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Whining and Generally Miserable Behaviour from DS (4)

(4 Posts)
mummylikescake Tue 07-Jul-09 10:31:32

DS, who was 4 in June, behaviour and attitude has gone downhill recently and I'm a bit worried about it. I'm aware of a number of factors that are likely to be contributing (starting school in September, new baby due at the same time, being very tired because of the heat and light nights) but I don't know what to do about it and DH has told me that he isn't like that when DH looks after him on the days I'm at work. DS's behaiour is often whiny and negative (never wants to do anything, try anything new etc) which is in contrast to how is usually is and how how he behaves when it's just DH and him together. He's fine with me if he's doing what he wants to do, but when he's not it's very challenging!

General whining I could probably cope with but he's also started saying that he's 'feeling sad' but can't give a reason why. When he feels like this he cries but is unable or unwilling to stop. This has started happening when he's at the childminders, where he goes twice a week. When I ask him about it he says he doesn't know why it happens and I think he's started to get into the habit of this behaviour, which is worrying as he's always enjoyed going there and it's upsetting and disruptive for everyone. I really don't want him behaving like this at school and labelling himself as 'sensitive' so that he can get out of doing anything he doesn't want to do by whinging and crying; and also believing that this kind of negative behaviour is really who he is. He's usually such a cheery, busy little boy and it's making me feel so sad.

It's occurred to me that I'm just too kind about it. I don't give in to what he wants when he's whining and crying but I do speak kindly to him, ask him what's wrong and say gently and perhaps not firmly enough that he needs to stop. DH is much firmer, which would explain why it doesn't happen with him. Does this sound reasonable? Is it the case that I just nees to be tougher with him? Any advice or suggestions would be very welcome! Sorry for the essay - 3rd trimester hormonal rambling kicking in!

smee Tue 07-Jul-09 10:51:04

Sounds like yes he's nervous about school, the baby, etc. + he's four - four is a tricky age (understatement!) - they can be very manipulative and attention seeking. I'd say don't necessarily be tougher, as he does sound unsettled, which isn't that surprising as there's so much going on for him. Why not do something fun to change things? Sit him down and talk to him - make it lovely and about you and him, so a big gooey cake or some such forbidden treat. Tell him you love him so much and hate seeing him sad - give him a chance to talk if he wants to, but don't linger on it or indulge it too much. Tell him he needs to find a way to be happier again and you're going to find it with him and that it will be fun. Give him five shiny buttons (or something desirable like that). Maybe put them in a special jar or purse. Tell him each time he manages to stop whining or being sad when you ask he'll get another button. But if he doesn't you'll have to take one off him. If he gets to ten buttons you can go to the shop and buy a treat or go for a special outing somewhere. Worth a try maybe. I do think you're right and whinging is often habit at that age, so maybe you just need to help him break the cycle.

mummylikescake Tue 07-Jul-09 12:35:04

Thanks smee, I hadn't thought about the reward jar but I'll certainly give it a go. I'm still a bit puzzled as to why his beahviour is so different with DH than with me. This predates pregnancy and imminent school by a long way (at least a year). In fact, he's done the feeling sad thing before as well though it seemed to have gone away. It's not necessarily a problem, though I know DH doesn't like to see DS going in for more 'babyish' behaviour with me. At the moment, because I'm 32 weeks pregnant I can understand that every time DS sees me he's reminded of the baby and the changes that it will bring. Sorry, probaby over analysing this now!

smee Tue 07-Jul-09 13:42:14

If it helps, my DS is the same - ie plays up with me, not DH. I think it's because I'm the constant - not DH's fault, but he's away a lot at work. I don't think it's unusual. Just a bit annoying grin If your DH actively criticises the babyish behaviour, he could unwittingly be prolonging it maybe?

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