Am I doing something wrong? -- My 4yo is so rude! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 03-17-2011, 07:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Disclaimer -- my 1.5yo is going on 8 weeks of being sick and I am totally sleep deprived.

 

But, my 4yo whines, melts down, tries to make me do things for her, refuses to do what I ask, screams her head off and bangs on the walls/door/etc. when I send her to her room (I suppose some people don't agree with that tactic, but I refuse to allow her to dominate our small living space with her unacceptable behavior).

 

She was so independent and helpful at 3.5 and now at 4 she is melting down -- last night I had to get her ready for bed like a baby with her kicking and screaming the whole time.  I am so frustrated.

 

My 1.5yo is having meltdowns now too, and he's not sleeping, so they tend to happen for long periods of time in the middle of the night.

 

But, really, how do I help my 4yo feel secure, happy, cared for, and capable?  She is driving me crazy.  How ought I respond when she acts super naughty?  I don't want her yelling and whining at me.  I don't want her kicking and screaming.  I don't want to encourage that.  I try to ignore it as much as I can, but it really wears on me, and then I have a hard time keeping my cool.

 

Okay, maybe I just needed to write that, but I'd love for you to share what really helps you through the day, your favorite books, mantras, affirmations, tactics, etc.  Commiseration always helps too; it's nice to know I'm not the only mama out there who is struggling and doesn't always do the right thing.

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#2 of 16 Old 03-17-2011, 07:45 AM
 
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My first thought is that she's tired. If she's kicking and screaming getting ready for bed, I think she needs a much earlier bed time. Is that possible?  Is she still napping?  If not, can she do quiet/book time on her bed?  My kids hardle ever melt down unless they're hungry or tired. 

 

As for the behavior.  I would sit her down and tell her you will not answer her when she speaks rudely and that in your family, everyone is kind and respectful to each other.  I also do room time, so I would definitely send her to her room to finish a tantrum.  IMO, it's totally fine for a kid to be upset.  She can own that emotion.  But she can't try to make everyone else miserable.  In years past, I've told me daughter she was hurting my ears, so she needed to scream somewhere else.  Of course she didn't want to, so she stopped. I also think it's important to be pretty low-key about tantrums.  And the most important, be consistent and don't give in.  If you say no, you need to mean it.  

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#3 of 16 Old 03-17-2011, 07:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, early bedtime helps.  A friend watches them once a week for a class I attend, so we have a later bedtime that night.  I would really like to get dh in on the bedtime routine and have it happen the same way whether I'm home or not.  You are totally right about bedtime -- it's almost never a struggle with her if we start early enough.

 

As to the rest, I think I've done that, but she is still totally rude to me.  Do I sit her down every week or every day to tell her what I expect and then follow through?  I definitely need to work on not losing my cool when I'm too tired or crabby, and an immediate and consistent response.  I do try, but it's certainly not perfect.

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#4 of 16 Old 03-17-2011, 11:10 AM
 
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This is why they call it the "f-you fours".  Seriously.  Yikes.  BTDT with my dd and not looking forward to it with my ds!

 

But I also wonder if she might be getting a little less attention than usual (since your babe has been sick for so long and I imagine has been more clingy or demanding than usual), and if that might be playing into her behaviour.  I also wonder if it's possible that you guys haven't been getting out and about very much because of your ds being sick.  Both of those things could make her be just generally more cranky.  Luckily your ds being sick is a temporary situation (hopefully over soon - poor guy!) and things will get back to normal in those departments.

 

In general if one of my kids is in a grumpy-mood phase I try to stay really on top of sleep (as mentioned by a pp), regular protein-rich snacks and meals, and one-on-one attention.  Besides that, for dealing with rude behaviour in the moment, in our family we do send a kid who's "out of control" to take a little time by themselves until they're ready to behave appropriately around the rest of the family.  I also find re-phrasing for your kiddo can help (though it's a long-term project to get it to really sink in).  If they ask for something in a whiny tone or otherwise rude manner I model for them the "polite" or "ok" way of asking and ask them to repeat.  I also spend time *not in the heat of the moment* talking about how we "catch more flies with honey than vinegar", ie. people will respond more positively towards you if you are polite and speak nicely to them.

 

 


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#5 of 16 Old 03-18-2011, 09:22 AM
 
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This is a really hard week for kids. The spring time change really messes with their little systems. I try to remember to cut my kids some slack. We're asking them to do things a whole hour earlier than they usually do and it's lighter later. My six-year-old is having a really hard time.

