My 4 yr old is driving me crazy! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 07-08-2013, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am worried about it. I am an experienced mom and he is my fourth of 5 boys (and one on the way too!) These behaviors are not new, but I am just done with them. I have no patience anymore. DH and I are starting to become those really strict parents who yell and spank and time out all day just because NOTHING is working. But even that is not working. Well it curbs it in the moment but the next day or a few hours later we are back at square one. I sometimes just collapse on my bed and cry and think maybe the structure of daycare would be better for him and I should just go to work. mecry.gif

 

So here are the key behaviors we deal with every. single. day.

 

Refuses to get dressed or undressed

Refuses to brush teeth 

Refuses to wash hands before meals

Refuses to take a bath

Pounces on baby brother/plays too rough 

Snatches baby brothers toys just to get a reaction

Throws a tantrum or whines and argues when he doesn't get his way

Tells me flat out, "I am NOT doing __________ ." when I ask him to do something.

Literally digs his heels in, blocks a door way, or lays on the floor so I can't physically move him. 

Literally "buzzes" with energy that seems out of control at times

 

 

What he doesn't do/or is able to do that is good

He doesn't hit me or DH or his siblings

He does seem know what he did wrong when we ask him after time out/calm down

He can communicate how he feels very well (I am frustrated because________, etc)

He is affectionate and seems truly remorseful when he sees that his behavior is upsetting to us.

Is sometimes calm, can sit for stories, to do a puzzle, color, etc. 

Has a great imagination, sings, plays happily

Has appropriate behavior when on play dates (according to the moms he's a joy!)

 

I feel like no matter what I do these behaviors just won't abate. I can pick my battles and I do but some of these are non-negotiable. I accept he is very high energy and very strong willed and I try to give him what he needs - lots of outside time, calm down time, predictability, etc. In the past we've done sticker charts. I admit I am not a huge fan of the whole punishment/bribe thing - much more a natural consequence gal here - but I am open to anything at this point. I have found myself letting him watch more and more TV because that is the only time I get any peace! I feel so angry with him some days that its hard to be affectionate when he comes to me for loves and hugs which makes me feel terribly guilty. I am just emotionally exhausted and have nothing left to give. 

 

Help!


Mom to DS(17) autismribbon.gif DS(15) autismribbon.gif DS(12) autismribbon.gif My gifted, quirky, wonderful teens!

Mama to Jack bouncy.gif11.08 and Liam  biggrinbounce.gif 9.11 and due with boy #6! stork-boy.gif  

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#2 of 6 Old 07-09-2013, 05:37 PM
 
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OMG!!!! Hugs!!!!!!!! HUGS!!!!!!!

I have no advice as my son is only two but you sound really grounded and observant of the particular behaviors.....I am bumping your question/concern cause I know other mamas out there have to have some advice for you!!!hug2.gif

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#3 of 6 Old 07-09-2013, 07:19 PM
 
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Oh my gosh, my son was like that at four- and he did hit when he was angry and he didn't seem terribly remorseful. The sticker chart thing was a bust for us because it started to become part of the power struggle. One thing that worked for us was creativity! Games around getting ready for bath time, tooth brushing contests, hand washing so that he can set the table in some crazy way or help with food prep. Power struggles with my willful kid was always a losing proposition. He tended to escalate his behaviors- and he just does not give. Consistency really does work, but it takes a lot longer for strong willed children.

Now that my son is going into first grade- I have told him that there is little that I can "make" him do- I can only ensure that there are consequences in place for bad choices. It works, and he's beginning to show some responsibility.

Have you looked at "Parenting with Love and Logic"? It's a great book- one of the best for willful kids. When he gets a bit older look at "Smart Parenting for Smart Children."
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#4 of 6 Old 07-09-2013, 08:40 PM
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How much sleep does he get?   Not getting enough sleep can really affect behavior (as can artificial coloring/additives, etc. Some parents have found success with the Feingold diet.)   According to WebMD, a 4 year old needs 12 hours of sleep per day.

http://www.webmd.com/parenting/guide/sleep-children


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#5 of 6 Old 07-14-2013, 05:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for the bump and the replies! smile.gif

 

Things are a bit better. Its funny you should ask about sleep, A&A, because the last few days I have given him some melatonin at bedtime and he's increased his sleep time at night and has taken a nap the last two days in a row! We always do quiet time in the afternoon and he's just fallen asleep on his bed with his toys without prompts from me.We used melatonin to regulate his sleep as a young toddler because he wasn't falling asleep until 11pm and naps were awful. It helped both back then. I stopped when he started falling asleep on his own but he had to give up naps at the same time or he' be up late. This was maybe around 6-8 months ago. So maybe he still needs it? He was getting around 10-11 hours of sleep at night with no nap. With the melantonin he is getting more like 12-13. He got about 10 hours last night and he's been sleeping the last two hours. I will, without doubt, need to give him melantonin again tonight or he won't be able to fall asleep but maybe we just need to do it again, to increase the quality of his sleep and help him be able to nap if he needs it. 

 

I will look at the love and logic books again. I tried but they didn't work for my high-functioning and then-undiagnosed ASD kiddos (who are now teenagers). They couldn't connect the dots between behavior and consequence without lots of help. They just thought I was mean and heartless. The concepts were too abstract for them but they might work for this DS. I would at least like something to help me get away from that power struggle because you are right, there is no way to win. Even when I "win" I am exhausted and in tears at the end. 

 

I am trying to cut out gluten again. DS was sensitive to gluten as a nursing babe and though he seemed to outgrow it, when we did the GFCF diet for his older brother earlier this year, my 4 yr old DS was substantially more mellow. Ugh, its just so hard to do for me long term. I am pg and lazy and I don't like to cook. Sandwiches and cheese and crackers are so easy......but I have to remember how hard it is to deal with my DS like that too! Would I rather deal with a sink full of dishes from cooking GFCF or a defiant little boy? 

 

And last but not least, I am drastically reducing screen-time. I was using it to deal with behaviors but it was making them worse. He'd be more energetic and irritable than ever after turning of the TV or computer. Its such a seductive thing because it makes things so peaceful and quiet but there is hefty price to pay later! I read the Plug-In Drug years ago so I know the research and I have noticed whenever we are TV-free the negative behaviors of all the kids are greatly reduced. Its just like the dishes...I need to not be lazy and do what I need to do to have a happy home. 


Mom to DS(17) autismribbon.gif DS(15) autismribbon.gif DS(12) autismribbon.gif My gifted, quirky, wonderful teens!

Mama to Jack bouncy.gif11.08 and Liam  biggrinbounce.gif 9.11 and due with boy #6! stork-boy.gif  

Blissfully married to the love of my life since 8.8.8 partners.gif 

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#6 of 6 Old 07-15-2013, 10:41 AM
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Just FYI, the Feingold diet (if you want to try it) doesn't require cutting out gluten or casein.  

 

http://www.feingold.org/overview.php


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