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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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My daughter is turning 4 in september and she has a 10 month

Customer Question

My daughter is turning 4 in september and she has a 10 month old baby sister. She's a very active and curious gal since young and I'd say she has a strong will. I notice the following behavior problem with her recently. I'm not sure whether it's related to her longer time spent in school and also she stopped taking afternoon nap about 1 month ago.
1. She becomes very hyper and can't settle down when she gets home from preschool at about 3pm this is also the time she tends to misbehave
2. She's behaving more like a baby and wants everything her baby sister has (baby cereal, walker, toys etc.) she pushes and hits her sister sometimes
3. She just won't listen to me and says no to everything I ask her to do
4. She's very fussy and she whine & cry if she doens't get exactly what she wants
What can I do to make her behave and listen to me?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 5 years ago.

Hello and Thank You for using Just Answer. I am sorry to hear about the problems that have arisen with your three year old daughter. Her behavior is a manifestation of jealousy of her 10 month old sister. Since she cannot actually say, "Mom or Dad...Please play with me. Please spend more time with me. Why did this new kid invade my space? I was the queen. Why does she get all of these baby things? What about me?"


What your daughter is experiencing is completely natural for her age. She simply wants ALL of your attention. Since she cannot have it because of the 10 month old, then she resorts to acting out in a negative way in seeking your attention.


Nonetheless what you must do is to focus on the times when she is good and really praise her. Keep a sticker chart on a calendar or on a piece of fancy decorated paper. When she has a completely good day, or you can break it up to AM and PM, then she receives a sticker. After about 6-8 stickers, she receives a special small treat or a special outing with just you and not the to the park, beach if nearby, playground, friend's house etc. Your goal is to replace the unwanted behavior with a desired behavior.


On the other hand, she probably will still whine and misbehave so this will take time. Be patient and consistent. When you set boundaries and give her rules, talk to her at her eye level using simple sentences with more one syllable words and have make her repeat what you have just said. Examples: Do not hit. Do not whine. Do not cry. You can't have that now. Listen to me. etc. Have her repeat what you say and then have her state what she should do instead of the negative behavior. This may need to take place after she has settled down. You need to regain your daughter's trust. Presently, she loves you but does not like you because of the baby.


The sticker/reward system will work. Give it about a month or so.


Hope this provides you with some insight. Have a great day!!!

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 5 years ago.
No problem. I have directed your question to another expert. Enjoy your day.
Expert:  Dr. Keane replied 5 years ago.
In my experience new siblings (under a year) cause older siblings to act out for attention. Also, if she is well behaved in pre school and comes home and acts up it is due to one, attention and she wants you back alone and two, she needs to exert some energy. You can try the stickers as Jordan suggested or you can work on parenting with the 1-2-3 method, which is fully explained in a great parenting book called 1-2-3 magic ( you can find it on line or in book stores). The most important thing you need to do until this is under control ( and you have the book in hand) is not give in to her demands. Put her in time out, let her scream but keep putting her back. Do not engage her when she talks back with anything but "I know you are feeling sad/angry (fill it in) " You also cannot allow her to hit the baby (pretty common ploy) so make sure if she does, don't yell at her, remove her and put her in time out or a safe place. I know you are tired, I know this is tough but it will get better if you have structure. Three year olds can be difficult without a 10 month old around (who is becoming more of a "person" and interactive) so know this isn't uncommon at all. If you have access to other family being around, use them. Ask them to watch the baby so you can do something with the 3 yr old. Basically her space is being invaded and she isn't happy about it. I hope this helps. Please accept so I get credit for my answer and leave feedback.

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