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Cher, Teacher
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 90
Experience:  Extensive Experience working with Children/Teens; M.A. Teacher/Tutor 40+ yrs.; Parent of 2
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My wife and I are at wits end with our 4.5 yr old boy. Hes

Customer Question

My wife and I are at wits end with our 4.5 yr old boy. He's a really sweet, intelligent boy who's fundamentally a good. But right now we are completely burned out by his behavior. There are 2 issues which we really struggle with:

1) He won't listen to us - everything is a struggle. He will not help (and usually even resists) with the things we need of him: getting dressed, going to the bathroom, sitting at the table, etc. He either ignores us or defiantly resists. His motivation appears to be either a desire to avoid the task, or to act in an impish way to "bother" us. We often have to ask him 3-4 times with the final time us yelling or threatening timeout/punishment. We hate this, it's not in our nature but it's the only thing that works.

2) He is completely needy, he can't be without us for 30 seconds. He's constantly climbing all over us, demanding hugs and kisses (which we love for the first 15 minutes, but eventually it gets tiring). He can't play by himself with his toys, he always wants one of us to be there and talk to him. The only time he's able to be on his own is when watching TV or playing video games, which we restrict to 30 min/day. And his behavior does seem to be extreme. E.g. we were just at an Easter party with 12 other young kids he's known his whole life and all of them were able to play by themselves or with each other. Our son would not leave our side for the entire party.

You might claim this is a cry for attention (probably is) but we are with him all the time. Neither my wife or I are working at the moment and so we're always home.

He does have difficulty engaging with other children (tends to be scared) and does much better with adults. He's been in pre-school for 1.5 years but still doesn't play that often with the other children other than his 1-2 friends he's made there.

We are really at a loss. We are a very loving family. In comparison to his 2 yr old sister (hate comparing them), she's just so easy to care for. Of course she has her tantrums and asserts her will like any other 2 yr old (STRONG will), but she's capable of spending 5 minutes (or 30 minutes) without our attention.

I'm really interested in strategies for how to deal with this. Can you recommend specific books or parenting theory that would best apply?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 6 years ago.

Hello and Thank You for using Just Answer. I am sorry to hear about the problems that you are having with your son. Would you prefer books or specific strategies? Thanks!!!

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Ideally I'd like some strategies that you suggest, and then 1-2 recommendations for books that you feel are effective and speak to our struggles.
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 6 years ago. problem. I will be out of the office for the rest of the day but will be back in bright and early tomorrow!!!
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 6 years ago.
I am going to allow another expert to assist you since my internet access will be limited for the next few days.