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4YO behaviour confusing me

(5 Posts)
lotsohuggin Sun 26-Jun-11 22:02:44

I am really starting to get concerned about my DS and how different he seems to the other children in his class. Not sure if I am over worrying or if there is a problem there. Wondered if any one might have any ideas what this sounds like...

he doesn't like school, whereas all the other kids seem to love it, it is a small and lovely school I think

he says he would rather stay at home with me all the time, he hates being left with baby sitter who he has known all his life. There is a small handful of adults he likes

most children I have encouraged him to play with since he was a toddler he now refuses to play with. There is only one boy at school he likes, who I think is a bit overwhelmed at my DS's intensity

he hates parties and seems indifferent that he might be missing out on something

recently he has started waking 3/4 times a night and seems desperate to come into bed with me, rather than my DH

he wants me to play with him morning til night, and the play is usually very similar - fantasy role play where we are the same 2 characters acting out a few similar scenarios over and over again! It is driving me insane!!! Not sure I should encourage him with this but he gets so grumpy if I don't find time to do this with him.

Starting to feel like a really crap Mum as I am feeling so suffocated! Keep thinking, am I not spending enough time with him, but I spend loads more than some I know with much happier seeming children.

his langauge skills are great and he was an early talker, though late to walk. His writing skills are v basic and he only knows a handful of his letters

Also I have a 6 month old baby. Know some of this behaviour might be due to new sibling, but he was like this before (except for night waking)

Sorry for long post, but any ideas be really appreciated

anonymosity Mon 27-Jun-11 04:51:03

My almost 5 yr old DS displayed a lot of these behaviours during the past year on and off. He still insists very strongly on staying with me instead of going out for fun with other family members (DH, DD) but he has lightened up a fraction since he's made a few new friends at school who are equally imaginative (constant role play) and even more strong charactered (i.e. they're rather bossy).

It doesn't sound like he has a problem in any way. I hope it eases up a bit and stops driving you nuts. I did find with the one-on-one role play when he was nearer 4 if I varied it a bit here and there he didn't like that much, but now he's nearly 5 he goes with suggestions very well - and incorporates new information and scenarios. But it can be tiring!

BenWhite Wed 29-Jun-11 10:31:04

Hi Lotsofhuggin, Children play out what's going on in their lives in a surprisingly literal way. You mention that he likes to play the same role play with the same characters all the time. Focus on this. He is telling you what is the matter right here. He is playing out his feelings using the fantasy play. Getting to the bottom of what it is that's causing these feelings is another matter, but what you can do with the play is to look for the emotional theme(s) in the play and see if you can map them to anything that he might be experiencing in real life.

If you can identify the emotional theme(s) in the play, then you can start to very gently, bit by bit, introduce the emotional support and coping strategies for him into the play. If you try to give him the support directly (lots of time and attention, advice etc) you will probably find it doesn't work. If you introduce the same support into the play it will be taken in through the same medium that he is expressing it (play) and is more likely to be absorbed.

Some things will work and you'll notice that the scenarios start to broaden and go in different directions, others will be discarded or rejected. Keep at it, be creative and let us know how it goes and feel free to ask more questions if you want ideas or more help.

lotsohuggin Fri 01-Jul-11 14:15:31

Thanks a lot, that makes sense Ben. At the moment all the play is about falling into someones tummy!!!! He saw something similar on his fave cartoon. At the moment we have to keep falling in and can't get out. I wonder if it maybe back to new sibling again - we always used to talk about her being in my tummy...hmmm.

Thanks anonymosity, I'm getting a bit more sleep now so more able to go with the flow! I just worry about him not having many friends and being so clingy, but maybe it will just ease up with age. Do you let him stay with you if he is insisting as you put it, or do you put your foot down?

BenWhite Sat 09-Jul-11 07:54:55

Thanks for the update, lotsofhuggin.

Tummies are very safe places. Warm, within their mummy and while they may somewhere you could be "trapped" they also stop the cold, nasty, scary world getting to you.

It is tempting to be focussed on the "being trapped" bit of your description, but I suspect, when taking the school friends and stuff into consideration, that he's looking for sanctuary rather than it being somewhere he's trapped.

That's just my interpretation. Let me know if that seems congruent with his other behaviour. There's lots of stuff you can do to help him in either case.

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