If it's been done before, I'm sorry - but please, could I start a support thread for dealing with my 4-year-old?(146 Posts)
I'm not being a very good mummy right now. I'm being an awful shouty mummy. It's making me feel horrible all the way to the bottom of my soul, and yet I can't seem to help it.
My four-year-old is the sweetest, funniest, cleverest thing in the whole world (moi, PFB? ). I love him so much it makes my heart hurt sometimes.
And he's also four... which means he whines, cries, argues, and acts like a cheeky brat. I can cope with the cheekiness. But right now, I can't cope with the whining and crying. I don't know what I'm doing wrong - but how can such a cheerful, funny child have days when he starts every request with crying? This morning he hopped in the shower with me, and immediately started crying. "What's wrong??" "Mummy can you get my baaaaaaath toooooyyyyys" <wail>. Oh. My. God. Why can he not just ask?????? "Mummy can you please get my bath toys. " You bet, no problem.
Then it was folding his clothes out of the dryer. I made the horrendous mistake of folding his shorts and putting them away. Cue hysterical tears. "Whyyyyyyy can't I foooooooold my shoooooooorts..."
Repeat with every other nonsensical thing and half an hour later my blood pressure is through the roof because the default is to cry and whine and not simply ^ask".
WHAT am I doing wrong? Why can't he just ask???????????
And yet, half an hour later he can be a completely different child, happy and cheerful, and then back to crying over something stupid.
I am going round the bend. I really am.
We just came back from holiday, and while there, he had a massive strop because we couldn't go get another lemon cupcake because it was time to go to the airport.
I'm so ashamed of myself but I literally snapped. Something just went "ping" and I hurled my hairbrush on the floor (well away from him, on purpose - I had that much control) so hard it shattered. And I came close to doing the same this morning, with a cup of fruit salad, but got a hold of myself in time
Thank fuck or there'd have been melon all over the ceiling.
I hate myself when I'm like this. I feel like I'm turning into my bloody father who had a scary temper when I was young. Don't know if he still does but that's a different story. I actually frightened myself with the rage I was feeling when he wouldn't stop whining and crying.
I am setting a shit example for him - I don't want him to turn out like me!!
I thought I saw a three-year-old support thread last year sometime, but didn't post on it - could I start a four-year-old support thread?
What am I doing wrong?
Please someone tell me, because I feel so shit right now, I hate being shouty and scary like this.
Gosh that was long Sorry.
Should also add: I'm not in the UK, I'm on the West Coast of Canada so post at odd times.
And also, don't know if it's relevant, but I had bad PTSD after DS's birth, and a horrid bout of anxiety last year.
You are a human, not a robot OP. You are doing nothing wrong.
Of couse you are going to get utterly frustrated by his attention-seeking.
Don't beat yourself up about it.
My mantra at that age was (and is) "It's a phase, this too shall pass. It's a phase...... " repeat ad infinitum.
Ah bless you, it's so hard isn't it? No-one tells you about the "f***ing fours"!!!
DS is EXACTLY the same as yours - 4.3 yo, a wonderful child most of the time, but the moaning and groaning drives me to distraction!!!
I have resorted to
childishly mimicking the way he speaks to try to get him to understand how flaming annoying it is!
The only piece of advice that I can give is that losing my temper simply makes him even more intolerable, which in turn makes me more furious, which makes him completely impossible. We wind each other up and it's a vicious cycle that has to be broken - the bad news is that it's not going to be him that breaks it!
Whenever I get to the point that you're at, I turn into a cBeebies presenter - fake voice, fake smile, fake composure! I react in a charming and disarming way to every little shitty thing he does, and normally after a day of
acting like an idiot being calm, his behaviour tends to fall a notch. Then it becomes more natural to be calm, which leads to him being calmer, and then we get on an even keel again. It's the vicious cycle in reverse!
HTH, but know that I'm in the same position as you and know exactly how frustrating it can be!!
You're not doing anything wrong. He's 4 - that's the problem!
I recently bought a book called 123 magic, and it's like a miracle has occured in the fav household.
For us, it gave us a way to deal with the issues we had quickly and not draw it out to take over our lives.
Oh, I do feel for you. I was there with DS (5) a year ago. It very nearly drove me to drink. Best advice is to ignore everything you don't want to encourage. When he stops for a breath, say 'I will answer/help when you ask me calmly.' It took about 2 months for mine to get the message, but now he's the politest child I know. I still ignore him if he forgets to say 'please' or 'excuse me', and it wasn't easy at first not to
scream hysterically shout at him but he has learnt now.
I lose my temper quite easily, and I realised to my horror that he was terrified of me when I shouted. That's why I had to do something about it.
Good luck, all I can say is that it will get easier.
I'll join in! I could have written your post (apart from being in Canada!) as I also have a gorgeous, clever, funny 4 year old who is the light of my life and can also be a total little so and so when he wants to be. Like the other weeknd when he behaved appallingly in front of my best friend and her little girl who had come to play.
I also had a violent father and I hate losing my temper with DS but he really, really tried it on sometimes. I end up shouting at him to get him to stop shouting...
He also does the whinging thing and it drives me mad! If he would just ask nicely for things, he can usually have them (within reason of course!)
The biggest thing is the defiance. "No" is his favourite word at the moment. Hitting and kicking too. And name-calling.
At the moment, we are praising the good, ignoring the bad and it's kind of working. We have a pasta jar (one piece in for good behaviour, one piece out for bad with the promise of a day out if it gets full) but he doesn't seem that fussed by it. Still, worth a try.
Are you a SAHM? Is your DS at school/nursery? I work full time and DS doesn't start school till Sept. He's an angel at nursery, of course. In some ways I'm relieved to hand him over to nursery but then I miss him and look forward to the weekend...and he spends the whole time acting badly. Well, not the whole time but it can feel like it. The other weekend we had lots of lovely things planned - the friend coming to play, a trip to the park etc and it felt like the whole thing got ruined.
That's it - I see his little face when I shout and I think with complete horror how utterly frightening it must be for him to see the mummy who loves him more than anything turn into a scary screaming monster
The thing that utterly breaks my heart is that he comes to me with arms raised wanting a cuddle when I've screamed at him
I feel so low right now, so utterly low.
I just refuse to answer any statement/question/request that is not in a reasonably normal tone of voice. I say "Sorry, can't understand you when you talk like that. Use a normal voice" and then ignore until he gets over it. I find it changes the dynamic completely and I don't get annoyed. Something to remember is that you don't have to respond to each any every whinge. You can just choose not to.
Thank you all - I was afraid I'd get flamed - must go out for a bit, will be back. Thank you .
I agree with smarties. Just go onto auto pilot and repeat "ask me nicely if you want an answer". And repeat for as long as it takes. (((hugs))) for you Jacks.
My son is 4 1/2 and has recently been getting into the most terrible rages. He gets himself so worked up he finds it really hard to calm down. It's exhausting to deal with and usually over something totally inconsequential. He also says all the usual "do it or you're not my mummy anymore!" "I don't like you!" and so on.
I find the most effective thing to do is just to try and stay calm and acknowledge his feelings but also to let him know very clearly that hitting, throwing things etc are not acceptAble. I think it's about him feeling powerless and frustrated usually and also I think his emotional maturity has fallen behind his intellectual maturity if that makes any sense? He does manage to calm down eventually and I feel positive that he is learning lessons about managing his own behaviours (we talk about healthy ways to express anger, about being able to choose how we behave and tbh I empathise with his inability to calm down at times - I know I have felt like that at times even as an adult!). It's also important to me that he feels loved as a person even when his behaviour is not acceptable IYSWIM? So when he says "I don't like you!" I just calmly say well I love you.
This sounds like I am mrs calmpants of reasonableville but in reality this is my ideal set of responses and sometimes I fall short. If I do lose my temper I apologise though and then I tell myself I'm modelling that too!!!!
I have a 4yr old-on a good day she is absolutely wonderful. On a bad day she is whiny, argumentative, grumpy, cries at the drop of a hat etc etc.
If I don't anticipate her every move/ want the way she wants her porridge, whether she gets to push the buttons on the microwave or I get to push the buttons, if I forget to ask her which bowl she wants, which spoon, where she wants to sit- then I'm a mean mummy.
"You should have asked me she cries". If she's in a bad mood and I touch an item of her clothing (in my desperation to get her dressed), she won't wear it. "It's smelly now- wah wah wah"
She'll tell me how mean I am and that she wants Evie's mummy to be her mummy and that I'm no longer her best friend and that she won't ever again do any for me and that I must do everything for her (no change there). I too frequently take it all personally and I have seen the red mist descend and lost the plot a few times - trying not to shout at her ( though I have shouted a few times)- think Basil Fawlty going a bit nuts whilst the psychiatrist looks on ( stupid noises, silly manic dancing lots of vocalising). If I can't get it out of my systen this way, I'll smash a plate in the kitchen, throw a toy down a bit too heavily- I once threw a bowl of breakfast across the room and regret it later.
