Awkward Sulky 4 Year Old

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Leigh130 | 09:09 Mon 26th Aug 2013 | Family Life
15 Answers
Looking for some advice as everything I try seems to fail! My daughter is 4 and a half, she's well behaved and such a sweet little girl but she has this awful awkwardness about her, and she sulks over absolutely anything! she is extremely shy and comes across rude. Yesterday was the worst day yet and so embarrassing, we went shopping for school she's and she was being so awkward on purpose for no reason at all, while the last was trying to measure her feet she was trying to curl up in a ball and crawl away when that didn't work she started kicking her feet as the last tried to put her shoes on, when she was asked to walk in them she threw herself to the floor and curled up into a ball. People were staring it was so embarrassing so I just picked her up and told her she was being naughty and took her home with no new shoes which would normally bother her but it didnt at all. I can say the smallest thing to her or If something doesn't go her way she will sulk or cry! If we are out having a meal and a waitress talks to her she will throw herself under the table. Kids party's are worse she will sit next to me and if I try and make her join in she gets worse. It's like she gets so awkward and worked up about everything. She's scared of kids rides, sand, swimming, ice cream cus it's to cold, jungle gyms! I just don't know how to get her out of this. I tell her that people will think she's being nasty or a naughty girl when she acts like this but it makes her worse! sometimes I can tell she's doing it on purpose and just playing up.


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Is she worried about starting school? if she's that shy she must be terrified of walking into a classroom full of strange kids and teachers, the shoes and school stuff is just bringing everything forward in her head. Has she any friends starting school with her that you can invite round during the holidays?
09:45 Mon 26th Aug 2013
Is she worried about starting school? if she's that shy she must be terrified of walking into a classroom full of strange kids and teachers, the shoes and school stuff is just bringing everything forward in her head. Has she any friends starting school with her that you can invite round during the holidays?
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She is scared of starting school yes, she is going with all her friends from nursery, but that's not just the problem she's been acting like this for about 2 years now.
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Seems the older she gets the worse it gets.
have you spoken to the GP about child and family guidance? For the moment, I wouldn't be pressuring her to do the things she doesn't like, its obviously not working.
She sounds younger than her age. Does she get your attention when ahe makes these fusses and/or do you bargain with her to get her to stop?
Parents should not tell their children they are naughty because it damages their confidence. You should say 'what you have done is naughty, (as it upsets people/you/me etc), but never YOU are naughty. Praise your daughter when she behaves, maybe reward her when she exceeds expectations. No child is the same, it is trial and error
I don't agree with alwaysconfused. If my child is naughty I will them they are naughty and explain why.

What is she like when she's being good?
Could attention seeking be the problem? If you reward "bad" behaviour with attention, this just encourages it.

Try ignoring her when she does it at home - explain that you want to do something she enjoys, but will have to wait until she's ready to do it. Then just ignore her.

School teachers often deal with it by saying "sorry, you're stopping the class having fun, so go sit by yourself until you want to come and play with us"

There are lots of child guidance books. Good luck!
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She's such a sweet little girl tho she has my attention at all times, I tell her numerous of times how special she is and I love her and she's beautiful every day, she will be playing she will stop what's is doing just to come to me for a cuddle n say I love you mummy and she does this all the time. She's happy and bubbly and so loving one minute then next she's all over the place moody and sulky. She knows what is right and wrong and she knows how to behave. It's really hard to explain. I have noticed tho that she is worse after a day at her daddy's and it takes me a day or 2 to settle her again.
She just sounds quite shy. I think that's all and needs to practise relating to people. Don't push her to join in, as that puts pressure on. Just be there, without a fuss and let her join in in her own time. For shoe shopping, or other things involving strangers, try a bit of bribery. "if you are good in this shop, I'll put a point on your chart" and let her choose a small treat when she has a certain number of points. At this stage, just behaving in one shop is fine, as it's all building her confidence, until it becomes a habit.
I did a couple of years course in Nursery Nursing Management (never decided to go down that route though, in the end)

No carer/teacher was allowed to use the word naughty to describe a child.

I agree that it is attention seeking behaviour. Any attention is better than none. You are therefore better off ignoring bad behaviour than acknowledging it. We all hate the silent treatment, don't we?
sorry AC i also don't agree with you - what 4 years old will discern a difference between "you are naughty" and "that was naughty"?? because the implication is "that was naughty" (thing that YOU did)
Hi Leigh, set some boundries, and use rewards. She might well settle once she has started school. It does sound like attention she is after right now, bless her. Don't tell her she is naughty, just say , I would rather you didn't do that . If she continues tell reward. It is daunting for mums as well kiddies !
You mention she is worse after being at her daddy's. Maybe it is to do with the fact she is being treated differently when there? When I had a daughter who was behaving badly I got professional help. Not sure what is available in your area but certainly worth a try.
Perhaps she has your attention so much that it is now not enogh!

Does no mean no? What happens when she has one of her 'hissy fits'?

every time she does it take her out to calm down then go back to finish whatever it is you were doing. Keep it up until she realises that she is not in charge.

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