Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I Need Some Mommy Help

This may be my most vulnerable post ever. I am going to ask you guys for some help. With all of the moms out there, I just know that some of you have the solution I’m looking for.

Some of you may have noticed I haven’t posted in almost a week. A lot of that has been that I have been up to my eyeballs in busy mommy stuff. You know the same stuff that all of you deal with….life.
Another reason is that I have been an emotional wreck.

I can’t get my 5-year old to listen to me worth a lick. I will say something, she will say “ok”, then two seconds later she will do exactly what I told her not to, or she won’t be doing what I asked her to.

She’s one of those care-free souls that just goes around life with a smile on her face.

I have done time-out. That doesn’t seem to phase her. She just is nonchalant about the whole thing. I have taken toys away – even thrown toys away. She cries, but the message isn’t sinking in.
The only thing that seems to work is if I yell.


I hate feeling mean. I hate that I have to do that to get a response.

These past few days have been especially hard.

We just bought a treadmill last week, and set it up downstairs in our basement family room.
On one half of the room is my kids’ play area. The other half is separated by a couch. The treadmill is on the other side of the couch – away from the toys.
It has a sensor magnet that you have to hook up to even start the thing.
We keep that up on a shelf out of the reach of our children.
We also unplug the treadmill.
Our kids have been told to NOT TOUCH THE TREADMILL!!!!!!!! (I wish I could emphasize how much).

Last weekend we had family over for dinner. After eating the adults were sitting around the table visiting. The kids were downstairs playing. My 2-year old nephew came upstairs and had hurt his ankle. It looked like a burn.
We ran downstairs and my 5-year old was on the treadmill. She had climbed up grabbed the sensor, figured out where to attach it, plugged the treadmill in, and pushed the buttons to get it going.

Are you seeing where this is going?
My 2-year old nephew’s ankle had been burned by the treadmill.
This is a picture a few days later.
I’m just sick to my stomach about this.

My 5-year old was punished. It was even her birthday and she wasn’t allowed to have some of her presents for a couple of days. She also couldn’t have treats with the family for several days (and we make cookies almost every single day).

I know she felt badly about it, but that doesn’t change the fact that she didn’t listen.

So please all of you moms, grandmas, aunts, etc.
Please help me. I feel like I’m failing as a mom and I’m at the end of my rope.
I am desperate for any advice.
Thank you in advance for any help you can give me.


  1. ugh...I'm sorry. :::BIG HUG::: I don't have a magic solution, but maybe this will help. I have an independent 3 year old. We do timeouts, which don't phase her much. Half the time I can hear her in there singing to herself.

    We recently started a marble jar. And she gets to put in a marble whenever she does a good job or is particularly kind (I have an 8 month old and there has been some roughness). She loves picking out the marble to put in the jar and does get upset when she looses one. The idea is that she gets to choose a special activity or toy when she fills up her jar.

    Unfortunately I think the jar we chose is too big. It's only ever gotten half way filled and some days she looses more marbles then she gains.

    So I don't know how much help this is. I'm in the same boat I don't spank my kids and don't want to yell. And man, my 3 year old just doesn't listen a lot of the time. The marble thing has been semi-successful. I think a smaller jar, with a picture of her prize might be more motivating. I don't know if she really understands about the prize and she just likes earning marbles. The good thing about this system is it rewards good behavior and hopefully you won't feel like a screeching harpy.

    I hope you find a solution that works for you. I'll be reading all the comments to see what works for other families.

  2. We have this problem with my 3 year old, but not to this extent. I'm hoping to doesn't get there, and we can nip the not listening in the bud!

    We do a lot of threatening (no toys, no dessert, no cartoon before bedtime, etc). Sometimes it seems like all we do is threaten! But it seems to work for the most part.

    Also, for whatever reason, if my son is not listening and I raise my voice slightly and say NOW! he responds almost immediately. I'm not sure why it works (we only spank for extremely bad behavior so its not the threat of violence getting him to move). I also have him repeat what I've told him if I don't think he's listening. That helps a lot, too, to help him comprehend what needs to be done or what he's not doing.

    I hope you find something that works for you soon, Tam!

  3. Wow. Thank you for your vulnerability! I have no help for you, but hope to find help as well from your replies! I am exactly the same way with my 8 year old and sometimes 5 year old. I hate yelling, never thought I would yell, yet I do. And then feel major guilt after. It is so hard! I am so sorry about all of this. I have tried reward charts also...praying about it. It is just hard. I am sorry I have nothing good to say, but I wanted to let you know you are so not alone. I hate myself when I yell, but it almost feels good at the time to yell because you are so at the end of your rope? Big hugs to you!

  4. I have a very defiant 4.5 year old daughter too. When she gets into trouble, it actually makes her more mad and she lashes out more. We started doing a sticker chart and tried to only focus on her good behavior. It made a huge difference!! When she did something really bad, we would take a sticker away and that was the only thing that really made her sad. Once she earned all her stickers, we had a Mommy-Daughter date to the movies. She picked out which movie she wanted to see and got popcorn and a candy. The sticker chart was the only thing that kept my sanity some days!! Good luck, parenting can be sooooo hard!!!

  5. Hugs to you, mama! I hope someone has a good suggestion, because two of my kids are exactly like your 5 year old. And it doesn't get better with age - my 9 year old is now BIG and defiant. Good luck, Tam!

  6. It doesn't help with the treadmill incident, but one thing that has always worked at our house is "nothing is going to happen until you do (x y or z)." it isn't exactly timeout, and I don't know why it works, but it does. The day can't progress until they do what you've asked. No lunch, no playing, no talking, nothing. That enables me to keep calm and not raise my voice because the kids know what is coming! Maybe that will help?

  7. So sorry that happened! I think that there are a few different schools of thought on discipline - and lots of things to try... but in the end, you can be wonderful parents, and have really wonderful kids, and sometimes they won't listen, or will be defiant, or act out, and that's normal and healthy. A child who didn't do that sometimes would be weirdly abnormal. I hope your nephew heals up okay!

  8. :-( We have all been there! I have 4 children and they are all very different. I do have one free spirit that tests me every day. The ONLY thin that works for her is figuring out what her currency is. And it changes almost daily. Whatever toy, movie, or game she is super duper into, that is the thing that I take away if she misbehaves. I always give her a warning and say something like, "if you do that again I will take away your dolly." Then if she does it again I take it away, put it on top of the fridge and walk away. This usually results in a temper tantrum but it's good because she knows I mean business. It only takes a couple of times for them to figure out you're serious, and when they do it usually nips that behavior in the bud.

    Please don't feel like you're alone, you're SO NOT. ((((HUGS))))

  9. I hear you sister! I have 3 boys ages 5, 3 1/2 and 4 month old. My 5 year old thinks he's old enough to do what he wants (ie: not listening), my 3 year old does the exact opposite of what I ask, and my 4 month old doesn't like to sleep during the day. I'm a wreak too. I just keep reminding myself that this is just a short time in our lives. As for help, I don't know if I have much , except find something they love and use it as leverage. My 5 year old loves TV, so when he's not listening I take away TV time, which normally has him shape up. But they are still kids and are still learning.

