Four and a half year old crying ALL THE TIME

Maryam - posted on 04/28/2011 ( 11 moms have responded )

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He is crying for every single thing that he wants and can't get. Ex. if he wakes up at 5.30 AM and wants to watch TV and you obviously say no, he will cry and cry and continue for at least half an hour. I am going insane and I don't know what to do. I can't take it anymore.

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Rivka - posted on 06/20/2013

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Hi, I agree with heidi and with plenty of the advice going around.
I'm a Mom of 8. Each child is different but they all had their share of tantrums.
First thing get the Doc to give you a clear bill of health.
Next, make sure he understands the rules of the house - giving limits that Mommy likes.
Answer him only when he finds his smile.
I have a book about a leopard that lost his smile, he looks for it everywhere in the jungle, in the sky, water, you can add in places at home until he sees his reflection and that is when he finds his smile.
At home I say " I don't understand crying, you're a big boy use your words" then I add "now find your smile and tell me with words".
If it turns into a very long crying fit I suggest that maybe he needs to let it out and finnish crying in bed or another quiet place in the house. "when you're done crying my hug is waiting for you" I physically take them to the quiet place.
with my PDD child it was a long wait. once we introduced a sensory diet he was able to calm down at a normal rate.
So I give a massage to all my calm children that found their smile - positive attention.
We also have a trampoline to jump on after we found our smile.
Children don't mind getting negative attention so you must keep in mind to avoid reinforcing such behavior. for example: you go shopping and your son wants you to buy him something yummy or a toy. most of the time you say - No, but once in awhile you give in. oops, that was reinforcing the negative behavior you don't want when you go shopping.
So if it is time to buy him the toy make sure you explain to him that that is the reason your in the store. Avoid giving in.
My child with downs has tantrums that he bashed his head on the floor and tore out his hair. First thing we made sure that he didn't have a asthma attack and that his ears are in the clear including pain killers in case the liquids are again in the middle ear. then we don't look at him until he calms down. then he get a great big hug. No more hair puling and no more bashing of his head.
Good Luck

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Maybe he's so emotional bc there is a deeper problem. He's clearly dissatisfied with 'something' and most likely it's not as simple as just wanting to watch tv. It sounds like he is looking for some sort of satisfaction or comfort level and if he doesn't get it he becomes very frustrated. Find out what the underlying problem is. Are you spending enough one on one time with him? I see that this is a working moms forum so I'm wondering if he feels like he isn't getting enough mom time. I know it's hard when you have to work and you come home tired and have a thousand and one things to do...I'm not judging. I'm just trying to help find an answer. ♥



Try not to get upset with him. He is unhappy with something and you just have to get to the bottom of it and make it right. I know that's easier said than done but your child is worth the effort.

Emma - posted on 05/01/2011

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Children at a young age try to get attention (negative attention) this way because they dont know and havent learnt the differnce between positive and negative attention seeking yet. You just need to teach him that that type of atttion seeking wont work and when he can listen and ask for things nicely, taking your 'NO' as final he will stop. Just hard as it can take a while but being strong now is better than maknig a rod for your own back as they say!!

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Redrian - posted on 06/11/2013

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hi... everyone... i really stress abt my 4 year old girl... being crying all the time if she needed something... when i ask her to stop crying the more crying she do... im feeling stress abt her so much...

Romila - posted on 08/02/2011

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thanks a lot all of you.I was really frustrated today because my four year old daughter was crying for everything. Had a very bad morning and was feeling as if i am not good at anything...work or parenting. I feel much better now. I guess I am not giving her enough time. will definitely try to do something.

Heidi - posted on 04/29/2011

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All of our kids went through the crying/tantrum stage, especially our daughter with Asperger's. The main thing we found that worked with all of our kids was making it clear that if they asked for something by crying or throwing a fit the answer would automatically be "no". But if they asked nicely, they would be much more likely to get what they wanted, depending on what it was. Our oldest daughter and youngest son very quickly learned that they couldn't manipulate us with tantrums and they stopped fairly quickly. Our second daughter (with Asperger's) took longer to understand it, but with time and patience she did stop as well. One benefit for our family has been that now when we say no, all of the kids know that we mean it, and that begging or misbehaving will not work to get them what they want. We also do try to explain the reasons why we have to say no to certain things (like getting up extremely early to watch T.V.) and how our saying yes to some of those things could actually be bad for them. They didn't always understand when they were really little (in fact they generally didn't), but now we're able to have good conversations about it and they have been able to start making more responsible decisions for themselves now that they are 11, 10, and 8. The crying stage was very difficult to get through at the time, but it does pass. You're definitely not alone in feeling like you've had it and can't take it any more (I don't know how many times I've felt that way!), but I assure you that you can and will. :) You may have a few extra gray hairs to prove you made it, but I'm sure you will do great.

Danielle - posted on 04/29/2011

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my 5 yr old cries about EVERYTHING. tv, snacks, shoes, colors, dust, EVERYTHING. now, while i know some of it is immaturity, other times its because she wants attention, any way she can get it. at this point, when she needs to have a good cry (over a piece of candy, any little mark or bump on her body, or a commercial maybe) she has to go to her room, close her door, and lie down on her bed until she is done. Its not that we want her to learn not to cry, or that its not ok to be sad about something, but i want her to learn that there is a time and place for it, and that its not socially acceptable to cry over everything....also, when your child goes off to school, and does this, im sorry to say, other children may teach him better. when he realizes that children can be mean and teasing about things, he may just stop on his own. not that i condone bullying at ALL (heck, i was bullied as a child and teen) its just that children do have to learn to conform to society just a bit. give it time. good luck.

Teresa - posted on 04/29/2011

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I agree with Stephanie, in that there is probably an underline issue that isn't being dealt with. At 4 1/2 yrs your child should be sleeping through the night for at least 12hrs. Normally children of that age are pretty independant and can tell you what is wrong. I would probably first start with a physical exam with your doctor. Perhaps he has an ear ache or stomach ache or whatever...just make sure he is physically healthy than move on to the emotional, mental health of your child. Take the time to sit and listen to his needs/wants. Ask him why he does the screaming crying thing. Tell him that you don't appreciated it and try to come up with a plan that works for the both of you. A kind of reward system for good behavior. Tell him only the good behavior like not crying unless he is hurt or sick will have a reward. That could be anything you 2 choose. stickers are great rewards or little dinky cars. If you give in to the negative behavior he will know how to push your buttons and nobody is going to win. Deep breath and good luck. Hope this helps a bit. :)

Kelly - posted on 04/29/2011

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I agree, once you give in to crying it just gets worse. It might drive you insane for a week or two, but stick to your guns and his behavoiur will improve.

Jane - posted on 04/28/2011

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My son used to do that. He also cried very loudly in order to make us pay attention. We would make him go to his room, where he could cry all he wanted as long as he didn't bother us. He also never got what he was crying for. Even though my son has emotional problems, he did eventually figure out that crying just makes your nose hurt and doesn't get you what you want.

Amy - posted on 04/28/2011

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Obviously you cant give in once you say no you need to stick to it. If you give in just once he knows it works and he'll keep doing it to get what he wants. At 4 1/2 he should understand consequences for his actions so for example say no it's too early to watch tv and if you start whining and crying we won't watch any tv today, bit be prepared to follow through. I know there are times when my five year old wants to do something and I say no, and he'll keep asking and begging or questioning me (no crying) but once I have said no if I start to waiver I say let's call dad and see if he says it's ok. That way I'm not caving, at least that's what I tell myself lol. However my son does not cry because crying and tantrums won't get you anything in this house.

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