Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Help with behaviour

(32 Posts)
Lizziehop2 Fri 16-Sep-11 14:14:38

My 4 year old grandson is usually fine, but occasionally he gets 'a little devil on his back' - this week, because it had started to pour with rain, we couldn't go out as promised. He started to scream and kick and when I picked him up, he got hold of my neck and scratched it deeply. I immediately told him that was so naughty and put him in the 'naughty' corner for 5 mins - and each time he came out of the corner - I put him back. Have any of you other Grans had similar experiences as I really don't know how to deal with him. When he had calmed down, I said I understood that he was frustrated and sad that he couldn't go out, but Grandma was very upset that he had hurt her. He did say sorry, but I dont think that's enough?!! Help and advice please!

greenmossgiel Fri 16-Sep-11 14:21:29

Perhaps keeping enforcing the 'naughty corner' whenever anything like this comes up again, Lizzie? To keep going back to how he hurt you maybe wouldn't make much difference at his age, unfortunately, do you think?

absentgrana Fri 16-Sep-11 14:30:45

Be careful with the promises too. It's obvious to an adult that if you promise to go the park, say, and it tanks down with rain and hailstones, the outing has to be postponed. It probably doesn't seem that way to a four-year-old. Try to cover all contingencies – without having to compose a 20-minute speech, of course. It may be a good idea, given British weather, to have an interesting plan B in place.

I think I might play up the having hurt gran with a bit of drama. Can you manage false tears or even just a little sob? Of course you don't want the little chap to feel a weight of guilt for the next ten years of his life, but he can associate wobbly lips and tears with being hurt because that's what happens with him, his siblings and friends. Maybe you should ask him to kiss it better as part of the process of learning that other people can be hurt – and then helped – by your actions.

Annobel Fri 16-Sep-11 14:40:36

My youngest GS used to be put on the naughty step so often that he began to treat it as a joke which didn't impress his parents. Now, almost 4, he is a reformed character, for no known reason, but if he is naughty he is sent to his room. it doesn't happen too often.

Baggy Fri 16-Sep-11 14:48:59

I used to get sent to the naughty step for not eating my prunes (among other things). Apparently once when we had visitors I did something that would usually have resulted in naughty step time, but I pleaded with my father: Please don't put me in the 'ole, daddy! The 'ole was the hall, with the stairs, but I always misprononuced it. It hadn't mattered until then. I think there might have been some adult blushing that day!

glammanana Fri 16-Sep-11 15:10:13

I used to get put on the stair's for spitting my spoonful of Syrup of Fig's all down my pinafore.

greenmossgiel Fri 16-Sep-11 15:37:52

I got sent to bed for not eating my runner beans. I picked the stuffing out of my eiderdown, though. Can't remember what they did with me after that.

Gally Fri 16-Sep-11 16:19:10

My just 2 year old GD was threatened with the 'naughty-step' a couple of minutes ago for ripping up some photos. She laughed and said 'yeth peese' and ran off to sit on it; don't think it's going to work with her somehow! grin.

Annobel Fri 16-Sep-11 16:21:26

glamma - best thing to do with syrup of pigs (as I used to call it). wink

JessM Fri 16-Sep-11 17:22:47

Last time I visited my GS , he was just 3 and pretty stroppy. And running away in public places. And had to be toilet trained pdq before he went "up a class" in nursery.
I banned the N words - no and naughty. The first because he was saying it all the time, which was very tedious. The second because he was starting to see himself as "a naughty boy" which is really not a good self image to develop. I went cross eyed for a month using only positive language "I'd like you to... " etc
I think the preferred term for "naughty step" if you have one is "time out step" as this does not reinforce the you are naughty thing. Toddlers cannot distinguish between "you are naughty" and "Your behaviour is naughty".
Anyway after a few weeks of this he was loads better. I am looking forward to spending some time with him now he has moved on from this phase...

jackyann Fri 16-Sep-11 17:51:53

I'm an experienced mum, but not an experienced gran, and am looking forward to experiencing the difference!
It's not clear from your post how much in advance the "not able to go out" was signalled, and I think this can make a big difference. I agree with absentgrana about planB. I would say "oh, it looks as if it might rain - if it does we can't go out" (and is that always the rule? that may cause confusion)
then "oh, if we can't go out, what could we do?" signalling any "no-go" areas and having your own planB in mind.

I also agree with Jess about the "naughty step" - it was never part of my parenting, and I personally don't like it. I do know it works well for some parents/grandparents and that's fine.

