Four year old with a Bad Attitude


HI there, Thank you for your quick reply on my previous question about my 4 year old. I have re-started the ticket system targeting refusal to do what mummy/daddy tells her.

Previously, I had used them for the longest time (months!) to deal with obedience issues. I stopped when things improved and she hadn't lost all her tickets for weeks and weeks. And then I notice an upsurge of disobedience which she thinks, without tickets, she is free to be defiant and rude (recently!). Can defiance ever be fully cured? I sometimes have trouble asking her to do anything without 'buts' and 'ifs' or a sullen attitude, or a pity-me-its-too-hard-for-me-to-do attitude, especially if she's tired/sleepy. It's an ongoing obedience war since she was 18 months old - sometimes really good for weeks, sometimes really defiant for weeks..then good again.

Recently, she's taken to giving me that look 'MAKE ME' when I ask her to do something. Even said to me "Do it yourself". Sometimes when she's over the top and unruly, I'll ask her to go to her room to calm down. She would refuse and cry and ask "WHY. I'm not going!!" And stand there. If I take her in myself, she comes right out and then tells me "but the behaviour is not on her target list"

Disobedience aside, I find it generally hard to guide or show her with anything at all, from teaching her how to brush teeth properly to holding a fork and knife properly etc etc when she struggles and says she cant do it. But refuses to listen and let me guide her anyway. How do I lead this girl and guide her if she won't follow my simplest instructions without a bad attitude? She's getting more headstrong by the year and we struggle with the same problem. Worse, she feels absolutely free to break rules BEHIND MY BACK! ie being rude and horrid to grandmother the moment my back is turned, or snatching from her brother. I feel like I'm disciplining a slippery jellyfish - she is very clever at covering up her defiance with clever excuses, and finding cracks to slip through, so much so that sometimes I only realise it or find out much later. I think she has decided at some point that mummy is not the boss. In fact, there are times where I wonder if she's actually contemptuous of my authority. I don't know how though, I've always disciplined and been as consistent as I could have been.

Any advice as to how to end this once and for all if it's even possible? Stick with the ticket system indefinitely?
Also, is there ever a time for a child to explain, negotiate or bargain? Or a time for a child of this age to ventilate her feelings? How can I encourage this without the child having a sourpuss pity-me attitude all the time?

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