Thursday, January 14, 2010

So um....

So what do you do when your child is "mean" to you?  Uggghhh I do not know how to respond.  Lucy can be a hella brat to me some nights and frankly I am stumped.

Examples:  rolling her eyes at me, calling me stupid, yelling at me, screaming "I knoooooowww that" whilst rolling her eyes (me thinking, yeah well if you KNEEEWWW that then why'd ya do it?)., hitting at me (sort of threatening, but she knows she's not going to make contact), spitting, sticking out her tongue.

help me.  I need specific direction on how to respond to this.  She's 4 1/2 and I don't want to screw her up.

12 comments:

Themia said...

we are in EXACTLY the same boat...you could have been describing my son...I have no answers, but you are so not alone...I look forward to someone commenting who actually knows what to do about it.

Chrissy said...

Thoughts and Prayers to you as you figure out what is best to do!! Since my child is still in Ethiopia!! :-) I have no adivice that I can say I have actually tried. However, my sister has a 5 year old who has become a "Holy Terror" at times :-) She asked the teacher and the teacher suggested taking things away...such as playtime, tv, and other things he enjoys and having to earn those things back......He has had a good week at school this week.....but with that age..you just never know ;-) keep us bloggers posted on what you try!!

jayme said...

Not that I'm any sort of authority on this, but here's what I'll generally do with kids who are acting out in the ways you describe:

If a child is saying or doing things intended to be hurtful, I widen my eyes and calmly say something like "where did you hear those words" or "who says that / does that to you".

Whether or not they have an answer for that question, it gives me a starting point to talk about how those actions feel, and why we shouldn't try to hurt other people (either with our bodies or with our words).

If my kids spit, I send them into the bathroom to do it (talking about how there are appropriate places for certain things). If they're trying to hit, I tell them to go punch a pillow. (a punching bag might not be a bad idea either.) I always try to address the behaviour first, and then, once they've calmed down, I'll address the feelings behind the behaviour.

People say that empathy is a hard thing for kids to understand, but I've found that if I talk to my kids about how certain things make me feel, and then relate it back to them somehow (i.e. i feel really sad / frustrated / angry / etc. when X happens. How do you feel when X happens to you?) they really do get it.

For me, the key is trying to stay as calm as possible (i.e. not giving them the reaction that they're looking for) and not taking it personally. She loves you and she trusts you, which is why she feels so comfortable taking everything out on you. But it isn't about you. You just have the joy of taking the brunt of it.

Hope some of this is helpful. Good Luck!

liruco said...

We're in that boat too. Ever since my daughter turned 4 about a month ago, her behavior has escalated to include shouting insults and hitting. We've had some success with "time-ins" and a lot of talking, but would love to hear what works for others. Two nights ago my daughter was upset at me and shouted that she hoped I would get "100 flu shots all over my body"!

Jebena said...

Let me just say (so CPS don't come knocking at my door wanting my fingerprints)that I would follow jayme's advice until I found a good, strong, child counselor--because Miss Lucy is most certainly a "strong-willed" child and as you know from your career-field, that can be a blessing or a curse (BTST=Been There Seen That)depending upon how it's handled (okay, this is where CPS will want my fingerprints for sure).

I know you don't want to do anything to damage your child, but with that spitting and hands up to hit action, ummmmmm, Imma have to say, "YOU BE THE MOMMA" because clearly, Miss Lucy is challenging the boundaries you are setting...and naw, I wouldn't tolerate it beyond 24 hours in my life span.

Options:
A. Do it Bernie Mack's way (beat her until the white meat shows)...just kidding!!!

B. Call Super Nanny (I think that show still comes on)and see if she has ever done a show with an international adoption premise to it. I'll google it in and see what I can find with that.

I'm rooting for you because parenting in the 21Century is definately NOT for the faint at heart!

Jebena said...

Oooooooh Liruco!!! How does a 4-year old even know how to count to 100! See, I would have place her in a room with 101 blocks and a bucket and then would have told her to put 100 blocks in the bucket before she can have a snack...I bet that would stop her from telling me about 100 of anything! hehehe---these preschool age children are something else!!!

Rachel said...

We were having issues with one of our children whining and throwing big fits. We tried spanking, time-outs, taking toys away, etc.

Finally, I just started saying very calmly, "if that's how you want to spend your time, fine. But, go in your room by yourself to do it because the rest of us don't want to listen to or be around someone acting this way." The first few days, that child was in there for almost an hour at a time. Now, 98% of the time, they stop the behavior because they don't want to be by themselves and miss out on something else.

The more I parent, the more I see that staying calm and them not getting a reaction out of you is key (at least in my family.) Good luck! Keep us posted. Parenting is HARD. The good news is that just when you're on the brink of losing it, they outgrow whatever behavior is driving you bonkers and introduce a new one... :)

Kristy said...

Our son does this also in fact at times I really ? Bipolar. One minute he will yell I don't like you, I kick you in the face... I bite you and next minute he is hugging you saying I Love you sorry mama, we also stay calm and assure him that these are not nice words.

heits said...

Sounds like my little Miss M.

The sensory therapy with a pediatric physical therapist helped. We did that for about 4 months, but quit in Oct.

Heather Forbes' stuff helps the most for me.

Mandy said...

I agree, Heits, Heather Forbes is fabulous. My sister was having some major behavioral issues with her adopted older child from Ethiopia, and she read "Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control" by Heather Forbes and Bryan somebody (sorry, can't remember). It has fabulous advice for various behaviors with real-life examples of how it works. I know this because my sister then passed the book on to me...I've read it in preparation for an older child but have yet to put it into practice myself. It's a nice easy read, though. Not too long or time-consuming. Good luck!

Malia'sMama said...

Satce, every child is different, but i find that with mlia, explaining how it HURTS curbs it almost instantly. I think you recal we had a "stupid" problem for a while and no amount of time outs etc worked, but the sec I explained the FEELINGS, it was gone. In frustration she will sometimes kick, or say she's going to- again,the only thing that works is appealing to empathy. Sure, like anyone, she has relapses, but there are longer and longer times between them. Good luck!!

seneferu said...

well, i will give you the teacher's opinion (as mel would point out) i think what jayme said was good advice. i am not sure that punishment will be effective...probably will stop the behavior but then in a few months, years, or so it will rear its ugly head in the form of a different behavior. talking about feelings, suggesting more appropriate methods to express those feelings...well, those are my thoughts which i put forward acknowledging that i am not a mother and i do not have really any experience/knowledge of raising an adopted child which could have more impact on the way to deal with the situation...and, i don't think you will ruin lucy :)