotten easier by the day to do this.

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answers from Salt Lake City on

I glanced through your answers and didn't see this so hopefully am not repeating--one thing I have learned is that a 4 year old doesn't lie. They honestly believe what they are telling you, they can be so themselves! with my daughter I say, oh, you WISH...whatever she just said or I say is that a story? I don't call her a liar, I don't tell her she lies. I don't want to label her. we just address it this way to help her learn where the truth is. its totally a developmental stage at this age so just work with her on it gently this too shall pass.
A word I taught my daughter is Respect. I explained that respect is being nice and loving and caring about people. When she does something, using your example of the teddy bear, I would say, Oh, Daddy/Mommy bought that for you because he loves you. Do you think that telling him it is ugly and to take it back is very respectful? if she is in a mood I'd day I'll put the bear up here (on the fridge or a top shelf) and you will go to your room until you are ready to talk. I would love to talk to you when you are being respectful to me.
I always give my daughter choices that I can live with. You can pick up your toys and then have time to play, or you can whine about it for a while and then pick up your toys and not have any play time. You can get ready for bed now and we can read 3 stories or you can go to bed in your clothes. I don't fight with her. You can't reason with a tired, grumpy, hungry, ornery 4 year old. They want clear boundaries. they want consistency.
I also agree that taking away her blanket is not the way to go. You don't want her to feel emotionally threatened by you.
I put my daughter on her bed when she needs a time out, I say when you are calm you may come out and we can talk. I will not talk to her if I am mad or she is upset. I've told her that Mommy needs a time out and I will come talk to you when I am calm. and that is okay too, it is healthy for kids to see you process your emotions in a productive way as well.
If she comes out when she is still upset I pick her up, don't say anything to her and just put her on her bed. the first time she gets up still upset as I leave the room I say we will talk when you are calm
after that not one word, not a hug, just pick her up and put her on her bed.
my husband deploys and he also goes for 2 weeks at times for the military. every time he leaves, every time he comes home we go through a testing of boundaries. I think she just wants to make sure that the boundaries are all in place because it helps her feel secure.
Your daughter might be spoiled but she's not a brat. She may have brat-like behaviors but she isn't a brat.
There was SO much No, no, no and negative don't do this, or do it like this going on, its just this age there is a lot of correcting that needs to happen--I was feeling overwhelmed by it. We started 5 things as part of our bedtime routine. Every night I tell my daughter 5 things I loved about her that she has done that day or that I liked about her. Some days its you have beautiful eyes. we just needed more positives to balance things out, her daddy does it with her and she does it for us often her stuff for us is not really about us but we dont use this time to correct her wejust sau thank you and act very excited and shower her with hugs and kisses. and say I love it when you say thank you about these things.
She looks forward to this time, it gets me past the GRRR I'm sick of my kid feeling that comes some days and it is a time we really look forward to. its also something that we don't take away. she can lose story time, songs but NOT the 5 things. it has really helped change the tone in the house.
as for your mom, I would have your daughter put together the toys grandma has given her that she doesn't play with all the time and tell her we are going to take them to grandmas house! take the box to your mom say my daughter picked these out at the toys she doesn't play with much and we thought since you love to buy them for her to keep her happy we could keep them at your house for her when she is here. if your mom makes a comment about how its too much or she already has stuff there then just say well should we donate them then? hopefully it will be a gentle way to get across what you have been trying to say to your mom.
talk to you daughter about little girls who don't have dollys and how happy it would make them to use some of the toys she isn't using. if she has a hard time with it say well you are 4 years old lets find 4 toys to give to 4 little girls.
I know this is long but I thought of one more we are just at this stage too...
when my daughter hasn't been appreciative of something and says something like but I wanted a cheeseburger when she got a hamburger for example I say "Oh mommy~ thank you SO much for buying me lunch. I'm so glad you take such good care of me and love me so much" I then don't get frustrated, she hears what I want to hear, I hear what I want to hear and funny enough my coping thing has turned into something really nice she will now say to me Oh mommy!~ thank you SO much I'm so glad you love parrot a lot of what they hear. so its been a nice side benefit of me just trying to cope in those situations.
Good luck. Hang in there, she will turn out to be a lovely young lady. and you area a great mom, don't be too hard on yourself. we are all on a learning curve--maybe do 5 things for yourself every day too.

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answers from Billings on

I haven't even read other responses...but I would get rid of some her donate them and leave her only a few! We clean out my daughters toys once a year (before or after her birthday) and we try not to buy her a whole lot through the year. If I do it is usually a movie or clothes. She as changed her tune quite a bit.

You never said how old her sibling is? If it is a new sibling that could be it. My daughter was great at first with her little sister but then out of NO where changed! She was mean to us to start with not her sister...then after a while she did try to be mean to her sister I put a stop to that fast! Then I would always include her in everything I did! If I blew on the baby's belly so did she and I told her how much her sister loved her and loved watching her and how she couldn't wait to get bigger and play with her! If I make PB&J she "helps" by getting me what I need...I pretty much just made more time for her.