  10. wow. when my kids were that little I didn't really have that problem, it's the teen years that are killing me!!
    I was a spanker (ducking) I would take two fingers and slap their little hands if they were doing something there KNEW was wrong. One or two well timed swats on their little booties got their attention too. the key isn't pain, but timing and the shock factor.
    Only once, in there under 5 years) did they really defy me. We were at the ball pit at McDonald's and they would not get out. I told them we wouldn't be coming back for a long, long time if they kept playing. Weeelllllllll, they kept playing. On our way out, I asked them to wave bye bye to McD's becasue they weren't coming back. AND every time we past a Mac's lounge, we waved bye bye. It was a long time and they really hated not going. After about a month, I gave them a chance. I never had an issue again.
    It's a kid's job to find the line and try to cross it. It's our job to figure out how to figure out how to keep them from crossing it too early. God luck to ya. Each and every kid is so different.

  11. Well my girls are still 2 and under.. but one of my nephews went threw a phase like that.. he's 6.5 now and he's much better. He used to do similar things.. he refused to listen to ANYONE.. his parents would send him to his room, take toys away, send him to bed early, none of that worked. He always listens to my husband, who is much more firm than his parents.. he'd tell him not to 2 times and if he didnt listen again.. he'd yell the same thing again and then warn him of the punishments. And if he did it again he followed threw on the punishment.

    A lot of kids just go threw phases like this (my other nephew is getting the same way has he nears 4).. You just have to remember the best thing to do is stay consistent and you need to be firm.. you can't give in to crying or your partner.. you just need to find out what works and stick with it.

    When my oldest (2) disobeys we let the punishment fit the crime.. for example, if she colors on something she's not supposed to we take her crayons away and she's not allowed to color the rest of the day. If she does it again when she gets her crayons back its a week.. we always tell her when we give the crayons back not to do it again.. she's only disobeyed after the 1st time once. so it was pretty effective. Also, we ALWAYS make sure to tell her why she's in trouble so that she can understand.. we ask her when we're done telling her what she did wrong "do you understand?" and if she says no we keep trying different ways to explain it to her so she knows why shes being punished. We also punish her for whatever she's done (to be bad) right away so that she knows what she did was not ok.

    Anyway, it's not gonna be easy and it's probably not gonna be fun but that's part of being a parent. Soon you'll find something that works for you and her and things will get back on track until then just remember that you're not a bad person for teaching your baby right from wrong. Best of luck!

  12. Oh, Tam...hugs. I honestly don't have any advice to offer, but I wanted to let you know I'm thinking of you!

  13. have you read "raising our spirited child"? i am over halfway through with the book and it has been an eye opener cause i found out i am spirited too! haha, i dont know if she is or not you will have to look it up to see if it sounds like your daughter, but my son... its like they wrote the book while watching him! and hes only 2... good luck!

  14. We are in the same scenario with our 4.5 year old son. Timeouts didn't work, taking toys didn't work, losing treats didn't work. After seeing a counselor she suggest that we start focusing on the good and I see improvement (it is not 100% but at least we are moving in the right direction) We split the day up into little tiny chunks (i.e. nap time, lunch time, morning play time, morning outside time, at the market, etc) and if he behaves during that lil 15-20 min chunk he gets a stamp. If he gets a certain number of stamps during the day he gets to pick a prize (dollar section goodies) out of the basket. He loves to get a prize only he gets (not his brother) and if we keep reminding him what he is trying to do he seems on board. I think the day was just so big and it is so hard for their little minds to remember all the rules that breaking it up into small chunks helped. Also we try to recognize EVERY time he is being good. It may sound stupid but even just stating the obvious "Hey, I saw you put your fork on the table!" or "Wow, did you put your shoes in the closet" or other silly comments really made him grin! Mom, noticed! Mom cares! Mom is watching me. Kinda big brother to us adults but really awesome to him. Good luck and you are a great mom!

  15. I wish I had something to tell you that would help. But gosh every child is different and dealing with them is a unique situation too. I don't know how often you all get out of the house or what your schedule is like. If you're able to get out and go to the play ground or go on walks or do something active. Maybe she needs those "happy endorphins" to kick in ;) It might help release all that energy she has built up and letting it out in well various ways as you've said above. I hope you all get through this. {{hugs}}

  16. mine has a safety string attached to the magnet, the other end has a clip that attaches to you. i put it away, where kids don't know, but easy access for me. .....Although, I thought about it and i just tried a fridge magnet and it turned it on! so as long as they don't figure out its a magnet, its a temporary solution to the treadmill. as for kids, CONSISTENCY. be consistent and firm with your discipline plan, and make sure all other adults in child's life are as well. there's no quick fix....

  17. I would have to agree that consistency is the biggest thing. It's really hard because it's a lot of work as the mom, but I'm here to tell you that a lot of effort in the beginning makes things much easier in the end. My oldest was very hard. VERY hard. We left events often, we didn't go many places and I usually didn't get to choose what I wanted to do with my day because so much time was spent focused on her. Positive focus is a great idea. I like the suggestion of a chart or small container where she can move things when she behaves well. Make it easy to earn small rewards so the concept is reinforced often. When we would go somewhere, we would go over and over the rules before we left, as we drove, and when we finally got there. I made her repeat the expectation and if there was misbehavior we immediately left. It honestly didn't take too long for her to figure things out. Call me if you ever need to talk. I've been there- as have so many others. You are not alone, and you can do this! You are an absolutely wonderful mom- I've seen you in action! :)

  18. We are having the same issues with our 3-year-old. We just had a new baby and he is letting us know that he would prefer to have more of the attention back on him. :) I will ask him to do something (or tell him not to do something), usually several times, and he will look directly at me while doing the exact opposite thing. What I've been doing is setting him up with tasks that I know he'll succeed at - asking him to set the table, asking him to pick up specific toys and put them in a specific place, asking him to bring me baby items. I give him a very specific task, and then praise him for doing that specific thing. Not just "good job!" but "I'm so glad you helped me pick up your trucks. Now the baby can lay on the floor safely!". He notices when I notice and praise specific things that he's doing. I think he appreciates knowing that I still notice and appreciate the good things he does. It's sometimes tedious to think of so many things that he can do that I can praise him for, but his happiness after I notice his good behavior is worth it. I much prefer focusing on his good behavior than getting upset at his bad behavior, and I have found that when I focus on the good, the bad doesn't happen as much.

    I think every mommy goes through the same thing with their kids... I hope you'll find something in all these comments that will help you. And feel better! We've all been there.

  19. I learned as a manager of professionals that different things motivate different people. For one it was money for another it was flexible hours for another it was time off. My kids are no different. My oldest was a breeze because the taking things away worked great. We tried that repeatedly with my youngest to no avail. (At one point he had absolutely no toys in his room). At the age of 5 the only thing that worked was a spanking which I reserved when he was endangering himself or others. Now, (at 9) we have him write things (like "I will respect my teacher" 100 times or write a paragraph about how he can improve his behavior. This devastates him and has proven to be his motivator.

    Point just have to find your childs button. Kind of goes with the 5 love languages (the book). Everyone has their own love language...everyone has their own motivation language.

    Sorry to go on and on...I know your pain.

