Are you having probs with your whiny, beligerent child? I AM! HELP!

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-20-2006
Are you having probs with your whiny, beligerent child? I AM! HELP!
Tue, 04-05-2011 - 11:19am

I know my daighter is a little older than some on this board, but my situation may still apply....

I need some advice or ideas on how to handle my 4yr old's incessant whining-followed-immediately-by-crying-fits over everything from what she's wearing to school, what shoes to wear, what's for dinner, whether she can watch a cartoon, bathtime, bedtime, playtime, etc.

I work full time, so I get a few hours with my daughter in the evenings and mornings, and the weekends of course. I feel like lately those hours are just filled with battling! And they always seem to end with me losing my temper, and yelling for her to stop crying, enough is enough, go to the other room! It does not feel productive, and my reaction is obviously not improving the situation the next time around. I need ideas on how to COMMUNICATE that my answers are FINAL, she has some CHOICES, but other things are NOT UP TO HER.

I'd love to hear what other moms are doing. Just as a starting point for me. Thanks for any advice you can give.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-15-2007

One thing I do a lot is ask myself whether x or y or z is really as important to me as it is to DD.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-21-2005

I’m with DeeDee, I try to pick my battles. I also talk a lot about consequences. If you don’t brush your teeth you will get cavities and have to go to the dentist and he will give you a shot. If you don’t get dressed without wasting time we won’t have time to… (Insert something he likes that we plan on doing.) Those are the consequences. I try to give him as many choices as I can. Usually he doesn’t get to pick dinner but he does (within reason) breakfast and lunch. Usually that involves me offing him 2 choices but if he balks at both I will ask what he wants or offer a 3rd option if he doesn’t know. Daniel does not transition well. I give him warnings when something is coming up or to an end. My code is savor it. It works most of the time. For really fun things I will give more warnings for when it’s coming to an end. I also try not to physically force him to do something, but to convince him to do it. I’ve discovered the hard way that it’s easier to spend an extra minute or two getting him to comply then it is to have a major meltdown that lasts 5 -10 minutes over something a little patience on my part would have made all the difference. I am also not adverse to bending the truth. OK I’ll admit it, I out and out lie. “If you don’t leave that alone the man is going to call the police and have you arrested.” (after he wouldn’t let go of a hammer at the fair for that game where you try to ring the bell.) If you don’t want to go that’s fine but you will have to stay at the mean lady’s down the street. (I’m wondering how much longer that one will work since there is no mean lady.) She is very mean and feeds you all the foods you don’t like and doesn’t care if you come over naked because she spanks poor little kids. It breaks our hearts to have to take you there but we can’t leave you alone and we have to go to the Doctor. (Or wherever.) I love my son but he wants way more independence than I can give him at 3 ½. I do my best to foster his need for as much as possible while tempering his temper when I can’t let him have his way. He is still chomping at the bit for more. It’s hard for both of us. There is just so much desire and emotion wrapped up in their little bodies but they don’t have the maturity to understand why things can’t be the way they want them to. I get angry sometimes too. When that happens I try to take a deep breath and remind myself how blessed I am to have my amamzing son. It always helps. I hope some of this helps.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-24-1999

The other posters had some great ideas. I would look at her sleep habits too. I know for us when my 3 yr old is going through a growth spurt she needs more sleep. Sometimes kids don't nap very well at daycare (and some 4 yr olds don't nap at all). Your dd should be sleeping close to 12 or 13 hrs at night (or a little less if she does nap). And the minimum she should be sleeping 10 hrs, but that's not enough for most kids.

If this is new behavior, take it as a phase, try to give her choices when possible. Have you watched the SuperNanny before, she gives a great rundown of how to give time outs. It might be worth trying to catch a show. Make sure they know the rules and give them a warning when the behavior begins and a reminder what happens if the behavior continues and follow through with a time out in a specific spot if the behavior doesn't stop.

Having said that there have been a few times when my dd has just raged, she was so over tired, she just lost it. I held her and rocked her and let her know that I was there and it was ok.

You might even want to check out some books from the library on effective discipline/parenting. How is she in daycare? Are they having problems with her following directions? If they are not, your dd might be just saving all the good stuff for you testing you, or she might be over tired. Try an experiment and start putting her down a little early each night until she is getting 1/2 hr to and hour more.

Cathie, mom to Audrey & Emily 12 yrs, Libby 2 yrs