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DS Almost 4 and I am in need of help!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
***If there is a better place to post this issue, please let me know!*** My ds is almost 4 and I have a 6 week old ds, too, who's becoming colicky. I'm sure there a ton of books I could read but I don't have the time. I wish I did and I will eventually. But, I need some words of wisdom in the meantime. My ds went through a really sick spell (diagnosed with Colitis (possible Crohn's) and Celiac's disease). He was on a lot of meds and I was pregnant and really sick. So... he spent most of his time in front of the TV & playing video games. I since feel better and so does he. He's still on meds but doing better for now. So, I'd really like him to get off of the TV & video games. BUT- my once "sure Mommy, I love you, hug me" son has now turned into the "NNOOOOOOO!!!! I'm mad and I'm going to throw this controller at you & fight you for it back" son. I know that *I* am responsible for this and now I need to help get him & myself back on track. I find myself yelling at him and threatening to take away his games for the rest of the day, bargaining with him, etc. Partly out of desperation because I'm dealing with a fussy newborn and partly because I honestly am not sure how to handle this. He's always been so obedient.

How do I gently get him off of the video games & how do I gently discipline his behavior when he throws things, screams & says NOOOOOOOO!!!

Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 10
My once mellow-yellow DD is now, often, little miss contrary, so I know how it can be. My #1 suggestion is to remove the TV/videos/DVDs. He'll throw a fit, but it won't last long b/c if there's nothing there to turn on...well...there's nothing there. I realize this may be tough to do.

In terms of difficult behavior in general, I don't indulge it, period. This doesn't prevent it, but it sure cuts down on duration. Once a decision has been made (no more snacks before dinner, we're going to the store, we're coming in from the playground, etc.), that's it and there's no negotiating. If she chucks a fit, I tell her that if she wants to cry, yell, etc., she has to go into another room. Without an audience, the tantrums lose their luster. If it's something I want her to do (get dressed for instance), I just tell her that she needs to do it, and she can only come downstairs (or onto whatever the next activity is) once she's done it. Ok, I realize I may sound harsh. Of COURSE, if DD is sick, feeling lonely, really tired, etc., I take that into account. The above applies to generally cantankerous/testing boundaries behavior.

Having a newborn makes all of this harder! And, of course, your DS is in a big period of adjustment, etc., that makes it tough on him too. Also, is he bored? Is he getting plenty of stimulation/entertainment? It sounds like some of these normal activities and routines probably slid while everyone was under the weather, and perhaps he's just out of the habit of other forms of entertainment.

GL! You must be exhausted!
post #3 of 10
just a commiseration hug here, first, because that adjustment is so hard on everyone, and I agree that the tv thing has made him a monster, i see it in my girl when she is "on" tv at all.

First, take it gently. Maybe while you are dealing with this time, put a time limit for yourself, ie when child 2 is 2 months old, or 3 months. If the time is now, line up your support system. Is daddy on board with no tv/game? If so, that helps a lot.
When my dd2 was born, I "allowed" myself the luxury of putting on dvds for dd1, and eventually it had to end. She is a recovering addict, she is one of the kind of kids who just gets sucked in wholly and squalls bitterly when she's unplugged. I point out to her that her behavior post-unplug just shows me how bad tv really is for her, and makes me never want to show it to her again.
The whole apparatus had to disappear, and we had to do something different: so, off to preschool she went. 3 hrs per day, 9-12 am, and it made a world of difference for both of us. Also, their father is strongly anti-tv/dvd and his insistence made it possible for me. Since I was the weaker link, I said, if you don't want her to watch the dvd, do something about it (ie, take her to the park, play with her, etc).
post #4 of 10
One thing that might help is to get out of the house. I find that some time outside does us wonders. Your collicky infant might even benefit from a change of venue.

Do you have any new behaviors you want to encourage? If so, make a chart and let your DS earn stars (or whatever) that can be redeemed for computer/tv time. It becomes a privilege (sp?) rather than a right.

We live in an apartment so we don't have the option of going in the "other room", but if you can, can you set up activities in the "other room"? DS likes play dough and painting -- he'd choose those over TV (but maybe not video games). He also likes it when I sit with him to work on "workbooks". I read the instructions and he likes to do the matching, cutting, stickers, or whatever -- only if I'm sitting with him.