  20. I am so sorry this happened and I know what it feels like to be worn down by the Mommy stuff. I have 3 boys, 22, 18 and 14. I remember those days all too well. And I miss them. I really do. Just this morning I told a friend I wish I was potty training a kid instead of parenting older boys. Going through it you just think its as hard as its going to get. Then you get through it and in to another phase and you wish you were back to the phase before. I can tell you love your her so much and I'm sure your daughter is going to grow up to be an amazing woman. I think what we found worked best is to just talk to them. We didn't do a lot of the "I am the mommy/daddy and you will do what I say" kind of thing. If they did something they weren't supposed to, we talked about what they did wrong, why they weren't supposed to do it, and what would happen if they did it again. We also mixed that in with less than a handful of spankings (also ducking) but that was as the last straw. And I did my fair share of yelling too. We had to keep the car keys high up in a locked pantry because one of them got my keys and started the car. In the garage. With the door closed. It took a long time to get over that. We still keep our keys high up in the pantry, even though 2 of them drive! One of them drank bleach. One of them drank ammonia. One of them started a fire on the kitchen table. One of them cut the cord to the electric blanket. One of them stuck a key in a light socket. One of them almost jumped over the rail at a dam.(still a knot in the pit of my stomach when I think about that one)One of them ate a snail. One of them broke a window. So did another one. All of them survived. So did we. And all that happened while my back was turned for a minute dealing with one of the other ones.

    You are not failing, I promise you are not. And there is not an end to the rope of a Mom. There isn't. It's endless just like our love for our children. You will survive this. So will your daughter. And someday you will miss it. And someday you will share with a struggling Mom what worked for you.

    What did work for one of the boys was to have them repeat back to me what he was just told. And the punishment as well. I would say "what are you not supposed to do? And what is going to happen if you .....? And why shouldn't you do. . . . . ?" and I would make sure they understood. Then a reminder every now and then. And then extra stories and praises at the end of the day if we managed to get through the day without whatever it was he was not supposed to do. An "I Can" chart worked for one of the others. Like "I can keep my hands to myself". "I can be nice to my brother". And rewards at the end of the day. (I think I may need one of those for my senior in high school that says "I CAN pass math"!)

    Sending hugs and thoughts your way and thanks for the great blog!

    1. I LOVE Sandra's post!! I'm doing the SAME THING with my son. He has ALWAYS been harder than my daughter, which makes it more obvious and heart wrenching because it seems she's never in trouble in comparison. I NEEDED to read this today.... (someday I'll miss this stage of their lives.) I just got home from the Temple praying for help on this very topic, so thank you, thank you, thank you!

  21. Thank you so much for being so open and honest. It seems like there are days when I feel I am the only mama struggling and it is so uplifting to know we are all in this together! My soon-to-be three year old is soooooooooo independent! It feels like I am already talking to a teen sometimes. I just try to keep in mind what I heard from Kevin Leman who authored Have a New Kid by Friday. He said we have to "find their currency". So if I try to discipline with a timeout or a toy taken away and that is having no affect I take a deep breath and try to figure out what it is that will get her attention. It usually doesn't take long to figure it out and that puts a stop to the behavior. I hope this helps even if a little! I love your blog. Chin up, you are such a wonderful light to so many of us!

    Michelle @ Teagan's Travels

  22. Here's my two cents: If you haven't already, try talking to her about how her actions make you feel. Let her know that when she doesn't listen you feel sad. Explain to her that there are rules (like not using the treadmill) because rules make it safe for everyone. Explain how breaking the rule of turning on the treadmill made her cousin get hurt. Have her do something like call her cousin and ask how his ankle is and maybe make a get well card for him.

    Talk with her about your expectations for her. For example if she has a daily chore to do, like setting the table for dinner, tell her that this is her job and that it's an important one. Let her know that the entire family depends on her to do this and that when she does it, she is helping everyone. You can thank her for doing her job, but leave it at that. I don't believe in rewarding children for doing something that is expected of them. It might be good motivation for the child, but at some point (likely when the child is older) the rewards will stop. As adults we are not rewarded for doing our day to day jobs, so why should we teach our children this habit?

    It might also help if you spend some one on one time with her. If you don't already do this, set aside some time once a week where just the two of you do something together. A lot of times what we see as "misbehavior" is really just mis-guided behavior. She may be acting out because she is seeking attention.

    Just know that what she is going through is completely normal. She is figuring out who she is and where she stands. Don't get frustrated or feel like you are failing as a mother. You are not. The fact that you are reaching out for help shows that your are a good momma.

  23. i really dont have any words of encouragement because i have the same thing with my 3 year old son. we live in an apartment and i tell him to stop running 5billion times a day, never sinks in, i have to repeat myself , and i feel like i'm always yelling. yesterday he says "mom, im going to pray for you", then says, "dear lord please help my mommy not to be mean anymore" at that point i feel like im a bad mom,and all i do is yell, or have to correct him, nothing works. and all i hear is crying and yelling, we tell him to go to his room or take something awawy he always says ill stop, ill stop. but still nothing. i try to put more effort to spend time with just him (since i also have a 1 year old girl) which never last long because he alwys starts acting up and talking smart and i feel so lost, most of the days i cant help but feel like all i want to do is get away from him because most of my days are spend so stressed out over it. ive gotten to the point now that not a day goes by where i wish i didnt have kids, and i feel horriable about it(espically since im a stay at home mom with them all day, althought that may be the problem on my behalf)

    i know none of this really helps your situation but atleast you know that you are not the only one

    1. You are not alone in feeling like you wished you didn't have kids some days. I have 3 boys, 10, 4, and 3. My 4 year old and 3 year old start their mornings at usually no later than 5:30. My days never stop with them. If I tell them don't do something, they do it. If I say do something, they won't. My 3 year old will look right at me and continue to do whatever the opposite of what he has been told not to do. Nothing works for them. They don't have anything they love to earn marbles or stickers for, they don't have anything I can take away that will make them stop what they are doing. We have taken every toy away and they just play with other things (for that matter they seem to play with other things more than toys). I can't take them anywhere because they don't listen. I have left more than one place because of them. I see kids younger than them behaving like little angels, and it makes me feel like I am screwing up. Why can they get their kids to behave and I can't. If my kids have a currency, I haven't figured it out. All day long every single day, I have to get onto them about the same thing...don't climb the entertainment center, please get off the table, we don't throw all our books on the floor, it is okay to go into the bathroom and wash your hands, but please don't fill the sink with water and soak the floors...the list goes on and on. I don't normally comment on anything having to do with advice on kids, but I just you to know you are not alone. I think we all have moments where we wonder why in the world we ever had kids. We love them to death, but sometimes we wonder what in the world we were thinking.

  24. Well, you're not failing! My 2-year-old is this way right now and I am spending most of my days in tears. I am tired of yelling too... Have you heard of Love and Logic parenting? They have tips for different age groups and parenting. It might work for you, it is helping a little for me.

  25. Don't keep beating yourself up over the accident. She did wrong, and you punished her, and that's about all you can do.
    I'm a retired teacher, and my advice is to be very consistent with your punishments or rewards. We spanked our kids, and my daughter does the same if it's necessary. Since she was raised by 2 teachers, she is pretty strict with most things.
    My little grandson tends to ignore instructions like you mentioned about your daughter. They are trying to break him of that, and since he loves his DS and Kindle Fire (yes, they are rotten and we helped), my son-in-law has learned to immediately take them away when he doesn't respond and do what he is told. He doesn't get them back until he improves his behavior. If he makes less than an A in conduct at school, he doesn't get his games nor is he allowed to play with the neighbor whether it's for one day or the whole weekend. So if he messes up on Friday, just too bad! The good thing is that he knows not to even ask to play with those games. That's his favorite, and if it was a toy, it would be the same thing. My daughter also has a reward jar for each child for their behavior at school. The same thing can work at home also. They may pout because they don't get a reward when the others do, but it doesn't take but a couple of times to really make them try harder.
    Every child is different, and you will just have to find what works with her. Whatever it is, I can't say enough to be consistent. One or two warnings is plenty!
    My other suggestion (and you asked) is that the minute she ignores you to immediately take away whatever she is doing, and take her to the spot you want her to be or whatever it is you told her to do. Don't allow her to leave until she complies. You don't have to yell, just keep repeating the task even if she is screaming. My DD has to do this sometimes with my little GD. She is very stubborn. And if you occasionally yell, you are not a bad parent. We've all been there believe me!
    I'm sure it's hard being with them 24/7. I hope you get to take some breaks away at times. Every parent needs that. I hope things bet better. I enjoy your blog, and forgive me if I overstepped my boundaries.

  26. I have raised 3 and helped raised 4 of my grandchildren, and kids are all so different. When mine were little, and nothing worked, they got a spanking. Not talking about beating in no way, but they got their little rearends spanked. I know today they say do not spank, but my grandmother raised 12 and yes, they got spankings.
    I have one grandson who is ADHD and he has to have medicine. We tried everything, therapist you name it. Tried to teach about being in his bubble, giving them stickers or special things if they got several stickers, but nothing worked. When he is on his medicine, he's the sweetest boy in the world, and is as good as gold and does awesome in school, with out it he is a holy terror. You might have her checked, they have testing, and questions for you to fill out to check.
    I was told that when they do something they are not supposed to do, time out goes by minutes, if she is 5 it's 5 minutes...and you may have to do it all day long, just depends on the child, but only 5 minutes at a time. 1 minute for every year.
    Most of the time you have to have them look you in the face, make sure they are looking at you and have them tell you what you just said.
    I have a sister n law and her niece was acting up. They were getting ready to go to walmart and her little niece decided to throw a fit, so she made her stay at home while everyone else went, of course with an older adult. The next time they started to go to Walmart she started acting up again, and she said do you remember what happened last time, she said yes, and she sat back and was as good as gold.
    I do know that grandparents and parents together have to stick together whatever you say.
    If you tell them you will punish them whatever it is, you have to stick to you guns, and sometimes it you who feels punished but after a bit it's a battle of the wills.
    My Dad said and my grandpa says you have to break a childs will. I started mine at about a year old where if they threw a fit, I would hold them till they stopped crying and fighting me and actually give up, and this will do the trick, and it's hard, you have to keep them from moving any part of their body...and you have to be strong, but I tell you it breaks their will.
    My Dad spanked my butt, and I thank him for it today, because when I was growing up you didn't backtalk or make faces or anything. It's usually a battle of the wills.
    Some kids, you can scold and it breaks their heart, some not.
    Kids today, and I blame society are allowed to do and say things that are not good...also watch what they watch on TV, games they play, it matters.
    This is my experience, but you have to do what you feel.
    I can tell you that if you wait, you are in big trouble...better to nip it in the bud now. Mom said do you want some peach tree tea, well that was a switch and they sting. You barely use it and it hurts. You can leave marks if you do it hard, but a little green switch hurts with just a tiny little switch, but you do it when you feel you are calm and you don't do it hard or too much.
    Tough love is hard. I have one son, who if you knew over the years how I've had to use tough love. But he was into drugs and I had to turn him away at one point, broke my heart, worried me to death, he went to his grandpa's...well it was the toughest thing I've ever had to do, but If I hadn't of done it, he would be dead today, he was into meth.
    Today he's out of it, and I'm thankful! A lot was the good Lord!
    Hope something helps!!! I know they say don't spank, but my generation we got spankings. They have to sting...that's where people can't seem to draw the line, they let their tempers get away from them. I wish there was an answer that would work for each child but you just have to figure out what works for yours.
    Hugs! Leah Ann

  27. I went thought the same thing with my 5 year old. To condense my story a bit I remembered something someone told me which was "pray about her. She is Heavenly Father's child and He knows her better than you do." And what came to me was a few things. I focused on her love language and tried to show her lots of love in that area. I praised her good behavior and told her I was proud of her. When she disobeyed I would try to have an adult conversation with her about why she did what she did and the consequences. When it got really bad and hard for me I found something that she loved (a specific show on Netflix) and told her she couldn't watch it unless she behaved for so many days. I even let her write an x on a calendar so she felt more in control. Now we rarely have problems with her. If she ever gets out of hand I send her to her bedroom so she can chill out and she always comes out happy and cooperative. She is going through a phase and it will get easier. Just hang in there and be consistent and pray.

  28. This is not an unusual phase for the 3-5 year old. Besides what you are already doing, be sure that when you speak to her, she is required to look you in the eye and repeat what you have said. It is amazing how out of focus they can get and not even hear you even when you are talking right to them. Sometimes they will even answer, but they have no idea what you have said!

    This particular act sounded deliberate, so the punishment (discipline) was necessary to let her know that willful disobedience will not be tolerated. When another child is hurt, the discipline needs to be even more pronounced. Be sure to make her repeat back to you why she was punished and why it was not acceptable behavior. An apology to the injured child is certainly a requirement. Stay firm and don't give back too much too quick without a clear action from the child that lets you know they got the message.

    And, remember, if you stay firm, it is just a phase and they will pass through it. However, if it is ignored, it may become a normal behavior. Hang in there! I think you are doing better than you are giving yourself credit for.

  29. Unfortunately I had one of those kids. My youngest daughter was such a fun kid but discipline was a nightmare. Nothing seemed to phase her. We took away every single toy she owned. She played with string and dust bunnies. We took her bed away because she broke it jumping on it and just had a mattress on the floor. Until we got her a horse that she absolutely loved and then when she misbehaved, she was not allowed contact with her horse. It finally worked some what. She was devistated because she spent every waking moment in the barn with that horse. After that it was easier to get her to behave but still a struggle. I will offer up prayers that you can find that one thing that will work for you. Good luck.

  30. Oh girl, I don't have any good advice for you, but I do have commiseration. I'm sorry!!! Hugs. Hope this phase goes by quickly.

  31. Thanks for sharing your heart. ☺ You seem to have received some very good advice. The positive reinforcement does just takes practice and follow-through. All 3 of my kids (14,12,8)are strong-willed. The marble jar worked for us. They start the day with 5 marbles...cause you have to have something to take away. ☺ Here's an example: Tell her to put on her shoes to receive 3 marbles. If you have to ask her again, only give her two. If you have to ask again, give one. And (hope you don't) if you have to ask yet again, begin removing marbles from her jar. Hope this helps. As aggravating as that type of personality is, you can channel that strong spirit into a great leader and role model. She'll get there...and so will you. (((HUGS))) and Happy Leap Day!

  32. Hey Tam! I have been through similar things with Ashton. I have really liked the "Love and Logic" ways of parenting. It is all about providing choices. There are several books you can read. I have also found "The Five Love Languages of Children" to be very helpful. With Ashton, I feel like she needs to have a few more hugs and kisses than most and she likes to be complimented. Your little one is probaly missing one little thing and she is trying to get it by acting out. I checked that one out from the library. I have lots of friends who have used the love languages book and it had helped. It's good for couples too. Check that one out first! I am sure that would help!

  33. Hey Tam! I have been through similar things with Ashton. I have really liked the "Love and Logic" ways of parenting. It is all about providing choices. There are several books you can read. I have also found "The Five Love Languages of Children" to be very helpful. With Ashton, I feel like she needs to have a few more hugs and kisses than most and she likes to be complimented. Your little one is probaly missing one little thing and she is trying to get it by acting out. I checked that one out from the library. I have lots of friends who have used the love languages book and it had helped. It's good for couples too. Check that one out first! I am sure that would help!

  34. Listen to your gut. I think sometimes as parents, we get stuck trying gimmicks and making deals with our kids when really they just need to learn. I mean, its not like your daughter thought, "I'm gonna get this sensor down and turn this on and burn my cousin's ankle." She just didn't know that her actions would have such horrible natural consequences. She wanted to try something and found an opportunity. Obviously, it was a bad choice. She needed to learn what would happen and why that was a rule. She learned it the hard way. And I wouldn't say more punishment=more understanding of the wrong. I think we get stuck in a action/consequence battle that as parents we lose and in the long run our kids lose too. Which means our kids don't learn we just make them feel bad, and cry out for more attention and it turns into a horrible cycle where they make a bad choice/consequence makes them feel bad/need more attention/make bad choice to get attention/ etc.

    For me, I've discovered that when my kids are having a hard phase, its usually because I'm not paying enough attention. Not in an instance, like you were upstairs and she decided to get the sensor. But more like, my kids need an outpouring of love. As adults, we have hard times when we require more attention from our spouses or friends. We need help. Kids are the same. But they haven't learned to communicate that appropriately to the adults in there life. I think especially, having a new sibling has thrown my kids and me for a whirl. My kids act out, not at first but after the 6 month mark. So I think, they just need more love and positive attention. And I don't think it takes that long to make them feel that love. Sometimes, when we are making dinner or changing a diaper or rushing to get something done, we just need to STOP and listen to our kids. I mean kids have like a 30 second attention span most of the time so give them that 5 mins or 30 seconds. Set her on your lap, read her a book, tickle her, ask her about her day, ask her how she feels, make her feel the love that you have for her.

    With that being said, I stink at this. I have one son who I've thrown toys away, time out, timeout for toys, everything. Nothing negative works. Only positive stuff and yet, knowing that, I still get tired and turn to the negative side of discipline and start the nasty cycle over. I don't think kids should get off scott-free, I just think we need to keep things in perspective and remember that when we make bad choices, mostly we just want someone to love us and lift us, not harp on us.

    Good luck. And listen to your gut. Every kid is different and every mom is different. You'll know what to do for her. Just keep researching and getting advice and you'll receive inspiration which is right for her.

    And, something that helps me is to think what Jesus would do. You know when my kids are going bonkers and I'm trying to cook dinner and I want to put them all in time out and take all their toys. You know I don't really picture my Savior doing that. I'm not sure what He would do most of the time, I'm still learning. I do know He took the time to bless all the children and held them and talked to them when there were "more important things" to be done.

    1. What a great response! I whole heartedly agree with everything!

  35. I went through a similar phase recently with my three year old. Something that helped a little is when I sat her down and held tight to her hands and had her look me in the eyes. I told her that I don't like to be a yelling mommy and that it makes me sad when she doesn't listen and I yell. It took a couple of rounds of that but it seems to have sunk in and she has been listening a lot better. I noticed this and tried to thank her last night... get this, she stopped listening to my thanks and went upstairs for bedtime!

  36. As a teacher, I often hear parents tell me they don't want their kid to view them as the bad guy. They hope that by talking and reasoning, the kid will understand and change. As a parent, I can understand their struggle, but from experience I have found that kids don't need an extra friend. They need a parent who will explain the rule and administer appropriate and timely consequences, just like in the real world. Thus, don't be afraid to be the bad guy and lay down the law. It is better that your kids learn appropriate behavior at home that will help them be successful in school, work, and life, then to learn (if ever) things out in the real world, which is not as forgiving as mom.

  37. When my kids where little my daughter 3 at the time(now 23 for the most part was well behaved. We did the time outs, the losing of privileges, and each one was different. One of her preschool teachers gave her the book "sleeping ugly" she loved it. I loved it. In short it is a book about how beauty is as beauty does. The beautiful princess (on the outside) was named miserella because she was and made everyone miserable. Any way when my free spirited daughter would act out or do things she wasn't supposed to, I would ask her if I needed to change her name to Miserella? She would plead with me that she was NOT like her, that she was good and nice. So I would calmly remind her that if she acted like her I would have to change her name because my little girl didn't act that way. It helped a lot, but I know there is no perfect answer and every child is different. Good luck

  38. Tam,
    You are a good Mom! We all go through something like this at one point or another! Just asking for help and working on using some new / old techniques is HUGE! I posted about my angelic children here:
    Carry on Warrior!

  39. Everyones comments about kids being so different is so true, so when I was at my wits end with my then 4 year old, I prayed about it a lot. I didn't get the typical "parenting" answer (and I don't usually get such specific answers either) but I felt inspired to read The Friend to him. Every morning while my kids where eating breakfast I would read an article to them out of The Friend, and it totally worked! On another note, my mom lets my kids walk on her treadmill with her for about 5 min before she starts-they always have to have shoes and grandma gets to push all the buttons, but they don't seem to "play" on it now that it isn't off-limits.(Although having rules is good too! just another thought!!)

  40. I can't speak from personal experience, but my mom swears by "You Can't Make Me But I Can Be Persuaded" by Cynthia Tobais about the strong willed child. I know of many other mothers who felt like their lives were changed by this book.
    Good luck!

  41. This is not advice at all, just HAD to comment to tell you HOW WRONG YOU ARE. You are not FAILING at being a mom. I know you feel discouraged at this point, but parenting is not win or lose. There are somethings I think my parents did wrong, but then I look at myself now-and hey, I turned out pretty good. And I'll bet that just because you care enough to ask for help, and will probably listen to some of this great advice, your daughter will turn out pretty good too. Oh, and I guess the only advice that this part time step parent can give you: PRAY. -Meg

  42. I have 4 children, ages 7, 5, 4 & 18mo. 2 girls, 2 boys. I totally understand what you're going through And It sounds like you've got alot of advice... Last night I was reading a parenting book and was reminded of the need for consistancy with parenting. They described a story of a Dog, that is prevented from coming into the house most of the time, but occationally, he would sneak in the door. Because of this occasional time that he gets in, he would try at every opportunity to get in the house. They explaned that if the dog is consistantly kept out of the house, he will loose the will to come in.

    I think our children are opportunists. :) And I KNOW this is such a huge difficult area to do as a parent, but not impossible. In your case it seems that it would be nearly impossible to see every time your child messes around with the tread mill. - But I don't think the issue is with the tread mill. I wonder if this relates to other areas as well. Is it possible that your daughter knows that you're not going to be consistent with your consequences over her behavior, that maybe you'll just make threats, but not always follow through and so she is willing to take the risk to see if something will really happen or not? If this is true, my suggestion is to focus a lot of time being consistent. I had to write a list for myself of the steps and consequences to what would happen with my kids for certain behavior. For instance, they would play on my couches like they were jungle gyms. They were causing damage to them, and I was frustrated because they wouldnt stop. All I had been doing was getting frustrated and telling them to stop. When I realized that I wasn't giving consistent consequences, just empty threats, I devised a plan to be consistent. It's tough. And it usually takes about a week of hard core awareness on the part of the parent to not get distracted by other things. This has really helped me with other areas in parenting. My kids don't climb on the couches anymore,and I see that I'm becoming consistent in other areas, seeing the fruit of obedience in my kids because they know that if they disobey they get in trouble. I hope this helps!

