March 10 05

and yes, i do mean my 4-year old daughter, Emily. (yes, she’s 4! her birthday was on Tuesday).

i’m afraid we’ve lost her to the dark side. no joke. she’s out of control.

If she can’t have ice cream when she wants it, she has a full-blown hour-long temper tantrum on the floor. If I choose an outfit that she doesn’t want to wear, she has a complete mental breakdown. If she’s told she can’t go to a friend’s house to play, she’ll say, “I hate you!” When it’s time for bed, she pulls out the big guns, “my tummy hurts! I need a drink! I need to make! You promised me we’d do the calendar! Read me a story! sing me a song! Another song! I Need Amy! I Need my blanket!” In general, she refuses to accept what are totally appropriate limits for her age.

I have to tell her to relax about 45 times a day. She gets really worked up over everything. she knows exactly what buttons to push, and pushes them often.

Now, i’d like to think that i’m a good mother. I love their daughter, and I show it. I try hard to nurture her creativity and self-esteem. But everyday issues of discipline and control now worry me all the time. In short, I fear I’ve created a monster—an extremely spoiled child—and I don’t know what to do to improve the situation.

My attempts at punishment and positive reinforcement have been completely shut down. we tried out the 1-2-3 magic method, but realized early on that this was not the punishment method for us. we would count to three, put her in her room, and two minutes later, when we went to get her, she’d still be screaming. so the punishment did nothing.

this furstration came to a blow last night when i put her to bed at 7:24 and she didn’t stop screaming or whining until 9:48. insanity! i don’t know what to do anymore.
and the thing that really irks me the most is that for everyone else but me, my husband and my nanny, she’s AN ABSOLUTE ANGEL. no joke. her teachers have nothing but glorious things to say about her – – “she’s such a good listener, she loves to help out, she smiles all day (Smile? i don’t think i’ve seen her smile in 2 years!), we love to have her around. she’s a pleasure.”


  1. have you seen the show Super Nanny (monday, 10pm). She is great and you can get a lot of good ideas from there.

    Comment by Anonymous on March 10, 2005
  2. wow – i waited 10 minutes to write this comment… i was going to suggest the same thing. that show has made me see things in my own parenting that i don’t like that i didn’t realize just how much i was doing. and it’s good because they have different suggestions for different families. they had a good one on bedtime rituals. i’ll email it to you.
    i recommend squarespace – they rock! if i weren’t too cheap to pay the $10/month – i’d be there instead of blogger. check out this girl:
    it’s a good blog and she designed some of the squarespace templates. click on the link on the bottom right that reads blog on to set up a trial squarespace site. good luck.

    Comment by ordinary girl on March 10, 2005
  3. I had a similiar problem with my daughter and here’s what finally worked for us. Yes, we spank. But sometimes that doesnt’ work. What did get through was taking a favorite toy away and throw it in the trash FOREVER. The tantrums stopped immediately when she realized that I meant business. We still swat the booty but to quote the Dr Phil, you find their currency, and then deny them of it. Not the exact quote, but you see my point. And I did it with a calm, low voice. And I didn’t back down. At 4, she is big enough to grasp the consequences. Try it and let me know how it goes.

    Comment by Tisha from Texas on March 10, 2005

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