my 4yr old hates being good/ loves being bad

Heather - posted on 01/12/2014 ( 7 moms have responded )

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My 4 year old son has began stealing, lying, tearing up the house, peeing\
/pooping his pants. He is constantly in the corner. Has lost all of his toys, one at a time for stealing. I have tried many times to sit him down and talk to him calmly about what he is doing wrong and why. His response to me proves he is extremely smart. He can admit and describe why he is in trouble, and how he could have prevented getting into trouble. He fully understand what he does is wrong and what kind of trouble he will be in for doing what was wrong. He has told me every time that he wants me to leave, he doesnt want me to live here because when im here he cant do bad things. His father and i are on the same page with discipline and have tried time out, taking his things, spankings, extra chores, stern talking to and calm talking to. its always the same story, he doesnt want mom (me) to be here, he wants to do bad things and he wont stop doing them. I am at my wits end his actions are affecting my 3 year old, watching him act out all the time makes her think that is how she should act, i have spent almost 8 months trying to potty train the 3 year old, she is pretty much done with potty training but she refuses to use the bathroom, stay in her bed at bed time, throwing food across the room at meal times (that she got from her older brother, he loves to throw food from kitchen table to living room floor everyday)! and just all around doing anything that is wrong. how can i stop them from doing bad things? i use my 2 oldest children as examples of what happens when you are good, my oldest son has never stolen or lied to me and he is almost never in trouble, my oldest daughter had sticky fingers for a while but she is making good progress on not stealing or lying and has been in a lot less trouble lately but it doesnt matter if he ends up constantly in the corner watching his older siblings play with out him the second you let him out of the corner and take your eyes off him he is into something. i see a lot of responses of people going through the same thing i need to know what people have done to fix this because i have tried not disciplining and ignoring his acting out and i have tried serious discipline. he says he will never change he doesnt want to do good things...

p.s. sorry for the crappy typing, with 4 kids most of the keys on my laptop are missing...

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Jodi - posted on 01/13/2014

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Then maybe you need to seek professional help and diagnosis. He could be ODD (which, by the way, would mean you have to have a different discipline system in place for him than you do the other kids).

Heather - posted on 01/13/2014

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We have a reward and remind system in place. Accomplishments are rewarded and every one is reminded of their behavior whether it be positive or negative. I have raised 2 other children with complete opposite personalities I understand each child is different. We reward, we complement, we explain, we teach. He is a very smart kid and knows exactly what he is doing, and that it's wrong and that he is going to be in trouble. He explains it to me everyday, that he wants to do bad things so he can be mean. It's not a matter of explaining to him that its wrong and what he should have done to be doing it right. He knows what is going on, it is his personal choice to ignore us, break rules, act out, i have to figure out how to change his mind.

Jodi - posted on 01/12/2014

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All children respond to different disiplinary techniques. You should never have a one size fits all discipline program in place for your children of varying personalities and needs. That is the equivalent of me, as a teacher, expecting every student to learn the same way. The fact is, they don't. If you set up a reward chart for one child, you don't necessarily need to set it up for another. And even if you do, it doesn't need to operate in the same way.

Also, a reward can include simply positive attention. It seems to me that your 4 year old is getting an awful lot of negative attention. If you don't somehow give rewards and positive attention for the things he does right, then how is he even going to recognise it when it happens? What is wrong with simply saying "well done for doing this, I really appreciate it! Now we will add a sticker to your chart!!" If he starts getting some positive attention and rewards for the things he does well, he is more likely to strive to do well in other things. I am not suggesting rewarding every tiny little thing, but looking for some positives in his day. It is truly unfair on a child to be receiving constant negative attention and never anything positive. Do you know how demoralising that would be? I know from my experience with children that a child eventually develops the view that they are bad, so therefore they may as well just BE bad. Children who misbehave constantly at my school often have the self image of just being a naughty kid, but you would be absolutely amazed what a change small positives can bring about in the way these children view themselves.

If you can't see how rewards could potentially work for you, then maybe it is not me who can't help you, but you who can't see how discipline does not need to be negative and full of punishments.

Heather - posted on 01/12/2014

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ok so your suggesting i give every child even those who have been dressing them selves for 5 years and using the bathroom for just as long a reward for doing such things, a child who has dressed himself for 2 years and been bathroom trained almost as long needs to be reminded with treats that putting his shoes on makes up for him throwing his food across the room, or him going to the bathroom on his own now makes up for him taking all his clothes out of his dresser and throwing them on the floor just for the attention.... if you cant imagine a child running around the house all times of the day and night taking what he wants from you and destroying it while telling you to leave then you have no idea how to help me. this is not my first child this is my 3rd child and if you would like to know no he can not just sit and quietly watch tv, he can not sit and eat his dinner it is a battle to get him not talk with food in his mouth, not throw food, actually eat his food he refuses and fights us with every meal that is cooked for him instead wants to get up in middle of the night and drink a gallon of coffee creamer... im sorry but i dont think rewarding kids for doing things like using the bathroom after years of doing it them selves is how to stop them from stealing, lying, tantrums, and disrespect.

Jodi - posted on 01/12/2014

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I'm sorry, but I have a hard time believing a child has done NOTHING right. Even if it were just quietly sitting and watching a movie, or eating his dinner, or putting on his shoes on his own, or peeing in the toilet - they are all things he is doing right. If that is the case, then you need to seek professional help.

And if he used to be the most respectful child in the house, and then just suddenly changed, then you need to investigate what has changed, because that isn't normal either.

Heather - posted on 01/12/2014

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@Jodi he would be rewarded if he had done anything right, everyone else (my other kids) get rewarded at least once a day, just today my oldest daughter was rewarded with cookies for taking out the trash with out being asked. he recieved rewards before he started acting this way, he use to be the best acting and respectful kid in the house. now i am being woke up at 7 am (before anyone else is up) to him doing something he shouldnt, and its none stop the rest of the day.

Jodi - posted on 01/12/2014

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Nowhere in your post do you mention rewards for doing the right things. How about try a consistent reward program? He is clearly getting the attention he is after doing the wrong thing, I'm just wondering if he is getting the attention when he does the right thing. Ignoring when he does the wrong thing will only work if you are also rewarding the right thing.

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