Teaching social rules, refusal to do as told

(18 Posts)
rhetorician Mon 11-Feb-13 20:11:05

Dd1 is 4 - just. She is a lovely kid, but I am finding that she is often rude in social settings. Some of this is about disobedience - she will often not do as she's told. She can behave very well when she wants to, but this is the issue. At the moment her mum is very unwell and I just need her to do what she is told (within reason), e.g. Eat breakfast, clean teeth etc. without making a big fuss. She will often go out of her way to annoy - repeatedly kicking legs etc when continually told to stop. She often says 'stop,talking to me' or 'don't be cross' but seems unable to understand that she has to change her behaviour. We have just started pasta jar- she did well for first couple of days, got her treat, but today has consistently ignored requests, back chatted, made demands (not granted), so has gained no pastas and has lost some.

She is doing well at nursery and they report that she is well behaved. I suspect that we give it too much attention and make it too complicated. But how can I get her to see that she is responsible for her own actions. She said this evening that the bad behaviour had been an 'accident', when I explained that it was her who did the various things she refused to respond.

Any ideas? As I say, she can be lovely and delightful, plays well with friends, is nice to her sister etc.

rhetorician Mon 11-Feb-13 20:11:46

Ps should say, mum has bad dose of flu, not anything more concerning

Jmhirvine Mon 11-Feb-13 20:43:17

Incredible years.... get the book! You mention the pasta jar and I have never come across this but you do say that she lost some pasta. This book says to never do this as it teaches that you lose a reward that you have earned.....

The premise to the book is that children want attention all the time and that we should use this desire for attention to consistenly reward good and positive behaviour - right from the outset and ignore bad behaviour.

The ignoring bad or negitive behaviour is only for minor infractions like the leg swinging if the child hits, does something unsafe or dangerous or is destructive then they go to time out. However this is not the time out that we have come to know through super nanny it is a chance for the child to learn self regulation and to take time to think. when the time out is over it is over there is no need to apologise and you return to the previous activity giving immediate praise to the first positive behaviour.

This book and course has changed my life! I mean it the difference in my kids are astounding!

Jmhirvine Mon 11-Feb-13 20:46:00

When you earn a sticker, pasta piece or any token you cannot ever lose it it is your token of good behaviour!

This was completly alien to me but I totally understand the logic you just dont earn an additonal reward if you havent shown good behaviour and it takes longer to earn the end goal and treat.

Wellthen Mon 11-Feb-13 20:56:55

You can ignore, or give little attention to, bad behaviour at the time but deal with it later.

The fact her mother is ill may be making her more desperate for attention and picking up on your stress will increase this desire. She's hitting you where it hurts - "I need her to do as she's told" - she knows this.

When she is being deliberately annoying simply ask her once to stop doing what she is doing. If she continues, explain that if she continues she will recieve some sort of punishment later. If she continues again simply make a mental note but don't say anything or do anything until she is calm enough (deliberately annoying behaviours suggest she is already slightly stressed). eg if she is kicking the table, wait until the meal is finished and then calmly place her in a timeout or whatever.

Normally with a child of this age deferred punishment isnt advised but in this case it difffuses the situation and shows she cant get your attention or what she wants with bad behaviour.

I agree you are probably making it too complicated. People, especially when desperate, will often try every method assuming eventually one will work. They plead, threaten, shout, remove, persuade, reward etc etc. The child gets what they want, attention, releases a lot of emotion through screaming and defiance, but eventually becomes tired and confused and is unable to see what started the problem in the first place.

Just because she is 4 doesnt mean she needs umpteen chances. 1 request, 1 reminder should be enough for a child with normal communication abilities. The simplier the better.

mamadoc Mon 11-Feb-13 20:58:15

I also was going to say never take away the reward. It is punishment enough not to get something at that age.
Maybe sticker chart or character moving along a track is more visually appealing than pasta jar for a small person.

