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Old 08-11-2009, 01:24 AM   #1
ali_v_25
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humm 4 year old daughter - ATTITUDE PROBLEM!

I've always heard that the children are the first to pick up when something is going on between the adults in the home...

I have begun to realize it is so true! First off, a little background:

I've been in an on again off again relationship with a man who is 27 years older then me for the past 6 years. Currently the relationship is OFF. I asked him to move out a month ago.

Since him moving out, our 4 year old daughter has been such a stinker towards me. Almost like a punishment from her. Granted I continue to remind myself, its an adjustment for all of us and this is just her way of coping with him not here.

She is an absolute angel when my family is around (my sister, brother and parents) - but when its just me, her and her sister at home, she can be the meanest little girl. The things she says that comes out of her mouth can be so hurtful. I try to remind myself that she is 4 - she doesn't understand what she is saying, but sometimes its hard.

When she doesn't listen, and I have to punish her - she cries and screams so hard with such a tantrum I go absolutely crazy. It breaks my heart to see my baby cry, but she doesn't respect me at all sometimes.

Lately bedtime is the worst. When I tell her to go to bed, or its bedtime after reading for 30 minutes, she stomps away, screaming, and yelling "I don't love you anymore, I just want my daddy." Its a phase right? I recently spent a weekend with a 7 year old girl who was still doing the same thing. How can I nip it in the ____...and NOW?

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!
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Old 08-11-2009, 02:01 AM   #2
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Default Re: 4 year old daughter - ATTITUDE PROBL

Counseling.....seriously. I am not a huge advocate for 4 year olds going to counseling, but it sounds like she needs someone "safe" to explode on. She is hurt, confused and angry--understandable.

Did she overhear you asking dad to leave? Has dad blamed you at all? Do you know if dad is having the same attitude issues? My daughter, even at 10, unleashes only on me. Her counselor told me that I am the "safe" one. She saves her misbehavior up for me! Part of it is trying to find out if there is anything she can do that would make me leave her. I think counseling would help to identify the whys and then the safe ways to deal with them. Sometimes it's learning how to correctly respond to her tantrums that are the key.
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Old 08-11-2009, 11:10 AM   #3
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Default Re: 4 year old daughter - ATTITUDE PROBL

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Originally Posted by Law Student Lisa View Post
Counseling.....seriously. I am not a huge advocate for 4 year olds going to counseling, but it sounds like she needs someone "safe" to explode on. She is hurt, confused and angry--understandable.

Did she overhear you asking dad to leave? Has dad blamed you at all? Do you know if dad is having the same attitude issues? My daughter, even at 10, unleashes only on me. Her counselor told me that I am the "safe" one. She saves her misbehavior up for me! Part of it is trying to find out if there is anything she can do that would make me leave her. I think counseling would help to identify the whys and then the safe ways to deal with them. Sometimes it's learning how to correctly respond to her tantrums that are the key.
I agree with Lisa here about the counceling. Sounds as though your daughter is blaming you for her Dad leaving and is po'ed as he!! about it. Does he still see her? I hope he is not feeding this issue, but if he is, that will come out eventually, too. Good luck.
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Old 08-11-2009, 05:59 PM   #4
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Default Re: 4 year old daughter - ATTITUDE PROBL

3 and 4 year olds are the worst under the best of circumstances. They are just getting to the point where they can creatively manipulate you. Don't blame all of this on yourself. To some degree it is definitely a phase.
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Old 08-11-2009, 06:13 PM   #5
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Default Re: 4 year old daughter - ATTITUDE PROBL

In addition to counseling, you need to explain to her what her comments and behaviors are doing, how they affect you, and how would she like it if you acted that way.
There have been times when I have acted just like one of my kids so they would see how silly it looks and feel how I feel.
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Old 08-11-2009, 06:39 PM   #6
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Default Re: 4 year old daughter - ATTITUDE PROBL

Quote:
Originally Posted by Law Student Lisa View Post
Counseling.....seriously. I am not a huge advocate for 4 year olds going to counseling, but it sounds like she needs someone "safe" to explode on. She is hurt, confused and angry--understandable.

Did she overhear you asking dad to leave? Has dad blamed you at all? Do you know if dad is having the same attitude issues? My daughter, even at 10, unleashes only on me. Her counselor told me that I am the "safe" one. She saves her misbehavior up for me! Part of it is trying to find out if there is anything she can do that would make me leave her. I think counseling would help to identify the whys and then the safe ways to deal with them. Sometimes it's learning how to correctly respond to her tantrums that are the key.
I agree with every single word of this. I also am not a huge advocate for 4 year olds going to counseling, but I think it would definitely benefit your daughter.

However, I read the post a little differently than Lisa. The way I read it, the person you were in a relationship with was not your daughter's father. Which magnifies the situation even more. Now, not only has her father walked out on her (presumably) but now another man who was basically playing that role, has walked out as well.

She's a confused, angry and scared little girl. Try to remember that she is barely beyond her toddler years and her reasoning is not at an adult level. Her life has been changed drastically and she doesn't know what to make of it, and this is her way of communicating that to you.

I think family counseling might also be in order. Most of the time counseling for a young child doesn't fix anything, because the reason they act out is because of certain family situations. It's important to address and deal with the situations leading to the behavior, as well as the behavior itself. Family counseling might give you insight into how to better deal with her personality and her emotions. All kids are different, and things affect them differently, and sometimes you have to explore different avenues in which to deal with them before you find something that actually works.

