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Dr. Keane
Dr. Keane, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1760
Experience:  Parenting Workshops, Teacher, PHD Clinical Psychology, 30 yrs. Exp. 4 Children
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Hi there. My partner has a four year old daughter who is generally

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Hi there. My partner has a four year old daughter who is generally delightful.

We see her every sunday and take her swimming, to the park and sometimes to mcdonalds or to see grandparents etc.

I feel that my partner 'asks' too often what she would like to do and in what order and this causes friction. Eg, last sunday, She was aware that the day was going to consist of swimming (which was great fun) the park and Mc D's. Although when we came out of the swimmimg baths we decided that we were hungry and that food should be eaten 'before' not 'instead of' the park. This resulted in her standing still crying saying ''no park first'' which soon turned to "I WANT MY MUM". We tried to explain that she would get to do all the things she wanted but we should eat first. She would not walk and then the bargaining started. Her dad was trying to win her around offering chocolate milkshakes etc but unsurpisingly this didn't work. In the end he decided to pick her up and walk back to the car to take her to mum. This broke his heart and her kicking and screaming for me to hold her did not help.

I think every point there is a question for you. What should we have done or not done and how can we avoid it. Whe is quite objective and I'm sure she sometimes says no for the sake of it-or am I being daft?
Hi, you are not being "daft". What happened here is that this sweet little girl decided she wanted it her way. What your partner could have done was said calmly when she started crying was something like this. We would all like to go to the park first but our tummy says "Feed me", "feed Me"!! using humor to try and defuse the tantrum. If she keeps crying, then in a bit firmer voice say, I know you want to play but we can't play until we get lunch. So let's go and bring it back to the park for a picnic! No bargaining, no deals, Dad's and your decision. Then if that didn't move her, pick her up, let her scream and take her to Mickey D's for lunch. If she is still carrying on, buy the lunch and have it available for when she stops. The worse thing to do is bring her home. This lovely little girl controlled him like a remote control car! Pushed all the right buttons and got her way. I want my mum! all you need to reply to that is say I know you want your mum right now and you'll be going home when it's time. Do not let her dictate. Just validate that you hear what she is saying, you do not have to agree or do what she tells you.
I believe you are in London .... there is a book on, IT's called 1-2-3- Magic, It is by far the best parenting book in terms of discipline out there (my opinion and I see a lot of kids). Children cry, scream whine until parents give in. The child is then controlling the family. This book helps with every situation you may encounter. But for now, never ask a child what she wants to do or give her two choices, park or swim, zoo or museum etc. You need to have the plan. Today we are going to do a few things, go swimming, play in the park and get some lunch at Mc D's, not in any order. Asking a child what she wants to do gives her way too much control and power. You partner is giving in to her and it may be because of feeling guilty about not being able to be with her every day .Hope this helps
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Edited by Dr. Keane on 10/29/2009 at 1:20 PM EST
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