I do think that 3-6 is a difficult age for understanding "rules" - and a child who is just working out their own way of dealing with the world can get very confused.
Although children obviously do get used to different rules in different houses they visit, it is not surprising that they get confused sometimes.
One of my favourite stories of of my friend's child, aged 5, was on an extended visit to grandma. When mum arrived to stay for the weekend, she was a bit surprised to find her daughter, on getting out of the bath, say imperiously "fetch me my slippers". She said, of course "you fetch your own slippers". "No!" shrieked the little girl "here, it is FORBIDDEN to walk in bare feet!".

harrigran Fri 16-Sep-11 18:17:53

I do not use the naughty step or corner for the simple reason my GD sits and kicks the wall for the 5 minutes she is there. She may damage her own house walls but she's not doing it in mine. Naughtiness only seems to occur when both children are together.

grandmaagain Fri 16-Sep-11 20:31:13

we have just had similar problems with our high spirited GD. We are putting it down to tiredness as she has just started nursery school. we are going to try to reintroduce the afternoon nap next week see if that will calm her down.

Faye Fri 16-Sep-11 22:32:46

In Oz they call it 'time out.' My eldest grandchild now 6 was difficult from the age of two until nearly four. I believe there were a few things causing her bad behaviour. Her parents didn't let her have enough sleep, she had late nights and no naps. I told them, but my son in law insisted that naps would stop her from sleeping at night. In fact it is quite the opposite and she was often sick. In the end I said I wouldn't babysit if she wasn't allowed to have an afternoon sleep.

My granddaughter was sometimes eating food with preservatives and she would react badly (I did tell them). Also granddaughter had a small appetite and even though she ate a variety of fruit and vegetables etc, there were times when she wouldn't eat very much. If she was hungry she would get angry and aggressive and as soon as she ate her behaviour would immediately change. My daughter started spoon feeding my granddaughter at times when she was three to make sure GD ate enough.

When my granddaughter started school they allowed her to stay up until 8.30-9pm. Mornings were awful, she found it difficult to wake up and I was the person getting her ready and taking her to school three days a week. I had to ask them many times to put her to bed earlier as she was tired and couldn't wake up in the morning. My granddaughter is now in bed by 7.30pm or earlier so that she has time to have a story and also time to read out loud and she rarely ever wakes until 7am the next morning.

It took my daughter and my son in law a long time to understand the basics! I do wonder, my daughter is a teacher, I think her mind is somewhere else sometimes. Now granddaughter has early nights, is not allowed to have preservatives and eats a reasonable amount, she really is the most delightful, well behaved, sweetest child.

Joan Fri 16-Sep-11 23:15:24

I was so lucky with my own kids, in that my husband is ex-military and has perfected that 'look'. You know - the expression that means something like 'Carry on like this and you DIE'. I don't think he realised himself how scary he can look, but when the lads acted up, one cross look from him and they behaved.

Our youngest, who has just bought his first home and moves in with my DIL next weekend, is a captain in the Australian Army reserve, and he can put on 'The Look' too, just like his Dad. His Dad saw this one day when our lad's car was in for service, so he had to get a lift to the army base. He looks very young for his age, rather too young to be an officer, and a new soldier started to give him some lip. 'The Look' appeared and it was yes sir no sir from then on!!

harrigran Fri 16-Sep-11 23:23:50

Faye you could be describing my GD. When her blood sugar drops she starts being naughty and I have to tell DIL to feed her. GD has small appetite and would probably benefit from more frequent small meals. I have one GD who is loathe to eat what we would like her to and another GD who would eat her meal and everybody elses as well. GD1 has to have chocolate rationed too because it makes her hyper.

Annobel Sat 17-Sep-11 08:42:41

Same with my GD, now nearly 9. She gets grumpy and withdrawn when she needs something to eat and she too has a small appetite. She doesn't like chocolate at all. Crisps revive her in an emergency.

nannysgetpaid Sat 17-Sep-11 09:06:44

Joan My husband has that look (ex army). The children call it the ostrich look. It still works with our children and the grandchildren. My DIL commented the other day that son number 2 was so much better with bedtimes. eating etc than number 1. Eldest would not and at 8 still will not each veg and fruit. I reminded her that we learn as we go along and the second is usually easier than the first. Does anyone agree.

Faye Sat 17-Sep-11 09:13:14

I took both my son and youngest daughter to a pediatrician when they were children because of this sudden anger and anxiety. He said they had hypoglycemia (without diabetes). My son still becomes anxious and irritable if he is hungry. His wife reminds him to eat something when he becomes irritable. My youngest daughter, even though she was always very thin, was always hungry and ate a lot when she was a child and teenager and still likes to eat often!

