The Fearsome Fours

My child never went through the terrible twos that other parents warned us about. We braced ourselves for the behavior issues to pop up at three. They never did! We took our kid everywhere and he rarely had meltdowns or tantrums. We didn’t have problems putting him in the car seat or getting him to go with the flow unless he truly was tired or uncomfortable. No wonder by the time Rocky was 4, we thought maybe we were the lucky exception and let our guard down. Turns out he was just saving it for us.

The fearsome fours began at about 4 ½. Suddenly there were unanticipated outbursts in public. No falling on the floor fits just moments of general disagreement on a daily basis. Tell him to do something and he refuses. Tell him not to do it, and he simply must break the rule. And now he has the verbal skills to go along with the temper. “IF YOU MAKE ME, I’LL DO IT BUT I’M NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT!” There are sometimes grunting noises and occasional throwing of the toys. Wait, where did this come from? Is this a phase or a long term change? I thought I was prepared for this at 2, no fair throwing this at me at 4!

Fortunately, I have consulted with other parents of 4-year-old boys and found that this delayed display of independence is not really so unusual. There are others who started the sassiness a little later than most. If any of you readers is in the same boat, there is hope that this, too, shall pass. Rocky really is a great kid; so social, affectionate and charming. He seems to get along with most other kids, which is a big relief. For now, I do my best to help him make good choices and to cope with the dissatisfaction of not being able to do what he wants, when he wants. We all know this feeling. It’s a tough one even for some adults to handle.

“I fight authority, authority always wins!” – J Mellencamp

The Librarian