Violet is almost 4, but still very much in the terrible 3′s. She’ll go through weeks of wonderful behavior where she is the sweetest, most well-behaved child in the world, followed by a day of horror. These behaviors are rare, thankfully, but I have no idea what to do about them.
Tonight she had one of her episodes. We had spent the day together, had lunch and then went to Bass Pro Shops, where she loves to watch the fish and ducks swim around. We came home and she watched Curious George for a while and then started in. It starts by simply not listening and doing what we ask of her. Then it turns into a game where she will bite, pinch, kick and spit at us. She did this to me today while my husband ran to the store for 10 minutes. She’s done this to her grandma, aunt and teenage cousin, too.
Putting her in time out is ineffective as she won’t stay. If you stand in front of her she’ll just continue the behavior, and if you walk away she walks off. Slapping her hand or swatting her bottom is ineffective, as she starts laughing, as if it’s the biggest joke in the world. Sending her to her room is impossible as once she gets in there she has full access to whatever toys or books she wants, and sometimes will even do things like dump half a bottle of sunscreen on her pillow pet (like tonight).
We take away toys for bad behavior, but she still has plenty. Tonight’s punishment is no TV for 2 days. This includes at grandma’s house where she spends her days.
I’m just struggling to find something that works. When we remove too many things (toys, activities, outside play, TV) then what do we do? Time outs just don’t do anything. I don’t believe in spanking more than her hand or her bottom, and she even finds that a joke.
These episodes are, fortunately, few and far between, but when they occur it’s as if she’s a little girl possessed. When all else fails, I try to ignore her – but that just means she’ll continue her assault on me. So what do you do? What works?