I read somewhere that it helps if you can do a Tarzan yell and beat your chest a few times ( get all that tension and emotion out without yelling at anyone) so I may have to try that next time.
You are so not alone though- at times I do think I'm on the edge that she's tormenting me- that she makes my life a misery but I have to try to remember "do not take it personally"- I read When Kids push your buttons by Bonnie Harris and I found it very useful.
Your child is angry at that moment, his emotions are immature, he doesn't think like an adult- he'll move on in half an hour and you'll be a wreck-it's normal and everyone out there with a 4yr feels your pain!
Yes, the mind-reading thing. On the phone in the car (with hands-free Bluetooth of course ), ringing run-and-tumble camp to say that we were going to be late
due to the bloody hysterics while trying to get ready. Hang up. Sniffling from the back seat. Escalates to quiet sobbing.
Me (BP through the roof at this point)(trying to ask calmly): "why are you crying, sweetie?"
"Because you didn't let me tell Miss Jen that I'm wearing my pirate shirt and my Clone Troopers shoooooooooooooes..."
BECAUSE I AM NOT A FUCKING MIND READER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I didn't say that - I tried as calmly as I could to say that Miss Jen had to go back to class and he could show her when he got there. But I felt like it. Actually I felt like bursting into tears, too.
Cutted-up fucking pear, anyone????
It sounds exactly like the cutted up pear incident! It's so frustrating. I am beginning to see the beginning of this in ds2. I shall be clinging to this thread like a life raft jacks.
Do any of you who are dealing with this sort of thing have people you can talk to in RL?
I don't, really. At the risk of making myself sound even less attractive
cos people do so love a screaming harpy I'm feeling a bit lonely in RL. I have several friends I really care about, but no-one whom I feel really close to... well, one potentially but we haven't known each other that long... that I feel I could just dump all this on and say "I really need a shoulder to cry on". Everyone seems to dreadfully calm and competent. I suppose I do too... could every mum out there feel like crying inside but look perfectly fine? Or am I surrounded by super mummies?
I work in a day nursery, with a lot of 3-4yos and see a lot of whining. It is definitely a developmental stage, they have mastered basic physical skills (walking, toileting, holding a pen) and have a basic understanding that different people have different motives. They want to be a "big boy/girl" but are not quite school age (with all the status that confers) and they find this frustrating. Their basic "theory of mind" means they know whether mum or dad is the softer touch for sweeties, but they are not yet sure what exactly adults know about what they are thinking (hence the "mind reader" tantrums).
It is crappy to parent a 4yo, but at least you don't have to be the 4yo, a not-quite-big-boy/girl, ruled by hormones and frustration, knowing what you want to do/happen, but not how to make it so.
It will pass, try to remain calm for your DC as they can find it very difficult to calm themselves down.
Keep cuddling, 4yos love cuddles (IME), and find places to vent your own frustration (like here).
Jacks I am definitely not a "super mummy", my DCs are older now, and it's easier to be objective when it's not your own DCs whining.
I have a couple of close friends now, I didn't really have any at that stage except people I saw at toddler group.
You must have some relaxation strategies through your teaching work, try using some of that knowledge with your DC, it's a valuable skill, I teach my nursery children basic Pilates and we use it to help wind down if they get too giddy.
I find that my DD (2.9) undermines all my attempts to bitch to my friends about her behaviour by being an absolute saint when we're out of the house.
But when we're home she can whinge for Britain. I try the ' I'll only talk to you when you ask in a nice voice' approach. It hasn't started working yet.
It's good to know I have a good few years of this ahead of me!
clean spare muslin on shoulder for soaking up tears>
Ooooh can I join too?!
I can empathise with pretty much everything I've read so far!!
DD1 is 4 yrs 3 months and is so 'switched on' and mature that I sometimes forget her emotional maturity hasn't caught up with her yet !
inmysparetime what a great post-especially the bit about DD1 not knowing that I don't know what SHE is thinking in her head-I hadnt thought about it like that before! I shall try and remember that when she berates me for not realising that it was of the utmost importance that SHE puts the toothpaste on the toothbrush.....
My 3.5 year old does this too. I have started to tell him I can't understand him when he whines, and just ignoring him, leaving the room. I sometimes also suggest a better way he can say whatever it is, eg. 'do you mean, please can I have a drink mummy?'. I also use the screaming at the top of my voice approach
will you shut the fuck up be quiet and stop whinging
My DD3 is 4 and 2 days, you have just reminded me of what I am in for <faints>
You all sound lovely to me and inmy your description of 4 year olds made me
4 was a very trying age for my DS. He was/is a lovely, gorgeous, funny little man but blimey the demanding behaviour at 4 did drive me to distraction.
Things that helped....123 Magic - honestly, give it a whirl, can't hurt, easy to implement and easy to stay CALM while implementing. School....I know its a few months off (unless Canada start later than the UK)....but it was a Godsend, his behaviour improved immensely. Jollying along - apparently its a 'proper parenting strategy' - playful parenting - but I find that when faced with whinging if I find something to make him laugh about the situation (not in a I'm laughing at you, but finding his and your own in humour level) it can re-direct the tantrum. Fine line between it falling like a lead balloon sometimes - but can help sometimes! For e.g. we read a book about someone losing their good mood, so if he just woke up in a grump then I'd go searching for the good mood in ever ridiculous places.
Very, very hard time though. I also had the guilty cycle of feeling shouty and then guilty....very demoralising and confidence sapping. You say you had a bout of anxiety - did you have medication, counselling or just got through it yourself? Anxiety and stress can raise your irritability levels hugely. That was the other thing that helped me - tackling my anxiety/mood. But the 4's WILL pass, honestly! The tantrums and unreasonable behaviour will get better!
I can empathise with everything you've said Jacks. My DS is 4 1/2 yrs and has daily mood swings which leave my husband concerned whether he is abnormal. Fortunately, after teaching Reception for so many years, I know it is just part of emotional development and he will improve soon. You sound patient and caring. I tend to walk away a lot when DS is 'having an emo' and have resorted to copying him too. Sometimes, if I've done a good enough impression, I have brought him out of it and made him laugh.
My 4 yr old is now approaching 5 and definately much easier but up to a few weeks ago she was hard work. Wonderful and lovely and hard work. For her it's all about the arguing with EVERYTHING and saying 'But mum....' Finally one day picking her up from after school club (she started school in January) I snapped when she argued the toss for the 8th time in 5 minutes. I said if you argue again you are going straight to bed when we get home. She argued (you could cry couldn't you?) so when we got home it was straight in to bed. After some time I went in to see her and we had a big talk about how hard this was. She desperately wants to be good and we agreed to 'do as we're told straight away without arguing or saying but' Now clearly it's impossible for her to change overnight but we found a fun thing to do. If she starts to whine and say 'but....' I tickle her on her butt Since this 'big row' it has been easier because basically I have given her clearer guidelines on how she needs to behave and what I will react well too. Seems obvious but this is my third child and I still struggled. She is so lovely and it's so nice to enjoy doing things with her.
it doesn't get any better at 5 In fact it sometimes seems worse... picking up bad habits from school friends to throw into the mix, along with being shattered from school half the time
<looks for missing glass of wine>
I have a 2nd born 4y 11m. She is a nightmare, her manipulation skills are 2nd to none!!
She is massively defiant, stroppy and demanding, rules the house!
I have broken 3 hairbrushes this year!
Jacks - Hi my friend x You are a great Mum. DS is 4 - better known as 'Fucking Four'. They are like Jeckyl & Hyde. I have lost count of the people I have heard having the same basic 'chat' with their child...'There is no need to cry/whine/whinge just ask nicely'
for fucks sake.
I try to think of it as someone earlier said.... 'It's hard to have a 4 year old, it's harder still to be a 4 year old' BUT I am also very firm. I wont do anything until they 'ask nicely
and stop fucking whinging' You just have to develop a certain 'detachment' from the crying/whining, just switch off from it and develop a raised eyebrow and just look at them until they stop.
I'm sure that's a crap explanation - I am shattered and on my way to bed.
Bottom line is - you are a good Mum. Hang in there - this too shall pass x
Thank you all for being so kind .
Just going home now (16:30 here). I'm sure he's having fun at home with Daddy and will be his sweet little self.
I'll update later/tomorrow.
Jacksmania I also could have written your post!
DS1 (4.3) manages to be needy and angry, insolent and loving all at the same time. He even threatened to move out yesterday over a bath toy 'debate'
He is a ball (or rather a string as v thin) of nervous energy and he wears me out. When he is at school (we are abroad and he started at 2.9) it is frankly a relief...
