4 year old problems - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 08-10-2015, 01:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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4 year old problems

I'm more concerned than anything else. I moved in with my gf and her son about 6-7 months ago. Shes 23, and her son is now 4. She doesn't do any drugs, and goes out maybe once a week, for a few hours at most.

But I do believe her son has ADHD, hes unbelievably wild, constantly throws tantrums, hits, talks back, and screams at both of us constantly. Things like "you cant do this to me", "I hate you", "I dont like you".

I understand hes 4, and I have to remind myself that hes only 4. But I wasn't allowed to act that way as a child, and I constantly have to bite my tongue. I have to remember my place as the step parent and its difficult having your hands tied with coparrenting.

Those are the small problems as well. My GF will sleep in till 12-2pm every day. And his TV is on in his room 24 hours a day with cartoons. When I first moved in he was constantly getting out of his room in the night, sneaking quietly through the house and getting in the fridge, pantry, and drawers. One night he found a knife, went to his room and put about a dozen holes in his mattress. I know that last sentence sounds scary, but to him it was a sword or something and he was just playing, not pretending to stab anyone. But with that, I put an alarm on his bedroom door so I could be waked up if he snuck out. And that resolved that problem. He no longer leaves his room without permission. The alarm is loud and he just knocks and calls for us now. The problem is she can sleep half the day and leave him in his room hungry, All the while hes still in his room.

Tonight what prompted me to look for help is because he was up in his room from 1am-4am watching tv, I could hear him singing. But he will turn his tv up as loud as it can go, finally after telling him I would turn it off, I did. And he threw a tantrum for about 30 minutes till he passed out. But this kid ALWAYS has his tv on. And shes the same way, she cant sleep without it on. Its tough on me because I cant sleep with one on, so most nights I'm tortured without sleep.

Ive had a talk with her before about it, but nothing has changed. I love her and care for her, and I love him too... but its just soo taxing. Not to mention she has a crazy ex as well, who is into drugs, and is abusive that I keep getting into it with. Thats a whole other story I wont get into. But before anyone says I need to leave her, I want to do whatever I can to make this work. I'm not a perfect person either, but I would like to make this relationship work.

I keep finding myself daydreaming about living alone again, and missing quietness and personal time. Anyone have any advice?
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#2 of 8 Old 08-10-2015, 04:18 AM
 
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If you'd rather live on your own, you can. There are a ton of red flags here.

As a parent, I'm concerned about whether this poor kid is being fed on an adequate and predictable schedule, whether he has enough human interaction, and his hygiene. Is there any kind of daily routine at all?

I'm less concerned about him stabbing the mattress (I have had four year-olds) than I am about your reaction, which was to alarm his door. Why not, instead, put the knives out of reach, since the knives don't ever get hungry or need to use the bathroom?

You say your gf sleeps in and the kid is just in his room alone. Why? If you're concerned about the boy (and you should be) open the door and tell him it's breakfast.

This kid, he is seriously sleep deprived, and any other issues he may have can't be resolved until that improves.
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#3 of 8 Old 08-10-2015, 04:46 AM
 
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If you want your own kids one day do you want them to be treated like this? She doesn't sound like the person you would want to mother them.

I would run. If she's not willing to try you can't fix something this messeed up yourself.

And it truly does sound neglectful.
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#4 of 8 Old 08-10-2015, 05:27 AM
 
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This is not a 4yo problem. This is a parenting problem. I would guess 90% of the issues you mentioned could be solved by getting rid of the TV in his room (and limiting viewing elsewhere), feeding him regularly and providing lots of outdoor play.

Why is your GF sleeping in until 12-2 every day? Is she going to bed very late? Is it possible that she has depression? Are there any other family members who could provide some support? Even though he is an ex-partner, the local DV services will probably have advice on how to deal with an abusive former parter with whom you share a child.

You mentioned that she doesn't use drugs, which is great. Does she look after herself well in other ways? Does she have a good diet? Limit alcohol? Exercise regularly? All of those things can help with sleep.

Has she had councelling to help her process the abuse she suffered? Was her son abused or did he witness abuse? He may need councelling as well.

There are many, many issues here. This poor little fellow is living (and has always lived by the sounds if it) an extremely stressful and chaotic life. He isn't going to thrive unless that is addressed.

I wish you all the very best. I hope you can bring about some positive changes.


