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4 year olds crazy behavior

I have a 4 year old little girl, she is very smart for her age which makes parenting harder. :(  She attends a pre-k program 3 days a week.  Lately she has been having crazy behavior everywhere but pre-k.  At home, grandparents houses, out in public, she wants to act crazy, not listen, thinks everything is funny, can not be still and talks all the time.  I have tried everything I know to do in order to try and help her nothing is working.  I mentioned it to her doctor and he said that she may be starting to show signs of ODD.  Any ideas on how or what to do???????
10 Responses
1693461 tn?1374511829
Kids...Gotta love 'em right? Your daughter seems to be going through a phase. Just show her plenty of love and maybe not make her "behavior" a big deal. Just calmly explain to her that her behavior is not what you want. And try to ignore. She is testing her boundries.

Try to redirect her. Say if she's going for something you don't want her to get, try offering her something shes allowed to get. Stuff like that. Talk calmly. And when you have a talk with her, go down to her eye level and talk calmly and look into her eyes.
973741 tn?1342342773
Hm.  Well, here is the good news---------- she's great at school!  While she could possible have a conduct disorder with it only happening at school, I wouldn't go that route just yet.    

I think what can often happen with kids is that they 'hold it together' at school and have that desirable school behavior and then they 'lose it' with all of their 'safe' people (family).  I had a preschool teacher tell me when she mentioned my second son was perfect and school and my eyes pop out of my head as he was . . . less than perfect at home . . .  that this is often the case and I should be very happy as you want that rather than the other way around.  She is so right as my older son has sensory integration disorder and has a tough time at school.  That is often the case with kids with additional challenges.  

So, I what I found with my son that is more like your daughter is that he goes through periods of really pushing his boundaries.  He knows he has unconditional love and I guess this makes him think he can have undesirable behavior.  I see my job as to lovingly let him know that this is not the case.  I am the keeper of all things good in my child's life and he has to play by my rules or those good things come to a halt.  

I do not spank, I do not yell, I just maintain control.  At four, this is a bit harder as she is still in her toddler years, whether smart or not.  They are less able to handle emotions and reasoning than say a 5 or 6 year old.  That is the nature of 4 year olds and why I found 4 to be harder than 3 and 3 to be harder than 2.  Everyone talks about the terrible twos and really, for me, the fearsome 4's were much more difficult.  At 5, it got a bit easier as my child was better equipped to handle emotions and reasoning.  So, pushing boundaries is natural and common at 4.  I would patiently re set them.  I'd make clear what she can and can't do.  If she is doing something she can do, praisse her like crazy.  If she is doing something she can't do, either redirect her or discipline her.  Discipline in a way that has logical consequences such as ------ if you are yelling, I can't understand you and will not talk to you until you stop and use your normal speaking voice.  And then ignore her until she does.  Once she does, make it clear that NOW I will listen because you are talking in your normal voice, thanks!  Throw a toy, lose a toy.  Throw a fit when we are at the grocery store, leave full cart and carry her out.  Then when she says "i would like cheese", you say "sorry honey, I was buying cheese at the store and we had to leave, so we don't have cheese."  Know her loved items----  yep, I've taken away a blankie and a teddy to make a point before.  Gotta know the hot buttons.  

Tell her ahead of going to Grandma's that if she is rude to Grandma, the she will have to go home.  Then the first rude word, you leave.  Or if you leave her at Grandma's, Grandma calls you and you zoom back and take her home.  Where she isn't provided fun and entertaining things.  Plan it out ahead of time so that you really don't need the babysitting time or anything so that you can teach her that respect for Grandma is expected.  

I would start to use lots and lots of choices with her.  If she is given a choice between A and B (that you have given her, so you have ULTIMATE control) she will feel like she has control and will be more apt to comply.

My son with the sensory intetegration disorder often was quite mouthy and difficult----  and these things helped him tremendously.  They also helped my other son that was just being a fearsome four year old.  So either way, it should help you.

