My 4 year old stepson has started crying when he is told he can't have something or is told to do something. He even does it after he has had his nap. His father, mother, and myself do not know what to do about this. Any help would be appreciated.
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I would not try to fight with him about it; no one wins in a power struggle with a four-year-old. I am sure it is a stage that will pass quickly, so long as you respond consistently. (And I am thrilled that the 3 of you are working together, so good for the child when all the grown ups are on the same page. Congratulations on that maturity.)
If he were mine, and he began to cry without a good reason (pain, true sadness, or disappointment, etc.), I would take him by the hand and calmly walk him to his room or another designated time out spot and say something to the effect of: "I know that you wanted to _____, but the answer is no. Crying will not change my mind, so I need you to stay here until you are done crying. When you are done, I will be happy to_______" and fill in the second blank with something you feel to be appropriate to the moment. (For example, if he wanted a cookie before supper, I might offer a carrot; or if he wanted TV and it is not time for TV, offer a book; and so on. Good luck. Just keep reminding yourself, this, too shall pass.
By Teresa Kay05/18/2010
Sounds like he is testing you all if he is crying because he can not have what he wants. Do not give in. If he is not to have it then stick to your guns. It does not take children, but one time to learn how they can get by with things and get what they want. I have been teaching 4 and 5 year olds for 20 years. As long as you know he is not hurting or hungry then just let him cry this will pass.
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Please someone help. I have a 4 year old granddaughter that cries when she doesn't get her way. It's getting to the point where I'd rather have her not come and see me. Her crying really bothers me. She'll cry over the simplest things. Not opening the car door, Daddy going outside to get something out of the car and he tells her he'll be right back in. She cries because she can't go out with him.
She'll cry because everyone else is watching a program on TV and she wants to watch funnies, she's told to sit on the couch after being told 3 times not to run in the house. Plus telling her it's time to go home, that's a big one, and bed time is another. These are just a few reasons of her crying, but like I said, it really bothers me.
Is this normal and will it every stop? Do any of you have some advice for a grandma on how to cope and advice I can pass on to her parents.
One other thing I couldn't tell, is that if this is a new thing with her, she may be troubled by something new or different in her life, and this is a temporary set-back. (06/05/2005)
It could also be the lack of structural activities. Let your granddaughter do things so she feels like a big girl. My 3 year old loves to do "dishes". He gets more water on the floor, but feels big about helping and has fun doing it. When it comes to leaving grandma's he still cries about it and I feel that is perfectly normal. Hope I helped. (06/05/2005)
With my grandson at that stage I found that praise got a lot of good results. I'd do things with him and say, "Hey, that' s really good" or "You're such a good helper, Mamaw's really proud of you." And always let them know that you think they're really special.
Most of the time kids really just want the added attention that maybe they're not getting, and you know what? No one better than Mamaw to give them that undivided attention. When I've got him with me I ignore everything else until he goes home. We can do that, we don't have them 24/7. Also do try to get her to talk to you about the problem, there could be deeper seated problems that are causing the crying. One thing is for sure, if you'll listen, kids will talk about problems. I admire your willingness to ask for help. Grandparenting is wonderful it gives you the chance to make up for all the mistakes we made raising our own children. (06/05/2005)
The second thing I thought of was wondering if her behavior gets her the desired results. If she whines long enough, does she get her way? If so, that is the reason she is whining. Make sure that you are fair and firm and don't give in due to all the whining.
My whiny child is 15 now and still a bit whiny, but it has improved a lot over the years. (06/06/2005)
By Katie A.
Tell them they have to stay there for 4 minutes or so until the timer you have near there goes off. When the timer goes off, they can leave the naughty place, however they have to be cautioned they will be returned immediately if they continue on the behavior. At the end of the segmented time in the naughty place they need to be required to say "I'm sorry". This helps to instill in them their behavior is not acceptable. The child will attempt to do away with this system, but if you stick with it, it can do wonders. Also, if they spend a whole day without having to go to the naughty room, you can give them a small reward for being so good.
Also always praise the child in a positive statement like "You are really being such a good boy/girl today. I am very happy with your behavior" or something like that. Do not word you statements negatively such as: "You weren't half bad today, or "isn't this much better than before", or "See, my way is better". We want the child to feel rewarded for all his hard work. "I know this isn't easy for you, and I want you to know how proud of you I am for your cooperation/hard work". I've seen this work wonders on the show. Both parents and caregivers must remain consistent or it will be useless. Teamwork is the word here. (06/06/2005)
I remember telling my husband that there was hope. And things did get better. However, she's still a sulker. I think that also has to do with being the oldest child and getting really used to having all the attention until baby number 2 came along. Hang in there. Hopefully this is a phase for her, too. But I like the idea of positive reinforcement for being a "big girl" or "good helper". And letting her know that big girls don't whine and that you respond to her "big girl" voice and not the crying and whining girl. (06/07/2005)
By Shirley M
After a bit of practise I no longer have to give my son any reminders. If he forgets to say please or starts to complain when he has to wait a minute for something, he gets ignored and quickly remembers what he has to do. It didn't take him long to change his behaviour. It was the only way to get what he wanted. Even if his parents are supporting this annoying behaviour, the child can still learn that grandma has different rules. So long as you are consistent when she's in your company, she'll change her behaviour for you.
And a warning about the idea that this is a phase: while it may be true that this is a phase that some kids go through, kids only pass through a phase because they learn the skills necessary to pass through a phase. You can't just sit back and wait for them to change, you have to help them develop the skills they need to pass out of this phase. Your granddaughter isn't just going to grow out of this, she will leave this phase only when it stops working for her and/or she's taught better interpersonal skills. For a lot of kids this won't happen until they're in fulltime school (no teacher will put up with this sort of thing when they have so many other students and therefore the kid will have to outgrow it) or you can teach it to her now. (06/07/2005)
She has a calendar in her room and she started drawing emotion faces on it. Smile for happy, frown for sad, etc. at the end of the day. When she continues to cry after a hug and reassurance, she puts a sad face on her calendar for that day. If drawing on her calendar still doesn't help, she's agreed with me it may be time for a little nap. After the month is over, she sees what behaviors she showed the most. It took her about two weeks of sad faces to say she wants more smiles and she did it. Good luck. (07/26/2008)
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