Who is he mixing with now in the family or friends it may not only be the fact his Dad took off, How about school or day care.. talking back , arguing can be learned and copied from others, even you .Sounds like you are doing a lot of punishing and its really creating a problem, not helping it .It may be a good idea to focus on his positive side and praise him when you see him doing something right.Who are the 'few' others he is nasty to ?
When a child loses a parent it can really change them, creating huge anxiety in their lives. Often they think it's because they have been bad and it's not their fault even though that is never true. I would think that at 4, it is probably not easy for him to properly express himself so he is acting out. It's pretty common actually when a family breaks up. In all honesty, I would take him to a child therapist if possible. I would also talk to his Dr. The situation has to also have created stress on you, and although I am sure you don't take it out on him, he is surely sensing it. This is just a huge change in his world. Parents are the childrens security blanket..even bad parents if your ex was one of those. It's good your devoting so much time to him. Keep that up. Keep working with him. And do get him (and perhaps yourself) some help. If it's possible, I would also try to talk to him about it in terms that he can understand. There are a multitude of books out there dealing with this issue, and how to talk to young children about it. He needs to feel like his life is stable and secure. Poor little guy is probably very confused and feeling abandoned. Best of luck to you, not an easy situation for sure.
Sorry, meant to say they think it's their fault even though that is never true.
First off, I have a three year old son who will be four in July. He's a little terror more often than not. I think it's partly a boy being a boy, three year old, first child and jealous of his just turned one sister...BUT I have an aunt that got divorced when her son was three. He did the same thing, didn't listen, didn't do as he was told, back talking, seemed like everything was out of spite. BUT truth be told, it's hard on a little kid. It's confusing why mommy and daddy aren't together, and daddy's no longer around. My cousin's six now, and my aunt put him in daycare at three because she's a single mom of two and her daughter was in school. Daycare helped him out a lot, and now that he's in school he's even better about it. My son acted out a lot after my daughter was born and he couldn't have me all to himself. I do agree to make positive things extra special, tell him what a good job he does when he does ____. Spend some extra time with him having fun, maybe take him to the park or something like that. In my opinion he's craving attention, and the way he's getting it negative or positive doesn't matter. When he's doing good over do the praise, when he's not doing good, don't back down on your rules, be consistent. It might just be a three year old phase on top of everything else. I'm sorry you're having such a hard time. My son can be difficult too, so I do understand.
By the way, you are NOT the worst mother in the world, you're in a difficult situation and dealing with it, from what I gather on your own. It's gotta be tough. Don't put yourself down, you CAN make it through this. I agree with adgal's advice as well. Have you talked to anyone for yourself or considered having him talk to someone?
One statement you made really stood out to me: "The only people he is not nasty to, are the people that don't care that he acts like that."
How often is he around these people versus you and the other few people he treats badly?
I ask this because I have a 23 month old son, and for the past year, I've struggled to keep what I think to be an average, loving mother-son bond with him. But the issue is actually not between him and me, it's more or less between me and about three people who cater to his every demand, give him basically everything he wants when he wants it, and try to appease any and all unhappiness he ever experiences. For these few people, telling my son "no" is practically unheard of...so when I'm involved in one-on-one time with him or have to remove him from these peoples' presence, he gets very aggressive, disrespectful, and nasty, and has the ability to remain in that negative attitude for pretty long durations of time--sometimes a couple of days--and then just when his behavior begins to improve, he sees these people again (they're family members).
I know my son loves me and needs me, and I absolutely love and adore him. I have spent literally the last year struggling with heartbreak and hurt feelings, wondering if there are days that go by that my baby actually hates me. I know he doesn't but it feels that way for all the efforts I make to be a positive, loving mother to him and really don't do much discipline his behavior because he's too young to know what he's doing...plus, it's not really his behavior that is the problem, it's the result of influences and interactions in his almost daily life.
The situation finally did come to a head though this past week, when the whole family was together for Christmas, and I finally don't feel isolated with the results of his behavior anymore because for once, the reaction he had to a family member who unintentionally set him off (the main family member who enables the bad behavior) and he went berzerk and had the meltdown of all meltdowns in front of everyone. Now that everyone could see where I was coming from, what I was dealing with every single day, and was mainly directed only at me (his bad, aggressive behavior), the problem could be addressed without it looking like I was being oversensitive or overreacting. Things have since been slowly improving AND my son has been WANTING to spend time with me, and has been sweet and snuggly and content with me removing him from the presence of the people who have been causing the problems when I need to take him somewhere. I can only hope that things keep getting better for us.
But that is what I wanted to ask you about--because I understand how heartbreaking and frustrating it is to feel like you're doing EVERYTHING you know to do for your child to keep yourself positively involved with them, understanding, supportive, encouraging, and trying to hold back in disciplining them but still needing to let them know that you do have boundaries and there will be times you need to discipline them--and to feel like you're getting nowhere and like your child could care less about you and dislikes you is hurtful and stressful. Believe me, I understand. But keep doing what you're doing. Keep things as positive as you can for him, and things will start to turn around eventually. He's been through quite an ordeal in his little life with his father leaving him and he must be really confused and hurt and not have a clue how to express himself. You also need to confront the people who are letting him get away with his bad behavior. They need to know what a struggle they are making it for you to keep a positive bond with your child.
I also strongly agree with adgal in seeking therapy for him so he can find a safe and effective way to express the hurt and confusion he must be feeling about his father abandoning him.
Walk in your childs shoes ...lessen the punishments and focus on his positive side, its not all his fault trust me ...good luck
The others made some super good points, and I really want to reiterate one of the comments...you are NOT a horrible parent. You have also been through some tough stuff in the last year, so go easy on yourself. And of course you love him. It's his current behavior, not him you don't like. I have been thinking of you since I first read this post a few hours ago, and am so glad to hear what the others had to say. Excellent advice in my opinion. Take good care ok, and it's going to work out.
This problem could be solved by carying out your role more carefully
May god help you...........
and yup no mom cant d0 bad 4 her son and who says u r worst mom ur wrong no mom is worst