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#5 of 8 Old 08-10-2015, 06:28 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katelove View Post
This is not a 4yo problem. This is a parenting problem. I would guess 90% of the issues you mentioned could be solved by getting rid of the TV in his room (and limiting viewing elsewhere), feeding him regularly and providing lots of outdoor play.
Yes. He doesn't need strictness or punishment. He needs regular food, regular sleep, and outdoor play with other children. He's going to be a mess when he goes to school, and it's avoidable. He needs people to read him stories and take him for a walk to the playground, or activities like going to the local swimming pool and taking a swimming class. Give him attention and age-appropriate things to do, and he'll be sweet.

How serious are you about blending this family? Do you want to be this kid's dad? If you do, this is your chance to make his life 100% better and to help your partner have a good relationship with her son. If that is more than you want, you cannot go on with them. A lot of moms are grown-up enough to take care of a child at 23, but your sweetie sounds like she's not. Or she might just be hurting.
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#6 of 8 Old 08-10-2015, 06:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all the sound advice and quick replies. I failed to mention I have a 9 year old daughter myself. We are great with each other and she is loving and caring. She does great in school, and her mother and I get along great lately.

In the beginning, I would get up with him. But I felt I was the only one and I didn't sign up to be the only parent. I would even shut the door so she could get some rest thinking maybe the next day she would get up early. Or I would tell her it was time to get up, and he needed changed (no attempt at potty training), but it would take her a half our or more to get up. In which she'd be back asleep on the couch, or on her phone.

I was up till 5am last night stressing about it, and Up at 9am before both of them today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by katelove View Post
This is not a 4yo problem. This is a parenting problem. I would guess 90% of the issues you mentioned could be solved by getting rid of the TV in his room (and limiting viewing elsewhere), feeding him regularly and providing lots of outdoor play.

Why is your GF sleeping in until 12-2 every day? Is she going to bed very late? Is it possible that she has depression? Are there any other family members who could provide some support? Even though he is an ex-partner, the local DV services will probably have advice on how to deal with an abusive former parter with whom you share a child.

You mentioned that she doesn't use drugs, which is great. Does she look after herself well in other ways? Does she have a good diet? Limit alcohol? Exercise regularly? All of those things can help with sleep.

Has she had councelling to help her process the abuse she suffered? Was her son abused or did he witness abuse? He may need councelling as well.

There are many, many issues here. This poor little fellow is living (and has always lived by the sounds if it) an extremely stressful and chaotic life. He isn't going to thrive unless that is addressed.

I wish you all the very best. I hope you can bring about some positive changes.


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She can't sleep at night, maybe she is depressed I don't know. None of her family will watch him, they are all too self-involved. Her own father is an alcoholic who beat her mom and sisters constantly. I don't think her child has seen any violence. The grandpa, and the child's father were never around. His father has been watching him about 2 days a month but got arrested a week ago for theft of unregistered firearms, she's already taking him to court. But if he keeps coming around I will leave. He messages her constantly and keeps bringing up their past love life and talks bad about me to her, eventually I'm afraid he may attempt to attack me.

I know I need to leave, but I pay most the bills, she totaled her car 2 months ago and we share my truck now. But I can't leave... I'm sure you've been there, the signs are all there, but I can't leave. I'm sure one day I may have to.

I will also mention that when I brought it up to her about staying up all night and sleeping in, I caught her later trying to score aderall off a coworker so she wouldn't be tired during the day. I threatened to leave her on that one...

Thanks for your time. We probably need professional counseling.

Last edited by Concerneddad1; 08-10-2015 at 06:43 AM.
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#7 of 8 Old 08-10-2015, 02:16 PM
 
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You definitely need professional help. Your doctor might be a good place to start. Or you could find a counsellor yourself. I do strongly recommend a psychologist. Anyone can do a 3 day online course and call themselves a councellor. You and your partner need someone with qualifications and experience.


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#8 of 8 Old 08-10-2015, 07:35 PM
 
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This sounds like a really awful situation. A 4-year-old should NOT be alone for that amount of time, and she definitely needs help if she can't get up before 12 or 2 pm. I understand that you didn't sign up to be the sole parent, but are you home while this little boy is stuck in his room half the day? Is he is preschool or anything? If your gf is willing to work towards some changes, perhaps you could help by getting him to school in the morning while she gets up and moving?

I believe you that the 4-year-old didn't intend any harm with the knife (my now 5-year-old has definitely caused a fair amount of damage in his day) but the fact remains that he could have been seriously injured, and it sounds like mom wouldn't have even realized it if he was laying there bleeding to death. I know that's a dramatic way to put it, but maybe she needs to be talked to a little bluntly to get the point across?

I know you want to save the relationship, but you can't force your gf to change. And if she won't, you need to get your daughter out of there and make sure there is some help for that little boy.
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