My 4 year old is driving me crazy!

Melissa - posted on 09/03/2009 ( 3 moms have responded )

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I am having a serious issue! My youngest son will be 4 in November and for the past 5 months he has been getting owrse in his behavior. We moved out to California 5 months ago and I have tried to keep life pretty stable since then. But now he is hitting his family out here, including me, his Dad and his aunts and Grandmother. He talks back, calls people idiots and pretty much says he will do what he wants when he wants. I have always been a time out person but he won't even sit for one without me pretty much holding him in one spot...and that comes with risk of injury to me! He is so angry but he is very smart. He can tell me exactly what he is and is not supposed to do, what "bad" things he has done the whole day while I am at work, etc. But will not try to be good. I have taken away toys, priviledges and the tv, but how can you "ground" a 4 year old??!? I really don't know what to do. He has never been this bad since we moved to California...I really think he is feeding off of the families actions here, but what can I do? Move back to PA? Is that going to do any good? I need help!!

3 Comments

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Ricki - posted on 09/03/2009

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My daughter is 4 1/2 and we're still in this stage. We tried EVERYTHING from timeout, loss of privileges, no games, tv or toys. Even spanking and belt threatening. Lately I've made her sit on her bed and stare at the wall, no toys or tv on or anything. I've resorted to use the threat of the belt (we've actually had to use it once, but it was our absolute last resort and I think it hurt my husband more than her) and it usually works. She can't stand it, the thought of it freaks her out but it gets thru. I've done the ignoring thing, and letting her scream it out (she can scream for hours) and talking her down or talking her thru it. I know this is good advice for tons and tons of kids and it'll work, but like your son, my daughter is very intelligent for her age. She can argue any point and usually wins. I'm not a fan of physical punishment but if nothing else works...And I've seen the result of lack of discipline first hand, they get completely out of control and warp into Uber brats and it's too late to get them back. You may have to get hard--i'm not referring the spanking, just not being nice anymore. Let him know he doesn't run the house you do.

Emma - posted on 09/03/2009

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ive just read you post, you poor thing, this sounds like a big challenge, as u've stated i would of advised trying some sort of timeout away from adults/children, also taking away his favourite toys until the appropriate behaviour returns as ive seen you have allready tried, how does he react to his peers at skool?, i know u've mentioned that hes a smart 4yr old but does he fully realise that he is hurting the people that love him. i think personally if you move house just because of his behaviour then it might not get better coz at the moment he has been used to doing as he pleases (no disrespect to you as you have been trying to sort his behaviour) but to a 4yr old he will feel like he is winning and may turn to another thing when you return, (this is just im my opinion) please dont take this as the last line just a little bit of advice. emma

Kristina - posted on 09/03/2009

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Wow, I'm sorry you're having such a rough time. It sounds like you're doing everything you possibly can to improve your sons behavior. Maybe just plain old ignoring him when he is having an outburst might help. A lot of times when children act out like this it is because they're looking for attention. he may be upset about the big move, without really knowing how to express his emotions about it, or himself really not know why he is so upset. When my oldest son and daughter (5 and 4) act out like this I send them to their rooms and will not let them come out until their fit is over. I of course tell them that their behavior was bad (not themselves bad) and explain to them how it made me feel when they acted that way. I also give them the chance to tell me how they felt too. And, when they do something good I praise them for it. We have lots of high fives and hugs in this house, even for the littlest things (putting their trash in the trash can, dishes in the sink, talking nice, using manners, ect). If it is an attention thing, give him the most attention for good behavior and none for bad behavior. It's hard to do because you may feel you are ignoring the situation, but he'll figure out that mommy only gives him attention when he's being nice rather than mean. I hope this helps out! Good luck!

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