I try not to dwell on it, he can be fanstastic and lots of fun as well
My mantras are 'This too shall pass,' 'Remember you're an adult,' and 'X hours until bedtime...'
OP thank you for starting this thread, I love it! I have been worrying about this this week (crazy raging 3 days running now) and I feel really reassured
Mine is 3.6 but we have the cheekyness, whining, demanding and tearful over nothingness already.
I have also just read the 123 magic book and found it really good for tackling all those behaviours, it emphasises that DC need to learn and learn fast what behaviour is unacceptable, even whining or asking for something in a rude way can get a warning ("that's 1") from the parent. It also recommends not explaining everything too much or lecturing as they often do not listen anyway at that age.
But I think it is normal to lose it sometimes, we are only human and I think it is unrealistic to act calm all the time no matter what, sometimes they need to know that Mummy is getting cross (as long as it is not out of control).
<runs off to order 123 Magic book>
Oh, the whiney voice! Hate, hate, hate it. DD
eventually responded to my repeated insistence that I don't like the high pitched whiney voice and could she please say whatever she wanted to say in a normal voice. I seem to remember reading somewhere that you need to tell them what exactly is so infuriating about the voice as they don't understand "whiney" and why it's annoying.
One technique that works for us is pretending that smiling isn't allowed. This sounds crackers but it's really hard not to smile if someone tells you not to. Cue lots of pratting around pretending I can see her smiling. Once she's smiling it's hard not to be smiling myself. The opening line is usually something about it being National No Smiling Day. And definitely no giggling.
I have a broken hairbrush, too. I keep it to remind me about keeping control of my temper. It does get better - DD is 5 now and only resorts to this sort of thing when tired. Soooooo not looking forward to DS's turn...
I this one of my list of "lesser used mile stones" (I one wrote a blog about it). DD2 is 5.5 and is only just really stopping doing this, and still starts crying hysterically if she wants to report a crisis with one of her sisters, so much so that I can't hear what she is saying. I, like many of the others above, told/tell her to ask/say it again properly before I will respond. And before I give the impression that I say that in a calm and loving voice, that is often said more like
FFS Flo, I refuse to deal with you until you behave normally" and other short tempered over tired motherly sentences.
Big sigh, this too shall pass.
She's has just done it now actually, I told her she had to stop watching TV to do her reading. Face dissolves, mouth open in a silent wait, tears start to roll. "Buuuuuuttttttttttt whyyyyyyyyyyyy do I have to read noooooooooowwwwww?". --well you can go to the naughty step if you prefer--Because if we do it now neither of your sisters will interupt. Oh, that will be nice. Grrrrrrr
Another one in the "fucking fours" club! Although I had it down as the "fearsome fours", which it feels like too.
DS is an adept at the whinging. I also refuse to listen while he's whinging. He argues the toss about everything - "what's that mummy?" It's a horse. "No sorry mummy, you're wrong, it's a donkey" no really, it's a horse. repeat ad nauseam or until I lose the plot and say "Yes of course you're right it's a donkey, you're going to do so well at school with an attitude like that. Why ask the question if you already know the answer?" Of course I realise that sarcasm is wasted on a 4 yo, but it drives me nuts!
Mind you, every now and then he demonstrates a classy bit of logical thinking - last weekend we were out in the park with a friend and met, by chance, another friend with a puppy. DS had earlier been whinging that he was still a little boy and needed his pushchair (because friend's 16mo had hers ) - then he wanted to hold the way-too-strong-and-boisterous puppy. We both told him "no, you're too little". A minute later - "mummy, you were right, I was wrong - I am a big boy now, and I don't need a pushchair and can I hold the puppy please?"
Impressive working out. But this was then repeated non-stop for the next 10 minutes while we walked with the friend-with-puppy - I just zoned out. <sigh>
I have found that reasoning with DS does work in some instances.
"Look, sheep!" silence.
"Look, more sheep!" "yes, mummy, I know, I've already seen them, stop telling me!!"
"OK, I won't tell you about any more animals we see then, is that better?"
"sorry mummy, no, I do want you to tell me about the animals".
With the "you're not my mummy any more" I was extremely badly behaved myself - it worked but it's not an ideal response - I told him that if I wasn't his mummy I'd better leave then and headed for the door. Cue panic reaction (hence why it was a bad thing to do) and lots of "noooooo you can't leeeeaave!!" which I followed up by suggesting to him that he should be more careful what he says in case people actually do what he is suggesting.
Lots and LOTS of cuddles. It might seem sort of hypocritical to give them cuddles so much after a temper meltdown (yours/mine) but it goes an awfully long way to reassuring them that the mummy they're more used to is still in there.
Someone told me that it's a testosterone surge or something that brings out the "power testing" stage - don't know if that's true or not but it sure as hell is something that happens! It will pass - in several months' time - until then, keep going, one foot in front of the other and breathe. (((hugs)))
Will be watching this thread. And could I just add/ask what are your 4yr old boys like at playing alone
DS is 4.3 is a non-stop talker (unless flaked out in front of TV). Goes to nursery 5 mornings a week 9-12, then is with me (and 3 yr old DD) for 6 hrs til dad gets in.
I find it so hard sometimes. I can normally adopt the whole Playful Parenting thing, but you cant do that for 6 hours. The 3 yr old has massive tantrums but I dont mind those. I really dont. It gives me something to deal with but the whingeing.it drives straight through me. Drives me nuts. And of course, the more riled I get, the more upset he gets I am not really that shouty, but horribly sarky (really nasty, I feel like poison much worse) and then occasionally I really loose it and shout so loud my voice goes hoarse and DS looks terrified whilst DD runs off to hide.
They squabble endlessly, with very short periods of playing nicely (she can amuse herself for ages as long as Im near), he just CANNOT shut up and even though fed at nursery just expects me to be a kitchen slave endless snacks it seems.
We do try most days if not raining, to do the park for an hour and thats all fine, except he wont do anything alone and I have to play tag for the duration. But if raining, he hates going out.
I try to limit TV (an hour once we get home and then again another hour or hour and a half around 4pm), but there are times when I would love to leave it on.
If I attempt to have 2 mins to myself, to you know, do something
super fun like load the washing machine/take a shit/wash up he follows me whining Play with me mummyplaywithmemummyplaywithme and this is the worst EVEN WHEN I AM playing with him, says Play then! WTF does he think Im doing?!
AND when will his games get proper? At the moment I hold a Superhero/drawn on bog roll while he repeatedly bashes it goodie/baddie style, heaven forbid should I even try to interject some kind of story into play
Of course, like you all, I do know that it will pass but it's geting to the point where I can't wait for 7.30pm to roll around...and it makes me so sad because I would love to enjoy these few months before he goes off to school .makes it harder that he actually isnt a huge fan of getting messy (so not really into playdoh, painting at home though would happily stab a cardboard box with scissors for nearly 30 mins which was a godsend last week )...
You wait until 7,30 Eggs??? You're mad! (Mine still gets packed off earlier than that now!)
JM I have been in tears in a very large London park with MiL there (and DH) because Ds was being SO difficult [alternative phrase removed]. I have cried quite a number of times about his behaviour in fact. You'll be glad to hear that it is significantly better now he's 6 (nearly 7 - eek!) and that he's much more content at school - its amazing how problems at school unsettled him not only on school days but right into the holidays.
I also refused to take any account of whiney voices. If something was required it had to be asked for in a reasonable and polite way. I still find that if there is general wailing about something its actually remarkably easy to change it into fits of giggles (normally associated with hiccoughs - difficult to wail with them) - imitation or tickleing (if your ds likes that of course) both are good ploys.
The talking - well, to some extent that has improved a bit because at least he's reading things to himself now so that at least some of the time he's not desperately trying to talk to me and make up for the fact that he's been asleep for 11 hrs so has lots of talking to catch up on.
The other thing that you need to do is to work with your DH with this so that you tag-team together, which is particularly good on a fraught day. DH would sometimes get in and I would pass all responsibility for DS over to him for a period of time - just helped to regain my composure.
By the time he was 4, DS was really pretty good at logic. He knew that he didn't like the consequences when he wound me up (he knows exactly where the buttons are and can manage it still in about 90secs) - so sometimes I was able to set out the two options - either we do this my way and this happens or we don't and this happens - you need to make it only two options, no room for wriggle room and be prepared to follow through. For Ds it was really important for boundaries to be clearly established and immovable. Things always went less well when other people were allowing those boundaries to be bent which was bad for all concerned.
Oh, you are very much not alone. As dd will testify. BUT - in my more on the ball moments I try to channel my mother, so here are her top tips:
Briefing - try to stay one or two steps ahead - easier said than done, but v effective. So if a change is going to happen (stop tv/drawing etc) then give 5 and then 2 mins notice, then a quick additional notice. Plus draw attention to anything fun happening later.
