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I need serious parenting help
Old 06-16-2019, 08:28 AM
  #1

Long story short, my four year old is out of control with angry, defiant tantrums. Iíve read hundreds of articles and nothing works with him. We canít get an appointment until end of July.

I know there have been mamas with similar problems. Iím at my wits end and can use some advice in the meantime.


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What hasnít worked?
Old 06-16-2019, 08:39 AM
  #2

What have you already tried?

Iím assuming a large part of this is due to new little brother.

Itís not easy. I hope you get great advice.
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Tantrums
Old 06-16-2019, 08:44 AM
  #3

Do you know what triggers the tantrums?


I think the best thing you can do is ignore his tantrums. It is attention seeking behavior in a negative way. Just let him tire himself out. I remember how hard it is to listen to as a mom but that's what is required. If he is very strong willed it may take a while to for him to learn that this is unacceptable behavior.

I wish you and your son luck no matter what you decide to do.
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Old 06-16-2019, 08:53 AM
  #4

-Four years old.
-New baby brother.

Now that we know why he is acting like that...

I agree with ignoring the tantrums.

Give him lots of positive attention and talk up his big boy skills at other times. Maybe some new privileges and responsibilities appropriate to his age. Let him do something cool and grown up...like run the vacuum or mix the salad (notice: do not say “toss the salad”), or hammer some nails.

It will pass eventually.
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Old 06-16-2019, 08:59 AM
  #5

I agree with the PPs. Couple of other ideas: Is he getting enough rest? Maybe his sleep is being interrupted by baby brother's middle-of-the-night wakeups. I'm not sure exactly how you fix that, as we adopted our kiddos, so they were older and slept through the night. Maybe other moms with newborns can address that idea. Also, is he getting enough solo attention? Make sure he has you and only you--not you holding little brother--for some time every day. Read, play a game, do a craft, fiddle with playdough, etc. You could even build in a trip without baby brother; go get a burger or an ice cream, or run an errand to the grocery.


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Old 06-16-2019, 09:01 AM
  #6

I think some 1:1 time with him will do wonders.

I also think new "big kid" privileges might help.

One thing I learned with my very strong willed DD was consistency! If I said it. It happened. It was a long road, but she eventually figured out who was boss and it was not her
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Old 06-16-2019, 09:03 AM
  #7

This behavior started well before the baby arrived. I usually do try to ignore or tell him things like I can’t talk to him until he calms down, etc. He will start throwing things or hitting himself. I’ve tried working toward a reward.
His daddy tries to shut it down with force and says if we keep ignoring it, that we will never get control of him. But neither one of our approaches works.

I know he needs help in learning how to process his emotions and it’s going to take time, but I don’t know what else to do. Everything I know as a teacher does not work with my own child and I feel like a failure as a parent.

Edit: also, since the baby has arrived, I’ve tried to be very careful about giving him attention. Daddy takes
Him to get ice cream, play at playground etc. When baby is sleeping, I play with him too.
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I used this
Old 06-16-2019, 09:13 AM
  #8

This worked well with both my special Ed primary class and my own son when he was your sonís age. He was so verbal I spoke to him too much. This method really helped me to be in charge, without all the emotion he provoked.

https://www.123magic.com/positive-pa...iAAEgIzqPD_BwE

Maybe it would help. Couldnít hurt!
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Old 06-16-2019, 09:37 AM
  #9

So sorry to hear this NoElephants. It does put a different perspective on "good" parenting, doesn't it?

It is a tough age for some. They want more independence but don't have the verbal skills or physical skills for what they want, sometimes.

As others have said, it could be a lack of sleep (or lack of quality sleep that adds to the outbursts).

Work on games with him that focus on control when things are going well. Work on breathing exercises when he is angry so he can learn to calm his body down. Talk about feelings when he is calm.

It is no fun when nothing works, but for some kids, nothing works for a very, very long time.

My mother was able to get my niece to stop the hysterical angry tantrums by throwing one herself but in an animated way. She did it right alongside of my niece who saw it, stopped dead in her tracks, and looked at my mom like she was a crazy woman. My mom stopped and told her, I'm just doing what you are doing. I don't think my niece realized what a fool she was being before she saw someone else behave in the same manner. I'm not saying it will definitely work, but sometimes seeing the behavior makes children pause. Labeling it the same behavior makes them realize what they are really doing.
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Old 06-16-2019, 10:32 AM
  #10

No advice, just hugs and something to remember: everything with parenting is a phase. When youíre in the middle of something, as you are now, it becomes a crisis. I am impressed you seek solutions and not excuses, but remember, this too shall pass. Hugs.


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Old 06-16-2019, 11:15 AM
  #11

First, there is no room for blaming yourself here. You are by no means a failure as a parent. I agree with continuing to ignore him, but also give him the language to express himself (It sounds like you are feeling angry because you want me to play with you right now and I can't. We'll play together in a few minutes). After you say something like that continue to ignore him. The hope is that eventually instead of a tantrum he will just tell you he is angry and wants you to play with him right now.

