Help with My 4 Year Old! - Columbia,TN

Updated on September 29, 2008
N.H. asks from Columbia, TN
7 answers

I am at my breaking point moms! My 4 year old son has always been my buddy. He is so sweet, smart, caring, and loving. When he was 2 I found out that I had breast cancer. He didn't understand all the treatment, and was just scared that I was going to die. We got through that and I found out I was pregnant with twins. He was excited to be a big brother, but at the same time he wanted me all to himself after the cancer. The twins were born and he loved it! Then my husband left us when the twins were 6 weeks old for another woman. He in left the state! He never sees my son, and calls him to say goodnight about 4 times a week (it is supposed to be every night.) We just moved from Texas to TN, and this last change has just really been hard on him. He is screaming at the top of his lungs all the time now, he hits me, he yells at me, he yells at the babies, he was even asked not to come back to school. I am lucky enough to work from home with a group of other mom's, so I am with him everyday and his behavior isn't bothering the people I work with. But this IS NOT my child. I don't know what to do. I keep telling him how much I love him, and that I understand he is nervous about this change, but no ammount of talking seems to be working. He just screams at me that he hates me. Also, he has always been my sleeper, he goes to bed at 7:30 and wakes up at 7:30 like clockwork. Since we have been here (2 weeks) I am lucky if he finally falls asleep around midnight, and only then becasue he is so worn out from the 4 hour fit he has been throwing. Then he is awake at 6am! He looks so tired! I am heartbroken! How can I help him?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

More Answers



answers from Chattanooga on

Wow, that's a lot for all of you. I have to agree with the other moms--you might want to see if you could get him into some counseling. Someone trained to talk with kids and ask good questions about some of the issues you've been dealing with might really help him. If you have a church they might be able to give you some names, or your pediatrician. It's so great that you can be home with your kids; I'm sure Mommy time is a huge part of what he needs, but he might need more than that. Bless your heart! You'll be in my prayers.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

Maybe counseling for him and you would help. He has gone through a terrible time with his father leaving and you are the one there that he can express his sadness to. Unfortunately it is anger. My daughter went through something similar. My ex husband had left the country! I had had a nervous breakdown - literally. My daughter..the sweetest most giving person even at 4 years old started these temper tantrums. One day she was throwing things, screaming, acting crazy. I tried everything to get her to stop and nothing worked, finally my father said to just take her outside and sit with her. I wrapped my screaming, crying child in a blanket (it was cold) and we went out on the porch and we both cried. I told her how sorry I was that everything was crazy, and we just held each other. AFter that was great...the tantrums stopped. I guess we both acknowledged each others feelings in that moment. I'm not saying to do exactly what I did but he somehow needs to feel like what he is feeling is ok?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lexington on

This is so tough!

Perhaps play therapy or expressive arts therapy may help him. It can also help you, perhaps, learn how to help him through this.

I also wonder if even though there are extenuating psychological stress in his life, if maybe something physical isn't just adding on more stress, like allergies maybe? My daughter also used to have 4 hour screaming fits, and she didn't have any psychological distress/trauma or loss in her life! We did see that her fits got worse seasonally, and they were helped when she got on antihistanimnes for allergies.

I really feel for you. I can hear your pain in your writing.
(((( hugs ))))


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Wilmington on

Have you tried validating his angry/upset/feelings? When he is mad, etc, get down on his level and say something like, boy you sure are mad. Sometimes all kids need is for someone to understand they are upset.

Given all that has happened in his world in such a short time, I don't blame him one bit for acting out. Give him some time. If he doesn't start settling into a new routine soon (it takes on average 30 days for a routine to feel normal for a kid usually, some kids take longer, some kids take shorter times), then maybe start looking for counseling for him.

Give him as much mommy time as possible. When he is so upset, ask him questions, try to get him to talk about what is bothering him exactly. Make sure you let him know you love him no matter what, but that you don't approve of his actions. Give him choices so he can feel in control of things. My 4 year old doesn't do well with transitions. He will have major meltdowns with them, just everyday things too. What helps is give him 2 choices with the same end results. For instance leaving school, he doesn't want to leave, he enjoys playing with the "new" toys and other kids. I tell him he can either put the toys away and walk out to the car, or I'll take the toys, put them away and carry him out, but either way it is time to go to the car. So far, he has chosen the first option. He puts the toys away, I get his bag, he takes him hand and we walk out the door. No fit, no fuss.

Children have the need (like all of us) to be in control of something, anything, in their daily life. Tell them what needs to happen, then give them 2 choices of how that can happen. They feel in control by getting to chose which way it will happen. You still get the desired end results that you want, but they get to choose how it happens.

