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Ask Lori Gephart Your Own Question
Lori Gephart
Lori Gephart, Licensed Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 259
Experience:  20 years of experience as a Psychologist and Parenting Coach. Parent of 2 grown children.
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I have a 4 year old daughter. She was an only child and only

Customer Question

I have a 4 year old daughter. She was an only child and only grandchild until the birth of my son 2 months ago. She has consistantly become more and more nasty over the course of the last year or so. She won't clean her room, talks back to us and other adults, will ignore us like we didn't say anything, and lie to us when we ask her about what she is getting into. She will only use the restroom on occasion and sit in it without batting an eye. We have tried spanking, taking away her favorite toys, and putting her in time out. Now with the baby she has figured out that when mom is feeding, bathing, or busy with a screaming baby she can do whatever she wants while my wife is tied up. We are at the end of our rope and don't know what to do. Should we take away every toy she has and stick her nose in the corner an hour at a time when she is bad. We are tired of our only interactions with her being yelling at her.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Lori Gephart replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for contacting JustAnswer.


I am sorry to hear about the problems that you are experiencing with your daughter. Thank you for your question about discipline. Keep in mind that any behavior that gets attention is likely to continue happening. It has been called the law of the soggy potato chip in that if a child thinks that she has a choice between a soggy potato chip or no chip at all, she will choose the soggy chip. If your child feels that she has the choice between negative attention or no attention at all, she will choose the negative attention and so she will act out until she gets it. The only way for this pattern to stop is to begin to catch the good behaviors and reward them with attention, and to calmly and matter of factly give consequences for the negative behaviors with as little attention as possible. This means no yelling, spanking or lecturing, just firmly giving a consequence which might be time out or the loss of a toy or privilege. A very good book on this subject is Win the Whining War & Other Skirmishes: A Family Peace Plan by Cynthia Whitham MSW. The more consistent you become with this positive parenting, the more secure your child will begin to feel and the more her behavior should improve. I hope this answer is helpful. Please let me know if I can clarify further.