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Am I expecting too much from a 4 year old? *kind of long story*

Posted by on Oct. 8, 2012 at 9:22 PM
  • 24 Replies

 

Poll

Question: Should a 4 year old be able to do things (like dressing, playing, picking up their books, using the potty) with a parent just in the next room keeping an eye/ear on them?

Options:

No. They need someone in the room watching what they are doing.

No. They need someone in the room actively helping them do those things.

Yes, if they are capable of doing something it is fine to expect them to do it alone.

Other (please comment)


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Total Votes: 35

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Sorry its so long. But I want you to have the details and tell me what you think.....

I have a 4 year old girl. She hates being in the room alone, she refuses to do things upstairs unless someone is up there watching her. Her father tends to cater to that to avoid her throwing a fit and will stand right there while she pees or while she changes clothes. I think that is silly and when he is at work I pretty much try to make her do things herself when she is capable of them.

At 8:30pm she was in the middle of a movie. I told her that if she went upstairs and changed into her pajamas she could stay up past her bedtime and finish it. We both went upstairs. Her closet is in the hallway right at the top of the stairs and I helped her pick out a pair of pjs to wear. I told her I had to grab some pillows and towels and couch covers from downstairs to put in the washing machine (upstairs next to her closet) and for her to stay upstairs and change so I would let her finish the movie. She followed me down crying and whining that she can't be up there alone...right at the top of the stairs with the lights on. I told her that if she can't change into her pajamas as I asked her to then she could just go to bed instead of getting to stay up. She starts screaming at the top of her lungs and yelling "I don't want to go to bed." but still refuses to go put the pjs on. I put them on her and put her in bed.

When she is in her bed I leave the door open and leave the hallway light on for her (trying to make her less afraid). I make sure she understands that she had to go to bed instead of stay up beause she wont listen to me. And she still screams at the top of her lungs for at least half and hour and keeps trying to get up. It is now 9:10 and she just got up and used the potty, said she wished her dad was here instead of working, and then laid down without any more screaming. I feel like this is all an act to get attention and try to get her way and I really don't feel bad for her. My husband thinks she is genuinely afraid and I am being cruel.

It is driving me crazy because she is so clingy and whiney all day, even when we spend time with her and do nice things for her. She seems to never be happy. I end up screaming at her and furious with her behavior. And he ends up thinking I am a huge bully.

What do you think? How does/did your 4 year old respond if you expected them to do something alone?


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by on Oct. 8, 2012 at 9:22 PM
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Replies (1-10):
momma2mms
by Member on Oct. 8, 2012 at 9:24 PM

I think you are doing the right thing. Stay on it and it will get better.

ChancesMommy07
by on Oct. 8, 2012 at 9:27 PM
My son did all of those things alone at that age but I'd be getting to the bottom of what is scaring her about the upstairs. My son doesn't like the upstairs of my grandparents house. He's very independent but won't go up there alone. It's an old house with various creaks and pops and it scares him.
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frndlyfn
by Platinum Member on Oct. 8, 2012 at 9:36 PM

DD still had separation anxiety around age 4 if we were around.   I would find out why she doesnt want to be alone rather than get upset with her.  Just because she can physically do these things by herself does not mean emotionally she is ready to be isolated from her parents whom she loves.. 

 I would turn it into a game with a timer.  I will give you a 5 minute head start to do "abc" while i do "xyz", lets see who can get their task done faster.  The winner gets to pick the movie snack.

amber710
by on Oct. 8, 2012 at 9:36 PM

It isn't just upstairs. It is being alone in general. She says there is going to be a stranger or a clown or a monster or....whatever the current scary thing is. Even when we try to convince her that monsters aren't real and our house is safe and locked up she still says that. I can't tell if she honestly thinks that or has just heard people say that its probably what is scaring her and she is just repeating it...

Anyway, we are in a pretty small 2 bedroom apartment. So even when I am in the other room or downstairs and she is upstairs I am never far away. And the building just got built a couple years ago so we don't have any drafts or creaks or pops.

Quoting ChancesMommy07:

My son did all of those things alone at that age but I'd be getting to the bottom of what is scaring her about the upstairs. My son doesn't like the upstairs of my grandparents house. He's very independent but won't go up there alone. It's an old house with various creaks and pops and it scares him.


