Dealing with a difficult 4-year old

He was the child that needed more from the day he was born.  Baby #2 would eat around the clock until he was a year old.  He didn’t sleep through the night until he started kindergarten and he would cry hysterically when I left him to go out.  He would go to daycare and kindergarten most days without a problem, but when it came to me going out at night or back to work, he would put up a fight.
So many people have criticized me for the way that he is.  The thing is, he’s a stubborn kid, but he’s a loving, happy, energetic and smart little boy too! I would say 90% of the time he’s very co-operative and sweet and then the other 10% sneaks in and he is a hand-full.
What has worked in managing him is that I have to remain calm at all times.  If I get frustrated or yell, that’s it – game over.  He immediately shuts down and stops listening and becomes stuck in his defiance of wanting to do something.The thing that works with him is taking away a privilege or sending him to his room. His room has a bed and a book-shelf and no toys. Many times, he just needs that time to take a break and calm down.  He’ll grab a book and sit on his bed and then his anger is gone.People look at me when he yells or hits or kicks and screams because I am not reacting and I’m still hugging him or talking softly to him.  They don’t think that I’m being firm enough.
What I can say is that I am firm with him, but forcing him to do something just doesn’t work.  I’ve learned that he needs a minute to find his self control and then he’ll be fine.At four years old, he still doesn’t have control of his emotions and by me losing control of mine, I’m teaching him that it’s all right.

It’s not easy to deal with those situations, but I believe that by continuing to love him and modelling patience and kindness that he will learn those qualities.

My son is a lot like me…in fact he is somewhat of a carbon copy.  I know what works to calm me down and I know what angers me.  I don’t think that by consistently showing love and compassion for him is going to screw him up as an adult.

My discipline is removing him from the situation, I guess you could call it a time-out.  It seems to be working and things are getting easier most days.  He still has those moments…but every kid does!

From our Chair, Patti Berardi