If you had an unbelievably argumentative 4yo - what helps make things less awful?

(26 Posts)
EwanHoozami Wed 16-Apr-14 13:34:36

I'm seriously at the end of my stick.

I've tried "How to talk so kids will listen" and "1, 2, 3 Magic" and he didn't respond to either. He just does not give a shit about sanctions, tellings off, empathy, rewards.. no matter how consistently I've tried each approach.

He'll contradict every statement I utter. He cries, whinges, delays, never does as he's asked and is generally so utterly infuriating that I often end up shouting. And I'm not a shouty mum. Or at least wasn't. I've got a 2yo also who is picking up his brother's behaviour and the idea of another one the same makes me want to sob. That's really bad of me to feel that way, isn't it? sad

Anyway.. any help would be so appreciated, thank you.

Princessolipops Wed 16-Apr-14 13:48:16

Mine is exactly the same right now. One minute he is perfect and will be so helpful. The next a spoiled, selfish and aggressive wee pain in the backside who backchats, argues, says I'm a 'ridiculous mummy!' Or he hates me and gets so angry he will shake with rage as if he just wants to lash out.

I feel so drained after his tantrums and down about it. Makes me not enjoy being a mum sometimes and I think it's so hard. That's terrible to admit. Sorry I don't have any suggestions just to let you know I'm in the same boat! Xx

EwanHoozami Thu 17-Apr-14 07:37:19

Thank you Princess. Sorry you're dealing with it too. My friend who also has a 4yo made me laugh yesterday, she said "y'know how you get the Terrible Twos? Well these are the Fucking Fours" grin

vladthedisorganised Thu 17-Apr-14 16:16:55

The other thread got deleted so I just wanted to sympathise - I have an argumentative one too.

Classic scenario:
"What would you like for breakfast, DD? Toast or cereal?"
"Toast, please."
"OK," (puts toast on)
"NOOOOOOOOO! I didn't SAY I wanted toast, I said I wanted CEREAL!"
"Er, no, you said you wanted toast just now."
"Nooooooooo! I didn't SAY that! You were supposed to get me cereal instead!"

After a week of feeling like a galley slave, and the 'tried and tested' techniques giving us both a headache, I decided to try a lateral technique.
"NOOOOOOOOO! I didn't SAY I wanted toast, I said I wanted CEREAL!"
"OK, I'll get you some cabbage."
(puzzled) "But I didn't ask for cabbage."
"Oh, do you want sprouts instead?"
(chortles) "You can't have sprouts for breakfast! I asked for toast!"
"Gotcha! Toast it is, then..."

FWIW I tried How To Talk too and it was a disaster - when DD sobbed "but if you KNOW I'm upset then why are you making me brush my - snif - haaaaiiirr?" I figured we weren't getting far with it.

As for the delays, that stumps me. I have been very close to tears on occasion with the dithering. Some of her classmates are becoming very scrappy - DD doesn't get involved, but can argue the hind legs off a donkey instead.. and whinge.. and delay...

funnyoldonion Thu 17-Apr-14 19:45:47

Fucking fours are the pits

Donthackmenow Sat 19-Apr-14 22:23:46

I have logged on to moan about my 4 yr old and here you all are. She is either the most adorable little girl in the world or vILE. I try and stay calm, we count down from 10 to give her time to respond and put her in her room if she doesn't but it has little impact on her. I threw one of her Easter eggs in the bin ( well put it in the cupboard and are it myself!) and she didn't care. She is so defiant, argumentative and competitive. Today she had a friend to play and was so mean, insisting that her princess was the prettiest, her axe was the fastest. It is just exhausting.
The cereal/toast discussion sums it up perfectly and we have the delaying tactics, she won't look at us when we try and talk to her. I am genuinely worried about how she will cope at school as she hates to be wrong and won't try to do things that she finds difficult.
To top it off, I shout and I really didn't want to shout. I have seriously considered trying to find a parenting course because what we are doing isn't working and I worry that we will damage her with the tactics we are trying (is putting her in her bedroom or walking away from her 'withdrawing love'?). I love her so much and just want her to be a happy, kind little soul.
Sorry for the jumbled outpouring, it has been a difficult day!

