Is our son just naughty(5 Posts)
Our 4 year old has a big tantrum when things aren't done in certain order for example, he was going to preschool to have his photo taken we were told to take him and to wait outside for him only be ten minutes which we told him that's what was going to happen but when we got there they changed it and said come back in a hour he got very upset and spent whole hour there crying and if you don't do certain things in correct order he will be naughty and get very upset. He is a shy little boy who's very emotional but when he good he great but when things are not done his way he throws terrible tantrums throws his self about. He gets bored very easily but never likes to give up on things yet if can't do right he will go into one. Is he just being naughty or could he have ocd.
It's really problematic to start thinking of a child being 'naughty' at four. There is so much they do not understand and can't be vocal about what they don't understand. And when adults change things as happened with the photographs he could not understand that, so took the route that a lot of four year olds do and had a tantrum. With my children I have noticed that tantrums were most likely when the adults around them didn't explain things to them and just assumed that they understood. Sitting with a child, taking time out to explain what is happening and letting them know that you understand why they feel so mad, usually averted or stopped a tantrum mid track.
I don't think you need to worry. Firstly because things that seem small to us can seem really important to a toddler who is just trying to get to grips with the world. Their confidence is built on independent thinking, being able to anticipate actions or events is critical to that (hence why a daily routine or sequence is so effective). When something is done differently to the way he expects, it undermines his confidence and understanding and probably makes him feel as though he is being controlled because an unexpected change is forced upon him. His only way of responding to that and asserting himself is to tantrum, it's not unusual.
Secondly,I don't think this constitutes "naughty" behaviour and actually I would be very cautious about using the word naughty so as to avoid inadvertently labelling your child. To me, naughty is more about defiance or being mean with intent, the child chose to do a specific action in full knowledge that it was either wrong or likely to upset someone. That's very different to what you're describing.
If I were you I would work on problem solving with your child. Do it in other situations to try to introduce a methodical approach. Eg - when something happens, ask him to identify the problem, then ask him to identify solutions before deciding on what action to take together and praising him for being flexible. This sounds big - quite frankly it can be as simple as addressing a problem such as having run out of Rice Krispies!
Children with conditions like OCD and ASD can get very distressed when things don't happen in the way they were expecting them to and this overwhelming distress can result in a meltdown. These don't have to be thing they particularly want to happen, e.g. my DD who has AS was once sad because DH was going away for work overnight but then he made a last minute change and arranged to leave the next morning instead and she went into full blown meltdown. It was the last minute change that distressed her, even though it gave her more time with her dad which she wanted.
Children who are four years old can tend to do the same but perhaps not to the same extent and, with careful management, e.g. skillful distraction, they can sometimes be diverted from the potential meltdown in a way that a child with a developmental disorder perhaps couldn't.
Children who are four years old can also push the boundaries and have tantrums to try to make people do things their way just because that's what they want.
It's hard to tell the difference between the three sets of behaviour, especially from one brief written example. You're the ones who see this behaviour every day. You see how big or small the changes are that affect him, you see his behaviour in comparison with other children his age and you see whether it is change he is reacting to or just not getting something he would like.
If you feel like his behaviour is making it harder for him to engage in everyday activities than it is for other children his age or you're having to make very complex and detailed adaptations to your family life in order to avoid extremes of distress, ask for a referral to a paediatrician. They can make referrals for further assessment if they agree that his behaviour is outside the normal range for four year olds.
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