Humiliated and so angry at 4 year old(188 Posts)
I'm so angry and exhausted and really need some perspective on whether I'm being unreasonable. 4 year old is sweet and lovely at times but very demanding and needs constant attention. He has to be asked to do everything 10 times. He's very impulsive and does things he knows he's not supposed to, mostly without thinking then regrets it I think. He makes a mess everywhere. I can't get anything done all he says is mummy mummy mummy all day long. He asks for snacks every 5 minutes. I'm worn out and snappy. Today I really haven't been very nice at all. We were going to a class we do regularly. I told him we were going, all fine in the car, got there and got changed, played with his friends in the waiting room. Times to go in and he starts crying and clinging to me. I tried to encourage him but he refused to go in. Class started without him. I had his younger brother toddling around and said come on everyone's waiting, we don't have time for this. He started really crying and carrying on. I started to get really annoyed as I felt like he'd waited until we'd all gone to all the effort of getting him here and then chose to kick off in front of everyone. The teacher said he's got really bad separation anxiety but has he? Or is he just being a pain in the arse? I just can't see anything clearly anymore I feel so mad at him because life is a constant struggle, his brother gets ignored and I just feel like I'm failing him and failing at life in general. He is just such hard work. Ended up leaving class in a massive tantrum with everyone looking. He's already tried to bite me in the supermarket and completely ignored me in the park when I told him to come. I just look stupid and end up shouting and I hate being a shouty parent. I just want to bring out the best in him like his amazing pre-school teachers but I honestly think I bring out the worst in him.
I mean this in the kindest possible way, but.. He's 4. He's still very little and separation anxiety is a real thing. How do you deal with unacceptable behaviours like the biting?
Is he good for the preschool teachers?
If so id say he (and maybe you to an extent) are stuck in a cycle. He knows the behaviours and requests he needs to hammer to get the results - at preschool he cant have the teachers undivided attention or unlimited snacks.
Has there maybe been a period of time where giving him everything he demands became an easier option than standing firm - when you were pregnant maybe ( totally understandable by the way!!)?
Just keep repeating "It's just a phase"!
Not judging because I have been there with my kids on bad days too.
But I agree that he's little and separation anxiety is real. He won't have preplaned it.
If you relationship is difficult at the moment you could try love bombing. I've found that finding time for quality 1:1 time helps when I'm struggling with one of mine.
My DS2 is 4 and really suffers from separation anxiety. Fortunately she has amazing teachers who are happy to cuddle her while I leave. They say she's fine 2 mins later. It's just the moment of saying goodbye that she hates. Might that work at the class?
My DD used to drive me mad at parties and activities as she would not leave my side or join in with stuff unless I did it with her. I too was a shouty parent a lot of the time, but only had her to contend with and she was never naughty.
I feel your pain, but the only answer is time and reassurance.
I had terrible separation anxiety when I started primary school. It took months to get to the stage where I went in happily. Thankfully my mum and dad talked to me about it and we agreed certain things which were put in place to try and make the process easier. It took a lot of time and patience on the part of my parents with help from my teacher. We all still remember how awful it was. Please don't get angry with him if it is anxiety
Please,don't beat yourself up.Raising children is demanding job without pay and holidays.And I feel your pain as also have almost 4 year old DS and baby.They are just little human beings who may be tired and overwhelmed by daily stuff.Have a tiny break and anything that makes you happy// and breathe,tomorrow will be better
I know these things are personal, but with this type of issues I try to be strict, for ex, snacks are given once mid morning and once mid afternoon, you decide when, don't wait for him to ask.
It doesn't matter if he asks 100s of times or throws a tantrum, there won't be any other snacks. If you give up once, then how can you expect him to understand the next day that there is no hope and he shouldn't ask?
What was the consequence today after the tantrum?
He possibly wishes he could be little and able to get your attention again like his brother does. I am sure you try to be fair but no matter how many times he hears something like "Come on now, a great big boy like you" from the adults in his world, he really isn't liking it.
This is just a guess. If his behaviour seems stuck or even like going backwards then it could be a very natural sibling jealousy.
He's 4. He is being annoying and irritating and frustrating and more but that's what 4yr olds are like at times. But you have my biggest sympathies as I know how draining and hard work it can be. When my dc start to behave badly (and all children do - ignore the perfect Instagram kids - they will be little shits too sometimes) I try and look at the big picture and a lot of the time negativity creates negativity. They are naughty, I shout, so they behave worse, so I shout louder, and so on. Try and spend a few days only being positive and saying yes and going at his pace. You may see a different child
Do you think he's very aware and a bit overwhelmed? Best to let quietly sit with him on the edges till he feels ok enough to join in. Expect it to take a while and don't force it. I know you feel like shouting and getting cross but it's not the answer.
