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4yo DS - moods and disobedience

(10 Posts)
manandbeast Sat 31-Oct-15 11:32:14

Hi all,

My son's behaviour is starting to get me down. When he's behaving well he is a wonderful child - articulate, loving, funny, kind to other children etc (as many kids are).
But he is so moody, uncooperative and wilful the rest of the time that be drives me around the bend. This week is a prime example, we're on a foreign holiday staying a few steps from an idyllic beach but his behaviour has spoilt much of the break. Moods if he can't eat what he wants when he wants, moods if I don't play what he wants when, kicking, punching, pinching (only me never anyone else as far as I am aware) if he doesn't get carried, complaints of tiredness - just sitting on the floor refusing to move. It's hard to describe but in general a sense that he is very uncooperative with me in particular - but so much so that it drives me to despair and ruins what should be enjoyable days for him and for me.

Any experience of this ? Any advice?

Mrscog Sat 31-Oct-15 13:29:26

What sanctions do you use? I think 4 is old enough to have to face major consequences. I've recently got tougher with my 3.5 year old and after a few horrible days of having to dish out unpleasant punishments (for instance putting ice creams back in the supermarket as he pinched his brother (the ice creams were only allowed if he was kind for the whole trip)) his behaviour has improved massively.

HamaHouseofHorror Sat 31-Oct-15 13:33:26

Has he recently started school?

Mine was a bit like this when he started school -he was basically very very very tired, mentally as well as physically - so much to process, being away from me for the first time, all the people/rules/etc etc

He was much better on half days so we did that for a while and it meant he could still have a nap in the afternoon.

Sorry if not at school yet, I'm not sure what to suggest.

manandbeast Sat 31-Oct-15 14:28:47

Thanks for your replies both.

In terms of sanctions, I find he is MUCH more cooperative if I don't surprise him - so counting to three is good and letting him know there will be a consequence if he doesn't choose good behaviour at that point. The sanction will then depend on the severity of the incident - but ranges from putting toys away so he can't have them for the day to having to go to his room for time out etc etc.

It's just that this is often not possible say we're out and trying to get so s'where and he just decides he's not playing ball... I mean there's nothing that feels immediate that will actually help get us on the right track again.

And he has just started school so maybe that does have something to do with it. He loves school but does miss his old childminder so perhaps he's just unsettled.

Do you think it's a phase or just him? what will he be like at 16??

hilbobaggins Sat 31-Oct-15 20:32:39

It is really tough isn't it? Don't forget that change is really hard for young children. Your idyllic holiday represents a massive disruption in his routine not of his choosing. He is in an completely unfamiliar environment and it would be totally understandable if he isn't very happy at the moment.

Cut yourselves a bread and try not to judge the future on the evidence of this moment!

DoctorFunkenstein Sat 31-Oct-15 20:46:47

Well, my then 4yo is now a smart, happy, funny 12yo and he is lovely smile

It was appalling at the time

Most of it was just sheer tiredness. Make sure you are being a bit 'kid gloves' with him, baby him, put him to bed early, that sort of thing.

Starting school does this to a lot of children; I wish they started later. We actually gave up on Year R and took him out in the April, and he went back with far more stamina in Y1.

I am so glad we did that - he was a different child. Sometimes school is just too much for them to cope with without some major fallout in other respects.

DoctorFunkenstein Sat 31-Oct-15 20:48:26

sorry on another namechange - was Hama earlier smile

Clobbered Sat 31-Oct-15 20:53:05

My DN is like this whenever taken on a family holiday - ghastly behaviour. So much so that they have decided to leave them behind with GPs next year. It's the change / loss of routine that seems to trigger the bad behaviour.

The holiday may be your idea of heaven, but perhaps he is bored / tired / frustrated? I can remember hating a lot of holidays as a child as they were not geared to things that I was interested in, and my parents complained that I was ungrateful etc. True enough, I was, and greatly relieved when I no longer had to accompany them!

manandbeast Sun 01-Nov-15 12:12:43

Thankyou all for taking the time to respond.

I hadn't thought about the holiday in terms of disruption to his routine actually though he has asked for childminder and even school once or twice!! So I guess that is a part of it.

Also we are on holidays with the GPs and it makes things a bit more tricky because there are extra rules, different timings and in general it's a bit less child centric than it might otherwise have been.

Just because I like the beach, doesn't mean he has to I suppose. I think he has been bored at times...

He can be a little like this at home too to be honest but thinking about it, you're all right, it has really coincided with him starting school and he's a young'un too - only just 4 so perhaps that's it.

Since I first posted I spent the days trying to be a bit more present - playing with him and watching his cues. My husband would say I'm pandering to him and spoiling him when I do that though. It's really confusing sometimes!

DoctorFunkenstein Sun 01-Nov-15 16:38:16

No no they really need it at this age. That and lots of sleep...is there any way you could keep him on half days at school for a while, or maybe rethink him being there quite yet?

I know it's a big deal to mess with that, but I think there's a lot more understanding about younger children now esp with the new ruling on starting later.

Anyway you sound like a switched on mum, keep doing the thing you're doing, it cannot do any harm x

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