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Loosing our minds
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Loosing our minds

Okay so to start Thank You in advance for helping where you can. So we have 2 boys one has just turned 4 and the other one is now 1 month old. We have been having alot of issues and can't seem to fix them. our 4 year old boy has always (even before baby) woke up in the middle of the night and "needed" us to sleep with him in order to get back to bed and we know all the rules of what you are supposed to do but nothing is working. With the baby here now we only get 3-4 hours of sleep and it's just not working. we have tried everything from sleeping with him, to letting him scream, to setting up a blanket at the bottom of the bed, to talking to him, to bribery and nothing seems to be working.

On top of all that they days are not much better, general rule, he is a good kid. Unfortunately when he acts up there is no stopping him. I NEED HELP. Most of the day he is really good but then after all seems to be good and we are not playing toys with him all the time he goes into pay attention to me mode. Now we understand that he acts out to get our attention but on 3 hours of sleep it's hard to not get upset when he is throwing things around, kicking the dogs, throwing fits, hitting us, scratching, yelling etc... And as well with this issue we have tried everything form staying calm and talking to him, to time out, to getting upset (we know we shouldn't but that is the hardest to not do).

So to sum up I need someone’s advice on what the best thing to do with this. It's now been almost 2 years of him throwing fits and we just can't take much more. We try SO hard to stay calm but it's not as easy as people would think, and my son just has a huge personality! We have read all the "Expert" books on the subject but nothing is helping because there are solutions but no ability to ask a question from the "solution"....Thank you!
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Hm.  Well, I feel your pain-----------  I've been a sleep deprived mother as well and that makes it even tougher.  

What is really hard about this situation is that now you have a new baby and you NEED him to stop throwing fits, being so demanding and sleeping better . . . but now is when he has the emotional issue of a new sibling to deal with.  That is a major life changing event for a child and your son's world was just changed forever.  Even the best of kids (and they are all good-------- I'm referring to when one is high strung) can often have a slide in behavior after the birth of a sibling.  But I gather that your son is actually not worse but carrying on the same . . . you are just more tired now and have a baby to deal with so you don't want that.  Hm.  Now hindsight is 20/20 and these things should have been dealt with pre baby.  But we can't do anything about that now and just need to move forward.  But do have some empathy for him that you allowed for his behavior and the night time arrangement all this time and now all of a sudden with a baby-------- it is completely unacceptable.  So change the habits with love and patience realizing that part of the issue is the lack of boundaries you set all along.  Not beating up on you------ many of us do that but maybe that will help you hold your temper a bit and remain calm if you see that you actively contributed to his behavior over the past 4 years.

One thing I do to stop myself from yelling is press my tongue to the roof of my mouth.  Can't yell that way!!  Practice some deep breathing exercises such as square breathing------ breath in for 4, hold 4, breath out for 4 hold 4 and repeat.  It will calm you.  Open and close your fist tightly as it releases tension. And . . . you and your husband need to work in shifts for the time being.  You can have a bit of free time in the evening for an hour to relax while he is with the kids.  If you have a parent that can come over to help for a spell to give you a breather will also help.  Does your 4 year old still nap?  Try to get an overlap of nap as often as possible and lay down yourself.  I have two boys myself that are 15 months apart in age and I'm well aware of when mom needs a minute to just shut her eyes.  Forget dishes and just take the chance when you can.  

Your son.  At 4 he could attend a preschool program of some sort.  When is his birthday?  He could go 2 or 3 half days a week (mine went from 9:30 to 12) and this may be a wonderful thing for you all.  You could get a little down time with one child and he would enjoy the social environment of school and learn the structure that is required as kids get older.  You will be surprised that sometimes kids act up for us and then don't at school.  If he does at school, then you know that you need to look deeper into the problem that is at the root of that.

Bedtime.  We all need sleep.  You've kind of created a monster here because you say nothing worked.  You can't possibly have the one in a million child different from every other kid . . . so know that something WILL work.  Consistency is good.  I know when we are tired that we are weak and say "okay" just because we feel like we can't "deal" with it at the moment.  But honestly, that prolongs the problem.  He's 4 and can sleep through the night.  My oldest went through a difficult time in which he didn't want to go to bed and then once he did he would come in to us.  I'm not sweet at night.  I give my sons 5 minutes of "us" time in our room and head them to theirs.  They have night lights, lovies, fans to block out noise, etc. and a comfy bed of their own.  That is where they are to stay. I'd take your son shopping and let him pick out a new night light or pillow case/sheet set for his room.  I'd start a bed time routine in which he has bath, snack, story, and some cuddle time and then bed.  I'd rock him like a baby for a bit and squeeze him tight (some kids crave deep pressure).  Then to bed.  You can keep a sippy cup of water by  his bed.  Then if he wakes up--------  walk him back to his bed.  This needs to be OUT of your room and in his own space.  Keep up with it and he should get into the new routine in a week or so.  Seriously.  You can't back track and let him in your bed/room if you decide to do this or it won't work.  No matter how tired you are.  You can split it up------- one of you in charge of the baby and one in charge of him and get the job done.  I'm going to suggest that you go ahead and put the baby in their own space too.  I'm a big fan of this . . . I know when they are little it can be easier to have them right in your room------- but it may mess things up with your 4 year old.  I didn't sleep with either boy in my room and used a baby monitor which honestly, I did not need as I had those "mama" ears and woke if they snorkled in their sleep down the hall. I just think it will be easier to accomplish this if you move both kids to their own space.  Say you decide not too then you talk about how he is the cool big kid and not some silly old baby anymore.  Then if he has a meltdown during the day start saying it is because he is tired . .. we all need our sleep to have a good day.  I said this a LOT and my boys picked up on it and made the correlation.  Now at age 6 and 5 I can tell them we have a big day tomorrow, we need to get our sleep so it is fun and they go right to bed because they don't want to ruin things by being tired.  It will take persistence on your part but you really need to do it.  You and he will be happier in the long run.  Many marriages start to take a toll by kids in beds and over tired parents.  Family beds are fine if it is what everyone wants-------- but if it is not, it leads to everyone being unhappy.

Behavior.  Well, sos for parents is a good book by lynn clark.  It goes through the time out steps.  I am a big fan myself of natural consequences-------- throw a toy, lose that toy.  I take it away.  If you are shouting or crying, I will not listen to you (I say because I can't understand you) so you have to calm down if you want me to listen.  Works really well.  I'd start catching him doing the right thing (even if he should be and you don't feel like you need to mention it------- do anyway) and cheer him on.  Kids love that.  Maybe do a reward system with beans in a jar and when he gets to a certain number he gets to do an outing of his choice with you or dad.  I'd spend quality one on one time with him.  And my big one for boys--------- physical activity.  Get him to a park every single day.  Your baby will love the fresh air and will probably sleep right through it . . . but your 4 year old should be running, jumping, climbing, swinging, rolling, etc.  It has a direct affect on the nervous system calming it and hence, behavior.  Swimming is also excellent.

Just so you don't think I understand-------- my oldest son has sensory integration disorder which is an issue with the nervous system.  He is as high strung and "active" as they come.  He's kept me hopping since day one.  We do occupational therapy for it and it helps tremendously.  So I understand difficult temperaments and all it takes to parent them.

By the way------- how is your son's speech?  How are his social skills"  Does he do well with a pencil?  Just curious.  

Okay, good luck.  
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