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Old 04-17-2012, 12:23 PM   #1
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4 1/2 year old behavior

I am at my whits end with dd. She is extremely high energy, which I can handle, but her behavior lately has gotten over the top. She screams at the top of her lungs over anything that is not the way she wants it, she hits her brother a lot, lies constantly, and back talks like there is no tomorrow. I know this is all "normal" behavior for her age but I feel like it is more excessive than the average child her age.

I try to reward good behavior and ignore the bad when possible (some of it really has to be acknowledged and punished imo, like hitting mainly) but things don't seem to be getting any better. We are trying to get her involved in some activities outside the house to burn some of her energy, she starts gymnastics tonight and is super excited. I am hoping she really enjoys these activities so we can make it something she has to earn the privilege of continuing to help us on our quest to improved behavior.

Her teacher thinks she is showing some early signs of ADHD (DH was medicated for it as a child and we have decided meds are not an option for anyone who might ask) and is the one suggesting getting her involved in some physical activity. So, I don't think it is just us over analyzing her behavior.

So, my question is, for parents of children with similar issues, are there any other suggestions you might have that would help us gain more control over her behavior? I am embarrassed to take her out at this point because it never seems to go well. She gets even more aggressive and demanding when we are out, and I honestly don't know how to handle it without making it worse. She really is a great kid, it's just hard for others to see when they witness a meltdown!

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Old 04-17-2012, 12:44 PM   #2
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Re: 4 1/2 year old behavior

I have a 4 year old daughter and teach kindergarten. It sounds like one of our "rough days". Gymnastics will be great for her! I've also heard good things about swimming. How long is her school day? Is she still napping? How's she eating? Little changes
might help such as an earlier bedtime, later dinner, shorter/longer school day, etc.
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Old 04-17-2012, 12:52 PM   #3
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My first guess would be dietary. A lot of food intolerances show up as behavioral issues. Does she consume a lot of refined sugar or red dye? Those are triggers for my ADHD son and many other kids with the condition. Has she been allergy/intolerance tested? Changing my son's diet made a world of difference!

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Old 04-17-2012, 01:04 PM   #4
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Re: 4 1/2 year old behavior

I am hoping she really enjoys these activities so we can make it something she has to earn the privilege of continuing to help us on our quest to improved behavior.

Our 4 year old went thru a similar phase. It lasted a couple of months and was finally curbed when we "grounded" her from going to grandma's or my sister's house for 2 weekends. She loves to go visit them, but it seemed like the outbursts were most frequent when she returned home. When she was calm, I explained to her in the simplest terms I could that screaming at me isn't allowed and that she could stay home for awhile until she got her temper under control. I think I threw something in there about how her screaming hurts my feelings and asked if she would like it if someone was screaming like that at her.

I may or may not have had a couple of breakdowns in front of her that involved a lot of crying out of desperation. She seems to be really sensitive to seeing me cry, so if the waterworks start I don't usually make a point to hide. Maybe I should, I dont know, but it's an easy way to get her from 60 back down to 0 pretty quickly.

We don't have the lying or hitting issues, but she would throw things. I tried to teach her some other things she can do besides throw. Like stomping her feet or punching a pillow. She seems to have a need to work out anger in a physical manner, so some parents might consider stomping or pillow punching unacceptable, but I think they are acceptable alternatives to throwing or other undesirable aggressive behavior.

Hugs, mama! All that temper is tough to deal with sometimes.
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Old 04-17-2012, 01:07 PM   #5
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Re: 4 1/2 year old behavior

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trinity'smom View Post
I have a 4 year old daughter and teach kindergarten. It sounds like one of our "rough days". Gymnastics will be great for her! I've also heard good things about swimming. How long is her school day? Is she still napping? How's she eating? Little changes
might help such as an earlier bedtime, later dinner, shorter/longer school day, etc.
Yes, unfortunately this is our typical day. She will start swimming lessons in May, it's still a little too cold here yet, but she needs them anyhow because too many of our neighbors have pools.

She only goes to school half a day right now, and she will be in preschool again in the fall because her birthday misses the deadline for kindergarten by a week! I do think a longer school day would be good for her because she loves it and tries a lot harder to control herself when she is there versus any other time.

She won't take naps any more but I do try to enforce and hour of laying down for quiet time, but that normally leads to a meltdown too.

