Whining and rudeness in 4 year old - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 42 Old 03-16-2010, 11:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Tonight I made my son a sandwich (cut off the crust, spread two jellies just right,) and took it to him on a plate. He said, "Why'd you put it on a plate. I don't want a plate."

Is that typical 4 year old or is he particularly rude?

Everything is a battle with him. Whining is constant. I tell him, "I can't understand you when you whine," and tap my ear. His tone gets a bit less whiny. Sometimes it's even normal. But the lesson doesn't seem to stay tight.

I try to be supportive. I will put on his shoes when he asks. I figure he has a toddler sister and probably can't understand why I do so much for her and not for him, so I help him. I'm just worried I'm raising a prima donna.

He ended up having a tantrum tonight. When that was done, he wanted his sandwich. He was told he could go get it. He wanted me or my husband to get it for him. No, you can get it yourself. "But I don't want to put my feet on the floor. Will you carry me?" I had to hide a laugh on that one, but it does get frustrating that he fights us when we tell him he needs to do something for himself.

I wish I had more examples of what he does, but I guess I'm just at the end of my day and don't have the reserves to think about it. Perhaps I can be more specific as the thread evolves.

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#2 of 42 Old 03-17-2010, 12:02 AM
 
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I've got a whiny almost-four-year-old. It sounds like you are doing the right stuff. Now just do do it all again, eleven million times

The way I look at it is: if we are going to have multiple daily battles about manners/whining anyhow, I had better be drawing the line in the sand exactly where I want it in the long term. So, I don't cut crusts. I don't take requests for cup color. I don't allow dd to engage in extended whining tantrums within hearing of the rest of the household. Our net number of conflicts doesn't seem to decrease if I am more lenient on any given day - it's like she figures out where the line is, and then she whines against THAT. If I made her scrub the terrace and go to bed at 5 p.m., she'd probably start whining to scrub only HALF the terrace and go to bed at SIX p.m.

And every time, EVERY time, that whining or rudeness starts, I correct it. So does DH. We are fanatical about it, because it is our job to raise children whose social habits enhance their happiness and success. If that means that we have seventeen conversations in a single day about what constitutes acceptable tone and content in human interaction, then so be it.

It's crazymaking, for sure.
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#3 of 42 Old 03-17-2010, 12:06 AM
 
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I think it is a phase! DD will be 4 in july and has had such an attitude lately! I told her I would not help her clean her disaster pit of a room, and she said this:

"Its NOT fair! You don't understand! You don't love me! You are RUINING my life!"

So yea, I think its normal, and hopefully temporary

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#4 of 42 Old 03-17-2010, 12:34 AM
 
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I have one here too. It's impossible.

My breakthrough this week is to respond with a single word: voice, when she needs to change her voice. I get less irritated than when I have to say: Please change your voice.

17 times? You mean before breakfast, I hope!!

Teacher, Mother of 4
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#5 of 42 Old 03-17-2010, 12:34 AM
 
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I asked the same thing not long agoabout my 5 year old- so I think were in the normal boat. best of luck we all need it

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#6 of 42 Old 03-17-2010, 12:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for letting me join the club with all of you (lol.) I feel better (a little) knowing it's probably nothing out of the ordinary.

I don't mind cutting off his crusts. I figure I'm role modeling consideration. If I didn't like crusts, I would like it if someone cut them off my bread. So, hopefully, when he's older he'll do something nice for someone else because I showed him how to do that.

I guess one of the things I worry about is if from his perspective I'm inconsistent. Sometimes I don't mind getting him his clothes. (See above role modeling consideration.) Sometimes I'm busy and it would be easiest if he just got his own clothes. Sometimes he will, sometimes he throws a huge fit. And, we all know, a huge fit doesn't make my life any easier.

So I worry that he wonders why sometimes I'll do something for him and sometimes I won't. I am not his maid. I just sometimes do nice things for him. I don't want to stop being nice. That's not how I want to be and that's not how I want him to grow up. I just wish it wasn't such a huge friggin' issue when I just need him to do it himself.

