My son just turned 4 this past week, however the past 2 - 3 weeks he has been doing everything he possibly can to push our buttons. He is a good kid, but lately he is rude, doesn't listen, tells us no and today he decided to draw on the carpet with crayon. We had just returned from a week long vacation. I just kleep praying that this is a stage and when he gets back into his school routine it will get better. If anyone has any words of wisdom I would greatly appreciate it because I am ready to rip my hair out Thank you for any advise.
First of all, getting back on a routine should help your son's behavior. Getting ready for a vacation and then being gone a week would throw me off, so I can imagine how it woud be for a four year old. Also four is young, yet a perfect age to start feeling a little independent.
Be patient and discipline with love. Provide extra supervision if need be. That little personality will be his strength some day if he is taught to use it for his good instead of squashing it out.
"fantastic" fours! My ds just turned 5 and not a minute too soon! I really did not like "4"! Lots of testing! It is just a phase and he will get through it and so will YOU! Maintain your composure, review rules and consequences and be consistent (which I'm sure you are already doing). It may take some trial and error to find his "currency". time outs never worked w/ my son, but taking away his favorite toy for a day really hit home! You can do it! I'm living proof of that! Now, I don't mean to imply that the entire time my son was 4 he was pushing, he too is a wonderful child, but those not so wonderful moments were frustrating to say the least!
I found children start testing at 2 and they keep on testing until they are in the teens. I have a 24 year old who is still testing his limits. Anyhow, I would discipline with love...be kind yet firm...once you have established a consequence, follow thru and don't back down. I have 5 children and the 24 year old was always the biggest tester...lately though, my 13 year old has started testing quite a bit. They do grow out of it and I learned a lot by not following thru on limits I sent for the now 24 year old when he was a child.
I have raised 3 sons (27-20 now). I remember those days. We found that we had to be consistent but loving. We also found that some of the problems stemmed from them being frustrated because they wanted to do things that they couldn't so try redirecting some of the behaviors you are seeing. Also, cherish this time take lots of pictures when he is mad, sad, happy, doing things that he shouldn't and getting caught. We did and the boys now find it hilarious to look at them and hear the stories (so do the girlfriends) and we find that when the house is quiet it's a lot of fun to look at the pictures and remember when it was chaos and enjoy our "empty nest" a little more. Warning when he gets older he will come home and bring extras to add to the chaos (But it is a lot of fun!)
Begin by telling yourself to limit discussions. Any talking should be kept to the rule. "If you are not using your crayons in the proper way, then you will lose all writing tools for the day." "If you are not taking care of your books, you will lose them." "If you do not go to bed at your bedtime, then your bedtime will be an hour earlier tomorrow." ((This one is difficult to understand at first, but when it begins to be a 5:00 bedtime there is an "A-ha" moment!))
With the rude, not listening behaviors, I had a rule that only safe, kind language could be in the house. My children had to walk around the house (the times around the house were the age of the child) before they could come back in. If it was in the dark, I gave a flashlight. My language was "If you choose to be rude, then take it outside and walk around the house." I watched and counted the times around from the front door. If they stopped and played, the count would begin at zero. That only happened once!
This gives a bit of time out for everyone. (It also adds fresh air and exercise into the mix.) It worked very well. My DD would say it made her feel better when she came in. My DS (the older of the two) would cry and whine and talk about how difficult it was. DD would run. DS would shuffle around and take his time. When DS was older and still fussing about the difficulty of walking around the house, my husband came up with the idea to have him carry something on his trips. (It was a half-empty gallon of paint.) That ended it. The children learned to think about what they were saying and would rewind and say it differently...a little nicer!
Good luck. Keep an eye on your patience! Life is not easy during the tug of war years.
my son (6) loves making choices and functions better when he has a "say" in what he does.
So we let him make lots of choices
For example today: He did not want to sit at the table to eat his cereal. He wanted to eat at the tv. He was giving daddy grief (daddy has a harder time being firm ). SO I just smiled at my son and said:
"Well you can either eat your cereal at the table or not play playstation today" "What would you rather do?"
Well he hopped up at the table and ate his cereal.
I tell him he gets to do what he wants, but he has to realize that there are consequences to what he picks.
Gotta love kids! I just finished reading "Conscious Discipline," and what it says is to use conflicts as a teachable moment. Like a PP said, giving choices will give him some control. One thing I learned is to give 2 positive choices, and not one positive and one negative (which is what I always do!!) I haven't tried the techniques yet, but it said to acknowledge/label their feelings ("You are yelling and saying no, so that tells me you are angry") and then give the choices. Good luck! I think I'll be rereading this book all year long!!!