April 15, 2008,
C.M. asks from Kalamazoo, MI on April 11, 2008
Help with My 4 Almost 5 Year Olds Behavior
OH my Gosh, what has happened to my child, I think the devil got re-incarnated in him. My loving child with minor terrible two issues is now four and a half and if i thought the twos were bad the fours are worse. My child is defiant, bossy, disruptive, verbally aggressive, rude arrogant and has this almighty attitude. I have tried one on one time, positive reinforcement, negative reinforcement, punishment, I have screamed and yelled and cried and he just keeps at it. How do I get him to behavior and be the kind loving helpfully little boy that I know he is, what am i doing wrong??? I am lost and feel all of a sudden out of my depth at this whole parenting thing. I am usually the person people ask for help, i am just so tired of arguing with a four year old (maybe that is my mistake) what rational adult argues with a four year old. AHHHHH help me please!
So What Happened?™
Thanks everyone for the advice. It has been a help just to know their are others who have been through it.
So let me add a few bits of info, I am a special needs teacher with knowledge of autism adhd add etc, my son possibly has adhd, but linked to diet. I guess with his age and with his new sisters we have become a bit lax on diet, I don't like to always be saying no to foods when we are out with friends, so we try to balance it normally, but as late with the stress of two little ones balance doesn't always happen. We are trying to stick to a budget and sometimes finding whole foods can be difficult on a budget when you live in an asian country as we do (expats living abroad). WE don't have access to the same quick easy choices. He does have some food related allergies, not entirely sure of specifics so try to limit preservatives flavours and colours where possible. I have gone back to my strict ways on this. It seems to be helping a bit.
My son is also quite communicative and mature he is also tall for his age, and sometimes i forget that he is only four, my husband and i decided that perhaps we have been giving him too much responsibilities, (although i love the advice of sitting untill the toys are cleaned up if he doesn't want to help, i am going to do that). I do know the 123-magic, but have been inconsistent with it since baby number three arrived. And as things like this seem to esculate we have decided to slow down and focus more on this approach again. He is enrolled in a taekwondo class and I see huge benefits, maybe he could do more than one day a week, he has a lot of energy.
I know we will get there, he is a lovely child just high spirited with boundless energy, I know that. But I guess with a new baby in the house, I am tired and he never slows down. I am a perfectionist and he is a little boy, sometimes the battle of wills is like war, but i am the parent and he is the child. We will get there because he is my angel and i love him and i will be the parent consistent and patient because I owe him that. It has been getting better already. Thank-you everyone!
S.G. answers from Detroit on April 12, 2008
Wow, that sounds just like my son, he's ADHD. We put him on concerta & in karate classes to help with his over-energy & disipline problems. It's helped a lot for us, he's still got a "colorful" mouth sometimes, but I put him on the lowest dose possible to help with his focus against the doctors wishes. They wanted to put him on a higher dose but I don't think it's really needed. His mouth I can deal with but the lack of focus is the main problem for us. He's 10 and was becoming a problem in school so we really had no choice. Good luck to you Mama, things will get better soon!!
K.F. answers from Saginaw on April 12, 2008
C., FIRST and MOST IMPORTANT, STOP YELLING, what you are saying is "when I am mad or frustrated WE yell!) Many children go through frightful fours, instead of terrible two's. Have a calm talk with your child when nothing is going on, ask what is going on and explain, from here on those actions will not be tolerated, walk away when your child is screaming or acting inappropriate, explain you will talk when he is calm, if you are in public, (ie grocery...) 1 warning and you will leave. BE CONSISTANT and CALM! It takes time. Also, this might sound strange, make light of the "almighty" attitude, give him a new nick name, KING ATTITUDE! explain even Kings say please and use their manners! He wants the control and the attention, only give it when his actions are good, try a little dramatics, ie.. EXCUSEEMWA my king, my sensative ears can not understand when your voice is loud, does the king want to go to his dungeon? (his room) Say please and thank you in a new language, make manners fun. If he is having a "bad" moment quietly say wait, we have to try something, "close your eyes, turn around 4 times, and when you open your eyes, you will have a new tude! (attitude) When
his attitude is good, quietly tell him how happy that makes everyone. If he has a good part of the day, say morning, let him choose what he gets for lunch, or surprise him, my kids favorite was peanut butter and bananas with a little whip cream on a piece of bread. You can do it! I am a mother of 5 grown successful kids, have been a childcare provider for 30 years. The most important, be consistant, stay calm. Take care hon K.