We also cracked down on discipline. We followed thru with what we said which sometimes meant her crying by herself in her room for a half an hour! Nothing would calm her down she also would hit and scratch during these fits..oh the fun! It took a little time but she listens now! From what people have told me better than a lot her age...however my child does act better around others lol! My mom isn't allowed to buy anything for my oldest unless she buys something for my youngest so that has helped to curb things alot! She was favoring my oldest..and well that doesn't sit well with me. If your mom wants to spend her money on her be blunt tell her she can money into a savings account for her and the same amount into the little ones... OR you could tell her that you will be giving away the toys she gets her and limit her toy buying to once every couple months.

Good luck!

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answers from Dallas on

It sounds like you are expecting your daughter to know how to behave when that is your job to teach her how to behave. Children, when left to their own "natural" state, will be selfish and rude. I don't mean that in a bad way, but that is unfortunately human nature.
You have to take the upper hand now and start teaching your daughter to be kind, thankful, and loving. Remember that YOU are the parent and you are responsible for teaching her morals and values.
It's a tough job, but it is well worth it.
Just my two cents,

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answers from Provo on

Your daughter is developing some bad behaviors. There are a few things that could help. 1. Watch 'Super Nanny'. As silly as that sounds it works and will give you ideas to meet the needs of your family. But if you do her methods you have to do the process correctly and consistantly. 2. I learned this from my 'Learning, Memory, and Cognition' class in college: for punishment to be affective it needs to 1. Fit the crime, don't make it outrageous nor to big you can't follow through. 2. It has to be immediate. You can give ONE warning if behavior does not stop this will happen. Then if they continue immediate punishment. 3. It has to be consistant. You can punish a behavior one time and then not another. A good example of this and of #2 is speeding. We speed all the time why?, because we get away with it all the time and the punishment is not immediate, you have so many days to pay it and you have the option of disputing it and going to traffic school. If it was immediate and consistant we would never speed.

#3. rewards need to be random. If you don't know when the reward is coming you would have to keep up the good behavior just in case that day you might receive it.

#4. Let your child know what your expectations are when you go somewhere and let them know the consequence if they miss behave.

#5. You teach people how to treat you. If you allow exceptions people learn they can get away with stuff and that they can treat you that way. If you don't like someone's perspective of you figure out what behavior you are doing and change it, example being known as always late or unreliable.

#6. You have to let your mom know what is happening and how you feel even if it's in a letter/email or showing her your post. Your relationship and feelings about your daughter is serious and needs to change. Your needs to know that although it might make them happy, it is making your life unhappy/miserable and has your mother she should be simpathetic towards you. Figure out what the boundaries are (when to give gifts and price range and make sure she knows it and that there will be consequences when they are broken.

#7. Also with your mom, two thongs. 1. We don't do behaviors, positive or negative, unless they serve us in some way. Your mom does this because it serves her, maybe to feel love or needed or included. 2. Learn your families love laungage. Get the book "the five love languages". Some feel loved by receiving gifts, physical touch etc. Also shows how you show/communicate live. Example you feel love when you get flowers, but your husband shows he loves you by fixing things in the house.

I hope this helps. I know it is a lot. Apply what works for you. Do a little or all, you are trying to change behavior (yours, daughter, husband, and your Mom's) so it takes time. Remember though to be reasonable with the change (no unrealistic goals) and be consistant.



answers from Provo on


You may just be dealing with a normal phase in her maturation process. My son, who was a terriffic two, morphed from an angel baby to a devil baby about the time he turned three. He was sassy, selfish, and just generally miserable. The major word in his vocabulary was "no!", followed by "mine!". It was a good thing he was really cute or his days might have been numbered. It took nearly a year for him to return to his normal sweet self. But return he did.

Your daughter may be going through a similar phase. It is actually an important part of her development. She is differentiating herself from you and discovering that she can do things differently and apart from you.

That does not mean that you should not use good parenting methods and make it very clear that bad behavior does not get good results. Among other things, we consistently ignored temper tantrums. Bobby threw a tantrum, I made sure he was not in imminent physical danger and just left the room. No positive attention. No negative attention. No attention at all. This sort of reinforcement schedule resulted in the extinction of the tantrumming behavior. We only had about three or four tantrums from him total by using this technique.

You also need to control the amount of spoiling done by your mother. You cannot control her, but you can control how much time your daughter spends with her and how often and when you give her the gifts provided by your mother.

Reinforcing bad behavior at this time can result in behavior that will not resolve itself when your daughter grows out of this phase.



answers from Washington DC on

I am so happy to see that I am not the only one with the same struggle. The only difference is, that my husband and I have recently separated and he is the spoiling one. Do I have the answer? No, I certainly don't. But at least we are not alone. When I am alone with my daughter, and her 7 year old brother is in school, she is the sweetest little angel you could imagine, but the second you add her brother into the equasion she turns into a little demon, refuses to listen to anything and does anything she can to upset her brother and spoil any fun he might have. I have tried taking things away - temper tantrums and screaming sessions followed, spankings with reply of "That didn't even hurt" or Time-Outs that only resulted in more screaming and banging down doors. So, do I have the answer? No, but lots of sympathy and hope that this is only a phase. Best of luck to you and your family.

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