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#7 of 42 Old 03-17-2010, 01:58 AM
 
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This may be a silly question, but have you explained to him what you just wrote about modeling consideration? You probably have, but if you haven't, maybe talking to him about how sometimes you'll be able to do nice things for him and sometimes you won't would help him begin to understand. Also maybe giving him a heads up when you're not going to be able to do things for him- saying something about how you're going to be busy, or tired or whatever and is there anything you need before then, otherwise you're going to need to do for yourself. Then he would be aware ahead of time that you're not available.
Maybe he just needs extra babying right now.
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#8 of 42 Old 03-17-2010, 02:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This may be a silly question, but have you explained to him what you just wrote about modeling consideration? You probably have, but if you haven't, maybe talking to him about how sometimes you'll be able to do nice things for him and sometimes you won't would help him begin to understand. Also maybe giving him a heads up when you're not going to be able to do things for him- saying something about how you're going to be busy, or tired or whatever and is there anything you need before then, otherwise you're going to need to do for yourself. Then he would be aware ahead of time that you're not available.
Maybe he just needs extra babying right now.
Hmmm, maybe I haven't told him that. It's a good idea.

Thanks

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#9 of 42 Old 03-17-2010, 05:29 AM
 
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I've been struggling with my 4 year old's whining and rudeness lately, too.

Sometimes playful parenting techniques help...

Jenna ~ mommy to Sophia Elise idea.gif  (1/06), Oliver Matthew  blahblah.gif (7/07) and Avery Michael fly-by-nursing1.gif(3/10)

 

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#10 of 42 Old 03-17-2010, 09:00 AM
 
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And every time, EVERY time, that whining or rudeness starts, I correct it. So does DH. We are fanatical about it, because it is our job to raise children whose social habits enhance their happiness and success. If that means that we have seventeen conversations in a single day about what constitutes acceptable tone and content in human interaction, then so be it.

It's crazymaking, for sure.


Nothing grates on me more than a rude child. I will not let DS be that way.

He never gets what he wants from being rude. Each and every rude statement is corrected and he has to rephrase it nicely. If he's whining too much then off to his bedroom he goes until he's ready to interact with us in a normal voice (this rarely happens).

DS (6.06), DD (10.08), DD (05.11).

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#11 of 42 Old 03-17-2010, 11:55 AM
 
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It sounds rude, but not more rude sounding than a lot of kids this age. When my dd says something to abrupt I tell her the way to phrase her comment or request more politely. I don't mind doing things for my dd because I also expect her to do things for me. I do mind being spoken to as though I am the servant to a snobby rich person and I remind dd of that if she starts demanding, whining, and complaining to get me to do something.
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#12 of 42 Old 03-17-2010, 11:57 AM
 
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I think we have the same kid!

Mine will be five next week.

We give him a few modeling reminders and then that's it!

And I let him choose: High protein snack, nap, (because it is a HUGE sign for me...if he is whiny and complaining and being a general beast 9 times out of ten he is hungry, or over tired.) or you are being thrown outside to go play in the park. (we lived in a secure condo and our yard opens up on to a gated playground.)

He usually chooses a snack or the park but every now and then he chooss to lay down for a bit.

I used to hate it as a kid when I was fussy and whiny and my mom would put me down for a nap. I remember clearly thinking, I am not tired, I'm just annoyed with everything! But now that I am older I realize I WAS tired or maybe I was hungry, but the reason I was in such a bad mood and was being so beastly was because my BODY was missing something, food, rest, play? Something!

I think it's hard for me as a grown up to realize that I am grouchy because I forgot to eat or because I didn't get enough sleep, so I hardly expect ds to know. The kicker is if we are BOTH hungry or tired or whatever and we are BOTH grouchy it can be hard to remember that it's probably a phisiological thing, not a personal attack of rudeness.

So now we are focusing on A) trying to identify the cues sooner B) making DS more aware of those needs, too and C) communication skills for when we are grouchy that don't hurt my ears!

I think we have a long road ahead of us, but in between the grouchiness are real moment of empathetic, sweetness of totally awesome behavior, so I'm hopeful.

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#13 of 42 Old 03-17-2010, 12:03 PM
 
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Also, as far as clothes go...he has only just started to be able to get his clothes on for himself recently, so I still lay his clothes out in the morning, but then he gets his play clothes out after school. I also dress him most mornings because he IS tired and not feeling much like going to school, and I can't really blame him because I think he's just a slow waker upper like his dad. I used to get really annoyed because I am a hop-outta-bed and start the day with a smile sort of person, but then I realized it was his constitution.

He's just not fully human for the first thirty -forty minutes of the day.

