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She won't put her underwear on...


SpicyPeanut
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This is what I'm dealing with at the moment.  We are 51 minutes past bedtime.  My almost 4 year old wants me to put her panties on.  I had already asked her to do it.  This child just spent the past year being spoiled ROTTEN by grandma who watched her while I worked full time.  Well now that I'm home again (and we found the dog) I decided her reign is over.  So she's been screaming for over an hour because I won't go up there and put her panties on.  I even heard "Why are you doing this to me?" 

 

Parenting... so much fun. :-)

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Can I offer a suggestion to be gentle with her?  To a 4yo, a year is a whole lifetime.  They don't remember that far back.  So if Gramma is no longer the caregiver then she is going through some grief of missing her and also adjusting to a new routine and new rules.  That's a lot for anyone, never mind a little person.  Maybe break in the new rules gradually?

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She's four. I'd put them on her and move on. She'll outgrow this phase soon enough.

 

ETA: My oldest went through a phase where she wouldn't wear panties at all that lasted about a year. In the beginning I thought it was a big deal but I was wrong. She's 14 now and a joy.

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She put them on. 

I told her she could go to bed without them.  I left out the beginning where I took panties out for her and she didn't approve of them so she dropped them on the floor.  She thought better of that and threw them back in the drawer. 

 

FWIW Grandma lives in our house (and has for over a year).  She doesn't miss grandma.  I know she was tired, but I'm kind of tired of using tired as an excuse for being disrespectful.  She's fine now.  I mean we're way past bedtime and she'll be tired tomorrow unless she sleeps in. 

 

Edited to add: that this child (maybe not every child but THIS child) is one that if you give an inch will take a mile.  She orders me to put on her panties so I do it... now she's unable to do a thing, including sleep, and needs a different pillow, and maybe a different color blanket, and her red stuffed dinosaur... wait 4 minutes, now she doesn't want that toy she needs a different one. 

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Helping her with putting on panties at 4 years old is not a sign of her being spoiled it is part of parenting, and helping her with transitions of gramma being gone.  She misses her gramma and now is screaming for attention.  It is not about the panties it is about her wanting momma.  So get up there, help her, tuck her in and tell her how happy you are she is back home.  jeepers.

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Helping her with putting on panties at 4 years old is not a sign of her being spoiled it is part of parenting, and helping her with transitions of gramma being gone.  She misses her gramma and now is screaming for attention.  It is not about the panties it is about her wanting momma.  So get up there, help her, tuck her in and tell her how happy you are she is back home.  jeepers.

 

Wow, you must not have read the post where Grandma still lives with them, and the update where the 4yo was fully capable of putting the undies on and did.  Lots of conclusion jumping in your post, and it's rather judgmental.  Jeepers.

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Gently...

 

While it worked out this time, getting into a battle of wills with a 4 yo is probably not going to be a path worth going down unless the issue is something much closer to life and death than underwear.  I hear your concern about her getting spoiled, but you don't want to dig into these roles.  There are other, much gentler ways to work through this transition.

 

I would let her pick the underwear she wants.  Four yos need that sort of control over their lives.  Who cares if she didn't like the underwear you picked from the drawer.  Why do you need to be insulted by that?  Imagine if someone was picking your clothes and it wasn't the clothes you wanted.  Just put them back and say, "That's fine.  Then you come pick."

 

I would never disallow a tired child from going to bed.  The whole point at the end of the day is to get the kid in bed.  Save the discussions, the behavior corrections, etc. for when everyone - both you and her - are rested.

 

It's a trying age, especially when there have been big transitions.  I'm glad you're able to be home with her now.  I hope the both of you find ways to be together that are less oppositional.

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It's not clear to me whether the panties had to go on before she was able to go to bed.  You said "she up there".... so I'm guessing she's in bed?  If that's the case, I'd just ignore her. She'll learn soon enough that yelling doesn't get you anything except hoarse.

 

I absolutely agree about not doing for a child what they are capable of doing for themselves (also known as: every unnecessary help is a hinderance), but I wouldn't be *keeping* her up for that.

 

 

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When mine were that age, I discovered that allowing a certain amount of choice made the days go much more smoothly. So, putting on the underwear might have been non-negotiable (although, honestly, I don't think it would have bothered me to let the kid sleep without undies), but the kid could decide between the pair with the yellow flowers and the pair with the cartoon characters. Same thing with the pajamas, the blanket and the pillow. 

