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Highly Emotional 4 Year Old: 13 Tantrums a Day!

Poll Results: How many times does your 4 year old cry in one day?

 
  • 22% (2)
    None
  • 33% (3)
    1-3 times
  • 0% (0)
    3-6 times
  • 11% (1)
    6-9 times
  • 11% (1)
    9-12 times
  • 22% (2)
    12+ times
9 Total Votes  
post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

My 4 year old daughter has always been very emotionally needy. As a baby she nursed over 14 hours a day! And just as she did as a baby, she continues to use crying as the primary way she communicates her needs. I counted how many "freak outs" we had yesterday. She threw 13 tantrums in one day! And that is a pretty typical day.

 

The funny thing is I have a 9 month old who cried twice during the same day. It is like their rolls or reversed. I have a baby that doesn't really cry and a 4 year old who cries ALL the time.

 

There was a different thread on here where a mom was worried about her 4 year old who cried 1-2 times a day. How often is a "normal" amount of crying? Can anyone relate? Do you have any suggestions? I added a poll to this thread asking about crying frequency.

 

I have tried the "How to Talk So Your Children WIll Listen" technique and the "Unconditional Parenting Method". I have tried a wide range of responses to her crying with no success. I have been calm. I have been sensitive. I have been stern. I have ignored it.

 

She is not depressed. She is mostly happy. It is just that her mood is so erratic. I worry about her continuing these patterns throughout her life. I want to nurture in her the ability to be more calm and less emotionally feeble.

 

Any thoughts? Thanks!

post #2 of 6

Sometimes, none at all, sometimes once or twice.  But, that is crying over something for a minute, then getting over it.  Not an actual tantrum.  Tantrums are very rare.

post #3 of 6

I didn't respond to the poll, because I can't give one single answer.  My older dd sometimes cried a lot.  My younger dd is typically more even-keeled.  I wish I had an answer for how to fix it, because I know when my dd was 4 the screaming drove me nuts.  Probably the best advice I got was that it's best to assume this is a developmental phase, not a personality trait.  The problem got a lot better when we cut nitrates out of her diet, but I'm not sure whether it was the nitrates or the fact that she was almost 6 that actually fixed it. 

post #4 of 6

my now 9 year old was very much like your 4 year old when she was 4.

 

but i wouldnt say she'd cry all the time. it was cyclical. somedays she'd cry a LOT, somedays not so much. 

 

even at 9 she is still more needy than normal kids but she can handle it. for instance instead of staying with me tonight she is staying with her dad. she doesnt like it. she would rather be here. but she can handle it. 

 

i noticed with my dd she was extremely sensitive to how i spoke or disciplined her. 

 

i also made sure she was sleeping enough, eating well and so not hungry and in her case most important of all - enough opportunities for physical play to let out her extra energy. 

 

also she is a v. willful child. v. strong opinions. i had to take that into consideration. a lot of times what seemed like disobedience was really curiosity on her part (she would not leave the glass doors of the freezer alone at the grocery store after i got the frozen stuff. instead of insisting she listen to me and stop going near it, i let her and discovered she just wanted to touch adn see the fogged up portion of the window. it was a big lesson for me to learn as a parent). 

 

i really think it was just growing up that helped. she cried less at 5 than 4, less at 6 than 5. she feels emotions v. strongly and if something goes really wrong in frustration today all she can do is cry. however i will say i am like that too :)

post #5 of 6

My DD cries a lot, more than 12 times a day.

My thoughts are:

  1. 4 Is the toughest age, they are getting independent and there is a lot of frustration around that.

  2. it’s not easy for then to actually talk about their feelings, so they cry. It is still the best way they know to communicate their frustrations, feelings and need.

  3. Crying is good :-) It allows them to vent out feelings.

I know, it is frustrating for us, the parent. We don’t like to hear our child crying, we feel as if they got hurt. I like to think of it as a healing mechanism, a skill they still master while we kind of conditioned through the years not to use too much.

Listen to her while she cries. Just sit there and let her cry with your attention. I know 12 times a day is a little too much when you have other kids to take care of, but try to do it as much as you can.

post #6 of 6

I voted none. DD is 5 and does a 10 second "drama queen" cry, usually over something her older brother did or said, probably once a day. She does not actually cry, for real, unless there really is a problem, like falling down and scraping up her leg. Though she is very verbal, so she just argues, debates and discusses, which is fine. She was the same when she was 4. She does have tantrums, with all out un-negotiable crying and screaming; probably 5 to 10 a year. 

13 times a day sounds like a bad habit to me. Maybe other options could be roll-played or practiced. 

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