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blardy hell, help please with our 4 year old

(22 Posts)
justgotbfp Sun 05-Oct-08 06:48:37

Ds has never been an easy child and has always had big reactions to things. Well in short I have been very sick lately and not his usual mummy. Anyway was feeling a bit better today so we did a few nice things like go out to the train day that was on locally. On the way back we stopped to get some seeds for the garden. Ds was fantastic at the trains and again at the garden centre but then had a meltdown in the carpark because he wanted to stand in front of the cars trying to get out and play in the gravel. DH picked him up and put him in the car screaming his nut off. We decided not to also stop at the berry stall on the way home thinking he was tired and not really wanting to give him anything while screaming his head off so went home. As we passed the berry stall he went off the deep end screaming for berries. Drove past, got home and the next 45 minutes he shouts and screams at us until realising he is not getting his own way or any berries starts hitting me so he goes to his room. He proceeds to scream some more and throw various things at the door for the next hour before finally putting himself into bed. When I asked if he was ready to come out now that he had calmed down he refused and he promptly fell asleep. Fast forward 2 hours and he has woken up screaming for berries and throwin things at the door and us again so he is back in his room!!!! So I am thinking he probably needs something to eat but he won't calm down enough for that at the moment, do we just keep going??

justgotbfp Sun 05-Oct-08 06:48:57

BTW it is now evening here

justgotbfp Sun 05-Oct-08 07:15:19

he has finally calmed down so I went in and asked if he was ready to talk. He told me to go away and is back in bed again. This keeps happening and I know he gets tired etc but we can't keep going on like this it is everyday and can take hours to calm him down which he then refuses to talk about at all later...help please! Are we doing the right thing...I am pregnant at the moment and sooo worried that I am f*ing the whole parenting thing up and now I am going to ruin another life.

I'm sure you are not f*cking things up. How do you try and calm him down?
One thing that is supposed to help is acknowledging how angry he is so when he is screaming and shouting saying stuff like 'yes I can see how angry you are, that must be making you feel all churned up' rather than trying to get rid of the anger.
Also to possibly avoid the meltdown situation have you tried the either or option. 'Either you get in the car nicely now and we go to the berry stall or you can stand here and cry but then we can't go to the stall, it's up to you'

Sorry if those seem simplistic ideas, I don't know if they would help at all. Also have you tried a reward system - sticker chart with treat when he gains so many stickers, that sort of thing.

Really hope he calms down soon. He may just still be angry that you haven't been his 'usual' mummy and he doesn't understand why. I had to go into hospital a while ago (an emergency situation so no time to prepare dc) and ds who was three at the time was very, very cross with me and wouldn't even talk to me when they visited!

Hope something I've said helps, didn't want to ignore your post!

Inevergivemychildrensweets Sun 05-Oct-08 07:30:44

Yes they get very cross if you are sick. The good thing is that they only really start to show it when they sense you are getting better and can 'take' it.

Be patient and make sure he has enough to eat, regular meals and snacks really do help - when ds1 loses it completely he is usual;ly hungry or tired or both.

Cake if all else fails...followed by something more healthy!

Surprisingly rapid effect on blood sugar/temper.

FourArms Sun 05-Oct-08 07:40:47

I'd agree with the making sure he's eating regularly.

I'm into offering two options to DS1 at the moment when I want him to do something - the thing that I want him to do, and something really horrible. He usually chooses my option. wink E.g. So, would you like to get ready for bed now, then have milk and biscuits and a story, or just go straight up to bed in your clothes? or Would you like spag bol for tea (likes this, but doesn't love it!), or mince with lots and lots of vegetables (this is his idea of hell!).

Sticker charts which don't take long to achieve a small reward, or longer for something he really wants are working well too.

My DS1 is 4 and a half btw.

justgotbfp Sun 05-Oct-08 08:52:42

He eats regular, good meals, and I know it is probably reaction but he reacts to everything so this is not that unusual. In the carpark we did exactly as mentioned. "Ds you need to get in the car, you can climb in yourself or we can put you in" To be honest the berry stall wasn't mentioned but we decided to skip it as he was hollering bloody mary as we went down the road to take him back to the gravel.
We do try to calm him down but he goes straight to uncontrollable and is unable to listen at all so all the how to talk to kids stuff just falls on deaf ears, no matter what you say he justs screams over and over about whatever he has lost the plot over eg the berries. Usually we say..."You can be angry as long as you like but you can't shout at us or hit us so you need to stay in your room until you stop doing that" then check in every few minutes with "are you ready to be calm and come out now?" All of this is greated by "I WANT MY BERRIES" "GO AWAY AND GET ME MY BERRIES" etc. Sticker charts have not been successful in the past for when he loses control.

MalchowMama Sun 05-Oct-08 09:04:39

My boy was really over the top like this for a while also around the time just before and after our move to Germany. I wonder how much the pregnancy and your not feeling well of late is contributing? Was he always this intense, or is this a recent development?