 

Choices had to be limited, of course. Otherwise, each transaction would take hours of fretting and discussion. But a simple choice between this or that was not burdensome to me, allowed the child to have a little say in his or her own life and made life more pleasant for everyone.

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I have a kid line that. He's delightful if you never give him the impression that he's in charge. Too much power makes him a tyrant. Even he knows this about himself. I brief his camp counselor at drop off each year. The ones that ignore me suffer a bit.

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Does it matter who puts the underwear on?

Does it matter that she wear underwear to bed at this age on any given night?

 

And underwear is tricky!  Especially when you're tired!  Just yesterday, dd7 was having trouble with her swimsuit bottom.  I noticed a tag sticking out of a leghole.  She agreed that it felt much better once we had rearranged it.  Is this a daily occurrence?  No way.  Just once in a great while.  Admit it though: even as adults, we all have trouble with our underwear occasionally.

 

Surely by the time she is 10yo, she will be dressing/undressing herself promptly and independently.  This is a temporary phase.  My older one has had phases of being buck naked all day, wearing clothes (instead of pajamas) to bed, and (currently) taking the "pajamas are the school uniform of homeschoolers" literally to wear pajamas outside the home.  As long as they are clean, weather appropriate, and cover more of her body than her swimsuit, I don't really care.

 

I read a parenting essay years ago about the author recalling how EVERY NIGHT, her parents would ask, "Do you want to walk up to bed, or do you want a piggy back ride?"  Ya know what?  Somehow they ended up in their bedroom every night for bedtime.  How did that happen????  Sneaky parents!!!  :lol:

 

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When I opened this thread, I thought "Geez, I never wore underwear to bed, what's the big deal?" 

 

Anyway, commando at bedtime has been my style since I was a little kid, and I always thought it was weird that people wore underwear to bed.  Is it really that uncommon to go to bed sans your drawers?

I never liked wearing panties to bed.

 

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She put them on. 

I told her she could go to bed without them.  I left out the beginning where I took panties out for her and she didn't approve of them so she dropped them on the floor.  She thought better of that and threw them back in the drawer. 

 

FWIW Grandma lives in our house (and has for over a year).  She doesn't miss grandma.  I know she was tired, but I'm kind of tired of using tired as an excuse for being disrespectful.  She's fine now.  I mean we're way past bedtime and she'll be tired tomorrow unless she sleeps in. 

 

Edited to add: that this child (maybe not every child but THIS child) is one that if you give an inch will take a mile.  She orders me to put on her panties so I do it... now she's unable to do a thing, including sleep, and needs a different pillow, and maybe a different color blanket, and her red stuffed dinosaur... wait 4 minutes, now she doesn't want that toy she needs a different one. 

SpicyPeanut, I'm with you 110%. Kudos to you for standing firm. Many times disputes like this is not about the underwear, or whatever "little thing" happens to be featured at the center of the dispute. For some people (and 4yo humans are people) stuff like this is vital because this type of thing isn't about underwear, it is about roles, respect, control, standards, accepted behavior and perhaps 100 other behind the scenes things many of them related to power struggles and relationship dynamics. I don't believe in allowing others to dominate me. Especially if they weigh less than 40lbs and stand 3ft tall.

 

Some kids, would work tirelessly to run someone over a gazillion miles if that someone walked even an inch on demand--the "smaller" the demand, the worse it is. It just snowballs and by the time the parent realizes what is happening, they have an uphill battle to fight. Missing grandma or no, you must be respectful. She is 4yo, not 4mo. She understands enough to know that "No, Sally, this is not right/fair/good. Stop it.". If you are expected to wear undies to bed, capable of putting them on and asked/told to do so, then do it. In my house, the parent run the household.

 

I don't let age/tired/stressed be an excuse for unacceptable behaviour but I'm stubborn like that. Again, I agree with your stance SpicyPeanut 110%. I'm sure that you used what you know about your kid to make your choice.

 

I'm with you on not putting on the panties, but also telling her that it's time to go to bed and if she comes out of the room there will be dire consequences. :D You can't win with 4 year old power struggles. I would let her sleep with no panties.

:iagree:

 

I have a kid line that. He's delightful if you never give him the impression that he's in charge. Too much power makes him a tyrant. Even he knows this about himself. I brief his camp counselor at drop off each year. The ones that ignore me suffer a bit.

This, exactly! This is a wonderful way of putting it! Wow, that hits the nail on the head.

