The Sassy Housewife is a weekly Saturday advice column on momaha.com by Danielle Herzog, a married mother of two. She’ll cover adventures in housewifery — parenting, entertaining and the interests of a been-there-done-that and somewhat-know-it-all wife.
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Dear Sassy Housewife,
My 4-year-old daughter is a brat. I hate saying that, but she is always throwing a fit and answering us back. Her teachers at preschool tell us that she isn’t like that at school, so we can’t figure out why she’s like that with us.
We give her time-outs when she acts up, but they don’t seem to be working. We are at our wits end, and I hate the fact that at times I don’t like being around her. What would you do?
Sick of the Fits
Take a deep breath and realize that it is time to take a new approach to parenting.
The tough thing no one tells you about parenting is what works for one person, might not work for another. My daughter responded wonderfully to time-outs, however my son uses it as an opportunity to plot out his next form of deception.
There is no formula that works perfect across the board.
However, what I’m going to say isn’t going to be easy to hear. The problem isn’t your daughter – it’s you.
If she isn’t acting like that at school, that’s a red flag that she as figured out how to work the system at home.? I say your daughter needs to have some activities or toys removed that she really cares about. A successful technique a friend uses is “Toy Jail”. It’s a box over the refrigerator that holds toys that have been taken away. They can’t be returned until the child proves they have changed their actions. If the toy remains in there for more than three days – it is given to Goodwill. And it has to be a REALLY good toy – not one of the Happy Meal toys step on every time you go into the playroom.
Also, make sure you and your hubby are on the same page. Another idea is when your daughter does something against your rules, make her apologize to both of you. Let her know that her actions affect the whole family. And don’t give in when she throws a fit. If the consequence is that she can’t go to dance class that week, then you have to stick to it – even if it stinks for you.
The best approach you can take is to act like a teacher. Think about the rules at school and use them at home. Do they do a red/yellow/green light system for behavior there? If so, continue that at home. Talk to the school teachers and see what techniques they do to get her to listen and show respect.
Sometimes at the end of the day — especially when you had to be the tough mommy — it feels good to just hide away and hope that no one finds you — even if that’s only for a few minutes.
Have a question for the Sassy Housewife? Email email@example.com.
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