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To not know how to discipline my 4 year old

(30 Posts)
Waltzered Thu 09-Nov-17 10:49:57

My 4 year old is great except when walking to/ home from school. He runs ahead to try and get with his friends, doesn't listen to me, won't leave the playground when I ask. I'm really embarrassed because it's always in front of other parents who have well behaved kids! He screams at me when I tell him off, and says he doesn't care about any punishments I threaten him with. (Time out/ losing toy for the day when we get home if doesn't listen).

I'm at a real loss as what to do. He's always been so well behaved up until starting school. I've never really had to tell him off.

RavingRoo Thu 09-Nov-17 11:01:09

If all else fails and he’s being unsafe, get a cheap pushchair and force him into it in front of his friends. It’s heavy handed yes, but you’ll only need to do it once for him to get the message.

Gatehouse77 Thu 09-Nov-17 11:07:01

For the running off I would do this.

Explain in advance that there are new rules for walking to school. If he doesn't heed your instructions the consequences are that he will have to hold your hand all the way.
Set him small goals. You can run to the next lamppost, tree, etc. and then wait for me to catch up. Then you set the next goal. If he doesn't listen you hold on tight! Be tough to start with, no exceptions. Then, as he begins to understand the consequences of his actions you can relax it a bit as you see fit.

The ignoring is harder. Do you give him a warning such as we're leaving in 5 minutes? If he doesn't come when asked, go and get him. If you have to drag him away kicking and fighting then that's what you do. After the event ask him how he felt about it - was he embarrassed to be seen behaving like that? Is he feeling cross? If so why? Try and get to the bottom of it when emotions aren't running high.

Itsonkyme Thu 09-Nov-17 11:12:20

Hold his hand! Why are you not holding his hand. I pick my 7 year old Gs up from school and still hold his hand. If he tried to get out of holding your hand. Shake him gently by the hand, then bend down to his level and tell him that he has to hold your hand. No threats, no time out, no losing toys!
Just you are doing, because I say so and end of, don't back down.
You said that, he was embarrassing you. If you let him get away with things because being firm, or his reaction to you being firm is embarrassing you, then you are teaching him exactly what to do, to get his own way.
"Only have to embarrass Mummy and then I get to do anything I want".
Be firm! Ignore the shouts and screams! Drag him by hand if necessary!
He will soon back down but you have to be consistent.

Waltzered Thu 09-Nov-17 11:12:54

It's the ignoring that I can't cope with. Yesterday we got to the school gates before he ran back into the playground. I went and got him, he was kicking and screaming that I was hurting him. (I wasn't). All the other parents where watching. I felt so embarrassed and so judged. I don't know how to make him listen to me.

I have my baby in the pushchair or he would be going in it. It also makes it harder to catch up with him when he runs off, which he knows and exploits.

Waltzered Thu 09-Nov-17 11:15:08

I can't hold his hand, I'm pushing a heavy pushchair as well. He used to hold onto the pram but now lets go off it and runs. Mostly because he sees his friends doing it. We live very rurally, so there isn't so much the danger of cars etc

OuchBollocks Thu 09-Nov-17 11:16:38

A clip on lead for his backpack. One warning that if he bolts, he goes on the reins.

bottlesandcans Thu 09-Nov-17 11:17:27

Reigns until he learns to listen

Pansiesandredrosesandmarigolds Thu 09-Nov-17 11:19:31

Am probably too lax, but hey. Let him run ahead to speak to his friend, let him hang around playground as long as he wants (he’ll get bored), take food for pick up.

Waltzered Thu 09-Nov-17 11:20:32

Reigns might be a good idea but i know he'd hate it (I get that's the general idea) and I think his friends would make fun of him.

His friends are all allowed to run ahead of their parents. Am I being precious wanting him to stay with me? And if not how do I explain he's not allowed when his friends are?

KimmySchmidt1 Thu 09-Nov-17 11:20:37

be really selective about what you absolutely need him to do for his own safety, vs what you are just being dogmatic about.

if he wants to walk with his friends, can you not just let him do so (they are not walking with their parents either) and keep a close eye on them?

it sounds like he is a good boy who gets over-excited and maybe a little anxious about being seen as mummy's baby boy at these particular times. it does not need to be a battle of the wills to establish your dominance over him for the sake of it - it is better not to crush his spirit - always of course moderated with making sure he is safe (but not wrapped in cotton wool!).

Can you talk to him outside of this time and say you understand he wants to be with his friends and he can do that as long as he does x y z to be safe, and that it is also twattish to put you down in front of other parents so to stop doing that? I usually find speaking to children like human beings gets a good response.

Does he need to hold the pram if he walks on the inside (so you are between him and traffic) instead?

Waltzered Thu 09-Nov-17 11:22:14

Pansies that's the attitude his friends parents have. I worry about loosing him. Maybe I'm just too uptight. I don't know. This parenting stuff doesn't get easier.

Waltzered Thu 09-Nov-17 11:24:30

I hate him going ahead of me so I can't see him. To me that's a safety thing, but as other parents allow their 4 year olds to do it maybe it's not?
I'm too protective generally I think.

