MOMMY IN DISTRESS!!! need help My 4 yr old is afraid to be left alone in a room. Also, he is not....

Anastasia - posted on 12/29/2009 ( 16 moms have responded )

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Hello, I am Anastasia a 20yr single mom/student of a great, happy, lively, smart, demanding 4 and a half yr old Timothy Alexander...Well here is my dilemma...

Tim Tim is now starting to follow me around the house constantly. If I am running upstairs to get the phone at 1pm in the afternoon, he is running up after me saying 'MA YOU'RE MAKING ME MISS MY SHOW!!" ...mad because he's got into this new thing where he is afraid to be in ANY room by him self, day or night! I am going insane! I cannot get a chance to rest in my bedroom while he is in his even though we can see each other, he will not be in a room alone. If it is time for Oprah to come on, I cannot watch it without him screaming and going to the cable box and changing it because he will not stand for me to watch TV in the livingroom, because he wants to watch Wubzy or whatever! But when I go upstairs, oh no, theres even more screaming because I left him downstairs byHIMSELF. I have beginning recording my shows so that if he changes the channel, I can just rewind, but record or not record, I still have no time to breathe! Let alone go to the bathroom by myself. I have a bathroom in my room, and he is too afraid to go in there without me. Now I know you may ask if anything spooked him recently..NO. Maybe something on TV, I don't know. I ask him why he is afraid and almostthink he is too s/embarassed to tell me. He will get mad when I start questioning him on why. I am not sure if this is way to get attention, or if he is just being rebellious, or if he is manipulating me because I am a woman and there is no man here. His father lives in NY, we live in PA, and we make the short 4 hr drive once a month to visit 3 days out of the month. Now, while we are there, he is good as can be, no screaming for the TV, none of that nonsense, he is not afraid, or doesn't cry when it is time to go in the room and go to sleep. Is he taking advantage of me, is he really afraid of something, is this a phse. What do I have to do to get EVEN 5 MINUTES OF FREEDOM!? He won't go to sleep until I lay down with him and pretend to be asleep (another 40 minutes out of my freedom) . If he wakes up and Im not there..well that goes the whole night, he caught me and he won't go back to sleep, thus disrupting his sleep schedule. After 3 weeks of waking up at 5pm, going to bed at 7am, I JUST got him back on schedule. He is not a bad kid, but he is, I dont know this is the first time he has given me this much distress as you can see its 5:22 am, I have not slept due to the fact I had all of my Oprahs' greys anatomey's and some more shows to catch up on...you get the picture...ANY HELP..SUGGESTIONS...ADVISE?? Now I have lashed out TWICE and gave him a nice tap to his behind ...whats he do (laugh about 3minutes later n thinks its a game of tag)!! I AM HOPELESS!!!! He does not act like this with anybody, I mean anybody else, he minds and all...what do i do!?

WHAT DO I DO!? I AM GOING COMPLETELY INSANE!!! I cannot shower alone, use the bathroom alone, go in the other room to have a quiet conversation on the phone...nothing! Please help!


. He is very bright, can repeat anyone's conversation in a heartbeat. Knows how to dial numbers (memorizes them), can find his shows on TV w. the menu guide...umm can turn the computer on and knows how to get directly to NickJr.com . Well, I am a single mom, and last Christmas his Daddy (27) thought it would be cool to get him a Playstation 3 (what do you think about those?). Anyways, he will be starting kindergarten next fall and he has yet to know his ABCs or 123s. I have bought the flashcards, the games, the Hooked oh Phonics, everything!! He just will not sit down and concentrate for me. How are your 4 year old's doing, and what do you suggest? All he wants to do all day is watch NickJr...THATS IT, oh and eat. Not healthy at all....
Any suggestionson how to get him to focus and learn them....any cool games? Since he is on my tail 24/7 it shouldn't be that difficult

Thanks for helping a mom in distress!!!