She is a very picky eater, but she always has been and I think thats more thanks to me, as I am a picky eater too. Our meals are reasonably healthy though.

It is good to hear that maybe this isn't normal behavior and I am not blowing normal out of proportion!
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Old 04-17-2012, 01:10 PM   #6
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Re: 4 1/2 year old behavior

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Originally Posted by wordmama View Post
My first guess would be dietary. A lot of food intolerances show up as behavioral issues. Does she consume a lot of refined sugar or red dye? Those are triggers for my ADHD son and many other kids with the condition. Has she been allergy/intolerance tested? Changing my son's diet made a world of difference!

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I find this very interesting and might need to start researching a little. I didn't know this! She doesn't get many sweets, other than a cup or two of juice a day. Both types of juice we get have red dye, so that is something I may need to read into as well. She has no known allergies, but she has always had a sensitive stomach, she had a ton of reflux issues as an infant.
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Old 04-17-2012, 04:24 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by s@hmommy

I find this very interesting and might need to start researching a little. I didn't know this! She doesn't get many sweets, other than a cup or two of juice a day. Both types of juice we get have red dye, so that is something I may need to read into as well. She has no known allergies, but she has always had a sensitive stomach, she had a ton of reflux issues as an infant.
My son who is 5 is ADHD , well so says the prek teacher & peditrician. We are going to get testing done by a child psychologist when he is a little older. My friend who specializes in ADHD & her hubby who is a psychologist suggested testing for everything not just ADHD. Test for iq, gifted, dyslexia etc bc it might not be ADHD or it may be a combination of both. They said behavior therapy is the best thing to do to start with then if when in school it starts to really affect school work then look into meds. They said meds or no meds they have to learn to overcome the challenges that come with ADHD. Also they said to look into his diet, red dye especially. Oh & she said for him to have atleast 10 grms of protein in the morning, this has helped my son tons. Getting good sleep & a schedule help kids with ADHD alot since they or atleast mine don't do well with idle transition time. The red dye really affects my son, we have to read the labels on everything. Not thinking one day I got them jello which I never buy, 5 min after him eating it he was shaking & going bonkers. We also get him to exercise alot more. He goes out side to ride his bike or play basketball, in the evenings after dinner we do a family walk. I no how you feel but it's all going to be ok. ADHD or not God made your child beautiful just the way they are. I have 4 kids and all are different, all learn & respond different. Remember this will a learning curve for you & them, have lots of patience, give lots of hugs & stick to your guns with discipline. I made a list of all my sons strengths & things I love about him, this helped me alot. I also made a list of things he needs to work on, I only tackle one at a time for now. Hope any of this helps.
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Old 04-17-2012, 07:36 PM   #8
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Re: 4 1/2 year old behavior

I have a dd that is just over 4, and except for the hitting, she is very similar. She throws tantrums over everything.....and she is full of drama all the time. If I don't answer her immediately I get "Mommy why don't you talk to me" or "Mommy why won't you let me ask you a question". But she says theses phrases over and over and over. Tantrums are usually at home and they are all out on the floor rolling and screaming. Just today she threw fit in time out, and she was there for throwing a fit on the trampoline because I needed her to wait a minute before I could let her out. Her response that led her into the fit "I want to come out now, you are going to make me stay in here forever". Generally I can get her to behave while we are out and about, but sometimes it takes snacks. I don't tolerate any bad behavior, and always follow through on threats, and I make big threats if we are out.

My dd does not get any red dye #40 if I can help it and rarely gets a sugary snack. She likes cheese, pretzels, and nuts for a snack. She will get 4oz of 100% juice in a day at most. This is all because I know she is high energy and not because I think she has any form of ADHD, which later on I might learn she does. At night when it is nice, I let her run down the sidewalk while I walk the dogs. I do two laps around our block and she runs at least half, getting in the stroller when there is no sidewalk. Her attitude seems directly related to her level of tiredness, so I try and have her in bed by 7:30/7:45pm if she doesn't take a nap. Most nights I think she is sleeping before the door closes. I worry with the summer approaching and it staying light out later, because this is the first nap-free summer.

Oh and I don't just exclude red dyes, we try not to buy anything with any color dye.
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:36 AM   #9
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Re: 4 1/2 year old behavior

My quick advice cut out dyes, make sure a diet good in protein, protect sleep schedule, and 2 books I have found helpful Your spirited child and simplicity parenting. HTH The feelings book looks great!
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