They warn you about the terrible twos and the threenager stages but no one and I mean absolutely NO ONE says a word about the effing fantastic fours…Like come on seriously!
Well that is until today my friends, I am here to warn you and tell you all about this glorious age. Every part of it, from the tantrums and sass to the adorable and loving stages.
I have had the luxury of raising one of each, a boy and a girl and I will tell you first and foremost that girls are seriously way harder than boys at this stage.
***Note – this is not professional advice on how to raise your children, I am not a professional just a mom that has her fair share of learning experiences and wanted to share her way of handling this parenting thing.
Have you ever tried arguing with a rock? How about a pup? No? Try it, that should prep you for what it’s like arguing with a four year old. Best advice I’ll give you on this one is choose your battles. Some are 100% not worth fighting. For example, they want to wear their undies over their pants? LET THEM. They want ice cream for dinner? LET THEM HAVE IT, Join them. Seriously, don’t be that mom. You know the one that makes them eat their dinner before they have dessert.
In my eyes at least they are eating something right?! Could be worse, they could be super picky and not eat anything. As long as they eat well for most of their diet you’re solid. Even your doc should tell ya let them eat the ice cream.
Another battle you should let fly, don’t correct them when they say something that’s incorrect this is their way of expressing their imagination. Best way to go about this, say something along the lines of “oh yea is that so, do you know that this is another way of that?” Battles you should choose? Breakfast, find something they like and let them eat as much as they want. It’s definitely the most important meal regardless of what it is, they want Mac n cheese or pizza for breakfast- give it to them! If it’s cold out make them wear the coat and fight them for it, a good compromise on this is layers.
Most kids hate the bunched you mess of the big coats and layers work well because if they get too warm they and pull them off one by one and still be protected or if you live in a place that gets a lot of sun make them wear the sunscreen. I had a very tough love on this one, I went as far as showing mine what COULD happen if they didn’t.
Now what do you do when they are in total meltdown mode and all hell has broken loose in the middle of target and your at wits end and ready sit on the floor and have a melt down with them? Pick them up and walk out. Go to the car and wait until they are done. Blast the radio if you have to. Otherwise it’s going to end with you on the floor next to them eating a pint of Ben and Jerry’s with a bottle of Seven Daughters wine.
Ok so maybe not but you’ll damn sure end up that way on your couch or in your bedroom closet (shh don’t tell them that’s where I hide). Basically think of this meltdown moment as if it were your own, what do you do when you are at breaking point? You need to vent and let it out. This is their way of doing just that, they are mad and frustrated that they didn’t get the special edition of the same damn barbie doll they bought last week or that ridiculous llama toy from fortnite. Ridiculous? Yes. Unnecessary? Absoeffinglutely. Needed (the venting)? YES.
Let them have their 10-20 minutes of screaming and crying like someone is murdering them violently and they’ll come down. THEN and only THEN should you attempt to talk to them about the situation. Talking to them and trying to calm them down midst fit ain’t gonna fly.
I like to refer to this stage the “sour patch phase” and that is simply because these beautiful, adorable and sometimes loving little humans will rip your hair out then melt your heart right after. It is the way it was with my son and is that way now with my daughter, she will flat out call you fat and two seconds later apologize and tell you how beautiful you are.
They are not bullying or being hateful, they are gauging how YOU will react so they can learn how They should react. To me four is a crucial learning age, not in academics (well maybe a little) but in behavior. How you and others respond to their behavior now is how they will think is the “right way”. So try to be a little more conscious about how you respond to the next time they decide to chuck a toy at you from the back seat.
Lastly, let them be kids. Part of the problem with today’s fantastic four year olds is that we as a society are sheltering them from using their imaginations and expressing themselves because we think we’ll be judged or parent shamed. That to me is way more ridiculous than a four year old flailing all over the bathroom floor because the toilet flushed automatically and SHE wanted to flush it WITH the handle that doesn’t exist. Why is parent shaming a thing anyway? Raise your own kids the way you see fit, the way you want to not the way someone else tells you you should. People ARE going to judge you, that doesn’t mean you should care what they think.
I love my kiddos, they are my tiny hoomins and I created them and I am here to tell you. This too shall pass and you WILL get through it, so will they. Enjoy this stage as with all others, you have no idea when it might be the last and soon enough they will be off to college doing their thing and you WILL miss this.