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  1. #1
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    Default "Normal almost-4 behaviour"

    My DS will turn 4 in March 08 - an he's going through a phase (I hope it's just a phase) where if he does not get his own way, he really has a meltdown. He will either cry, yell (names and everything), and really throw a tantrum. It's difficult to get him back on track - and I will not give in to his every whim. Any idea if this is how it goes, and how can I help him? I'm sure he's got these strong emotions and he does not know what to do about it. Like if he does not get his own way, he's angry - how can a 4 yr old be shown how to deal with anger? Or if he's sad - again how do I help him understand sadness? (I just had a hip operation and he was pretty sad for a bit as I could not have him sit with me, now I can, but I still cannot get down on floor to play with them so they are a little unsure). Any guidance would be helpful.



  2. #2
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    No advice just wanted you to know that you are not alone. Kellan will be 4 in Feb. and has the same meltdowns. After he's done his meltdown I usually sit down with him and tell him that he needs to tell us when he is angry/sad, not have these little fits. He usually says sorry and give me a hug. Don't know how effective it is but my thinking on it is it's just a phase and it will work itself out.

  3. #3
    Expert Forum User Becks's Avatar
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    I would just say DS I know you are sad/mad/angry (whatever the emotion may be)
    Then I would also say what is it that is making you feel angry, or what is that makes you feel sad. etc..
    My son will be 4 in May and he is very good and just saying Mommy I am mad, and I will ask why he is mad and he will tell me why is mad...It will atke some time but he'll begin to understand. My son now uses the tone of his voive to express emotions rather than a complete melt down. Just help your ds understand how he is feeling, let him know that it is okay to feel this way and explain what he could do when he feels this way. again it may take some time but it works.
    and besides I have major melt downs still as an adult (not all the time but every now and again when I have just had too much) We all have those days.
    Becky Mom to X and C

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    I can't even begin to tell you all of the ways we have handled meltdowns or all of the scenarios over the past few years, but I'll try to share an idea or two that have worked. Trust me, we have tired many! My son has just turned 5 and I do see they have improved ,but probably only in the past 6 months! (sorry to scare you!) I do think emotions can be overwhelming for them and they don't know what to do with them. One idea is modeling the proper behaviour. Yes, I have had tantrums, to handle the tantrums...didn't work (duh!!!) I will say, " I sure am feeling frustrated by this behaviour" and I'll admit the at I am mad or "not happy about it" I certainly don't try to hide my anger/disapproval. I think you can let them see how you are handling it though. Deep breaths, a moment away, counting to 10 slowly I've even broken out in song to prevent myself from bubbling over.

    The best think I ever did to help my son understand his anger was a little experiment I had seen at a conference. You need; a tall glass, almost like a champaign flute, vinegar, red food colouring, baking soda and cotton balls. Pour a little vinegar into the glass a bit at a time, each time you add a bit ask about things that make them feel...What makes you happy...What makes you sad...what makes you sleepy, save mad until the next part though...and so on adding a bit of vinegar with each thing they say. Once the glass is about half full add a few drops of red food colouring. Now explain that the baking soda is mad. they have all of these feelings but add some "mad" or what could make them mad and watch it bubble over (just a small spoonful of baking soda will do). You can talk about how they feel when they are mad and want to bubble over. Now do the experiment exactly the same but just before you add the "mad" put in a few cotton balls in the glass. With each one rub it on their cheek, hand...let them see how nice it feels, ask them to thing of some things they could do to comfort themselves...When you add the baking the reaction is much less explosive because the cotton balls keep the "mad" settled. It is great because they can have a visual of how they bubble over, and see how some coping mechanisms could help this intensity. It really helped my DS understand. When he would start to get mad I would say, "what would be you cotton ball", and he totally get what I was saying. Sometimes he could identify exactly what would calm himself down. It's a work in progress.

  5. #5
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    OMG this is exactly what I needed to read tonight. Kaitlyn will be 4 in May .. and after the night we just had I was honestly feeling like I must be horrible at the parenting thing and gone terrib;ly wrong somewhere along the way. I totally thought terrible two's but figured by now it should be better. I will be watching (as I obvously as a horrible mother have no advice ). Just wanted to say thank you for saving my sanity tonight ... and let you know you are definately not alone
    Help my Kaitlyn reach her goal of selling 100 boxes of Chocolate Mint Girl Guide cookies. $5 each and we dliver. PM me