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#14 of 42 Old 03-17-2010, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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He's just not fully human for the first thirty -forty minutes of the day.
Yup. That's my kid. It is hard because his sister has always been a sunshine kittycat from the moment she wakes up. It's hard to not compare and wish they were both that way.

He can dress himself, he just likes my help. Again, fine. He's got a little sister who gets that kind of attention, so why not him?

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#15 of 42 Old 03-17-2010, 01:20 PM
 
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Yup. That's my kid. It is hard because his sister has always been a sunshine kittycat from the moment she wakes up. It's hard to not compare and wish they were both that way.

He can dress himself, he just likes my help. Again, fine. He's got a little sister who gets that kind of attention, so why not him?
Have you thought of maybe a reward chart for dressing himself? Now that you know he can. If he gets a star every day maybe on Sunday he could choose a video to watch or something?

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#16 of 42 Old 03-17-2010, 01:29 PM
 
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He can dress himself, he just likes my help. Again, fine. He's got a little sister who gets that kind of attention, so why not him?
Because he did get that kind of help when he was little like her, but now he's big and capable and can do all kinds of cool things she isn't able to?

Maybe he could get some kind of attention/interaction that isn't based on you waiting on him or acting as his servant, but that is still rewarding for him. Being your helper in the kitchen, or other cool big-kid stuff. My daughter really liked it when we made up stories together at that age, and it left my hands free!
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#17 of 42 Old 03-17-2010, 01:34 PM
 
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Because he did get that kind of help when he was little like her, but now he's big and capable and can do all kinds of cool things she isn't able to?

Maybe he could get some kind of attention/interaction that isn't based on you waiting on him or acting as his servant, but that is still rewarding for him. Being your helper in the kitchen, or other cool big-kid stuff. My daughter really liked it when we made up stories together at that age, and it left my hands free!

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#18 of 42 Old 03-17-2010, 03:28 PM
 
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DD and I just started playing "the gratitude game" at night before bed. I tell her three things I'm grateful for from the day or life, and she tells me her three.

I've been really surprized to hear that she is grateful for a lot of the little things I do for her! It made me feel really good. Little things, like, I put a song she asked for on my ipod, or I made pancakes that she asked for, for breakfast one day.

Maybe that would help you both, too--you to feel appreciated, and him to be helped to express his appreciation!
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#19 of 42 Old 03-18-2010, 03:06 AM
 
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Thanks for letting me join the club with all of you (lol.) I feel better (a little) knowing it's probably nothing out of the ordinary.

I don't mind cutting off his crusts. I figure I'm role modeling consideration. If I didn't like crusts, I would like it if someone cut them off my bread. So, hopefully, when he's older he'll do something nice for someone else because I showed him how to do that.

I guess one of the things I worry about is if from his perspective I'm inconsistent. Sometimes I don't mind getting him his clothes. (See above role modeling consideration.) Sometimes I'm busy and it would be easiest if he just got his own clothes. Sometimes he will, sometimes he throws a huge fit. And, we all know, a huge fit doesn't make my life any easier.

So I worry that he wonders why sometimes I'll do something for him and sometimes I won't. I am not his maid. I just sometimes do nice things for him. I don't want to stop being nice. That's not how I want to be and that's not how I want him to grow up. I just wish it wasn't such a huge friggin' issue when I just need him to do it himself.
I could have written each word in this post! I couldn't even read the rest of the thread after reading this without responding to it!

Ds is 3 1/2 and I worry about the exact same thing. Sometimes I'm willing to help him out and sometimes I just need him to do things on his own. One book I read said to never do things for them that they can do themselves so I've been trying to let him do a few more things on his own more often but sometimes it's nice when people do things for you and I do want to model doing nice things for him. I like when people do things for me even if I am perfectly capable of doing the thing on my own so why should it be any different with ds. But I worry about the inconsistency- and him not getting why I help sometimes and not at other times.


Oh, and I have to add since I didn't specifically mention- ds is a big whiner, too!
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#20 of 42 Old 03-18-2010, 03:12 AM
 
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And I let him choose: High protein snack, nap, (because it is a HUGE sign for me...if he is whiny and complaining and being a general beast 9 times out of ten he is hungry, or over tired.) or you are being thrown outside to go play in the park. (we lived in a secure condo and our yard opens up on to a gated playground.)
Can you give me some ideas of high protein snacks that you offer? I bet hunger is often ds's issue, too (or tiredness).
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#21 of 42 Old 03-18-2010, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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One book I read said to never do things for them that they can do themselves
And a recent unschooling thread I read somewhere said that those people have the philosophy that if your child is asking for something that it means they need your attention and you are doing them a disservice if you don't meet their needs.

