I've been out of the military for a little over a year now. My mother had custody of my son for 3 years while I was overseas. From the time he was 11 weeks old. A very difficult time for me. I missed out on everything a mother wishes to experience with her baby. I got him back a year ago and he has made phenominal progress, aside from talking, dressing himself and potty training he has a remarkable memory. However he does certain things that frustrate my family. We will tell him to do a simple task (such as getting his bedclothes on, something he does everyday) he'll go to the door or pick up his toys , something entirely unrelated just to see our reactions. And we can repeat ourselves 5-10 times and each reaction will be different but still not correct. Or he will ask a questoin and we will attempt to make it as comprehandable toa 4 year old as possible, and we ask him to repeat some key words like "After dinner, we can have cake. When can we have cake?" Is that alot to ask of a 4 year old. People prepare for babies but preschoolers are a different class I must have missed. We aren't the most patient family either. We would really appreciate any suggestions.
Well, first . . . your heading says "obnoxious 4 year old" and this doesn't sound obnoxious to me. (let me introduce you to my own 4 year old . . .lol). 4 year olds are very difficult creatures. Not babies anymore but still little guys. They test us until we think we can't take it anymore. But we must. And we also must not take it too seriously. This is what the are supposed to be like . . . and the only way to get through it is with humor and patience. If you think of a scenario of having buckets to put the "do wrong" things into. bucket A is for the absolute no no's in which firm, structured, consistent rules are in place. It would include things like running in the street, grabbing knives, hitting, etc. Bucket B has the negotiable things in it. This would be like he piddles around when he is suppose to be putting his jammies on. You negotiate your response---- such as instead of expecting it the second you say it---- you give him a 5 minute transitional time--"in 5 minutes we are getting our pj's on". Then you physically hand him his pj's at the 5 minute mark. And bucket C is for all the things you let go. Which bucket should have the most in it------ toss up between b and c (A should only have a few things in it).
So pick your battles. Give him choices. Think like a kid. Why does he have to rotely repeat when he can have cake. Don't make that big of a deal out of it. He gets cake after dinner . . . so give him cake after dinner. If he is pestering you for it----- don't get annoyed. Just tell him calmly "after dinner." Or you could say "do you want cake after dinner or tomorrow?" He'll pick after dinner that way. But you can't control him----- you can only control your response to him.
And while that seperation for 3 years was hard on you------- can you imagine what this has been like for him? You come back and Yes, you are his parent----- but his life is turned upside down for that. He knew your mother as his care giver and that changed drastically. Not faulting you for that---- but he may have suffered a bit emotionally for that. So he needs extra empathy and patience. You also just got thrown back into the fire of parenthood (a battle of its own kind)---- so be patient with yourself while you figure it all out.
Kids are suppose to be fun----- so do try to see the joy and humor in these years! Good luck.
I can understand how difficult it is for you to be thrown back into parenting, but specialmom is right, you need to have patience with yourself and your son. He sounds like a typical 4 yr old to me and not obnoxious at all. You didn't have the luxury of learning your child's personality as he grew from an infant to toddler to a little boy, which is in no way your fault I commend our Military, but you will have to learn it now and it's going to take time. Because you were not around he is going to test you even more than the average 4 yr old, which is quite a bit in normal circumstances. Patience, humility (on your part) and love are the only things that are going to see you both through this transition. Good luck to you.
Kat1377, if it is of any comfort, I came on here to console myself because my 4 year old is driving me crazy! lol It is nap time for him and his little brother. Admittedly he doesn't need a nap as much as his brother does but the holidays and being cooped up due to weather has him showing signs of grumpiness. So off to nap he went.
After about an hour of banging around and taking potty breaks (during two of which we had to go up and find him with no underwear or pants on just hanging around) we let him back downstairs and he has been doing all the things you say... acting up, not listening, responding to our requests with "funny" (funny for a 4 year old is obnoxious at times like this!) faces or by doing something else.
I take the other moms' comments to heart. I have known this boy for four years and I know he is sweet and thoughtful and smart and curious and a great big brother... so it's easier to forgive these occasional behaviors. But I sympathize with you because it's aggravating! I too am exchausted from Christmas so I don't have a lot of patience to draw from.
Yes, we can all sympathize with each other! I have two boys very close in age (15 months apart in age actually) and they can be little maniacs for sure. They can definately send us over the edge. But------ I just try to breath and give myself a time out (and who are you kidding------ ALL moms know that naps are really for us vs for them . . .lol But who can blame us for wanting a break!) and keep it all in perspective. I personally have found that looking at it through humerous eyes makes it easier for me. My older son has sensory integration disorder which means he thinks it is fun to crash himself into a wall or people or whatever as well as lots of other interesting activities . . . let's just say that not all of my days are easy ones. I realized how funny it was when I was relaying the story of a particularly bad outing with my sister and she just started cracking up. It was eye opening that if I take it so seriously like it is the end of the earth if my kids have a bad day or don't do exactly what I tell them------ it really felt that way. When I looked at it as one moment in time and pretty normal that kids have bad days (or two or three), then it feels much better.
Plus, having a son with a nervous system delay has taught me that sometimes kids really are trying the hardest they can even though it may not look like it. So when you work on their level vs ours, they seem to thrive better. And that is the goal as a parent.
Don't ever feel alone----- come here and find that millions of moms feel just as you do at any given moment. Take care and peace.
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