My 4 year old is wearing me out!! - Mothering Forums
Gentle Discipline > My 4 year old is wearing me out!!
hipumpkins's Avatar hipumpkins 01:01 AM 04-05-2007
OMG!! she talks incessantly and just does not follow through on any request the 1st time. Everything is a debate or up for negotiation. Recently she has started blowing raspberries. I have told her many times that this is an offensive thing to do and it is very rude. I have told her to keep her tongue in her mouth.

"well what if I have to lick my lips?"
"what if it just falls out?"
than she will cup her hands over her mouth and blow raspberries into her hand. I told her she could do it that way as long as no one else sees it it can't hurt anyone else's feelings or make them angry.
Still she blows raspberries....

and on it goes...



I often see her as selfish...but than she is so wonderful to her brother I feel guilty thinking that. But when I need her to listen the most...she is off on cloud 9.
In the airport..."Johanna it is important to listen to mommy and daddy and stay close b/c it is very crowded and busy"
She just dawdled and chattered on listening to nothing. I have to repeat requests over and over.

I have told her many times not to lay on the floor on public places. I turn around and she is resting on the floor.
She just seems so distracted to me all the time.


When the answer is "no" she begs and pleads and it is infuriating. Just once I'd like to be able to say, "no we can't do that now (or whatever) and her just accept it. Not necessarily like it but accept it.


Any advice or commiseration?

mom22girls's Avatar mom22girls 04:07 AM 04-05-2007
Do you have the book, "Olivia?" In the end, the mom says, "You know Olivia, you really wear me out but I love you anyway." And Olivia says, "I love you anyway too." I have a 5 year old who sounds similar. It's all normal behaviour, but I try and look at it a different way, "she goes after what she wants" her "distraction" is a marvellous imagination at work, her "not listening" is an amazing ability to focus on one thing only. These traits will serve her well throughout her life, as frustrating as they are right now.

Don't really have advice, I'm just there too!
MamaEli's Avatar MamaEli 01:12 AM 04-07-2007
Sounds like I could have wrote that one....he's such a sweet boy, but aiyiyi! the constant negotiation and "logical" conclusions he comes up with...and the nonstop talking....and the repeating myself over and over and over again..I just take deep breath and keep plugging away...tell himto go play outside for a while...and remember the good things he does.
monkeysmommy's Avatar monkeysmommy 03:26 AM 04-07-2007
I know how this is. My daughter argued and negotiated constantly about every single thing. In fact I posted on this forum about 6 months ago about how not to get sucked into arguing with her. She will be 5 next week and recently the arguing has lessened. She will be doing something and I will tell her not to, she will start to argue, and I will say, "Honey, you need to just do what I asked." She will roll her eyes and say, "Ooohkaaaay." Which is FINE. I don't need her to like it, I'm just happy for her to comply. So maybe it's an age thing and will lessen for you in a few months. My dd seems to now get it that if she is less adversarial to me we will have a more positive time together which equals more fun for her.

Oh, and the not listening thing just about drives me batty. I have to tell/ask my dd everything at least 3 times. But recently I have found that if I say, "G___, I'm talking to you." while sort of getting in her face she will sometimes listen. If that doesn't work, I will offer two choices. If she doesn't answer, I will announce that I get to choose. For instance, with the lying on the floor thing, I might first say, "Dd, you need to get up off the floor." If she doesn't comply, (which she won't because she probably isn't listening) I might say, "Would you like to get up yourself or would you like me to help you?" Again she probably won't answer because she isn't listening. I say, "Since you aren't answering I guess you want me to help you up." and start to pick her up. Suddenly she will become very indignant and say, "I can do it MYSELF mommy!" and get up. We go through this type of scenario about 80 times a day.
leurMaman's Avatar leurMaman 03:35 AM 04-07-2007
I feel so glad to commiserate with others. I have to repeat over and over, and I find myself gradually raising my voice. I worry about hearing loss - but then if I ask my 2.5 year old a fun question he'll reply. It goes like this:

"don't hit the wall with the bat. don't hit the wall with the bat. DON'T HIT the wall with the bat! DON'T HIT THE WALL WITH THE BAT!....what color is your shirt?"

