I realize this is probably nothing special, but I'm at my wit's end and need some advice from people who've "been there".
My daughter is 2 months shy of 4 yrs, and since infancy, has been a true challenge. Willful to the extreme, very active, full of life. Cheerful when getting her way.
Our day-to-day is unfortunately very combative, however. She fights us on basic necessities of life: going potty, eating, getting dressed, going anywhere, leaving that same place, getting into car seat, "listening" in general.
She will outright disobey most requests, no matter how cheerfully given or logical in getting her closer to whatever activity she says she wants to do. Ex: Wanting to play outside? Put on shoes/coat. Fight ensues. Sometimes, she runs away, laughing, to avoid whatever we've asked her to do. Grabbing her, sitting her down for time out hasn't changed the pattern.
Eating - most of her life, there's been little/no interest. We've seen nutritionists and psych. She is fine missing days and days of meals. If she were not underweight, we'd let it play out, but medically we CAN'T. "This month" it seems to be somewhat less of an issue than the general opposition, but adding this for history.
She's not particularly caring towards any of her toys in particular (though she does play with them), so removal of toys or TV time (already very limited) is met with "OK" and a shrug.
Timeouts yield laughing our faces. We've tried spanking too, I'll admit it, and it's a momentary pause, then resumption of the behavior. She doesn't care about food, so treats are "meh", and stickers and toys forgotten when trying to reward good behavior.
Kicking and screaming at the dinner table every night: we remove her to her room, then after the sobbing subsides about 5-10 min, she comes back. Repeat 1-3 more times depending on the day.
She is now not listening to directions at school too, and is being removed from the group when she won't follow directions. This sometimes seems to upset her, but not always.
I'm extremely concerned, and our meetings with child psych haven't yielded any help when we don't particularly have a "leverage item" to take away or whatnot. I don't want her to have a horrible childhood, and I don't want my younger child to be traumatized living around the constant fighting. My husband and I need suggestions from parents of "difficult" children... an ADHD diagnosis may be in our future according to our medical professionals (though I wonder ODD).
Any suggestions on how to get through to her is appreciated. I don't want to break her spirit, but I can't live with a little, wild, tyrant in the house!