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I had a friend who was cohabiting with a single mom of a 4 year old. He was always quite harsh on the kid I thought, very strict, he didn't hurt him but the kid was sort of scared of him (Because my friend was like 6'6, and looked like a mountain wizard)

So one time I was at the house alone with the kid. I turned my back on him for a couple minutes, he came walking into the living room from the kitchen carrying a butcher knife almost as long as his leg. I yelled at him got that knife away from him. When the mom got home I told her the story and she laughed and said 'oh Damien!' (kid's name was Damien)

When I told my friend later he sort of buried his head in his hands and said something about how hard it was and he was always mean to the kid and having to yell at him because basically he was the only adult in his life that kept him in check. Probably my friend should have found a better way of handling Damien, but on the other hand some situations are more difficult than others.




So basically, boy acted like normal 4 years old and took an interesting thing into hand? And that is somehow proof that the kid is exceptionally difficult? Four years old holding knife right now is a reason to tell him to put it down or introduce consistent safety rules, but really really it is neither proof of unusual out of control behavior or something that requires instant yelling.

Four years old can be taught to cut soft vegetables under close supervision. However, if you constantly yell at four years old, four years old will learn to ignore everything except yelling.

Not that occasional yelling harms that kid or something. But, yelling often is more of adult emotional reaction, not a rational reaction to real acute danger.


> So basically, boy acted like normal 4 years old and took an interesting thing into hand?

A 4-year-old is old enough to know what they are and aren't allowed to grab, in terms of common household items.

> However, if you constantly yell at four years old, four years old will learn to ignore everything except yelling.

If you consistently show a four-year-old that only yelling will be followed by physical intervention, then they will learn to ignore everything except yelling. If you consistently show a four-year-old that a quiet "I'm going to count to three... one... TWO..." will be followed by physical intervention, then they will learn to pay attention to that.

The default attitude of most four-year-olds is "make me" and if you let them know what will result in you making them do the thing, they will pay attention.


Did I say he was exceptionally difficult? I wouldn't know, since I didn't parent him.


That referred more to your friend. The "having to yell at him because basically he was the only adult in his life that kept him in check". It sounds honestly like an excuse making and rationalization.

Not that I never yelled at kids. I did. But this reaction on that situation sound like that.


Probably, but I wasn't in his shoes. I mean the guy was not the father, came in after the kid had grown some, was with a mother who did not say Damien don't take knives out of the drawer without asking but just laughed about it, and I expect was also from a somewhat disciplinarian background himself.

So, he was probably wrong in how he handled it, but it was quite heartfelt what he said, he was handling it as well as he could, and perhaps that was badly. It was hard for me to second guess him under the circumstance.


The mom was not there at the moment?


the mom was not there when the son came in with the knife. when told about it she laughed, that lovable little scamp. She was not there when my friend unburdened himself about what he considered his obligations to the kid, and what he thought was the difficulties. At any rate, it's a long time ago now. I was just sharing it in that people for various reasons may end up shouting while trying to do their best, then again people may also end up shouting because they are too stressed by situations which is also a problem, but they should be helped then.




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