At wits end with my 4 year old - HELP!

(7 Posts)
fiestychick Wed 06-Aug-14 12:27:03

Hi all,

So this is the first time I've ever posted in something like this and I'm feeling a bit over-dramatic so please bear with me.

So sitting here writing this in tears. My lovely little boy seems to have been replaced by a horrible, rude brat.

I have 2 kids 7 year old girl and 4 1/2 year old boy. They are very close and with my DD (apart from being gobby and seeming to be entering teenage years early!) has always had impeccable behavior when out and about/ at school etc.

My DS didn't really start talking until late 2/12 - 3. A few members of the family commented on it but I was never really worried about it. I just felt that he didn;t have anything to say! When he got to the stage where he needed to communicate with us he would until then he was quite content. When I tried to explain this to mother-in-law I said 'he's just a little bit...' trying to find the word 'lazy' or 'laid back' she finished the sentence with 'autistic' shock you can imagine my reaction.... anyway i digress.

Both kids have been at nursery from 6-8 months for 3 days a week. DD was a delight - staff all loved her. She loved it there, made lots of friends etc. DS was fine until he got to about 4. Then every time we picked him up we were told that he had behaviour issues that day. He wouldn;t do as he was told, he was 'rude', wouldn't sit down at meal times or had hit out at the other kids. This went on for 2 months til I was at my wits-end. I was asked how we dealt with it at home and can honestly say that outwith the odd fairly normal childhood tantrum he NEVER behaved like that at home. Because of this I convinced myself that it was something at nursery, he was being provoked etc etc. I never let that interfere with him being disciplined but always felt that there must be some 'reason' for him behaving like that. At home he is a lovely little boy. He is kind, extremely close to his sister, very very loving (always kissing me and telling me he loves me). Then the bad behaviour at nursery stopped which I think may have been as a result of various privileges being removed (tv, ipad etc). Now he's always had a short attention span. Have bought him lots of toys to try and catch his imagination - lego, dinosaurs, cars etc but he doesn't seem interested in any of it. He plays with it for maybe 5-10 mins then no longer interested. His sister has been playing Minecraft and for the first time he has found something he is interested in and is OBSESSED with it. He would be on it all day every day if we let him. Obviously we don't but I have struggles with imposing an hour a day rule as it is the first thing he has found that he really loves doing.

Anyway - sorry I'm waffling - back to today.

He starts school in September and we took the decision to finish nursery at start of summer hols and let him go to a summer club with his sister. We thought he would like this as it felt more like 'school' and financially it made more sense. There have been a couple of times where they said he hasn;t listened or similar but no problems. Today I get a phone call at work from a very apologetic member of staff who explained I would need to pick him up as his behaviour has been so bad that he is a danger to himself and other children! I go to get him and find out he was asked to do something he didn't want to and it escalated to a full stage meltdown. He kicked the staff member repeatedly, kicked and hit another child and in a temper attempted to bite him. He then SPAT at another child. I was so embarrassed and mortified that I started crying. The staff were lovely but said he would be excluded until Friday at the earliest.

I tried to talk to him but he has the attention span of a gnat and of course I have shouted at him and removed all privileges for the forseeable future. Just when I think he understands he stars talking about something that has nothing to do with any of it. I don't know how to get through to him. He apologises but it's like it means nothing. I don't know what else to do. I don't want to have one of those kids you see when you're at places who is just a horror and doesn't know how to behave in public.

I feel like this is my fault because I baby him but I thought it was ok as he has always been so sweet and loving at home.

He's now in his room and has been there for 40 minutes. I genuinely don;t know how to handle this. How long can/should I leave him there before it is child abuse??!! I don't say that lightly but I genuinely don;t know what is an acceptable punishment for behaviour this horrendous.

Sorry for wittering on but if anything I feel better for getting it all out.

Thanks for listening.

nikkiplus2 Wed 06-Aug-14 12:58:00

It can be so exhausting dealing with other peoples expectations of our children. More so dealing with 'issues' that you haven't witnessed.

It maybe just that he was tired or over excited but who knows. Without further incidents and more information you just won't know.

Try not to feel so stressed hun, it sounds like 90% of the time your boy is a delight and 10% of it he's struggling with the restrictions.

The staff at school will be trained to help him and to notice anything of concern. He's still only little though.

I'm one of the parents of the 'horror' child you see in public, my daughter is now 13 but we still have lots of issues. At your sons age, I have sat on the floor in the high street and held on to her tight because she was having a meltdown. I had people tutting and commenting and felt like I wanted the ground to swallow me. My daughter has autism. She has huge issues with boundaries and demands placed on her. She looks like she is acting out when in fact she is anxious and scared.

fiestychick Wed 06-Aug-14 13:35:08

Thank you so much for replying - half the time it helps just to know you aren't alone.

Sounds like it must be hard for both you and your DD. Especially when you know what the issue is but to everyone else it looks like they are just acting out.

I can honestly say I generally sympathise with parents when I see kids being little horrors and secretly think 'thank god it's not mine' cos of the fear of being unable to control them - sounds like you've got it sussed though!

He's just had some lunch and got on my knee and said he loves me and he's sorry and please will I cuddle him now. It sounds so completely stupid but I don;t know whether I should or not??!! I want to cuddle him and tell him it's ok but I know that then it will just be as if nothing has happened. How long am I supposed to keep him at arms length? He has no TV or anything but said he could have his toys out. He helped me make dinner and said 'yay is this a mummy & charlie day'. This is what we call it when we have special time just with one child. I'm like NO! This is a 'I had to leave work and pick you up because you were so horrid day!'.

I feel bloody useless today.

Thank you so much for the kid words x

sunnyrosegarden Wed 06-Aug-14 13:40:13

In a rush, so will post more later, but every boy I know hit a testosterone spurt at 4 years old. It wore off by 5 years.

Both my, pretty much angelic, boys did too. You need to stay very calm and consistent with boundaries, and it should pass. Lots of physical activity in meantime.

I mean it - all my friends went through this too.

Br3bird Sat 09-Aug-14 22:29:59

Hmmm. He sounds like a fairly normal 4 year old boy to me! No attention span, not caring about toys, not listening, having the odd meltdown. Going for another child and a teacher should be punished but its probably a phase that he will work through himself. Don't get too upset about it. He sounds like a lovely boy the majority of the time.

Fizzyplonk Sun 10-Aug-14 11:59:27

When my DS was a pain at nursery we picked a ride on toy he really really wanted. If he had a good day he got a 'gold coin' towards it. If not he didn't. He only didn't twice and had a full on melt down in the back of the car.
He soon learnt he couldn't push/grab though as there would be a consequence that really mattered to him.
He was 3 and I wasn't sure he'd have the impulse control and the sessions were 5 hours long so I thought the reward might not be immediate enough...but it actually worked brilliantly.

whotheduckisalice Sun 10-Aug-14 19:11:55

Could you take him out of the holiday club and spend some 1:1 time with him before school starts? That always helps my DD when she is being difficult. I have heard that lots of children are horrors the run up to school. I have found my DD v trying at times since she was about 3.5 and most people I know with similar age children have too. Def cuddle him and tell him you love him
They seem to be all about boundary pushing at this age and need to know we still love them, if that makes sense? Hard sometimes I know speaking from experience.

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