[still hitting the wall] "green"

sigh. I am trying not to raise my voice and to make eye contact and approach him, but it still doesn't get through to him often. I think I need to go read Olivia again.
Starflower's Avatar Starflower 04:48 AM 04-07-2007
My DD will be 4 in a couple months. In the past 3-4 weeks, I've noticed similar behaviors. (Although we all blow raspberries here because it's fun.)

But yeah, the not listening to anything. Not acknowledging me at all, etc. THAT is all driving me bonkers. And DD does talk pretty much non-stop. But I don't mind that so much. When she's really quiet I get more worried. Who knows what she's up to then? Of course, I peek in at her all the time even when I'm doing something in another room.

But most of the time, she does wear me out lately. We still nurse and she wants "milkies" all the time. Apparently, if I am seated, I'm fair game.

However, we've also recently had several cool (yet exhausting) days where she's learned new things and we've been doing a lot of fun stuff together. But I am really tired of bubbles. We've been making bubble solution together and making different types of bubble blowers out of various materials. I am tired of being wet and sticky and smelling like dish soap. Bleah. I've reminded her about 50 times not to swing the stuff around me and splash me, but her memory for instructions seems to be about 3 nano-seconds right now. :

That and we're reading a lot of the same books over and over. Granted most of them are science books, especially about astronomy these days (she's really into all things science), but there is also an annoying one about a rooster she wants to read repeatedly at night.

She's also been bouncing around like a ball lately. I'm assuming it's kind of a phase - I think I remember the parent ed. stuff from our co-op preschool describing 4 year olds as "larger than life" and "out of bounds" so I think it's normal.

Exhausting. Fun and normal. But definitely exhausting. I told DH this evening as DD was bouncing everywhere and talking a mile a minute - "see? this is why I am half : by 5:00 p.m."
Jessy1019's Avatar Jessy1019 09:18 AM 04-07-2007
My 4.5 year old is the same way.

It seems to help if I prep her before the situation comes up. Like last night, we went out to dinner with a friend. We go out a lot and dd is really good, but we didn't go until late and I was expecting her to be crazy excited about meeting a new person. So in the afternoon, I talked about how we were going to meet Joanne, and how I wanted her to be polite and calm. She wanted to bring her camera, and I said yes, but reminded her that some people don't like to have their pic taken, so she should ask first and put it away if I asked her to. Anyway, she ended up doing great. She charmed our friend, and the server, and was just wonderful. It seems to work out like that any time I prep her beforehand . . . even with small things at home. We don't operate on a schedule or even much of a routine, but a little advanced notice goes a long way.
bwylde's Avatar bwylde 10:33 AM 04-10-2007
Lol, DS is the same and it is wearing us out!!! Everything is constant negotiation! For example, bedtimes have been horrible. The "negotiation" process usually ends around midnight because he just won't stop "Blah Blah Blah" and will literally just jump around for hours on end and we have to physically hold him down to stop (I'm sure our neighbors love us). Bedtime is 9pm, which is way more generous than any other 4-5 year old we know. Last night we were firm. DS's thing is "But I'll be good/I'll do____ now!!" when what he wants is in threat of being taken away. It grates on my nerves when he says that! So he was actually sleeping by 10 last night by threat of no computer until after lunch unless he goes shopping without complaining and eats his lunch and no computer until after supper if he doesn't comply. We'll see..... The problem with threats is DH never carries them out so I have to always be right there to make sure DS doesn't do what he's not supposed to do (usually computer or TV related; only things that work anymore).
gaialice's Avatar gaialice 11:23 AM 04-10-2007
sorry double post
gaialice's Avatar gaialice 11:25 AM 04-10-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by hipumpkins View Post
I have told her many times not to lay on the floor on public places. I turn around and she is resting on the floor.
She just seems so distracted to me all the time.
... oh well you're lucky it is in "public places"... my 4 yo she will rest on the sidewalk... on the grass... (we're not talking a beautiful park here, we're talking that filthy grass that sides the sidewalk which is there for one purpose only: i.e. for dogs to p..... on !!!!)

