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First, I'm never sure where to post questions, so moderators -- please feel free to move at will!<br><br>
My soon-to-be-four year old son is driving me up a wall. Every time we say "no" or even "not right now, but after lunch/dinner/tomorrow to something, he throws himself down, sobbing "I'll never get to ... " whatever the issue of the moment is. He can and will cry for a good 15 minutes, though he never gets physical about it. You would think this child never got to eat ice cream, swim in the pool, watch a video, play dinasaurs with Mommy... You get the picture. Mostly it is the case that we can't do it right that second and we give a clear answer about when we can do it.<br><br>
So, how would you deal with the situation? My husband usually reminds him of what the answer was (e.g, "we'll do it after dinner") then asks him to stop crying and suggests another alternative activity. Or, he'll get frustrated and say "you are being ridicules, stop crying." I'm more in favor of saying "I'll talk to you when you have stopped crying" and leaving him alone, although I will admit to getting frustrating and giving the frustrated answer too. I admit that neither of us is being very consistant on our approach at the moment. I'm open to any suggestions or comments.<br><br>
We do use time-outs in our house, but we save them for big stuff (like hitting), so I don't think that's warrented. Frequently the reason we can't do something right away is because I'm tending to the baby, but not always (sometimes you just can't go swimming at 7:30 when you have to leave for preschool by 7:45, KWIM?).
 

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Your son seems to be in a very fragile place right now. When Rain was little and would respond in ways that seemed way our of proportion, I would try to remember that the tears might not be all about what seemingly caused them - sometimes it was like the tears were there waiting and it just took one little thing to get them started, if that makes sense. I would focus more on how he was feeling that on the cause, since you've already been very clear on the original issue. Something like, "You seem really upset/unhappy/disappointed about that."<br><br>
I'm wondering if he's stressed about the baby, and maybe the real issue is more about losing his place in the family. Or of preschool is a new thing, maybe that's stressful? If you're not already doing it, carving out some special time each day that he can count on would probably be helpful.<br><br>
IMO, telling him he's being ridiculous is pretty dismissive of his feelings. eah, it seems overdone and unmerited, but those are his feelings. I have to admit when I first saw the subject line I thoght it was about mom's crying jags, and I know how awful I would feel if my tears were dismissed, even when they're apparently about something like ants in the bathroom...<br><br>
Dar
 

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One of my stepdaughters was 3 when she went through a similar phase: always wanting to do more stuff in a day than we could possibly pack into it, with ensuing disappointment. You know, when you spend the day at her favourite park and finish it up with ice cream, and all you hear endlessly on the way home is her tears because you didn't also do the zoo? It would be so frustrating -- plus, we had the added pressure of always getting calls and comments from her mother about how disappointed dsd was at not having got to do her chosen activity that day ('She said all she wanted was to go the zoo and YOU said no!')...but I digress.<br><br>
I suspect that 'it's the age,' and that it has something to do with being old enough to formulate plans and anticipate events but not old enough to figure out realistic timeframes.<br><br>
Maybe working on time as a concept will help? He's a little young to learn to tell time, but some basic library books on the day, and what goes on when, and time concepts like 'today' versus 'tomorrow' might help him contextualize. Remember, 'tomorrow' might still feel like 'never' to him! My younger stepdaughter just turned 4, and whenever she is talking about something in the future it's 'tomorrow,' and anything in the past is 'yesterday.' You could also experiment with different, more concrete ways of explaining time, like 'after two sleeps it will be swimming day.' It sounds like you're already trying to do that, with after lunch, etc., but maybe a variant will work. Oh, the other thing I do to say no to an acitivity is frame it as a yes, which sometimes works: "You'd like to go swimming? Great idea! The next time we are driving to the rec centre we'll do just that!' Or, 'Some time soon when we aren't on our way to preschool you bet we'll go swimming: thanks for making such a great suggestion!' Don't even hint that you're saying no/not right now: just act like you're in fact agreeing with his brilliant idea. Then wait with bated breath to see if he buys it...<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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Well, yes, sometimes all of this leads to a Mommy crying jag! I never expected two kids to be easy, but sometimes...<br><br>
Maybe I should add that the pool is in the backyard, so that's a constant request!<br><br>
I like the idea of trying to make time more concrete. We've started trying to work with a daily calendar more and he seems to get it, but maybe its not as concrete as I thought. We're also beginning to work with the clock as an aid to learning numbers, maybe I can combine the two somehow.<br><br>
He doesn't seem stressed about the baby, but I'm pretty careful about balancing time and attention. Our afternoon swim when she's napping has become our special time. Preschool is "old hat" to him (I work PT) but he does seem fragile in lots of ways since before the baby. I'm beginning to accept that the flip side of a wonderful, caring, empathic temperment is this over-emotional side.<br><br>
You are right, of course, the "that's ridicules" is not a good response, but sometimes its what comes out after ten rounds of this sort of thing!
 

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My son is going though almost the same thing and it just hit me when I read your post, that since I recently had another baby, that it's been downhill. Sometimes the requests are non stop and eventually, the crying will drive me to the point where I put him in the other room for awhile (surprisingly, he will stay there for a couple of minutes) because I feel like I'm going to go nutso! Not that I think that's really the best response. This is just commiseration, no advice but I think they will grow out of it, I really really hope so.
 

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My ds is 4, little brother is 9 months, and the crying jags are just starting to wear off a bit ... as long as we have an active day outside. I think it's a stage we're all going through together, here! (misery loves company!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/mecry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="crying">)<br><br>
I don't know what to tell you except show him as much love and affection as you can when he's done. Let him know, no matter what you said or did during the episode, that he's very much loved no matter what
 

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It's a tossup between "the childhood years" and "gentle discipline". I'm gonna move it to the latter because they always have such great suggestions there for dealing with behaviour issues. hope that helps!
 
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