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DS who is four - misbehaved but struggle to put a finger on why

(52 Posts)
Fedup83 Wed 17-Feb-16 18:37:55

This sounds really weird but from the moment he wakes up until the moment he goes to sleep it's 'something' that he's doing to annoy, provoke or just generally misbehave.

The reason I'm asking for advice is if someone was to ask me 'what' is it precisely he does me and DH would struggle to verbalise it.

The behaviour is just insidious, so small, silly continuous things that have us constantly feeling that we're holding back a flood. We say his name constantly, constantly to keep him on track.

It sounds like a load of silly little things but it's the continuous nature - so asking for something repeatedly until he gets it, unable to stop himself. Running around after sister. Taking things off sister. Jumping about.

It makes us feel like we are constantly having a go at him and that can't be good for his self esteem. It makes me feel negatively toward his behaviour and he doesn't deserve it. He deserves to feel happy and not constantly monitored and told off.

We've been down the whole medical route after concerns were raised at nursery and then school. But absolutely nothing was found to be 'the matter'.

It's like he needs constant one on one to behave.

School, I think, seem to feel that he's settled in now.

Any advice appreciated.

Mrscog Wed 17-Feb-16 20:16:57

He sounds a bit like my DS who's nearly 4 - he has spurts of behaviour like this. What consequences have you tried? You have to find one which really gets to them.

WombOfOnesOwn Thu 18-Feb-16 07:47:25

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Fedup83 Thu 18-Feb-16 08:09:26

Thanks for that insight.

That's really supportive.

You might be someone I don't know but it's made me feel a bit shitter about my day.

I have another child and so I'm not totally clueless. I wouldn't have posted here if I wasn't looking for reassurance that a) this can be totally normal for a child of four (not preschool by the way) and b) ways to deal with the behaviour so he DOESN'T feel negativity as it upsets me that at the moment there is a lot of 'don't do that' 'don't do this'.

For your information we were recommended to take him to the GP. We don't want him 'medicalised' or whatever the phrase was.

I wasn't coming here for an argument.

Thanks to first poster. It's nice to hear that there are others who have similar DSs and that makes me feel reassured. We do have a consequence that works but I do feel we use it, it runs out and then there's nothing left!

Like I say, I don't want to have an argument with some random person making me feel like I don't love my son. We want to deal with the behaviour in a way that makes him feel loved actually.

Smartiepants79 Thu 18-Feb-16 08:22:21

I think that kind of behaviour is fairly normal although unusual that school have been concerned enough to flag it up and request he is seen by a professional.
That kind of behaviour is so wearing.
I would say pick your battles. Figure out which are the things that really annoy you and need to be kept in check - snatching from sister jumps out at me. Be firm in your expectations and boundaries - don't give in when he repeatedly asks for something ( my kids do this, I have had to learn to zone it out, keep saying no, and get on with whatever I'm doing til they go away!!)
Try and watch for him being good. Praise everything he does that is 'good' behaviour.
Many people on here recommend a technique called love bombing but it's not something I've any experience of myself.

Seeline Thu 18-Feb-16 08:26:40

It does sound as though you perhaps need to take a step back.
He is a 4yo boy - they have loads of energy and are just beginning to find there own ways and ideas. Nothing you have said that he does sounds particularly unusual or particularly naughty - just annoying?
He is probably just as fed up of his name being used as you are and has learnt to block it out.
Decide which things you really can't let go - eg hurting his sister (running round after isn't going to do any harm, taking things off her is not very nice, but tackle one thing at a time) If her, deal with that issue - each time, in the same way every time.
I think you are going to have to learn to put up with him jumping about - it's what 4yos do.

Fedup83 Thu 18-Feb-16 08:27:05

Thank you.

I think the thing you've said there that I could do more is 'picking the battles' and zoning out more with the things that aren't particularly great but aren't hurting or really misbehaving.

I don't want him to think back to being a child and just remember his name being said repeatedly!

Fedup83 Thu 18-Feb-16 08:31:00

I also think it's helpful (for me at least) every now and again to hear "this is what they're like".

BeStrongAndCourageous Thu 18-Feb-16 08:35:55

Honestly, he just sounds like he's, well, four! The behaviour you mention doesn't sound any different to my DD - so I'm surprised it was raised by nursery as it doesn't sound that different to how DD or any of the other four year olds at her nursery behave.

Generally I think the advice to ignore bad behaviour is trotted out too often on MN - I think kids do need more correction than that at times - but in your case it sounds like you could do with letting some things go. He still very young and going through a big period of change, what with adjusting to school, etc.

Fedup83 Thu 18-Feb-16 08:43:50

I know and I do feel like I give him a 'hard time'. I don't want him to feel like that.

He's sitting nicely now playing (while asking for grapes continuously...) and I think yesterday was a more challenging day than most, hence my need to offload.

Thank you for putting me right.

Noteventhebestdrummer Thu 18-Feb-16 08:45:02

4 year old boys are like dogs, they need regular exercise and training otherwise they are destructive and self destructive in relationships too. Tire him out with lots of exercise? Take him to a martial arts class too to work on the self control at an age appropriate level?

Noteventhebestdrummer Thu 18-Feb-16 08:45:38

Should have said I have 5 boys...

