My Son Is Making Me Crazy.

     I have a four year old son and most of the time he is a sweet sensitive and inteligent kid, but lately he is testing my patience. Maybe I just need a break or something but I think I need a different strategy for discipline. I feel like a broken record sometimes when my son is doing something wrong, i try to be calm and ask him to stop and he doesn't even acknowledge that I am speaking. I try to raise my voice and still I get ignored. I refuse to spank or do anything physical, because from being raised with a father who's solution to everything was to get his belt, i know that it doesn' t work.  I try time outs. It seems that no matter what I do I can't get my son to respect me and his father. I explain to him that it hurts our feelings, and its always "I promise I will not do that anymore" but not even five minutes later he is doing the exact same thing. I know that it is all part of his age and testing his limits. Everyone tells me how smart he is but I am so frustrated with his behavior that I don't know what else to do. I have read all the parenting articles and tried to impliment the ideas put forth in them but they don't seem to work. I love my son but I don't want him to grow up with no respect for me. I feel like he has no respect for anything except what he wants at that moment. He only does these things with me and his father. HE listens to his teachers, my mother, my sister and anyone else that  cares for him. I know it must be that I  am teaching him that he gets away with it somehow, but I have done EXACTLY the same things they do when he is being naughty, so what am I doing wrong? I feel like I am failing him somehow and I want to do what is best for him. Maybe he is just bored and i need to find more ways to occupy his time, but he doesn't seem interested in any activities that we have to offer him. It seems that he is only interested in things that he is not supposed to do. I don't want to raise a spoiled brat.!!!!!!!

If anyone has some sound advise for me I would appreciate it, but this is a very sensitive issue so I don't want to hear any comments about what a bad parent I am, I feel bad enough already!
aprilriver aprilriver
31-35, F
16 Responses Aug 10, 2010

I can totally relate to the explaining thing, I always try to explain hoping he will understand but I don't always realize that a 4 year old's world is a very selfish place, as it should be, he shouldn't have to worry about the things I have to get done or anything that doesn't have to do with him. I do need to teach him to be responsible for his actions and his school work and stuff like that. I am glad to hear that you relate and that I am not doing something wrong. Every mother has their own way of dealing with this problem and I don't think any method is completely wrong. Sometimes it is completely necessary to bargain with your child. Like, after you pick up your toys I will get you a treat. and a 4 year old can be easy to please so it isn't like I have to buy him a car for going to bed on time. It can be something that I would have done anyway like lets get ready for bed and i will read your favorite story. I think taking a break is always a good thing when you feel like you have no more patience. I refuse to believe that giving my son Ritalin or any drug to deal with a minor behavior issue is just lazy. I think drugs should only be a "possilble" remedy to a major problem but for some reason it is the first thing that most people say when you tell them your child isn't always an angel.

I have a 4 year old daughter — very much the same story. I usually find that it's ME who has a varying tolerance for her independent / willful behaviour. It's not something to be eradicated after all, only managed — "there's a time for games / anger / crying etc but this is not it. Now it's time for getting dressed / going to bed etc" The big question is when willfulness is acceptable and when it's not; I almost always find the criteria has everything to do with MY headspace and my ability to create the best circumstances / form good habits etc... she can't possibly understand the parameters that parents have to consider. My instinct is to explain to the point where I feel like I'm talking to the cat or something — sometimes no explanation is adequate, and simple compliance is what you need. I often read that bargaining isn't an appropriate solution...spoken like someone who has a huge childcare budget!! Bargaining works, but careful what you put on the table! Only stuff that you're more than happy to take away — TV time, dessert etc. Right now gotta get her out the door to kindergarten. I feel your pain! (and ask myself all the same questions!!) Taking a break is probably the best thing you can do.

Thank you , You are probably right because even though he is only four I can reason with him. Lately I have been explaining that he hurts my feelings and that I don't like yelling at him but he does need to listen to me. I think drugging him is totally out of the question, I just need to try to make him understand that I don't like him to be in trouble and that I am not being mean. I don't like when he is upset but I can't let him run my home either.

no offense here, I am starting to get the hang of how to deal better with his tantrums. He fights sleep just like I did and i have had life long insomnia. IT is hard to get him to do the routine and that is what usually causes the tantrum. I can't hold him down and brush his teeth nor can i strap him to the bed and force him to let me read a story and sometimes if he does calm down for those things as soon as its time to go to bed he is up and running. HE gets time out but many times it doesn't start until he stops screaming so it can last very long. HE is a stubborn one but I never give in. I would never give my son medication to solve a simple behavior problem. I am slowly giving him more things that are his jobs, easy things like feed the fish and fill the water bowl for the cats, along with picking up toys and trying to clean his room. IT is getting better slowly, but mommy needs a break sometimes. Thank you very much for your advise I will try to expand on his normal responsibilities as he gets older. He is tall for his age and he gets treated like he is older a lot. I know it is important for me to remember that he is only 4.

