Defiant 4 yr old

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Post  Wed, Aug 30 2017, 8:14 pm
My 4.5 yr old daughter is sweet sensitive and generous. She also enjoys being disobedient.
She literally waits for instruction so she can do the exact opposite. If I say "let's try to be super quiet on our way upstairs" she's suddenly burst into song. And encourage her siblings to join in...
When I haven't made any requests or suggestions she will assess the situation and do exactly what I would t want her to do. So when I do t remind everyone to be quiet on the way to upstairs to bed she pauses and then stomps loudly up the stairs. And just to be sure that she's hit her mark she'll look back over her shoulder and smile.
I mostly ignore the bad behavior. When it is particularly disruptive I almost always warn her before implementing a consequence. She always cries hysterically and often makes her own threats when I do.
The obvious answer is that she's looking for attention. I give her as much attention and love on her as often as I can. I try to think of ways to make her feel extra special. I do that thing from transforming the difficult child- of noticing her.
She is generous and loving and playful. And does things like cover me in big slimy kisses. Or randomly give me big squeeze hugs. Sometimes she'll jump on me n hang onto my neck. I hug her back n ask her to let go. More than once. "Ur hurting me" She'll make eye contact n smile or laugh loudly. Then get upset n cry when I remove her n walk away.
It's a treat when tati does bedtime. She's reminded along with everyone to try n be very quiet. She gets loud n silly. My husband is so beyond patient. But eventually and after several requests for cooperation he says goodnight n sends me in to Finish up. She is completly surprised n weeps loudly. Sometimes she threatens. "I'll cry so loud till ur head hurts." Or "till baby wakes up".
Dunno why all my examples r about bedtime. Maybe cuz that's what we're up to now. This is an all day most days event. Help
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Post  Thu, Aug 31 2017, 3:21 am
She sounds like a prime candidate for the Nurtured Heart method.

Basically, she likes attention, and the negative attention can be even more exciting than the positive attention! So she is very smart and learned how to use it to her best advantage.

Worth reading the book, but in a nutshell, you start giving MUCH more excitement and energy to the compliments instead of the criticisms ("WOW! Look how you're wearing your pajamas already, and it's not even 8:00!" "I noticed you climbing the stairs SO quietly! You're making SUCH good choices right now!").

You stop giving warnings. No warnings at all! Make the rules clear, and if she breaks one, you promptly give her "thinking time" (or whatever you want to call it).

You simply say, (calmly and not excitedly) "That was a rule that was broken. Thinking time." During "thinking time" you do not give her ANY energetic response at all. She is expected to be quiet for the 10 seconds to 1 minute you give her, you basically ignore her, and if necessary repeat in a monotone "thinking time starts when you are quiet." Since what she wanted was an interaction with you, this NON-interaction is sufficient to remind her that she gets more of your attention by being GOOD!

Give her lots of opportunities for successful moments, like while she is putting her second hand into the pajamas say, "Please put your hand in." When she does (she can't really stop in the middle!) you say "Fantastic listening! What a great job you did, and now you're wearing your PJs already!"

She sounds like a real character! Make sure to enjoy her!
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Post  Thu, Aug 31 2017, 6:53 am
I have one like that too! She has no role models for this behaviour so it must be my mil;) kidding...no hard feelings bh
When I use positive on her she sees right thru it and will get destructive like make a mess after I tell her im proud of how she's eating nicely by the table(vs walking around w food)(she's 3 btw)
I don't think there will be a "one tip" for a child like her. She's alot of fun and personality and we enjoy her. That being said -I have have a few things we made clear we expect from her that are age appropriate and we are strict with those things only. She'll try to test but knows we mean business and will put her in time out etc The rest I ignore or avoid difficult situations(wont take her shopping or ask her to behave a certain way...)
When I give her positive attention I'm very careful it was deserved and real. I also give her loads of love. Not like kissing her up cuz she said something hilarious but warmth and bonding...reading her a book calmly...shmoozing on her level...
Doing this during "quiet" times I find leads to easier behaviour during busy times...
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Post  Thu, Aug 31 2017, 7:21 am
I think you give her enough attention and I dont think that's the issue.
From my experience while raising my own children, it is a subconcious power struggle and she enjoys winning it.
Every time she gets a parent involved with her emotionaly, she feels she won.
When there is no instruction there is no starting point. Once you say let's do this or lets not do this, the subconcious struggle habitually begins. Parents say yes? I'll do no.

A major step towards ending this is that the parent should become aware that the 'instruction' or the command is the very thing that brings on the fight.

The way out of this is to always go out of fight and come back to shalom. The child is not capable to stop the fight. Its always the parent who has to pull back, emotionally.
Once parent is out of it fight loses substance.
Once the fight loses substance child will subconsciously realise the game is over.

Doesnt mean she wont try again and again but slowly the habit shifts.

