To think this is not normal behaviour for a 4 year old??(69 Posts)
I don't know if what he's doing is normal, or not, but I really REALLY find it hard to deal with almost 4 year old DS without losing my temper. I'm trying so bloody hard to avoid shouting at him, and it works mostly, but somedays (today), he's so trying it's unbelievable. I don't know whether I have a low patience threshold though (most fecking probably).
Examples of things he does:
1) Will want to change clothes several times a day. Then has hissy fit if I say no he can't. He will wear only clothes he's picked himself. Hissy fit if I pick his clothes.
2) Will only eat using certain cutlery-hissy fit if not available.
3) Will rearrange entire layout of room on daily basis (rug, all stuff he can move), hissy fit if I move it back (I only do this for logistic reasons-he puts rug in front of his door, and I can't shut his door unless I move the rug back to where it was)
4) Uses all my creams, lotions and potions. Hissy fit if I put them away.
5) Has to know what he's having for packed lunch at nursery that day from the morning. Hissy fit if it's not what he wants.
6) Receiving presents from friends and daily is an absolute minefield-he usually throws it on the floor after he's opened it and says its horrible.
7) His food can't touch-so if we're having shepherds pie or something I have to put the things separately on his plate.
There is more but literally it's just too much to mention.
Reading back, I sound pathetic as he probably does stuff most 4 year olds do. But when I'm feuding with him back to back (from the clothes he wears in the morning, to his cutlery at breakfast, then his packed lunch etc etc), it becomes so tiring. I just want him FOR ONE DAY to listen to me. But he won't, unless I raise my voice (which I hate doing). Is what he's doing normal? How can I be a better parent without losing my temper?
He looks utterly miserable sometimes that it makes me so sad
You need a 'do as I say' tone that shows you mean business without screaming at him. He's testing the boundaries with you. Constantly.
wow, I use that voice primarily. In fact, most of the bloody time. I try to do some time-out before I do shout, but lately even that's not working. I've also tried rewarding him but he hates stickers, sweets, chocs and throws them to the floor when I give it to him.
Sounds like Ds1 at that age. It's not necessarily anything to worry about, it could just be outgrowing toddler behaviour. DS1 is now diagnosed with ASD however. Perhaps keep an eye on it and see if it changes over the next say 6 months or so.
Similar happening here, I'll check back later in case there are any suggestions that might work with my 3.8yo!
I already have a cast-iron don't-mess-with-me tone, it gets ignored. If I use it on other peoples children it's very effective, just not on my own!
DD does about half of those things. I let everything go that isn't life or limb or something actually important. Wants to wear leggings every day? Don't care. Wants the monkey cutlery? Don't care. Throws presents on the floor? Present goes back to the giver with a thank you and sorry from me. No fuss, no drama. No change of mind allowed.
The need for some things to be exactly as he wants sounds like DS2 - also with ASD.
Does he got to school or nursery? Does he do this sort of thing there.
He is testing the boundaries, however I would also pick my battles. Let him pick his clothes, let him use his special cutlery, negotiate on moving things round (but at the end of the day he needs to help you put them back), lock up your lotions and potions and make that non-negotiable (eyes v expensive Clarins serum in horror), let him chose his pack lunch, don't make his food touch.
It seems to me like a lot of this is about exerting control, sometimes you can just let him be in control. How is his language?
No real advice as mine's too young but I've seen a few MNers recommend a book called how to talk so children listen.
Hope this might be useful
MrsTerry, that's great advice about the presents. I've tried it once before but he had a total meltdown. I Might try it again though x
My 4 yr old is probably the opposite of what you describe, he's extremely laid back and lives in a dream world most of the time. My two year old sounds very similar to your 4yr old but he is improving as he gets older so I suppose in my very limited experience then I'd say your ds's behaviour is definitely quite extreme and probably not the norm but I'm sure there will be other posters along who have more idea than I do.
It sounds really tough op.
His language is great. He's very articulate, affectionate, loving, helpful. When he wants to be.. Nursery think he's great. GP's think his behaviour's great. It's just me he acts out with.
With food, my job is to plan, prepare and provide. Her job is to decide how much of it she eats, including eating none. I put something down, she screams, "yukky!". I say, "you don't have to eat it, that's what there is". Until the next snack or meal time.
All matter of fact, natural consequences, no fighting.
It sounds good and works most of the time, except for the screaming from me and DH sometimes.
I think it is about him acting to have control, but it's like if I give him an inch, he'll take a mile. I compromised with him about the clothes thing-saying we can each pick on alternate days but the days I pick he wants to take it off midday. I don't mind him picking himself, but he wants to choose the same thing every day..