Get them involved at the start - emptying the washing - "do you want to fold the shorts or the t-shirts"? At this age they like jobs and feeling grown up, but limit open questions - two or three options much better.
Reverse psychology - my 5 and 2 yo both respond v well to "don't you dare put those books in the shelf, or I will have to turn into a dinosaur" etc. Takes energy and thinking ahead, but not as stressy and tiring as fighting.
And even at this age, distract - can't have cake, so bustle bustle on to something else, keep talking stream of consciousness that leads other MNers in airport to post threads on your Loud Parenting... It can work, if done quickly and busily enough.
Have a stock of imagination games at hand to get things moving. Currently our walk/cycle to school is an Antarctic expedition, so dd cycles to a set point, picks up supplies, makes a cup of tea, sets up a tent, throws a rope bridge. Quite what people think she's doing I can't imagine, but it's fun and gets us to school.
Do I do all this? Ha! Sometimes. And when I do it's often great. And many other days I am your OP. But I'm a decent mother, and my children seem to still like me, and I have no doubt your ds thinks you are the best in the wholed wide world (as ds says).
I am not alone. Thank goodness I really had started to think that my 4 year old was the only evil little monster in the world but it seems that's not the case.
The arguing - the constant, ceaseless arguements about nothing drive me potty. The emotional outbursts about nothing. The almost teenage sulking and sloping around sighing extravagently.
Marking my place!
OP - I have to rush out, but I soooo feel your pain!
Back to catch up later
(And definitely no flaming!)
Ah isn't it marvellous when they're in bed and you come on MN and realise you haven't made some fundamental parenting mistake but it's just that four year olds ARE LIKE THAT!
Thankyou MN, once again.
Also a member of the fucking fours! The whining, the constant arguing and backchat and most annoying, the smirking when he is being told off! It drives me crazy. More annoyingly he knows exactly what he is doing.
Jealously is also raising its ugly head as our DD has just turned 1 and is making milestones such as walking so of course she gets praised which results in a lot of "you love DD more than you love me" and "DD always gets high cuddles" (which to him means being picked up for cuddles). Of course the reassuring him that we love him too lasts for about 10 seconds and it starts all over again.
God I can't wait for the fives. I just hope that they are better!!
The frightful fours are well behind us now but, JM, I remember the horrors. I also used to do the 'not responding to your request until you stop whingeing' thing. It was very effective.
Hang in there. You are not a bad mummy and this too will pass.
Oh, I need to join in please. I've just logged on to start a thread about my 4.3yo ds2. He is such a challenging child, but then was a very challenging baby, and tonight I am totally fed up with it.
He's been a nightmare all day. Tonight was horrible and I felt so angry with him I was very close to hitting him. He was standing outside his bedroom screaming at the top of his very loud voice, preventing his brothers going to sleep. Wanting my undivided attention.
I've obviously never said this inRL to anyone, but he is a very difficult child to like, and all the grandparents find him so difficult they don't like to spend time with him. I've always been fiercely protective of him and really upset about the grandparent thing, but his behaviour in the last month had been to awful I feel like I'm loosing my belief in him and my love for him and wishing I could hand him over to someone else too! Awful to say.
I've no idea where I can go for help, I've been on parenting courses which helped but he is so determined and stubborn that techniques like distraction or ignoring the screaming no longer work, he'll scream louder and louder then hit or bite me to get attention.
His behaviour at nursery is deteriorating too, would they help me get a referral to - what do I need? Educ psychologist? Community paed?
Sorry for long post. Very good to know others finding this age difficult.
Oh dear DS is 2 and very similar behaviour. So it doesn't get better after the terrible twos then? Every night, tantrum about going upstairs for bath, tantrum about getting in bath, tantrum about getting out of bath, tantrum about getting pjs on, tantrum about going downstairs for story, tantrum about going up to bed, tantrum about brushing teeth. Then I put the bottle in his mouth and peace descends. In between tantrums he is charming, funny, sweet, affectionate and very loveable, but the crying really riles me. I'm Ok if DH is around, but on my own I frequently lose it and end up shouting. You aren't the only one who does, if that's any help.
My niece who is now 5 was a real tyrant till about one year ago, but she's calmed down loads and is absolutely lovely now, so I'm sure things will improve as your DS gets older.
Holy cow, just caught up with this thread - I am so very glad not to be alone. Although sorry of course that you're all going through this too, or have gone through it.
Nothing much to report today, managed to evade a whining fit this morning and then went to work today. DH picking him up at grandma's shortly (18:30 here).
We'll see what tomorrow brings.
Thank you all for your advice. Will read properly later.
OP I haven't read whole thread yet but I see someone has already mentioned 1-2-3 Magic and my DSis swears blind by it and has (reasonably) tolerable children, so worth a go maybe? I've just read it and will be trying it with our terrible nearly-two just as soon as DH finishes reading it! I think having a strategy might make you feel less wound up, maybe? Detach, etc...
Also, my mother never ever responded to a single request said in a whiney voice. Someone wrote upthread "I'm sorry, I can't understand you when you talk like that. Tell me in a normal voice what you want to say." - and that's almost exactly what she said! Very pleasantly, but absolutely firmly. I remember her doing it with younger cousins when I was a teen. "Cannnnn III have a driiiiinkkkk?"
"Maybe if you ask me in a proper voice, and say please."
"Can I have a drink please?"
"Of course!" -
etc etc etc, ad infinitum. It must have worked eventually, I do remember that after a week's visit that girl was whining a lot less!
Also, I will shurrup and go read the thread now. I will learn a lot about 4 year olds and probably be paralyzed with fear. Remember, it's a phase, it will pass, it's a phase, it will pass.... Oh! And easter candy. Mmmn.
One of my oft repeated phrases is "I don't speak whinge".
I've started to try and use time-out but most of the time my son just ignores me. I tell him that I'm not happy with his behaviour a few times in increasing volume but most of the time I still have to physically pick him up and deposit him in his bedroom.
I really feel as though I'm talking to myself I don't want to shout at him but sometimes I have to raise my voice just to get his attention - his mind seems to be somewhere that isn't on this planet. Is that normal for frightful fours?
The other thing that we find quite effective is counting down - its good because you can gauge the speed of the countdown depending upon the response that you're getting. It went something like this 'Ds, please can you do y now' (often having been warned that its going to happen - also handy). 'No, Ds, now'. 'I'm going to count down to 1 and if you're not on your way to do y by the time I get there, z will happen / b won't happen / there'll be no v for pudding / whatever is a reasonable thing not to happen. 5. 4. No, we need to do it now because... . 3. Ok, just finish that but do it quickly then do y. 2. Yes, now. Hurry up 1.5 Well done, lets get y done quickly then we can do .... '
It now (still in use) goes 'Ds, please can you do y now. No, now. 3 ... well done, lets get it done quickly and do z.'
Some things are very boring to 4 yo - like cleaning teeth - there seems to be very little 'benefit' to them - but if its 'quick, lets get your teeth cleaned so that we have time for story before bedtime (which is seen as a treat) it becomes viewed in a different light - something to be done as efficiently as possible rather than fought against (and yes, DS has gone to bed with no story for playing up at bedtime)
Appealing to DS's competitive nature works well too, "I bet you can't get your clothes off before I run the bath...oh look, you've won again, well done DS!" He hasn't worked out yet that it takes way less time to take his clothes off than it does to run a full bath
Oh and with the not listening thing, I often get DS to repeat what I've said if I think it hasn't sunk in.
Another member of the fucking fours fucked off parents club signing in!
DS is 4.10 and does everything in all of the posts above, and it is exhausting and horrible. He also finds it hard to entertain himself, wants to be with me all the time and won't get himself dressed (unless I am not there - miraculously he can dress himself if his gps are looking after him). But his also all of the good things too and then it is lovely and wonderful.
I think I am going mad sometimes with how my emotions swing from total adoration and overwhelming love for him followed by a deep dark desire to put him in a cupboard for
a week an hour just to have a break from the whinging, negotiating, "oh but", "I won't be your friend if", endless chat!
Also the guilt, oh yes I feel your pain on the guilt. DS is at school and I really look forward to picking him up at the end of his day. Our walk home is less than 10 mins but sometimes takes more than twice that because of the tears and tantrums about nothing - ie you walked in front of me, and I wanted to stand there, and I don't want my coat on but why didn't you bring my mittens, they're not called gloves Mummy they are mittens and you are not my friend and I am going to sob and snivel and whine all the way home past many people we know and complete strangers and when we get home I will refuse to take my own shoes off even though I am totally capable of doing so and then I will collapse in a heap and demands hugs and just need cuddles because I am only 4 after all . By which point I am sick of the sight of him (until the cuddles anywayand feel awful because I haven't seen him all day).
