If we are in the car she screams and cries and wiggles her way out of her car seat and then will start hitting me
I have a 3 year old daughter and a 9 month old son. My 3 year old is very naughty when she doesn`t get what she wants. She screams and falls to the ground having a big tantrum. If we are in the car she screams and cries and wiggles her way out of her car seat and then will start hitting me. She will scream so much that she vomits and she will wet her pants. I am trying to understand her and sometimes I know she is only behaving like this because she is tired but it realy tests me. Why is she behaving like this and what can I do?
Thanks for your email. Your daughter sounds like a high-spirited and determined young lady which is a terrific quality, but can be challenging for parents at times! I am wondering how you react to her behaviour – do you cuddle her when she’s crying? Give in? Get cross with her?
At a peaceful and calm time, have a discussion with her about how much you love her and explain to her the behaviours you expect while she is in the car. Do NOT mention her negative behaviours, but focus on the appropriate ones you want her to do. Start with a positive statement (eg. “I am proud of you for (going to bed when I ask you do). You are becoming such a grown up young lady. What do you think other grown up girls do when they are sitting in the car?”). Then tell her what you want her to do specifically (eg. put her own seatbelt on, count the red cars, etc.). If she has a tantrum in the car, you need to pull over, let her know that if she does not sit quietly that you will go straight home. If she does not calm down, then you must follow through immediately. If she learns that you will always take her home for that behaviour, she will soon learn to stop it. But if you are not consistent, this course of action is less likely to work. The key to this is consistency, and do not forget to give her plenty of attention at times when she is doing well!
If you continue having difficulties, please go to my website www.parentsonline.com.au for more advice for similar behaviours. Good luck!
All the Best!
22 Dec 2007