A few years ago I wrote this question, I had moved out for 3 years just to find myself back at the same house again but with different circumstances. My mother in law passed away last year and my wife and I decided to shift as her brother was not financially stable (so I am the one who pays rent/bills. Things haven't changed in terms of evading privacy as stated in the attached post but it has gone more out of control as we have the second son who is a few months old.

The problem now is that I have seen a stark difference in my elder son's behavior. While he is very much attached to his younger brother. He likes to be noticed and loves to talk a lot but our second son take all of our energy and some of my wife brothers are mean(I think) e.g. if they are playing with the baby and my first son try to play too with his brother (which is obvious), he gets scolded (e.g. stop kissing him hard).

I wish I can talk to them but I have a communication problem (My heart starts pondering if I want to point out something e.g. here I want to point out my wife's brother to change his tone).

Because I lost my last job, I work much on a new job leaving me no time to play with him and when I do I do not know what to play with my 4-year-old.

Since shifting, my son sleeps in our room on a floor bed and there is no more room, and I do not want him to sleep next to my wife's brother because of the reason I mentioned above.

I see my son being moody and his uncle saying "we r not talking to you coz ur not being nice and moody". I really cannot understand why my son is being so moody, he is very playful, creative.

What can I do as a father to fix the situation?

  • Meg's answer is good. As a side note I'd suggest you make sure you speak to the uncle. You may want to ask a question on Interpersonal Skills. But just be direct and clear, understand you can't control the adults, but you want what is best for all the kids and you hope you can count on their support.
    – Adam Heeg
    May 28, 2021 at 21:27

1 Answer 1


Although it's of course possible that there is something deeper to it, I think the "moody" behavior of your child is most likely a reaction to the amount of change and disruption in his life recently. A new baby, new place to live, change in the sleeping arrangements for the family, and change in the amount of attention he can get from parents is a lot for a child that age to take in and process, especially if it all takes place in a fairly short span of time. It's also developmentally normal for kids at age four to have strong feelings and occasional tantrums or crying spells, although 4 is often easier in that regard than 3.

There are a few things you can do to potentially help the situation. Some are simple, but some are more difficult and require some discomfort or sacrifice.

First, you and your wife should as much as possible find some time and energy to give your son more attention and playtime. This may involve giving up some free time or wearing the baby in a carrier so you can take your older child to the park, whatever he enjoys and is manageable.

Second, and I know this is something that is hard for you, stick up for your son when he's being treated badly by other adults. Even if you struggle with this, it is worth making an effort, because knowing that you are on his side and willing and able to defend him will be truly valuable to your son. If you truly can not speak to them, another option is to write a letter or start a conversation over email or text, although I think it's most ideal if your son actually sees and hears you defending him.

Finally, teach him that what he feels is normal. Don't tell him he's bad, not nice, or other things like that or let others tell him that. You know he's a kind, fun, creative, child. Separate negative behavior (I call it "bad choices" or "bad decision") from being a "bad person". Tell him that every day we have a new chance to make good choices.

He's also of an age to learn some simple emotional self-regulating techniques, like taking a deep breath and blowing it out, going to a quiet place to calm down, or counting to 10 before he acts when he's angry. The goal is for him to begin to learn that he is in charge of his moods and has mastery over them- that feelings are normal, feelings are ok even if they don't feel good in the moment, that they pass without harming us, and that he can separate his feelings and his actions.

Generally, the behavior problems and moodiness of young children that are having some difficulty adjusting to changes will improve over time as they begin to feel more settled in their new situation, and respond well to a combination of firm but reasonable boundaries (for example, that feeling bad does not mean that you can treat others poorly) and emotional support and comfort (ask him and talk to him about how he feels, validate that what is happening is upsetting/new/frustrating/etc and you understand how he feels, offer him a hug or comforting words).

  • 2
    As a father of 3 married to a early childhood education college grad this a good response.
    – Adam Heeg
    May 28, 2021 at 21:24

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