Defiant 5 1/2 yo..HELP! time-out doesn't work
I'm step-mom to a 5 1/2 yo girl who was physically & verbally abused by her mother (who has no contact with daughter). SD's father has custody of her, he and I have been married for 5 months. I have a 9 yo son from a previous marriage who lives with us. I stay home with the kids and my husband works.
I think SD has serious anger and impulse control issues that I don't know how to manage. SD can be very sweet & fun to be with..when she wants to be. Most of the time she is very defiant, not listening, doing whatever she wants, not doing what is asked, getting into things, won't stop teasing/being mean to the dog, etc. When she doesn't get her own way or is disciplined she growls, says mean things & makes mean faces, sticks out her tongue, screams & yells, throws things, flings her body around, tries to bite, pinch, kick, hit, scratch, tears up anything she can reach, and more.
Recently SD got angry with my son and threw a large plastic toybox cover down the stairs, hitting him in the back with it. She pushes to get past if we are in her way. Sometimes she will purposefully misbehave to get a reaction..all the while giggling or smiling while she does it.
I've tried putting her in the corner for time-out..she will scream & yell, kick the wall, peel the wallpaper, fling her body around, bang her head on the wall, etc. Then when her time is up she will go right back to doing what she got in trouble for in the first place.
A friend suggested sitting her in a chair in the middle of the floor for her time-out. I tried that and she will do the same things as well as scoot the chair around so she can reach things to kick or tear up. Each time she scoots the chair I quietly put her (and the chair) back in the middle of the floor while she tries to kick or pinch me & just keeps scooting the chair and acting horrible. Once she scooted over to the kitchen table and pulled the table cloth, if I hadn't reached the table in time all that was on it would have landed on the floor.
I'm at a loss as to how to handle her. I find myself starting to loose control sometimes. I try not to yell at her but it is so frustrating. SD is not like this when her father is around..he is an "in your face" discipliner and controls her with fear & intimidation. That is not my way..and I believe my husband's method is, at least in part, fueling SD's bad behavior. I don't believe you can fight anger & aggression with more anger & aggression. Maybe I'm wrong.
SD usually only behaves this way at home but this past wkend she started being mean to her grandmother, even slapped her once. It seems the conventional ways of parenting and discipline do not work with this child.
I'm desperate for ideas that work for other parents of defiant, strong-willed children.