It's really hard to know what is the best way.

I became part of an instant family with a 6 year old and an 8 year old when I got married. Those kids were very injured by the divorce. I was really firm with them. I look back now and see there were times when that was appropriate and there were times when that was counterproductive.

Now I have a 1 year old and a 4 year old that have not been injured by circumstances. I want to be less firm with them without going overboard in the opposite direction. Having already raised one brood I am less certain about my parenting than I was before.

Every expert has a different point of view. I'm just not sure which is always best for our family.

Created an instant family (7/89 and 5/91) in 1997. Made a baby boy 12/05 adopted a baby girl 8/08. Ask me about tandem adoptive nursing. Now living as gluten, dairy, cane sugar, and tomato free vegetarians. Homeschooling and loving it.

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#22 of 42 Old 03-18-2010, 03:35 PM
 
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Can you give me some ideas of high protein snacks that you offer? I bet hunger is often ds's issue, too (or tiredness).
Cheese cubes, Ham or turkey rolls, Yogurt, Peanuts, Peanut butter Banana sandwich, Falafel balls, edamame, some Chicken pieces...

Stuff like that.

Rebekah - mom to Ben 03/05 and Emily 01/10, a peace educator, and a veg*n and wife to Jamie.
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#23 of 42 Old 03-18-2010, 04:06 PM
 
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ì`m glad to have found this thread. ds turmed 4 2 months ago and it`s like sonmeone turned on his whiny switch. omg. he was such an even-tempered guy that this new kid has thrown me for a loop. when i follow him around he says (rudely) :don`t follow me around.`when i don`t he says (rudely) ``stay with me mama, i`m scared!`` (not exactly the real thing he does, just an idea of d*mned if i do d*mned if i don`t). i`m ashamed to say i sometimes yell, sometimes playfully parent, sometimes ignore etc. i`m hoping this phase will pass soon!
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#24 of 42 Old 03-21-2010, 02:30 PM
 
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Just an idea-- since you said you have a younger dd, would your ds be interested in showing HER how can get dressed by himself? My dd is 4y4mo, and I similarly sometimes help, and sometimes just want her to do it herself, already. One thing I've noticed is that she LOVES to show a younger (like 2yo) friend how she does all these big kid things by herself. So I often pretend to be her little friend, and then she's happy to dress herself, make her own breakfast, etc. (of course, then I'm still watching and exclaiming, but I feel like it's at least making a small step in the right direction)
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#25 of 42 Old 03-21-2010, 05:36 PM
 
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Explain the needs of the situation to him, ask him to help you solve the problem, and you might get a lot more cooperation.

Please give your kid some credit. He is capable of understanding that he and his sister have different needs, and that you will meet his needs to the best of your ability.

When he asks for help with something you know he can do, let him that you know he is capable of doing X, and you will/won't help because of Y. See where it goes.
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#26 of 42 Old 03-21-2010, 08:04 PM
 
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I love this thread. Some days I could start the thread "My 4 Year Old ROCKS!" and other days (like today), he is just the rudest, meanest little guy. I actually made the kids come in and shower/get PJs on at 4:00pm today because they couldn't stop fighting and being rude to each other.

Tonight, I'm simply adding a big ME TOO! to the thread.

Mama to A 8/05 and S 11/06
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#27 of 42 Old 03-21-2010, 11:50 PM
 
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My dss is 4y5m and he definitely fits in this group. I always tell him when he whines that he needs to change his voice so I can understand, if it's something I already said no to, like no more tv (bigtime tv junkie, I've convinced DP to establish a rule of no more than 2 hours a day) I remind him that just because he whines and throws a tantrum doesnt mean he's going to get it. I tell him about all the things he CAN do like eat, play, we can read books, colors, go upstairs and play with his little sister and me, etc.

He normally dresses himself and if he's having problems with something I help him out. Sometimes he asks for me to take his shoes off or put them on. I dont help him, I tell him that he's a big boy and he can do that by himself. I think it's ok to do things for him that he can do for himself, just like I do for DP, but I wouldnt ask DP to take my shoes or put my shoes on, so I dont see why I would do that for dss.