(((HUGS)))

Nancy
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Old 06-16-2019, 11:45 AM
  #12

You are not a failure. A 4 year old is becoming more independent and still needs mommy. This is a lot to handle. Throw in baby brother and itís more. Have you asked him why heís getting angry? Is it during dinner, quiet time, or just any time? My younger ds has tantrums a lot from 3-4. It got to the point we would all get up and leave the room to leave him alone if it was bad. I kept an eye on him to see if it subsided and all was fine until the next one. Try and see what triggers it. Hang in there.
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Old 06-16-2019, 12:11 PM
  #13

It really depends on so many factors around the behavior. I'd keep track of the before by noting what happened right before the behavior, what the behavior specifically looks like ("angry, defiant tantrums" could mean hitting, bitting, screaming, throwing, etc.), and what happens right after the behavior. That will give you some insight into what might be impacting the behavior.

Another book that might be a good resource if you haven't already tried it is The Incredible Years Trouble Shoot Guide http://www.incredibleyears.com/books...e-years-guide/ (this is a link to the Spanish version, for some reason, but you can find the book in a zillion different places, including Amazon).

They have fantastic groups as well, but I don't know if they have any in your area.
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Old 06-16-2019, 01:23 PM
  #14

Thank you for the suggestions.

His tantrums usually are triggered by not getting something he wants or if he is tired. Starts as a normal kid tantrum and gets worse.

Example: yesterday we had lunch at a pizza place with the toy machines that you put a quarter in and get a toy. Later that evening the light on his toy stopped working so he wanted to go back to the pizza place for another one. He ended up throwing things at me. I try to validate him by telling him it’s ok to be angry.

The day before, it was because he has been playing at his cousin’s house and when they brought him home, he got mad because he wanted to keep playing. He was mad about having to get out of the car and hit daddy when he tried to take him out.
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Conscious Discipline
Old 06-16-2019, 01:26 PM
  #15

If you havenít read any of Becky Baileyís books, I would highly recommend starting with ďEasy to Love, Difficult to DisciplineĒ. If you look up Conscious Discipline online (thereís also a FB page), you will find some wonderful tips and techniques. We use Conscious Discipline in my PreK program and it has been WONDERFUL for every child, but especially those who struggle with behaviors and regulating emotions.

Good luck to you!!https://www.amazon.com/Easy-Love-Dif...89861699&psc=1
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Old 06-16-2019, 05:29 PM
  #16

Does he act this way at preschool, if he attends?

This won't solve all of the issues, but I wonder if getting a clock that changes colors when it's the end of an activity period might help. "You can play until the clock turns red, okay? Then it's time to..." Or maybe making some sort of a schedule with activities he can fill in? If he gets to take part in the choices and has responsibility in knowing when it's transition time, he may be calmer.

I like this example of a schedule that kids can help create and then see to know where the day is going. http://themomhour.com/summer-schedule/
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Time out
Old 06-16-2019, 05:53 PM
  #17

This may sound very old fashioned but I would put him in TO for 3-4 minutes for throwing things at you and hitting his daddy.

He does need to learn that anger is ok; but, hurting others is NOT ok.

And, if he gets up from TO you just reset the timer and tell him that he is starting over. It works.
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Old 06-16-2019, 05:56 PM
  #18

This is probably a dumb suggestion but I have a meltdowny four year old too. He needs rest, food, a schedule, and being outside! I think being outside solves 99% of the behavior problems. It's like nature is a magic pill. Winter is hard on us.

Something that has been working recently is "letting him pick" when we leave somewhere so I tell him first, "Now or five more minutes?" Then after a minute or two, "Now or three more minutes?" He likes to be in charge so it works that he feels he has won enough to let me win so we can go. Or I let him pick clothes or shoes or the order of errands or fruit we buy or whatever. If it doesn't really matter, I give him the choice.

I find it is best to read to him when he starts to get cranky. It soothes him for some reason. Is there something that soothes your little guy right now?

I have a feeling it will always be a battle, but I am seeing improvements. You will too. I think what someone said about a phase is good advice. Hang in there, mama!
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Old 06-16-2019, 07:08 PM
  #19

Adding to the suggestions : distract and redirect his attention and never escalate the situation by demonstrating adult anger ,frustration or force. I love that you told him it's ok to be upset. Adults need to give plenty of forewarning when the scenery or activity will change. I always reminded the kids of the next activity long before the current activity was over. I stuck to the same routine every day at each part of the day. They knew after lunch we would close the curtains,wave night night to the trees and the neighborhood,read a story and then lay down. The moments in our lives had to slow way down. We did not hurry the kids. I made up songs to transition to the next thing and played a lot with them.
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Old 06-17-2019, 03:29 PM
  #20

I only have one child, but he had some massive meltdowns at that age. Sometimes it was hunger, sometimes it was being sleepy and sometimes it was just because he was 4. He wanted to be in charge more. Two things that worked with him was a marble jar. (Start with a very small one). We had an empty jar and marked 3 lines on it : the lowest one was ď5 more minutesĒ, the middle one was playing a game with one of us and the highest level was a choice between getting an extra story at bedtime, or getting to stay up 5 minutes later (awesome since most four year olds donít have a good grasp of time!) Having something tangible he could see helped so much. You could use anything cotton balls, marbles, Legos.

What would he do if when he hits nuclear meltdown if you walked into another room and either pretended to be playing with daddy or on your own and laughing and putting on a good show......while saying ďoh I hope you get control again, this is so much fun!Ē
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