How to discipline an unruly three-year-old child - Germany

My little terror is driving me nuts

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featherlight
Seeking advice from experienced parents of little terrors. My daughter is very strong willed, wants to run the show and will never back down in an argument. These days any time I am in disagreement with my daughter, e.g. confiscate a toy she has been "abusing" (bashing, throwing) there is a big fight because she refuses to accept my line. What people describe as the Trotzphase is the only thing I have ever known with her. It is definitely not just a phase. She always had her own program rather than joining in the group, refuses to obey or cooperate and fights me from dawn (getting dressed, having breakfast) to dusk (every meal sabotaged).

Kind words and being patient do not seem to bear fruit. Often things get ugly. She bites, scratches, screams and kicks. Sometimes it ends in a smack, which seems to be the only thing she takes seriously. Now the Kindergarten leader has asked me to attend an interview - "We have to talk - your child does not take any notice of what I or anyone says..." i.e. she is out of control - and she has only been there 8 weeks.

What do other parents do when kids her age behave badly? My husband is the guy with the carrot, while I wield the stick. It is my firm belief we should not be dancing to her tune and she has to do what we say but how do we get her to do that?
sarabyrd
You seem to have been doing all that you can. Ask your pediatrician for help to see if there's a physical condition contributing to your daughter's behavior. Discuss the situation (again) with your husband and find a consensus with him. Good behavior should be its own reward, i.e. peace and harmony in the family and abroad based on everyone cooperating.
BigEnglish2008
Never be frightened of a good hard slap across the back of the legs...let her know who is the boss...it sounds like you have already lost the upper hand!!!
MrNosey
Firstly, you and your husband must not mix approaches. The carrot doesn't work by the way and neither does the stick (or what you may think of as the stick, ie smacking).

You guys are the boss, your daughter is 2nd rank and she has to be taught that. There's a good book about being firm and fair... I'll get you the ISBN.
HEM
Firstly, you and your husband must not mix approaches.
Very important. Kids learn very quickly to play one parent off against the other.
CCC
Never be frightened of a good hard slap across the back of the legs...let her know who is the boss...it sounds like you have already lost the upper hand!!!
That is a good approach.. I do the same as well, but after a few warnings, then for me, no more reasoning... my kids learn it quickly that after a few warnings, and if they still do not do what they are told, they will have to live with the consequences. However, I follow one rule myself, NEVER slap the kid when you are angry, or mad. I only slap them when my temper is under control (of course only to the legs/bum..never too physical), and I explain afterward why I smack them and how much I do not enjoy it but only if I love them ...it seems to work so far.

All the best ..and good luck.
CCC
UrbanAngel
Ask to be on Super Nanny TV show or watch a few episodes - there's a real insight into kids' psychology on WHY they are acting that way. Do you follow through with consequences enough? Do you sit her in a quiet corner as punishment and does she feel ashamed after a while? and so on.
mlovett
http://www.amazon.com/Setting-Limits-Your-...1496&sr=1-1

This book may save my marriage, if my husband would ever finish reading it.

Our son is very strong willed. So were we, as kids... We both got spanked a LOT, and it doesn't work. Please read this book. You can be firm without being a tyrant! And be *consistent*. These kids will test and test and test... they don't give up.
MrNosey
That's the one.
mlovett
I've read a LOT of parenting books, and found that one to be the best approach for my son. Just waiting for my pushover husband to get on board...

p.s. spanking is actually illegal in Germany, FYI.
BattalionBoy
If the authorities are even coming back to you and saying they can't contol her then what chance do you have.
I would be very afraid if I were you. Is she big for her age?
Deccie
Never be frightened of a good hard slap across the back of the legs...let her know who is the boss...it sounds like you have already lost the upper hand!!!
Just be careful where you do it: Dad locked up for son smack
Bipa
p.s. spanking is actually illegal in Germany, FYI.
Yes, the anti-spanking law was passed in 2000 and came into effect Jan 1, 2001. BUT the law has no provisions for penalties against parents, and so is often ignored by German parents.
Samsung
violence breeds violence...(on the spanking issue) enough of being nice and patient, tell her you are going to cancel some activity or take away a favourite toy. Don't give her any options... DON'T back down no matter how much she screams and cries and begs. Eventually she will get the message and realise who is boss. It takes a while but it works. I am speaking from experience as a father.
AngloSachsen
We found the best way was to find what our son disliked the most and use this as the punishment. The one that worked best for us was sending him to his bedroom and refusing to let him come down - that was the worst thing for him as he hated being alone and excluded from what else was going on. It worked much better than confiscating toys etc. He only needed to be in there for 5 minutes and he was sweetness and light again. We applied this punishment consistently and it really seemed to do the trick. There may be something your daughter just cannot do without and depriving her of this might work wonders. Some children would love to spend time in their bedroom alone but not ours - so its maybe just a case of finding the one thing that works for your daughter. Whatever you do, you must stick to your guns and work together as a couple (but I'm sure you're already well aware of that). Good luck!
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