OrionsAccessory Thu 18-Feb-16 08:48:26

Do you help him to stop what he's doing? for example if he's chasing his sister and she doesnt like it you could say "dd isn't enjoying this game, let's do something else" then if he continues chasing you'd say "I see you need some help to stop chasing" and you physically (gently) stop him. At 4 I wouldn't expect him to be able to control his impulses every time. Make sure he has plenty of time to run around and burn off some energy. My dd1 was a lot like this and needed a good hour long walk every day to keep her (and me!) sane. She's 7 now and has chilled out a bit smile

Fedup83 Thu 18-Feb-16 08:51:55

Thank you - no I haven't tried the helping him to do other things.

I say please DS stop doing that and if he gets three warnings to stop and doesn't then it's a consequence such as time out. So I will give that a try.

We live about a 20 min walk from the school and we've started walking there and back every day in all weathers and I'm hoping that will help. He also plays sport.

LauraVonSlim Thu 18-Feb-16 08:52:11

I have a similar sounding child and what worked well for us was '1-2-3 magic.'

You might think you have done counting before, but this works really well if you read the book and do it exactly as it says. Small variations seem to undermine it for some reason (it explains that in the book).

Fedup83 Thu 18-Feb-16 08:57:47

I'm counting to three most of my day!

I have heard of this book but never read or bought. I will purchase now!

Arfarfanarf Thu 18-Feb-16 08:58:08

If you cant articulate what he is doing that is' misbehaving' - why do you feel that he is?
If you can't describe the misbehaviour can you describe what you think is the behaviour of a child that is not misbehaving ? Could it be you expect a calm child peacefully doing craft activities or watching tv and are misinterpreting energy as an attempt to be naughty?

What you describe seems more like an energetic small child rather than a child doing things purposely to annoy.

Do you think he runs/ jumps around because it is his intention to annoy or because he's a child with lots of energy?

I would work on changing my own perception of his behaviour. Also change the language. Remove misbehaving, provoke, inisidious... it's all language that cements a perception of him as someone who is in someway slyly being energetic at you in a manipulative way grin which would be nuts, right? grin

Does he get enough exercise? Some children really need to 'work it off' and running round the home isnt enough. He needs to get breathless iyswim.

Hope things improve for you. My boys are and always have been really energetic. Simply cant sit down. Sometimes i want to cry and beg for just five minutes of quiet time grin

Fedup83 Thu 18-Feb-16 09:01:19

I think getting in the face of and ge rally upsetting his little sister and jumping up and down on furniture IS misbehaving actually - especially when he's been told not to.

I've just bought the 123 book for 1p from Amazon. Bargain.

sootica Thu 18-Feb-16 09:01:37

Sounds pretty normal to me. If you are comparing him to your eldest when she was 4 maybe he is just a more high energy less mature 4 when your daughter was 4. I compare my three kids and one was an angel at 4 who would sit nicely and concentrate on tasks, one was v whingy and attention seeking and one was a bundle of hard work energy much like you describe your boy. I most definitely agree with distraction to do something else rather than constant saying of his name (which I presume means stop it or careful with the tone you use) and treating like a dog who needs exercise and wearing out outside the house!

Fedup83 Thu 18-Feb-16 09:03:50

You are right in that I'm expecting too much perhaps, as others have suggested.

Arfarfanarf Thu 18-Feb-16 09:08:42

Well yes, they are. But you said you couldnt give examples! This is the first time youve said jumping on the furniture and upsetting his sister.
They are reasonable things to expect him not to do.

SpotOn Thu 18-Feb-16 09:09:56

My DS1 was "challenging" and often "off task" - words used by school although they could never say exactly why/what.

With hindsight I would say he was difficult at home, although I refused to use that word back then.

It's not always possible to pin point or articulate the unwanted behaviour.

DS1 would know somehow which little thing would wind someone up.

He did have loads of energy, but also needed masses of sleep but found it hard to switch off.

Some kids are just more hard work than others, but it doesn't mean they aren't normal.

There won't be one answer on how to deal with the behaviour, it'll be a case of trial and error of what works with each child.

probably the least helpful post ever

OrionsAccessory Thu 18-Feb-16 09:17:09

Getting in his sister's face and jumping on furniture is behaviour you don't want but try not to think of it as bad behaviour because it's totally normal and he isn't bad. He just needs some help in redirecting his energy, punishments and time outs aren't going to use up that energy for him.

PosieReturningParker Thu 18-Feb-16 09:20:01

I'm not going to start the sexist crap that he's a boy and yaddy ya. My three boys are as different from eachother as they are their sister.

So you have a full on child! I think relax over stricter rules to be honest, find his normal and be flexible. Give him lost to do all of the time and lots of positive praise, tell him what you love about him. I've seen this type of child just labelled naughty and then have low self esteem which is heart breaking.

Hurting or annoying others is not acceptable.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Thu 18-Feb-16 09:21:02

Sounds like classic attention seeking behaviour. Feels very familiar to me!

I agree with the points about regular exercise (literally take him out twice a day to burn off energy in an unfocused way. Organised or group sports are fine but they just don't have the same release function) and picking your battles but I would also add regular meals, consistent bed times and some planned down time.

With attention seeking behaviour it might be worth trying Love Bombing? I think most some of what Oliver Whatsit says is utter nonsense but LBing seems to work.

For planned down time watching a film or playing on a tablet might work. So does reading a story but that seems harder for children who struggle with attention seeking. You really need something that can do or control on their own.

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