New-G! asks:

How do I manage my misbehaved and violent daughter Part 1?

I am bothered with my child`s behavior. She just turned three. Yet, she is very naughty and acts violently. No matter what disciplinary action I take (spanking, confiscating her toys, not giving her favorite treats, locking her up in her room, etc), still it does not work. The following are the instances of her mischievousness:
a. When we go malling, she randomly hits other kids that she passes by. I also find it stressful running after her.
b. During grocery time, she would touch or even throw product displays in shelves. Its a good thing she was not able to throw away fragile ones.
c. She constantly hits my grandmother with her hands or sometimes she uses my grandma`s crane. Am afraid that she might cause injury to the old one.
d. She loves to distract her little sister (6 months old) when sleeping by shouting, shaking the crib, stamping her feet, thumping, etc. She also loves to pinch her sister. Is it possible that she is jealous? They`ve been together just lately because they have different dads, I decided to bring them closer to avoid sibling rivalry.
e. She hits other people aside from my grandma, like my baby sitter, our helper, and any body else she feels like hitting.
f. She can't wait to grow up. She follows what adults do. Like wipe the table, sweep the floor, prepare her sister`s milk formula, etc (anything she sees what adults do in the house). She's
too young to perform these tasks. Instead of helping, she adds work and stress in the household
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago



Boys Town National Hotline
Mar 1, 2014
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What the Expert Says:

Yes, if it is a new routine to have the new baby in the home with her, she certainly may be standing her ground, and be a bit jealous.  That jealous feeling when a new baby enters the picture is common in children.  How your daughter handles that jealousy is what is key, because some of the behaviors she is displaying are not acceptable.

A 2 or 3-year-old does not have a lot of vocabulary to express her emotions, so sometimes she will act out with a hit, kick, push, or bite to let her feelings known.  However, your daughter seems to be initiating violent behaviors when unprovoked.  Look at each time she displaysa negative behavior like this as a "teaching moment".

This week focus on expectations with her and role play with her few times a day.  For example get on opposite sides of the room and walk toward each other.  Say, "OK now when we walk by each other, we do NOT touch each other, but instead smile and we can say 'hi'. "  Another example would be to set up about 10 cupboard items on your coffee table and practice shopping.  Have her find the biggest can there or the blue can and bring it to the cart.  Praise her when she does it.  She feels useful.  She is helping out.  It will keep her busy in the store.

Do little exercises like this with her and teach her what is expected.  Let her know if she does strike out at someone or throw something, she will get a consequence.  At her age she needs the negative consequences right away so she can "tie the punishment to the crime" so to speak.  It might be she goes right back into the stroller or back into the buckled shopping cart, or she has to hold your hand or does not get the free treat they hand out at the grocery store.  At the end of the outing remind her again what is expected and why she lost a privilege.  

A 3-year-old is never going to clean or do a chore as thorough as an adult, but even it makes more work for you, think of a few she could do. She wants to be helpful and modeling good housekeeping skills is a good thing.  Though she should not be left in a room alone with the little one right now, allow her to be a part in the caretaking too.  She can help hold the bottle up or she can bring a diaper over to you.  This will help her to bond with her sister too.  Praise her for the times she is gentle with her sibling and helps out.  Little things like, "Look, she smiled at you," or "Look when she kicks her feet, she is excited to see her big sister."  Make sure you have one on one time with her too.  She needs to know that you value her, and that you are not going anywhere just because there is a new baby in the home.

Laura - Crisis Counselor
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Additional Answers (2)

Montessorim... writes:
Hello, I am a trained Montessori teacher with a background in child development and psychology and I am also a mom of an 8yr old and a 3yr old, both girls.
I would say this...First off, at this age if a child doesn't know how to articulate how they feel because they don't have enough language skills, they will often act physically by hitting. Negative reinforcement (the act of taking something away) or punishment (spankings, isolating them) will not get the desired change in her behavior that you are looking for. Research has shown that children's behavior effectively changes through positive behavior, such as a weekly calendar rewards system. You get or make a calendar and by some star stickers, or happy faces, or something you know she will like. Show her the calendar and let her know that for every day that she doesn't hit, SHE will get to put a star on her calendar, but if she pinches or hits she doesn't get a star. As this is in progress, she will test out her situation and demonstrate her hitting/pinching behavior and you just simply tell her, that she doesn't get a star that day.
Once she starts to build a full week of stars, you can give her a reward of some sort; a pinwheel, a bouncy ball, a small .99 cent plush toy, etc.. to let her know what a great job she's doing not hitting or pinching!
You can do this for a month and see if her behavior gets better, if it does you can let her know that she finished the whole month and the whole family is really proud of her and you can go celebrate by going out to ice cream or something that she would like to do. You can also let her know that she is becoming a big girl, because big girls don't hit or pinch.
Also, make sure you give her snuggle time, avoid parental tactics that scare her, because she will become overwhelmed by those feelings and will be more likely to continue undesirable behavior.
Also, check in with her and make sure she's not being treated by a baby sitter, a boyfriend, an uncle, etc.. in an inappropriate way. Children do a lot of lashing out when they are victims of abuse.
Siblings can also cause feeling that "mommy doesn't love me anymore" and that is why it is so important to give her that cuddle time and why the baby is sleeping to have special moments with just you and she together.
Finally, you can help her with her relationship with her sister by giving her "big girl" jobs to do, such as helping get the supplies for changing the baby, singing to the baby, and so on...The more she is included in the process, the less she will feel threatened, if that is what is happening...
Hope this helps your situation,
> 60 days ago

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Wayne Yankus
Wayne Yankus writes:
while I agree with Montessorimomma to a degree, there are immediate issues here that you have recognized.  Behavior change involves the whole household not just the child and you also have two dads involved and I am assuming shared custodial care for one of them.  check with your pediatrician and as Montessorimomma suggested be sure there was no child abuse.  Next I would seek counseling for yourself ie family counseling thus enabling you to have the strength and energy to begin the positive reinforcement suggested.  

Wayne Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: Pediatrics
> 60 days ago

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