 

I work 3 jobs, go to school full time, and raise my kids as a single parent. I don't give a d4mn if they are "tired" or "just [age]" or all that other stuff. Life is hard, boo hoo. We do a lot of "suck it up, nutter cup" around here.

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She put them on. 

I told her she could go to bed without them.  I left out the beginning where I took panties out for her and she didn't approve of them so she dropped them on the floor.  She thought better of that and threw them back in the drawer. 

 

FWIW Grandma lives in our house (and has for over a year).  She doesn't miss grandma.  I know she was tired, but I'm kind of tired of using tired as an excuse for being disrespectful.  She's fine now.  I mean we're way past bedtime and she'll be tired tomorrow unless she sleeps in. 

 

Edited to add: that this child (maybe not every child but THIS child) is one that if you give an inch will take a mile.  She orders me to put on her panties so I do it... now she's unable to do a thing, including sleep, and needs a different pillow, and maybe a different color blanket, and her red stuffed dinosaur... wait 4 minutes, now she doesn't want that toy she needs a different one. 

 

We've been there with one of ours, and the other one will get like this if he's in the right mood (and he's as sweet as pie normally). You gotta love how this kind of things always works for the grandparents, and they somehow rarely bear the brunt of the "give an inch" side of a child. You'll have to get your revenge when you're Grandma, and she's the mom. :-) I hope she sleeps in for you tomorrow.

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I have a kid line that. He's delightful if you never give him the impression that he's in charge. Too much power makes him a tyrant. Even he knows this about himself. I brief his camp counselor at drop off each year. The ones that ignore me suffer a bit.

 

This sums it up well.  I have one of these too.  Helping with something like that is very personality dependent.  If you don't have one of these, it is hard to imagine, I think.  

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To be clear, I would have let go to bed without panties.  She wanted panties.  She wanted me to pick the panties.  I did pick the panties.  She threw my choice on the floor.  I wasn't insulted.  I just knew where we were going.  She's done it before and it ends with me picking every single pair of panties only for her to deem them unworthy.  When I'm done going through every clean pair she then announces she wants some pair of panties that are in the hamper.  I've even told her that she could wear them dirty.  Nope.  She wants them clean. 

 

Now all this didn't happen last night, but we play the "panties game" often enough that I could see it coming.  I've been home for a month now.  Her dad has taken a lot of time off this summer.  Grandma is available 24/7 as she basically never leaves unless she leaves with us.  She doesn't miss grandma, though she may miss being "in charge" of Grandma. 

 

Looks like she's sleeping in.  Which is good. 

 

 

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To be clear, I would have let go to bed without panties. She wanted panties. She wanted me to pick the panties. I did pick the panties. She threw my choice on the floor. I wasn't insulted. I just knew where we were going. She's done it before and it ends with me picking every single pair of panties only for her to deem them unworthy. When I'm done going through every clean pair she then announces she wants some pair of panties that are in the hamper. I've even told her that she could wear them dirty. Nope. She wants them clean.

 

Now all this didn't happen last night, but we play the "panties game" often enough that I could see it coming. I've been home for a month now. Her dad has taken a lot of time off this summer. Grandma is available 24/7 as she basically never leaves unless she leaves with us. She doesn't miss grandma, though she may miss being "in charge" of Grandma.

 

Looks like she's sleeping in. Which is good.

Oh hugs. I go through this EXACT same thing with picking out clothes for my dd4. I usually start with 2 choices. She will wantme to choose an outfit. Fine. Here you go. Nope, not thaaaaat one! And we can go through every outfit in her dresser until she finally settles on an outfit that is wet in the washing machine and has a fit because she can't wear it! Really?!!

I would get upset with myself that I actually fell for it too. You can see t coming. She is fiercely independent and wants at least the illusion hat she is in control.

I finally extracted myself from the situation completely. I bought one of those hanging shelves cloth organizer for her bedroom. On Sunday night we lay out 7 outfits and she puts them in the cubbies. I don't care which one she chooses for which day, but each get used during that week. If she changes her mind fine, she knows what to do. If it is dirty? Next week unless she asks ahead or needs it for something special. Everything from socks to clothes to undies are there.