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#6 of 16 Old 03-19-2011, 01:35 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post

This is a really hard week for kids. The spring time change really messes with their little systems. I try to remember to cut my kids some slack. We're asking them to do things a whole hour earlier than they usually do and it's lighter later. My six-year-old is having a really hard time.



This has been a hell of a week for my almost four year old DS, too.  Last night we had a blow-out bedtime tantrum and he only fell asleep while in Daddy's lap in the glider--like he was a baby again!

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#7 of 16 Old 03-19-2011, 09:35 PM
 
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I don't know if this will help. DS is turning four in a couple weeks and we have a new baby, so our situation is kind of similar. He's not outright rude at the moment but he does the whining, meltdown, refusing to do what he's asked, and it's SO annoying. I just finished reading Siblings Without Rivalry (because he also started bonking DD on the head) and it has really helped me. He's still a beast but I'm coping with him better and able to calm him down quicker. I use their technique of describing the situation: I see a boy who is really sad/angry/not wanting to do what he's being asked. I also have been employing reflecting back his feelings: you seem really mad about x, y, z. It's helped.

Good luck. I like the F' You Fours. Ugh.

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#8 of 16 Old 03-20-2011, 11:02 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnygir1 View Post

 when I send her to her room (I suppose some people don't agree with that tactic, but I refuse to allow her to dominate our small living space with her unacceptable behavior).

 


as others have described there are 2 things that need to be taken care of

 

1. tantrums happen when there is - lack of sleep - not enough running around, being silly, getting all that extra energy out - and - hungry. my dd is 8 now and still those things are important for her.

 

2. you HAVE to find sometime to take care of yourself. your sleep deprevation is not helping either. without some of your needs met its really hard to have compassion for another human being - let alone your own child. 

 

treat this as their first intro to teenage years. the bolded sentiment/attitude is not going to help at all. so my question to you is what can you do so that instead of making that statement you think 'oh that poor child is suffering again (i think we forget that suffering is not just a stubbed toe or an ouie - its emotional owie too). please note i am not judging you. i have had to learn this the hard way. 

 

every time i find i am overwhelemed by teh behaviour of my dd its time for me to take care of myself .to find out what's wrong with me. sometimes taking care of myself is to stop the rushing and just sit down for two mins with a cold glass of water and savour it while we drink it. 

 

but the key to me being a compassionate mom (because that's the most important quality i'd like to have) for me is to understand what's going on with my dd. and reading louse m bates's series (from 1 to 12 i think) 'Your 4 year old' was most helpful. many children have a turn around at 4 1/2.

 

another thing i have noticed. as they get older just before an 'emotional growth spurt' they go thru their worst behaviour for a bit and then suddenly everything is normal and you cant tell but in a subtle way they have matured immensely. i noticed this at 4. i was so reeling that when she stopped and suddenly she was waaaay more understanding i was shocked. 

 


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#9 of 16 Old 03-20-2011, 12:34 PM
 
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Thank you for this, I so needed to hear all of that today!

Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post




as others have described there are 2 things that need to be taken care of

 

1. tantrums happen when there is - lack of sleep - not enough running around, being silly, getting all that extra energy out - and - hungry. my dd is 8 now and still those things are important for her.

 

2. you HAVE to find sometime to take care of yourself. your sleep deprevation is not helping either. without some of your needs met its really hard to have compassion for another human being - let alone your own child. 

 

treat this as their first intro to teenage years. the bolded sentiment/attitude is not going to help at all. so my question to you is what can you do so that instead of making that statement you think 'oh that poor child is suffering again (i think we forget that suffering is not just a stubbed toe or an ouie - its emotional owie too). please note i am not judging you. i have had to learn this the hard way. 

 

every time i find i am overwhelemed by teh behaviour of my dd its time for me to take care of myself .to find out what's wrong with me. sometimes taking care of myself is to stop the rushing and just sit down for two mins with a cold glass of water and savour it while we drink it. 

 

but the key to me being a compassionate mom (because that's the most important quality i'd like to have) for me is to understand what's going on with my dd. and reading louse m bates's series (from 1 to 12 i think) 'Your 4 year old' was most helpful. many children have a turn around at 4 1/2.

 

another thing i have noticed. as they get older just before an 'emotional growth spurt' they go thru their worst behaviour for a bit and then suddenly everything is normal and you cant tell but in a subtle way they have matured immensely. i noticed this at 4. i was so reeling that when she stopped and suddenly she was waaaay more understanding i was shocked. 

