Impulse control at 4 y/o

Discussion in 'The Toddler Years(1-3)' started by eagleswings216, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. eagleswings216

    eagleswings216 Well-Known Member

    I was just wondering what everyone's thoughts are on whether being twins relates to how much impulse control kids have at age 4.  My boys will be 4 on Saturday, and it just seems like they have so little impulse control compared to others their age.  Lots of people say "oh, it must be a twin thing", but I really don't think that's it and we also hear "boys will be boys".  But again, I feel like there's possibly more going on.
    Here are some examples:
    -Our Christmas tree is still a small tree up on a table.  Even though they can only reach the bottom 6-12 inches, they can't stop touching the ornaments.  They will even say "don't touch the ornaments" and then go do it.
    -Their preschool teachers say they are the only kids in the class who can't sit still during circle time.  They are constantly up and down, touching others, wiggling, etc.  Again, they can talk about and seem to understand the expectations, but can't seem to do it. 
    -We also can't get them to sit through entire church service or even the children's story without multiple times getting up and down, talking, getting into stuff, etc  We've tried tons of techniques and even practiced at home. 
    -Meals are a nightmare, especially large gatherings.  Today at a family reunion, all the other kids, some as young as age 2, were sitting on a chair or in a grown up's lap.  My kids were the ones crawling under tables, jumping up and down, running up to people and saying ridiculous things, etc.  We pulled them aside several times to review expectations, to give reminders, etc and it fell on deaf ears.  We ended up leaving after less than an hour because they were being so rowdy (DH's family isn't very tolerant of that sort of behavior)
    -Taking both of them in public is nearly impossible for one person if they aren't in a shopping cart or otherwise contained.  They will wander off in different directions, run off, get into to things, talk to people, grab things from shelves, etc.  We have practiced individually and together a MILLION times and again, it seems like they just can't do it.
    -We have also been getting a LOT of back-talk and defiance lately, which is really frustrating  And things like Elf on the Shelf were fun, but they know where the elf is and will say stuff like "well he can't see me - he's in the living room" when they are in a different room.
    -They still have tantrums, which I thought would let up by now.  It has gotten better, but it's still over ridiculous stuff, like DH cut the top off a banana to see if it was ripe (it was a bit green) and DS1 SCREAMED for 20 minutes because he didn't want it with the top cut off.
    We have tried both positive rewards (stars on a chart, candy, Leappad time, etc,) and consequences (time out and yes, we spank on the bottom) to improve behavior.  We have seen SOME progress, so it's not like we feel totally hopeless, but MAN, it seems like even our friends and family with kids who are 2 have better behavior than our kids.  Our kids are very smart, so sometimes I think boredom is a problem, but even when they are engaged, it seems like they just can't control themselves.  We teach and review and are clear on expectations, and we are super consistent, too.  I end up yelling WAY more than I want, but it's like nothing gets through sometimes.  They are really sweet boys - love to hug, love to laugh, love to learn.  They are just so darn impulsive some days that I feel like I'm losing my mind.
    DH and I both work with kids (he teaches middle school, I used to teach special ed and now am a counselor with elementary students, most of whom have big behavioral issues), so it's not like we're clueless on discipline techniques or developmental issues, but it honestly feels like we might be heading towards some major issues when they go to school.  I keep hoping they will mature and grow up, but it just seems to keep on and on and on some days.
    Okay, sorry for the long vent.  If anyone made it this far, I'd love to hear your thoughts.  Is this a twin thing?  Is it a boy thing?  I really don't think my expectations are too high, but maybe??
  2. Rollergiraffe

    Rollergiraffe Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Do we have the same kids???
    We have dealt with many of the same issues in many of the same ways. I find a couple of things help, although we're a long way from having "good" behavior most of the time. One is separation. When they're separate, they're typically a lot better, and a lot easier to discipline when brother isn't getting in their face all the time. When they were in separate groups at school we also noticed a HUGE improvement in their behavior. Now that they're together again, one of my boys who typically takes a back seat to the other boy is going completely off the rails. So I think to that extent, it is a twin thing because it's pretty rare for anyone to have to be with their sibling 24-7, and I can see how that could cause friction.
    I also have signed up for sports and we are doing as much as we can to get exercise. The boys really fight me on this sometimes, but when we get outside and run around, especially before events where I know they have to be focused, they are a thousand times better.
    Keeping their blood sugar on an even keel also helps. Frequent healthy snacks help avoid the hangries and give me a bargaining tool when we're out.
    Another thing that I have to do is completely lower my expectations. I find when tensions are high I become very intolerant of any kind of bad behavior, and so I have to be really conscious of what the limits are and then communicate that to them. And when they cross it? Discipline. No. Matter. What. This means we've left family events, left with screaming kids at the mall, whatever.. we have to follow through.
  3. cheezewhiz24

    cheezewhiz24 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Ahh, it's so nice to be with people who have kids like mine.

    Every year they are better, but mine are similar to yours. They are SO active it's hard to keep up with them and still get stuff done. This week they have taken an interest in climbing trees which I don't mind but I do ask that they have a grown up as a spotter. There are things I like about their high octane personality- they are generally happy, life of the party type people who are enthusiastic and love to learn. It's tough as a parent to stimulate that continually but it pays off.

    Jen gave you great advice. In general, if I'm not meshing well with a kid I need 1:1 time with them. Also, going out without the kids I see other kids in their age group doing the same stuff which helps me put it in perspective.
  4. eagleswings216

    eagleswings216 Well-Known Member

    Thanks, ladies.  At least I know I'm not alone!  DH and I do try to have 1:1 time with each of them.  We will take just one to do errands, for example, and the other stays home with the other of us.  For my little DS2, that is really important.  I can tell from his level of whining if he's not getting enough Mommy time.  They are definitely better behaved apart from each other, but even alone, they just can't stop touching things, running off, etc.  It's SO tiring sometimes!!  Plus DH had back surgery on Dec. 2 and he can't lift or bend anything for another 3 weeks, so I'm having to do a lot of things that he would normally do, both around the house and with the kids.  It's been a long couple of weeks, but we will survive one way or the other, right? 
  5. cheezewhiz24

    cheezewhiz24 Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    Ahh. I'm sure both of your fuses are a bit short due to your husband's surgery. Kids are rather constant and unrelenting, aren't they?
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