JessM Sat 17-Sep-11 09:35:21

the important thing to remember about hypoglycaemia is that it can be caused by sugar. Sugary foods cause insulin to rise. The insulin lowers the blood sugar. Then you can end up with v low blood sugar in an hour or so. High fibre foods contain carbs but do not have these effects.
I think the primary cause of temper in children is 1/ they want to be in charge 2/ they want to test out just how much they can be in charge of 3/ they have learned that there is a pay-off attached to temper. (this will be a reward of some kind - there there darling have a sweetie, ok I give in, the fun of letting off steam or of getting your sister into trouble. Lots of attention is another one.
I saw a boy of about 6 behaving badly in the pool. He ended up getting a long , quiet lecture from nan, while the other 2 kids were ignored. Result!
Consequences are key. Time out can work because it removes them from the attention.
Example - me and GS in a nice cafe , where they have toys available and a safe forecourt area for him to play in. He knows he has to stay in the forecourt as although no cars, there are cyclists going past. He disobeys. "If you do that again F we are going home..." He does it again. I then have to manhandle him into buggy, strap him in, ask the cafe girl to put my drink into a paper cup, forgo our morning out, push him up the hill in the heat... But he got the message that I was in charge, not him.

PoppaRob Sun 18-Sep-11 00:12:07

I look after my grand-daughter most weekdays except a couple of mornings she goes to daycare which we call babygaol. On the babygaol days she's usually overtired and ratty until she's crashed for an hour or so. Every now and then either my daughter or son in law will finish work early and tell me they're picking the up the GD from babygaol and they're going to do stuff. Cue phonecall those nights saying the GD was ratty all afternoon. Ya think? My son in law had a hernia op so he looked after the GD that week... cue a week of rattiness. My incredibly intelligent but in this case idiot daughter decided to leave her husband and is now sharing a house with one of her friends, so they have the grand-daughter on a confusing 2 days turn about system. Fortunately for me, and much to their consternation, I'm the one constant in GD's life, so I'm very much in favour! Take the consistency out of a kid's life and everyone's screwed. As I always tell my daughter - children are childish - it's how they roll.

Like most Dads/Grand-dads I too use "The Look" to advantage. Hell, I even use it on random ratty kids at supermarkets when the Mums aren't looking! wink

I've always thought bringing up toddlers is a lot like training a dog, except the time I was showing her how we stop and look before we cross the street, at which point of course the dog sits. So we practice crossing the street and now every time we go for a walk and stop and the dog sits so does the GD! Anyway, I use lots of circuit breakers like a special toy that only gets brought out at strategic times, popping on a favourite DVD, or at the moment a banana. (Bananas have been phenomenally expensive in Australia since the floods and hurricane last summer so they've gone from being a staple to being a treat.) However the greatest punishment possible, saved for major dramas, is when Poppa gives "The Look" and tells her "I love you to the moon and back kid, but at the moment I don't much like you" and then lays on the couch with his back to her. Within seconds she sucks up big time and we return to our normal program.

Baggy Sun 18-Sep-11 07:26:17

Amused by your road-crossing training, poppa. smile I used to pretend to be blind and the child (or children) had to get me across the road safely. Obviously I only did this where it was relatively safe and at first I 'cheated' by not quite closing my eyes. Never closed my ears of course! Later, as they got better at it, they got cross if I cheated, but by then they'd learned what was important, including not letting me trip over the kerb on the other side.

I think there's a lot of 'acting' required when teaching children what is a good way to behave, how to be careful, and so on.

pompa Sun 18-Sep-11 07:48:44

Love your road crossing technique poppa. Our grandson loves dogs, so a well trained dog may be able to take over basic instruction for us ! grin. Unfortunately his other grandparents have two Yorkies that fight over toys constantly - not quite the behaviour I had in mind.

PoppaRob Sun 18-Sep-11 08:35:11

My two pooches are border collies. One, Gypsy, is from working lines so very obedient and focussed. The other one was my ex's and is pedigreed, so compared to Gypsy he's thick as a plank, but he does have a great nature and compared to a lot of other dogs he's actually quite intelligent. smile

We were practicing crossing the road right out the front of my house, and I had Gypsy on lead on my left and the GD holding my hand on my right. It wasn't until I felt the tug on my hand that I realised she's sat down! I explained to her that only dogs really needed to sit down when we stopped, but she still does it one in three times. When we first started going down to the beach I was worried about the GD straying so I did exactly the same recall exercises you'd do with a dog, and once again the dog was with us. A few sessions of praise and treats and the behaviour pattern is there. I know the GD is a person, not a dog, but I think the initial establishment of the behaviour pattern can't be a bad thing.

JessM Sun 18-Sep-11 08:48:50

Always enjoy reading your missives popparob (pity you are in the "wrong" bit of Australia - i.e. not the one I'm headed for, or I would be asking you out for a coffee next week, sigh) Glad your GD has you around, lucky girl.
Babygaol can be stressful. When she was 4 my GD used to go to Kindy (you'll understand - for others this was a small education-focussed nursery) on 2 mornings a week and to "daycare" - for two. She announced that "Kindy is where you go to learn things and daycare is where you get dumped when your parents have to go to work" My GS has been in 2 different daycares recently. A lovely one now. The final straw in the previous one was when DS went to collect him, found the staff and girls all chilling in the garden and the boys all indoors, playing "stick your arm down the toilet".