Parenting--Toddlers/Infants/Pre-Schoolers/Out of control


My husband and I recently decided to move out of my parents' house. My dad built us a house so we decided it was time. We have three kids: Lauren (4), Lydia (3), and Liam (3). We had lived with my family ever since Lauren was born because I was still in high school at the time. While my husband and I were at work or school, my mom watched them. Now that we moved out she still babysits but not as often. Anyway, ever since we moved out, Lauren has been misbehaving constantly. She's rude and sassy to me and her father, she hits and pushes her siblings, she talks back to her teachers at school, and she threw her iPad down the stairs. Her 5th birthday is right before Christmas and I already took her party away. I didn't know what else to do. I even told her I wish I could go back in time to when she was a baby. Which probably wasn't the best thing to do. However, her behavior has only gotten worse instead of better. Last night she was throwing stop at me, and she constantly tells me that I'm a bad mommy. I put her in time-out, I don't let her watch tv, but nothing is helping. What should I do?

Hi Katherine, I can see you are dealing with this the best you can and it appears you are doing the right things in the way of punishing the behaviour with taking away privileges like a party or tv or giving her a time-out.  

I also think there is a deeper issue and that would be loss/grief which sounds odd but given her situation with the move and that her gran looked after her most of the time - all the change may be the cause of the behaviour starting or getting worse. Moving house is stressful for adults and children also feel the loss of what was and need to be taught how to cope or deal with this change successfully.  It could take weeks or even months before this is resolved but more importantly try to see it from her perspective at the moment. The broad stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, acceptance. Your daughter may or may not experience all of these stages, however, it is important to acknowledge that loss has occurred and speak with her about what she misses about gran's house etc.
Is your daughter able to explain why you are a 'bad mommy?' I think most of this behaviour is situational and will with some patience be resolved over time.   

I'm not saying to ignore all the bad behaviour and the consequences seem appropriate that you are doing so keep on with that.  Perhaps behaviour like pushing her siblings needs a time out and please look at this page on my blog which has a 'feelings meter' -
This would be useful for her to stop and think about what really is going on for her at the time when she reacts.  There is always an underlying emotion and depending on her personality some children are quick to identify their feelings and others can't.  You can even ask her to use a different colour for at the start of the time out and another colour to monitor how she feels at the end of time out.  Time out should be in a room if possible. Again you can look at some of the personality resources and see if they will help as every child responds differently to different consequences.
For school you could try rewards for good behaviour over the day.

More about anger is available here

Please let me know if you have further questions. Kind regards, Eleanor  


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Eleanor Formaggio


I can answer questions where practical advice is sought in relation to behaviour issues of 2-10 year olds. I specifically look at the influence of personality in a child's behaviour and tailor advice to suit the individual child and parent. This is useful since not all children are the same. I can suggest techniques for tantrums, child aggression and sibling rivalry and adapting to change.


I am a counsellor and child behaviour consultant based in Sydney, Australia and mum to three boys ages 12,10 and 6. I have been involved in setting up and facilitating community support groups for new mothers and run parenting workshops so parents can better understand their children's behaviour. I have spent alot of time observing personality differences in children and understanding how these differences can be used to make parenting easier. I developed the Early Childhood Personality Rating Scale for identifying child personality types in children as young as two. I am the founder of Parent with Potential and developed the Prechooler Personality Kit and READ personality system for primary aged children. More info can be found at

Book: In this Present Moment: Quality Time Ideas for busy parents.

I have a Bachelors Degree in Applied Social Science (Counselling).

Past/Present Clients
Parents of 2-8 year olds. Mothers with Postnatal Depression or anxiety attending a support group or seeking individual counselling or advice in relation to their child's behaviour.

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