It soooo infuriates me...

I have found that dd behaves this way when she feels under pressure. SO telling her "We're boarding an airplane, so you need to be by my side at all times now" will make her nervous, and when she's nervous, she usually runs away from me, not listen, etc. So, I need to keep real real calm and entertain the conversation that she is a baby wild lion and I am the mommy wild lioness and we've spotted a good place to spend the night but suddenly... I am not in the mood for this when I'm about to board the plane, but I prefer that to losing dd in the middle of a busy airport. The trouble, in my case, is that the 6 yo does not like having imaginary conversations, and if I entairtain the 4 yo, she will become very mad... : the whole thing just makes you wish you had never decided to board the goddamn plane in the first place...
NoCalMomOfTwo's Avatar NoCalMomOfTwo 07:05 PM 04-10-2007
Haaah... you're story about the imaginary scenario to maintain calm is always what we do around here when I am patient and can deal with it. The laying down in weird places and verbal diarrhea and NEVER listening is all the same here. I'm so glad I found this thread because I honestly feel like we never left the terrible twos! I thought it was just us, but it must be an age thing!

and my referring to DD as "thoughtful" is my reminder to myself that she is just very very intensely focused and it's not just about ignoring her mama! i'm trying to be better about seeing the positive in things that can drive me nutso!
frenchie's Avatar frenchie 07:21 PM 04-10-2007
My 4 year old is the same...I need to have my DH read your (op) post.
Mother Mel's Avatar Mother Mel 03:29 AM 04-11-2007
OMG - Starflower, I could have written this! That goes double, as my DD is Amelie and is 4! Although I don't have much advice, I do sympathize as we are going thru the same things here. The only thing I can say is, try to say things in a positive way instead of "don't". Ex - instead of "Don't hit the wall" try "Stop hitting the wall". And perhaps try to redirect the energy into something you can deal with, like hitting a pillow or kicking a ball.
RedWine's Avatar RedWine 09:44 AM 04-11-2007
You all must have exact clones of my daughter (4).
PreggieUBA2C's Avatar PreggieUBA2C 03:47 PM 04-11-2007
So that's what's happening over here! DS1 will be four in 2 months... DS2 is 2 1/2, and boundary-obsessed (he asks or moves to do something and I say to confirm & encourage him, 'that's fine sweetie, go ahead', only to find him trying to 'defy' me, then I giggle because he's conjured up a false boundary, trangressed it and then turned to me to see what I'll do-- I find it really funny, but then when I can't help giggling at his dramatics, he says in all seriousness, "Mummy! Don't laugh at me! I'm very serious!" Heeheehee).

DS1 is more of the 'I don't hear you and if I do, I'm not going to listen and if I am listening, I have no intention of acknowledging you, and if I do that, I absolutely will not do what you've asked no matter how readily I would have done it if I had thought of it first' persuasion. Soooo much fun!

It actually is fun though as I continue to remind myself what he is learning and trying. It helps me to work this stuff out with dh because I can talk through it and try to come up with ways that I can facilitate his desire for autonomy. In another thread, a poster wrote about 'defiance' not being about the parent, but about the chid realising that he can do anything at all, even to the chagrin of his parent no matter what the reaction of the parent is. He can choose and that choice is not contingent upon the wants/needs/requirements of another person outside himself. That's a pretty monumental discovery, really. With that perspective, I've been able to communicate more effectively with my sons.

It is frustrating sometimes, though. Calm is my best friend!

p.s. We blow raspberries here too... it really is fun. Actually, I was shown how to do lazy raspberries for my TMJ, like a horse. It really works to relieve stress and pain in my jaw. I had to do it all the time when my wisdom teeth were coming in. Good thing I was alone most of the time!
dflanag2's Avatar dflanag2 12:03 AM 04-13-2007
DS is 2 1/2 and he is already doing these behaviors. I was hoping he would have outgrown them by age 4!

Right now he keeps saying, "But why, Mommy?" The thing is, I don't think he even understands what he is asking!

