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Dr. Bonnie
Dr. Bonnie, Psychologist and RN
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  35 years experience counseling children and families
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I have 4 1/2 yr old boy. I am exhausted with the amt of attention

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I have 4 1/2 yr old boy. I am exhausted with the amt of attention he requires. I can not get him to let me have 10 minutes to myself with him in another room or doing an activity in the same room with me without him interrupting. Is this just his age? Is this bad? I'm a stay at home mom and I do spend a lot of time with him doing activities he likes. Is he just spoiled? Also when I ask him to do a task I know he can do....he will not do it if I am not there to cheer and interact with him. He will only do it if I am interacting. Is this a problem? I feel like this is defiance.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Bonnie replied 4 years ago.
Has he every been in day care or preschool or K4?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

He went to preschool last year and he will go again this year. He likes preschool and looks forward to it. But his teacher did tell me he is a strong willed child that knows what he wants.

 

Expert:  Dr. Bonnie replied 4 years ago.

I think he is just used to you being there with him and prefers it that way. I am glad he is not having trouble adjusting to school where he must share a teacher with so many other children. Is there a summer activity that will also give you some much needed time alone?.

To clarify regarding oppositional defiant children… they generally are angry, argumentative, do not comply with the rules, blame others, are touchy and easily hurt. The teachers description of the Strong-willed Child describes a temperament which is neither good nor bad but is his personality. I think he will outgrow the need to have you in the room at all times and be sure to praise him when he does this even for a short time.

So to summarize..it is not bad. It is just what he is used to and what he prefers, being the strong willed child that he is. In school he will learn to be patient, be independent and that he needs to cooperative when he can't always have things his way.

Does this answer your concern? If it is not what you were expecting please let me know.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
That is somewhat relieving. But the preschool he was in last year only had 4 students total. It was unusually small. This year there will 12 or more, I think. And I'm wondering about this....he knows his numbers well, he recognizes them and can put them into the right order when they are mixed up....but only if I am there. If I say put the numbers in order and I will come back and check...he will do nothing. He will not even try. Is that not outwardly defiant? Is he trying to control me?
Expert:  Dr. Bonnie replied 4 years ago.
Try to introduce a reward (it is not a bribe) just a way to have him try so he can develop self confidence in his independence. "Put the numbers in order while I am gone and when you are done we will read a few pages in you favorite book". Then, when he does it, make a big deal of it .

Avoid framing the behavior in a negative light (defiant, control) because that is just making you mad and he will sense that. Better to be matter-of-fact and low key, then he will probably stop the attention getting behavior.

Does that make sense?
I am glad he only had 4 peers last year. That helps him to build up to the larger group gradually.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Yes, that makes sense to me, but my fear is he will not do it if I am not there. So if I come back and he has not tried...then what to do....is it enough that we just won't read a book? I was glad it was a small class last year too, and his teacher helped him make big strides in maturity. I am just praying he can handle the big class this year.
Expert:  Dr. Bonnie replied 4 years ago.
If you come back and he has not tried, then walk away saying "Oh I see your not done yet, let me know when your done" in a singsongy, I don;t care voice.

He will not be use to this behavior in you, so it might not work at first. But keep trying!! and yes it is enough not to read the book (or get attention from you).
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
I will try it. Thanks for the help. One last question that is kinda driving me crazy. I worry about him because he will not try to color. Is this normal? For a boy maybe to not care to try to color when asked? He will scribble is all. I worry it is also defiant, or maybe it has to do with the amt of attention to detail it requires maybe linked to ADD? But then i think...maybe he just doesn't like to color. Is that okay? I always liked it, so I don't understand the not wanting to try part of it. Am I just worrying about this too much?
Expert:  Dr. Bonnie replied 4 years ago.
This may indicate a fine motor delay. Children his age should be making horizontal and vertical lines, circles, squares and triangles and a 3-4 part person (face with eyes, mouth, arms and legs). Coloring in a coloring book would not be until later if he is not doing this yet. If he is not able to do these things, an evaluation by a pediatric occupational therapist would be recommended. His doctor would need to refer you for this evaluation.
I don't think it has to do with attention as much as fine motor ability.

if the case is that he can draw these things, then let him draw his own pictures instead of using a coloring book. It is far more creative.
Dr. Bonnie, Psychologist and RN
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2183
Experience: 35 years experience counseling children and families
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Dr. Bonnie
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35 years experience counseling children and families