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Thread: Desperately need help with 4yo behaviour

  1. #1

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    Default Desperately need help with 4yo behaviour

    OK I will try not to waffle on too much but here goes. DS is throwing the most hideous tantrums and I have no idea how to handle them. basically he has a complete breakdown sobbing and crying saying things like "I just can't stop crying" or " My whole world is ruined" weird things like that. Usually they start over the same thing him not getting his way but they are very quickly getting out of control where he has started hitting, kicking and punching and walking or rolling back and forth saying the same thing over and over. There is absolutely no way to stop him and this goes on for 15-45 min.

    Now I admit I have been blessed as we never had the terrible twos and 98% of the time he is an absolutely fabulous, wonderful (if at times kooky) kid but these little breakdowns are starting to worry me. I had never seen anything like it until we moved 3mths ago and basically he was very sad and emotional for about 2wks. We did lots of hugs/cuddles and reassurence. then when he seemed to be over that I enrolled him in daycare which admittedly was not the best idea as the staff were very inexperienced and the children very unruly. On his first week there we were told he had gotten very upset when he couldn't eat his lunch with the other students and had pinched one of the teachers (before this he had never ever hit, kicked or bit another child or adult ever) Almost every other day he would come hom saying he had had a bad day, that he had had to have a cry etc. And I'm wondering if this new behaviour started then. I have contacted his old daycare (which was wonderful) and they said occassionally if he was tired or unwell he would get emotional and they would let him have a lie down and 15 min later he would be back to normal. So after this huge long ramble, what should I do????

    We have tried talking gentle with him, have tried ignoring him, today has been the worst day where he struck out and punched me and DH and I'm sad to admit we smacked him (which we don't normally do and I'm still feeling terribly guilty about) and it didn't help either. Also today while he was crying, hitting and kicking at us he wouldn't let us go and kept saying "don't leave me all alone" (which we have never done?) which made me feel even worse. Any advice, is this normal 4 yo tanty behaviour? Oh also is it normal for them afterwards to make up stories like - I was sad because I'm scared of monsters, I don't like houses or I don't like the colour blue (seriously this is what he said this morning when we were talking to him about what happened?

    Thanks so much for reading all of this, any any help would be greatly appreciated


  2. #2
    Tigergirl1980 Guest

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    Oh what a sad little boy you have there Have you tried distracting him when he's having a tantrum, maybe put on a favourite dvd, or read him his favourite book, get out some colouring books and pencils etc? Distraction works best for us, although Jonah is only 18 months. But if you haven't tried it before maybe it's worth a go?

  3. #3

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    Matilda is only 2 1/2 and lately when we are trying to get her to bed at night she comes out with "don't like my bed" "scared of trains" and things like that which baffle us as its nothing new to her. Last night she didn't like her pillow... weird.

    We humour her... we say "oh thats too bad you don't like your pillow tonight, it will have to sleep out here with your dolls so it has some attention" and she usually will shrug and go to bed without her pillow. Or like one night that she was scared of her bed, she slept on a cot mattress on the ground instead... and in fact hasn't gotten back into her bed yet. But we just act like its normal and don't make it a big deal.

    As for the biting, kicking and physical stuff... sounds like he is really frustrated. Maybe it is where he is at... Matilda started biting before she had teeth & I found out a few weeks after she started the behaviour that she had been biten twice at day care, only once was I told via written msg in her days activities. So once I realised where she picked up the behaviour I tried to talk to her (like a 1 yr old listens... but I did try to explain) but I changed her care & she stopped biting straight away. Dunno... that was our experience.

  4. #4

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    Saram, thats so sad....

    I really think that there is a cause for this somewhere. It could be the move has brought out a little insecurity? Maybe a bit of apprehension about the coming baby?

    Have you tried talking to him about his fears while he is in a calm state of mind?

    I hope things pick up for you soon.