The raspberry thing is tricky: I am trying to prevent it due to a dislike of being sprayed with copious amounts of saliva, but the baby LOVES to blow them, so it is difficult to tell DS to stop when Baby is blowing away. We are trying a general rule of keep your Saliva in your mouth instead of letting it drip down your chin constantly. (Aren't they supposed to stop drooling at some point???):

-dflanag2
Mrs_Hos's Avatar Mrs_Hos 03:19 AM 04-14-2007
I love my dear daughter...but I swear I could sell her to someone in India/China/Africa some days...and I think my ears may start bleeding everyday around noon--she talks so dang much!
Yep, no listening/defiance here too...just infuriates me.
I'm trying to read Dr Sears Discipline book...the one thing that jumps out at me though is when he says "a child that feels well, acts well......a child that feels bad, acts bad"
So...could our kids be having some growing pains? Something so small as to not be noticed by them, but cause them to act poorly?
No clue, but I'd rather believe she isn't feeling well, than to believe she is just defiant!
Vixenmama's Avatar Vixenmama 01:37 AM 04-15-2007
from this thread this is just what a 4 yo is supposed to be doing---but why???

I've been so concerned because z. used to have a very well developed ability to play on her own-----very rarely does she do that now. If she doesn't have a playmate (other than her 2 yo brother) she asks, nags, pleads, insists that I do. If I comply, I get tyrannical instructions and she seems incapable of sustaining whatever game she's chosen for us. The minute we get the dolls set up or the gameboard out, she tells me what she really wants to play is x. What's interesting is that when she does have a playmate she can sustain a long fantasy activity or game....just not on her own or with me..

RASPBERRIES!!! She began this a few months back and when she realized how completely it rankled me she quickly added it to her repetoire. It's the "lazy raspberry" brand mentioned above by a pp though, and she uses it exclusively when I make a request she doesn't deem interesting enough to fulfill. I used to react soooo strongly because her horse-noise was so completely disrespectful. When I realized how much she "enjoyed" doing this because of my reaction I quickly taught myself not to react. The next time she did it I said "hey, someone let a horse into our kitchen, come on horsey, you belong outside". She started giggling and it totally diffused the coming standoff. I think I won this one....but God knows I've lost.....


peeing in the pants for no reason at all. She's been toilet trained for nearly a year and after months of dryness has begun peeing herself when she can't be troubled to tear herself away from whatever activity she's doing to hit the potty. Today she did it while we were at a friends having tea....again, I'm trying not to react at all---I used to get quite upset because I know she's already mastered these skills. I wouldn't get up and leave today though, I knew she was uncomfortable but I finished my chat and my tea and then we came home....it's time for some natural consequences.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hipumpkins View Post
OMG!! she talks incessantly and just does not follow through on any request the 1st time. Everything is a debate or up for negotiation.
Oy, the negotiations----I need to send her in when dh is negotiating his salary----she's a master and she's tough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hipumpkins View Post
"well what if I have to lick my lips?"
"what if it just falls out?"
than she will cup her hands over her mouth and blow raspberries into her hand.
Yes, yes, yes---this is what I call "pushing the envelope". Please don't ever say "don't let me hear a peep out of you" because then she will be mouthing the word peep or whispering it. Just how far can one go in following the letter and not the spirit of a request? Pretty danged far!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hipumpkins View Post
When the answer is "no" she begs and pleads and it is infuriating. Just once I'd like to be able to say, "no we can't do that now (or whatever) and her just accept it. Not necessarily like it but accept it. Any advice or commiseration?
yes, me too, everything you said.

I just want to add that z. also often wakes up crabby and refuses to walk down stairs to breakfast because "she doesn't have the strength" or "she's too weak". If I were to say "come downstairs and you can have some computer time" she would rocket down bouncing and hopping. She's just in a bad mood A LOT right now and loves to reject, renounce, and refuse.

I feel so much better after reading this thread though---I used to have so many more positive emotions when dealing with her---now frustration, anger, weariness and bafflement are on the menu daily! It makes it much easier to cope and grin and bear it knowing I'm not alone.