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Village - posted on 01/15/2013

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Hi there, I read your story with as much sympathy for you as I felt relieved for me. I also have a 4 year old who cannot be left alone, is climbing on top of me all the time, cries out for me in the night, and hits me when I don't do what she wants. I cannot talk on the phone for more than a minute, and I cannot have a shower without little hands in there-it drives me crazy, and I am not a single Mum, and I'm 46 and tired of being tired. Our biggest problem is the going to bed thing. The other night I put her to bed 14 times, that meant up and down the stairs 28 times, and she finally fell asleep because she just couldn't get out of bed one more time! Last night she tried it again, and after the 6th time, I told her I would put my shoes and socks on and leave the house (my husband was home). What a horrible thing to say to a child. The look on her face said it all-and is the solution to all the trouble, she needs her Mummy! She went to bed. I am in a stage right now where I am waiting (perhaps inpatiently) for her to be independent, get dressed on her own, sit properly at the table, play with the toys we bought for her on her own, be brave and not be afraid of the dark, but really, at 4, I'm learning that developmentally, she is not ready to do these things just yet. So, I have to figure it out, I have to bend, and think about what it might be like to be 4. and May I suggest to you that your child needs you right now. Maybe he is at pre-school or day care during the day, and the only time he gets to see you is after those programs are finished.He wants your attention. Maybe you are tired too. But, the hours before bed are the only time he gets to see you, and be loved by you. You also say your son's Daddy lives elsewhere and once a month he goes to visit him. I am not suggesting in any way that Daddy does not treat him well, but he lives with you for 3 weeks, and the fear of having to go away from you for 3 days may be the reason for his behaviour. He may be afraid that when you drop him off, you are not coming back, even though you have reassured him continually, and I am sure he loves being with Daddy. AT 4, children are able to do some things on their own, but it is a struggle for them-they still need lots of affirmation, hugs, and help. Oprah and all your tv shows distract you from giving those things to your child. Who cares about Oprah, they are all repeats anyway. Who cares about other people's drama, when you are living your own! Your frustration will only increase if you dn't bend to your kids desire to be acknowledged and loved. He behaviour is telling you that he needs 5 minutes of a hug, 5 minutes of praise, 5 minutes of doing something together. I've noticed that 5 minutes of MY time goes a long way for the CHILD's time. Go to him, help him, do something and for God sakes, show him how much you love him. He may only need this extra assurance for a week, maybe a few days but reassuring him that you love him during this phase (and it is a phase) will lighten a very heavy and frustrating period in his life. I'm with you, and pray that you can find a way forward to give your little guy some self confidence while preserving your sanity. thank God 4 only lasts a year!

Jennifer - posted on 01/02/2010

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when my daughter was four she did the same. I just talked to her about what I was doing and that I was just in another room! It took a few times of me yelling down the hall at her that everything is ok and what room I was in! Letting her know she was ok in the other room seemed to do the trick! Hope it helps!

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Jessica - posted on 11/22/2012

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Hello sounds like we have alot in common. My 4 year old daughter maddison i swear has some sort of anxiety or something ... i live in a small apartment its pretty open u can hear and see everything.. i will be sitting in the living room and she will have to go pee . and she will run to me and say i have to pee in a panic and i tell her well than go , she will freeze on the spot in a panic and cry and say i cant im scared ive tried leaving the hall light on and the bathroom light and propng the door open and she will not budge i have to walk her in there and wipe for her most of the time.. secondly at bedtime she will scream bloody murder when i put her to bed she wants me to cuddle with her so i lay there for awile and pretend to seep than get up and go to my room , about the same time everynight she will wake up midnight -2am and scream for me im scared mommy i need u and she will run to my room in a panic and climb on my bed if take to long getting to her .. than she is in my bed with me till 6-7 am ... this is everyday and has been going on since i left her dad 2 years ago not sure if its related but i am sressed.....she is afraid to go anywhere out of my sight alone .. if i have another child over she will play anywhere as long as she has company ....

Susie - posted on 01/03/2010

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HI Moms, I'm an older mom but I went through a lot of those same things, not so much with my son , who was my only child, but I had Daycare in my home for many years. have you met your neighbors yet? Your son might like to have a playmate ,one or two days a week,that could come to his house to play ,and he also go to their house also which would give you a little free time, and the other mother some free time. Or you might like to spend some time with him at the neighbors house just visiting,or doinig things together with the children,like crafts ,puzzles art or baking. getting outside every day is really important for you and the kids,even for ten or fifteen minutes a day for some fresh air or just to clear your head, or get a change of scenery. my kids and i, used to walk around the block every day, or they rode their bikes or riding toys. My friends would comment on our little parades arund the block. but we had fun. They also learned about safety rules on crossing driveways and at corners and staying together so we can see each other.I had wonderful times with those kids. keep in touch. I hope I helped you a little.Spend time with them,they grow up too fast....