  43. Just remember a few things...
    kids are there to test us and need limitations
    its ok not to like out children's behavior and we can still love them like no other
    write everything they do down so you can share it with their girlfriend/boyfriend when older
    they grow up and have kids of their own =)
    I have had to make unusual rules for my kids such as "no mooning the crop dusters from the roof of the house or shed" and "the ducks are not allowed in the bathtub"
    In the long run... be patient and give some lee way...FOR YOURSELF!! There are no perfect parents, love with all your heart, enjoy as much as you can and laugh every day

  44. I'm sorry Tam! I know how frustrating this can be. I wish I had an exact answer for you. You'd think after having 8 kids, I would. But I don't! All I have to offer is that you need to find what works for each child. What works for one probably won't work for the other. I've had some really independant and defiant kids that have taken me a while to figure out what would work for them. You might want to let some of the lesser things go and set limits on the bigger things. I guess consistencey is probably the biggest thing. I'd love to tell you it gets easier as they get older,but it doesn't. Don't be hard on yourself. You're doing a great job and being a Mom is hard work (and exhausting). Just let her know you love her but have to set limits to help her be the awesome girl you know she is.

  45. Tam,
    First of all, you are amazing. I teach kindergarten and first grade AND am a mom to 3 kiddos, 5 years old and under. I eat breathe and sleep KIDS! lol Funny you posted this today, yesterday my son's preschool teacher called (my 5-year-old...he just turned five Monday) to tell me he told her 'no' multiple times and he refused to listen to her (she was moving him to timeout for talking at the carpet--ack! Double trouble!). I. Was. Mortified. He never gets away with 'no' at home and he's not really a trouble making kind of kid. He had a similar response as your daughter, a whats-the-big-deal kind of attitude. One of his birthday presents is still in timeout and his DS was taken (along with all his new games) until tomorrow. Something in the air, perhaps, or a birthday curse?
    Anyway, he wrote letters to his teachers to apologize and I did some "social stories" with him where he listened to a story about defiant kids and we talked about how the kid in the story made people feel and what the right thing to do is. The good news is, I see perfectly lovable smart kids do this stuff every day and it's TOTALLY NORMAL. The bad news is, it will always rip your heart out if you're a great mama who loves her babies. Keep doing your thing, she will figure it out. Be sure to point out to her when she's doing the right thing too. Everyone responds to compliments. :-)

    Good luck!

  46. Sorry if someone else said this...have you heard of Tomato Staking??

  47. We've all been there. And it sucks. I saw an article the other day that as frustrating as it is to have a really obstinate child, it's actually a really good thing, because it means that they are confident and do not cave to peer pressure as easily. They are comfortable in being themselves. The article said that you need to make sure to be consistent when you speak to them. That they like to be in control, so let them make choices when you can. Things like "sorry, the pink cup is in the dishwasher...would you like blue or green instead?" or "What would you like to wear today, this shirt or this shirt?" or "Should we have corn or beans with our dinner?"
    Also, don't be the bad guy. Set the rules along with the consequences, and expect them to follow them. For example: "The rule is that we don't touch the treadmill...if you do, __________ will happen." Or "In our house we don't________________. This is the consequence for ____________." Just make sure it is clear and consistent. These ideas have helped me to see my super-independent 3 year old's spirited {and sometimes defiant} differently.
    I hate being a yeller, too, and have learned {through A LOT of trial and error} that the whisper-yell is far more effective than the shout-yell.
    I also think that it should be a matter of prayer.
    Good luck.

  48. A couple of good books that might be helpful and encouraging to you: Dare to Discipline and The Strong Willed Child by James Dobson.
    I read a couple of the comments and noticed the marble in the jar for good behavior. I work that backwards with my young grandchildren when they visit. At the beginning of the day I give each a paper cup with 5 pennies. They need a penny, or two, at the end of the day to "buy" dessert, or whatever the reward is. They lose a penny each time they disobey.
    This starts the day on a positive note, and puts them in control of their "finances" for the day.
    It works well for them.

  49. Sorry about the cliches but stay firm, say what you mean and mean what you say. There is a program called Love and Logic, it's a great program you should look into it, I believe there is a book. My best advice is to make a plan with your husband, help each other stick to it and know that it usually gets worse before it gets better when you start a new plan. And lastly when you say something don't stand around and discuss it, walk off, mean what you say! Good luck, I've been there 4 times, fun stuff! :)

  50. Read this article. It has helped several friends of mine. Good luck!

  51. I am also having a tough time with my kids (4, 2, 7mos) and I've been seeing a counsellor to help me out a bit. One book I've had since my daughter was little is "The Happiest Toddler on the Block" by Harvey Karp. It's really a great book on how to connect with your child. When i have the energy to implement the strategies, it really does work wonders on my kids. One thing I really enjoy doing with my 4 year old is at the end of the day, when putting her to bed is to tell her a few things that "made my heart bigger and happy" that day. I like it because it makes me realize the small accomplishments in probably an overall rotten parenting day and shows her that I do notice the things she does that are helpful/nice and ends the day on a pleasant note! Just my two cents. (I most definitely haven't gotten it figured out yet!)

  52. I really liked the book, "how to behave so your children will too" it really emphasizes parental behavior (which you can control) rather than reacting to a child's behavior (which you can't always control)

    We have no rewards system for good behavior in our house, because behaving appropriately is what you should be doing, not something above an beyond. (However I am a firm believer in positive praise reinforcing good behavior.) I don't shout at all, because it trains children to only listen to you when you are shouting, they become desensitized to your regular voice and think you really don't mean what you are saying unless you are shouting.

    I will ask once for something to happen, my children are required to answer "Yes Mom" or "No Mom" because that way I know they heard me, and they remember that they are dealing with me, and not a buddy or whatever, I am the mom dang-it, and you had better remember it!!! (This way they also can't claim later that they "didn't hear you" because you had them respond.) After exactly one request, if they don't listen, you march them over to what you wanted them to do, and you supervise them doing it, (Make sure when you tell them to do something you don't add the words "Okay?" or "would you?" because it isn't optional.) I know it's a pain to stop what you are doing, but it is worth it because fairly soon you wont need to do it anymore because they will learn to do it on their own because they know you mean it. Consistency at all times is the most important thing, if you sometimes don't enforce the rules, they will always push to see if this is one of those times!

    I didn't spank, but I did have my kids stick their noses in the corner when they were little rather than time out, (for one minute per year old they were.) There were several reasons for this, there are corners everywhere, there is nothing fun about looking at a corner, and standing stinks, all benefits of a nose in the corner vs time out in a chair in my opinion.