  5. #5

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    Saram, I have no idea what to suggest to help you, but wanted to send you a big *HUG*

    I posted not long ago so similar to you, even the title was almost the same excedpt mine was 5 year old not 4

    Ashlea has the same tantrums that sometime last up to half an hour too, and you can tell as soon as she triggers she is going to have a tantrum and nothing at all will settle her. I've tried the time out, ignoring it, cuddles, smacking and nothing works either. I went as far as taking her to a Paed. just to see if there was anything wrong with her, people suggested things like sensory perception disorder etc but turns out she is okay

    I havent yet found a way to stop ashlea's tantrums, except to tell her everytime she has a tantrum she gets put IN bed and told to rest til she's happy. slowly she'll get better, then suddenly she'll get real bad again.

    Sorry I dont have suggestions to help, just wanted you to know your not alone

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    What about diet? Is there something he may be eating thats setting them off?

  7. #7

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    Thanks so much for the hugs and advice, today was a rough day and I've been racking my brain to try and figure out what was different. No different foods, in fact the first tant happened before I even got out of bed. But as usual he turns arounds and surprises us tonight by eating all his dinner without complaint and then offering to put himself to bed (which he hasn't don for ages!) I am so proud of him! So as long as we don't start the day with another tanty I have a little toy for him in the morining to reward him.

    I have tried to talk to him about why he gets so upset and we always have a light-hearted debrief when we've settled but I don't know if it's working

    Thanks Dee for your comment, a paed is the next thing I was thinking of too as he has some other obsessive/compulsive traits and his cousin has asperges (sp) Xander is the same he will be excellent for days on end and then wham bad day again. We do the lie in bed until your not feeling sad anymore but now he is getting defient too (bit of a testosterone surge at the moment I think) and keeps running out and hitting things.

  8. #8

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    Saram, Everything you say makes me think your talking about AShlea! She comes into my room in the morning before I'm even awake and shes grumpy for some reason or another. This morning she said she was cold, so i said grab your dressing gown or put some clothes on and she lost it! She was yelling that she didnt want to and blah blah blah. i try and help and she just cracks up. I keep saying to her why do you wake up and come into my room so grumpy every morning, go back to bed until you've woken up happy.
    Today she was grumpy cause her pigtales were apparently 'uneven'. Then, she was complaining that she was so hard done by cause she had to carry her bag and lunchbox, which she does every morning. I had my 11kg nephew, car keys, my bag and his nappy bag and she thinks she's hard done by???

    I was worried because of her pedantic nature, things have to be perfect, i was saying in my other post how she wont wear socks if the seam isnt perfect across her toes, she wont sit on mat if its not perfectly flat etc. She's a little obsessive but not compulsive. Someone mentioned autism, and all the searches I did pointed to that aswell.
    Turns out shes a perfectly normal, bright, intelligent little girl says the Paediatrician, and as most of my family and friends say, just like her mother (which isn't something I want to hear)

    I am still at a loss as what to do, I'm hoping when she starts school she settles down a bit, but who knows??

    Let me know how you get on with the Paed, and if you get any other idea's of who to see or how to tackle it make sure you let me know too!

  9. #9

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    I went through this exact same thing with my son when he started preschool at 4.5 years. Almost exactly the same word were said. And his attitude was horrendous. I will add there is light at the end of the tunnel He is now 7.5 and it has stopped ( yes it went on this long) it eased then got worse then eased again and slowly went away.

    My nephew has just started the same behaviour over the last 6 months and he was in preschool this past year as well.

    Good luck. The only thing that worked for us was to try and ignore it all. The more attention we paid to his crying and tantrums the more he did it, once we stopped they slowly stopped as well. He still has bad days as he has a bully at school unfortunatly but over the past 3 months he became friends with this child and school became fun again which in turn made home life more fun...