Phew good to get that off my chest! Great thread OP. All together now: "this phase will pass"
Mine's out of this stage now but the following worked for me:
Don't respond to the whiny voice, tell them to use their nice voice. Nice voice always gets a response, whiny voice doesn't - they message soon sinks in
Screaming and shouting: don't respond. Tell them to "ask in your nice voice" or best voice, whichever phrase works for you. Wait till they get their nice voice and respond
ROlling round on the floor screaming: well, learned this off my dad, stand around humming to yourself and look at your watch, enquire "finished yet?"!. Once they finish ask them what they want, if they are crying still, cuddle and say "now you are calmed down, what is the matter?"
Don't ask questions that require logical answers, by the time they are whinging they've lost the ability to be logical, they are pure emotion by this stage, they don't really know what they want, once they calm down they will follow your lead at that point, so keep clam. It is permissable to say "I'm not having this silly conversation, talk to your teddy and see what he thinks" or variations thereof as well as "I don't really have time for this, I'm off to do X" where X will interest the child more than a tantrum.
School pick up: get a oat based biscuit down them and some water, half this crap stems from sheer tiredness and dehydration.
Never ever reward whining or hitting etc, my firends child ONLY gets attention if she whines, if she is playing quietly she gets ignored so she tends to whine. Her brother gets a biscuit if he kicks his mum...so guess what he does a lot of? My DD got a biscuit if she asked with the word please.
You have to be consistent, take deep breaths, be prepared to wander off, unless they are in physical danger a child can be left for some time to calm down, I often wandered off to another room when DD was acting up, in the end she'd get bored and join me out of sheer curiosity.
and be prepared for the upscale of them trying to push all your buttons to get attention...it does get worse before it gets better, but it does get better
Came to this topic to see if there was any good advice about this very subject - DS is only 3.2 but can be whingy, challenging and downright horrible sometimes - the crying everytime he's told 'no' is particularly wearing. He also asks for the same thing again and again even if we've said no the first time. I find it difficult to deal with as DD was very rarely like that. Have got some good tips so thanks for that.
My 4 year old has been awful recently, but then so have I. I spoke to her pre-school about it last week (where of course, she is delightful) and they said that it was all about control and I should give her the opportunity to do things herself or choose between two things (both of which are palatable to me). The past week during the day has been better, but nighttimes are now awful. She can be up for up to 3 hours a night having a real tantrum because she can't go back to sleep/wants to sleep in our bed/wants us in her bed/whatever. If you give in to any of these demands, she starts wanting one of the other options. And has a tantrum about it. At 3am.
Of course this hasn't helped the daytime mood for either of us, but I do feel as though the problem has shifted a bit. Last night I used bribery and that worked well. The Easter bunny has its uses. I still feel about it though, so I know where you are coming from.
I exercised mine like a labtador yesterday and she fell asleep on the sofa aat 6.30 and slept all night until 7.30
I did have to spend three hours in the park though
Can I join the FFFOPC? (fucking fours fucked off parent club - credit to DestinationUnknown!). I thought it was just me being a pants parent! So nice to know it's not just me, and there's ways to get around the mind reading tantrums etc. Plus a newborn, I'm getting a wee bit frazzled. We had a tantrum last night because someone shut her in the kitchen cupboard at school, which isn't what it sounds like and is a game she loves and happily went back to today!
So just wanted to update - really thought I reached breaking point with DS this weekend. Screamy shouty mummy, worst I've ever been. Even had words with DH about it
Monday, he and I had the best day together. He came close to whinging a couple of times but I tried really hard to keep him calm and we did fun things and had a great day. Long may it continue.
I want to join, but DS is 5 next week!
It's like he has PMT.
If he's still 4 when you joined the thread, you're in
Here, have some .
The teacher said today that a lot of them are like it, worn out and need the holidays.
For the record, DS is hitty, and moody, cries at the drop of a hat, pedantic, bossy.... but not usually.
'you are not kind to me, you are very lazy!' because I didn't get the batman game out when he telepathically requested I did
DD summed it all up today.
'I'm not happy. You're not doing what I want.'
You and me too babe.
It's all about control. It's tough.
I want to join but I don't think I can even type out DD's behaviour today without smashing something!
OH MY GOD THE CRYING!
She walked into some polystyrene earlier, you'd have though she'd impaled herself on a metal spike judging by her reaction.
We then moved swiftly on to an hour long tantrum which resulted in her being put to bed at half 5... I could no longer cope.
Here SmallShips, you clearly need some .
So far, DS is happy today (I'm GMT-8 so it's only 2 pm here).
Have four yr old. Agree with everything said here. And have felt very low at times also. And then some suggested humor and bing - it sorted things out to a great degree. For most of the absurd things she moans about I up the stakes, like contemplating having roast spiders dipped in chocolate for dinner. Or baked foot. Things like that- works a dream!
Don't feel like a bad parent cause you loose your temper, you are not your dad. Feeling bad is a good sign, means you are thinking in the right way! Now, have a glass of wine and remember, if it is mentionable it is manageable.
I read 123 magic last night. Shall start implementing it today!
May have to get that book, too. My 4 3/4 dd thinks she knows it all since she started school and absolutely has to have the last word. This drives me quite insane for some reason. If I lose the plot and shout at her she goes all tearful, making me feel even worse.
My 2 year old is a complete dream compared to dd1. Never thought I'd welcome the terrible twos as a nice distraction to the argumentative 4 year old!
Oh I am so glad to have found this thread. My 4yo DD is lovely, funny, and a delight most of the time. The rest of the time she is a monster. A really horrible one.
When she is at her worst she whines constantly, complains about being horribly injured when someone looks at her; she bites and hits her little brother; and argues about everything.
I'm fed up of shouting and it doesn't work anyway - last night I shouted so she and DS (2.5) both screamed solidly for 80 minutes. DH came home and I burst into tears and went away leaving him to try and calm everything down. Even worse, he managed it.
Ahh so lovely knowing I'm not alone! DS had tearful strop this morning because he couldn't get his socks on and I would not come RIGHT NOW!!! to sort it out. As I was in the shower it's not surprising I did not leap, naked and covered in shower gel to rush to His Highness's aid.
However once out of the shower, to be greeted with furious tears and red faced shouty accusations, I did manage to defuse the situation by asking if it was an emergency / did we need to call the police / was there an elephant loose in the house / was there a naughty monkey smashing up the living room etc etc. It turned him from total strop to laughter v quickly. Give me a medal someone, this is a breakthrough for me! Normally I would just shout and put him on the step to calm down.
<hands destination a medal and takes notes>
(clearly a medal)
How are we today? Mine didn't do any crying today and played nicely on his own in his room after he had got ready for school. He's probably saving his energy for later on....
My dd had a meltdown about how I should do her hair this morning - as every morning. She has thick, long, very smooth hair but insists she wants to have her hair the way her best friend has it. I can explain until I'm blue in the face and frothing at the mouth that her best friend has very different hair (beautiful afro hair [apologies if this is the wrong term but don't know how to describe it]) which has a different texture and will actually stay in a kind of snail loop or whatever... [really not familiar with hair related terminology )
All of the above they can be so unreasonable and worse when tried. DD gets progressivley worse toward the end of term so this week and next is meltdown zone! Yesterday we had an hour of whinging because I put out her clothes and she wanted to do it herself. When I put them back and said ok you get them yourself - she said no I want you to help me, so I help but then she wants to do it herself!!!!Arghhhhhhh give me strength.
OP, part of the issue is that you think your DS sees you like you saw your father. And you feel the pain of that little girl so it all feels more heightened and tense. Whereas the real situation is:
You are a lovely mummy with a lovely little boy whom you adore and who is 4 and therefore a total pita at times.
Take your own feelings of loss and sadness out of this because from what you've said, your DS is not having loss and sadness. He's just a normal boy who drives his mum mad from time to time.
My DS is 2.5 and prone to freaking out because I cut his bread into squares not rectangles. I shout at him when it's particularly bad. But I am not feeling like you are about it because I know I am a good mummy. I know you are a good mummy. The issue is that you don't know you are a good mummy.
Margo, I'm snot sure if I should say thank you or what but your post made me cry.
On thinking about it - thank you. I will think more about it.
A huge part of my problem is that I am prone to depression and anxiety disorder. So when my inner world is out of kilter, it doesn't take much to tip me over into not-coping.
I have promised myself that I am going to sort that out this year. Partly because I want to feel better, and partly because I don't want my broken brain to really eventually turn me into a shit parent. I've already spoken with a colleague and am going to ring for an appointment in April when DH is done with all his courses and conferences and is home again so I'll have more
some any time.