    I am a huge proponent of vigilant parenting, I used to watch my children like a hawk, and if I saw them starting down a path I didn't like I would redirect before the bad behavior happened, and then I could praise them FAR more often than I needed to critique them (which they love, and then want to do more behaviors that get them more of that attention) If one of my kids was in an acting out phase I just kept them by my side; they didn't get to go downstairs to play etc. They became "Mommy's helper" and I would talk to them throughout the day about being appropriate and respectful, etc. when I started to see improvement, the "leash" would be lengthened a little, and then a little more until they were playing away from me nicely. It is hard work to have them with you all the time like that, but I promise that it is worth it! I now have a 9 and 11 year-old that are amazing kids, they never sass (they are allowed to ask why or disagree respectfully, they just never get to have an ugly tone.) and they are quick to help and obey without me currently having to put the work into it since the foundation was laid a long time ago.

    1. TV shows are also a big deal for us, I notice that if my kids watch more then a couple of hours of TV a week, they start to act more entitled, and they bicker more with each other. We have what we call "the list" which is a list of TV shows they aren't allowed to watch (these are all "kids" shows.) Anything with siblings that are rude to each other, children that are sneaky and do things behind their parent's backs, anything that displays yucky behavior is straight out. (that even included "Rugrats" back when that was on because the babies were always doing bad things without the parent's knowing, and "fairly odd parents" because the sitter called the little boy a brat) It's amazing how behavior can be altered by controlling their TV and video game habits!

      anyway, good luck!

  53. I think there is a lot to be said about consistency, setting limits, and being firm....
    If you are not consistent, the child learns quickly to not believe the punishment will come. Or, they learn how to play you after you have given the punishment!! I also think that positive reinforcement (applaud the good behavior as much as possible) is important. Not only does it work for a lot of people, but the child grows up with the benefits of having been told that they are GOOD, rather than all the memories of being told how rotten they are.

    Last but not least, this too shall pass! It may seem like it takes forever, but the little ones are going to grow up one day and you won't have to rely on stickers, charts, marbles, consequences & time-outs anymore! (SOO glad my Mom can't beat the crap out of me anymore!! THAT surely didn't work, but it affected me in ways that can't ever be undone)

    Keep your chin up ~ you're a fabulous Mommy!!

  54. ah. such a hard situation. i think it is impossible to really prevent things like this from happening. kids do bad things even when they know it is wrong. it is important to let the child know, it is the action that was wrong. that they are not a bad child, just the action was bad. if it is a real concern of an accident, hide the sensor. things happen so fast and not everything is preventable. kids are kids. accidents happen. kids dont always listen. this is a good learning experience for your daughter but i am sure it will not the last for the both of you. sounds like you have a smart and sweet child. you will not be upset forever!

  55. I deal with thesame thing with my middle child....we recently discovered the solution....her love language....there is a book, the 5 love languages of your children......we discovered time outs and what not didn't work cuz those aren't what truly matter.....she has two very distinct ones.....words of affirmation...mixed with lots of quality time....;when we discovered what mattered to her and were able to punish accordingly she was amazing....I always thought she loved presents, but when asked she said words were so much more....she's I realized lately with all the yelling I hadn't had her look me in the eyes unless I was mad....I started making a point to have her look me in the eye and tell her I love her, and even pick small advances she made and praise HIGHLY ....even if they didn't seem worthy to me....and she started responding cuz she loved the praise.......
    On that idea, I'm gonna blog this in the next two weeks....I am making a garden and weed jar....then they will have x amount of flowers, is so many remain in the garden and not weeds they earn 30 min of sibling free quality time w parent of choice....they can also save for a month for a movie or dinner alone like that.....
    Lastly I'm reading an awesome book now by Lisa welchel (from the facts of life) called creative's amazing!!
    Hope this helps!!

  56. So sorry you are dealing with this. We have the same issue with my 2 year old. He wants to go to timeout and thinks its funny. The only thing that has worked recently for us is threatening to put him back in bed if he does what you tell him not to again. I've had to follow through and put him back to bed quite a few times, but he seems to get the message. The other thing I've noticed is that he only seems to misbehave when I'm on the computer or phone or doing something with our 4 month old and not paying attention to him. I try to take time during the day to give him special attention.

  57. I taught first grade last year, and as I thought about what you deal with as a mom, I realized that I dealt with a lot of the same things with my students. Disregard any/all of these ideas - it looks like you have already been given a lot of great advice!
    First -I would measure the attention you give your daughter when she listens vs. not listening. You may be negatively reinforcing her bad behavior because of all of the time that she gets tot spend with you (even if it isn't fun time) when she doesn't listen. Think of how much you talk to her, look at her, etc.
    Second - Consider reinforcing positive behavior instead of always punishing negative behavior.
    One thing that really worked with one of my most difficult students was using a behvior plan. We sat down and chose two goals (that he would be respectful to his classmates and be a worker). We then broke the day down into 15 minute segments. He had a piece of paper each day with the day broken down into 15 minute segments. At the end of every 15 minutes, I would walk over to desk and write a + or an 0 on his behavior chart to evaluate the last fifteen minutes and if he met those two goals. If there was an 0, I may whisper and tell him that he was talking to his neighbor instead of doing his work (or whatever the case may be). I know this is a little bit old fashioned, but it actually really worked for him. He took the chart with him everywhere. When we began, the goal was to have 13 pluses out of a total of 26 time segments. I wanted him to have success from the start - but even that was right on the edge of what he could complete. At the end of the day he would then get to choose a little trinket from the prize box if he met his goal (a sticker, a little eraser, priveleges: such as being the line leader - which didn't cost any money). After 5 days of meeting his goal, we would then up the requirement for receiving a prize - from 13 pluses to 14. At the end of the school year the goal was 21 pluses out of a possible 23, and he reached that goal almost everyday. It was a night and day difference!
    When we are talking about a five year old, you could try little stickers or stars, and have the little chart posted on the fridge or something like that. It does take work from the adult to remember every 15 minutes, but it was well worth it in this case. This is just one idea, and it may not work with your daughter (as a teacher you soon learn that there is not one way that works with every kid or works with the same kid everytime). I just thought I would throw an idea into the mix! Good luck to you!

  58. Just a few thoughts...With regards to the incident with the treadmill, well, you kind of set yourself up for that one. And that sounds bad, but if that basement family room is primarily a kid play area, by putting a brand new, exciting "toy" in that space, you're inviting it to be played with -- however much you assert that it is NOT a toy and that there is a magic dividing line by the couch delineating kid play space and adult domain. I hazard a guess that your kids see this space as their play room -- the room where things are played with. It's like putting a huge cake, present, what have you, in your child's bedroom and saying, "Do not touch, do not acknowledge, do not open, do not eat..." Very few highly self-disciplined adults could withstand such a temptation, let alone a child. So, that your inquisitive daughter investigated this new machine is not surprising --indeed, it would be surprising if she didn't. Now, I don't know how you introduced this treadmill to the play room, but if it was just set up and then forbidden, without talking to your kids about it and letting them try it out under your supervision, well, it takes on all the mystery and allure of the forbidden fruit. And maybe you did make introductions and had supervised play on it and still your daughter felt the need to show her independence (as 5 year olds are apt to do) and play with it herself...I don't know. Just my thoughts on the spatial context of this treadmill and the subsequent accident.
    It's been mentioned by many about the need for positive reinforcement and that is important in our very language. The very usage of "not" in our instructions or interdictions is highly problematic, since the human brain is essentially wired to not hear "not". If I say, "Do not think of an elephant," you probably inevitably think of an elephant. Don't hit the bunker -- you hit the bunker. And on it goes. It's a hard one -- I struggle with it daily when talking with my own children -- but if you can be positive in your very language, telling your daughter what you want her to do and not what you do NOT want her to do, then it may just have an effect on her behaviour.
    And to effect her problematic behaviour even more, just love her, as is evident that you do. I have found that when I have especially difficult times with my own children, when they are really pushing boundaries and just being naughty, well, it usually has to do with them feeling overlooked in some way, that they are not being heard or seen or noticed. So, it's time for me to give them that attention they crave, to turn off the computer and forget the vacuuming, and just be in the "now" with them, listening and playing and loving.
    And last, but my no means least, as this little girl's mother, you are entitled, indeed promised, heavenly help. More than any generic books, written by PhDs, or comments from blogging strangers like myself, you can find specific help through prayer and promptings.
    Good luck and God bless.

