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Fed up with 4yo DS's behaviour

(13 Posts)
lucylookout Thu 06-Oct-11 19:35:26

Hi, I have a lovely (just turned) 4yo DS but his behaviour is driving me a bit mad and I could really do with some advice. His behaviour is fine if at home or out on trips with me, DH or both. He concentrates well, enjoys constructing stuff, colouring in, is chatty, responsive, polite and curious and generally a pleasure to be with. You might be wondering why I'm writing this post but his problem behaviour arises when anyone else is thrown into the mix. If other children are around he becomes extremely excited, running around, wrestling, playing very physically, talking in gobbledeegook to the point where the other children aren't enjoying him getting so close to them/being on top of them/talking so loudly etc. He will not listen to me when I ask him to stop, even when I explain consequences of his bad behaviour (for eg leaving play date, no TV or taking favourite toy away for 1 day) and it always results in an absolute meltdown with me carrying him screeching out of any given situation. And I do always follow through on my threats so he knows I mean it. Similarly, if with other adults (my Mum for example) he gets really wound up that he's not getting 100% attention, might start hitting or biting, barking at people instead of talking properly, hang off me, writher around on the ground. You get the picture. He is my only DC, so maybe I'm describing very normal behaviour, but while I realise that he is more emotional and spirited than many other children his age, other children seem to get a grip of consequences more and are able to better control themselves without losing it all completely. I guess what I'm asking advice for is how to teach him self control a bit more and to learn to stop himself from getting over excited because that's where things all go wrong. He's always fine at nursery by the way (goes 3 days a week) and gets stickers/prizes frequently for good behaviour, being polite, sharing well etc. Can anyone help? I feel like I'm on house arrest at the moment and don't dare go on any playdates or to any birthday parties with him as it's just too stressful for me and him.

atmywitssend Thu 06-Oct-11 19:40:00

Lucy - watching with interest! DS (nearly 4) is just likes your as home and has just started school nursery. He behaves there just as yours does wehn around other children. School is not happy.

schmee Thu 06-Oct-11 21:33:49

It sounds like he can't cope with sharing attention and not being the centre of the world. Which is totally normal in a preschooler. You sound like you are doing totally the right thing by giving him boundaries when his behaviour is bad.

I've no idea about how you are with him one to one, but could it be that you are giving a lot of yourself to him and, in being very generous and loving, allowing him to be a "little prince" at home? Could you try creating some boundaries around your own time? Do you role model sharing with him e.g. playing games where you need to take turns?

Also can you talk through with him what other people might be feeling to help him develop empathy? It's not totally on point but I have found this book about friendship useful in tackling many issues with my children

lucylookout Thu 06-Oct-11 22:13:10

Thanks Schmee, he certainly doesn't like sharing attention (or more specifically my attention). I do give a lot of my time to him when at home. When I have to get on with domestic stuff (washing, cooking etc) he tends to say he doesn't like playing by myself and wants to help me do whatever I'm doing instead. We do a lot of one to one, sitting on the floor playing, and I have to admit DH thinks I pander to him too much. We do play games where he has to take turns but he's a pretty poor loser and likes everything to go his way (probably why playdates go wrong because he gets upset when other children win at games, or when they move things/play with things in a way he thinks they shouldn't). The book suggestion sounds like a good one and I'll definitely order a copy. I felt really annoyed with him this afternoon because of an incident which led me to write my OP (it was something he was asked to do by nursery, at the last minute I was asked to be involved too, it all went horribly wrong with me carrying him out screeching again, but I also know he would have been fine had I not been there). Now I'm just wracking my brains to think of ways to help him. I mean, the next time we have a playdate do I tell him before hand the kind of behaviour I expect to see from him and what will happen if he plays up, or is that putting too much pressure on him. The thing is when he's calm he knows right from wrong and what's appropriate behaviour, it's just when he gets excited he can't resist the temptation to completely give in to his urges. And he does get plenty of praise for good behaviour and reward charts etc.

schmee Thu 06-Oct-11 22:47:23

I try asking my boys how they think they should behave - trying to get them to come up with the rules themselves so they "own" them. That might work.

We also talk about how to calm ourselves down - getting out of the situation, finding a book to read, blowing our "candles" (our fingers) out. We also talk A LOT about what others might be feeling.

At difficult times I found neutral environments like the playground or a soft play were good places for playdates as it was less pressure. If playdates in a home I always used to have props (modelling balloons and bubbles in my case!!) to hand in case an activity was needed.

On thing though, i would make sure you beat him occasionally if you are playing games at home. It's the safest place for him to learn.

