Can someone please help me to be calm in the face of my 4yo godawful behaviour?

(14 Posts)

Because I'm becoming a shouty mum and I'm really not a shouty person normally. He's pushing my buttons so much at the moment and I'm not responding well at all. Every morning ends in drama trying to get ready and bedtimes are ending in tears. He won't do anything I ask, I have to repeat myself literally dozens of times to get a response and even then it's usually refusal to do something or defiance.

I know the advice is normally to ignore bad behaviour and reward good but how does that actually work? How do I ignore tooth brushing refusal? Or climbing into cupboards in a morning and refusing to get ready? Me and DP are at our wits end and I just don't want t to be in this family any more because we're all bloody miserable. What do I do to restore calm?

BrightandEarly Fri 08-Apr-16 21:07:05

Sorry I've posted this on another thread too, but have you read "how to talk so kids will listen"? It's really helped me with my 3.5 year old.

Key suggestions from it which I found useful:

- Listen and empathise with DC, give them words to help describe how they are feeling

- When trying to get DC to cooperate, be brief and descriptive rather than judgmental. E.g. This room is messy. These toys belong in their baskets"

Or where you can, use one word. I now say "DD, coat!", rather than previously "I really need you to put your coat on. I'm going to be late for work. Why do we have to do this every morning" etc etc.

Good luck thanks

I've read parts of it but it seems alien to my life tbh! It doesn't matter if I use full sentences or one word I get completely ignored. I've also tried the choice method 'do you want blue shoes or red shoes?' for example but again get either completely blanked or told neither .

BrightandEarly Sat 09-Apr-16 14:07:37

Ah sorry to hear you've tried that already and no luck sad. Just bumping for you in case someone else has any good ideas.

It does sound like you're stuck in a 'pattern/phase' that's difficult to get out of. Assume you've tried really clear consequences and following through?

Hopefully someone else will be along soon.

Muddlewitch Sat 09-Apr-16 14:19:43

I feel for you op, my DS2 went through this, he is slowly coming out of it now that he is 5, touch wood.

One thing I did about the mornings was no breakfast or anything else until he was ready, once he went downstairs and started doing anything it was a nightmare to get him to get ready and we would always leave the house late, with me having been shouting and on the verge of tears. Also trying to find some advantage to him for being ready quicker (eg he could ride his scooter to school if we had time.)

I still haven't really mastered bedtimes fully, sometimes can be persuaded by 'we've got 15 minutes before sleep time so if you get ready quickly there will be time for a story but if you mess about there won't be enough minutes left' but how well that works depends on what mood they are in/how hyped up they are.

Hang on in there, it does get easier. brew

TitsCrossed Sat 09-Apr-16 14:26:02

I feel your pain.
I picked up a useful tip on a thread recently that has had a positive impact on my 4 year old ds in a short space of time, might help you? You get a jar and put marbles in it. Remove a marble each time there is bad behaviour/rudeness/whatever. When no marbles are left then the have a consequence - we use no tablet or no bike for rest of day. Refill jar each evening, start each day afresh.

Thanks for the tips, the Jar thing sounds like it would be worth a try as he responds well to action rather than words. I have toyed with the idea of not going downstairs until he's ready as he really loves his breakfast (thinks he lives in a hotel!) -I think I've just put it off because I'm worried things will escalate quickly and i can't face that much drama at 6.30. When does this pass? Please tell me it's before they leave home confusedwine

CatsRule Sun 10-Apr-16 18:12:39

My ds is similar, also 4, can either be lovely or completely horrible.

We've just had the listening ears chat tonight. I've no advice other than consistency, which is difficult I know, and try appear calm, which is even more difficult! Don't let him see he is getting to you and you and dh need to have a united front.

Teeth brushing is one of our problems so I've started saying to ds that he doesn't need to do them as long as he is ok getting black teeth...he'd never be allowed not to do them but that seems to put the fear into him. It's still a struggle but he is more cooperative when I calmly (on the outside) shrug walk away from his messing about.

Dh and I try to be a tag team, he takes over when I ask i.e. if I'm about to lose it and I do the same for him. Some nights after the teeth brushing and bedtime battle we're done in but ds doesn't see that...he is slowly learning that he's up against a brick wall. It's been a very slow process!

Someone once said to us that parenting is a battlefield...how true!

We've just had a fab day, really lovely, loads of fun - but it's ended in tears again because of the bedtime battle. I need to try to not react to the messing but I get a feeling if i just walked away we'd be up till midnight. He's screamed about going upstairs, not wanting pyjamas, not wanting to clean teeth so on, everything really.

I'm at the point where I'm even considering giving up work just so I can start bedtime earlier as I'm on my knees at the moment.

TooGood2BeFalse Mon 11-Apr-16 16:57:47

No advice as my 4 year old is a total bundle of NO and attitude at the minute. I am sick to death of tantrums and feeling like I'm walking on eggshells. Am also 26 weeks pregnant so no soothing vino after bedtime for me.

brewchocolate instead?

Kismet9 Mon 11-Apr-16 21:10:24

Hi, we have similar issues with our nearly three year old. With teeth brushing, I time him using a portable timer as it makes it into a game, gradually building up the time he has to brush for. If he doesn't brush he doesn't get a story. Works sometimes!

I've also use the timer to time him getting dressed as it turns it into a challenge. Also, the other night I made getting in the bath into an obstacle course, making him walk under my legs then take an item of clothing off, then walk over the baby bath, then take another item of clothing off, etc. It worked very well but I have only done it once!

Good luck and I hope things settle down. I feel your pain!

thefemaleJoshLyman Mon 11-Apr-16 21:35:49

My 4 year old is really challenging at the moment. He gets into real rages with us. On Saturday both DH and I were close to tears due to his behaviour. We just want to reward something...all marbles would be gone by 9am, which is a shame that process was very successful with DD.

I just keep thinking 'this will pass'.

kismet they sound like great ideas, especially the timer - it's something he would respond to. Not sure I have the patience for the obstacle course though!

femalejosh - it will pass I'm sure 🙏. Just ask yourself what would josh do?

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