Someone told me recently that children hold up a mirror to your true self. That they show you who you really are. I fully realize that what I see and what DS shows me may not be the same thing - much of the world these days comes to me through a filter of self-loathing and unhappiness with myself, so it's not his fault, my poor sweet little man
But I've seen two people - a fun and loving mum, and an evil screaming monster with horns and dripping fangs.
Don't I sound attractive, me.
I don't know if I can ever make the evil monster mummy go "poof", but I'd like to try.
Meanwhile - yesterday again was a good day, and today I won't see him much, , but on the bright side, I have a few hours to myself which I desperately need... and then feel terribly guilt for needing...
oh jacksmania, you poor thing. I'm sort of glad my post made you cry. Hopefully in a good way.
You are definitely not an evil screaming monster. You just get utterly hacked off sometimes like we all do. Sometimes we might even over-react and go too far and be a bit horrible. That's ok too. Still doesn't make you an evil screaming monster.
If you can build up your self-belief and see yourself for what you really are - a loving, hard-working mummy - you'll get through this. You are already not your dad - you are really self-aware and working to try to make the best life you can for your son. He's a lucky boy you know.
Late to this put I too feel your pain - firstborn Ds (4.4) can be the most amazing, wonderful, bright child but can also be a total PITA!!
Our current issue is with listening (or not as the case may be) and over the past few months with some help from the HV I have implemented some new coping strategies to help with his nightmare behaviour and that AWFUL whining!! The one which seems to have worked best is to have a pasta shapes jar - so empty to start with and he gets a certain number of pasta shapes for whatever good behaviour we are focusing on - to start off with it was awful bedtimes and waking up at 3am and shouting and arguing about going back to bed and also using the toilet - so he gets 5 pasta shapes for doing a good bedtime and no overnight shouting and 1 each time he uses the toilet. We have a 'prize' for him to aim for when he fills the jar and at the moment its a Blok Squad fire engine set. He also gets shapes for other good behaviour and he has them removed for bad behaviour - at one sitting he lost 32 for continually shouting on the toilet when told to stop - stubborn little git!!
It seems to be working though and I am a lot calmer than I was - still have the shouty mummy times though.
DD who has just turned 2 and is starting the terrible 2's (oh how I inwardly laugh when first time parents go on about the terrible 2's - little do they know ) so my patience is being tested big time..........
unfortunately, the humour idea has never worked for us. DD just gets incredibly offended. Or I am not funny.
In the last couple of days I have found just living withthe crossness the most effective thing. It's not quite ignoring it, but just not trying to sort it out, along th elines of, 'Ok. Well if yo need to be cross, you be cross I'm going to do x,y,z.' It's not quick, but it she does come out of it and say sorry by herself (there's usually tears). Today she was stropping because DS was in a pushchair and she wasn't onthe walk home. She was doing all the 'I'm cross mummy. I don;t like you any more.' business and I just said, 'Oh sorry about that DD, but we do have to get home, here we go la-di-dah etc.'
She sent herself to her room when we got in and cried hysterically and I went up a few minutes later and we has a cuddle and she said sorry unprompted. Similar happened with bath yesterday. She wouldn't come up so I just left her, eventually she stropped her way upstairs, grumped into the bath, threw water at DS, got a warning she'd come out, came out, cried hysterically, then came to me for a hug, said sorry and got over it.
It's not quick but it's much easier and more effective than other things I try (so far). I do mix it up with warnings, clear penalties etc too.
Think it depends on the sort of child you have. DSs2 can be a bit of a whiner, and even at 8 talks in a baby voice sometimes to get what he wants... "Noooo it's tooo harrrrd....you do iiiit " putting his socks on for example. He was much worse when he was littler though. Distraction worked on him, as did "I cant hear whining, I will not respond to that tone of voice". You are doing fine. I stress about the shoutiness too, same reasons you do, but you are not your father, as I am not my stepfather. It is normal to feel that way, and sometimes us stressy depression heads over analyse our reactions and feelings I think!
Lots of deeeep breaths.
We've had a good weekend (a few timezones ahead of UK). Spent some good quality time with her and only had one big shout which, to be honest, was a bit of an overreaction from me, but weeks of whinging will do that to a person.
I read somewhere to try to fix "your inner voice", ie if you are trying to keep shouty Mummy inside by not shouting but thinking "You little whatsit, you're so annoying" etc, then that won't help either. So I've been trying to think positive thoughts. It's helped a bit.
The other thing that has made things a teeny bit better has been allowing her to be my helper in anything and everything. She seems to quite like that, even if it is the most pointless job.
And finally, who am I kidding - DH has been home this weekend so having a 1:1 ratio of adults to kids (rather than me usually being outnumbered) always makes such a difference.
How's everyone else? I meant to ask!
BigHairyLeggedSpider, you've made me laugh out loud for the first time in days - us "stressy depression heads" - ohhh, so true! I wish it weren't.
I have called and made an appointment to deal with myself. Unfortunately I can't get in until the week after Easter. So, thanks in advance and to all who are going to be putting up with me between now and then.
It's been a tough weekend. And I'm mostly on my own this week as DH will be away at a conference.
This weekend I was told by DS that Daddy is his best friend and I am a mean old bully. I felt stabbed straight to the heart, especially because I think DS is right. DH is the best dad, he really is. And I am mean and shouty, I know it. Still. It was just gutting.
Thank God I got to go for a walk with a friend and bless her, pour everything out to her. I think without that, it would have been a baaaaaaaad day.
Does anyone else ever feel like when you're having a hard time, kindness just undoes you? A mum I'm friendly with from preschool knew I was struggling to find care for DS this week because of Dh being away (we both work reduced hours so one of us has DS most of the time) and offered to have him any and all times that I needed. She has an older child, a DS with Down Syndrome and a young baby. And just breezily offered to have DS every day. Like it was nothing. I am in awe. And beyond depressed at myself in comparison. I can barely cope with my one!! She said, "don't worry, we'll take him to the zoo with us so you can have some down time!" I sobbed all the way home from dropping DS off because I felt so utterly inadequate.
And then planted roses and peonies in the sunshine, feeling marginally better. And so terribly guilty for utterly relishing being alone.
My birthday is coming up. I am waiting for DH to ask me what I want. I've known for months: I want a day when we can all do something really fun as a family, and then a day entirely alone in my house. I don't care where they go as long as I know they'll have fun, but I want at least 8 hours alone in my house. That's the only thing I want for my birthday this year.
Marking spot to read whole thread - I have a nearly 5 y/o coming out the other side of this and will post soon
Be gentle with yourself the same as you are for your child and every other person.
Yup, I'm a member of the frolicsome fours parenting club.
And we had the biggest tantrum yesterday.
I did time out
After a while, DD came to ask me if I was okay and did I want to come and play?
I think it's tough all around at times for both parents and children but this is only part of the rest of the time. Focus on where you want to be not where you are at. And keep your aim on it.
I never experienced the terrible twos with my boys. 4 was awful with DS2, it is getting better now.
At the worst point when I was pregnant with DS3 one of his screamfests lasted almost 2 hours. These included plenty of kicking and hitting.
All the while I was getting daycare reports on how kind and responsible he is, how he is polite and helpful and looks after the younger children
I read that children often behave terribly at home because they feel safe there and can express their feelings, and that this behaviour is horribly normal.
It was at its worse if he was tired or hungry or worse still both.
He responded well to lots of empathy and hugs, but also consistently not responding to whining or pestering. The worst of it is over but he will still whine to try get his way and ask for the same thing 100s of times. He needs firm boundaries and lots of understanding.
You are a great mum because you are doing your best and you care about how you are affecting your DS. Hang in there!
Can I join in? I too have a Jekyll-and-Hyde 4-year-old - so sweet and affectionate a lot of the time, but hideous monster from hell the rest of the time. I was so sure I would never be one of those shouty mums, and managed pretty well through the terrible twos, but now ... I've always hated when you see mums dragging or yanking at their kids instead of handling them calmly and gently, and was always smugly sure I would never treat my children like that - but in the face of unbearable, relentless tantrums, when DD won't move off the floor/get in the car/stop hitting DS I find myself doing this more and more and I can't believe I've turned into that sort of mother.
Had total and utter melt-down at the dentists the other day - proper lying on the floor kicking and screaming in front of a waiting room full of people. In the end I strapped her in the pushchair and left her outside in the street whilst in paid so that I could hear the receptionist (knew she was safe because I could hear the screams!)
She's always soo good with people she doesn't know so well, probably because she is quite shy. My friend thinks she is the best behaved child ever, which kind of makes me feel chuffed, but also makes me want to scream 'you don't know what I'm going through!'. I tell her what a nightmare DD can be, but I don't think she believes me.