 



 

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#10 of 16 Old 03-20-2011, 11:59 PM
 
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I think part of it is a 4 yr old thing. One thing that I do is talk to ROey like a grown up.  I describe some of things I have been seeing and see if she has an answer.  And one thing besides taking care of yourself, I might have daddy take care of the baby and you and your 4 yr old go out for ice cream or the park or something.  She might be missing the down time as well if everyone is caring for a sick little one for so long. 

 

One trick that Roey and I do is when one of us recognizes that we are heading in the wrong direction, we call a do over.  Either one of us can call it.  And we start the conversation over or the action.  It really works.  Who doesn't love a do over!


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#11 of 16 Old 03-21-2011, 12:50 PM
 
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We started the do-over when my son was just past 3 and it worked beautifully...for a while. Then suddenly he was using it all the time simply to get his way.  If he came downstairs and I had already dipped the french toast but he wanted to do it himself he'd flip out and want me to start over, he'd throw a tantrum if we didn't take the bread out of the hot pan and re-dip (which of course, I never did).  He would flip out if I say I am going to hold his hand up the stairs, but then we forget.  In the middle of bedtime he'll flip out about going back downstairs to hold my hand.  Some days this thing would (and still does, at almost 4) happen 10 times a day, more often it is a few times a week.  We taught him "Oh well, maybe next time" to counter-act the do-over, which has been somewhat successful.  Aye aye aye.  I think my DS has some tendencies toward OCD that we are watching, so that is part of it, I'm sure, but I do kind of wish I'd never introduced the "Do-Over"!!
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoViMama View Post

I think part of it is a 4 yr old thing. One thing that I do is talk to ROey like a grown up.  I describe some of things I have been seeing and see if she has an answer.  And one thing besides taking care of yourself, I might have daddy take care of the baby and you and your 4 yr old go out for ice cream or the park or something.  She might be missing the down time as well if everyone is caring for a sick little one for so long. 

 

One trick that Roey and I do is when one of us recognizes that we are heading in the wrong direction, we call a do over.  Either one of us can call it.  And we start the conversation over or the action.  It really works.  Who doesn't love a do over!



 

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#12 of 16 Old 03-21-2011, 12:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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treat this as their first intro to teenage years. the bolded sentiment/attitude is not going to help at all. so my question to you is what can you do so that instead of making that statement you think 'oh that poor child is suffering again (i think we forget that suffering is not just a stubbed toe or an ouie - its emotional owie too). please note i am not judging you. i have had to learn this the hard way. 


 


Thank you for your thoughts and suggestions.  I see your point in the above, I think.  I was, obviously, a little overwhelmed when I wrote my post.  However, I am not yet prepared to abandon the idea that a certain type of behavior is acceptable and another isn't.  I will always tell my child when I she is out of line, and particularly if what she is saying is hurtful.  I agree that (especially with a 4yo) looking for the root of the problem is vitally important, but that doesn't necessarily mean ignoring the overt actions.

 

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#13 of 16 Old 03-21-2011, 11:53 PM
 
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With regards to the due over, it's mostly when she reacts in a way that is not helpful or a situation is getting out of control.  It's not (has not) been around physical things.  More like, Mom, I want a popsicle, but I want one, screaming crying yelling."  I look at her.  She says, Can we start over?  I say yes (if in a thoughtful mood) and she starts her request over.  The answer may be the same but she can have a different response and I might respond in an alternative way--instead of no, period, it's well, right now we are getting ready to eat, lets talk at dinner and see how it goes.  


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#14 of 16 Old 03-22-2011, 07:27 PM
 
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I have no helpful advice but I have found that for me 4 is the hardest age.

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#15 of 16 Old 03-27-2011, 10:57 AM
 
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I was just coming here to look for some advice!! My 4 year old has had such a rough few days. I don't know what on EARTH is going on. Temper tamtrums, screaming at me, demanding and being overall nasty. I have attempted to overlook some things and talk through some things. We have had two all out screaming tantrums and I know I have matured b/c my blood doesn't boil anymore, but it does bother me tremendously! I have been acting nonchalant and repeating the consequences, reviewing expectations... but I am really feeling like I am failing!!

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#16 of 16 Old 03-27-2011, 12:17 PM
 
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I'm in a similar boat with an almost-5yo. 

I have  found that revisiting How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids WIll Talk almost always helps.  You'd think I'd have that book memorized by now (in fact I may).  But the reminder always helps!

 

Ekk, crying babe, must run...

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