The whininess is easier to control, but the rudeness gets on my nerves. Im helping him clean up his room, because I know DD made part of the mess and since she's only 10 months I feel like it's only fair for me to help him. He starts SCREAMING "I DONT WANT YOU TO HELP! I CAN DO IT! IT'S MY ROOM! I'LL DO IT!". kicks and this outburst of anger, I say ok, it is your room, I just thought it'd be nice to get some help. I leave and then he starts screaming and crying for me to help him. I explain to him that it was very rude of him to talk to me like that, so I no longer feel like helping him because I was trying to do a nice thing and he made me feel bad.

If he wants whatever and he cant get it because of whatever reason, usually something he wants to eat and we ran out. He goes "Fine! Then Ill never have a pb&j! Goes upstairs and slams the door of his room".

When we're all playing in there, he never wants to let DD touch any of his toys or him. I can understand that so I always tell him that it's ok if he wants to play by himself, that we'll go downstairs or whatever, he wants us to stay, then he throws something at her/pushes her. So I say well if you cant play nice, I think we better go, which ends up with him crying and screaming "I DONT WANT YOU TO GOOOO! AAAAAAH" Throws toy to the door of my room.

His behaviour has been getting nicer now that the weather is nice and we have been spending a lot of time outside and walking and doing things. I know I get in a bad mood from being inside all day, I cant expect anything different from a kid. It's hard because he's only here half the week and well me and his mom are VERY different people, with VERY different parenting styles. She thinks tv all day is ok, she smacks him when he's bad (something I found out from dss), he has a very poor diet because she always gives him the same food (when you ask him what fruit or vegetables he likes his answer is mac and cheese from the box and chocolate lol), his diet is my biggest concern. I feel like the way he acts is entirely related to what he eats, when we've had him here for more than a week for whatever reason and he has eaten more wholesome meals (with a lot of effort) his behaviour changes a lot, he also always get sick. He had a very rough childhood, so i try my best to not be harsh, show him love and always explain why something is good, right and certain things arent or why I need him to do certain things on his own.

I tell him what his job is (get dressed, put his plate on the sink and/or dishwasher, clean his room), I explain to him what daddy's job is and what my job is and I tell him that we need to teach DD to do things so she can have a job too. This usually helps, he likes having a job.
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#28 of 42 Old 03-24-2010, 04:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by bright_eyes View Post
One book I read said to never do things for them that they can do themselves
I'm an early childhood education specialist and former teacher. I don't really agree with that. I'm a big fan of children being independent but sometimes it's ok to ask for, and receive, help. There's lots of things that I "can" do that I'd appreciate help with. It's no different for a child. Some mornings my DS is too tired to put his socks and shoes on and I help him. School starts early and we need to get out the door. He's fully capable of putting them on but he likes me to help sometimes. Just like I'm fully capable of changing the sheets on my bed. But sometimes, I like a little help.
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#29 of 42 Old 03-26-2010, 11:58 AM
 
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Four is whines-ville stage, in my experience. I will ask my kids to repeat what they just said, again, respectfully, like I talk to them. But the biggest, biggest, hugest factor in minimizing whinies is spending time with them. My current four year old is sandwiched between his six year old homeschooling brother, and his two year old little sister. He's also my most laid-back kid so he's easy to give the "just a minute" to. But the days I make a conscious effort to carve out time specifically for him, reading or game playing or whatever, there is a big deduction in his taste for whine. Haha!

Mama to four ('03, '05, '08 & '11) chicken3.gif
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#30 of 42 Old 03-28-2010, 12:57 AM
 
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that is exactly what my dd sounds like too!!!

The hard part, for me, is I get REALLY frustrated repeating myself. Like, how many times do you have to remind them to say "please" and "thank you". But you do! ! And all my friends do too, so I know it's not just my lo's.

The latest here is my 5 year old would not drink out of a cup that I drank out of. I made her a glass of juice and took a little sleep, but she wouldn't drink it. I was all, "You sleep next to me every night and nursed me for 3 years, but can't drink out of your cup?" but I just dropped it. A lot of these things are individuating etc. I tried to give her more choices in her day and more attention and talk about gratitude etc.
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