By the way, I agree with what Jnice said. If your child behaves terribly with you, you know that you make them feel so loved and secure that they feel they can behave like this without forfeiting your love. If they are much better behaved with DP then you can smugly reflect that they don't feel quite so comfortable with him/her, so feel bound to be on better behaviour.
Children really don't behave in this way with people who scare them or who they are unsure of, so you can be sure that your occasional outbursts are not making your DS feel afraid or unsafe or less close to you.
Ah that is nice to here iismum especially as DH smugly tells me that DD3 never throws tantrums at him
Todays spectacular drama was ready meal gate.
All 3 children were fed hot meals at school/nursery but apparently chicken salad wouldn't do as a substantial evening meal so I
gave in let the children choose a ready meal each <lazy working mother emotioncon>
I will say that the above was mainly my
stroppy 10 year old but....
DD3 picked up sausage, carrot & swede mash.
Me: "that is yummy but your sister is having pasta & ham, are you sure you don't want the same?
4y old "No I would like this" - chucks it in basket.
I then lovingly serve their ready meals (I know I know) and DD3 is all "what is that"
me: "that is what you asked for, you picked it"
4y old "No, I want pasta & ham"
me; "well, you chose this so either eat it or don't, your choice"
DD2 then walks in with a plate of said ham and pasta.
SHE HAS MY HAM AND PASTA, GIVE ME MY DINNER!!!!!!!!!! ETC ETC
DD2 must have burnt her throat trying to shovel hot fucking pasta & ham down her throat fearing I was going to snap & make her give it to DD3 at any given minute.
I asked DD3 what she wanted for her dinner after school today, her face darkened and her eyes narrowed before she replied in a low & slow tone "pasta and ham".............
OMG - how did you not just explode? Even reading it makes me go white-hot. I loathe that kind of behaviour
Well, DH has gone to his conference for the next four days. It'll be just DS and I by ourselves. Wish me luck.
<<signs up for life long membership>>
DD (4.2) is sooooo trying <<sigh>>
Every morning we have shoe gate where she will either pretend she cannot put her shoes on by herself, scream blue murder to wear her open toed sandals (not allowed in nursery and DD has been told this and why) or demand to wear her wellies instead
I have tried reward chart (not interested) naughty step (she pretnds to love naughty step) and currently not letting her scoot to nursery (but this morning she said she did not want to scoot anyway and all the way to nursery kept talking about how fun it was to walk).
Food is another issue as the is very picky about the way things are laid on the plate and had a 45 min tantrum because a couple of chips fell off her plate onto the table.
She also demands to know what she is having for tea as soon as she has woken up, I have not even decided what I am wearing at this point!!
And don't even get me started on the whinging, I have to confess I lost it yesterday as she whinged pretty much solidly from coming out of nursery till bedtime and I lost my temper and threw her plastic cup (she was whinging about it being the wrong colour) into the sink from across the kitchen
and swore a bit counted to 10.
I have to take her to the GP today as she has a touch of excema (sp) and I predict an embarrassing melt down in the surgery about something only she knows as I am not a mind reader.
<<gets stock of gin ready>>
Just sticking my head in the door to say, It was DS's 5th birthday yesterday, and this morning he was an arse.
<offers gin, wine and membership medals to all and sundry>
DS was ok. Moderate whinging only
Oh oh I neeeeed this thread!
DS is 4.3 and I thought it was just
him me. Thank goodness all your children are as horrible as mine .
Ugh he's still a lovely sweetheart
occasionally, but he's so, so demanding and can be such a tasmanian devil when he doesn't get his own way.
Although it's not so much whiging in our house, as a total refuasl to listen/act.
Having to ask him 15 times to do the most basic of things (put shoes on, put toys away, get in the shower, clean up spilled milk etc etc etc) makes me CRAZY. I can hear my voice rising with every time I have to ask him until I just snap and really shout. Then he gets terribly upset and wants hugs and I feel like a complete shit.
Can I hear a chorus of groans for THE LONG WALK HOME FROM SCHOOL.
DD learnt to dawdle today. Joy.
She's being nice now though.
Long walk home is, of course, close cousin to this:
Can we go to the park? / yes / - shouting when it's time to go
Can we go the park? / no / shouting because we're not going
Today I said yes to playing batman, I was the best mummy EVER
StopSwearing you just made me laugh like a mad women!!
DD3 insisted on wearing her pink pumps even though they are to big because apparently blue is a boys colour and she can't possible wear them anymore
Ooooh I'm so glad to have found this thread. DS, 4y and 8m, has been a monster for the last two months.
I seriously thought it was my parenting. He's fine at school and with others - only I seem to see the whining, complaining, hitting monster. I've been getting so wound up by him that I think I need counselling or something to change the way I react to him.
It's a relief to find that others have children that behave like him. I'll be buying that 123 book as soon as I can
Ds2 did this, and my response was to tell himthat my ears only hear nice polite voices, and certainly don't hear whining.
Then I resolutely ignored any whiny voices.
Now they are older, Ds1 has a particular friend who, despite being nearly nine years old, whines every word she speaks. I have a whining ban in place, so although I remind her once ("I don't hear whiny voices, Small Girl, so the more you whine, the less likely I am to hear you!") she still gets ignored for a good hour until she twigs that I really don't listen to whining.
I sympathise, DS can whinge with the best of them. I try to ignore and sometimes tell him "I don't speak whinge, ask me properly". Sometimes I shout and then I feel bad.
My ds is the same it's hard isn't it
I start every day resolving not to shout and then feel like a failure when I do it anyway
Too ambitious Jacksmania! Why not start every
5 30 minutes resolving not to shout then you can feel like a success most of the time except on really awful days .
You're right, I should have more realistic goals
DD has been off nursery school today (she broke up yesterday although DS breaks up today)
So far we have had no tantrums, whinging, moaning, whining yet
But my God I am exhausted. It is such hard work plastering a happy face on my face <<necks gin>>
I spoke too soon, DD is kicking off (currently lying on floor screaming) because she is not allowed a chocolate biscuit!!
So, everyone is looking forward to the Easter holidays with unflinching optimism and a song in their hearts then?
Something tells me this thread is going to get busy.
DD was starting to kick off this morning so I pretended to be on the phone to Snow White about her missing dwarf, Grumpy. I told her not to worry, I had her here and passed the phone to DD. It amused DD enough to avert that particular huff. I doubt it would work often.
<terrible mummy alert>
I'm sending DS to preschool this morning even though it isn't his usual day, so I CDN have four and a half hours to myself.
I am beyond tired today.
And I am also going to phone this morning to make an appointment with a psychologist I know to get an appointment. DH is back tomorrow. I wish I could be excited about DH being back rather than dimply someone else being Riund to play with DS do I can have some down time.
So I can
Not sure what that is. Bloody autocorrect.
I love that pp - resolve to go without shouting for the next 30 minutes - keep our goals realistic!
Making notes here!
Jacksmania hope you had a bit of down time today
I did, I ignored the housework and had a nap and got my haircut. Then I met a friend and had a coffee and a walk. Days like that do wonders
Jacksmania I hope you did manage to get the time to yourself (and were not tempted to clean / cook / organise!).
Can I ask why you're contacting a psychologist? My DH said a while ago that we should think about getting outside help with DS's behaviour. I wasn't so sure but am now starting to think that maybe I need help to change the way I react to him - rather than have them look at DS's behaviour as if he is the issue IYSWIM. I think I have issues around his birth, first few months, and changes to my life / career that I haven't dealt with.
Am not looking forward to Easter!
So pleased to have found this thread. Have just had
yet another difficult day with ds1 (4) ds2 (2&terrible) & not feeling so well, into my 3rd trimester of dc3.
Ds1 does moan, but what really winds me up is that he laughs in my face when I tell him off and says "funny". Ds2 has learnt to do this too. I have no idea what to do about this. Have been considering counselling too.
Then, this afternoon a neighbour came round and we were chatting while the boys watched tv. I noticed Ds1 had his hands in his pants and tried discreetly to tell him not to. He replied, in a v loud voice, "Yes, Mummy, but it's just that my penis is getting so big"
Hiya Jacks, how's it going? We got to know each other over a live birth thread-I had to namechange when someone recognized me...I'm still in Van and wondered whether u fancied meeting up at a Starbucks for a cuppa? I'm on my phone so I can't pm you. Bye for now!
Crazy, yes I'd love to. Although I'm not actually in Van, I'm in Langley. But no matter. Would love to.
I did actually spend the time cleaning and sorting and it was blissfully therapeutic! Time alone. Silence in my head... aaaahhhh
I'm going to see a psychologist because I have ongoing issues with anxiety and depression and it's getting bad again. Which is partially why I'm having such a hard time with DS. I had PTSD after he was born (one of those shitstorm births) and it morphed into PND/A. Bad.
