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Thread: help--obnoxious 4 y/o

  1. #1
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    Default help--obnoxious 4 y/o

    Lately DD2 has been acting, well, crazy. I don't know why. She has always been a high-energy kid, but lately it's gotten out of control. A few examples:

    She is not listening--at all. We will ask/tell her to do something, like put her shoes away, come to dinner, etc., and she finds other things to do first (distracted).

    She has become somewhat aggressive in general for some reason. Like she'll run up to her brother, give him a hard squeeze (way too hard because he ends up crying) and confess how much she loves him. Or she'll do something else physical with just enough strength to make him wail, like pat him on the back hard and say, aw, do you have hiccups?

    She runs up to me, pulls my arm or hangs on my leg--usually when I'm holding the baby--and gets reprimanded because half the time she almost makes me lose my balance since I had no warning this was coming.

    Ok, typing this out I'm seeing what I thought initially--she wants attention. Ok, I get that. And I understand...she's the middle now, and the baby requires a lot of attention (more so than some babies just because he will NOT be put down to sleep, so I'm either sitting with him trying to get him to la-la land enough to attempt to put him down, or wearing him so he'll at least get a nap on me). And her sister is 8 and is pretty self-sufficient, can do some things she can't, so she may feel a bit left out. So that's probably a big part of it. But when I try to do things with her and really focus on her, it's like it's never enough. LIke we took a really nice walk last week, she was on her bike and I was walking, and we talked the entire time and she was having a blast, but as soon as we got home it was like she went back into LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME mode.

    I'm going crazy. We have a chart--a general listening chart--and it works ok. The first go-round was really good, but she seems to lose her motivation after we do the first one. But I feel like there are so many things now that are not going well I'm getting overwhelmed at where to begin.

    She may be feeding of me, too. I feel very stressed--I'm having a hard time dividing my time fairly between the 3 kids. It's so hard to give everyone the attention they want! I feel like I'm yelling more, threatening more, and I hate it. I often lose my cool when everyone is shouting/crying/arguing at once. I do bedtime for all of them several times each week by myself due to DH's schedule and that's the worst.

    Thanks for reading if you made it this far.

    ~ Cassie, mama to Madison (8), Ali (4) & Wesley (new dude!)


  2. #2
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    I could have written that. I don't know what the answer is. I always say DD2 was born a middle child. She always seemed to act like one and once she became one she fit it perfectly.

    The one thing I have found that helps is to make her your helper and let her know how valuable she is. Instead of me saying, "play by yourself while I get a few things done" I ask her to be my helper and tell her what a great helper she is. I can see the difference when I do that. She especially likes helping me water plants and cut veggies. I give her a plastic knife and she cuts up cucumbers lol.

    I found with DD1 that she became most jealous when DD2 was over 6 months-12/18M. I guess the novelty wore off and she started to invade her space. That is when the too tight hugging and patting enough to knock over started. It was a rough year.

    And then some days nothing is enough....that just seems to be how it is.
    Thing 1 (7), Thing 2 (5), Thing 3 (2)

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    What you are describing sounds a lot like my four year old, although it depends on the day. Today she was super agreeable and helpful and happy. Other days not so much. But always gets distracted easily and also started with the too rough affection. She is still working on personal space, and when she feels playful she ends up showing it like you described with your daughter: a little too hard, a little too rough. She doesn't mean to hurt anyone, but she doesnt know her own strength yet.

    So I don't know... maybe its the age?

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    my almost 10yr old is the same way, still! she's just a little too...exuburent. All the time she also talks non stop every waking minute of her day. She's also up and down mood wise all day, often "bored" but gets over being grumpy very quickly. She was the "baby" for over 7yrs, so being a middle child didnt seem to effect her personality. She definitely requires more attention than some of my others, not just mental attention but physical, lots of hugs, sitting on laps, etc. She needs structure and does so much better when she doesnt have too much free time, or time where she's expected to entertain herself. She loves crafts fortunately, so I keep her well stocked with stuff to do. She also needs physical exercise and enough sleep not to completely whirl out of control each day.

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    my 4 year old, Connor, act like that sometimes too. I think some of it is just the age. But we also have a baby in the house so that could be contributing. Connor is the oldest, not the middle child. Our middle child is 2 and he is showing some behaviors that are attention getters, but not the same as Connor does-which is more like what you described.

    I wish I knew what to say to make it better, but I struggle trying to divide myself in 3 ways most of the time as well. And I definitely lose my patience and get frustrated. I try to carve out some one on one time with them, and that does seem to help a little. So does getting them to be a 'helper' as someone else suggested.
    Angela (28) DH, Pat (30) DS Connor (4), DS Leo (2), DS Nathan



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    Having her act as a helper is a good idea; I'll have to try that more often. I agree it's probably an age thing as well. DH and I were talking last night and I remember DD1 having a hard time when she was 3.5 until she turned 4, then she seemed to get easy again.