Waltzered Thu 09-Nov-17 11:25:41

Yes,Kimmy he's very over excited about being around friends.

waterrat Thu 09-Nov-17 11:27:17

it's very very normal for a 4 year old starting school to be monstrously behaved at the end of the day - mine was the same.

From their point of view they have spent a very long day following rules/ watching for new social rules/ learning who is who/ who does what when/ who plays in what way - in a big group of children. They are exhausted even in a play based environment.

It might seem like he is the only one acting this way but that seems unlikely. I would not make a big deal about this sort of behaviour tbh - just calm and clear boundaries. Maybe tell him that if he won't leave the playground with you you will have to carry him like a baby -

or - soft approach - bring a nice snack for him to reduce stress - he gets it as you walk nicely together down the road.

waterrat Thu 09-Nov-17 11:28:32

I would also let him run ahead - how would he know this is 'naughty'? He is just enjoying himself - as long as he stops at roads that would not bother me. My 5 yr old likes to run/ cycle on ahead as far as he can but he stops at roads. What are you worried about? He isn't going to go missing at that age - he is not a toddler anymore presumably he knows the way home and where/ when to stop for cars.

Ttbb Thu 09-Nov-17 11:30:37

I don't have problems with handholding while walking but my 3 year old does sometimes flat out refuse to leave playgrounds. If it is a situation where I know he is safe (e.g. School playground as you have said above). I first tell him that I will leave without him. If he doesn't come I just leave. When he realises that I amgone he comes running out and doesn't do that again for a while.

Waltzered Thu 09-Nov-17 11:31:47

waterat there aren't many cars round here, which I think makes the kids a bit too relaxed about road safety. There have been a few times when DS has ran part way over a road before realising he didn't stop to look for the (mostly non existent) cars and he's gone back and looked/ waited for me.

NoNoCharlieRascal Thu 09-Nov-17 11:31:48

I've always given dc limits on how far they can go. The usual rule is two houses or two trees depending on where we are. They are not allowed around corners until I can see around them too. The usual phrase is 'If I can't see you, I can't help you.' If they go too far to often they have to walk with me and the baby/hold my hand/go on the reins for a period of time until I can trust them again to observe the rules.

Waltzered Thu 09-Nov-17 11:33:26

Ttbb I've tried that. He doesn't care if I walk off without him. Means he gets to play longer.

Dragongirl10 Thu 09-Nov-17 11:37:35

I don't think you are being too protective, even if where you usually walk is safe from cars you need to know that he will listen and stay beside you for when you are not somewhere safe.

Forget other parents if you want him to walk holding the buggy that is perfectly sensible, explain just before going out the door, this is what he WILL do..if not he will have to have reins on his backpack, (have this ready so he knows you are serious)

Follow through regardless, if he doesn't stay holding on to the buggy put the reins on straight away, tell him he can only have them off if he stays walking beside may feel difficult but he will get the message pretty quickly.

Once you have sorted that issue apply the same idea to leaving the playground, tell him in advance, in the morning, that he must come when called and walk with you, or he will have to go to his room once he gets home with none of his toys for 10 minutes/will miss his TV time/ or whatever is most appealing to him.
Be very clear.

If he doeesn't come when you call him, then go and get him firmly by the hand and tell him to hold on to the buggy, let him know that he has ignored you and will have to do the consequence as stated that morning...follow through regardless of any arguing or resistance.

Tell him the same the next morning .....he will probably listen! If not repeat..

At some point all Dcs need to understand they have to do as they are told and have consequences....annd you need to feel he is safe.

Good luck!

LauraMipsum Thu 09-Nov-17 11:37:39

I got a copy of "How to talk so little kids will listen" and it is working amazingly with my 3yo.

Just randomly selecting some of their techniques could you try

* acknowledge his feelings and come up with a solution together: "you really don't like to leave the playground when it's time to go home. When we go this afternoon what could we do so that we leave on time?" and get him to make a list with you of ideas? You write ALL of them down no matter how odd. Then you both go through and cross off the ones you don't like ("we stay in the playground til midnight") until you find one you do both like ("when mummy says time to go, he can have one more go on the slide and then leaves")
[NB this one doesn't work quite so well with my 3yo who doesn't see why I should get a power of veto, but it might work with an older one]

* offer a choice: do you want to leave right now or do you want to leave when this egg timer runs out?

* put him in charge: Alfie, it's nearly time to leave. Can you take charge of this timer and tell us when it beeps and it's time to go?
[This one, so far, works like a dream and is why I have a kitchen timer in my bag!]

I'd allow him to run ahead if he's with his friends and there's not much traffic.

Pansiesandredrosesandmarigolds Thu 09-Nov-17 11:38:19

It’s not easy. Is there somewhere you have to be after school? If not I’d be tempted to try just staying there for as long as he likes.

Waltzered Thu 09-Nov-17 11:41:27

I really need a copy of that book Laura I like those ideas. Will try the list thing tonight.

Waltzered Thu 09-Nov-17 11:43:09

Pansie it's quite a long walk home, often in bad weather at the moment. That's the only reason I don't want to hang around. I might let him stay sometimes when convienent

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