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Dont know how to handle my four year old right now(7 Posts)
Running away when called, refusal to do basic things/ comply with basic things like being cleaned etc?
For background, we have a new six week old baby - DD2. He was two when DD1 was born and he handled it really well. This time around, there's a lot more emotion and "acting out". I know he's struggling and my heart aches for him but I'm also low on patience. I have a four year old, two year old and six week old.
We've started doing star charts and it's mostly ok. But he's so emotional and I don't know how best to help him. I don't know if it's being four, the new baby or both. He's really emotional and non-compliant where previously he's hardly had tantrums and was pretty easy going.
Recently he runs away from me and screams and cries at me when we need to go home from somewhere (this afternoon was the park). He was obviously tired and hot, and I tried to just gently get him to sit for a moment and have some water. It just deteriorated from there, really.
I know arguing back and not listening is just part and parcel of them getting older and pushing things. It's the running away from me - I'm completely flummoxed on how to handle it. I think some (a lot) is reacting to me/ the baby/ my tiredness and short temperedness, and feeling upset about things. I've reached out to him q few times about it - told him it's ok to feel jealous and it's ok to tell us, and he has done. Other times when he's been driving me crazy I've acknowledged he's feeling bad but that it's still not ok to behave like that etc. Other times I just handle things really badly - losing my temper, shouting etc.
What's your four year old like? How do you handle frustrating behaviour?
It sounds like you have a lot going on. I think rewards are better when they are instant. Praise is one of the best types of reward. When it's time to leave the park, try adapting your phrasing by involving him. Sat things like 'ds, can you help me get your sisters ready to go home now? We are going to have some yummy dinner, what would you like? You a such a good boy, show dd1 how we get ready to go home. Shall we put cbeebied on when we get home? I wonder if daddy is there, are you going to tell daddy what you have done today? Dd2, look at how good your big brother is at helping mummy' blah blah blah. You literally have to go over the top with non stop positivity. Make going home sound awesome. Use a treat box and tell him he can choose something from it. Ignore the 'no's' and the tantrums and focus on being positive. Then drink wine. It's hard but it works.
Definitely agree with praise.
What do you do at the moment when he runs away? I don't know if it's completely right but if one of mine runs away I tell them I will not be chasing after them and they will lose a privilege.
I think the main thing is to be consistent and calm with them. There's a lot going on for you all but it must be so hard from a 4 year olds point of view.
Do you get much 1 on 1 time with him? If you can muster up the energy then spending 20 minutes with just him might help. You don't have to go out anywhere fancy, even just watching a film in bed is quality time.
Thanks to both of you for replying. Will deffo go overboard on the praise. I do think I sound so negative with him/ to him right now and I can see he's hurt by it. Super positivity and praise.
He also definitely needs one on one time - they both do to be honest. As of last night I changed the bedtime from both of them going up at the same time to the two year old going up first and we have special cuddles in bed just me and her, then I go back down to DS and we read stories and cuddled for half an hour. I always do solo bedtimes because DH sees his clients in the evening so I was a bit worried about splitting the bedtimes.
Don't be too hard on yourself Red, you had a baby 6 weeks ago so you are going to be tired. It's totally normal.
I think the saying "it's just a phase" would be useful as a mantra in your head. You sound like a lovely caring mum
Four year olds are difficult. DS2 is acting exactly like that at the moment and when DS1 was 4 he did the same. They're pushing for more independence and know exactly how to get a reaction from you.
As PP have said, keeping calm, one on one time and lots of praise will help. But don't worry, it's not just your 4 year old doing this!
My DS is 4.4 and we're just starting to come out the other side of this. Is hour DS in school yet?
Agree lots of positive attention will help but it's so hard when you have little ones too. Are you breastfeeding the baby?
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