    The behavior is definitely an exaggeration of her personality--she is very energetic and on the move, always has been. She's also very affectionate and loves snuggles and hugs so combine these traits and I guess it makes sense that she's going over the top with love for everyone. And she's getting bigger, maybe she just doesn't know her own strength. And then again, I'm pretty sure part of it is an attention-getter too, like when she squeezes extra tight for hugs knowing that if she makes her brother holler something will be said to her.

    I just wish I could check my patience. I need to work on that. DH's schedule right now is such that he's not home much and when he is, he's got work to do. I can't wait until the semester is over and he'll be available to help more with bedtimes, spend time with the kids, and maybe, just maybe give me time to escape alone for a while here and there. We are both stressed and I'm sure the kids pick up on that, too.

    ~ Cassie, mama to Madison (8), Ali (4) & Wesley (new dude!)


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    My son is still little, but I have been around many kids the same age as your DD, and almost all of them exhibit the same behavior. I think it has to do a lot with the age.

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    I have to say my 6.5 year old son acts (and has acted) the same way for years, and often times his behavior gets worse after he gets more one on one attention and a lot of exercise, even though he loves it and needs it and craves it. He is also loud and physical and affectionate and always on the move, and has a hard time controlling his impulses to jump up on people or tickle them when they don't want to be tickled. So I may not be the best one to give you advice, since I don't have any good advice to give.

    The things I did and do with my son (and family) are:
    - establish a routine, with set hours for meals, bedtime, and wake up times, and don't stray too far from it
    - get regular exercise
    - have a private place for him to go and play with his toys where the baby or other kids won't disturb him or the things he sets up (may require a baby gate)
    - remind him that he can take a break in a separate room if he is not remembering to be polite to others
    - like others mentioned, talk up the helpfulness aspect, and how much the younger child is learning from and appreciating and admiring the older sibling
    - rotate out toys on a regular basis, and always have a few things available that are fun that have not been seen in a while, so for those times that everyone is bored and/or cranky, you can bring out X toy and everyone gets super-excited to see it and play with it (works best for building toys or crafts or things that require a lot of imaginative or independent hands-on play)
    - anticipate when possible if there is going to be an especially difficult situation, and discuss ahead of time - for example, I will tell my ds that we are going to a party, and there are going to be a lot of people there and maybe some games and running around and a lot of excitement, but he will need to make sure that he doesn't jump up on anyone or grab legs or arms because most people don't like that and it can be dangerous for people who can't see him coming or don't have good balance. And then I ask him what he is going to do at the party so he will think about it and come up with his own words.


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    Thanks for the tips, Lydia. We do many of these but not all, and the ones we do aren't always with regularity.

    Next week I am scheduled to help in her classroom, which she really likes, so maybe that will help for that day at least.

    My parents were over today to help out and my dad even made a comment about her maybe being a little attention-starved after she tried to jump on me while I was holding the baby. So yeah, typical 4-year-old behavior coupled with jealousy issues seems to be the diagnosis. I just wish I could split myself into two people or more to give everyone the attention they need. Anyone else wish that?

    ~ Cassie, mama to Madison (8), Ali (4) & Wesley (new dude!)


  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzmom View Post
    Thanks for the tips, Lydia. We do many of these but not all, and the ones we do aren't always with regularity.

    Next week I am scheduled to help in her classroom, which she really likes, so maybe that will help for that day at least.

    My parents were over today to help out and my dad even made a comment about her maybe being a little attention-starved after she tried to jump on me while I was holding the baby. So yeah, typical 4-year-old behavior coupled with jealousy issues seems to be the diagnosis. I just wish I could split myself into two people or more to give everyone the attention they need. Anyone else wish that?
    Definitely! DS is 18 months, but DD definitely feels it when he needs attention. Lately it seems like any time DD wants a hug or to cuddle with me, DS will physically force himself into the equation - climb on me, scoot in between the 2 of us, pull her hair to move her... And DD has gotten really sassy when things don't go her way. I have been trying to carve out a little time during DS's naps to be one-on-one time with DD. I am usually so busy cleaning and doing other things around the house that I don't get to spend as much time alone with her. I have noticed that even 15 minutes of play time with her can change her attitude (depending on the day). It is tough, though. I will admit that there are days where I struggle to stay focused on DD for even those few minutes because I have my to do lists running through my head. But for the most part, this has been helping us with some of the jealousy issues.


    Anne (37) DH (37) Olivia (4) Harrison (1)

  11. #11

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    I could have written your post! My daughter does everything you described; I wish I could give advice but I am still searching for solutions myself. I did order a book called Raising Your Spirited Child, because mine definitely fits the description of being spirited and strong willed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by piscesgirl View Post
    I could have written your post! My daughter does everything you described; I wish I could give advice but I am still searching for solutions myself. I did order a book called Raising
    Your Spirited Child, because mine definitely fits the description of being spirited and strong willed.
    I think I read that with DD1, my strong willed child!

    I was talking with another friend yesterday who is dealing with the same issues, same ages. It does help to know others who are dealing with/have dealt with the same issues. In a small way it seems to help save sanity, even though it doesn't fix things!

    ~ Cassie, mama to Madison (8), Ali (4) & Wesley (new dude!)


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