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4 year old's behaviour spiralling out of control, help me please!(7 Posts)
So ds is in reception and dc2 was born 3 weeks ago so I know he's had a lot of changes over the last couple of months, however I'm beginning to despair at his behaviour and I'm not sure how to handle it.
At home he is argumentative, contrary, downright rude and ignores instructions repeatedly. Any attempt to tell him off results in a screaming tantrum from him. He suddenly "can't do" things he has been able to do for ages - getting dressed or undressed and brushing his teeth. He won't even attempt to wipe his own bottom, any insistence that he does so results in a tantrum.
At school he has started being rude to other children, he has hit and kicked them. He has never been violent to anyone before. There are a couple of boys in his class who I have spoken to the school about because they call him names and have used their hands more than I would like while playing games, this upsets ds bu the school are aware and I can only tell him not to play with these boys and to tell the teacher if they are mean.
If a child says hello to him then he grunts or growls at them and says they aren't allowed to talk to or look at him. He won't speak to most adults, including his aunts and uncles or grandparents, they too get grunted at.
We have had a few bed wetting incidents and his eczema has flared up quite badly in recent weeks so he is obviously stressed out.
I just don't know how to help him. He won't or can't tell me what it is that is upsetting him, so I can only assume school and the new baby are the cause.
You are probably right. He had so much change to cope with.
He is probably feeling rejected, confused and scared.
I think he would benefit from a reward chart with a treat to aim for. It could be a daily one. If he's been good after he has had his tea he gets a small treat.
Try to ignore the bad and praise the good. It might be worth having another chat with the teacher about his behaviour and that you think he's reacting to all the change in his life.
It's early days. I'm sure he will calm down in a few weeks.
When I was pregnant with dc2 I read that your child would feel as you would if your husband decided to take another wife. I thought that was a bit ott but dd certainly acted in exactly that way. Bitter, secretly cruel to the baby, very needy of my attention but behaving in a way that made out really hard to be nice to her etc.
I would make it all about rebuilding his self esteem, in whatever way works for him.
When you can leave the baby for 10 mins, resist the urge to do some jobs and focus on an activity with him, letting him choose what happens.
Make you and him as a little team 'let's have a cake together but don't tell the baby, she's too little, it's our secret'
and yeah, ignore the bad, praise the good. He won't go off the rails without life lessons for a couple of weeks.
Ah, sounds like the wee man is asking for lots of TLC. When he's acting up instead of telling off, can you try to verbalise what his emotions may be e.g. 'did you kick that because you feel angry?' And lots of hugs and praise at random moments.
These other little boys - did the school resolve it to your satisfaction? because being picked on at a young age feels so painful. I think it needs to be treated really seriously.
Thank you for the replies, everything you've said makes sense.
Re: the other boys, it's not exactly resolved to my satisfaction as the name calling is still happening and ds still comes home saying x pushed/hit me, so I'm making sure ds knows to always tell the teacher and I'm not letting this go. Dh had to tell one of the boys off for calling ds names on the way home from school so at least his parents are now aware (although why they didn't tell their son to stop themselves is beyond me!) The problem is that ds has started copying their behaviour and he still wants to play with these boys so he isn't listening when I tell him to play with other children. He considers then friends but is upset that they're mean to him. Makes me so sad for him.
I'm planning some intensive quality time with ds, especially over the Christmas break. Hopefully we can bring his confidence back a little.
Have a look at the aha parenting website, which I always find useful. It sounds as though he needs help identifying and verbalising how he feels - it may be about learning the words and recognising the feelings (i.e. labelling), or finding a way to get him to open up and not bottle things up. Or both.
You may find that telling him you've noticed that he's hurt and angry and it's ok to feel that way is enough. Along with the cuddles
Can you set up and encourage play dates with nice kids - even if it's just in the park. Report weekly any little incidents to the teacher and encourage him to report too.
Also a lot can be racked up to exhaustion and having a new sibling. Kids do regress when they have new siblings and its best to role with it so they feel secure. Does he need some quiet down time? Time off school. Do you do one to one things with him without the baby?
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