Need help with my 4yo(31 Posts)
He's just turned 4 last week.
His behaviour is awful and just not how I have brought him up at all.
He answers back, shouts no at me. Screams when he doesn't get his own way, I mean high pitched full on screams, refuses to do anything I ask. Even something like putting his own shoes on is a TWENTY FUCKING MINUTE screaming fit every day.
I've tried getting cross. I've tried completely ignoring him, I've tried time out, I've tried talking nicely. NOTHING works. He can be a really really horrible child.
Problem is when we are out, he's fine usually, very polite, intelligent, nursery have no concerns at all socially or educationally. He's fine.
Just at home he'd absolutely horrendous. He's always been a high maintenance child, never wanted to sleep, always had tantrums from really early on, he had to be forced into Prams and car seats from 6 months old screaming. He's just always been bloody defiant.
I don't know what I've done wrong.
I have one of those, he's 4 next month. He likes to tantrum in public too. Will be watching thread for advice.
Have you tried having some structure to your day with visual timetables and egg timer count downs. He might like the structure at nursery.
We have a very structured day. He can tell the time (ish) and we follow a routine pretty well. He's a nightmare when he's out of his routine.
He did used to tantrum in public too but he seems to have grown out of that and is extra horrible at home instead to make up for it.
He might be tired? End of term itis?
Positive rewards for good behaviour.
Don't get cross/shout it will only make it worse.
Lots of fresh air/exercise.
Limit sugar intake/sweets.
Limit screen time.
It is exhausting isn't it?! Have one of those who is now 7 and does lots of sport & team games which has really sorted him out. He likes the discipline and the competition.
Have you considered ASD? My son was finally diagnosed at 10 but the the signs were there from the start. Earlier diagnosis would have helped him and me. Shoes were a thing with him. You'd think it'd get better if they have to. Do. It. Every. Day. Ds didn't. Have you heard of PDA? Quite possible he hasn't got it but some of the techniques may help.
Sleep and screaming can be a thing too.
The thing is all this is just home. Even the shoes. He can do them at nursery fine and just gets on with it.
He's one of the brightest most popular sociable children at nursery. They've never mentioned any behavioural difficulties whatsoever.
I am hoping it's just tiredness that has made him even worse this past month.
I am shouty. I try not to be but I just get so frustrated. He gets lots of praise for good behaviour but can't seem to control himself when he starts playing up. He can be lovely with his brother for half a day and I think we are getting somewhere, then something sets him off and he is snatching/screaming again. It's so bloody exhausting.
Some children are able to mask it while away from home. Then explode when they get home.
This sounds so like my ds1 who will be 4 in April. I'm finding it hard going and would welcome any tips! For us particular triggers are him not being in control of things which is a common occurrence for a 3 year old! His 10 month old brother also winds him up and I lost it with him after a particularly bad day yesterday
My now 5 year old was just like that. You have my every sympathy.
My only advice is to stick to your routine and structure - he's still learning how to behave and experiencing all these new things. He's testing your boundaries at home to see if they shift. He does it with you because he has a secure attachment and knows you love him unconditionally. Elsewhere have conditions attached to good behaviour and so he literally would not dare play up. You and home are his safe zone to dick about and be a pain without risk. Use different approaches to get through to him or get the task done, but don't compromise on the rules themselves. Continuity gives him reassurance, even though it doesn't look like it at the time.
I would concentrate on communication- following up every tantrum with a debrief. Try to help him find the words to describe his feelings. For us this has now become a key tool for stopping a tantrum before it takes hold. "Explain to me why you're sad. What did I do?/not do? Breath...and try to find your words. What's stopping you from wanting to put your shoes on?" And so on..
DS has a weird thing about not wanting to get his hands wet. It comes and goes so we never know until a tantrum starts, and we have to get it out of him somehow.
DS is also perfect outside of the home. The worst we ever had was refusing to brush his teeth. It was a usual battle but we literally spent 7 hours doing nothing but sat in a hallway staring at a toothbrush.
Best of luck I hope it goes well xx
I am shouty.
I just get so frustrated.
It's so bloody exhausting.
Mol1628, might your angst be creating the problem?
My four year old is like this - angelic at nursery, demonic at home... I try to avoid shouting as I've learned from experience that it just makes him worse. I try to perfect the quiet monotone to repeat instructions and he doesn't get anything if he screams and shouts. I think I say "use a nice voice" about a billion times a day.
for you OP
7 hours meh? That's not ok
I'm stubborn and at what point do you back down from requiring a child to brush their teeth in the morning? All threats of punishment had been made, swimming cancelled, activities, privileges etc. i don't believe in punishment impacting longer than 24 hrs, so he can lose tomorrow's chocolate treat but not all treats for a week iyswim. So the only options left were to sit and wait or do it for him. Equally I won't pin my child to the floor and forcibly brush his teeth either. So we sat it out.
