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My 4-year-old son has turned into a monster - HELP!

(13 Posts)
mrskbpw Wed 08-Jun-11 10:15:20

My son turned four about five weeks ago and almost immediately his behaviour changed. He was a happy, content, joyful little boy and the only worry I had was that he was very shy.

The shyness seems to have gone and now, unfortunately, so has my lovely boy.

Since his birthday, he has started bedwetting (which we seem to have under control now, as of this week). He's almost using wee as a weapon if that makes any sense whatsoever?! He's weed on the floor twice when he's been angry and once took an empty chocolate buttons packet out of the bin and weed in that. I was horrified. He's also wilful and defiant and laughs at me if I try to discipline him. He's very destructive and will break his toys or rip his posters off the walls if I put him in his room to calm down.

On Monday we were walking home from the childminder as normal when he ran away from me, on to the road, when a car was coming. I was so scared and angry and upset, but when I was explaining why it was so naughty he laughed in my face and then spat at me.

Last night he woke at 3am with a (bad) nightmare. I gave him lots of cuddles and calmed him down, but he refused to go back to sleep until 4.30am and was shouting for me, waking up his brother (aged 16 months) and crying hysterically. Eventually my husband, who was exhausted, smacked him (we don't like smacking and have never done that before). He then came into bed with me, and his brother. And my husband went and slept downstairs. It was horrible and I'm tearful and tired today (we get up at 6am for work - yawn).

I'm at the end of my tether and feel awful that I don't really like my precious boy at the moment. We've tried taking toys away, stopping treats and fun - he wasn't allowed to go to stay with my parents a few weeks ago and I've told him he can't go swimming on Saturday unless he behaves. He's not bothered though. I also feel bad for my other little one, who is such a sweetheart and gets none of my attention at all.

Sorry to waffle on for so long. Just wondered if anyone else had experience of this. I read that 4-year-old boys have a testosterone surge and that could be a cause. But what's the solution?!

Bramshott Wed 08-Jun-11 10:47:26

Not sure - but my 4 year old DD is pretty foul at the moment too sad. I think it's all to do with testing boundaries. That's what I try to tell myself when she is refusing to do something basic (eg. go to bed) and laughing at me when I try to tell her off. No advice, just sympathy. Hopefully, like everything, it's a phase . . .

knottyhair Wed 08-Jun-11 14:47:46

We had similar behaviour from our DS when he was 4 - I totally believe that it is the testosterone surge as it was almost overnight with him! We had 2 horrendous weeks where we really felt we had lost control and felt so helpless. Then I was recommended a book which really helped us - How to Behave So Your Children Will We noticed an improvement really quickly when we started doing some of the stuff he suggests, and it helped us feel more in control. But the key is to be really consistent. I'd say it took about 8 weeks or so to really take effect, although small improvements happened almost immediately. DS is now 7 and is lovely if I do say so myself smile. Roll on the next hormone surge at 14 grin! Seriously, I hope this helps. All I can say is it worked for us.

mrskbpw Fri 10-Jun-11 11:21:20

Thank you! It helps to know we're not alone and I will check out that book.

feistywife Thu 16-Jun-11 14:26:43

Hi there- I was kind of glad (sorry!) to find your post, as was about to post something similar. My DS will be four in two weeks and over the last 6-8 weeks his behaviour has become dreadful compared to what it used to be. Massive overly dramatic tantrums, whining, emotional dramas for the smallest thing. Started hitting his 2yr old sister and us. Spat at my DH, which was horrible. Nothing whatsoever has changed at all- no illnesses, nothing at home or nursery. It's like he's experiencing the puberty of a 13 yr old girl!! Only with more violence and references to poo- heads thrown in...
Re-reading Steven Biddulphs "Raising Boys" has helped me understand why. But still looking for ideas on how to handle him. I'm having an easier time of it than DH, who takes it very personally and feels that DS just doesn't like him. I wonder if it's a guy thing with just too much testosterone between them? Not likely to sit down and talk about it are they I guess?

Any ideas for dealing with DS dramatics for DH and self?

feistywife Thu 16-Jun-11 15:03:51

PS sorry for hi- jacking your thread, but came over all thank goodness it's not just me, so glad others have been/ are experiencing similar

ihatecbeebies Thu 16-Jun-11 22:33:42

My (usually really well behaved, polite and caring) DS has also had a dramatic change in behaviour over the past few weeks with no other dramatic changes in his routine etc that could explain it and I've been at the end of my tether with him too - surprise surprise he is 4 yrs too, it must be the testosterone surge but am very keen to hear advice from parents that have dealt with the 'monstrous 4's'

Tgger Thu 16-Jun-11 22:36:25

Me too ;-)). I am now finding 4 more challenging than 2. Can this be right?!

ihatecbeebies Fri 17-Jun-11 15:43:10

I thought DS was a breeze at two, now I think he just held it all back until now!

jubilee10 Fri 17-Jun-11 20:22:14

I also feel bad for my other little one, who is such a sweetheart and gets none of my attention at all.

He sounds like he is getting a huge amount of attention for his bad behaviour. I would give your other dc lots of attention and ignore ds where possible when he is behaving badly. There are things that can't be ignored and I give a time out for these. Encourage good behaviour and offer lots of praise for that.

Make sure he is getting plenty of exercise, not getting too tired and that he is eating good food regularly as all these things can create flashpoints.

It gets easier as they approach 5

feistywife Sat 02-Jul-11 20:54:53

Actually in light of 2yr old DD recent hissy fit meltdowns at bedtime, DS is looking like an angel these days...

Just realised how much change they have actually experienced over last month- and that a holiday- although a fun change- is still a change. DS has never "done" change very well and it would appear DD doesn't either...

Have definitely found LOTS of exercise on daily basis helps DS. Not sweating the petty stuff and trying to be consistent with the discipline for the major stuff also helps. So hard for both of us to maintain consistency though! Trying to eat chocolate digestives instead of biting DH's head off. Oo sudden thought, maybe I should bake gingerbread men... <walks off preoccupied>

topsi Sun 03-Jul-11 15:20:04

Same here. DS has always been 'strong willed' shall we say but recently he even seems to wake up in a bad mood! He is 4.5. He has started spitting and talking in a rude manner, very demading when he wants something.
I am afraid I try and enchorage him to spend as much time with his dad as possible!

MamaLaMoo Sun 03-Jul-11 19:48:17

Please don't attribute your sons difficult behaviour to testosterone! This suggests he and you can do nothing about it and makes you helpless in dealing with his behaviour, parents should never feel helpless in the face of challenging times, you can always do something to help them and yourself.

There is no scientific backing for the idea that 4 year old boys experience testosterone surges, in fact the evidence says the opposite. Boy and girl babies have hormone surges in the first few (3-4) months after birth a sort of "mini-puberty" and then all hormone levels drop to tiny amounts in both sexes until early puberty at 9-10 years.

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