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L.L. answers from Benton Harbor on April 12, 2008
Set limits, talk to him about your expectations calmly and clearly (it is not okay for you to talk to people like that. It is rude. Tell him how he could speak what he is feeling in a more polite way)
set a good example and don't over react
Don't let him get you all riled up
have logical consequences for bad choices - let him know before hand as much as possible
ex. if you make rude, mean comments you will have to go to your room because we do not want to hear that
Then don't listen to him if he continues, just move him calmly to his room without a reaction to the upset words he's saying, it's not personal against you
You must stay super mommy calm, patient, consistent when insisting on your rules and expectation
Also watching SuperNanny on evening tv to see some ideas put into action
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D.W. answers from Detroit on April 11, 2008
Wow I can totally relate. My son turned 4 in February and you would think he was the parent. He is bossy, extremely competitive, yells, wants his, rude. It is not very fun to deal with. It does seem worse now then when he was two. His teacher said it is very normal they want to see just how far they can push. Just remember you are the parent and he needs to listen. Try to remain calm and be consistent. I am sure this can't last too long right? I have two older children and I do not remember them going through this. Good luck.
D.O. answers from Detroit on April 12, 2008
It sounds like you have tried a lot of different methods. I agree with you to stop arguing with a four year old. You are the parent and you will have to really remember that when they are teenagers too. If not arguing and letting him know what the consequence will be for a bad behavior does not work talk with your doctor. If this is a sudden change in behavior make sure there is nothing physically wrong. I say this because my youngest behavior changed for awhile and I was taking the other one to the doctor and told the doctor about the other child's behavior. She looked into his ears and he had double ear infections. No regular symptoms except horrible behavior. When you change your pattern of behavior he will try to manipulate you back to all the things you use to do. Stay strong and follow through. He could just be testing the waters to see what he is able to get away with at this time, too.
B.L. answers from Detroit on April 12, 2008
C., my daughter is almost 4 and we are going through the same thing. She has such a big attitude and uses my "lines" back at me all the time. It's very frustrating...and I really don't know what to do with her either! So, I have no good advice to offer - but you are NOT alone! I think it's a normal stage they go through at this age to test their boundaries and flex their independant muscles a little. I think consistency is the key, and they will eventually calm down and continue to feel safe and secure knowing that you respond the same way to them each time they act up. Best of luck!
J.S. answers from Lansing on April 11, 2008
I cetainly feel your pain. I have a similar issue with my son. His seems to come and go in spurts. We will hit a rough patch of a few weeks where he tells me I am an evil mom and that he is going to call the police and tell them I am mean because I put him in time out. He can be very challenging for me because we seem to have a misunderstanding in that he thinks he and I are equals.
But, these rough patches never last forever and I have come to realize that when I am fighting him tooth and nail, day after day and feel like all I do is yell!!! It is usually him responding to how I AM ACTING! When I get bent out of shape, he feeds off that and we do battle. He doesn't have this issue with his father. He never even questions the man. Which can be frustrating.
I am in the same boat, and like you I am learning as I go and I just pray it's a phase. I am sure it is. It has to be. Right? God, I hope so. So I guess my advice is to take a deep breath and count to ten and remind him that you love him even when you aren't getting along.
Good luck and it will get better.
H.J. answers from Detroit on April 12, 2008
I had this problem with my now 14 year old. I told him that he's being left out of family activities and he'd lose his turn to go to the store with me for acting out of line. You have to be diligent and although it's hard, you just have to put up with the screaming. As long as he's not hurting himself or others in his fits. He's wanting attention, good or bad. You have to set an example because the other little ones will eventually pick up on his actions and do it too. I also would make the kids sit and watch me clean up if they wouldn't do it themselves. I would tell them once if they would help we would get it done faster and they can go back to playing. I just had a hard time with 3 boys close in age all not wanting to do something because it wasn't their turn.
J.M. answers from Detroit on April 12, 2008
You've answered your own question! Don't argue, don't reason, etc. Just say this is it, end of conversation. I have a hard time doing that, but DH is the King of it with our 7 yo son. It works!
Also, be consistant with your punishment, repremands, praises, what ever you're using.
Yes, it's all hard, but you can do it! Good Luck!