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WTF has happened to my 4 year old?!

(10 Posts)
PickledLily Tue 19-Apr-16 09:58:15

It's like she's suddenly possessed. For the past few weeks, she's been really unsettled, wingeing at everything, objecting to everything (not put the right knife on the table, it's pointing the wrong way, it's the wrong shape...), refusing to do anything we ask, not wanting to go to pre-school, insisting we do stuff a certain way. It's like she's developed OCD overnight and is struggling to express herself. She throws things and hits me, so I calmly tell her not to, that I'm walking away because I don't like being hit and that she can join me when she's calmed down.

I know it's just a phase, but it's really intense and she doesn't let up. DH just picked her up and put her outside and closed the backdoor on her, which I thought was really out of order.

Any suggestions on how best to deal with this?

PickledLily Tue 19-Apr-16 12:30:31


starpatch Tue 19-Apr-16 19:27:47

Didn't want to read and run. flowers we just had 3days of that no advice but you have my sympathy. Maybe there was some trigger?

PickledLily Tue 19-Apr-16 21:10:14

Thanks star patch, has your child come out the over side?
It's probably connected with DD moving into her own room, but it's been several weeks now and she wants her own room, it's not that we forced her.

I guess we have to sit it out.

TrainBridge Tue 19-Apr-16 21:18:17

I was going to ask if there had been any big changes in her life recently. My experience is that this type of behaviour is either 'everything is too worrying and tricky and I'm overwhelmed' or 'I'm just checking those boundaries are still there'. Once you've worked out what it is (and from your most recent post it sounds like the first one) then you can respond appropriately.

So for an anxious / overwhelmed child it's all about routine, being babied a bit, feeling safe, being reassured, more cuddles, acknowledging their emotions etc. If you can play with them and follow their lead often they'll end up showing you what's bothering them through their play.

But if it's testing boundaries that requires a firmer response. The problem is, if you apply the firm response to an anxious child they just get more anxious, particularly if you're using time out as that removes them from their source of comfort and reassurance (you). So I would tend to try the first option, and if that didn't work then move to being a bit stricter and see if that worked.

How's her speech? DS had issues with that at simliar age, leading to problems.

DD, however, can be the stroppiest so-and-so ever, but if you stop her mid- 'my knife is wrong!' strop with a smile and , "Who wants a hug!?" sometimes you can head it off. or just get equally stroppy back like me blush

thatsn0tmyname Tue 19-Apr-16 22:23:41

My son is 4 and spends much of his day arguing that black is white or getting hormonal and upset about silly things. When he's finished crying he'll give his sister a shove. Everyone is 'Bum bum' or 'poo poo'. It's bloody tedious.

PickledLily Wed 20-Apr-16 13:02:43

Boulevard grin I'll try that next time. Her speech is ok, but definitely not as clear as her peers in terms of enunciation, it's quite garbled and a bit lispy, but I think a mild tongue tie might be contributing to that. She has grommets for glue ear; I guess it's possible that one has fallen out and her hearing is suffering.

Or she might just be going through a tedious phase, like your son, Thatn0tmyname. If this is a predictor of teenage behaviour, I'm scared!!

Vilio Wed 20-Apr-16 13:08:49

Usually when we've had a bad day or day/s, we've found out a reason after. Its usually sickness developing, or some issue with school/something someone said or did/lack of control over something happening.
I've had 100% success on a bit of lovebombing in these situations. That could be letting my ds chose what to do for a day and eating his favourite dinner. Lots of attention and giving /getting love back. Its like a reset switch in our house.

If I were you, I'd go along with the knife thing, and ask more about it. Show an interest in why she thinks it has to be that way. Play along with it. Giving in doesn't mean shes winning. Its sounds as if she is finding it hard to get her voice heard so this is something she's trying to control.
Reasoning with her at her level might let her open up.

PickledLily Wed 20-Apr-16 13:10:33

Thanks Trainbridge that makes a lot of sense. I don't do timeout, for exactly that reason - it makes her more stressed and anxious. She's always stuck to me like glue, I can't leave the room without her getting upset; if I try to walk away when she's lashing out, she gets very upset and knows she's done wrong but wants me there, but then lashes out again. We do lots of playing, she wants to be the baby, and I've been trying hard to acknowledge her emotions, but sometimes it just gets her more upset. She has been asking for her dummy again too (she gave it up a few months back), so definitely an anxiety thing.

Last night when she wouldn't go to bed and started lashing out at me, she ran off and started talking to herself about things. Unfortunately I couldn't get close enough to hear. sad

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