Also, I recently read (in an exerpt from a willful child book) that willful, defiant kids are more likely to be willful and defiant adolescents, and more prone to depression---this made me scared. Especially since I know some very compliant kids in my neighborhood and it's hard not to compare.....
waiflywaif's Avatar waiflywaif 10:08 AM 04-15-2007
My daughter is 4 and a non-stop talker/very active as well. One intriguing thing I've noticed is that if I keep my conversation just a little bit above her "level," she listens to me a lot more. Using what you'd think would be "age-appropriate" vocabulary---simple requests, one-step-at-a-time directions---causes her to tune out. If I pull out the five-dollar words or explain something scientific to her, she gets really interested and tends not to notice that we're doing what she was formerly resisting (getting on her coat, sitting down in the car seat, eating breakfast, whatever).
NoCalMomOfTwo's Avatar NoCalMomOfTwo 12:35 PM 04-15-2007
:
NoCalMomOfTwo's Avatar NoCalMomOfTwo 12:43 PM 04-15-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vixenmama View Post
I've been so concerned because z. used to have a very well developed ability to play on her own-----very rarely does she do that now.

peeing in the pants for no reason at all. She's been toilet trained for nearly a year and after months of dryness has begun peeing herself when she can't be troubled to tear herself away from whatever activity she's doing to hit the potty.

I just want to add that z. also often wakes up crabby and refuses to walk down stairs to breakfast because "she doesn't have the strength" or "she's too weak".

I know some very compliant kids in my neighborhood and it's hard not to compare.....
This all sounds so familiar it's frightening, so I thought I'd mention this. After doing some reading of old threads in this forum we decided that DD's behavior did seem unusual compared to other kids and that it might be connected to something beyond just a phase. Her diet has always been a problem (extremely pick eater) and she has a huge preference toward dairy. I eliminated dairy for a couple of weeks and WOW! She is like a different child. I've added back in some stuff, but so far have not let her have cow's milk. She has actually begged me for milk, which I've since read is very common in kids with sensitivities - they are almost addicted to the thing oft requested. This is a very helpful book I found mentioned here that they had at the library:

http://www.amazon.com/This-Your-Chil...6648103&sr=1-1

I haven't made it far enough to determine if she for sure has a dairy allergy, but she is eating almost twice as much as she used to and there is more variety to her eating because she's consuming fewer calories from liquid (milk).
hipumpkins's Avatar hipumpkins 02:21 PM 04-15-2007
Quote:
Yes, yes, yes---this is what I call "pushing the envelope". Please don't ever say "don't let me hear a peep out of you" because then she will be mouthing the word peep or whispering it. Just how far can one go in following the letter and not the spirit of a request? Pretty danged far!
While in the moment i know that is not funny...it did make laugh Thanks!!!
Spanish Rose's Avatar Spanish Rose 03:20 PM 04-15-2007
I find playfulness to wrok very well with preschoolers...

Honestly, after all the drama of three, four was a relief. Keep them busy, make them feel useful, and pick you battles.

As for the constant negotiation, I tried to view it as a useful skill. There was an article in "Wondertime" a while back about teaching your child the art of debate that I really took to heart. In this family, arguing is one of the primary forms of communication.

But if you don't want to argue about anything, just say "The answer is xyz. I'm done talking about it." Then, if they keep asking, say "Asked and answered." or "I'm not changing my mind."
PreggieUBA2C's Avatar PreggieUBA2C 03:45 PM 04-15-2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by waiflywaif View Post
My daughter is 4 and a non-stop talker/very active as well. One intriguing thing I've noticed is that if I keep my conversation just a little bit above her "level," she listens to me a lot more. Using what you'd think would be "age-appropriate" vocabulary---simple requests, one-step-at-a-time directions---causes her to tune out. If I pull out the five-dollar words or explain something scientific to her, she gets really interested and tends not to notice that we're doing what she was formerly resisting (getting on her coat, sitting down in the car seat, eating breakfast, whatever).

AAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!! What'll we do??? We always speak that way to our children because we never really learned the simple language, simple requests concept and our children never did either! We've always read science texts and discussed theology, sciences, politics, morality, etc with them since they were born... I guess it's into quantum physics for relief! Our almost 4 year old uses phrases like, 'Well, perhaps it was necessary, daddy.'
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