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Old 04-09-2009, 07:05 PM   #11
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Re: How do you get a 4 year old to understand danger and death

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I would just sit down and explain it to her. I have a 4 year old, and although she doesn't know what exactly death means, she does know, that if someone dies, she'll never see them or be around them again. I've had to have this talk with her because she used to do things to Jules. When I explained that if one day she hurts her really bad, that Juliette can die, and she would never see her again and never be around her again. She started crying, and said she didn't want Juliette to die, but she never tried hurting her again.
I think this is the best way to put it to her. Show her that what she is doing could cause her to never come back again.
When my Dh's grandmother passed away last year, my SIL who was just turning 4 at the time totally grasped the fact of death, because she lived with grandma, and she talked to grandma all the time, and she had to be at grandmas funeral. So she took to it and understood it. Im not saying that your daughter has to go through something like that to grasp the fact of death, but maybe you can explain it in a scenario or something to her.. HTH's

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Old 04-09-2009, 07:45 PM   #12
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Re: How do you get a 4 year old to understand danger and death

I agree with you s_starr. I would do the same thing I think.
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Old 04-09-2009, 08:35 PM   #13
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Re: How do you get a 4 year old to understand danger and death

please don't feel awful for leaving them alone. there is no way you can possibly be with them every single moment and still get food on the table. good for you for checking on them and now, perhaps for awhile, do try and keep them separate when you can't be with them.

what is your form of discipline? we count and do a combination of time-outs and taking things away, depending on the offense. we also do a behavior sticker chart through which she earns rewards. when dd (4) hurts someone, it is an immediate time out, in a specific location (when home), and we set a timer.

i am not a spanker, but my dd responds to our technique. our friend's dd has been spanked a few times in her life for just the reasons and ways s_starr describes and it really does work for them. their dd has a personality and response a little bit like your dd's. it sounds like your dd enjoys having the control and may even get a bit of enjoyment out of making your younger dd upset and/or making you upset.

our dd lived through the dying and death of dh's dad, so she does understand the finality of death, but i don't think she would understand if she had not experienced it.

i do strongly believe that no matter what, your calmness, consistency, and firmness are key to putting an end to it. and make sure your dh is on board with however you do it.

good luck!
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Old 04-09-2009, 09:06 PM   #14
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Re: How do you get a 4 year old to understand danger and death

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Well, at four, she doesn't understand death. She can't, I don't think there is a way to make her understand it. Even experience won't make her understand it.

But... sadly, she is doing this to hurt her sister. She's getting power, it makes sistre cry, and she KNOWS it isn't O.K, because she's old enough to understand that you said never do it again. Four year olds are very smart.

She just doesn't understand the danger in what she's doing. She just knows she's being mean, and she likes it. Being mean and tormenting her sister is her job. It's what siblings do.

About the only way you can make this stop is to make it unpleasant for your four year old.

I'm not a big believer in time out. I have never seen the traditional "you sit in a chair and think about what you have done" kind of time out work.

But, instead, making her talk about it to Dad at the dinner table. Bring it up as in "four year old.. do YOU want to tell daddy what you did to your sister today, or do you want Me to tell Daddy?" (make sure daddy has a heads up before though, or he might not handle it well)

Then have daddy ask a lot of questions about the little one.. "Is she O.K?" "Should we take her to the doctor?" "Oh, poor little sister... Oh, I feel so bad that happened to you". "Do you really think she's O.K?" (show major concern for poor baby sister) THEN after he has effectively gushed over poor baby sister... then he can say to big sister "I am very mad that your sister was hurt. I WILL NOT allow you to put things over her head, or hold her down like that". There's no reason to yell at her, or make her angry at you, because she won't be learning if she's angry.

For a while, I don't think you should trust them alone for very long. It's a good thing you had your mommy instinct turned on, or who knows what could have happened.

Wow! Would you mind coming to raise my kids or at least teach me to think like you while parenting?
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:36 PM   #15
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Re: How do you get a 4 year old to understand danger and death

that is so scary

I would never leave them alone together because I don't think I could trust her. The first time I caught her doing that I might have tried to explain it but the second time, call me a bad parent but... I would probably spank. That's literally a life or death situation and I wouldn't hesitate.
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Old 04-09-2009, 10:43 PM   #16
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Re: How do you get a 4 year old to understand danger and death

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that is so scary

I would never leave them alone together because I don't think I could trust her. The first time I caught her doing that I might have tried to explain it but the second time, call me a bad parent but... I would probably spank. That's literally a life or death situation and I wouldn't hesitate.
I'd have probably done the same thing.
Then not leave them alone again for a long time..
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Old 04-09-2009, 11:49 PM   #17
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Re: How do you get a 4 year old to understand danger and death

do you have any baby carriers? i would wear my younger child while i couldn't be with them...

i can only imagine how terrifying this could be for you! i agree w/ what michelle (i smile because of them) my dd is 3 and understands that people go bye bye forever...
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Old 04-10-2009, 01:42 AM   #18
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Re: How do you get a 4 year old to understand danger and death

I've been explaining death to my DD since she was two years old. By four she understood. At four your DD knows what she's doing is wrong. How have you tried explaining to her? I also think that this is something that needs to stop asap, even if that means spanking.
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Old 04-10-2009, 01:52 AM   #19
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Re: How do you get a 4 year old to understand danger and death

ITA with PP. I am not a spanker at all, but when we are talking life or death situation I wouldn't hesitate. Think of how you would have felt if you hadn't gone in there in time... and what she would have had to live with her entire life if you hadn't gone in there. Also going too long without breathing can cause brain damage... It's just too scary!
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Old 04-10-2009, 06:59 AM   #20
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Re: How do you get a 4 year old to understand danger and death

I am not a big spanker at all but IMO it warrents a swat on the bottom since its not the first time its happend and she is finding it funny.
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