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Old 11-02-2006, 06:14 AM
mindybean's Avatar
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deannaj, I hope things are much better at your home by now. I have a 4 year old dd. She isn't abusive towards me, but she still knows how to push my buttons. I can see in her behaviour that she's trying to become more independent by trying to make some of her own decisions. Right now we battle constantly over trying to get her to wash her hands. She used to love to wash her hands, but all of a sudden it has become a battle and it can take 1/2 an hour or more to get her to do it. I've tried punishing her, rewarding her, everything that I can think of, but she just wants to be in control of this area of her life. I remember my older daughter going through this phase, it wasn't washing hands with her, but you can still see their little minds working and they're thinking, "You can't make me do this if I don't want to." It's so frustrating when they go from doing everything you want them to do to not minding the simplest commands.

As I said, this is nothing like the violent action you're dealing with and I feel so sorry for you. Just remember that he's only 4 and he can't reason things out yet. You have to be the boss and you have to be consistent. Find something he really loves and use that for rewards and for punishment. Dr. Phil says to find the right "currency" that works for your child. My kids are addicted to the TV and to playing outside with their friends so I use those things alot to reward/punish. My pediatrician gave me the same advice. Also, the reward box is a great idea. I have a dry erase board that I keep track of my dd's behaviour. When they get a certain # of smiley faces they get a reward.

Try to find extra time to cuddle with him when he's being good. When he's acting up, remind him that you still love him, but that you don't like his behaviour and that you won't allow him to treat you this way.

I really hope things are much better at your house by now. Please post and let us know!
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