Help me with my 4 year old - at my wits end(6 Posts)
I am struggling to cope with my 4 year old son's behaviour. I also have a 7.5 year old who can be intense and challenging, but is on the whole a lovely boy. My 4 year old has always been loud and shouty but over the last few months he has become extremely difficult to deal with. The most stressful aspect of it is his fixation over controlling certain things. So, by way of example:
1. we park on one side of the road. He looses it (screaming uncontrollably) that I must park on the other side/move the car a little bit. totally irrational.
2. I undo his seatbelt. Cue irrational screaming that he wanted to do it.
3. His coat is undone. Screaming at me to do it up before I help him undo it. Screaming if I don't hold the coat in the correct place whilst we undo it.
4. We walk down the road the wrong way (e.g. not holding hands). We have to go back and do it the way we were meant to do it.
5. I close the car door when he wanted to close the car door.
6. He says he wants me to cut up his pancake. I cut up the pakcake. He dissolves into a tantrum because he didn't want the pancake cut up.
and on and on and on.
I realise some of this 9e.g. the pancake) is normal 4 year old behaviour but the rest is utterly exhausting and it is going on ALL the time I am with him. It is not as bad for our nanny (with him 3 days a week, before and after nursery). I am exhausted. I feel nauseous on Sunday nights as I know I am going to have to deal with it as soon as he wakes up on Monday morning. It is utterly exhausting and I don't find ANY joy in any of my time with him anymore. It is all one ongoing, depressing, exhausting battle. Please help/advise/sympathise/tell me I don't have a lunatic for a child!!
What do you and the nanny do when he does this?
IT depends. Obvs in pancake situation there is nothing that can be done! I tend to ignore, it can be v stressful in public but it happens. Sometimes with the repeating things I just do it as it is easier to do what he wants and I can’t face a battle just for the sake of it. And sometimes we really have to be somewhere and doing it means we get there rather than stay in stalemate for half an hour. He gets VERY angry, I can’t quite stress that enough. He doesn’t calm down if left - he ramps up. Sometimes I can talk him down with a cuddle as he is genuinely exhausted or hungry- but not often
It could be that he isn't happy or is frustrated at other things in his life he has no control over, so is trying to control other aspects. These meltdowns can be called "Little Nero" tantrums where the child is trying to control rather than emotional distress tantrums (eg. where a parent leaves to go shopping and child gets distressed).
Google will give a number of approaches, but I found distraction worked at helping me keep sane! I remember saying things like "Wow, I just saw an elephant on a bicycle go past, shall we see if we can find him?" when my child refused to walk, or wanted to go in a completely different direction.
If he's got a favourite TV character then you could say things like "I wonder how <character> would do his coat up? Can you show me?"
I used to sing walking songs, "Grand old Duke of York" whilst marching like a soldier was on constant loop, or ask my kids to keep a look out for how many cats they could see on a walk, or how many houses with red doors, or how many hops we could do to the nearest post box etc. Reward/praise when they've done it.
Sometimes my mind would be too full of others things going on in my life that I couldn't pull it off. You could try writing some ideas down and then having that to hand for those days.
Hope some of this helps.
Thank you this is helpful. I am not good at jollying him along as I am so exhausted by this now. He usually does it when we are trying to get from a to b (eg home to school). This morning I didn’t walk down the stairs at the same time as him. I am done repeati f everything because he tells me to, and wondering if I should actually completely ignore it now
It sounds from your OP that he is very rigid in his thinking. This article has some good ideas on encouraging flexible thinking skills www.pbs.org/parents/expert-tips-advice/2016/04/flexible-thinking-encourage-kids-go-flow/
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