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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaitlyn'sMommy View Post
    OMG this is exactly what I needed to read tonight. Kaitlyn will be 4 in May .. and after the night we just had I was honestly feeling like I must be horrible at the parenting thing and gone terrib;ly wrong somewhere along the way. I totally thought terrible two's but figured by now it should be better. I will be watching (as I obvously as a horrible mother have no advice ). Just wanted to say thank you for saving my sanity tonight ... and let you know you are definately not alone
    Oh my...isn't it funny how we blame ourselves for screwing up in the parenting department when our children do such things!?! How many times I have beaten myself up thinking I must "suck at this" (parenting). Oh, only to have a better day tomorrow!!! Definitely NOT ALONE!!! hugs

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    Omg the last couple of days Ryan has been like this ( crying or being "moody" as I like to call it). Whenever we do something that he doesn't like he has a melt down. He's driving me nuts because I have no idea how to get him back on track. Once it starts ( the meltdown) it takes a good 10-15 minutes for him to calm himself down and he will be 4 in November. I too will be watching this thread.



  8. #8
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    Our meltdowns are fewer and fewer now that I insist that DS (4) be in his bed by 7:30 at the latest...when he gets the least bit tired it becomes tantrum after tantrum and the whining could drive a person mad!

  9. #9
    Expert Forum User The Ultimate London Mom!
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    I always felt that 4 was Terrible Twos, times Two.

  10. #10
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    I am really interested in hearing more ideas on how you can distract them from the melt down. My DD (4)I love dearly but the slightest thing will send her into a crying meltdown. It could be as simple as she wanted her Heart Socks and I gave her Balloon Socks, because the heart ones were in the wash. I would really like some Ideas so that I can resolve her meltdowns before My DS(2.5) follows suit.

  11. #11
    Expert Forum User The Ultimate London Mom!
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    Oh dear if I knew McMomma, I'd be rich. I remember taking my daughter home from daycare when she was 4yrs, and she was SCREAMING in HYSTERICAL RAGE because she wanted her slippers. From daycare. I carried that child in a basket hold down the street, crying myself. I was so embarassed and frustrated I locked myself in my bedroom once we got home (and after I almost-pretty-much tossed her into her room) and cried my eyes out for a while. She apologized once she saw how upset I had gotten, but she was and is a very intensely emotional child. It was a phase we had to just survive through.

  12. #12
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    When Ben has a meltdown, I usually give him a hug. He may not get what he wanted or was having a meltdown over, but his feelings are still real, and oftentimes overwhelming, and he needs help working through them. (And contrary to what some people have assumed in the past, this is not a "reward" for his meltdown nor does it encourage him to have future tantrums. Hugs would only be a reward if they were a scarce resource. He can have a hug anytime he wants, just by asking for one. He doesn't have to throw a tantrum to get a hug.)

    I also encourage him to talk about his feelings, to put a label on them. "I'm sad about the ..." It's another way to help him work through his feelings and build emotional-coping skills. Sometimes he wishes to express himself this way; sometimes he doesn't and just wants the hug. Either is fine.
    formerly Kathy

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    Senior Member CourtneyH's Avatar
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    When I read your post I just about shouted 'Yay' out loud ... sooo good to see we are not alone. My Kian will be 4 in Feb and had just started this. If he does not get his way first he threatens ... If I don't get blah blah you can't be my friend. Then when I say that I do not appreciate being threatened he says ok and then throws a fit. So far the only thing I can get him to do it sit, take deep breaths to calm his body (thanks daycare!). It is soooo wearing though to have to go through this 10 times in a day.


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    Kathy...I'd have to agree about the hug thing. When I do this with my LO's I can literally feel their bodies relaxing from all of the tension they have. Like they are melting from their emotion right in my arms. I wouldn't look at this as a reward either, more of a coping strategy. "It looks to me like you need a hug" I will also tell them, "I love you, but I don't like this screaming/behaviour, but I love you!" (say it the second time just incase the screaming was so loud they didn't catch it the first time! LOL. It takes me a few minutes to get there though. Usually during a tantrum I need a few minutes to calm down from my frustration of it too. For my daughter (almost 3) I NEED to put her in her room so I can have a break from the screaming. Once I am level headed, and hopefully the screaming has settled somewhat, I can tend to her calmly.

    We could almost start another thread about how WE cope during these tantrums. What are our strategies so we don't go along with them on the tantrum train! Lately I have been know to break out into song. I figure I can't scream when I am singing "Jesus Loves me"

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    wow- what a lively thread. And I am glad to see I'm not alone. Not glad it's happening to everyone else too. I do give hugs all the time and cuddles. But sometimes this is just not enough. It's a tough one. I recover from these meltdowns with doing something else - like a totally different activity or letting them watch a tv show for a bit so I can recover. But wow - the explosiveness from the meltdown is unreal. And yes we all have them. When I do have my own meltdown - I try to explain that I'm mad/upset/angry and why. And say "Mommy needs a minute to calm down" and I go in another room. It helps but not always completly.



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