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How do I tell my 4yr old to stop with the bad attitude?

(19 Posts)
Petallic Thu 21-Jan-16 00:29:08

My 4 year old is stropping his way through every little thing right now. Anything he doesn't like and he scowls, stomps feet and either sulks or endlessly tells me how he doesn't like me for telling him no/whatever.

My current approach is to tell him I'm sorry he is angry/disappointed and to give him a word for what he is feeling. I don't tolerate the stomping, he gets a warning and then a time out (sitting in the bottom of the stairs) and I try to ignore the whining bit.

But now he's starting to do things like blow raspberries at me when he thinks I'm on the edge of being out of sight/earshot or muttering under his breath. I would like to tell him to stop with the attitude. But that's not clear enough for a 4 yr old. What do I call it? Backchat?

Or am I approaching it all wrong? Anyone else got a stroppy 4 year old that was like this?

bojorojo Thu 21-Jan-16 01:24:13

No. However, I understand the problem. He is pulling your strings to get attention. Keep yourself far enough away from him so you cannot see him or hear him. "Backchat" is not a simple term either and I just hate "bad attitude". Let him mutter under his breadth. Just make sure you cannot hear it.

In terms of a phrase, I would use plain English. "Silly noises" might be a good enough phrase. If he can sit still for the required time when punished without making any irritiating noises, then give him a cuddle afterwards. The original "naughty step" was at the foot of the stairs so not in a room. Close the door between you and him.

Talk to him every morning about the day ahead and see if he can try and promise not to do stomping, sulking or making you upset and be a good boy so you can have a good time together. Reward him if he does well. If you have a very good day, promise him a treat the following day, subject to good behaviour. Some children respond well to behaviour charts so you could try this.

Is he at Nursery??? Increase the time he spends there if he is.

Petallic Thu 21-Jan-16 07:44:37

Thanks, I will try talking to him about the day ahead, I know that's also similar to what he does at playgroup too. And I'll work out a reward for doing well.

Increasing his hours unfortunately isn't an option as they are only open part time as its a playgroup he goes to.

Diamogs Thu 21-Jan-16 08:03:47

Silly noises as said above would be clear enough.

Or if you want to make it stronger then "rude noises" for the raspberry blowing?

Well done for handling it so calmly as that would really push my buttons.

Blu Thu 21-Jan-16 08:18:13

4 seems to be a classic age for silly noises and rude words . I seem to remember everyone was 'poo poo head' da soon as Reception started.

I would completely ignore, except if he speaks to you in a stroppy rude voice ignore and day 'speak in a happy voice please' and from then on simply 'don't hear' any requests in a rude voice and day 'I can only hear if you speak to me in a happy voice'.

Petallic Thu 21-Jan-16 08:31:22

that's goods, I'll try telling him it's rude noises, i already use "silly noises" for when he's being too noisy indoors and doing my head in and try to use a breezy reminder to use happy voices also.

It seems bonkers now that I was awake at 1am stressing about how to accurately describe cheeky or insolent behaviour to a 4 year old! And my brain was struggling even with just simple words and phrases I could use with him.

But I've had some sleep now and am bolstered also by knowing others have also got these noisy annoying 4 year olds too smile.

lostinabook Thu 21-Jan-16 08:37:10

I have one of these models do...irritates me but absolutely pushes DH's buttons

thatsn0tmyname Sun 24-Jan-16 21:41:17

My son is exactly the same. He's so defiant at the moment. I definitely think he doesn't cope well with the winter weather and lack of light. I'm really not enjoying parenting at the moment. My two year old is also flexing her muscles. We do separate activities with them on Sunday morning to give them 'quality' time. It was a farce today. We were bollocking them both, one was at the swimming pool and the other was at the shops. Our evening was ruined too. I'm seriously considering smoking again.

Pringlesandwine Sun 24-Jan-16 22:00:35

Another one here...4.5 year old DD. No fun at all this weekend, just constant whining, strops, rudeness and screaming if not getting her own way. It's exhausting and I'm looking forward to work and school tomorrow which is such a shame as I'd planned a nice weekend for us and it was ruined with her constant poor and rude behaviour.

rhetorician Sun 24-Jan-16 22:49:41

also have one of this type - turned 4 in December; lots of imperious demands and cheeky lip. She's a right madam at times, but very sweet at others. I'm just working on the assumption that if I ignore her when she is rude and keep pointing out the right way of going about things that she'll get it in the end

omri Sun 24-Jan-16 23:05:48

Oh you could be describing my 4yo boy too op!! What I get stressed about is that he'll grow into this behaviour more and more - not grow out of it!!
The constant whinging, demanding treats, demanding tv And getting really really angry when he doesn't get his way. I try really hard not to give in when he talks to me like that but it's very difficult. He's also refusing to do absolutely anything for himself this week. Won't set out the table mats, won't get himself a spoon for his cereal, won't pick up his crayon that he dropped from the table - demanding I get it!!! Drives me mad. Then we have another drama when I say no you are a big boy and get it yourself.
Looking forward to work in the morning after a tough weekend!!!

Of course he's sweetness and light for his granny, crèche...saves it all for me and dp at home angry

Petallic Mon 25-Jan-16 12:14:54

wine for everyone who also has a 4yr old tyrant at home and has survived the weekend. Omri I think we must share a child as DS sounds identical - he will sometimes refuse to lift the food from his plate to his mouth and asks demands I do it. i am counting down the days until this phase passes!

