There may be trouble ahead . . .

5Jan2011 023That is the song that goes round and round in my head most days when having conversations with Little Bean.  Little Bean is an extremely headstrong little girl, I’m told that she gets it from me – oops!  But how should we parent her and channel this personality trait so that our time with her isn’t a constant battle?

Both Hubby and I have found ourselves constantly having to bribe/threaten her in order to get the behaviour we want – something along the lines of:-

Eating breakfast – “if you don’t eat your breakfast then you won’t go to playgroup”

Tidying toys away – “if you don’t put your toys away then we’ll put them in the bin”

Won’t get out of the bath – “if you don’t get out of the bath, then you won’t have a story”

I think you can get the picture!


This kind of thing happens at least two or three times a day and its very soul-destroying because we feel like we are constantly battling with her for some kind of leadership.  Another phrase often heard in our house is “who’s the boss?”, sometimes we get “Mummy” or “Daddy” but we regularly get “Little Bean”. 

We have arguments over what shoes she is going to wear when we go out, I’ve tried to give her two options so that she feels like she has some say but this doesn’t always work.

For goodness sake, she even tells me off if I don’t give her the right spoon to eat with.  I could understand this if I’ve always been a pushover with her and bowed to her every whim but I haven’t.  I do believe that children should be able to make their own decisions to a certain extent but only in that I give her two options, she chooses one.  But how on earth should we go forward with her so that we have an out of control teenager on our hands that has no regard for our authority?

We use the naughty step, which she hates, but I don’t think she associates her behaviour with the punishment.  I always ask her why Mummy has put her on the step and if she doesn’t know why I tell her.  I always ask her to look me directly in the eye whilst I’m talking to her, which she does, but all she wants to do is get the “sorry” bit over and done with and get off the step.

We have tried confiscating toys but as with most children these days, she has so many toys that it doesn’t really bother her.  The one thing that I do always do is follow through with whatever I have said to her, I never go back on my word but still it doesn’t get through to her.

How do you handle your pig-headed strong-willed little darlings?  Where do you think we are going wrong?

2 thoughts on “There may be trouble ahead . . .”

  1. try not to do the ‘if you don’t’ and replace it with ‘if you do’…….then find a reward system that works. Positive reinforcement works better at this age I find. Two systems that worked with Bam were the good old sticker chart, and a more portable system (good if she needs encouragement when out and about). For this I got two small plastic tubs. Bam’s obsession was jelly beans. I started with 10 in his and 10 in ‘mine’ Doing as I asked won him one of my jelly beans into his tub, unwanted behaviour meant I won one of his and it went into my tub. At the end of the day if i hadn’t won any of his he got to eat one.
    With the sticker chart you need to find a reward that will work, and also think about it being quite a small chart so she only has to wait a few days rather than a whole week (you can extend this as she grows).
    I’d dispense with the naughty step, from experience it doesn’t work with little ones. It really wasn’t an effective tool with Bam until he was nearly 5.
    He is very stubborn. I’ve cried at the end of many a day from the sheer frustration of what seems like endless negotiation. Like you I have always followed through with consequence. I have never backed down. (i’ll tell you about the Pirate Flag one day!)
    You have my total sympathy on this one!

    • You know I’m not sure when I turned all negative? I never used to be like that with her, I was very good with the “if you do this, then you have this” – definitely must try to get back to it.
      I really like the jelly beans idea, that would definitely be worth a try, I’ll have to have a think about what will get her interest the most? Hmmm thinking hard . . .
      Thank you for all your wise words xx

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.