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I need some help. My step daughter and 3 1/2 year old granddaughter are living in our cottage. I have been babysitting my granddaughter since infancy. I love her very much and we‘re quite close. My step daughter is having some pretty bad emotional issues right now and needs the adults in her life to step in and help with little Jazelle. She’s always been a good little girl but now I notice changes in her behavior. She yells more, she is very rough with things, she doesn’t listen, she talks back, she’s getting aggressive and the other day I caught her trying to hit my cat with a stick. She also was throwing rocks really hard in the driveway and nearly hit one of our cars.

No one has ever shown any discipline toward this child. Her other grandmother lets her get away with anything. Her mother is very young and immature and it’s clear she’s over her head here. The dad ( I call him the sperm donor) is not around anymore which is a good thing. I had Jazelle all day yesterday and she was very good until she spent an hour with her mom before dinner.

I’ve never raised a toddler. I have no clue what to do. But, I know that if her behavior is allowed to continue unchecked we’ll be creating a monster. What it looks like to me is this little girl is in total control of all the adults around her. So far I’m the only one who seems to hold her accountable at all for her actions.

Any advice on discipline for a nearly 4 year old?

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mztracy wrote May 27, 2009
    • time out chair (one minute for her age 4yrs = 4 mins) set a timer
      remove / take a fav toy until she behaves

      the main thing is follow through



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lisa Middlesworth wrote May 27, 2009
    • I agree with mxtracy, you have to be very consistent with little ones.
      Believe it or not, she is probably craving a little structure, stability and yes, rules.
      They say kids can sense when adults around them are stressed, they can also get stressed and reach out for attention even if it’s negative attention.
      BTW, she is beautiful and I’m sure with you guiding her, she will be on the right track before you know it.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Marie66 wrote May 27, 2009
    • I went thru the same thing too with my nephew.. I’ve been raising him off and on sinces he was 6 months old, he’s now 7 yrs old..He pretty did everything that your “lil” one is doing and I put my foot down and told him exactly how things were going to be.. He wasn’t to crazy about my rules..I told him my house my rules..It was a long road but we finally saw the light at the end of the tunnel..

      It’s true what Lisa says kids do sense stress around them and that is probably why she’s acting up..Don’t give up on her and with you being there for her she will be okay..

      I never thought that I had to be “raising another child” but I did and there were some times that I wanted to give up but it wasn’t Nathan(nephew) fault that his mom wouldn’t pay attention to him, and every now and then she still doesn’t.. She too became a young mother at the age of 14, she has a 16 yr old, that my Mother-in-law raised till about 3 yrs ago..  

      There is going to be good and bad days, but don’t give up..Your a very GOOD, CARING PERSON and evrything will turn out good.. BEST OF LUCK!!!

      Gilda



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Daphne wrote May 27, 2009
    • In my experience, children will rise to the expectations set before them.  It sounds like your expectations are clearly understood and, for the most part, respected by her.  Her mother and other grandmother do not have the same expectations that you do so your grand-daughter will test your limits from time to time.  I have one word of advice...CONSISTANCY.  Maintain your expectations and remind her if/when she is crossing the line.  After a verbal warning, the time out or loss of fav item approach would be my next step.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cynthia Schmidt wrote May 27, 2009
    • Thank you, girls for some very good advice. And, Ellen, I hear you about the 2 sets of rules. When she’s over here with me all day she’s good as gold. She plays quietly, puts her toys away and does as she’s told. When my stepdaughter feels overwhelmed she sends the little one to her other grandmother for a few days. When she comes home she’s a behavioral nightmare. It takes me sometimes days to re establish house rules. I feel like I’m the lone ranger here with rules and accountability.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Cynthia Schmidt wrote May 27, 2009
    • Linda I just read your comment and consistency does seem to be the best approach. Last night she was pointing her pencil at me and I told her I’d take it away from her if she does it again. She actually said “no you won’t.” I stopped and took her pencil away saying “I’ll prove it to you.” She cried but it had to be that way!

      Guess who just showed up at my door in tears. Oy Vey - I’ve got to get ready for my work day!!!



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Coachmombabe wrote May 27, 2009
    • Cynthia, I have a 5 year old and 2 4 year old grandsons, a 3 year old granddaughter, and 1 year old granddaughter. Time out is a regular part of their lives, at home and my house. I save swatting for out and out defiant behavior (very rarely used), most other infractions get the time out chair.

      I agree totally with Tracy, you have to be consistent. Also, here are a couple of other rules of thumb I try to follow:

      1. Don’t discipline in anger. It’s too easy to overreact.
      2. Follow up time out with “What did you get a time out for?” or some version of that.
      3. Hugs and an “I love you” after punishment.
      4. When it’s done, it’s done.
      5.  This is pretty much typical behavior for a child. Don’t expect a miraculous turn around.

      I’m sure you already have a good, solid relationship with your little granddaughter. She may challenge your boundaries with her, but she will respect you even more eventually. The key word being “eventually“. estatic



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Jo46 wrote May 27, 2009
    • Cynthia, What a doll!  Don’t forget to “catch her being good!” and tell her what you like about what she did or said.  It has to be a challenge because her mom doesn’t rein her in, and you do. I’m sure this is confusing to little Jazelle. I believe you have to review with the step daughter the rules in your house again, and perhaps come together as to what you both would like for rules for Jazelle and your step-daughter.  Keep your chin up!  Your doing a wonderful job stepping in and helping out “chocolatier”



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Hbrose wrote May 27, 2009
    • Hi Cynthia,

      Jazelle is a little cutie! And looks like you got lots of very sound advice from some wonderful people here. I echo all these wonderful suggestions, and would emphasize the loving reward and encouragement after each of the disciplines. Maybe create something special that you and she shares/does together after she’s had her “time out” or whatever. That way she always knows even when she gets in trouble with grandma, its only because you love her.  

      Rose



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