Help! inflexible 4 year old

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Post  Wed, Feb 20 2008, 3:23 pm
Once set on a course of action, even just routine, silly things, he can not be swayed. Nothing works, not bribes, not threats, nothing. Is this normal???? What should we do?
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chocolate moose


Post  Thu, Feb 21 2008, 9:18 pm
It's normal for him, tha's for sure.
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Post  Fri, Feb 22 2008, 12:24 am
love and logic. give him choices and let him make the decision. its normal for kids to be stubborn
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Post  Fri, Feb 22 2008, 1:26 am
My almost 4 year old can be very rigid too. He used to scream and seem really out of control, even out of his control, if we changed things up a little. What seems to work for him is a combination of things...

1. Managing expectations: We talk about things that we can before they happen. Before bed, we discuss the day ahead. When he wakes up, I let him know the plan (We'll get dressed, morning brachot, breakfast, then off to school, for example.) We also say "In 5/3/1 minute, we are going to..." The countdown gives him some warning. If someone is coming over and he feels surprised, he's likely to hide or shout at people (despite constant guidance on this one.) However, if I say "Josh is coming over. When he gets here, we should meet him at the door, say hello nicely, take his coat and hang it up, and then what?" Which leads me to #2, already mentioned in another post...

2. Give him choices and input: My son has trouble sharing certain toys, so we put those away for playdates. He also can choose to pick up toys or not at night (knowing the consequence is that anything left out gets put away until Shabbos.) He picks his own clothes from the acceptable drawer (Not Shabbos clothes or PJs, but daily clothes.) He picks breakfast from two or three choices, depending on the morning rush (ie cereal and milk, eggs, or pancakes--premade and frozen) Giving him choices, even if it's only "Do you want your bath now or in 5 minutes?" really helps him feel like he has some control.

3. New thing we're trying, seems to be working but just did it this week, so we'll see how it pans out longer term. We have lists for him of the steps to take in the morning, before his nap (yes, he still naps, which I will keep as long as he still sleeps for 2 hours! He's really a bear without it.), and before bed. We made the list together, and took a picture of him doing everything, which I then cut and laminated. I put a small piece of velcro on the back of each photo and then on poster board with divisions for each time. He moves the pictures from the bottom to the right section after doing things. (I also did this because he prefers for me to get him dressed , wants me to feed him, etc...even though he's capable and I have other things that need to be done sometimes!)

We still have some days with problems, and I still have to peel him from my legs some morning at preschool (despite him loving it when he's actually there and really needing the socialization!), and there are times when we carry him along kicking and screaming because he doesn't want to go home/on a walk/to the doctor, but it's much better. And we say "Sometimes we all have to do things we don't like," which he's repeated back--although generally at 6AM when he wakes up and wants to play. Laughing

Some kids are just like this. I happen to like lists and order myself, although not the extent that he does. (After rereading the post, I sound kind of rigid myself! We really stuck with things at first, and now he doesn't necessarily need all of the tips above all the time...) And his little brother is completely the opposite--just goes with the flow (like his Daddy!) Each person is different.

Those are the things that work for us! Hope they help you, or inspire you to find what does!
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Post  Fri, Feb 22 2008, 1:32 am
My son was like this (he is four now), and I figured out how to deal with him when he was about 2-3.

I am reading a book now called "Raising your Spirited Child" which gives suggests that same things that I learned with my son by trial and error. It really is an amazing, amazing book. It is a lot of the things that the poster above suggests and much more. It helped me to better understand ALL of my kids (two "spirited," one not, one undecided (he's only six months, but I'm guessing he's more like the one who isn't.))
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Post  Fri, Feb 22 2008, 1:46 am
oh, I have a "spirited" 2 year old. He really gives me a run for my money.
Stubborn is his middle name. He thinks he owns the house and runs the world. Boy, is it tiring. He does alot of screaming, because naturally, I don't give him whatever he wants and I just let him scream if explaining doesn't help (which it rarely does).
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Post  Fri, Feb 22 2008, 2:04 am
That's most two year olds--the explanation not helping part, I mean. They want what they want, and they want in NOW! Twisted Evil (My 3.5 year old was like that as a two year old, and also did a lot of screaming it out at times.)

Once kids get a little older, you can explain, discuss, and reason with them more... Smile
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