This is a very simple true and tried method.
It is a task though to write it out here but If you are interested and want to hear more I can come back to post or you can pm me.
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Post  Thu, Aug 31 2017, 7:39 am
Crust are you referring to The Explosive Child approach, or something else?
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Post  Thu, Aug 31 2017, 7:45 am
amother wrote:
Crust are you referring to The Explosive Child approach, or something else?

I never heard of this approach.
You mean the book by Greene?
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Post  Thu, Aug 31 2017, 7:55 am
Yes, Ross Greene does suggest what you are saying, Crust. Basically, pick your battles.

To those who say that praise doesn't work, you might want to read the Nurtured Heart Approach first. Praise is NOT the first step.
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Post  Thu, Aug 31 2017, 7:58 am
So what is the first step?
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Post  Thu, Aug 31 2017, 8:17 am
It's too complicated to explain properly in a short post, but basically, learning notice and validate their choices, without positive or negative judgment.

"I see you're coloring a picture. I see you chose the black crayon and are making thick lines, cool! Your pattern is all swirly. You're putting a lot of energy in, I love seeing all the energy you have..."

The books say to spend several weeks just making 10 minutes every day to observe, comment, care about the inner child, before even beginning to praise the behavior you like. And you have to keep it up ongoingly, after you add praise for what you want. Compliments without that key piece in place are experienced as manipulative.
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Post  Thu, Aug 31 2017, 8:31 am
imasinger wrote:
Yes, Ross Greene does suggest what you are saying, Crust. Basically, pick your battles.

To those who say that praise doesn't work, you might want to read the Nurtured Heart Approach first. Praise is NOT the first step.

Its not just pick your battles because;
A. most parents say that they feel they stay with too many 'battles' which they feel is a must.
B. Even the things which you choose that these are your musts, can also be done in a shalom way.

Im thinking that although this is simple when implemented it might be too complicated to explain in written format.
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Post  Thu, Aug 31 2017, 10:30 am
OP, your child is SO normal. The terrible two's have NOTHING on the "fearsome fours". Kids that age are testing their boundaries, independence, and verbal skills. They're 4 going on 40, but without the wisdom to back them up.

My advice is to read "Parenting with Love and Logic". Of the hundreds (literally) of parenting books I've read, this one is far and away the best. It empowers the child, which she craves, while still keeping you in control of the family.

My DD is also a "highly spirited child" with a huge flair for drama. I feel your pain. Hug
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Post  Thu, Aug 31 2017, 10:32 am
I have found with my more challenging child that a mix of love and logic and the explosive child works really well.
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Post  Wed, Sep 13 2017, 12:52 am
Mine has been like that. Unfortunately I was raised around power struggles and I don't back down. You can handle it a few ways-

A- ignore the behavior. Which isn't working. In the future it will likely escalate because either she wants the attention, or because she believes she will get away with it.

B- punish the behavior. Put her in the room further away from sleeping baby and let her scream her head off. Tell her when she's ready to listen she is welcome to join the family again. My daughter has had many wailing sessions in her room, and comes out when she's ready to be decent again. (At this point, I don't punish her, I just wait until she's ready to face the world).

C- reward everyone around her until she takes the hint. "Everyone, please walk QUIETLY upstairs". (Girl stomps). At top of stairs "everyone who did a fantastic job, here's a candy. Thank you for obeying." She WILL freak. (Avoid this game at nap time). Then say "I made a rule, and children who obey get rewarded. Perhaps next time, you'll obey and get a candy as well".

The next time, pop a piece of candy in your mouth while telling them to quietly walk. When she sees that candy, it will click.

As far as warnings go, I don't say stop cold turkey, I say make her repeat the rule. "Hannah, I don't want anyone to make noise going upstairs. Do you understand? Then tell me in your words. That includes you. Hannah can't make noise either. Now let's try it."

I've always wanted to say that everyone who behaves gets a story from Tati, but as much as that could work, it can also cause her to think that love is conditional to behavior- something a child should NEVER think. My children would also get upset if I took over tucking them in- somehow he made it more special. (Even though my stories came with character voices!)

Good luck- it can be broken, but it takes work. Don't back down when she promises that she'll do better- consistency is the most important part.
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Post  Wed, Sep 13 2017, 7:25 am
I'm a huge fan of the Nutured Heart Approach, The Explosive Child AND Love and Logic which is funny because they are all so different.

I think I would try the Explosive Child approach here. Later in the day, sit down with her and ask:

"I noticed you had difficulty keeping quiet when we went up the stairs. What's up?"

Then see what she says. She may say I don't know and then you have to ask some follow up questions to get to the root of the issue. Or she may give you a real answer. For example, if she says "I like the sound of my feet on the stairs" then you can follow up with something like "I hear that. the noise is a lot of fun! I'm concerned that if we do that at nap time though, we might wake up the baby. Can you think of a way where you can make stair noises AND the baby can nap?"

Then listen to her responses no matter how ludicrous. You might find a solution that works for both of you. Maybe before nap time she can stomp on the stairs for a while to get it out of her system and she will be more cooperative during naptime. Maybe she will have a totally different solution. Just remember, that all solutions should work to address both of your concerns.
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