What's for lunch today? Take inspiration from Mumsnetters' tried-and-tested recipes in our Top Bananas! cookbook - now under £10Find out more
How would you have dealt with 4 year old?(58 Posts)
We had a nice time in the park this morning with 4.2 year old and 1 year old sibling. We decided to go for happy meals in McDonalds (massive treat, first time ever for DS,4) After the food was ready the baby started hearing hers, DS complained his fish fingers were too hot so I broke one into pieces to cool it down faster. At home I often break his food into pieces to cool it down.
This resulted in a screaming rage and tantrum. He kicked me arouns6 times unde the table with his wellies on (ouch). Was v rude to DH. As he wouldn’t stop shouting/kicking DH took him back to the car. He scratched DH quite badly on the cheek in the process. After the baby had finished her food I joined them at the car. We’ve been really struggling with his behaviour the past couple of months.
My question is how would you have dealt with this once home? Punishment? DS was still in a rage once at home, yelling and screaming. I’m at a loss on how to deal with this and feel like whatever we try isn’t stopping this crap.
Is he upset about anything at school/nursery? This time is tear is hard as they are so wound up about Christmas
At that age I’d probably have sent ds to another room if he persisted in poor behaviour when we got home and told him he could come back in to do something nice when he was ready to be nice.
Was he a bit grumpy before the meal (ie hangry) or was this out of the blue?
I would say a combination of trying to work out when/why this happens (connection to hunger? Tiredness?) and try to avoid the issues arising by giving snacks, naps etc
AND natural consequences, and explain it to him “DS because you behaved so badly, it will be a long time before we take you out to eat again.” Explain when he has calmed down and is in a mood to listen.
I think being taken out to the car is probably punishment enough, I'd leave it there, but once he calms down eventually have a chat about how we have to behave nicely if we want to get to do nice things
I’m gonna get slammed for this...but why is a cheap, high fat,processed meal a massive treat? Maybe he wanted the lovely home cooked food he usually gets. His reaction could be massive disappointment!
Ha, you may be right there allthegood...
he quite likes fish fingers but is not a fan of chicken nuggets or fries, but even orange juice and pineapple (the fruit option) is a big treat for him. The utter disrespect of us and our authority gets us down. He had a massive breakfast and it was quite early for lunch so not starving. He ended up having time out in his room. We had to take him to the car as his behaviour was impacting on other diners who want to eat their lunch in peace!
No point dealing with it once home. He is four. Consequences need to be given then and there. I would have taken him straight to the toilet, sat him on it and told him he will stay there until he calms down and stood outside it until he did. Then ask for an apology and tell him he is going to go sit down and eat his food nicely.
That's how I handled my four at that age with tantrums. Worked just fine.
If my child, at 4 years old, had kicked me 6 times and scratched me, they'd have got two warnings followed by a smack on the legs.
@Sethos - yes because being violent towards a child is the best way to teach them not to be violent.
Learning that if you hit/kick/hurt someone, they are likely to hurt you back is a valuable life lesson, imo, @Stormwhale. I know it's not a popular opinion on MN, but there you are.
He wasn’t setting out to kick me, more kicking was part of his tantrum/anger and as I was opposite him my legs caught it.
I’m afraid that just wouldn’t work with him Collu,
Whoops, Colly - he can scream and rage (repeatedly shouting no) for an hr or more if we don’t work v hard to calm him down. The idea of locking him in a McDonalds bog for possibly an hour while he screamed the place down just doesn’t appeal/wouldn’t work.
I think the immediate consequence is a good idea so after the car straight home and not mention it again. I wrapped up his fish fingers in napkins and he had them at home for lunch, but in retrospective I’d rather I hadn’t had done that.
Is depends on how he usually is. If it is a rare occurrence I would assume tired/coming down with something and would have just removed him as you did and once calm let him know it isn’t acceptable behaviour.
Sorry but I’m with Sethos.
A smack would have been given , he would have been taken to the car, strapped in and sent to his room for 15 minutes when we got home.
Then I would have tried to talk through what happened and why he felt the need to kick me and scratch his father.
But this behaviour would worry me - you have a baby . What if he looses his temper and the baby is the one he lashes out at?? Kicking and scratching is quite violent behaviour . My daughter most certainly didn’t do anything like that and at 4 years old with a baby I would be worried.
X posted it sounds like this Ian a one off. I would be looking into why he is behaving like that tbh
Smacking just shows that it’s ok to hit someone. A parent with more power and control hitting a small child is pathetic. Do you as adult not have more control over your own actions?
That's a bit different, then, marmalade. In that case, straight outside at the start of the tantrum and put him in the car (totally ignoring him) until he's calmed down. I don't think there's a lot of point in punishing when you get home as you've lost the immediacy of it. Having to leave and not getting his meal is the punishment/natural consequence of his behaviour.
Leaving aside the smack, 15 minutes aged FOUR?
At that age I'd take him outside the cafe, if he doesn't calm down he doesn't go back.
Adult and baby eat and pack up food to go, once 4yo is calm at home he eats.
My daughter turned 4 at the end of August so is just finishing her first term at school. She is very tired, over excited as there's so much going on for Christmas and generally very irritable. She's had a few tantrums in the last week or so. I would have taken him to the car and left him to calm down and give options whether to go inside and eat or take the food home. I'd then talk about the kicking later on when all calm.
I would have gotten up and left him sitting there alone. Gone out of his sight for a few minutes and let him think I've left him there. Nobody to scream at and a shock to the system. Done it to all my children and only ever had to do it once each. Never had to deal with public tantrums because as soon as they started I just walked on and their self-preservation and need not to get left behind kicked in and outweighed whatever it is they were screaming about because they knew that I would leave them there (not literally leave the premises but leave them alone where they can't see me which feels the same to a four year old).
TBH the lost lunch should have been the consequence, as it’s best to directly relate their behaviour and your actions, so I wouldn’t have wrapped up the food for him to have at home. I would have offered toast or something similarly boring, once he apologised.
Ah sorry missed that you took him out to the car. I think that was the right approach - natural consequence, immediately. Personally I would still follow up with a chat later about how you can’t take him for treats if he behaves like that. However that chat may be more effective when he’s older than now.
It does seem unusual for him to be having such rages without a reason like tiredness or hunger. My DD1 had awful tantrums at 4 but she was tired all the time due to a medical condition and poor sleep. Could he be having a growth spurt or something?
Why don’t you call it hitting rather than smacking then if you’re so ok with it?
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now »
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.