4 year olds mardy episodes(16 Posts)
My 4 1/2 year old DS has been in trouble a fair bit recently, it starts with something small, him ignoring me or not doing as he's told, or him asking to do/watch etc something and me telling him to wait
The problem is as soon as I tell him off (I don't shout, I tell him he is a big boy now and he needs to learn to wait or he needs to listen to his mummy etc) it escalates it to the point of me being unable to do anything, he will get mardy, say he doesn't love me any more, hit or kick (lightly as if he is testing me all most, but still hitting is hitting!) stomp off and throw things etc
his behaviour is much worse with it being Xmas and being tired etc but I just don't know what to do, obviously I have to call him on his bad behaviour and teach him the right way to do thing, but it just creates an mountain out of a mole hill every time I do!
Has anyone any experience on this or advice? I have tried to really praise his good behaviour and say how nice it is when he is a good boy and how proud I am etc which works when he is good but obviously he still needs to be told when he's naughty or learn how to behave when he doesn't get his own way!
It's getting to the point where I'm worried about taking him places because I'm worried about things escalating!
80-90% of the time he's a good kid and I'm sure this is all normal behaviour as he's growing up and testing boundaries etc but I want to be able to deal with it in the right way!
No advice sadly but will watch, my dd is the same age and sounds scarily similar! She can't bear not to have the last word!!
He needs a naughty step and you need to enforce it, even if it means physically carrying him back to it in silence. Dsd was horrific at 3 and as always it was left to me to discipline her (her dad and mum are softies) I deployed a 3 strikes and naughty step policy. She would try to fight me and engage but I wouldn't say a word to her after the initial 'you are going to the naughty step as promised now dsd because you did x y z' and would keep putting her back after she tried to leave. There were tantrumns, a lot of physical violence, but the behaviour was totally resolved in weeks. It was shocking. I think because she now understood I kept my word.
Thanks daily, he used to have the naughty step but his behaviour improved and he just sort of stopped having to go on it, I think it's time for it to return!
What do you do when you're out though? Because 9 times out of 10 it is when we're out in public, coffee shop/shopping etc
I would have given her a specific treat or treats on the trip as an incentive for good behaviour and if she misbehaved in the bin it would go. Dsd was told in advance that all 'treats' were conditional on good behaviour & if she was bad we would chuck them away. So when she pushed a little girl off a wall at a wedding (thankfully child wasn't hurt seriously) I calmly explained that she had misbehaved and why , and that as such took out the sparkly hairclips I'd bought for her as her treat and binned them. She was upset and it was difficult to see her upset but I had to back up my words. Had to do this a few times until 4 but she's 8 now and well past the bad behaviour.
I used a card with a happy face on one side and a sad on the other. I would just show the sad face side if I didn't like the behaviour. which prevents any answering back or arguing as there is nothing to retaliated against. I would then show the happy face as soon as the behaviour stopped. and put a tick on the happy side. 5 ticks earnt a sticker 5 stickers earnt a treat. sweet marble etc. I also make sure I am clear about the behaviour I expect. so before we get in the car. I say we are going to .. please sit safely in your car seat. when we get there. This is a car park you need to stay safe and walk next to me. Etc. we have 2 blanket rules be safe and be kind. it covers everything.
OP are you in the UK and has your DS just started school last September? If so can I introduce you to the nightmare that is the 'December end of school term behavioural nightmare'. It happens in our house towards the end of the summer term too.
At the end of the year my DC is knackered from school and excited about christmas. This results, without fail, in a deterioration in behaviour and general regression with self-regulation. It reappears in June\July for similar reasons.
It took me several years to recognise the pattern. A family member with a child the same age as yours has recently experienced it for the first time.
Agree 're end of term exhaustion - don't we all get a bit grumpy / quick to anger when tired out? And he's too young to realise why.
Here's what worked/works here (ds 4.5) :
Stay calm-remind yourselves it's still very hard for him to self regulate, especially when v tired/hyped up about Christmas. I find repeating what he says e.g. 'You want to throw your car' helps here, makes him feel heard and keeps you cool. Also 'I won't let you hit/punch' - let him know you'rein charge and are not going to tolerate violence. Be breezy as you can!
- talk to him about it when things are good 'Seems like you're finding it hard at the moment when you don't get what you want straight away. I know it can be hard but you need to be patient and I will listen if you're finding itdifficult.' Again you're letting him know you're ok with him havibg a tough time and you're there to help.
- Warn/prepare in advance : 'We're going to the shops, there will be toys but we won't have anytime to look at them today. There will be chocolate and sweets. I won't be buying any today. I will help you if that's difficult , got it?' This soubds like tempting things but it's not, he's prepared for the disappointment and knows you're ok with it , really seems to minimise it all.
-Praise: just describe what you've seen 'You saw the toys today but you came around the shop very quickly and we got ourjobs done. That made things really easy. You look really pleased!'
Hth op, I was feeling in a negative rut a few weeks ago and am having a great time with him now over the break.
Thank you for the suggestions, I will try them all, I've slipped with things a bit recently because he's mostly been very well behaved but it seems it's time to bring back all the sticker charts and naughty steps and such!
Crispandcheese - yes to all of that!! It's incredibly reassuring to know this is the same for other people and that he's not just going to be like it for the rest of his life! Thank you!!
Milkado- that sounds great, he used to tantrum anytime we went to a shop because he expected a toy, I tried the explaining before hand and even took purpose trips to the shop when I didn't need to to 'practice' and it did really work, I have been quite lax though because he was starting to behave which is my own fault really thanks for reminding me that things like that do work!
There is only one way to manage this... ... for you not them!
That's great you've done similar and found it useful. Personally I don't like stickers /naughty step.
I do however like and .
No advice but I could have written the OP! We've put it down to end of first school term exhaustion. Solidarity!
OP you are not alone and I'm glad to introduce you to the concept! I recognised it as a pattern in our house a few years back but only very recently ( a few weeks ago) realised that it's quite a common experience!
What I find is that behaviour is great for a while so I become a bit slacker and more laid back as my DC seems to have 'matured'. Then, at those particular points in the year I mentioned before, it goes backwards and I have to re-set the boundaries and get a bit firmer and stricter. It does help enormously to know why it's happening. I think that the tiredness does cause a dip in emotional self regulation. I try not to get shouty and just pull the boundaries in for a bit.
try reading 1.2.3. magic. ive used it the last few months with my children. 2 of them have health problems and sleep/eating disorders and so are tired/ uncomfortable 95% of the time and we have the behaviour that goes with that. the other is a normal stroppy 6 year old lol. its worked miracles! well worth buying or getting from the library x
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