  59. I only read though half the comments here and there was some good advice. Like others I too have been and still am in your shoes. I have 4 kids, my oldest is 13 and my youngest is 4 and she is my most spirited child.
    As others have said consistency and acknowledging good behavior is key. One thing that really worked with my 4 year when I noticed we had a listing problem is that we would play games during the day that focused on listening. We would play something like head, shoulders, knees and toes where I would call out a body part and she had to touch it and I would use phrases like "we need to listen with our ears" before I would call out a body part. Then I would praise her for good listening. When the time came that I needed her to follow directions I would use those same phrases "We need to listen with our ears. Are you listening?" and then I would give the direction then have her repeat it. After a while she really grasped the concept. When she didn't listen I would point out to her what she did wrong and in a very disappointed voice say something like "You didn't listen with your ears." I would act very sad about it and follow through with a consequence. It is such a hard job. Keep you head up and just do the best you can. As long as you just don't let it slide most of these things work themselves out. Hang in there.

  60. Wow, there have been a lot of responses on this, so my little bit has probably been covered already.. but I really do feel for you. It's one thing when your own child gets hurt due to consequences of her actions, but when a visiting child gets hurt like that, it is sickening!
    My daughter is almost 4, and she has always been a handful. So much that for most of her life, I refused to go in public with her. She is super free-spirited, very stubborn and opinionated, and over the past year I have begun to realize... get this... how good she is. Her heart is huge. She just doesn't know how to handle it. So when I broke down her actions into what good girls do, and what bad girls do, things began to click with her. Now if she does something wrong, I remind her she is a good girl, but has done a very bad thing. For whatever reason, it works. We did however have to hide her dollhouse on her for a week, last week, because she kept stealing things from family members, and nothing else worked till we did this. You never know what's going to work! Please know you are not a bad mom!


  61. I can tell by reading your blog (which I really enjoy, by the way) that your an excellent mother! Parenting is just HARD- specially with a strong willed child. I don't have time to read all the comments so this might have already been said but I guess it can't hurt. I used to work going into homes and helping parents with their kids. These kids had MAJOR behavior problems (like, setting fires and destroying property and saying words so bad I don't even think most rappers know them) (no, I don't think your daughter fits in this category, although it probably feels like it sometimes:) so some of this is pretty basic and you probably already do a lot of it but I'll just say it anyway :)First we'd start with positive praise. Find something you like that your child does and praise their behavior. "Thank you so much for using your inside voice today!" Even if its random- kids soak up any kind of praise, I've never seen a parent praise too much. Then try to have "special one on one time" with her every so often. This can be hard with other kids but even 5 minutes will help- more would be better if you can swing it. Let her choose the activity and keep it positive. Don't try to correct or direct during the activity. Just let her play and go with the flow- this is fun time, don't worry about the little things and praise her a lot. "You have such a good imagination while playing with your dolls- I never would have thought to have them dance like that- great idea!" She'll realize you really do pay attention to her. Next remember kids always hear what NOT to do while we assumed they already know what they should do. Instead of "Don't run by the pool" say "Please walk by the pool". As far as discipline we'd usually start with charts of some kind. Let her earn a prize for positive behavior. Start out really small and make it attainable- if she gets prize even a week from now she won't want to work for it- a week is forever to a 5 year old. Start with 1 day or even half a day and a small prize, as she sees how easy it is to get that slowly work up until its not needed. When she earns a sticker or whatever toward a prize we'd always teach never to take it away, she's earned it. My boss wouldn't want back his paycheck after I'd earned it. If she keeps loosing what she's earned she'll loose her motivation to earn things. Make the discipline chart very clear- have her repeat the plan back to you so you know she understands. She'll know when she does A, B will happen, no second chances. We'd usually start with loosing privileges and toys. Good luck!

  62. I just went to a teacher's workshop and picked up these hints:
    When you say "don't throw the ball" (as an example), the child doesn't hear the word "don't" but only the throw the ball part. Better to rephrase: "I need you to keep the ball on the floor.
    Get down on the child's level and make sure they hear your words. Use a quiet voice (even a whisper). It gets their attention.
    Give your child two choices, both of which you want them to do. When they say "no" or "but I want to do..." repeat those two choices, over and over. Say "you can do A or you can do B".
    I think we ask our kids "do you want to..." too much, because it allows them too much freedom and/or the opportunity to say "no" when we want them to make the right choice. Again, "I need you to...." Or, "we are going to do...."
    Give kids a time warning. "You have 5 more minutes until..." Then follow through.
    Make sure you are giving your kids lots of your attention. All of our electronics so easily distract us, and kids will use even negative things to get noticed.

  63. I know that this has already been posted but I fully stand behind Love and Logic. I am trained as both a teacher and a parent. My oldest is a spit fire and we have used many of their techniques. It really does take a lot of the stress out of parenting. The main points are enforcable limits and choices. Many of the things are common sense, but it is good to hear it said. You are doing a great job. Good Luck.

  64. My 14 & 11 yr old definitely take different parenting styles. One thing I have tried to do is pay attention to the signals they give before they do something they shouldn’t. There are usually minute actions or behaviors they are showing and I can just tell they are going to find something to entertain themselves if I don’t change their path, usually it seems to happen when they are getting bored or tired. I try to get them interested in something that is going to occupy them so they don’t have an opportunity. My kids loved play-doh and legos, or if it’s nice enough I would bet them that they couldn’t run to the fence and back before I could finish something. Get them into the habit of working with you and listening to you, let them “help” get pots and pans for supper, set the table, make sure they are involved in cleaning their stuff up so the “only” time they’re listening to you isn’t when they are in trouble. Like you I don’t like to yell or spank, I feel whatever you do at home you better be comfortable doing in public or you will never be able to make them mind when you really want them to. I’m catching my breath before the teen behaviors start, there are pretty good right now though. It will all work out, we’ve all been there in one way or another. Good luck.

  65. We have similar problems with our 6yr old boy. In the moment, it seems as if the consequences might have a lasting effect but the lesson never lasts. I'm struggling as well. I need all of the advice everyone is offering as well. You are NOT alone!

  66. I have the same problem it seem as though my kids condition me to yell! But I also have been trying to find something better. I have started to use "sassy spray" it's just apple cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle and if they don't do something I've asked the first time they get it. They also get it if they are naughty in any way so that I'm not yelling so much, it has really helped me lately!


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