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Does your 4-year-old switch between seeming like a highly civilised, reasoning mini adult and a furious, irrational strop-throwing animal?

(46 Posts)
barelysane Sun 21-Sep-08 23:08:44

Just wondering, really, because mine does. And - having a neurotic moment - I'm wondering how "normal" this is.

Take yesterday evening: we had friends over who have a baby. DS was charming, playful, funny, intelligent, confident, thoughtful, helpful, sociable - for about four hours. I was in awe of him. Then he really did have to go to bed and Did Not Want To. Granted, he was a bit tired, but he threw toys at me in front of said friends blush, repeatedly slammed the bedroom door next to the room with the friends' sleeping baby in angry, hurled verbal abuse at me and got himself into a kicking frenzy. In the end, I smacked his bum for only the second time ever because I didn't know what the hell else to do, and then Dad took over bedtime and I had nothing more to do with him until this morning.

Felt really sad that such a lovely evening had ended like this, and a bit overwhelmed by how feisty DS can be and unsure of how to handle it.

DS has fewer temper outbursts now he's older, but my God they are explosive when they happen. Hopefully they'll keep lessening with age ...

Is this just four-year-olds? Or is mine a rarity and needs help?!

IdrisTheDragon Sun 21-Sep-08 23:23:23

DS (4.10) can be like this. It is very wearing. But other times he is a lovely mini adult.

edam Sun 21-Sep-08 23:24:17

Sounds normal to me - although ds is now five and I think I've blotted some of it the details of 4yo strops out. Being good for four hours must put a bit of a strain on a little boy, I think, he was bound to crack eventually.

The good news is that ds is MUCH easier now. Let's hope it works the same way for you...

handlemecarefully Sun 21-Sep-08 23:42:01

Frankly yes, he does...

(and so does my 6 year old, occasionally!)

barelysane Mon 22-Sep-08 00:29:48

Well, I feel relieved reading others' posts - although you all have my sympathies for the tougher moments.

edam - I'm with you. I never expected DS to be on such good form for so long, TBH. It was an informal get-together - no pressure - and I fully expected a bit more boundary-pushing, on a less intense scale. As it was, DS was basking in the socialising, loving it, on fine form - and then when what was effectively a "no" was delivered (to staying up longer), the bubble burst. Pleased for you (and encouraged for me!) that age five seems to be much easier. How did you handle your four-year-old's strops? Because DS can get a bit destructive, his moments like this need some intervention, but I'm rarely sure quite what (although of course realise that a smack isn't the answer - I feel really guilty about that).

I want DS to feel free to express anger, and we do have some healthy options for this, but they rarely seem to cut it when it comes to the crunch.

Ah, your six-year-old is at it too, handleme? Maybe we all do it less and less with time but even - as adults - can still blow sometimes.

Thanks for reassurance.

MissMoopy Sat 27-Sep-08 19:38:04

Thank god for Mums net. I have had an awful day with my daughter who is almost 4. She swings between lovely child and total psycho! In irrational moments I freak out and worry there is something wrong with her. Why do they not warn you that terrible twos actually last for years!

Elkat Sun 28-Sep-08 20:35:28

No, Mine is the same. As the saying goes... 'when she's good she is very, very good, but when she's bad she's horrid'. I think that phrase was written for her. She is almost 5. I am hoping she grows out of it soon.

Nemoandthefishes Sun 28-Sep-08 20:36:20

oh sounds completely like ds who is 5 in 2 weeks.

FromGirders Sun 28-Sep-08 20:40:52

Aren't they all?

JackieNo Sun 28-Sep-08 20:43:34

OH yes - DS is just like this. V cute, funny, articulate, then descends into mega meltdown mode.

pushchair Sun 28-Sep-08 20:46:28

Yes thank god thought I had produced 4 year old with teenage hormones-the tantrum ones anyway. Flies off the handle at the slightest thing and 10 mins later holding a charming conversation with her sister about caterpillars. Have had to resort to sending to room and have repeated 'this is not acceptable behaviour' so many times feel I am Jo thingy [supernanny].

rachelp73 Sun 28-Sep-08 20:50:40

What time of night was it? Did he have a later than normal bedtime? DS1 quite often gets like this now approaching bed time. I've put it down to him being extra tired since starting school the other week.

geraldinetheluckygoat Sun 28-Sep-08 20:51:59

Mine is like this, hes 4 in March, his tantrums are moving from screaming, to roaring, testosterone fuelled thrashing about fits. Brilliant isnt it hmm

Lizzylou Sun 28-Sep-08 20:52:40

Yes, worse since he started school a few weeks ago
Very overtired

pushchair Sun 28-Sep-08 20:57:04

Think mine is tired but no naps now.

