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Jennifer, School Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 397
Experience:  Collaborative parent consultation on everything from modifying behavior to child development.
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My child is four years old with a ten year old mind. Everytime

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My child is four years old with a ten year old mind. Everytime I tell her to do something or she needs to be punished she gets a horriable attitude. She rolls her eyes, puts her hands on her hip and will make a smart but frusteraing legitamate response. My question is how to control the attitude. I tell her to clean up a mess and she responds with "kids make messes deal with it" I send her to timeout and she goes there with hands on hips and not saying such wonderful things. How do I help her with the attitude? Did I mention that I've been a single mom the entire time of her life?! So shes grown up fatser then she probably should have. I don't want her to be bully, and I don"t break her spirit either! She has the thinking ability of an 8 year old sometimes...Help!
Hello and thanks for using!

I'd encourage you to check out the Love and Logic parenting / teaching philosophy. They have a series of books and videos I often recommend to families I work with and have even used with my own toddler (2 going on 8).

They give helpful advice on how to discipline using logical consequences along with great tactics for handling disrespectful behavior. For example, they recommend the "energy drain" for everything from whining to arguing. You might say, "All of this is draining my energy... How are you going to give me that energy back?" She'll need help coming up with ideas the first few times, but you can certainly offer suggestions (helping you put something away, wiping off a table -- little things that would seem like big chores to a toddler). If she's not willing to do those things, you can then ask what toys she's willing to give up to "pay" for it. My guess is she might jump quickly to the chore instead! Love and Logic is full of great quotes to use such as, "I love you too much to argue" and "I can't hear you when you talk to me like that." I'm amazed at how effective they can be. Check your local library to see if they have any of their materials available and take a look at to learn more about it. A book I'd recommend for you in particular is Love and Logic: The Early Years. I wish you the best of luck!
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
She's not your typical child. I have looked into resources from books, and things, and nothing works. All she wants to do is argue, if she wants say my cell phone, she'll say "share means care, do you care about me? then share." The other day she had gum, she was trying to tell me something, and I couldn't understand her. I said " I can't understand what your saying" then she says "well I'm not speaking spanish" I need advice on her loosing the come back lines, not a book at the library for discipline so much. I don't want her to be the bully, but I don't want her to get bullied. Could her not having a dad be part of the problem?
I don't think so. She's obviously a bright child, but also lacking in respect for you as her mother. The Love & Logic theory does have a lot to do with discipline, but it also provides suggestions for dealing with negative attitudes, disrespectful behavior, etc.

Two suggestions... First, explain to your daughter that you're going to show her respect and you expect the same from her. Model appropriate behavior toward her and others and don't forget to "notice" (aloud) when other people are being respectful as well.

Next tell her you only hear her when she's being respectful (or "being nice" or whatever terms you want to use). Have this conversation at a time when she's not in trouble, not angry, and you're having a pleasant interaction with one another. Talk about the difference between what it sounds like to be respectful (e.g, magic words such as please & thank you, XXXXX XXXXX of voice, etc.) Both of you should give examples so you're sure she's comprehending. That way she'll know what you're talking about when the time comes for you to request that behavior.

Then, for example, in the "share means care" incident, you would simply ignore her. She'd repeat it or something with a similar level of attitude / sarcasm to which you'd reply, "I'm sorry, did you say something? I only hear respectful things." You could make it light-hearted (as opposed to making her angry) by smiling and saying, "I hear a squeak, squeak... Not sure what that was. If you want something, I'd be happy to help you if you use your nice words. Until then, I'm afraid I can't hear you." She'll catch on quickly.
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