Is it possible for you to do something similar? Extract yourself from he power struggle because there really is no way to win. Even if she finally put on undies she went to bed with that vague unhappy feeling and knowing everyone was upset. This is how I felt. I could get her in clothes but she wen out the door with a bad start to the day that was totally unnecessary:(

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I'm sorry.  That's such a hard situation.  My 6 year old still likes help to get his underwear on.  When he does it himself, it usually ends up backwards and that annoys him.  Too many times I've said no, you do it and we've ended up in a power struggle.  I don't give in once I've said no because I don't want to teach him that no may mean yes if he begs long enough.  So I've made a conscious effort to not say no right away, but to ask him to try to put them on himself, and then help him.  He's getting practice and the power struggles have ended.  Would I like it if he put his underwear on himself?  Of course.  He's 6 for goodness sake!  Is it a hill I'm going to die on.  Nope.  Very soon he won't want me anywhere near him without his underwear on and I won't have to worry about it anymore.

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To be clear, I would have let go to bed without panties. She wanted panties. She wanted me to pick the panties. I did pick the panties. She threw my choice on the floor. I wasn't insulted. I just knew where we were going. She's done it before and it ends with me picking every single pair of panties only for her to deem them unworthy. When I'm done going through every clean pair she then announces she wants some pair of panties that are in the hamper. I've even told her that she could wear them dirty. Nope. She wants them clean.

 

Now all this didn't happen last night, but we play the "panties game" often enough that I could see it coming. I've been home for a month now. Her dad has taken a lot of time off this summer. Grandma is available 24/7 as she basically never leaves unless she leaves with us. She doesn't miss grandma, though she may miss being "in charge" of Grandma.

 

Looks like she's sleeping in. Which is good.

 

My 4 year old dd sounds very similar to yours. I've fixed this issue by telling her that she is responsible for getting herself dressed. If she needs help putting clothes on I can help but she has to bring the clothes to me. Once she picks something if she changes her mind she must put the other outfit back before picking a new one. She put up a fight for a good 3 days of screaming for me to pick her shirt. I ignored her because I knew anything I picked wouldn't be suitable. On the fourth day she brought me clothes when she was ready to get dressed with no complaining at all. She now occasionally asks me to pick her clothes for her and I tell her that if I do she will wear what I pick and any amount of complaining will result in staying home for the day.

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I can't speak for OP, but I know that with my boys it is ABSOLUTELY worth it.  Because it's not about the underwear, the minute to put them on, or the hour "struggle" (which I wouldn't have been engaged in, because I would have simply declined putting them on, whether they did or not would be on them).....it's about who is in charge and who is not. The child was told to put them on and is capable...therefore they need to do as they are told, because mom is in charge and child is not.  Period.

 

Maybe some people's kids are more easy going, but if you let me boys get away with demanding that I do something for them, it will end nothing.  It will just increase the demands.  One doesn't negotiate with terrorists.

She's 3. Is it really worth a power struggle over underwear? Think how much less mental energy you'd have exerted by just putting them on her. An hour-long struggle would have been done in 30 seconds.

 

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The child was told to put them on and is capable...therefore they need to do as they are told, because mom is in charge and child is not.  Period.

 

I had a strong-willed child, and I really believed I had to show her who was boss. Looking back, I wasted a lot of time and heartache for nothing. It's not always a matter of what a child physically can accomplish or of Mom asserting her authority, imo.

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I have an iron-willed child too. It's a difficult balance between creating a tyrant and having unnecessary power struggles that may feel important but really don't accomplish anything. In my experience, leaving a 4yo with a personality like you describe, alone in her room while expecting her to comply with a task that has become a power struggle, while tired... Is not going to end positively.

Great that it worked but it doesn't sound like a great template for future bedtimes. I understand where you are coming from, I promise. I have died on many a mole hill, trying to fix a "spoiled child" complex.

I now try to use my authority to demand polite behavior, proper school work, effort during music practice and other non-negotiables. These skills will help her in her life, the little stuff slides. When I pushed for more obedience, it felt like I was creating one of those mom/daughter relationships where the adult daughter bemoans a childhood of personality conflict and relishes the absence of the mom-ogre in her present life. It's not that I constantly worry about her liking me because goodness knows sometimes she doesn't, but the good times out-weigh the bad. Rethinking a parenting moment that has not gone as planned and changing tactics mid-way, may feel like losing but I try to focus on the long term relationship not the present battle.

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I don't think OP was expecting the child to comply with anything.  I think OP was just refusing to comply with child's demand that OP put the underwear on for the child.

 In my experience, leaving a 4yo with a personality like you describe, alone in her room while expecting her to comply with a task that has become a power struggle, while tired... Is not going to end positively.
 