I'm afraid I have no idea whether it is normal behaviour or not but, assuming for a moment that it is, one thing that I always remind myself when my own little darlings are being trying, is that children subconsciously mirror our moods and behaviour. Sometimes it's possible to jolly them out of their moods by ignoring their foul mood and faking a happy one. Only works sometimes, sadly!
This isnt standard 4 or 3yo behaviour in my house and neither of my two have felt the need for that much control. It must be utterly utterly exhausting. I'd look into asd as a possibility.
I had a bit of a rant about my 2.5yo on here the other day and somebody posted this: www.odessa.edu/dept/psychology/cwells/gesells_stages_of_development.htm
Found it most interesting and thought you might like a read. Did a mental tick, tick, tick to all annoying hissy fit behaviour.
I'm not sure about testing boundaries, ds1 has never tested boundaries. Ever. Ds2 does all the time and seems to need to be in control constantly but he is getting less like that the older he gets and he does accept when I say no now.
What do you think op? The fact you've started the threadeans you are worried about this behaviour, I think perhaps yoi could mention it to a health visitor, GP or nursery and see what they think.
How is he at nursery?
I'll come back to this thread in a bit when I can be coherent but for now I'll say that the hardest experience I've had as a parent this far was DS at four. It was bloody terrible.
Cutlery - don't bother! DS will only eat breakfast with certain cutlery. I bought a second set, so there is always one in the drawer.
Clothes wouldn't bother me, so long as they're not all put in the wash! Put away ready to wear tomorrow.
Rearranging room - ok within limits. Did he realise the rug jammed the door? Did you ask him to open the door?
Would not let him use my cream. Have a pot of kids cream he can use under supervision, when you say he can.
Offer him a choice for lunch, but an x or y choice, not a "what do you want?" choice.
Bad manners re. presents. Returned immediately, apologies from me and no chance of having it back.
Food I'd do within reason. So something that is made as a pie would be served as a pie. Things cooked separately, I'd serve separately.
Another one with a DS with ASD like this. Perhaps try the following:
1) Give him a choice of two clothes. That way you control the clothes, he gets a choice.
2) Have you asked him why he doesn't want to use other cutlery? Ask him if there is any other cutlery he can use when the others are in the wash. He can pick.
3) Does it really matter if he rearranges his room? With the rug take him to the door and show him that you can't close the door with the rug there. Then explain that's why the rug can't go there. Ask if he understands. If he says yes, ask if he can move the rug to somewhere else.
4) Agree with you that you should move all your creams, lotions and potions out of the way. He can hissy fit this one. Maybe the boundary is he can only use them with you there?
5) Give him a choice of sandwiches when you are making his lunch. Again so you control what he has but he has a choice and knows what he's getting.
6) Stand firm with this one. The social expectation is that he thanks the recipient even if he doesn't like it. It may take a while as he's only 4 but persevere.
7) Keep putting things separate on his plate. It's really not hard to do on your part (believe me when I say it will become automatic) and it's a big deal for him if they touch.
Hope some of this will help you. It's about picking your battles and controlling his choice so you are both happy.
My dd is just 5 and does most of the things that you describe. I have taken a laid back approach to most of it. in fact I no longer serve dd mixed up meals.
does it really matter if they choose their own clothes? If dd changes her clothes I stick the clean ones back in the cupboard for another wear. Or have a say in their packed lunch? They are small people, you can't control them all of the time
The present thing I would crack down on with a discussion on manners and would make dd apologise if she responded badly.
Someone will be along in a minute to say I am a slack parent.
I've just read the signs of asd, and though I know it can be varied, and mild/severe, he doesn't fit into any of the categories. He plays really well with other children, but say, if it's fancy dress or something he has to pick first. If he doesn't get his way, he's upset.
What about if you decided which things you are happy for him to have total control over and which things you need him to simply accept and which things you can consistently offer a choice (with you in control of the options)
and do that consistently so that he is aware of and understands the boundaries and what is his to control and what he has to accept?
Get him a portion plate for his food. Stuff not touching really doesn't matter, not worth a battle over.
Don't allow 'hissy fits' to control you or change outcomes
Don't shout - that's his level, you need to be calm and in control. Shout later. Over gin.
If a gift is 'horrible' then it is taken away from him. Do some work on how to accept a gift politely.
Let him tantrum if that's what he wants to do. Just don't let it change what ultimately happens. When he's finished tantrumming the situation will be exactly the same.
Those things that actually do not matter and do not affect anyone - does it matter if he does what makes him feel happy?
My two both have autism and I have experience of much of what you describe. But in my kids cases it's sensory issues - re food, textures, etc. and clothes are a sensory issue too, and the meltdowns are an inability to cope, and the control is a big issue and a need in them to understand what's happening and to feel safe however the techniques I use are certainly ones you could use.
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