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4yo hitting and laughing

(6 Posts)
IamAporcupine Tue 05-Jul-16 22:05:11

I have no idea what's going on but my DS started hitting when I say no to something. This evening was the worst. It escalated and I totally lost it and shouted at him really really bad. He didn't seem to care and laughed.
I then put him in a thinking spot (never done it before) and he got scared I think and started crying. He stayed there for a bit and then came down, gave me a hug and apologized.
I put him to bed and said to him I was extremely disappointed and very sad, and he broke down again and said I was mean.
I told him I loved him but that I was very hurt.

what have I done wrong?! sad
I know I am terribly stressed and snap easily but tonight was awful, I felt I had no control over the situation.

He is a lovely sensitive sweet boy. I have always been very aware of his needs and followed his lead, but since he turned four I am a bit at lost. Don't know if I am expecting too much (as he seems so grown up now) or what.

Can someone please help me get back on track?

Dragongirl10 Tue 05-Jul-16 22:29:49

Please do not beat yourself up we have all been there, the thing is he is growing and needs clear boundaries and consequences, you need to take the lead here now.

Try a good behaviour jar and some coloured beans and a simple chart showing what he can earn beans for, once he reaches a certain level he gets a treat...cinema or swimming or something he loves .Make it easily achievable.

You sound like a lovely mum but this.. I have always been very aware of his needs and followed his lead, but since he turned four I am a bit at lost. ....

sounds like he is in charge which is fine for a baby, but not a 4 yr old he has to learn to do what he is told or school will be a real shock!

I remember feeling l was always playing catch up when my Dcs were younger...as soon as l got to grips with one stage they had moved on to the next, l needed to put boundaries in place once my ds turned 2.5 or he would have ruled the house!

But if he hits he loses the beans and has to sit on the thinking place for 4 mins.This worked for mine for lack of sharing.

IamAporcupine Tue 05-Jul-16 22:52:29

thanks dragongirl
funnily enough he is absolutely fine at nursery, really misbehaves and is very aware of what's right and wrong.
and again, most of the time he does as he is told and I always felt there was a reasonable balance between giving him options and boundaries. But teh last few months have been def more difficult.

I still think is something he does to me in particular (I'm the main carer). Not sure if it only related to testing boundaries or something else?
But I need to try something different as I am obviously losing control sad The thinking place seemed to have worked at least...

Dragongirl10 Tue 05-Jul-16 23:31:15

he is testing YOUR boundaries...it is always the main carer who they push against, use the thinking place consistantly and reward good behaviour.

Best to establish rules now as he will need them as he gets bigger, don't get caught on the back foot!

WombOfOnesOwn Tue 05-Jul-16 23:40:03

He's upset when you tell him no. That's understandable. No one likes being told no, not even grownups. But instead of just saying no, getting hit, then reacting even more forcefully and telling him not to do that, I think you need some new strategies.

It's easy to think that a four year old should just know some other replacement behavior to fill in when they have a desire to hit or otherwise lash out in anger. But the truth is, they just haven't learned those desirable replacement behaviors yet.

I think you need to sit him down and have a talk with him. Tell him that no one likes being told no -- not even grownups. But that if you hit another grownup because you didn't like being told no, you'd get in big trouble -- the police would even come! So, you tell him, it's important for us to learn OTHER ways to deal with being disappointed and sad when we're told no.

Don't just tell him what not to do, tell him a few things he can do that will help him to express his frustrated feelings when he feels them. He's not yet old enough to teach him to delay acting on his frustration, unless he's quite emotionally advanced (and he sounds very much like a run of the mill kid his age in terms of emotional expression!). But here's where the hard part comes in, because it has to be something you can really live with, but that also genuinely lets him express frustration. I advise strongly against any kind of "punch pillows/stuffed animals" expression of frustration, because it's very hard for children at this age to really get why it's fine to do that but not punch a human being, and because you create a dopamine cycle in which punching becomes associated with pleasurable frustration release. Most parents also don't want to have their child think it's acceptable behavior to, say, sulk and pout as a result of being told 'no.'

So think of some alternatives that would be acceptable ways of expressing frustration in your house, things that you would be accepting of. Telling a child that being told "no" should result in "suck it up and deal, and don't complain" is ridiculous, it's expecting more emotional continence from a small child than most adults are capable of, yet plenty of adults do it anyway (not saying you're doing this, I just see it a lot). The ways you or I might express frustration in a healthy way -- say, by ranting to our best friend about how unfair our boss is being, or something -- aren't usually open to children. So you have to get creative, and it has to be something you think your child will personally find to be a somewhat satisfying expression of frustration. For some kids, this could be coloring a picture of how they feel. For others, it could be singing their "angry song," but of course, if that's the one you pick, you have to be okay with them singing it in public. Everything depends on your individual situation.

IamAporcupine Wed 06-Jul-16 23:00:35

Thank you again. That's an interesting idea WombOfOnesOwn, but I have not been able yet to come up with an alternative way to express frsutration.

On our way to nursery today I said I wanted to have a chat with him later on. He said: "yes, we are going to talk about being sad, and being happy and being angry. and also about crying"

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