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4 year old behaviour since I started to work full time

(6 Posts)
PaperStars Tue 10-Jan-17 21:01:20

I started a new job a month ago which meant my hours went from part time to full time. Since I started my 4 year old has been a nightmare. He's taking hours going to sleep at night, just sits up playing in bed, even with no toys he uses his covers or whatever. When I spend any time with him he's been hitting and biting and generally doing anything he knows is wrong to do: throwing toys, tantrums.

I've tried taking toys away temporarily, limiting screen time, time out, rewarding good behaviour and I'm exhausted! When we get the time together I want to make it special and enjoy it but he's being so naughty all the time I'm finding it hard and sometimes feel like taking him on a nice day out is rewarding his behaviour as he's still a little monster and I try to discipline him and he laughs at me. I remind him I miss him when I work but I work so we can live. How can I help us get through this abandonment thing? When other family have him they told me he's calling them mummy (whether they're male or female) and he cries for me and is bad behavioured but when he's at nursery they say he's lovely and there's no issue.

Parietal Tue 10-Jan-17 21:11:50

When I travel for work, I often found my DDs (at age 3/4) would spend a day or two 'testing' me - being as naughty as possible to see if I'd rejected them. If I ignored the bad behaviour and did lots of cuddles and being physically close, then they would get over it quicker. So maybe try that?

thethoughtfox Tue 10-Jan-17 21:18:55

I've gone back two days and mine has become a mix of challenging and clingy. Don't 'discipline' him. He won't learn anything except that not only mummy isn't around much any more but his life is just getting worse and worse. You know what's wrong and what he needs: he's telling you he loves you, misses you and wants more attention. Just love the crap out of him when you are home. Trying talking it out with him and explain how he might be feeling and why. It really helps most wee ones when they know you understand how they feel.

thethoughtfox Tue 10-Jan-17 21:19:58

I read somewhere that they can laugh as a nervous reaction.

JeepersMcoy Tue 10-Jan-17 21:28:03

I agree with the others and think at 4 they are old enough to start talking about it with them and helping them manage their emotions. Ask him if he feels sad or worried about you being at work more. Acknowledge his feelings and that it is sad and rubbish you aren't with him as much and that you wish you could be with him.

Talk about ways he can express his anger and how he might feel a bit better. DD went through a phase of taking one of my scarfs into nursery with her, or she would make me cards or gifts. I think these helped her feel closer to me. I also talked to her about how we all have to work together and do our things, I go to to work and she helps by going to nursery (we even called it her work for a while).

It's hard, but I think he is trying to express his feeling about something he is understandably finding upsetting. He is just too little to know how to do it properly.

He is also 4 and they can just be little terrors. Bless 'em grin

FudgeBiscuits Tue 10-Jan-17 21:29:45

Basically he's punishing you in his own way. For 'leaving' him.

Reassure him, that you WILL be back.

Maybe give him a special watch or clock and mark the time that you'll be home for. (Reassurance that you'll be back) also at any time if he's missing you or anything all he needs to do is look at his watch and when the little hand touches it, mummy is home.

We had to do similar with my 3yo.

When it was daddy and daughter day, she basically spent the day being bad towards him. hitting, kicking, shouting, screaming. Generally being a naughty little sod.

Once I figured it was her way of punishing him, we started to implement our own strategies to make her feel more comfortable about him going to work more. It's not 100% but it's definite improvement.

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