But ultimately they are four year old boys and everyone expects a bit of bad behaviour - the other parents just need to see you are dealing with it and they won't mind. He doesn't sound like he's the worst and it sounds like you are dealing with it really well.

lucylookout Fri 07-Oct-11 11:50:42

Thanks Schmee your advice has really helped. On the way to nursery we talked about ways he feels he could calm himself down and he likes the idea of stopping, and taking a deep breath and counting slowly to ten (it's what one of his friends does). DS is a good little boy and he really wants to stop being carried out of situations screeching. I guess it's no more fun for him than it is for me. I'll also talk to him about calming activities that he enjoys; being read to, colouring in etc. I'm going to make up a reward chart that's all about calming down, learning control and thinking of others.
Thanks again. Instead of just feeling angry with him and shouty, I feel like I've got a real plan of action that will allow me to help him and steer him in the right direction x

lucylookout Fri 07-Oct-11 11:51:10

atmywitsend hope this has been helpful to you too!

DeWe Fri 07-Oct-11 12:14:59

He sounds just like my Ds!!! He's just 4 and has just started school

With him he has hearing "issues" and is worse when he can't hear. He had a dreadful day at school (after 3 really good days) but in the evening described ringing in the ears, which he hasn't had before. He described it as a "scary noise".

Flash points for him are hunger/tiredness/lots of loud noises.

But he seems to think all boys want to play fight/wrestle. Girls he's fine with.

He's got a home/school book where they write in good and bad things. That way I can talk them through and it has helped a lot. If he's had a really good day I might give him a sticker or play something special with him, and he really wants that at the moment.

lucylookout Fri 07-Oct-11 12:50:37

DeWe it must be hard if there are hearing issues thrown into the mix too. Hunger, tiredness and yes loud noises (as in if other children are excited around him) do seem to be flash points for mine too.
However, mine is very well behaved at nursery (Oct birthday so school next year!) and is worse when with me and other children, so I've clearly allowed him to think that some behaviour is OK, when I actually really think it isn't. Lots of work to do but we'll get there!

schmee Fri 07-Oct-11 20:45:59

Glad the advice helped. :-)

sandyfeet1 Sun 09-Oct-11 17:03:18


I could have written the original post word for word, this EXACTLY describes my DS too. He is nearly 5 though. I am at the end of my tether and wondering where I have gone wrong and if there is any going back!!

Mine also has started this behaviour that he does when he knows I am in a situation I can't carry him out of without disrupting everything - for example someone making a speech etc - it's like it is a game for him.

It's very upsetting really. sad

lucylookout Sun 09-Oct-11 19:25:05

It's hard isn't it sandyfeet. What I've done (as well as the deep breathing and reward chart for staying calm) is to not plan any play dates, or plan to go to any birthday parties until I know he can control himself better, i.e. if he makes a real effort to not get over excited this week I'll take him to a birthday party we've been invited to on Saturday. If he copes with that OK I'll plan a play date with a friend he's been waiting to see. If that goes OK I'll plan another etc. I'm also still trying to not expect tooo much of him and have a survival kit in my bag of calm things to do if it all gets too much (mini colouring pad, book). Oh and little 'on the spot' treats that catch him by surprise (feel like a dog trainer!)
Your DS is still really little, and it's not that you've gone wrong anywhere, their behaviour is just a part of growing up, and we need to teach them what behaviour is appropriate. Have a look at some of the great advice Schmee gave me, give it a couple of weeks of concerted and consistent effort and I'm sure you'll see an improvement x
p.s. went to a nieces 21st party this aft. DS was getting a bit over excited. I took him upstairs and he did his deep breathing thing and came back downstairs in a much calmer state. Phew grin

sandyfeet1 Mon 10-Oct-11 13:39:05

Thanks LL.

Sorry for hijacking your thread, if you don't mind it would be great to keep motivated/log on this thread - I have nowhere else to turn!!!

So this afternoon has been ok - I started a sticker chart for him at home where he has to get 50 stickers before Saturday to get a lego set he is asking for.

I have said 50, because I'm giving him random stickers for every little thing to keep him motivated, already he has 7 and is quite into the idea! His teacher pulled me aside today though and said he'd been naughty (I'd asked her yesterday if he has been ok and she said yes!), argh. But she said that she'd spoken to his teacher from last year and that she had mentioned he had a sticker chart last year and it really worked (it did) so she may start it in this class too. Fine by me. Whatever

I noticed that the only naughty behaviour this afternoon was when I was on the phone. It's like if I am not giving him 100% attention that's where all hell breaks loose.

What I am also really dreading is playdates etc. I have exactly the same issue with talking gobbldygook and irritating other kids, not being able to stop wittering on and you can see the other kids just thinking WTF. He is also way too boistrous and physical - it doesn't help that a lot of his friends (or my friends LOs) are girls and the mums don't seem to get the level of physicalness as they have never experienced it.

* sigh *

thanks for listening!!

good luck with your DS too.

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