  10. #10

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    My Xander has just started this, and the weird thing is, through all the upheaval of moving 3000kms, settling into a new house (and new state) and having a new baby sister (and visiting her in hossy for 2 months) he was great. Now he's awful. Especially bedtimes.HE tells me "Mum you cant leave me here, dont do this to me, you just dont love me..." And im lost for words, i dont know what to do!! And when he has tantrums int he shops now, she physically punches me in the face, not just flailing around in a hissy fit, fully punching me... I dont know what to do either?!At the moment, i just ignore him when he'[s in a "mood"... maybe its something in the air across the whole of oz...

  11. #11

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    The other thing I forgot!! I went to a strong-willed child seminar last year and one thing that the child psychologist said that is so perfect for Matilda is that when they are strong-willed, they have a higher anxiety level. With that anxiety level, they tend to obsess about alot more. So the higher the anxiety, the higher the obsessive/compulsive behaviour. Matilda used to get really stressed if things weren't lined up properly in the bookcase... and I mean the order of books. She can't even read. HTH!

  12. #12

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    Wow I can't believe so many people are going through this same thing and no-one (as in my fmaily etc) have ever said that this is normal. They all just look at me like "OMG he must be so spoilt etc"

    Dee - Ashlea and Xander must be 2 peas from the same pod. Xander did the same thing to me a few days ago as per lunch box. we were supposed to go grocery shopping and he was fine, we walk into the centre and he starts screaming, no no it's too much hard work! What the... I'm worried about school too, I'm really hoping that his teachers are able to handle it without it causing too many problems.

    Kellie - Hoping both of them grow out of it soon.

    aussienic - been reading that Steven Bildolf book, raising boys and wondering if some of it is just a usual "boy" stage. Apparently they have a testosterone surge around this age?

    Simone - I hate the shopping centre ones OMG, thank goodness for mother's rooms that's where we go to hide until he settles

    Christy - that is really interesting! Xander is certainly strong willed and he does get very anxious about things, I'm going to have to keep that in mind. I bet that was an interesting seminar!

  13. #13

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    Yeah I've found it so much easier to understand her obsessiveness if I understand that it is triggered by anxiety. Her love of routines makes more sense now too... too bad, I hate routines

  14. #14

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    Go with the flow eh christy?? I sorta do that, i go with whatever feels right, and for the most part it works. I think declan is the anxious child, he cannot stand to be separated from me, he's been in daycare for over 2 months and still cries every day. Where Xander started at daycare around the same age, and cried for like 1 day before not caring that i wasnt there anymore. Xander's just got the red head temper...

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    Although I can only go from what I know as a mother and teacher, I found that tiredness, and overstimuation of the senses is enough to trigger some kids off. I taught my DS that when he started to feel like this, to take himself away and play with a car quietly. This worked really well for him.

    Rescue remedy drops were also good when they were out of sorts from the moment they woke up - natropathic so can do no harm, and they may even do some good

    Another thing that worked to settle my DS down was fish oil or omega 3 caplets. It improves brain function and helps with concentration. I found that they made him more centered and improved his overall behaviour and skills noticably. Natures way have chewable caplets that they can take. Not to expensive either. You double dose the child for the first 30 days to get levels up and then drop back to one caplet a day - worth a try also as once again they do no harm, even if they don't work for your child.

    Defiantely look at food and food additives as well. Tomato sauce, orange juice, cordial, even some breads can be triggers for some kids. Worth looking a diet with a fine tooth comb. A natropath may of help or a dietician.

    If you are still seeing these types of behaviours, i defiantely would seek professional help - even from a child phyc wo can give you ways to cope with his behaviour and test him for other conditions such as aspergers, ADD and other type conditions.

    There is such a fine line with kids. Often the types of characterisics that they display as kids such as stubborness, definance and independence are characteristics that we want them to embrace when they are adults. You don't want to quash it, but they have to learn what is acceptable and what is not.

    HTH and good luck

  16. #16

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    Thanks Odette - I'll look into those vitamins, as you said it can't hurt to try.

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