My almost 4 year old DS has started calling me and my husband 'stupid poo poo' and other such lovely things when he doesn't get his own way. He also spits because he knows it drives us crazy. He went through a short phase of calling me a pig but I handled that by saying 'thank you, I like pigs'. I can't seem to be as graceful about the stupid although I don't mind the poo poo. The spitting is just gross and anti social. I've tried telling him he can say 'I'm angry at you mum', I've tried redirecting, I've tried ignoring but I've got the point now where I'm putting him in time outs after one warning. Does anyone have any better ideas?
How to handle the 'stupids' and spitting?
We are going through similar issues with my 4 year old DS. I figured he learned his anger management from his older siblings, DS 7 & DD 10. My DH is great at diffusing situations with humor with him. I am trying to learn the fine art of 4 year-old humor. My go-to is telling him once that name-calling is not allowed, then trying to joke him out of it. Maybe you can come up with silly nonsense names & tell him you would rather be called "a cotton-headed-ninny-muggins" or something. My little guy would totally giggle at that!
We are still working on finding better ways to handle anger in our house. If I can see things escalating between the kids I step in & remind them that we need to use appropriate words & that "brothers are for hugging, not hitting!"
I do think the trick with 4 year olds is to not take what they say so seriously. They are just trying out these new, powerful words they know. Don't give them the reaction & there is no more power.
mom to 4
We are going through the same thing with my almost 5 yo and we have started using time-outs to handle disrespect and anger outbursts. We also are using a positive reinforcement chart so that we can "catch" him doing positive things. From what I have been told, it is a developmental thing. I try to stay even tempered though it is definitely hard to do. We talk about how they are not nice things to say, etc. I hope someone else can share some good tips!
Forgot to address the spitting...we went through that one also. He eventually stopped, but it took a lot of reminders that "spitting was for teeth brushing time" and to use his words instead. When my boys would spit at me inside, and I would remind them that spitting was not to be done inside because they were getting the carpet/couch/me wet, I would pick them up and put them on the front porch & tell them they could spit off the porch. :-) This too shall pass!
mom of 4
When DS started doing this I modelled for him ways to express his anger and frustration in less hurtful ways:
DS: You're stupid and I hate you mommy!
Me: I'm really angry mommy, and I don't like this rule. I want to be alone. (then I look at him expectantly until he repeats after me)
I have also tried a more apathetic approach, which is to say "I am sorry you feel that way. I love you very much and I always will, no matter how mean you are to me." Which usually results in him huffing off to his room or the toy corner to pout over the fact that I didn't engage or change my mind about whatever it was that was pissing him off. To which I usually say "Let me know when you're ready to talk and maybe we can ( fill in the blank with a fun activity.)"
This has worked really well for us...that and he's finally turning 6, able to read and write...it gets better!
I'm taking this right from Playful Parenting and I have used it with my son and had success. You say "you can call me poo poo but don't say <insert made up nonsense word here>, then act horrified when he repeats. it lessens the tension and usually brings giggles until the phase passes. For spitting, try not to think of it so harshly, it's just something he's trying out and may think it's fun. My son also went through a spitting phase, we told him he could spit in the sink or bathtub and it was short lived.
These are some great suggestions! I have noticed that when he gets grumpy, we say oh I wish DS was here with us. Then when he grumps into the room we say, Oh I hope he doesn't smile though. Within a minute he is giggling. I like the nonsense word thing with stupid, etc. I have also done the apathetic approach but I definitely will try the modeling. He will get annoyed at first I'm sure. Thanks for these suggestions :)