The effing Fours

I know that the term “terrible twos” was initially meant to describe the two years between two and four, but we found the age of two to be lovely with Henry. Three was where the real problem behaviour set in. As we’re approaching four, we’re finding it hard to even deal with the aggression, the rudeness and the talk-back attitude of our once kind little guy.

By all accounts, Henry is an exceptionally kind, generous and helpful little guy at preschool. His nickname is “Henry Helper.” From the moment I go to pick him up, however, he becomes a monster. He hits, screams, runs away and talks back. Over nothing. We only ever get the support of one of the teachers in his room. The rest just walk away. Our pickups go something like this:

Hi Henry!

MAMA! *hugs* Can I play for a few more minutes?

Sure, buddy. Five minutes, though. We have to go have dinner. Daddy and Lauchie are waiting.

Ok, mama.

*five minutes elapse*

Ok, bud, time to go.

NO! I HATE YOU! LEAVE ME ALONE! *hits, punches and slaps me*

At this point, usually, the help scatters, and I’m left, five months pregnant, wrestling with a three and a half foot tall, 50 pound toddler alone. Last Friday’s pickup was exceptionally terrible – it involved Henry running around and shoving and slapping everyone in his path. I finally had to pick him up to put his boots on and he went ragged on me, slamming his head on the bench I was sitting on.

I’m embarrassed, tired and sick of it.

Friends have been extremely helpful, too. But, we’ve tried almost every single thing they offered up to us. One friend suggested the If/When consequences thing. It works about 60% of the time. The rest is him saying NO! I DON’T CARE! LEAVE ME ALONE.

It’s tiring dealing with this sort of drama especially with another toddler and a baby on the way. Our family is also under a lot of stress right now due to my unemployment situation and it being Matt’s slowest month of the work year.

What are your tips for dealing with petulant children? How have you gotten over this hump of bad behaviour?

  • acneilson

    This is my 3 year old (soon to be 4 year old) to a T! She isn’t in pre-k yet, but her thing is to lose her shit when we are leaving a playdate or a birthday party! For example, we were at a birthday party with bouncy houses yesterday. When we first got to the party, I told her when it is time to leave, there is no arguing – it is time to leave. “Okay Mom” with a sweet little smile. Party ends. I haven’t even gone to find my daughter yet and she’s already screaming “I DON’T WANT TO GO!!!” And throwing a major tantrum. So I had to climb into that damn bouncy house and pull her out of there while the other parents get their (quiet, well behaved) children into their coats and out the door with a sympathetic look on their faces. If you get some good advice, please send some my way.

    • Krista Groen

      When we did this as kids, my mom would purposely take us back to the same place the next day and not let us play, explaining that they couldn’t play even tho the other kids/siblings can bc of their behavior the day before. If they can’t behave when it is time to leave then they can’t play at all…! It would take some planning to do this I guess and it wouldn’t be very pretty that day but she found it very effective. Good luck!

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