Sounds very challenging, and it sounds like you are doing all the right things. Try to give him a bit of extra attention, cuddles, etc. whenever he is calm enough to accept it and of course praise him (matter-of-factly, not obsequeously) whenever he is doing well; I found this helped August a bit. I'd suggest having him take deep breaths, but it sounds like he'd just tell you off!

justgotbfp Sun 05-Oct-08 09:14:20

Thanks malchow mama, he is always this intense so no it is not recent. he gets alot of one on one attention and I play with him a great deal during the day and do try to make extra notice of when he is doing things nicely. I have talked to him about how I do certain things to calm down when I am feeling out of my depth (tell him about the tight hot feeling inside that makes you want to shout) and he has said all sorts of things like I want a cuddle when I do that to I want to sit in the truck when I do that but when it actually comes down to it he is too far gone too quickly to have these things work. I did try for a while the calming hold (ie holding him firmly on my knee on a rocking chair until he has calmed down) but it was awful and he started saying/ shouting "don't you hold onto me ever mummy, I don't ever want your cuddles" etc so have gone back to cooling off in his room tactics.

Elk Sun 05-Oct-08 09:18:09

My dd1 was a bit like this at 4 (now 5.5). She would have hour long tantums about the smallest things. I felt like I was walking on eggshells the whole time wondering what would set her off next. The 'How to Talk' thing just made her worse. It was as if she could see through the whole thing. The only thing that worked was completely ignoring her ( and that meant stepping over her while she lay kicking and screaming on the floor).

I used to say 'When you are calm we can talk' and that was about it.

Also , when she was calming down I did not check on her. I would walk off and say 'When you are calm you can come and find me' as I found checking her made her worse (I even had a shoe thrown at head!).

When she calmed down we just had lots of hugs and then we went on as if nothing had happened.

justgotbfp Sun 05-Oct-08 09:25:50

yes elk thank you, that is it, I was so worried that you are supposed to go and check on them but you are right he just gets worse and exactly like you dd he will be fine when he calms down and just get on with it all. Please tell me at 5.5 she is better...please, please, please let me know I haven't screwed it all up.

edam Sun 05-Oct-08 09:30:35

I don't think you have screwed it all up, I think you have been through a horrible time and now have some challenging behaviour to deal with (not necessarily cause and effect either).

Haven't got any bright ideas on techniques but you could try writing/emailing (Saint!) Tanya Byron at The Times - look up their website. Worth a go?

edam Sun 05-Oct-08 09:32:22

Oh, and if he can't talk about what's making him behave like this when he's calm, have you tried asking him to draw a picture? Five year olds aren't articulate to adult standards when discussing their feelings - it may not be that he's refusing to tell you, maybe he can't.

LovelyDear Sun 05-Oct-08 09:38:10

same child here - he's now 8, nearly 9, and the last 2 or 3 years have been increasingly pleasant! he's still the same willful child but he's much more able contain his reactions.

now my dd is nearly 5 and she's ALMOST as volatile but i'm not so worried as i know/hope it'll pass.

my way of dealing with him was firm, probably too firm in that i stood my ground and didn't do much softly softly, if that helps?

justgotbfp Sun 05-Oct-08 09:39:17

thanks edam I will try the draw a picture idea...how do I then interpret this and help him with it or is the drawing process enough to help him deal with it. Will go and look at times website, thanks

justgotbfp Sun 05-Oct-08 09:41:25

lovelydear thank you I have grave fears of him getting too big for me to manage when he goes off on one and starts hurting me. Thank you for giving me hope.

edam Sun 05-Oct-08 09:44:33

Ah, that's where my plan falls down - I know it's a jolly good idea (have heard it from child psychologists who actually like children and parents and from people who have done it) but don't have a clue how to interpret it. I guess it's the process that is important, and something might be obvious when you see the pic? <hopeful emoticon> Or google it, maybe?

edam Sun 05-Oct-08 09:46:00

Just remembered, my little sister used to go into terrible rages when she was that age (she really was 'when she was good she was very very good and when she was bad she was horrid'). But she grew up into a really fab person!

justgotbfp Sun 05-Oct-08 10:13:55

thanks edam, have done a very long email to Dr Byron so I hope she bears with me enough to at least read it.

edam Sun 05-Oct-08 11:01:17

Fingers crossed!

Elk Sun 05-Oct-08 14:17:07

Sorry for the delay we went out for a family swim. DD1 is lots better now, we still have the occasional moments, but then everyone has them, she now calms down in a couple of minutes.

I can see her getting better almost by the week (the whining is reducing as well) and she is really loving as well. As ababy/toddler she could not bear to be touched so I think she just gets overwhelmed by everything around her and needs to be by herself to calm down for a while. Now I just need to get dd2 to realise this and leave her alone instead of shouting out advice like 'cheer up dd1'.

LovelyDear Sun 05-Oct-08 21:54:02

i used to think WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WHEN HE'S TOO BIG TO DEAL WITH? but he's so so so not scary any more. school must really teach them some normal behaviour i think - i certainly didn't do anything clever to bring him into check.my one sadness is that he's so not cuddly. and nor is dd (4) - when she's in a rage she shouts I hate you i hate you you stupid poo poo butt head which is appalling. i'm so ashamed. and nothing i say or do has any impact on her. but i'm kind of worn out with 5 years from ds being like it so i don't bother so much with her.

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