four is the new threenager

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Oliver is about 4.5 years old. 90% of the time, he is a pretty much pleasant kid, listens to most instructions, is getting in touch with his emotions and trying to empathise. We do get the usual ‘i-don’t-want-to-do-this’ moments, but they are manageable. We also do get some mini tantrums but they are manageable.

Recently, we’ve had some tantrums, and they have gotten a little more intense. How intense can a tantrum be?

‘I want to chop mummy and daddy into little pieces’

I want mummy to drown and die’ 

Pretty much this gruesome intense. I really had to think hard as to where he would have picked it up from. The last time we had a conversation about him wanting to chop the dentist, he could go into detail about how he would actually go about it.

Good grief. Am I raising a psychopath to be? Or I could be positive and think he will be a pathologist one day? *sigh*

Ollie tantrum 1

But yes, it was this intense. I was sorta affected by it. What was going through my little boy’s mind to come up with things like that. The last tantrum occurred just 1.5 weeks ago. And he was going on and on and on, that I snapped and slapped him. I’m not proud of it. In fact, I regretted it when I saw the mark on his cheek and when he cried in pain. We were working on the no yelling, no shouting, no smacking. And he knows about it. We had discussed it before. But I snapped. Obviously that session took almost 3 hours before we reconciled and made up. I apologised for slapping him and he apologised to both Donald and I for his behaviour.

Fast forwards to Saturday morning. When Donald was driving us to Marine Cove, anticipating the look of excitement on Oliver’s face and having breakfast with the boys, only to have Ollie go into meltdown because we were heading to another McDonald’s outlet.

Say whuuuuut. Come on, it’s McDonald’s! Doesn’t matter which outlet, IT IS McDonald’s. And there’s a HUGE playground there! How could you not want to go??

I told Donald to take QT and his mom to McDonald’s first whilst I dealt with him. There were a lot of tears, a lot of wanting to damage things in the car (he took a pen and drew on the door, started changing settings in the car), a lot of wanting family members to fall sick, get killed or drowned, a lot of jumping in the car. At each statement, I would reason with him. Explained the consequences of wanting things to happen. Asking why he wanted the people who love him to be hurt. Explained that he could not always get his way. Explained that sometimes there was to be an exchange. At no point was there any yelling, or shouting. Just calm talking.

He was on a tirade. I stopped the conversation when he said he wanted ‘mummy to drown & die’. Sure, if that’s what you want, that’s what you will get. I left him to his tirade, leaned back on the car seat and closed my eyes.

He went about doing his thing in the car. Climbing over seats, jumping, trying to open the car door (thank goodness for child-lock), tried to pry my fingers open to get the car key, tried to walk his fingers on me, played with a pull toy, before finally burying his face on my lap.

Ollie tantrum 2

I opened my eyes, shifted and he stood up.

‘Would you like a hug?’ I asked. He nodded forlornly. I put him on my lap and held him. He started tearing and sniffling a little. I explained to him why his father wanted to take him to Marine Cove for breakfast, and what was in stored for him after breakfast. I told him how his father obliged him when he requested to bring his scooter along.

‘Do you feel better now? Are you ready to go for breakfast and then scoot?’ He nodded again.

He was super cooperative post tantrum, whilst walking along side with me. Told him how he had to scoot straight so he doesn’t crash into the other pedestrians. He was focused in getting to McD’s and looking out for the rest of the family.

It’s not easy. I don’t know how things work in his mind. But this non-yelling approach seems to be the best way for us. Gives him time to work out his emotions and gives me time to keep my emotions in check. It is tiring but the moments seem to be shorter.

Oliver smile little one. You’re growing up too fast but I’m glad to be part of that journey, watching you become a boy. Love you to Jupiter & back. =)

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