Channel Mum Chat

Help with 4 year olds behaviour and outbursts

I’m a single mum to my 4 year old little girl, and I’m really struggling mentally and physically recently with her behaviour, she won’t go bed without screaming the place down, same with getting dressed at the moment for pre school, and generally I feel she looks at me like I’m just a failure and plays on it, she is extremely cleaver and very forward for her age as she always has been and very independent, I guess what im reaching out for is some support and help with how to make my parenting better, it’s just me and her 24/7 and I feel as though I am letting her down and really feel like a complete failure :frowning:

I’m sorry you are having a hard time at the moment. I’m sure that your daughter doesn’t feel like you are a failure, it’s probably just her way of trying to show you that she is a small person in her own right. I know it’s not easy to cope with, but I can promise you that she won’t be doing it to upset you.

Hi @anonymous5956

It can feel really tough being a mum and feel hard not to take their behaviour personally but @claireyd is quite right your daughter will not be thinking you are a failure. It sounds at though you are struggling though and may be having those thoughts yourself.

My name is Maggie and I am the Channelmum HV and sleep and parenting specialist.

Your daughter is obviously very bright - and when children behave like this it usually means they are upset and overwhelmed by their feelings. They take it out on your as you are their safe base and person they love and trust the most to be able to show how they feel. So in actual fact it is a sign she has a good relationship with you.

The clue to managing this behaviour is to understand the feelings driving it - if you can identify what is troubling her and triggering these feelings you can then deal with this. Children when they behave at their worst is when they need the most love and understanding.

You identify the two times this behaviour occurs

Is she happy at pre-school, does she look forward to going? At bedtime is she overtired? Do you have a gentle relaxing bedtime routine for her that prepares her going to bed and going to sleep.? Can you tell me abut her bedtime routine and when this screaming starts?

Praise and rewarding behaviour you want is the best way to encourage her to cooperate with you. Catch er doing what you want and praise that - how we give praise matters have a look at the link below

Using reward charts for getting dressed without a fuss can work well and if the reward stickers are linked to a small non-edible treat they work even better have a look at the link below on how to use these effectively

I answered a post to a mum here who was having difficulty with tantrums and misbehaviour you may find my reply helpful see here 3 year old behaviour

Have a look at the links and see what you think and then we can talk some more. I have every confidence you will find a way through this. Remember you are doing the best you can. Do you have any family support? Have you spoken to your HV?

Maggie xx

Just so you know your are not alone!
My 4 year old girl is very similar
I have looked into gentle parenting the last few weeks and tried to implement is into our routine and I have noticed a difference
For example, you ask your daughter to brush her teeth and she says no, you both get frustrated

  • what I have been doing is saying do you want to brush your teeth before or after you put your pyjamas on
    This then gives them a choice and a feeling of independence
    Maybe give it a try, you never know!
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Hi @anonymous5956 and @tillymascord

The limited choices and consequences and giving them some control works well. Good to hear it has worked for you.

I work as a national trainer for Family Links and parenting charity and they have some great free resources for parents. Their very effective way of giving choices and consequences is outlined in the link below. It is a simple 7 step process and like you Tilly I found it worked brilliantly with my children from little ones up to teenagers.

Family Links have a whole host of other resources you might like to look at. Many areas do run courses - hopefully face to face starting soon. Some areas have been doing them virtually. You can put your post code in to see if there if are any near you. They are usually run free box charge by the local authority or country council

Maggie xx