I must have looked pretty worn and frazzled Saturday afternoon because the first thing my darling friend said when she came over for a play date with her two and four year olds was, “Are you okay? Tired? You look sort of…stressed?”
That might have been an understatement. It was late Saturday afternoon, and I’d been alone with four year old triplets for 24 hours.
I had some serious issues with them as two year olds. Crazy kids. But everyone told me that if they’re ornery at two, then they’ll be GREAT at three.
Well, then they turned three. And they were hard. Super opinionated and stubborn (I don’t know WHERE that could have come from….). They were doing more by themselves but we had some serious attitude.
Now, they are four. They’ve been four for three months. Everyone said: FOUR IS THE HOLY GRAIL. They turn into angels. Four was always my favorite stage.
Four is not my favorite stage.
They can dress themselves. Put on their pajamas and brush their teeth. Buckle themselves in their car seats. Recognize all their letters and numbers.
But attitude. Oh do we have attitude.
My husband says there is always one angry, one happy, and one going from one of those stages to the other. He’s probably right. Except he left out sad. Like bursting into tears verclempt sort of sad. And that’s the boys not even little lady.
They are really good at school.
And precious when they visit their grandparents at the farm.
And delightful when they have play dates.
But when it’s us….hang on to your hat.
We’ve tried everything. The old tried-and-true time out seems to have no impact now. I take away “privileges” like getting a few minutes of television or a lollipop after dinner or similar. But when something is taken away they flip out so much that it turns our house into mayhem. And if one is being bad or flipping out, another one is bound to follow because they want their share of attention. Triplets!!! My hubby has tried spanking a bottom if someone is disrespectful to him or me or our nanny. Nothing. They’ve been known to shout, “that doesn’t hurt!”
I know that there are a zillion books I could read. I have some. I’ve even read a few.
I also know that discipline and parenting tips are SUPER SENSITIVE and everyone has their own opinion.
Regardless, I’m going to bravely ask the question anyways: What worked for you? Was your four year old remarkably transformed after the terrible two’s/three’s? Multiple moms – ANYTHING?
I’m really not looking for book recommendations because I have four on my nightstand I need to read. I’m just curious. Your down and dirty, based on life experience, insider tips. Yesterday, because I refused to yell at my kids like I had on Saturday after coming to my wit’s end, I tried a new trick. We kept a sticker chart for actions taken based on our house rules (Be Kind, Listen, Share, Be a Helper).
Stickers were crossed out if they exhibited bad behavior, and stickers were earned if they exemplified one of the rules. It worked by and large. Behavior improved. Stickers were added and crossed off. The end of day winner was able to either select a treat from the treat jar, choose the movie to put on for movie night, or pick one place they’d like to go in Houston.
I don’t know that’s a practical every day solution though. We do have a chores chart. But that is to remind them to make their bed and load the dishwasher and say please and thank you. So I don’t know that it’s the right vehicle for discipline or behavior redirection. I also know we have triplets and inevitably it’s going to pile on a little. ALSO, I fully realize that they are FOUR and not fourteen. But it is critical for us to teach them respect and boundaries now or we’ll have a mess on our hands when they are teens.
All I ask is that you don’t criticize anyone in the comments. Everyone does it different. But I would love to get some parenting insight, friends. Because we’re getting worn down over here. So go for it – give me your best shot!