For me, I do not date. I don't bring men into my daughter's life because I know how it would affect her. She gets attached to people very quickly (especially men) because her dad isn't around. I see how she behaves even with my sisters' boyfriends. And if another man were to be put in a fatherly position to her and then walk out on her as her dad did, it would destroy her all over again.
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:30 PM   #7
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Default Re: 4 year old daughter - ATTITUDE PROBL

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Originally Posted by alexmichele07 View Post
For me, I do not date. I don't bring men into my daughter's life because I know how it would affect her. She gets attached to people very quickly (especially men) because her dad isn't around. I see how she behaves even with my sisters' boyfriends. And if another man were to be put in a fatherly position to her and then walk out on her as her dad did, it would destroy her all over again.
This exactly. The revolving door syndrome....it's hard for a child to process that, at any age, let alone 4 years old.
The adult has to make their decisions with their children always at the center...even if it means sacrificing their own desires for awhile.
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:46 PM   #8
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Default Re: 4 year old daughter - ATTITUDE PROBL

Like A.M. I dont bring men around either. My children get very attached to men so I avoid it for now altogether. Like Lisa, mine hold out their "bad behavior" for me and seem to be angels everywhere else. My son JUST turned 6 and I eventually did send him to psychologist, I dont know if it did as much for him as it gave ME an understanding about how he was feeling and how I could help.
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:54 PM   #9
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Default Re: 4 year old daughter - ATTITUDE PROBL

We've gotten off track, folks.
I checked Ali's other thread to be sure...the man in question IS the child's Dad...but, he himself has been in and out of her life (as far as living there), all of her life. The guy has some serious issues, and I think counceling for both Ali and her daughter is a very good idea.
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Old 08-11-2009, 08:31 PM   #10
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Default Re: 4 year old daughter - ATTITUDE PROBL

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Originally Posted by Bluesmom View Post
the man in question IS the child's Dad.
You are right. She did specify "our daughter". For some reason, I read it as "my daughter".

My opinion still stands, however, except that it only partially applies here. I still think family couseling would be beneficial to both (since dad likely won't go)... to address all issues. I haven't read the other thread... but I will do so. Chances are, her acting up is also related to her father's behavior, in addition to his walking out.
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Old 08-11-2009, 08:47 PM   #11
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Default Re: 4 year old daughter - ATTITUDE PROBL

I think any time a child is in counseling, whatever the age it is helpful for the parent(s) to have family counseling with that child too. Like AM said, often there is something going on in the home, or the child's perception of things with parents, whatever, that affect the child greatly.

My son went to counseling at 4 and it benefited him (and me) greatly. Like Sara said, a pretty big part of it is finding what is going on with your child and how to help them with it.
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Old 08-11-2009, 10:48 PM   #12
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Default Re: 4 year old daughter - ATTITUDE PROBL

Also, check this out: http://www.macmh.org/publications/ec...adjustment.pdf. Adjustment disorders are really common after a traumatic event [ie here father leaving the home]. Basically it is situational and will not lead to anything larger if dealt with. I am not an expert in psychology, but I see this stuff in foster care situations all the time and have become familiar with how it works. Might be worth checking into.

I do want to say that the family counseling sounds really good. I did this with my daughter and it helped greatly in my understanding of what she was going through with her own emotional issues.
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Old 08-12-2009, 12:05 AM   #13
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Default Re: 4 year old daughter - ATTITUDE PROBL

Thank you for the wonderful feedback. I personally have been seeing a therapist for the past 3 years. I want to continue to think my daughters attitude is just a phase - but will continue to moniter it each day.

Thank you for clarifying that the man who I am speaking about IS my daughters father. And it has been such an adjustment for them!
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Old 08-12-2009, 09:43 AM   #14
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Default Re: 4 year old daughter - ATTITUDE PROBL

Quote:
Originally Posted by ali_v_25 View Post
Thank you for the wonderful feedback. I personally have been seeing a therapist for the past 3 years. I want to continue to think my daughters attitude is just a phase - but will continue to moniter it each day.

Thank you for clarifying that the man who I am speaking about IS my daughters father. And it has been such an adjustment for them!
Glad that you are seeing a therapist...I did for years to help me get alot of stuff that had happened...and stuff that was continueing to happen because of it and my inability to understand the effects... straightened out. l
Lol, I wish I could have continued with my therapist!
I hope you are right and that your daughter is just going through a phase, but for some reason I have little alarm bells going off in my gut...I'm sorry, but I just can't help it. OMG! I just figured out why!
I've told this story a few times here so I'll try to keep it to the relative part here.
I had a foster child once. Her Mom had been in and out of her life...she had been taken away from her before...but the kid loved her.
At first things were OK. Kid was adjusting, seemed happy, even told the councelor positive things about how much better life was.
Then, Mom got visitation. Mom filled this kid's head with so much anti-me stuff, blamed everything that had happened on me...even the stuff that had led to her losing the child in the first place.
The child couldn't understand...and alot of the things you describe your daughter saying came out of this child's mouth , as well.
So, when you describe your X's less than stellar history, add in the fact that you have finally gotten a belly full and have ended the relationship...your choice this time, not his. Then, he continues to see the child and she suddenly starts treating you like the enemy...and alludes that he is the answer to her happiness....
I guess I just can't help but to see a paralel. Doesn't make it so, though.
If it was, however...I think a councelor could bring it out quickly. Maybe, so could you. If she says hateful things, or anything that makes you go ?!, you could (calmly) ask her why she thinks that, or where she heard that, or whatever fits.
At 4, she may not be able to articulate her feelings very well, but she probably won't be able to hide any influence he may have had, either. There will be "Daddy says" if indeed that has anything to do with it.
I still would prefer to see this handled by a councelor, though...no offence to you. They just have the experience to pick up on things that a layman...even a loving great mom...might never even think of.
Good luck and please let us know how things go. ((((Hugs))))
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