Anyway, time to sort myself out. Then dealing with him may be easier. Or maybe not. But hopefully I'll feel better.
Oh Jacks I hope you find some answers, when you are not feeling great a banshee toddler is the last thing you need!
Toddler gate has stepped up a mark here and is now including bed time
The only thing I could ever stealth boast about was that DD3 would take herself to bed by 7.30pm every night and sleep all the way though since day dot
ish, it was a god send especially as the older 2 have never been great sleepers but the last few nights DD3 has started playing up.
She is apparently scared of the dark, thirsty, not well, to tall for her bed , it's too dark, too bright you name it.
What to do? By bed time I am knackered and I did shout, she then called out again "Iiiiii'mmmm scaaared" when I went into her room and asked what she was scared of now she pointed at me
I stroked her face until she fell asleep but i don't want to get into that every night
Jacks-that's great! I've PM'd my number to you. Take care of yourself x
roscat I don't even bat an eyelid at that anymore.
AFAIK they actually need to do it at this age to loosen their foreskin, so it can retract when they are older.
I know there's a time and a place, but a 'leave your willy alone' usually snaps him out of it
Haven't read the whole thread yet, but marking my place as dd1 is exactly the same and I have such little patience for it.
Bohica mine tries the 'I'm scared' routine too. I think they will say whatever buys them a few more minutes, and that one is a doozy for making you feel like you have to stay with them!
My DS does the I'm scared routine too. We now put up a magic shield around the house and garden to keep the baddies out. He also sleeps with a nightlight - which is almost as bright as the main light but he seems to be able to sleep with the glare in his face.
Jacks - sorry to hear you had a bad birth experience. It's good that you are taking steps to talk about and deal with it.
I'll seriously look into counselling to deal with my birth experience too. I broke down in front of the midwife when I had my booking in appointment for my next DC - the thought of doing it again just filled me with so much fear.
I now hate the thought that something that happened years ago, over which my DS had no control, is making me think about and react to him in a way I might not with my other DC
And everyone else too - ((((*HUGS*))))
I have actually had a fairly relaxing day - DH came home around 8 am this morning. DS has been over the moon because he has his daddy back and I am
chopped liver allowed to fade into the background.
And DH knows I will be out all day tomorrow - going shopping across the border with a girlfriend. Ahhhh...bliss!!
You're all lovely.
How's everyone else coping today?
Fine. DH has had the kids
Feeling fairly apprehensive about tomorrow though.
What is the best thing to do with the 'I'm scared' thing? DD has't done it yet , ut it's a matter of time. I had terrible nightmares as a child so I am totally spooked by the idea of her being scared at night and am liable to cave instantly.
Ahhh brilliant Jacks! I hope the day carried on being as relaxing as it started. A day of shopping sounds fantastic. A day away from the DC sounds even more fantastic .
We had an OK day today. DH and I tag teamed looking after the DC and doing our own things - I had a lie in, he went on a bike ride, I went shopping for an hour, he went out for a coffee. It broke up dealing with DS for me. He's kicked me a few times today and I'd have shouted a lot more if I'd had him the whole day.
Just to ask - what do you guys do when DC hit / kick? We've gone back to using the naughty step... any other ideas?
Latrucha - we have the world's brightest nightlight for DS. He says it stops him being scared at night because he can see there is nothing scary in his bedroom.
DS wakes up about once a month from a bad dream. I go into him and use my magic powers to banish whatever is in the bedroom (and lie down with him for a few minutes). I think this only works because he still believes I have magic powers - not sure what I will do when he realises I don't!
Children often turn to inappropriate behaviour for one of a few reasons: they are bored, they are tired, they are hungry, they want attention or they are unable to express themselves. Therefore to reduce occurrences of inappropriate behavior, try to reduce opportunities for such behaviour to flourish.
Overwhelming emotions such as frustration, fear or anger may overtake a child, but if the child is unable to explain these emotions then they may turn to acting out and behaving inappropriately in order to communicate.
try to get into the habit of praising him when he's behaving well and break the habit of telling him off. Everyone likes to be praised and children are no different. Such positive reinforcements will allow him to connect that what he did has made you happy, and therefore was the correct choice.
When he chooses to act inappropriately or misbehave, greet these behaviours with a negative attitude. be sure to address the behaviour in negative terms, not the child. It is important that he does not feel that you believe that he is bad, irresponsible or stupid. Always addressing the behaviour, rather than the child, will help make this distinction. Above all, be consistent in whatever method you choose and act immediately the negative behaviour occurs. Good luck!
I reassure, but briskly!
I wouldn't want DS to be upset, obviously, but I think that entering into long drawn out conversations just incentivises them to play the 'scared card'.
I also do a lot of 'I'll come back in 5 minutes then 10 minutes
when you are asleep . I say that if he stays in bed and is quiet, then I will get in for a little cuddle. Then I say I will be back in 10 mins, and he's off by then. If he pisses about, I don't give him the cuddle and chat, and just say goodnight and give him a kiss.
Also, I would like to say, in the interests of balance, he has been a delight today Good good good. And yesterday we had 10 of them in the house for a party, and no one cried
Charlie when mine hits he has to go and sit on his own. I can't think of anything better than a time out. I'd say that they get carried away and forget themselves when that happens so he needs a bit of time to calm down.
I'm just Smuggy Smuggington ATM. DD is being a delight.
I have hereby jinxed the rest of the holiday
Yep, know just what you're on about OP. My 4.2 dd can send me from 0 to 100mph in a second! She is frightened of me shouting and that makes me feel totally scummy and ashamed. We talked about it yesterday after I screamed at her when I found her stood on her bedroom windowsill. I was frightened but inadvertently then frightened her and she was really upset. She later said she was looking at the bird poo on the window.
I lose my temper easily like my parents, and don't want to repeat this pattern. But my daughter said I needed a star chart (she has one at the moment). So hey presto I have one now, and it's REALLY helped today.
I don't think a star chart for parents is a bad idea.
I think I have post-birthday come down. I worked myself into a frenzy prepping for it, and it went very well (on sunday) but now I feel like I am dragging myself around
I haven't even got any DCs with me today (work on a Tuesday).
what shall I do with them tomorrow? DH has taken DS to see the Pirates film today.
God, what an awful day
Took DD to the park with a friend and her DD who is one of my DD's best friends from nursery school.
She was fine in the park and then kicked off on the way home about something (unrelated to leaving the park) and I could feel myself getting really
Her screaming lasted the whole walk back and round the supermarket
I got home and put her straight on the naughty step yelling at her about how cross/fed up I am with her behaviour
I tell you, I definately need a parents reward chart
Oh well, anyone???
Me and my friend call it the walk of shame, Simpson. I won't have a wine as I've got a bug, but have a hug.
Thanks for hug, I will have a for you!!! Total lol at walk of shame That feels about right
Hi, it's Jacksmania, trying out a small name-change - should still be recognizable though
DS is hugely into pirates ATM and Captain Jack Sparrow of Pirates of the Caribbean (Caravean, according to him) is his hero . One of the instructors at his run-tumble-gymnastics things teases him (in a very nice way) by calling him Captain Jack Spareribs. It always makes me laugh.
Last few days haven't been too bad but I have to admit my own frame of mind has not been so good so I've been avoiding a lot of one-on-one at home time with DS
I just feel so utterly unable to cope with the whining and arguing. Right now I think if he had a meltdown I would just sit down and cry. So we've been "doing" lots, swimming, parks, that sort of thing.
Had an appointment with counsellor yesterday. Sat in her office crying most of the time. Interestingly, she asked how I think other mums cope, and do I think I'm the only one who feels at the end of her rope?
TBH without MN I would actually feel that way. The people I know in RL aren't a fraction as honest as you all are on here. Everyone puts on what I call "the mask" - the "I'm coping just fine" face. It's good to know I'm not alone.
Ok, enough whinging, how are you all?
DD has actually been pretty good today
She had one major whinge fest this morning and I
ordered told her to go to her room until she could stop.....and she did <keels over in shock>
jacks- it's so true about the mask. I find I do it, and it's exhausting putting on a brave face. I am honest in discussions with other parents though.
When i was pregnant with ds3 in a playground chatting to a mum I had just met who also has 3 boys, I was wondering how to cope with ds2 and she introduced me to the 'fucking fours' concept. I was so relieved I wanted to hug her and cry all at once.
Aw simpson we've all been there! Iva often said to ds2 he should send me for a time out for shouting
Hi CaptainJACK how's it going?
Just started my own little thread to have a small rant about my dd2. She launches into the most awful tantrums now. She's defiant, argumentative, dominating, rude and just bloody awful. I know it's only a phase but I want my little girl back Right Now.
I could have written your post.
You have my sympathy and lots of (((((((hugs))))))).
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