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Old 08-30-2012, 01:03 PM   #1
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4 year olds... enough said?

I personally feel like running away if it'll save me from dealing with my 4 yo. DS is just... I don't even know what! multiple times a day he has me on the brink of strangling him! His attitude stinks, he's forgotten how to listen, he does NOTHING the way he's supposed to. Every so often I catch sight of my sweet little boy, but more often not.

Earlier we were cleaning up the mess that was leftover in the livingroom. I told him that if he helped me, we'd go visit his cousins. I don't expect him to pick up w/o direction just because there's so much stuff here so I tell him to pick up 5 kitchen things and put them away, 5 cars, etc... He helped for a bit then decided he didn't want to and told me his belly hurt and he was going to throw up and needed to rest. I said no, if you want to visit you help. He just laid on the floor until he was ready to play and we didn't go visit.

Later, I was making lunch and he brought his tool box out to the kitchen. The rule is toys in the living room only. If I let them out of the living room I'd have toys EVERYWHERE! I said no, take it back to the living room now, no toys here. He looked at me and turned around in the direction of the living room. I went back to making lunch and he walked past me into my bedroom w/ the tools. I took them away and the tools are in time out. Immediate flipping out commenced. tears, stomping feet, SCREAMING, growling... he settled enough for me to say I TOLD you no toys, he screamed that I never told him that he INSISTED I never told him that. then commenced w/ the tantrum. I picked him up, put him on his bed, told him he could come out when he decided to behave and left, closing the door.
He came out a few minutes later still grumbling. I repeated if he couldn't behave he needed to go back to the bedroom. (I also threatened to put him in a crib if he was going to keep acting that way... not the best tactic but I was frustrated myself!)

Lunchtime... one of his sisters took a wedge of his sandwich. I got it back from her but it wasn't perfect and he flipped his lid saying she touched his food.... etc... etc...

The other took a piece of something on his plate and he went nuts again. Immediate tears screaming, face red.

Just now one of the girls went to play w/ her dollhouse but he had commandeered it earlier and was playing w/ it so he ran over and got in between it and her and yelled at her NO MINE! ANYTIME they go after what he's playing w/ or he decides he wants something they have have he decides he can just take it. Every toy is his and only his if he wants it.

It's like he's lost all coping abilities and has no control over his emotions... which I KNOW is part of growing up to a point... but this has been a downward spiral! and I don't know how to help him, or me for that matter because I'm at my wits end w/ a 4 year old who flips over everything!


Wife (35) to DH (36) Mom to DS (6/08) andTwin GIRLS BORN August 11, 2010
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Old 08-30-2012, 01:51 PM   #2
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Re: 4 year olds... enough said?

being a mom is a tough job!!!

well, I'm no child psychology expert, but I'll give my opinion based on my own experience. Assuming he is not sleep deprived and he is not getting sick, it kind of sounds like a few things to me...

1) it sounds like he wants his own space, and his own things that are only "his" and he does not have to share.... I say that b/c I see the ages of your kids and I think about my own kids - who are 5.5, 4, and 17 mos., and I notice that as the two older ones get older, they want to feel more like individuals, and more responsible. Maybe this is a part of what is going on?

2) it sounds like maybe he is craving your attention. I know it is a lot of work caring for 3 kids - and I don't have twins! - so I can only imagine how difficult and busy your days could be sometimes. But I notice when one of my older 2 start acting out, they usually are trying to tell me that they need some one on one time with me. So, I make some time. It doesn't have to be anything big, or super special. I usually rotate who goes to the grocery store with me. That tends to be enough for them for now.

3) I think it's entirely possible that this is just one of those phases where he is seeing how far he can push you. Every kid goes through this every now and again. They seem to all of a sudden think if they push hard enough, throw a big enough fit, act mean enough, etc., you'll give in. It's tough, but you have to stick to your guns and be consistent.

4) He could be becoming more aware of his emotions and having trouble expressing them. My son has this issue. He just turned 4. He has gotten a LOT better since I've started working with him. When he loses it over something small, I first remove him from the situation, somewhere where it's quiet and there are no other kids with us. Then I hold him and I talk to him in a calm voice and I say: "I understand you're upset about ______. I would be too! But let's think about this." Then I stand him up, look him in the face (if he's still crying, I tell him gently I cannot speak to him when he is hysterical and he needs to take some deep breaths and calm down - we do the deep breaths together). Then I just work through it with him... "I know you're upset that sister took your food. She should not have done that, and I will talk to her about that. But when you scream, it makes me think you're hurt. Are you hurt? Ok, please don't scream like that. It hurts my ears and I can't understand what happened when you are screaming, ok?" It's taken a LONG time using this but finally he has been able to control himself 90% of the time.

I don't know if any of those things apply, but that's what I would start with if I were in your shoes. Typically when one of my older ones starts with the bad behavior, it is usually one of those things.

Last edited by Kiliki; 08-30-2012 at 02:07 PM.
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Old 08-30-2012, 04:12 PM   #3
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Re: 4 year olds... enough said?

I have a nearly 5 year old boy and a nearly 4 year old boy, I SO get it!

For me these behaviors come out the most when they are either looking for more attention, or are bored.

Giving them activities to do and sticking to a routine helps tremendously. That doesn't mean I plan out craft projects for them every single day, but maybe talk with my nearly 4 year old about what he wants to do, and get him started on it before I walk away to do something else.

The cleaning thing drives me a little crazy, we've started cleaning up every single toy 3 times a day (before lunch, mid afternoon before daddy comes home, and before bed) and then it doesn't seem so overwhelming or take as long, so the tantrums are a little less.

We stay very consistent on our discipline, no empty threats, no special privileges, and consequences (usually a time out) for acting out or not following directions.

I know it will probably be something else soon, but I cannot wait to be out of this stage!
Hi I'm Sara mommy to 4 little Mischief Makers
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