 

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Good for you, Mama. You weren't creating a power struggle, she was. And once a kid insists upon a tantrum and screaming and you give in, they see that they can control you with a tantrum. My kids have all done stuff like that, and when I don't give in, they quickly stop. 

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I wonder what is going on inside your child to cause this sort of behavior. I think it is important to note that control issues often result from other issues, e.g. attachment issues, trauma, sensory issues. I have considerable experience in this! I would look at the behavior and try to figure out what it is communicating.

 

You can try different things in a sort of trial-and-error approach. In my opinion, if a child is not able to make choices, e.g. changes their mind constantly and creates all sorts of havoc when given a choice, then you may need to provide a more structured existence. When my child used to get really crazy, I would tell her it was time for "boot camp" or "probation." That basically meant that my child had to ask permission for every single little thing until I deemed her regulated enough to make some limited choices. (This would generally be a day or two.) I even would have to choose what bedtime book to read.

 

The above might sound mean, but it is what helped my daughter feel safe and secure instead of disregulated. Some kids need less freedom than others. Also, at the same time as providing structure, I would lavish extra spontaneous attention on my child. I would look for any opportunity to communicate my love. If we were walking side-by-side, I would put my arm around her shoulder. If I walked past her in the house, I might just put my hand on her shoulder briefly as I went by. I would rock her, put her on my lap, swing her around, pay peekaboo, hand-feed her in a playful way -- anything to help her feel secure in my love. Letting her play baby with me made her feel happy too.

 

Now, your child may have totally different reasons for her behavior. Perhaps she truly needs lots of choices. I just see her as not enjoying and benefiting from those choices, so perhaps they are not what she needs.

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I had a strong-willed child, and I really believed I had to show her who was boss. Looking back, I wasted a lot of time and heartache for nothing. It's not always a matter of what a child physically can accomplish or of Mom asserting her authority, imo.

Yup, I have had several extremely strong willed children.  I learned after the first 2 that it isn't worth the power struggle because as soon as you get into a power struggle with a preschooler/toddler etc you have automatically lost.  When my next strong willed one came along I let a lot more go, and guess what at 6 she is way easier than they ever were, still strong willed but since I learned the hard way with the oldest of what things are worth the battle and what aren't life got way easier.  something like getting dressed in the am, or pjs at night aren't worth the fight.  Honestly, I learned it didn't matter what they are capable of, they felt connected when I helped.  They still do, whether it is with a chore, and assignment, getting dressed for little ones, stretching for dance with older ones etc, it never mattered if they were capable to do it on their own, they felt more loved and more connected if I helped, it was true when they were tots, and it is true now that they are teens.  Now what I do not allow is for the child to dictate my actions, so if they made/make a demand for me to do something I tell them they may not tell me what to do, but they may ask for help.  That gives them a chance to reframe and be polite, and then I help.  

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I wonder what is going on inside your child to cause this sort of behavior. I think it is important to note that control issues often result from other issues, e.g. attachment issues, trauma, sensory issues. I have considerable experience in this! I would look at the behavior and try to figure out what it is communicating.

 

Uhh. . .could be that the kid is just. . .4. And stubborn as all get out. 

 

I wouldn't be surprised to hear I did something similar as a child. I was beyond stubborn. My poor mother. 

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I wonder what is going on inside your child to cause this sort of behavior. I think it is important to note that control issues often result from other issues, e.g. attachment issues, trauma, sensory issues. I have considerable experience in this!

 

I really dislike it when people imply that there is something "going on" with someone's child when they behave poorly, but in a totally developmentally appropriate way.  Just because your experience is that there is something "going on" with your children when they behave badly, doesn't mean it's true of other people's children.

 

Four year olds want what they want, and they want it right now.  She's four and she's testing boundaries.  That hardly makes her unique or different from most of the other four year olds on the planet.  Please don't give OP, or any other mother of a four year, a complex over their child's inner life when the child is doing something completely typical for a child that age.

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My recently turned 4 year old has been acting this way for quite some time. Over a year ago (when I was hugely pregnant) if he dropped food on the floor, he would tell me to get it for him. I told he could do it himself. He would get down from his chair and cross the room to yell at me to do it for him. Sorry, my giant pregnant self was not crawling under the table. Just now he was screaming at me to get him a towel, even though his older brother just handed him one. That wasn't acceptable. He wanted ME to do it. This happens a lot. I like to think I don't give in to him often enough to encourage this behavior, but I see no sign of it stopping. Otherwise, he's an adorable, loving kid who often tells me that he loves me. He just thinks I'm his slave.

