Finally need to admit my 4.5 yr old DS is a naughty disobedient boy. :0((17 Posts)
I think the time has come for me to admit that my 4.5yr old DS is a naughty boy who constantly misbehaves. I have been making excuses for him for about a year now because with me and at school he seems to behave he isnt an angel by any means but seems to know right from wrong.
Neither my DH or my parents will look after him as he constantly runs riot and misbehaves and does the complete opposite to what he is told to do. He is extremely clingy to me and hates anyone else looking after him and I think he has figured out if he misbehaves for other people he will be brought home which is what he probably wants. At school he is generally a good boy unless he has a stand in teacher and then again he totally runs riot but she cant just pick him up and bring him home and by the afternoon session he usually settles back down.
None of my family are particularly hands on so I have done everything for him since he was a baby all the baths, feeds and bedtimes. I am starting having a bit more of my own life now and this is where the problem lies if I am not about he goes totally mad and no one else can cope with him.
But these last few weeks he has started misbehaving with me as well and no disipline works, he has an answer for everything. I can take all his toys doesnt worry, ban tv after tv - 'never mind, he says I will sit and sing'!! We have a marble jar where both him and his sister get a marble for good behaviour ie- doing as they are told but he doesn't mind if he doesn't get one.
He just seems to be a 'naughty little boy' and everybody blames me for it as I havent disiplined him and I let him get away with running riot but until this last week or so he rarely misbehaves with me.
This weekend really highlighted it as I have had flu so other people have been helping me out but never again as no one can cope with him - he has been a total nightmare. What have I done wrong and why is he like this??
Saw this in unanswered - I hope somebody with good advice comes along, but I have a 5 year old boy and I don't think your 4.5 sounds that unusual? Is he being compared to his sister a lot?
I have girl, boy, boy, but the youngest is only 1, so the older 2 get compared to each other - my parents clearly find DD much easier to deal with and their default response to everything DS1 does is to tut and shake their heads and say he is being silly - this hardly inspires him to be less so! Luckily we live hundreds of miles from my parents so they never look after him, and my in-laws who occasionally do brought up 3 boys and are more realistic! The in-laws are also far more physical (in a good way - picking up, swinging about, playing football, long walks) with the kids which DS responds to far better than my parents grand-parenting from over the top of a newspaper and occasionally attempting a "what did you do at school?" type conversation or reading a books to the kids...
A lot of 4 year old boys don't do well cooped up all day and need a lot of time outdoors to run about before they can behave well inside - maybe the recent worsening behaviour is down to that if you've been ill and the weather is bad? If the other people looking after your son aren't very hands on it is a lot to expect him to behave well really - is he bored with them?
I would say don't panic, and when you feel up to it make sure he gets plenty of outdoor exercise and see if he can then behave better, if not and if the strategies you have are not working maybe contact your HV for a bit of help on working with him, but he doesn't sound unusual to me, given age and gender!
Have his school said much? How are his social skills? Language? Does he play ok with others?
Do your parents and DH set boundaries? It may be that because he is behaving with you and at school, he just doesn't feel secure in his boundaries with other people. IME children will always push boundaries - especially when they don't know what is acceptable with other people.
I have a DS who has been quite a challenge since he was born. I have used the 'Supernanny' website for advice and techniques quite a bit which has been helpful. He is 8 now and we are finally starting to turn a corner with his behaviour in that he can self-regulate a bit more. It's been quite a hard road to get to this point though - you just have to stay totally consistent and persevere.
Aw, he sounds hard work but quite rewarding if you can get the responses you are looking for. If he gets attention for being a bit naughty he may well carry on doing it though and being seen by others as the 'naughty one' may be making things worse if he starts to think that he cannot be anything else. He sounds like he is just saying he "doesn't mind" not having toys etc to me. I'd stick at the punishments and rewards but maybe the marble jar thing isnt working as it's a bit too remote for a little one - a more literal and instant reward might work better? I hate to say give treats, but positive attention might just be the thing he needs. Does he respond at all to positive praise (such as "That was really good, well done for helping Mummy/ Tidying up afterwards/ Not hitting that other little boy back etc)? Could you take him to the cinema or to a favourtite activit/sport each week if he doesn't upset anyone? The problem with young kids is they cant always wait though - they often respond better to instant gratification so the promise of something nice at weekends may not be enough, you might have to think of something he can have right away -his favourite activity/meal etc that day if he does not upset teacher/you etc or just wait till he starts to 'get' it about waiting for rewards - which I think will come eventually. Also thinkmaybe if you aren't already be very specific when giving praise/criticism, not just using the phrase 'being naughty' so he is completely sure what he has done well or has not done well. Just thoughts I'm afraid though, as ours is a lot younger so have no personal experience, only second hand.
I don't think it is all your fault, or that he is a naughty disobedient boy. If he is fine for you and at school then it is DH and your patents that are the problem.
It sounds like he pushes the boundaries, then they throw their hands up in the air and give him back to you. 4 is old enough to spot this and play the situation to get what he wants (hell my two year would do the same!) it must be particularly hard if you have a compliant elder child.
They need to put more effort in, and you need to back them up and help them.
With regard to disciplining him, if marbles and taking away toys doesn't work, how about something more immediate? Has he got a favourite activity you could do with him for 20 min at the end of the day if he behaves? Could you try something like a star everything you see something nice/he listens/he does as he is asked first time and when he has ten stars he will get to do the nice activity in the evening? It might work better if there is lots of positivity (a squillion stars to start off with) and also if he has something different to his sister so he isn't being compared?
