PLEASE help me - I am at the end of my wits with my 3 year old daughter and her destructive behaviour. She has always been a happy extremely confident little girl with a great sense of humour. But now she is slowly turning into an agressive monster!! she has very little patience for anything and when she cant do something, she screeches and screams and will throw it or hit it, I have tried to cuddle her any say "hey dont be frustrated I will show you how to do it and help you do it yourself" and I tell her to ask me for help instead of screeching which calms her down initially, but the next time its the same again. She doesn't listen to me - all our discipline boundaries have been broken and finally, she is VILE to our cat - I have caught her throttling him, hitting him, standing on his tail and this morning she actually pierced his ear with a plastic hair clip toy. The punishment for that was I threw one of her toys away in the bin and made her watch me do it. NOTHING WORKS!! - she doesn't care about the naughty step, smacks, shouting, reasoning, time out, nothing :( She is an only child and lives with me and my long term boyfriend, she has regular visits and contact with her father and his girlfriend and this has been her situation since she was 7 months so no big changes have happened. She gets lots of positive attention from me and we have a loving relationship. This behaviour is really upsetting me and making me feel like I cant cope or am a bad mother in some way
We're so happy to see that you're reaching out for some help with your parenting issue. You definitely are not a bad mother, not at all. By reaching out for some help you are really showing what a strong, caring mother you are. As a parent, whenever you encounter difficulties with your children reaching out for some help and guidance to get the behaviors under control is always a great step for you to take.
At three years old, it is very important to be clear and descriptive with your daughter. Instead of saying, "Behave" or "Don't be mean to the cat" or "You need to listen to me" it helps to be extremely descriptive with your daughter. Tell her exactly what it means to behave (pick up after yourself, don't yell or scream, etc.), how to listen (look at mommy when she talks and don't speak), or how to behave in any other way in which she is currently struggling. We call this 'teaching to the behavior.' Instead of simply telling her what she should not be doing, teach her what she should be doing and how to do it.
When she does misbehave or refuses to follow your expectations, it is important that this is always met with a consequence. At the same time, you need to use these instances of defiance as yet another teaching opportunity. Tell your daughter what she did wrong, why it was wrong, and what she should have done different. Then, practice the appropriate behavior with her once she has calmed down.