MiaowTheCat Wed 27-Jan-16 07:55:18

The one thing I found that worked with DD1 when she was going through stroppy mare phases was that for every bit of her attitude back at me - I'd pinch a jellybean from the reward jar! That REALLY got through to her - me getting jellybeans and her NOT!!!

Plus I got lots of jellybeans!

Now I just need to say "oooh the stroppy's snuk in - does that mean it's jellybean time for me" and she gives it a rest.

florentina1 Wed 27-Jan-16 08:52:32

One way you might try is to detach the behaviour from the actual child Through story telling.

I would do this with my DD who was a massive sulker. So the bedtime story would be about Sally sulk, using humour and also explaining in the story how it affected others. One I remember was how no-one wanted to go to the park because SallySulk spoilt it for everyone if she could not hog the only swing. Being confined to the house then resulted in a procession of zoo animals coming in to try to cheer everyone up.

I found that making the story about a fictional child helped the next time a Sulk appeared. Warnings about elephants trying to squeeze round the table was a distraction from what she was actually sulking about.

It is hard for a 4 year old to see the effect their behaviour has on others. I found that once it got into the telling off, or punishment stage the resentment built up and the behaviour carried on. I think it is a defence mechanism with them for feelings they can't quite understand.

Smurfing Fri 29-Jan-16 00:09:06

Florentina did you find that you had to remind DD of the sulk story when she was starting to sulk or that repeated storytelling was enough for her to make the link herself? As I am interested in trying your suggestion. Anything to try and break the constant circle we seem to be in at the moment.

Thanks miaow I'm also very keen to try anything that means more sweets for me! I'm not sure if it might provoke a nuclear meltdown in DS the first time we try it, but mini-eggs are out at the moment, so I'm prepared to risk it grin

florentina1 Fri 29-Jan-16 06:28:56

The way it worked for me was this.

I would keep the story very short and quite funny, with lots of exaggerated behaviours.

Then I would ask questions. Do you think it made Sally's mum and her brothers sad when they could not go to the park. Then I would lead on to why do you think Sally behaved the way she did. It is important not to labour the questions too much. Children can be quite astute.

I said bedtime story but I remember now that I did it during the day. As it is quite a negative message I did not want her dwelling on it when she went to sleep. I would choose a time when she was quite upbeat and do it then. Never within a short space of the sulking happening.

The next time it would happen I would either refer to the story in a funny way, or sit down and ask her if she remembered what we said about how sad Sally's mum was when she sulked. Just depended on the situation. The humour seemed to stop it escalating. Asking her about the story more had the effect of her quietening and thinking.

Sometimes children appear to be very selfish and self centred and have difficulty really understand the effect their behaviour has on others. They find it difficult to express in words how they are feeling. Trying to explain or telling them off for their behaviour is so wearing when it is constantly repeated.

Detaching from the behaviour and putting it onto another child can sometimes help them articulate. In my daughters case it turned out to be born out of jealousy. Middle child with older and much younger brother. She felt that it was unfair that she was not a boy. I never knew that was an issue for her and it did not come out at the first telling of the story.

One day she said, totally out of the blue, not related to anything at all, "I think Sally was sulking because she is not a boy". The thing was she was always such a tomboy and we never really treated her girly. I remember one year being really annoyed at my mum. She had asked for a cowboy outfit and my mum bought her a cowgirl one . My mum was really annoyed with me for changing it. The point I am making here, is that even though I thought I was not categorising her for being female, she did not see it that way.

LostQueen Mon 01-Feb-16 05:21:01

I am currently at my wits end with my little girl- she'll be four next month. I am not enjoying parenting at all at the moment which makes me so sad because when she's good she's very very good but the majority of the time she is defiant, has to be given the same instruction 4,5,6 times before she'll do it, screams, shouts, throws tantrums over every tiny little thing.

I have no idea what to do anymore, i constantly feel ground down by it all. I just want to enjoy the time that I spend with her but at the moment, weekends are an absolute nightmare. I've spent this whole morning feeling down in the dumps because my day started with yet another tantrum and I just can't face dealing with it all day again sad

Smurfing Mon 01-Feb-16 17:34:29

lostQueen wine hopefully your day has improved. It's tough having to constantly be the reasonable even-toned adult when theres a marauding monster tantruming in front of you all day, every day! My 3 yr old DD is also one for killer tantrums, shes also very good when my goals align with hers - but all hell breaks loose when I try and stop her from doing what she wants. I find her more difficult than my DS who is grumpy but mostly compliant. DD might as well be flicking the Vs at me when I ask/tell her to do something she doesn't to do!

Thanks for taking the time to reply in more detail florentina - I am shamelessly trying to copy it with my DS and hopefully it will help tone down some of the grump!

florentina1 Mon 01-Feb-16 19:43:00

i am long long past the age of having to deal with children on a daily basis.

Nowadays it is hearing about in on MN or from my kids.

Nothing EVER changes about child rearing,

But I do have some questions that I have never been able to answer.

How come a child that cannot even tie its shoes can bring a whole house to a standstill by refusing to put them on?

How is it that a child that cannot read or write has the equivalent of a psychology degree in knowing just how to press our buttons and make us feel we are the the worlds worst mother?

How does the happy world of 3 year old turn in a nano-second. Smiling and co-operative to a tantrum that can send the space shuttle off-course.

If it any consolation all of these things pass eventually. Sincerely believe that my lot grew up to be nice people despite my parenting skills not because of them.

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