I think it is very odd that your DH won't look after him. He's the Dad after all, he should have worked out how to manage him by now
I don't think the words "naughty" and "misbehaved" are helping either. He is obviously completely stressed by other "strange/unresponsive" people looking after him, who don't "get" him. I just cannot believe that your Dh would dare say he won't look after him, he should have had some positive input/relationship with his son along the way....
Okay, that is over stating the case, but I think what you have is a child who is showing signs of anxiety when he is not with you, as you evidently are the only person who understands and sympathises with him, apart from the teacher he behaves well with. I think everyone should start thinking of ways to make things consistent and calm for him, rather than ways to tell him off.
Read How To Talk So Kids Will Listen by Faber.
I feel quite depressed reading all these threads in behaviour about naughty children being punished, and given rewards at the end of the day or week - a small child can't think that far, let alone any child with problems, albeit undiagnosed. Routines, consistency yes, but not this obsession with sticks and carrots.
I think Gourd and Grinch have some good suggestions though. Especially the bit about boys finding it difficult to sit still for long!!!
Hope you feel better soon,and enjoy your lovely boy, and show him you value him.
Oh yes, and I think the key is getting his Dad involved, and NOT blaming you. He has to form a bond with his child.
Only have a baby DD but spent a long time looking after my nephew (now 6) while parents went through messy break-up. Would def agree re physical activity - he loved (and still does) being chased, thrown about, swung, etc. He was very hard work otherwise. He's not really a kid who likes to sit and do something quietly that requires concentration (I actually haven't met any who do come to think of it). Also agree the constant comparison to DD will not be helping - they're just different kids. Don't label him as naughty and disobedient and don't let the others either - if the label sticks he'll soon start believing it. He's probably only started to behave worse around you because he's been stressed by more time apart from you recently and more time around negativity. Maybe you should work on his relationship with DH first then tackle grandparents? Could you spend some time the 3 of you ( even if very short?)?
Yr DH needs a kick up the backside and take responsibility for his child too.
My boys were like that! Maybe it is a boy thing. I have found that tough consequences are needed for bad behaviour. I have banned TV for days on end, stopped them going to friends's houses, prevented planned treats such as going to the cinema. Basically, the punishment has to really hurt so that when you threaten a punishment they really don't want you to carry it out.
My youngest hates being banned from the iPad or the Xbox.
Be firm, carry out threats and don't feel sorry for them when they cry over the punishment. I found that I need to be really tough.
They are older than your son now but they are still a challenge. At least they have spirit though!!!
I think the sentence " I havent disiplined him and I let him get away with running riot but until this last week or so he rarely misbehaves with me."
speaks volumes. You need to get some discipline in there IMO. And then agree it with the other folk that look after him. Set boundaries and enforce them consistently. It's not rocket science. It happens at school and he is happy, you need to do the same at home (all be it in a suitable way for your family that mean you, DH and grandparents can look after him).
That said, this age can be tricky. I wrote down what to do with DS if he played up for my Mum and she did it, she only had to do it once or twice but then DS knew where he was and towed the line and everyone was happier. For us we have a warning, then go to your room for time out, apology, hug, move on. I have also banned TV/computer games, but if this was not a punishment for a particular DC I would find something that was to make the point.
Oh, and don't get into discussion. It's not up for discussion with 4 year olds (or 5 or 6 or......). Be calm and consistent, be loving and kind and he should come round quick. Be warned when you start this you will get crying/shouting or some sort of reaction but it will not last if you stick to your guns.
Apart from all that which sounds rather victorian I agree with pp who say 4 year old boys need exercising, and they need playing with/attention sometimes at least, so maybe the other people who look after him should be steered towards doing a couple of activities with him/take him out so he can get some physical exercise and then hopefully he will behave better. Good luck!
He needs discipline, exercise and time with his father.
How on earth can a father refuse to look after his own child - unless of course you have been undermining attempts at discipline by others?
I agree with Tgger. Don't get into discussion.
"At school he is generally a good boy unless he has a stand in teacher and then again he totally runs riot"
"I am not about he goes totally mad"
To me this screams that he is playing up because he is anxious, not naughty.
Boys like this test the boundaries time and time again for years, just to make sure they are in place, to make sure things are secure. Mostly he knows where he is with you, and his class teacher.
Don't move the boundaries, give him lots of love and reassurance. The more secure he feels, the better his behaviour will be over time, and I'm not talking immediately.
My DS can be like this. It's really worrying. I suppose I don't like the idea of punishments and rewards. I try to deal with him by 'having a word' or sending him to his room, or asking him to apologise. The worst behaviour doesn't happen with me though. I've heard awful things from his Dad and the school about what he does. He can be just so naughty when I am with my friend for example he might refuse to join us at a picnic and just keep shouting my name from a distance, because he wants me to come and join him, rather than him ever join me, he might pick up a stone and everyone will say don't throw that please, and then he'll throw it.... What I mean is, some children do just keep fighting and want everything their way. What is the answer? I mean, they don't get anything their way at school do they? Should we be making them miserable deliberately.
I think just keep reminding them we all have to take turns and make each other happy, and they'll grow up eventually?!?!?!?
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