Firstly please know I've been there ...I have a 15 mth old and a 4 year old
The 4 year old has gone through a really rough period of doing all the things you said above I promise you.....total meltdowns clingy and I was at the end of my tether
It's really really difficult but a) some of this is totally normal behaviour for the age .... boundaries testing and frankly being a pain in the ass but a lot of it genuinely is a need to be reassured you are there (although god knows in the moment it just feels like them being a pain)
I am the furthest thing from fluffy in the world , I'm strict and like boundaries but it wasn't getting me anywhere and I spent my life telling him off which was unfair and unproductive. ...I did take a step back and really really upped the positive encouragement (boundaries stayed he was still required to behave appropriately ) but I flipped the script and started praise more because I realised all I ever said was "don't do this ...stop dig that"
I also realised my reaction by getting angry was making things worse it created a battle (my aha moment was when nursery created a diary of behaviour) ....I realised how bad it had become
I started to realise i was escalating it and it was because I was tired and frustrated so I forced myself to step back (and took some time to have a rest where I could )
One thing though ....the humiliation and what people think....in the nicest sense that's your issue it's irrelevant if other people judge screw them and it shouldn't be a factor into how you feel about his behaviour
But I noticed when I changed my general response (I still get shout you on occasion I'm not perfect and we have bad days) his behaviour literally got better in a week
Good luck op it's really hard
It IS just a phase. We are slowly coming out the other side with ds2 who turned 6 a few months ago. The last 3 years have been pure hell, I turned into a shouty witch, he was clingy, argumentative, awkward to such an extreme we thought he had severe behaviour issues BUT he is 100 times better now, to the point of apologising if he does lose it and telling me when he's really trying hard. Stick with it and I know it's incredibly hard but calm and patient is the way forward.
If you're really angry at a 4 year old for basically being 4, you really should speak to a health visitor or similar.
He wasn't intentionally being awkward, he just wasn't ready to join in and then reacted to your reaction with a tantrum. You should have sat with him quietly in the class until he joined in. Some kids take longer to adjust/join in in certain environments.
I could have written your post with the exception of a class. He is so polite and kind but so bloody ignorant when I ask him to do something. He is better for teachers but they have commented recently that he doesn't always listen. You are not alone
He probably didn't want to do the class. If it's not essential (and what is at 4?) just drop it and do something less pressured. It's not worth the battle.
Go easy on yourself. It's not easy parenting!
Here too. One day Angel, the next demon.
praise and firm boundaries sometimes help.
Other times I have to turn on the tv to give me space to Calm down
How old is your younger one? I suspect you're at peak stress with a stroppy 4 yr old who is capable of asserting himself and a mobile younger one.
You need to change how you deal with him because you're not winning right now. Sticker charts for good behaviour, rewarding good stuff, time outs. Offering choices that sort of thing. Sure lots of people have better ideas than me. When ds wouldn't listen about leaving, I just used to shout 'Bye!!!!' And start walking. He'd come tearing after me every time
Try twins lol!!! I agree with others - he's 4, and I highly doubt he's being malicious in any way (I had to keep repeating that to myself when my DTDs were that age, and still have to do it regularly - they're 8 now). Kids do know how to push our buttons.
On the other hand, it may be worth speaking to the SEN teacher at school and see if there are any grounds to have him take an ADOS assessment. My DD was diagnosed at 5.
If you're really angry at a 4 year old for basically being 4, you really should speak to a health visitor or similar.
OP admits she is exhausted and snappy. I think a lot of us recognise how hard it can be to parent pre-school children and feel overwhelmed at times.
MAybe you could talk to a therapist? Just to break the cycle both of you may be stuck in?
Idk. My mother would have at least soaped my mouth for biting her (thank God they didn't know hot sauce back then).
But that's obviously not a good thing either, I'm definitely not recommending that.
However, I do think that biting other people needs to have consequences.
As much as I hate to ask, how is his diet?
My DS (2.9) is noticeably clingy and demanding if he’s had too much sugar and crashed or if he’s hungry. To the point where it’s like having two completely different children, one confident and cheeky and the other clingy and teary.
Don’t beat yourself up too much – remember his teachers get a huge break from their charges to recharge (and you’re looking after a younger DC instead of resting), they’ve had training for this – and he’s possibly aware at some level, that you’re the one who’ll always be there for him and he might just be testing limits. Have you tried giving him ‘important jobs’ to do to help with his DB? He could be in charge of a certain toy/sharing snacks/finding a place for you to sit in class. Something that helps him feel that he’s not completely powerless and having to resort to learned behaviours to get attention.
It's only when you have hulking teenagers that you can look back and see how little 4 year olds are. Unless he generally enjoys the class I would drop it. I think school alone is tiring enough at that age.
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