 

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There's always something going on in the inner life of children -- how could there not be? Obviously they have brains, and ideas, and complex psychology just like all other human beings.

 

What's wrong with wondering about what is going on underneath misbehaviour? Understanding the cause if misbehaviour often leads to very simple solutions and much happier families.

 

It is perfectly normal for 4 year olds to "test" boundaries. The natural progress of logic beyond that idea is, "What exactly is the information this test is looking to discover?" And, "What results are being yielded by the experiment?"

 

If the test is, "What happens when I want help from, but don't actually need it?" (Sub tests: "Does it vary with time of day, style of request, mood of caregiver, any other variables...")

 

Then the result is... (1) inconclusive, keep testing, (2) always results in help, (3) never results in help, (4) varies according to predictable factors, (5) sometimes results in conflict and emotionality, then my emotions get overwhelming...

 

If the test is, "To what degree do my requests control or influence my mother's actions?" The results might be... (1) inconclusive/inconsistant, (2) completely, (3) not at all, (4) varies according to predictable factors, (5) sometimes results in conflict.

 

What you want to do is answer the experiment with 2, 3, or 4. As the situation becomes understood and predictable to the child, the experiments will generally taper off. (Usually the answer is 4, and usually a child can grasp the factors as long as they happen predictably.)

 

1 leads to more tests, but usually not forceful or high energy ones. 5 seems to seriously compel more testing, in much more intense ways-- because, I think, it is read as "potentially dangerous" in relationship, and therefore MUST be understood.

 

(Usually the factors are, "how I asked" -- "how far away mom is" -- "how tired and/or distracted mom is" -- "how hard/easy or possible/impossible the request is" and, "whether or not it is after bed time." They are all quite easy to explain to a child.)

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For what it's worth, neither of my kids was what one might call "easy going." It's not like I'm unfamiliar with the concept of power struggles. 

 

However, once I adopted the policy of limited choice, everyone was happier, life was more pleasant, and I stopped feeling like I was an enforcer instead of a parent. 

 

From my point of view, even preschoolers are people who deserve to have some say in their daily lives. It cost me absolutely nothing to say "You may choose between this and that" instead of "Wear this." My kids did not grow up spoiled brats or tyrants. So, it clearly wasn't a catastrophic parenting strategy.

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I really dislike it when people imply that there is something "going on" with someone's child when they behave poorly, but in a totally developmentally appropriate way.  Just because your experience is that there is something "going on" with your children when they behave badly, doesn't mean it's true of other people's children.

 

Four year olds want what they want, and they want it right now.  She's four and she's testing boundaries.  That hardly makes her unique or different from most of the other four year olds on the planet.  Please don't give OP, or any other mother of a four year, a complex over their child's inner life when the child is doing something completely typical for a child that age.

I really dislike when I respectfully share the best advice I can based on my experience, and someone criticizes it in a manner that is not justified by what I said. I did not say anything was wrong with the child of the OP. I said the child has a reason for her behavior. Don't you think that is true? Being four isn't a reason! This child is an individual and not some generic four-year-old who has the exact same motivation as every four-year-old. Also, I did not say anything was wrong with the child. I just said it is important to consider that control issues CAN result from other issues. If the OP considers what I said and it does not ring true of her child, that is fine. I even said openly that the child in question may have totally different reasons for her behavior. I am treating the OP as a smart mom that may want to consider different options, not as some fragile person to whom I can somehow, with a little post, "give a complex."

 

I really think my advice was pretty harmless. The poster can take it or leave it. And if she uses my "trial-and-error approach" and it doesn't work, she will drop it. Providing strong limits and extra attention on a trial basis is not likely to hurt anyone!

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Some are advocating giving the child choices. The OP actually did give her child choices. (See her update.) It is not unusual, of course, for a four-year-old to have control issues and meltdowns. I think what I really resonated with was the OP's update post that describe how she did give choices and the child was unable to take those choices. If a child melts down and gets irrational when given choices (and even tries to make choices that don't exist), then it is worth a try to limit choice for a time and only give her the level of choice she can handle rationally.

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FWIW, while I appreciate people giving advice they think is needed, I wasn't really looking for any on this situation. I was venting mostly. I don't feel badly about the whole thing. She slept in and hasn't mentioned it. Bedtime went smoothly tonight. I don't think I have a "problem" I just have a kid who has always had a strong will. It's not that big of a deal... Really. I'm very surprised at the traffic me little night time situation started.

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