Smithagain Sun 28-Sep-08 20:58:29

Yes, she was. Especially during her first term at school. Things settled down a bit later in the year - by age 5 she was nice again.

bythepowerofgreyskull Sun 28-Sep-08 20:59:38

Thank you for posting this...

the last few weeks I have been thinking that DS has some kind of personality disorder.
He has just about grown out of his toddler tantrums and there are times - like you - I am in awe of his fabulous conversations, brilliant imagination, and gentle manner with his brother.
This week they have been overshadowed by him kicking me in the stomach, slamming the door on his brothers fingers and screaming until my ears feel like they are going to burst.

I will cancel the appointment with the doctor smile

BigBadMousey Sun 28-Sep-08 21:10:09

My DD1 is 4.5 and this thread describes her well - amazingly grown up (better than most adults IMO) one minute and a cross between a violent 2yo and a teenager the next hmm.

She has always had excellent behaviour and I think this is just a phase - so much going on for her, starting school, new baby brother (who she adores)...

Dottoressa Mon 29-Sep-08 10:25:07

My DS is 6.4, and he is just like this - mature, delightful and funny one minute, and screaming, extremely aggressive and impossible the next. The good bits are lovely, and the bad bits are incredibly tiring, and very miserable-making. I keep wondering if he's got something wrong with him, but maybe it's just "normal" (he's Mr Perfect at school, and I think he needs to take it out on someone!)

stealthsquiggle Mon 29-Sep-08 10:32:22

Yes, and I don't think it stops for a while (DS is almost 6 and still does it very occasionally). I have resorted once or twice to carrying DS outside (in the middle of winter) and dumping him on the ground. The shock of the cold seemed to jolt him out of the hysterical state he had worked himself into IYSWIM. It is hysteria, IMHO, and they don't have the maturity to pull themselves out of it - but then again neither do some adults.

Dottoressa Mon 29-Sep-08 13:58:12

Stealth - I'm sure you're right that it's hysteria. My DS was definitely hysterical on Friday, having lost the toss of a coin about which way to walk home...

libralady Mon 29-Sep-08 21:45:21

You guys could be describing my 4.6 year old to a T. He is so well behaved 95% of the time, articulate, funny, mature, delightful, caring........I could go on, but the other 5% he is a little SOD!!!!!!!
We have full blown hysterical tantrums, hitting, kicking, screaming etc. He started big school three weeks ago but is only going in the afternoons and for only 2 1/2 hours so I am not sure if this is not stimulating enough for him. At least at nursery he was going for full days and the 'Aunties' all commented on how ready for school he was [proud mummy emotion].
Coupled with the fact that he has a new baby brother on the scene (14 weeks old today) I know his whole world has been turned upside down, but sometimes I am at a complete loss at what to do with him. He does adore his little brother, DS2 only has to whimper and DS1 goes over to him immediately and says 'what's the matter poppet?' 'Mummy I think L needs another feed he's hungry' and he'll go off to fetch me a bottle and the milk container. He helps in changing his nappies, and bath routines, so I really don't think there is too much jealousy there.

There have been times when I've had to call DH home from work as I just can't deal with him any longer and I've been in floods of tears thinking what have I done wrong

It is so reassuring to know it's not just us that are having to deal with an unruly four year old at times and there are others out there IYSWIM.

elliott Mon 29-Sep-08 21:55:47

in answer to thread title - yes smile

Boobalina Tue 30-Sep-08 12:37:36

Brilliant thread and my DS is exactly the same! Mostly lovely then really really annoying and horrid at other times. Am going to buy the 'Raising Boys' to see if helps...

seeker Tue 30-Sep-08 12:43:39

Yes. And so does my 12 year old dd!

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