Our expert says:
Totally unacceptable behaviour. Tantrums like that, occur at some stage in the lives of many children ; and there's the unfortunate element that the child is sensing her grandmother's degree of frailty and taking advantage of it.
The tantrum is about POWER, not about wanting to stay longer on a visit, or whatever.
You don't mention a husband, so Im guessing you're a single mother ( also a situation a child can recognize she can take advantage of ).
Before the child becomes too skillful as a brat, you need to ( maybe with the help and support of your mother and anyone else who needs at times to take care of her, to draw up a very clear list of rules of the family, which she must keep to at all times, with unpleaant consequences if she doesn't ( smacking, etc., doesn't work, but loss of cell-phone use for 2 days for each offense, loss of TV time, and whatever else she really wants, works wonders ). Consistently keeping the rules leads to small rewards and loads of praise and obvious love.
You explain that the same rules and consequences apply whether she's with you, or your mother, or anyone else. And that none of it is debatable or open to negotiation. It doesn't matter whether or not she WANTS to brush her teeth - teeth must get washed. She doesn't have to want to do it, but she does have to do it.
If she refuses to change to the school clothes you have chosen for her, then she must be told she'll have to go to school in her pyjamas, and let the other children laugh at her for being so foolish.
If she doesn't east and drink whatever you prepare for her, then that's it - it doesn't matter at all if she is hungry or thirsty, the next food and drink ( other than tap water ) will be provided at the next proper meal-time. Again, nothing to be negotiated.
There will be some tantrums ( explain in advance that tantrums just make her look silly, and will be ignored ) but she'll get the hand of it surprisingly soon, if you all stick strictly to the rules and consequences.
Inconsistency, and any sense that she can gain power by refusing to cooperate, defeats it all.
If you or people you know have DSTV access, try to see some episodes of the Supernanny series, which demontstrates the use of such methods convincingly. A child psychologist could also help draw up and encourage such a system, if your daughter seems determined to resist.
Children ALWAYS need structure and rules and limits in their lives, and are actually happier within a structured, predictable and fair system.
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