On the plus side - he's a great toothbrusher now! There is light at the end of the tunnel. He kicks up a fuss a couple of times a week, delaying tactics. He's just turned 5 and brushes himself every day. I supervise to check he gets everything but he does it himself really well. He understands germs and asked to brush his teeth the other day after trying a candy cane. He didn't like the way it stuck to his teeth. I feel we have a victory on the old toothbrush thing now.
I've just posted a very similar post about my 4 year old. Will be reading this!
Meh- making a child sit in a hallway for 7 hours is wrong. SS could see that as abusive (depends on other factors).
The way I enforced teeth brushing was to allow nothing containing sugar if teeth weren't done. Still have to on occasion. They brush them 99% of the time. I know this isn't infallible.
OP, some children are like this, and it may be ASD, or it may be sensory issue. Have you seen the book "the highly sensitive child"? I found that useful.
Phil - I do now suspect SPD, he ticks a lot of boxes for it. I personally don't feel it was abusive to ask my son to brush his teeth and not let him wonder off and play, amuse himself and generally do as he pleases instead. He had a nap during that time, so couldn't have been that traumatised by it.
Many friends have criticised my approach, as toothbrush has always been a thing for him since he got his first tooth. You can criticise too if you want to but I know my son and my own boundaries. I know he now does it really well and is happy to look after his teeth. You cannot judge me if you have not stood in my shoes and struggled with this issue for pretty much 4 years solid.
We have a very low sugar diet anyway, he likes chocolate but won't eat many other sweet things. Refusing to allow sugary things until teeth brushed could go on for days. He would have happily skipped chocolate back then if he could have carried on the day without brushing.
The incident that day had been triggered by a sleepover at grandmas house the night before. He refused to brush his teeth for her so she left it and gave them a quick once over with brush and water once he fell asleep. She brought him back unbrushed as he refused that morning too. I believe he saw it as validation that the rule of brushing teeth morning and night can be broken. That's why I was stubbornly reinforcing the rule, no fun until teeth are brushed.
7 hours sitting in a hallway staring at a toothbrush is still too long for a 4yo. Especially if they have a difficulty on the spectrum. That's not me being judgey because I don't know what it's like- I have a child like this, I've been doing it for 10 years. I know how fucking hard it is.
Like us said - I NOW suspect he's on the spectrum. DH doesn't. So you are judging me as if he is, and was diagnosed then, and that I should have known.
The advice I was getting at the time from of interfering judgey parents was to pin him down and force him. Ffs. I handled it the best way I knew how, with love and compassion. I have the results I was looking for and without a damaged child. In my opinion. Which is worth more to me than yours. Don't forget, you waded in to this with your opinion of SS opinion of this. Bit too judgey for someone who should know better.
Hi OP my son sounds very similar to yours and is also 4. I am pretty sure he is NT. I was a fucking horror as a child and tantrummed regularly until I was around 7....so think it's just karma coming back at me in my case!
There's some good advice on this thread that I will be trying out.
Don't beat yourself up for getting shouty: you're only human and kids push your buttons until you snap.
I shout a lot too. I am trying to say sorry and explain to my son now "I am sorry for shouting but being rude/refusing to get your shoes on AGAIN made me feel very frustrated and cross."
Also have you tried things just making yourself a cuppa and sit down with grown up telly on and say: we will go out when you've put your shoes on. Until then I am watching my tv shows and you can do what you like. And sit there all day if necessary, don't engage, just keep calmly saying "put your shoes on if you wanna go to the park".
Thanks. I am pretty sure he's NT.
I do apologise for shouting and he apologises for whatever he's done. I am shouty in the moment but he gets lots of hugs and told how good he is being regularly too, which he is, sometimes.
It's just so relentless! A battle every day.
I like the idea of putting my tv on till he's got his shoes on. Might try that over the holidays when we don't have to be anywhere on time.
Watching for advice. Our lovely 4yo can be the same as yours. Screaming, ignoring us, etc. We try all strategies. Only one with remote success is love, compassion, hugs (after trying all else, but DH sys im being too soft). Strength to all in this situation
I get that the gentle approach is generally the best way. But what about when he's screaming and snatching off his brother repeatedly after being told nicely to be nice. He's been sent to his room twice today already. 🙄
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