Donthackmenow Sat 19-Apr-14 22:24:13

Car not axe!

terriblefours Mon 21-Apr-14 20:00:07

My four year old is utterly appalling at the moment, and being totally defiant when being told what to do. Especially difficult with his Dad, and he is really starting to play us off each other. He runs to me whinging that Daddy hit him, or whatever, but he is bare faced lying. He kicked his best friend on Saturday, the same boy he stood at the window waiting for for 30 minutes, and when the boy's father gave him a bit of a telling off he said "blah blah blah" to this man. I am mortified and have no idea where this came from. And yet, he can be lovely and loving and helpful and generally brilliant. Lack of food makes it worse but this not the cause of such bad behaviour all the time I am sure of it. I feel so alone - all my friends with four year olds have such angelic children!

ISpyPlumPie Mon 21-Apr-14 20:05:55

Watching with interest......

SweepTheHalls Mon 21-Apr-14 20:10:27

Sent my 5 year old to the naughty step this afternoon for repeated bad language, he tried to defy me and refuse, so I started to carry him there. He tried to kick off father, then was his dad there and agreed to go, whilst shouting Ill do my 5minutes, but I'll be back! He's been rather better since DH threatened to eBay his Lego Batman game for the Wii. He meant it too smile

MarthasHarbour Mon 21-Apr-14 20:18:11

Ahhhh my spiritual home!

DS is 4 (nearly 5) and is driving me round the bend. All of the above could be my story. He is usually a delight, helpful, sweet, kind, loving, PFB yada yada yada. But only recently i have had the fucking fours. The arguments <DS could you do this for mummy please 'no i wont' DS dont put your shoes on there they are dirty 'yes i will hahaha' angry> the delaying tactics, through to totally ignoring me - you know the drill sad

I have no words of advice just lurking with interest. I put it all down to me expecting DC2 any day but he has been really looking forward to it and hasnt shown any behavioural issues (until now). Could also be school holiday syndrome but fucking hell he is driving me mad!

I-am also hacked off as he has always been PFB and the one out of the group who was the most well behaved - shite i have been knocked off my perch now eh?!!

MarthasHarbour Mon 21-Apr-14 20:19:37

sweepthehalls loving the ebay idea - that is definitely worth trying!

NearTheWindymill Mon 21-Apr-14 20:25:51

I honestly don't know. Mine's nearly 19 now, off to Oxford in the autumn and we feel his perfect stamping ground will the green benches. It's unbelievably wearing. He's been in Aukland since January and funnily enough since then my mouth hasn't ached.

Sorry - not helpful but are his arguments constructive or just aggressive. I remember a monumental one over Disney Dinosaurs year and years ago because it was "utter nonsense" "the people who made it were stupid" "didn't they know that the Stegosaurus and the TRex were NOT alive at the same time". Stomp, stomp, stomp - and so life has proceeded.

My dd has learnt from him - she is "easy", "charming", has an oil can for troubled waters. I am entitled to one easy child. She will not, however, get 10 A* GCSEs or be going to Oxford sad - she may, however, end up more successful because she has an unlearnt skill called empathy.

FunkyBoldRibena Mon 21-Apr-14 20:27:02

If they are defying you - ask them to do the opposite of what you want them to do...

No, don't put your clothes on. Sigh.
No, leave your shoes off please. Sigh.
Don't take your shoes off and put them under the stairs. Groan.
Don't eat any of this food, it's for daddy.