Thank you, I don't think I could drug him. I get frustrated alot but rarely do I have to yell, My husband can have a temper but I try to let him know that if you can reason with my son it makes things much easier. He is a smart kid and you can bargain with him most of the time. I find if I start to count to three in a firm voice that is usually what gets him to start listening. IF I make it to three and have to take him to his room he is usually tired and falls asleep but there are those rainy days when he is just bored and unhappy. Can't wait for him to go back to school. I know we all go through those days where you just can't take it anymore but I don't think it is an excuse to give him any meds. I can't teach my son that when there is a problem there is a pill you can take to make it better that will only teach him avoidance and to take the easy way.

Thanks, I just get frustrated and I think the past couple of weeks were both just kinda tired of each other so he was testing his limits. My mom is home from her trip and he spent the night there the other night so I got a much needed night off and he came home and was a bit better. Still a little hard to handle at times but he is only 4,

There are several alternative drug for kids. trust me I felt bad to give my kid a drug but I learned they are not addictive or brain damaging. My son is now 34 and is okay with life.

I have thought if ritalin but I am very reluctant to give my son drugs because there are substance abuse problems in my family. If it doesn't prove to be a phase or just that he s bored. I will seriously consider it but I would love to find an alternate solution.

I put my son on Retlin for five years, which calm him down a lot. Some kids that age are over excited and do a lot of damage.

It takes an EXTRORDINARY woman to raise a good man by herself! Good for you!

it is hard sometimes to remember that they are just little kids and not treat them as if they were really short adults. i raised my son by myself after my husband died when he was 5. i know it wasn't a perfect life for him, but he is a good man and i'm very proud of him.

This sounds EXACTLY like my little brother!! He is 6 and has been acting this way since he was about 4. We have tried pretty much everything, but he almost never listens to me, or our parents. He is fine with everyone else though, he is what my mom calls "Mr. Social" saying hi to passing strangers (ugh). But when its at home with us, he's a complete brat 90% of the time...of course this is coming from his older sister but nevertheless...<br />
You are not alone :)

Thank you so much! I hope it is just a phase or his age. I have to remind myself that he is only four. He is so well spoken and pretty tall for his age so it sometimes feels like he is more like six or seven. I just get worried sometimes, I just want him to be a healthy well adjusted boy, with a better life and family than I had.

i think just the fact that your husband's voice is lower has alot to do with him paying more attention. i think you are doing all the right things and i don't have any ah ha info for you sorry. i did speak to my son only twice tho'. once to tell him whatever, then once more to ask if he heard me and ask him to tell me what i said. but that is just my way not necessarily the only way. i think you are doing fine with him being only four. they can take you right to the hairy edge sometimes and jump on your last nerve.<br />
if you and your husband are being consistent with a united approach to parenting so that he doesn't play one against the other, you're doing better than i'd say at least 50% of the parents out there. grit your teeth and remember the fun that you have together. he loves you two hun.

We usually yell after asking nice 3 times. after having to raise our voices we usually take a toy away or send him to his room. He will usually appoligize and recognize what he has done but then it won't be more than 10 minutes before he does it again. He listens a little better to my husband when he gets yelled at but I think my husband is frustrated to and although we would never hit him, sometimes my husband is a little scary when he yells. I don't want to feel like I am always yelling at him. It seems to get him to sleep everynight he walks out and acts up until he ends up being told to go to his room for the thousanth time and when we finally yell at him he ends up running to his room crying and slamming the door. He falls asleep throwing a fit every night, and I know he is tired. It is starting to affect his sleep also. Don't get me wrong we have our good days but some days it seems like he is lost in his own world and we have to yell at him to even get him to look up. His teacher thought he had a hearing problem but he can hear just fine. He is great socially and with other people he doesn't do this. I feel like he just tunes us out somedays. I hope it gets better once he is back in school but he has been home for the past 3 weeks, he usually spends one day a week with my mother and gets to play with his cousin, but my mom has been away maybe he is tired of me too! His summer activities are over but I have been doing my best to get him out of the house we go to the park at least 3 times a week but he has a hard time knowing when play time is over.

may i ask what the consequences are that you give him for his behaviors? how many times do you speak to him before there are consequences? you don't go into any specific scenario so i don't want to talk about something that you may already do anyway. if it isn't too personal that is. my son is 20 now so it's been awhile since i've dealt with behavior problems, but i thought maybe i could help. you may need a break if you are getting really angry or something. i occasionally have given myself a time-out. :)