Try not to turn on the TV. I find that I sometimes turn it on as background noise and the next thing I know DS is locked in. It takes a little awareness on my part to just let him play. Initially he wouldn't just play by himself, but now he will get his toys out. If he whines "I bored", I let him know that he can choose to be bored or he can work on his puzzles, play with his cars, play in the bathtub, etc.

I limit computer time to while I'm taking a shower, but not everytime I take a shower. If he does not shut down the browser when I ask him to, no computer time for 2-weeks. It's only happened once.

Our big TV issue is at dinner time. If DS watches TV, it's usually at the end of the day when I'm cooking dinner. We eat together, but it's very casual and we sometimes leave the TV on. DS gets absorbed in the show and doesn't eat ... so we shut off the box and DS complains. Oh well.

You're not alone. You can turn it around.

I'm happy that you're both feeling better. Your DS will probably enjoy the change.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
These are all great suggestions. I pretty much can guess how to cut these things out but I was asking more along the lines on how to deal with his fits? His throwing things? His refusal to sit at the table and eat. Etc. :

post #6 of 10
That might be a question for the gentle discipline forum. The only thing that comes up for me right away is, weathering the first few storms. Ignoring, dealing as best you can, but not wavering. As to HOW to deal...hm.....again, I concur to the wise women in the GD forum.
post #7 of 10
Aww, hugs. First of all, give yourself a break - you have a newborn and you've had a lot of stress aside from that with your son being sick. Sometimes, as moms, we just have to get through a crisis and the choices we make aren't always the best (can you tell I've made some bad ones along the way??).

I was in your position not long after my son was born last April. I had had a stressful pregnancy with a lot of pain and my DD was watching waaayyy too much TV because I needed to rest. However, right after the birth of my son I wasn't yet ready to deal with it. It took me a good 6 months before I had the energy to wean her off TV. We are now down to an hour every week-day. I am still not thrilled with this, but for now, it's a sanity saver for me. I remind myself that it won't always be like this. Once she starts school, we will likely cut out TV altogether (or at least cut it back again). And once her brother is older and not so demanding, we'll be able to get out more. For now, though, it works. (I'll probably get flamed, won't I??)

I'd say, pick a small goal to work towards, but don't browbeat yourself. If you need your son to watch some TV in order for you to rest or bond with the baby, that is a valid decision.

I would guess that a lot of your son's negative behaviors right now are related to the new baby in the house. Go for the old standby advice and give him all the attention you can muster, but again, don't worry about being perfect. Kids are resilient. You'll get through this transition and you'll have your sweet son back. Don't worry - it'll all work out in the end! (I'm not trying to be trite, just offering support - and remembering what a tough time I had after the birth of my second. HTH!)
post #8 of 10
I am certainly not an expert, but I have a 3 year old who occasionally has a bad day. I find that our good days are days that we don't have any TV or video games, they seem to make him much more prone to breakdowns and aggressive behavior. I try to use quiet music as back round, and try to have a couple of activities set up for him to do while I am doing other things--a bin with crayons, scissors, tape and paper, his block box pulled out and opened, homemade play dough and cookie cutters. I get these things out in the morning before we start our day, so that when I am busy with something else I can just direct him to an activity. As far as correcting a behavior like hitting or saying no eliminating the source of conflict would be easiest--if he doesn't give you the controller when you ask for it, put it away for a week. It's very hard to break a habit, especially when you are tired and dealing with other stress as well, make sure DH is helping as much as possible, maybe take the baby for an hour and walk or drive around while you read books with your son? Just whats worked for me, I know how hard being a mama is.
post #9 of 10
I'm going to move this to gentle discipline.
post #10 of 10
Have you tried having a generous tv/video limit? Then just...stick to it. Maybe you could lessen the limit gradually.

How do I gently get him off of the video games & how do I gently discipline his behavior when he throws things, screams & says NOOOOOOOO!!!
As far as "no" what works here, when I am very sure there is no chance of my changing my mind (obviously, if there's an agreeable solution, or if ds is calm enough to help find a solution, I go with that), and after I've empathized with ds about his perspective, is to say something like "I've told you my answer, and I'm not going to talk about this any more. End of discussion." As Wolf says, disengage. I'll gladly talk to him about anything other than the hot topic.

Throwing, I'd say "don't throw, something could be damaged" explain that being angry is ok, but throwing stuff is not, and that X is a better way to tell me you're angry. (or shorten it, depending on the situation). Then move back to the discussion at hand. Don't let the throwing turn into the issue. You could bring it up later, when everyone's calm, about how things could get damaged, or people could get hurt by something being thrown.
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