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EXHAUSTEDSINGLEDAD
EXHAUSTEDSI... asks:
Q:

4 1/2 year old daughter--single dad has custody and problems with discipline

My beautiful, smart, energetic, 4 1/2 year daughter has been in my custody for about 2 years. We LOVE each other very much and I admit that I'm a "softy".  Her actions sometimes are embarassing around other people.  Following rules fall on deaf ears, very moody, defiant, attention span is about 2 minutes(ADHD--don't know at this time)time outs are difficult to maintain, wanting to wear inappropriate clothes, screaming when she doesn't get her way, etc.  HELP ! ! Working all day, doing ALL household chores that must be done--meals, laundry, clean, dust, working with my daughter on age related activities, etc.  I AM EXHAUSTED ALL OF THE TIME ! !  Any ideas for this SINGLE, EXHAUSTED, LOVING DAD ???
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges, Single parent families
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Mar 10, 2012
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What the Expert Says:

Thanks for taking the time to reach out for some help with your parenting issue. It definitely sounds like you care for your daughter very much, but you're frustrated with some of her behaviors. Instead of letting your emotions guide your actions its always great to take a step back, take a breath, and take in some helpful guidance. You're really showing strong parenting sense by looking for some help.

You mentioned that you may be a bit of a "softy" with your daughter. While wanting to make her happy and have a healthy relationship with her are two important parts of parenting, if they start to interfere with your ability to raise, discipline, and teach your daughter then its time to reevaluate what you're doing. Being firm and consistent with expectations for behavior and consequences (as well as with praise and rewards) both help teach your daughter what behaviors are acceptable and which ones are not. If your daughter does not learn these lessons at home with you, then somebody who isn't so soft and understanding will come along who won't stand for those behaviors. Creating specific expectations (no yelling, no talking back, following rules) which are met with consequences if they are not followed and with praise if they are followed will make it clear to your daughter what she should and should not be doing. Then, when she decides to go against the rules you need to be firm and consistent with giving a consequence each and every time. As the parent, you have control over the situation. We aren't saying you need to run your house like a drill sergeant, but don't let her walk all over the rules either.

Here is a link that you might find helpful: http://www.parenting.org/article/precious-beginnings-discipline

Boys Town National Hotline
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Additional Answers (2)

struggling
struggling writes:
http://www.amazon.com/Your-Defiant-Child-Better-Behavior
--or--
http://www.amazon.com/Winning-Cooperation-Your-Child-Comprehensive
Maybe these books will be able to help?? Also...consistency will help. If you say there is going to be a punishment you must follow thru.
> 60 days ago

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ShirleyCressDudley
ShirleyCres... , Teacher, Child Professional, Parent writes:
Hi "single, exhausted, loving dad",

Your daughter is a proud product of your parenting.  She is ruling the house right now, and is very successful in her efforts.

Unfortunately as a single parent (and I was a single parent for many years) you are "doing it all" and there is the temptation to not discipline your child and loosen the rules and expectations for your child.

But disciple and boundaries is a way of showing love to her, and will help her become a more balanced and healthy young woman- as she grows up.

If you'd like to change this, it's going to be a little tough. You need an excuse to change all the rules.
Examples: she's turning 5; going to a new school; moving to new house; new year; or you've gotten so tired lately- you consulted a parenting guru for advice;   or you've declared it's time for her to "grow up" and accept more responsibilities and get more privileges (A reason to announce these changes to the world as she knows it.)

Then, you decide, in advance what kind of behavior you want from her.
-No yelling in public
-Dad has the final decision on everything
-Dad gives her choices of clothes to wear
-Bedtime is ____pm
-etc. etc.



Also, assign her some daily and weekly chores:
-keep her room picked up; put her dirty clothes in the clothes bin
-help with dinner
-help to clean up after dinner (bringing you the dishes, etc.)
-etc. etc.

All ages (even a 4 1/2 year old) can help you with basic chores.  

These changes should be done as soon as possible. Can you imagine your daughter when she enters school and refuses to pay attention to the rules?  What about her first job, when there's a dress code or an expectation of when she should arrive for work- and she ignores all the rules and expectations?  

Your main job as a parent is to guide her and help her be prepared for the future. You will be showing her that you love her by adding these boundaries and expectations.

I know it's hard, but to be a happy, energetic, loving single dad- you need to regain control.

Provide negative and positive consequences to your new set of guidelines and don't back down- be consistent and firm. You will love the results.

Kindest regards,

Shirley Cress Dudley, MA LPC NCC FACMPE
Founder of The Blended and Step Family Resource Center

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