I need help with my four year old- update in first post - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 8 Old 06-08-2013, 05:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Until a couple of months ago, my four year old was a sweet, calm, cooperative child. Then, not quite overnight, but over a very short period of time, he's become defiant and belligerent. He antagonizes his sister, calls her names and crumbles her art work, yells at me when I ask him to stop, throws things, breaks things. He also cries a lot more often than he used to. The slightest disappointment or perceived slight sends him into a long meltdown. 

 

I've resorted to time outs because I just don't know what else to do. The time outs calm him down for a little while afterwards, but haven't created any long term change. Giving him positive attention during good times isn't preventing the outbursts, either. 

 

I can't think of anything new in his life or routine. There doesn't seem to be a link between his behavior and his diet. He is scheduled to have his tonsils and adenoids out in a few weeks and sometimes doesn't sleep well. But even days when he has slept well he's moody and does all the stuff I mentioned above. His teacher have noticed he's distracted more easily, but haven't seen the extreme behavior changes I've seen at home. 

 

This is seriously disrupting the peace in our home and much of our family time is now spent responding to his behavior or trying to cheer him up. 

 

Any help or insight would be greatly appreciated!

 

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Update: He had his tonsils out a few weeks ago and a lot has changed. He is sleeping so much better and seems to be happier. He's still antagonizes his sister and throws things, but not nearly as often. His crying meltdowns have completely stopped. I think he was very sleep deprived!


Mom to DD 7 and DS 5.
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#2 of 8 Old 06-09-2013, 12:17 PM
 
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Aww,what a  hard thing to go through for you and your son. I wonder what is going on. I have no advice but hoping someone will read you post and respond. Anyone?

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#3 of 8 Old 06-09-2013, 12:37 PM
 
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Wow. That is an extreme and sudden personality change. If it were my kid, I think I'd probably have him talk to a psychologist to try to figure out what's going on in his head. The suddenness of it makes me think something happened that is bothering him. And 4-year-olds don't think like adults to. It could be something that wouldn't seem like such a big deal to cause this, but to him it might be a big deal.

This must be very hard for him and your whole family. I hope you find a solution. Hugs.
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#4 of 8 Old 06-09-2013, 03:49 PM
 
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Does he know the surgery is coming? How does he feel about it? Have you tried an elimination diet to see if problem with the tonsils and adenoids is food related. For me, it was dairy, if you'd like a place to start. If you go ahead with the surgery, will he be staying in the hospital overnight alone? It seems to me related to the surgery. Is it possible to wait?
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#5 of 8 Old 06-10-2013, 03:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tracyamber View Post

Aww,what a  hard thing to go through for you and your son. I wonder what is going on. I have no advice but hoping someone will read you post and respond. Anyone?

 

Thank you for your support and care!

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

Wow. That is an extreme and sudden personality change. If it were my kid, I think I'd probably have him talk to a psychologist to try to figure out what's going on in his head. The suddenness of it makes me think something happened that is bothering him. And 4-year-olds don't think like adults to. It could be something that wouldn't seem like such a big deal to cause this, but to him it might be a big deal.

This must be very hard for him and your whole family. I hope you find a solution. Hugs.

 

It's the suddenness that makes me think something specific is bothering him, too. I think if this goes on much longer or gets worse, I will have him talk with someone. I've tried talking to him myself, but although he recognizes he's angry and sad more often than he used to be, he says he doesn't know why. Maybe he does need someone more skilled at helping children express themselves. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

Does he know the surgery is coming? How does he feel about it? Have you tried an elimination diet to see if problem with the tonsils and adenoids is food related. For me, it was dairy, if you'd like a place to start. If you go ahead with the surgery, will he be staying in the hospital overnight alone? It seems to me related to the surgery. Is it possible to wait?

 

He does know the surgery is coming and he isn't happy about it. He's asked us not to talk about it, though. I have a book for children about the operation and have read it to him; now I leave it lying around and if he wants to talk about it he can, He has an older friend who had her tonsils out and she's tried to reassure him, too. But yeah, maybe his anxiety about this is underlying his behavior and moods. I'm not sure how to help him with that beyond what I've already done. 

 

His tonsils have been enlarged for several years, we've put this surgery off since before he was 2. His tonsils interfere with his swallowing (he has other swallowing problems, too) and his adenoids interfere with his sleep, so it really does need to get done. It probably should have been done already; there's a chance this recent behavior/personality change is due to sleep deprivation, maybe even when he appears to be sleeping well he's not sleeping deeply. I scheduled it so that he would be fully recovered by the time he starts kindergarten.

 

The hospital we go to allows parents to stay overnight, so he definitely won't be there alone. 


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#6 of 8 Old 06-10-2013, 05:11 AM
 
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I would try eliminating dairy for a week. There may be a connection between a food allergy and the enlargement.

I'm glad he will not be alone! That's great! It's still very stressful
He no doubt feels very out of control, and I don't blame him. It's *his* body, yet you are deciding this must be done. I know your reasons are because you want him to sleep better, and be able to swallow easily, but he is used to things being the way they are, and at his age, resists change. Now he is facing surgery (that he has said he doesn't want) and then school. And you're surprised he's acting out? I'd be surprised if he wasn't. He needs love and lots of support. Again, I'd look at the possibility of avoiding surgery. I can help you alter recipes, if you'd like to give it a try. Keep in mind that if he has a food allergy, removing the tonsils is only going to set the stage for a different symptom. For me, taking out my tonsils and adenoids led to nausea, then nausea and vomiting, before my dairy allergy was *finally* identified.
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#7 of 8 Old 06-22-2013, 05:23 PM
 
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I just wan to say that I empathize completely with your situation; I was actually coming on here to post about the exact same thing. I don't have any advice, as i'm in the same boat, but i'm glad to know that I'm not the only one.
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#8 of 8 Old 06-23-2013, 05:18 PM
 
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I have an almost 4 y.o DS, and recently, he seams to be going through a similar phase.

the only helpful thing for us was giving him positive attention when he is acting out (not only when he is ''good'').

I feel that he needs connection when he is angry, screams, throws stuff. I just take him in my arms and we go in our bed and spend 10 minutes under the blankets.

that usually seams to help. lots of kisses and hugs. sometimes it is hard to do when you are angry yourself. So I need to calm myself first and remember what I am trying to achieve.

if you where sad, or anxious or scared or tired, you would want someone who loves you to do that for. and it will make you feel better.

his behavior is just a symptom of his feelings. he is not doing it because he is happy to be mean.

it doesn,t seam to ''reward'' bad behavior, but seams to help treat the cause of it.

since when have been doing it, it got better, not worse.

good luck.

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