JEANNIE - posted on 01/03/2010

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well sounds as if you have your hands full. i can not help with the fowling you around thing. with the ABC's and 123's say things and ask him what that starts with and have him count different things like when you do clothes the things coming out of the dryer. also since he is there with you make him help give him the clothes to put in the dryer or the silver ware to put in the drawer. have him put his own clothes in the drawers. i hope this might help you a little. good luck

Kekua - posted on 01/02/2010

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if this behaviour only exists around you it's not fear or anxiety. it's control.
at this age they're discovering their autonomy and what they can and can't control. that's awesome. the bad news is you're letting him control you.
when you leave the room and he starts to flip out at you, turn around and say "NO. I am not making you do anything right now. I am going (wherever) and it is YOUR choice to keep on (doing whatever he's doing) or follow me." then go and do not listen to anything he says while he's yelling. tell him you don't like being yelled at and when he speaks to you normally you'll listen. when he starts to yell and change the channel from what you're watching turn off the tv and leave the room.
I'm not a fan of giving "prizes" for good behaviour because the prize should be that he's getting your attention and that it's positive attention and time spent together.
I also really think you guys need to get out of the house and away from the tv. you don't need flash cards to learn to count use real life such as how many rungs on the monkey bars or how many tires on the car etc. when you're at the playground look at all the signs together and "let's find the letters in T I M" or in your name or anything like that.

Rebecca - posted on 12/30/2009

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I also found that noggin was great for him especially shows like Little Bill as he could watch and learn a lot about social interaction. At 4 and 5 lots of small rewards worked great to re-establish a positive relationship. I bought a couple of bags of dinosaurs at the party store and he could pick one for an improved behavior each day. Low cost but big value to him. Good luck :)

Rebecca - posted on 12/30/2009

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My 6 year old is a lot like this and I have contemplated getting him tested for Aspergers. He goes through periods of seperation anxiety that appear to be unexplained.
Have you ever tried jigsaw puzzles? I started with the little ones 24 pieces and within a month or two our son was doing 100 piece puzzles daily. He can even take a 24 piece puzzle and do it upside down without the pictures.
I found I have to redirect his energy. Stamping letters in play dough and getting him to make them out of rolled play dough may help, you can do the same with numbers.
There are also free games online that might get him interested in math.

If you are using time outs for your son, you might want to try turning it around and using positive parenting. The reason I mention this is our son went from 4 -5 tantrums a day that would last up to an hour. Once I rebuilt his trust by rocking him for the first week when he would melt down we were able to sit down and discuss one issue at a time and he even came up with his consequences.
He was lashing out because he felt like he couldn't do anything right and his feelings were permanently hurt. :(

Anita - posted on 12/30/2009

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Hi Anastasia, I don't envy you at present, it must be hard and frustrating for you. The only thing I could suggest is to perhaps sit down with him, at four he should be able to understand enough, and tell him that you have your time and space, and he has his time and space and perhaps make a roster with him on big poster paper and bright colours - make it with him (a bit like Daddy Day Care when they asked the children what they wanted?). Have mummy timeout, child timeout, play time together, perhaps cooking together (simple stuff); a walk to the park if that is an option; mummy tv time, child tv time, child rest/nap time; etc etc. Also have a reward system, for example if he does good for the week a trip to McDonald's as a treat perhaps, or something else that he loves. Tell him that you are the boss of the house and its mummy's rules or timeout in his bedroom - screaming as much as he likes. It might take a few days to get the message across but hopefully this might work and you may not need to see a therapist. Keep us posted as to how you go. LOL.

Hilary - posted on 12/30/2009

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I dont think he is to old for nap time. In kendergarten, they still have nap time. I have 5 year old twins that still have nap time in school and we have that routine at home as well. Even my older kids have to lay down for an hour and read or have quiet time. Its not too much to ask for time to yourself.

As for the following you around even when you are just running in the other room to get something and come right back.... Have you considered going just you and he, and picking out something special that "keeps him safe" while you run get your phone or use the rest room? I know it sounds corny, but its a great tool to use seeing as you have recently moved, and he seems to be having confidence issues when you leave the room. That "special" thing can be a great thing when you have to take him to a sitter or when the first day of school rolls around to to help him feel comfortable that first time in a new environment.

Just a thought!

Jennifer - posted on 12/30/2009

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I don't think that's fair. I have 4 kids, I can't always put them all first. I need more me time and I try to find time to have it even w/ the kids here. I like to mess on the computer, scrapbook on the computer and now my Wii Fit workouts. Everyone deserves a little break, and I can't imagine being a single mom! My DH works 60+ hrs a week and that's already hard enough.

I do agree that maybe he needs to do something else. My kids love games, Ants in the Pants, Don't Break the Ice, Memory, all of those. My DH gets them super cheap a lot of times at thrift stores and Wal-Mart always has some for $5.