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msswisher08
by on Oct. 8, 2012 at 9:45 PM
Has she watched any scary movies? Ds1 watched one while at his grandparents (they didn't think he was paying attn to it but he was I mean come on he's 3!!) so for a while he was scared to sleep in his room if he wasnt already asleep when we put him in there and he was scared to go potty. I sat him down and talked to him and explained that it's just a movie and there are no such things as monsters. I also made his room into spiderman and superman and told him that they will keep him safe. He tends to be much better now. Instead of yelling you need to sit down and listen maybe she saw or heard something that scared her...
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amber710
by on Oct. 8, 2012 at 9:50 PM

I do think she sees bits of scary movies sometimes. DH loves scary movies and watches them or has the cases laying out alot. But I have done the same thing of trying to explain that it isn't real. And I even let her sleep with the bedroom door wide open and the hallway light on (which never would have been allowed when I was little) and she also has 2 nightlights in her room, glowing stars on the ceiling, and a security blanket. I'm not sure what else to do as far as calming any real fears she has.

Although I do agree that scary movies could be the problem. I definately will bring that up to DH about being careful what she sees.

Quoting msswisher08:

Has she watched any scary movies? Ds1 watched one while at his grandparents (they didn't think he was paying attn to it but he was I mean come on he's 3!!) so for a while he was scared to sleep in his room if he wasnt already asleep when we put him in there and he was scared to go potty. I sat him down and talked to him and explained that it's just a movie and there are no such things as monsters. I also made his room into spiderman and superman and told him that they will keep him safe. He tends to be much better now. Instead of yelling you need to sit down and listen maybe she saw or heard something that scared her...


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lovinmama411
by on Oct. 8, 2012 at 9:51 PM

It sounds like she is trying to get attention and just get her way. From about the ages 2-4 it seems like I was always in a power struggle with my boys over one thing or another, lol. Reward her and tell her what a big girl she is when she does anything alone. Tell her when she acts like a big girl, she gets big girl things (like the movie thing you did, that was good). So maybe if she dresses herself alone, agree to let her pick out the clothes she will wear. Making her feel like a "big girl" will lead her to that "big girl" behavior. 

skylarkdancer
by on Oct. 8, 2012 at 9:51 PM
1 mom liked this
I know ppl may make fun of me for saying this or say I'm crazy but I just want to mention this....my dh has been able to see things since he was a child. Children tend to be very sensitive to things like that especially. Have you asked her what she is seeing or is afraid of? I know a lot of ppl don't believe in this kind of thing but I do. Just try to be open and not judgmental about this theory. Good luck!
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amber710
by on Oct. 8, 2012 at 10:11 PM

Thank you. I'm glad I'm not the only one it has happened to. I wish she wanted to pick her own clothes out! I am so sick of hearing "I can't do it." when I know she can. And it is so nice to hear that someone thinks I did well with the movie thing. I was really afraid that I was just being mean.

Quoting lovinmama411:

It sounds like she is trying to get attention and just get her way. From about the ages 2-4 it seems like I was always in a power struggle with my boys over one thing or another, lol. Reward her and tell her what a big girl she is when she does anything alone. Tell her when she acts like a big girl, she gets big girl things (like the movie thing you did, that was good). So maybe if she dresses herself alone, agree to let her pick out the clothes she will wear. Making her feel like a "big girl" will lead her to that "big girl" behavior. 


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amber710
by on Oct. 8, 2012 at 10:14 PM

I don't think you are crazy. I think you are being honest about what you think it could be and I appreciate that. I did sit down on her bed during the issue earlier and ask her what she thought there was to be afraid of. She said....

"There could be a stranger or a clown in my closet or something."

Quoting skylarkdancer:

I know ppl may make fun of me for saying this or say I'm crazy but I just want to mention this....my dh has been able to see things since he was a child. Children tend to be very sensitive to things like that especially. Have you asked her what she is seeing or is afraid of? I know a lot of ppl don't believe in this kind of thing but I do. Just try to be open and not judgmental about this theory. Good luck!


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