By the time they work it out they might well be 5.

usualsuspectt Mon 21-Apr-14 20:32:59

I used to do the opposite thing. Used to totally baffle mine. grin

AllDirections Mon 21-Apr-14 20:36:54

Ill do my 5minutes, but I'll be back PMSL at this Sweep

My DD3 is like what you're all describing but she's now 7. It's got better over the years but probably because she's not with me all the time. e.g. she plays out, etc. and also because she's now embarrassed to have certain people seeing her behave like this. It's like she needs to fight with me all the time so will argue about ANYTHING and she'd rather lose out on treats or have stuff taken off her than not have the argument to begin with.

On the positive side she is an absolute angel at school and for other people.

Oh and DD1 was like this till she was 12 but we've had very easy teenage years with her.

lougle Mon 21-Apr-14 20:42:39

I have found that saying to my (just turned 5) DD3:

"I'm not going to argue with you. You're a big girl and you know what I've asked you to do. Now you need to decide if you're going to do as I've asked our disobey me...."

She almost always does as I've asked and as she is in complete control, there is no one to argue with.

SweepTheHalls Mon 21-Apr-14 20:57:58

I couldn't keep a straight face, so DH naughty stepped him! It would rather eundermine the danctioen if he could see me falling over with laughter!

NationMcKinley Tue 22-Apr-14 07:48:50

Can I join please? DS2 is 4.7 and sound exactly the same as the other 4 year olds on here. It is utterly exhausting and I'm getting really fed up. I also have a 7 year old who alternates between an angel and Kevin the Teenager hmm. This is all topped off with 15 month DS3 who doesn't do toys, he only likes taking everything out of the kitchen cupboards, banging saucepans on the tiles, being carried around by me or pulling the cat's tail. My nerves are in tatters!! Like terrible all my friends seem to have angelic children and last week one of the really twattish school mums was all catsbum over my middle one after he roared "I am NOT DS2, I am Darth Maul and I am going to cut your head off!!!!!!" In the school playground blush.

wine anyone?

Bearandcub Tue 22-Apr-14 09:07:34

Oh no. DS1 is like this now and is only 3.10. What the blazes am I going to do when it gets worse? <starts stockpiling paper bags to aid the hyperventilisation, now and in the future>

ZingHasAHotCrossBunInTheOven Tue 22-Apr-14 09:38:23

my DS2 is the same.
he is almost 11 and I'm still struggling with him.

I think they appreciate it when they are allowed to make choices and able to be in control - mine seem to calm down temporarily when he feels I really listened.

but it's hard.
he is too strong-willed.

BarbaraPalmer Tue 22-Apr-14 09:47:28

3.6yo dd2 is like this

she'll often back herself into choosing her less preferred option out of two choices, just because I've made the fatal mistake of expressing a mild preference for the other choice.

Every day some small issue (like teeth cleaning) will blow up into an enomo-tantrum, which ends in me asking her to leave the room until she's finished screaming.

It's tiring.

AllDirections Tue 22-Apr-14 10:25:22

she'll often back herself into choosing her less preferred option out of two choices, just because I've made the fatal mistake of expressing a mild preference for the other choice.

My DD3 is like this too Barbara She won't back down even if it means she'll get what she wants hmm

It's like she was a born a teenager trapped in a baby's body. DD1 was the same and she's been much more pleasant since she became a teenager. DD2 has just always been easy to manage.

Kellyl26 Tue 22-Apr-14 21:32:06

Just came on here as feel like crying about how awful my 4yr old DD is. She just will not go to bed. I have tried taking things away, doesn't work. I am feeling bad because I have shouted at her. I just know when I try to wake her up for nursery she will be tired and I have tried my best to get her in bed. She drags it out for hours, plays in her room etc.

I am going to try longer term punishments this week I am taking her elsa dress away until she can stay in bed after storytime 3 nights in a row.
She does all the stuff you have all mentioned about your 4 year olds.

Blondieminx Tue 22-Apr-14 21:43:42

My 4.3yo DD would argue orange is blue atm. And YY to the delaying which is driving me utterly batshit aaaaarrrrrrgggghhhh! Just put your shoes on so we can leave the house, it's not rocket science FFS! <and breathe>.

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