Something else that might help, get him a punching bag. When he is upset and wanting to hit you, try redirecting that to something he is allowed to hit. He needs to get his frustrations out, and now is the time to teach him that there are things that are appropriate to hit and things that aren't. Hitting you will not be tolerated, however, hitting a punching bag is acceptable.



answers from Stationed Overseas on

Hi N.,
It sounds like you have a lot to deal with right now. I don't know what your employer offers, but I would look into counseling, or at least a consultation for your son. He's young, and dealing with a lot of changes, the major one being the loss of his father. You can only do so much. I'm sure a professional would have some good suggestions. If you can't go to one, I would do some research online. There has to be a lot of resources for separated/divorced people and their children. Sorry I can't offer more advice.



answers from Wilmington on

Dear N.,
-This sounds like a boy who has gone through a tremendous amount of loss in the past year. His whole world has changed. He lost a (sick and) dependent mom, he lost a lot of his regular mom, he lost an A.H. dad (easy to figure these abbreviations out), and he lost his entire physical old world - his house, yard, room, friends, etc.
-He has had absolutely no control over any of this, he doesn't understand it, and I think he may feel very alone and confused.
-He needs as much "alone time" with you as you can possibly muster up.

I think you might recognize the following, this was my response to another Mamasource mom:
"Your daughter, however, spent 5 years without competition. When her new little brother came last year, she received attention because she had a 'new baby'. Now, they are both competitors for your time and attention, he's more of a person, he's getting into things, he's been cute for too long, and a serious threat to her relationship with you.
"My stepson was 5 or 6 when his first sibling was born in his mother's house. We were told that he tried to poke out his brother's eyes with a pencil. (We heard about it because his mom blamed it on his dad and me. We lived across town in a different household.)
"I remember reading an analogy to younger siblings:
"The husband brings home a new lover and says to his wife, 'Hi Honey! I've brought home another wife just like you. Don't worry, I have enough love in me for both of you ... and when she get a little older, you can play together. For now, though, she needs more of my time and energy. Just be nice and gentle with her while she's getting used to our world. If she plays with your things and breaks them, don't be mean. But, please don't break her things. Etc,.'"
It sounds like you've been through some pure Hell, one hit after another after another. Thank God for your kids, your brain, and your coworkers.
I hope this helps somewhat, good luck with all this!!



answers from Knoxville on

I wanted to add that my oldest was VERY VERY sweet and loving as a a young child, until he hit about 3 years old. We had a lot of changes then too - nothing quite so dramatic as your situation! But I had his baby brother right before he turned 2 - I had worried about him adjusting to the baby, but he was GREAT! No problems! Then we moved across the country - no problems! Then I unexpectedly turned up pregnant again with my third - found out right after the second one turned a year old and the oldest was turning 3! He was STILL fine until I started having problems with the pregnancy and was put on bedrest! Then his brother was also old enough to be running around, getting into his stuff and Mommy couldn't get off the couch to help! My mom was a blessing to come live with us during the week while my husband worked, but she was one to think the best way to help was to sweep, vacuum, do dishes, laundry, etc... While that was all very helpful, I was more of a hands-on mom and the boys were being ignored by her to get the housework done! And I had to lay on the couch and listen to them squabbling! He almost immediately started throwing tantrums, biting my mother, breaking things! It was hard on her as a grandma for him to treat her that way or to see that he was acting out b/c he didn't have enough attention. I think that is what most of kids' behavior boils down to is are they getting the attention they need? What seems like alot for some kids is not enough for others! Like some others said, he has just had his entire world ripped away from him! You had no choice in his father leaving and in his behavior now, but you can try to talk to the man and explain what his child is going through w/o him there! He needs to know what he has caused! Tell him you can move on without him, but his son can't! Kids don't understand that at all! I don't either, frankly!

And do seek counseling for him and for you if you can! He probably needs to start back to preschool at some point if he is ever going to make it in Kindergarten - so try a very slow transition when he is ready! He will need playmates his own age and starting with a once-a-week class can help him accept that YOU aren't dumping him off too! Kids can suffer attachment issues after only ONE of these traumatic events, and he has lived thru 3 of them in the last few years! Poor baby! And poor Mommy! As hard as it is, try to make time for each of your children, but realize that the twins are never going to "miss" their daddy like your older son does and they have that special twin bond and will always have each other there - he is bound to feel alot more left out than they ever will!

And if you have to be the one losing sleep to get work done at night and spend time with him during the daytime hours, do it! It likely won't last more than several weeks before he will settle into that new routine and make new friends once he is back in school or playgroups. Adults can handle lack of sleep much better than children can - as parents we have to do it all the time for one reason or another but rarely does one reason last for very long!

Back to my original point, my oldest is still a different child than he was as a baby and toddler. He is mean to his siblings, obnoxious to us, and very disorganized/forgetful.
He may have ended up that way even if I'd never had any other children, or he may have always stayed the sweet loving little guy I used to know. No one can really say how we WOULD have turned out if this or that hadn't happened, but our experiences shape who we become and there isn't a whole lot of undoing it. Therapy can help him learn how to deal with his anger and the rejection he feels, but he likely won't be your sweet little angel again like he once was. I mourn that from time to time with my son (now 12 years old!) but I have to find the good qualities he does still have - like his corny sense of humor, his physical talents, his intellectual abilities that blow me away, the fact that he is perfectly well-behaved at school! It makes it hard that he can't behave AT HOME like that, but I'd rather him be that way than be an angel at home and a little devil at school!

Take care and God bless! I will keep your family in my prayers!

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches