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My 4 year olds behaviour is awful and I'm an awful. What do i do?(6 Posts)
I have a 4 year old DS, I had him when I was very very young and I haven't been the best parent during that time. I tried but being single I had to work a lot and when I did spend time with him I wasn't great.. I don't feel we did enough fun activities and nice things. After a while I found a good balance and my and my DS were doing great, then 6 months ago I had another baby and things have gone from good to awful.
I try so hard to make life nice for my DS. But all he does is scream at me if he doesn't get his own way and I'm honestly losing the will to live. (Aware of how dramatic that sounds) he doesn't seem phased by his new sister, he loves her very much and has never said anything mean or expressed that he doesn't like her. Sometimes he asks me to put her down so he can have a cuddle and that's about it.
My DS gets far more attention than 6 month old DD. He screams at me constantly if things aren't his way. If I don't let him have sweets he just screams and cries and starts banging walls and biting things with anger. If I tell him to get dressed himself and he refuses like 10 times to the point where I have to raise my voice, he starts screaming and crying and saying nobody wants to be his best friend. It doesn't sound bad but having to go through the same stuff day in day out and having a child screaming at you and lashing out is just a nightmare, literally every half hour.
He goes to nursery 2 days a week and his behaviour is wonderful there and he's a very clever nice little boy there all the time. At home it's just a different story.
Putting him on the step is a traumatic event and involves me taking him back to the step at least 10 times every time (seriously) whilst he lashes out at me and laughs because he thinks it's funny. He goes to his dads house every other weekend and I know they let him do absolutely whatever he wants. I have a good relationship with his dad and have spoken to him about this countless times but the same responsibility just isn't there, they continue to let him do whatever he likes and eat what he wants and act how he wants and treat him like a baby. I think this may be the problem but if they don't do anything about it and I've asked them to many times.. where does that leave me? What can I do?
I'm feeling like a terrible mum TBH. Part of me is worried I'm a toxic mother and that's why he's so cross all the time, maybe I shout too much or expect too much from him. I just feel horrific. I don't know what to do.
Just noticed my stupid title typo pls ignore I'm freaking out about my awful parenting and also feeding BF 6MO DD
I’ve just seen your post and didn’t want to read and run.
I’ve a four yr old ds too with an 11 month old dd. He is still angry, grumpy, way more demanding and easy to upset than before dd came along. He started tantrums over things like sweets too! We had an awful one after Halloween trick or treating this week...
Please don’t think yourself a toxic parent, as you say. I think many children are confused and have mixed emotions about new siblings for quite a long time. It’s great that he feels able to ask you for a cuddle when he needs one. I would keep communicating with him that it’s ok to feel angry but not ok to hit, headbang etc. And reassure him that you are always there for a cuddle and will play with him whenever you can!
I’ve felt lots of guilt about ds not having my attention as much now too, but he had it a lot just me and him at home on most days before this.
Maybe your ds finds going to his dads s flashpoint for being jealous of his dd having you all to herself? This could be a good time to reassure him that you’ll miss him and that you and dd are doing ‘boring stuff’ .
Just a few ideas and s bit of reassurance that you’re not alone. It sounds like you’re doing a great job to me.
It sounds to me like you are a considerate and self aware mother. I don't think you sound toxic and the very fact you are questioning that shows you are a good mother.
Can't really help with the behaviour other than to be firm and consistent with your rules/ saying no, keep talking to him about his anger and perhaps a personalised rewards chart i.e. a sticker for excellent big brother stuff as well as getting dressed properly etc so you can both see how many positive moments there are in a day. Also, is there anyone who can look after your baby for an hour or two at some point so you can take just your son out? I love going to the cinema with my 4 year old if I get the chance. If not, then some quality time when baby is asleep, just something easy like a snuggle on the sofa with a favourite film or some playdoh with no distractions. X
Ps my DS was 3 when sister came along. He was also great and loving with her but acted up in other ways for a while. Also, things like getting dressed, at 4.5 my son still wants me to help him sometimes- he can do it himself and does most says but I think he likes the attention and physical closeness of me doing it. Maybe your son feels it is some close time with you or a way or holding your attention?
I'm sure you're much harder on yourself than the reality. Single parents have all my admiration, especially being young. I struggle at times with 1 child and a supportive partner.
Anyway my advice would be to try to get some time for yourself (ideally for exercise/relaxation even if just a few mins) so you can cope more calmly with him. Then to try to get a little 1 on 1 time with your son every day (even 15 minutes a day when the baby is asleep?) And then you will hopefully find that things will improve to some extent anyway.
Many people will have ideas of how to modify /discipline but if you can get yourself in a better frame of mind and connect more with him then things should improve. If you can possibly (borrow or buy) 'Calm parents, Happy kids' by Laura Markham. I have been amazed by how useful this has been to me and others.
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