Lots of physical activity also helps a child maintain better behavior.  So, get her playing and exercising outside, jumping on trampolines, running around at parks, riding her scooter, etc. as much as possible.  And also, make sure she is getting plenty of sleep.  Both my boys are more difficult to handle when even a little over tired.  My second son was having trouble after starting first grade which was his first all day experience.  He was perfect at school but hard to handle at home.  I made his bed time one half hour earlier which really helped.  

okay, good luck
535822 tn?1443976780
Dont go the disorder way try thinking positively that this may be normal behavior,it sure sounds like it is at that age ,  what has happened recently any new baby could she be  trying to get attention, as Fairy girl said distract her, she is testing bounderies, more attention may help Good luck  
Avatar universal
I have worked in daycare for over 8 years, therefore that was the first thing I tried with her (which seems to work better at work than at home lol go figure).  I have tried everything, thinking it was her needing more attention, so I gave it to her, I give her limits, I take her blankie away, she misses out on fun stuff when she does not listen and she just does not care, nothing works.  She is impossible, I just hate feeling so stressed all the time and upset because I dont know how to help her. :(
Avatar universal
Glad to know that it is just not me going thru this, there are days that I sit and wonder where have I gone wrong.  It is so stressful. :(
Avatar universal
More attention seems to be making it worse because then it starts more issues between her and her brother which is 2 and a half.  She gets very bossy and mean to her brother and her cousin that she plays with alot.  There has not really been anything that has changed that could have triggered her behavior that I can think of.  Little by little she is starting to show more signs of the behavior feeding over into school, just like today, she never ever got bad reports but today we got another one, here in the last week she had begun to lie about anything she can, it can be non sense stuff that is pointless to even try to lie about it but yet to her it is fun and games.  Just so lost :(
973741 tn?1342342773
Well, hang in there!  I mean it.  I've had times with my kids---  one with the developmental issue of sensory integration disorder and one that is just spirited in which I thought ------------ ugh, I've messed this one up bad!!  Or,, I'm not sure I can take another day like this.  

And then another day comes and things are fine. Whatever you try with her, keep at it.  It takes a minimum of 3 weeks to change behavior.  Sandman mentioned to me too that your daughter is very smart and manipulating you is something she may be doing a bit of.  (Sandman is a great forum member who has been in education and working with kids for a LONG time).  

Don't be disheartened.  Both of my boys have turned out alright even after some harder periods of dealing with them.  

Try the choices and other ideas mentioned to see if it helps and you are definately not alone.  Stay in touch!
189897 tn?1441126518
COMMUNITY LEADER
      OK, now I feel old :)
   Almost posted last night but thought the other posters covered this very well.  Your additional info about the younger child does make sense.  And I have seen this happen a lot on this forum.  It is very possible that your daughter is really feeling the lack of attention from you.  Not your fault.  A two and a half year old boy does take some watching!  Remember what specialmom said about the fearsome 4's?   Add intelligence into the mix of less emotional control - shoot, just less control period.  And the child will do things to get the attention they once had - not a lot of attention mind you.  Just what they remembered.   So assuming that this really is the major problem (and I have seen enough posts on this site about horrible 4 year olds to understand this), what do you do?
    All of the steps in specialmoms 4th paragraph are very valid.  You just need to remember that for children of this age - being immediate and consistent - is extremely important.  It really does take about 3 weeks of constant, immediate behavioral reinforcement to see a change.  Trouble with bright kids is that they will rapidly problem solve around there last attempt and move on to another one - until they run out of options.
     And I would imagine for you that it would be diffficult to be immediate and consistent with a two and a half year old running around just when you need to deal with your daughter.  Its  just something that you are going to have to do.  However, do pick your battles!  Specialmoms point about ignoring her at times is important.  Kids do act funny, crazy at that age.  In some places its ok, in others - not so ok.  Don't try and stop all her crazy stuff all at once.  It won't work.
     Another thing that I really think is worth trying is to buy some books by Cheri J. Meiners.  These books are aimed at the 4 to 7 year old and meant to be read aloud and discussed with them.  They also make a great mommy/daughter time together (or daddy too).  A good starting one might be, "Be Polite and Kind" found here - http://www.amazon.com/Polite-Kind-Learning-Get-Along/dp/1575421518/ref=pd_sim_b_5
   And many more good ones are listed if you scroll down the site.
    So - outside of the book ideas - I just want to reinforce what specialmom said with the point that it won't happen over night.  And the fact that you said, "lately" really makes me think that you can change her back into the sweet little kid (I assume) she once was.  Best wishes.
Avatar universal
my daughter is three she will be 4 in August. she is very smart for her age seems to know more than she should. she is very wild and hyper talks non stop and has fits of anger very emotionally, she says she hates me and says that to other family members. she can be very very mean then two mins later be happy as could be. she is very hard to handle she crys a lot over nothing. also makes up stories. OCD ADHD and depression runs on her dads side of the family. her dad has a very bad temper as well. she doesn't listen at home but at daycare she is a angel they say?? I need help
189897 tn?1441126518
COMMUNITY LEADER
  The posts above will provide lots of help for you.  Check them out, and if you still have questions. - please post!  Best wishes
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