Need help to break the crying habit of a 4 year old boy

13 replies, Page 1

Spurthi 2010-08-26 11:29:08


My son starts crying as soon as I/my husband tell him to stop doing something. His sobbing turns into wailing and goes on for long. We are not strict parents and merely telling him something in a normal tone (no raised voices) tips him off. He has usually been an active boy. However, off late we see that when we say to adopt some good habits/ stop some actions (like blowing nose himself/sharing toys with 2 yr old sister etc), he starts to cry. There is no specific reason and it is not the case that he doesn’t know how to do these things – there are times when he does the same things very enthusiastically. Also, he doesn’t tell out what he has in his mind during such time and uses only gestures to speak. Cajoling him and telling him to use words to express what he has to say also doesn’t help (he is a very good with speaker at other times).

 Any inputs to break this crying habit will really help me.   With thanks VR

2986 2010-08-26 11:33:43


hi spurthi,  am also facing the same situation with my 21\2 year old son and becos of that i am getting frustrated


srsavi 2010-08-26 12:13:50


I face the same with my son and I have realized these kids are too smart and thats just their way or not falling in line . My son knows what he has done is wrong as soon as he does it , and if I just give him a stare or say his name firmly he will start his crocodile tears !

Some things are really bad like when he will start hitting me continously and that really scares me as a habit . I try to ignore it coz  giving him a whack is not a solution but sometimes I do that !

Most times I ignore him , the silent treatment works when they are just being obstinate . Sometimes I tell him to go and stand behind the curtain by himself and he knows its a punishment for his mis deeds  .

I have not yet found the ideal solutionm to these temper tantrums - and any advice is welcome ! Sometimes he really gets angry and those are the times that scare me .


NJ 2010-08-26 14:10:38


Good to know that I am not alone in this. My 2 year old son also has bad temper tantrums which has increased lately. He will just fall on the floor and roll around crying if he does not get what he wants. He will even fall like that in public and it becomes very embarassing. Sometimes even if he frustrated with his toys he would kick his legs and start sniffling.


NJ 2010-08-26 14:13:22


I think these young children who cry a lot have problems with expressing and thats why they cry as they cannot express their needs satisfactorily. So their frustration comes out in form of temper tantrums. I think especially in my sons case, till he forms a proper language to express himself he will be like this.


alsu 2010-08-26 14:33:40


NJ and 2986 - ur kids r small.. as NJ said until they develop their language u will have this.. thts the only way for them to express tht they need something.. so u cannot do anything at this age rather give them wat they want..

even i have the same prob with my daughter who is 4yrs old. the minute she wakes from the bed she will start crying.. and never stops until she is given something to play..

for each and everything she cries.. initially i used to convince her , pat her and cuddle her.. but tht didnt work..

now i ignore her crying. i tel her if she cries i wont speak. but its not a big matter for her. she doesnt stop even for tht. i was stubborn and never speak until she stops..  after about 3 or 5min of crying she wil stop it and then speak to me.. tht time i speak normally about something else and change her mood..

even if tht doesnt work i start to cry and speak to her. i imitate her. immediately she stops. i tel her how bad it is if i speak to u like tht.. i know its bad to imitate her and make her feel bad.. but i keep this as the last option..

the first thing after birth they do is to cry. they cry for milk, sleep then later for attention, toys etc.. thts becoming a habit in some kids i think.. they feel if they cry they will get wat they want.. v need to change tht attitude.. v have to be a little stern so tht they undertsnd wat they r doing is wrong..

v moms try new techniques for their tantrums.. but kids nowadays r very clever.. they throw a new kind of tantrum..



RMHyd 2010-08-26 14:36:40


Hi everyone,

In most cases kids cry often at this age to get more attention... they know when they cry the parents will start to cajole them. They also do so as they cant express themselves & are not emotionally confident. They need to feel safe & secure at all times and all this will change whne they cross 3 years of age.

It is also common for kids to hit the parents but it is imporant that the parents remain firm with them & explain to them later that what they did was not correct. If you amek the kids watch a lot of TV and shows like - Tom & Jerry & Chota Bheem where a lot of violence happens.. they pick hitting up often.

Suggest - Keep TV time limited to 1 hour a day & fix the time everyday. SO they will also look forwrad to it.






Spurthi 2010-08-26 18:08:40


For a 4 year old, my son is very good at speaking both in Tamil and English. Also, as we don't have cable connection and so only DVD cartoons (dora, mickey mouse etc) for not more than an hour a day.

I have tried being firm with him and his crrying only increases. Also, when explained to him when the crying stops, he seems to understand and nods his head and even appologises at times, but then the next time the whole cycle repeats.

I do know that when he grows up he will definitely understand, but then I don't want him to develop this as a habit and keep us at bay :-)



aanchal 2010-08-26 22:08:49


speaking fluently in a language is not same as good espressive skills. a child may be fluent in a language but may not know the right words to his feelings. u need to provide him with the correct word and the correct method. avoid the 3 S's ( silence, screaming, spanking) to foster discipline. telling the child that he is upset takes away half the pain as the child feels reassured that u know his correct state. next comes giving the right word to his upset state (angry, frustrated, bored, hungry, tired, sad, disappointed etc) and relating it to a probable cause. explain him the right behavior vs wrong behavior only when he calms down and connects with you. in all probability, he knows right from wrong and the only thing he needs is may be an empathetic ear.

also, try to observe if there is certain situation that tips him off. does he get cranky when you speak with your husband? or does he start pulling your sleeves when you attend to your other child or take a phone call? or does he get irritable 15-20 minutes before his usual meal time or nap time? these cues will help you take steps accordingly.

you can make an emotion chart and paste it on wall at his level...preferably at a place which is very soothing and u can call that corner of the house with some cute name like ' cozy cozy', 'happy chair', 'kissy missy'. draw emoticons of various emotions and coach him what is what. then the next time he gets into that upset state, physically take him there and sit down with him on your lap. stroke him, listen to him, and show him the appropriate emoticon. he will instantly connect with you for trying to understand him ( children do not mind if your analysis is wrong in the first attempt)

u will see that in few days he will himself ask you to sit with him in that corner and will show you how he is feeling :)

i take my son to staircase when he gets angry. i always sit 2-3 steps below him (human beings have a tendency to look down upon someone who looks small. so when i sit below him, my anger remains under control.also he feels in-charge to be 'above' me and that soothes him too). then we talk and in the end i ask him to blow off anger from his mouth. he blows of air ( a deep breathing technique to calm down) 7-8 times out of 10, this helps us.


darshiniaravind 2010-08-27 00:12:32


 Amazing insight anchal..will definitely  follow ur suggestions.




Shkm 2010-08-27 05:56:25


That is really a great and indepth reply. It will really help parents like me who are a loss to understand what to do in case of tantrums. I am sure most of us really appreciate the way y


Shkm 2010-08-27 05:57:38


That is really a great and indepth reply. It will really help parents like me who are a loss to understand what to do in case of tantrums. I am sure most of us really appreciate the way you take pains to answer all the queries


alsu 2010-08-27 08:20:31


u r always doing a good job Aanchal.. Thanx.. sure will try it.. ur answers r really eye openers for me... thanx again...


aanchal 2010-08-27 10:09:43


 thanks..i am glad i can be of some help



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