You do mention that her mum is ill. Have you considered that her bad behaviour is a reaction to this especially if out of character? When you say that you just need her to do as she's told it sounds as if you have less time and energy than usual. Very understandable but she will pick up on it.

rhetorician Mon 11-Feb-13 21:10:44

Thanks. This is all very helpful. Ok, will stop taking things out of the jar! She needs positive reinforcement and does get stressed/ overwhelmed when things get heated and then can't figure out what to do. But sometimes you just need her to do stuff because you say so too. She is quite sensitive to others moods, so some of it is reactive - she normally has 2 parents around to mind her, currently she has half of one, as baby is sick too and crying a lot and v. Clingy. It's not out of character, e.g. All of age 3 was like this...but she has got a lot better. I spend a lot of time praising her etc, and current,y am on short fuse (have full time job have had no time off, plus doing all the domestic stuff as well) it definitely is two steps forward one step back, and today was just a bad day. We did say sorry to one another before bed and both promised to do better tomorrow

rhetorician Mon 11-Feb-13 21:12:34

Also deferred punishment does work, getting cross really really doesn't. Discussing when calm also helps. She knows the rules, but just can't always apply them. Thats why I like pasta jar, takes the conflict out of things...

mamadoc Mon 11-Feb-13 21:30:36

I think some of taking the conflict out is just being really clear yourself on your strategy so you don't wind up doing lots of different stuff.

I do a lot of picking of battles. The kicking of legs would probably just get ignored round here or distracted if I can manage it but if I have said no there will be only one further warning before time out or loss of privilege or whatever the sanction is but no getting into protracted arguments.

Really nice that you both said sorry. I am a big fan of saying sorry if you know you've maybe taken things out on them. I think it's modelling how you would like them to be.

Jmhirvine Mon 11-Feb-13 21:40:57

I just had battle for time out using incredible years with a 4 year old who wouldnt go to bed, it does work so saying something like 'Meghan you do a lot of nice things at home, but there is one thing we have problems with; you often dont do what we/i tell you to do. Were/I am going to help you learn how to obey by putting you in time out every time you dont obey. You'll have to go in the time out chair in the corner of the room for four minutes(set a timer dont guess) and youll have to be quiet for at least 2minutes before you can get off the chair were also going to give you a sticker everytime you do what we/i ask you to do. then you can turn in your stickers for something you want. (set a realisitic amount of stickers for my 4 yr old its 4 sticker for a small treat and 12 over a week for something like swimming etc)

You need to be prepared for the consequence and the battle that may ensue be strong! repeat I can do this I am calm!

Begin by giving a clear command then pause for 5 seconds to see wether she complies if she does lots of praise and a sticker! if she doesnt repeat the command and warn her that she will have to go on time out if she doesnt comply. wait another 5 seconds and see how she responds if she obeys reinforce her compliance with praise and reward with a sticker if she disobeys take her to time out once time out is over repeat the inital command if she complies this time praise her and give her a sticker if not then repeat the time out sequence.....

PS It also helps to practice time out - it is not a punishment but reflection time I have had both my 4 yr olds practice sitting on time out and doing the rocket ship (both hands at the mouth like a rocket and blow all the bad feeling away and then we practice them coming straight off it does actually help when it comes time to use it as they know what to expect it is not unknown and its nothing to be feared

rhetorician Mon 11-Feb-13 21:42:08

Well legs had been going on since she came home, flinging around, accidentally kicking sister etc.

rhetorician Mon 11-Feb-13 21:43:58

Yes, we put her on rug to calm herself and try to get control back. Might order the book!

Fishandjam Mon 11-Feb-13 21:47:12

Watching with interest, as my DS (aged 3) has similar difficulty in doing as he's told...

Jmhirvine Mon 11-Feb-13 21:48:49

Seriously the book is amazing and its not just bad behaviour it deals with its, play time, social, emotional and acedemic coaching, praise, child directed play....

The difference in my twins is amazing and actually when you look back in hindsight you can actually see where you lost control of the situation thanks to the knowledge you gain...

Jmhirvine Mon 11-Feb-13 21:50:00
Jmhirvine Mon 11-Feb-13 21:52:36

BTW Incredible years also say that from a child is five the maximum time out time should be 5 minutes so even if your child is 7 five minutes is the optimum time out period

belindarose Mon 11-Feb-13 21:53:04

I like '1,2,3 Magic' if you're looking for a technique. Takes the conflict out of the situation with my 3 year old.

Hope your partner and baby are better soon.

rhetorician Mon 11-Feb-13 22:41:05

Thanks belinda a bit rough on everyone. Dd1 is very strong minded, and won't do stuff just to please, which is good in the long run, I guess grin

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