Instead of nap time, maybe try quiet time. The both of you can sit in your room or something (since he won't be alone right now) and read books or color, something quiet where there's no tv/games involved. He could nap if he still takes one though, my 5yo still naps at school no problem. They go down at 12, so 12-1 seems good. He doesn't have to sleep, but he needs to relax. Maybe play some music. I found if we do this, usually the kids will sleep at least for a little while and then you can sneak away for some you time.

Heather - posted on 12/30/2009

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Turn off the tv and do something with him. Seriously. If all he does all day is play computer, watch tv and play playstation....turn of the tv. Go outside and play, color a picture, do a puzzle, read a book. He is 4, you are the adult. Its not good for him to spend all his time in front of the tv, and he defiantly shouldnt think he has the right to turn off your show to turn is on.Something is probably bothering him, and eventually he will either tell you or get over it and move on. Or he could just be doing it to push your buttons. As for you needing your freedom....thats part of motherhood. Every mom wants time to herself, but when you the only parent you're kinda out of luck. Unless you can find a babysitter to watch him so you can go do what you want to do. You had that child, it is your responsibility to put him first.

Anastasia - posted on 12/30/2009

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Yes you are 100% right about that! And he is very violent as well...well thanks jen, I will update you shortly after the new year to let you know if his behavior has changed any...right now I am on my way to waking him up and starting a scheduled routine for everyday (including naptime)..btw is an hour nap during the day (say around 2pm) okay? Or will that delay his bedtime..and going to bed at a certain time?

Jennifer - posted on 12/29/2009

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Good luck! We moved in Sept and it was just across town but it seemed to throw all my kids into an uproar. The 2yo (now 3) stopped using the potty, the 4yo (was mean and getting very violent), and the 6yo was just not listening and not wanting to do his school work etc. It was hard and we didn't even really move anywhere. I can't imagine if they had had a BIG move! You'll figure it out. Being a mom is never easy. No matter what, you're a first time mom at something and it sucks, lol.

Anastasia - posted on 12/29/2009

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No Jennifer I have not even thought about consulting a therapist! I didn't even know that children as young as Tim could see one. I am going to look into that as soon as possible. I will have to check if my B/C/B/S covers that. Yes, we moved from NY about 4 months ago, however he was fine here for about 1-2 months. Reason he is not in Pre-K is because of that move, oh lord knows I wish he was. About 1 year ago when I was attending college, he was in a full-day daycare/pre-k type setting on campus, and he LOVED it, I think he thrived from it. I am not sure if some of his actions are because he is so bored. What I need to do it bite my tongue, let him cry, jump around throw things for a couple days until he realizes it is not going to work. I am glad that he is back on schedule, sleeping by 9:30 -10pm and up by 11 (I let him sleep a litter longer so that I can have those 3 hours alone). Thanks so much Jennifer!!!! You have been very helpful, I will look into the therapy, and I will give you an update later this week on how he is behaving because I think it might be about that time I stop giving in, no matter how long or how hard his temertantrum is!!!

Any more suggestions Mommy's? Just incase I cannot get him into a therapy session in the nest month...

Jennifer - posted on 12/29/2009

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Have you tried talking to him and finding out if maybe there's a reason he doesn't want to be alone anymore? Have you guys moved recently? Anything new happened in your life? My 6yo has a higher level of anxiety than most, he gets scared of the strangest things. Lately it's been ghosts and monsters in my closet when it's time to go to bed. We took him to a therapist once and were told anxiety is o.k. as long as they can work past it and it doesn't interfere w/ their daily life. Have you thought about seeing a therapist to see what they have to say? We took our 5yo (he was 4 then) to one as well and we went for a few months. She was great and specialized in children. My 5yo thrives on a routine, everything being the same, he has to know what to expect or things are crazy for him and he's not quite sure how to act. He too was my super active kiddo and didn't care about his letters and numbers but he's in pre-kindergarten this year and is blooming! He knows all his letters now and is doing some pre-reading, it's great. Boys often take longer to mature than girls so he'll need some more running around time and don't worry about his letters, he'll learn them eventually and it'll be a lot easier to learn if he chooses the time.



I would start to set limits w/ him though. If he won't be w/out you in a room, you still deserve you time. My kids know that if I want to watch tv, I watch it in the living room. They can stay w/ me or they can go play in their room and watch their tv. Oprah is on, that's what's on, no changing the channel and if he does, you need to enforce whatever discipline you use. He'll either get bored and go elsewhere or he'll suffer through it.

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