What happened to my lovely 4 year old?

(4 Posts)
Perriwinkle9991 Sun 14-Aug-16 20:46:32

I've been reading a lot of threads about poor behaviour around 3.5/4 year olds. I'm here because I am really struggling to see why on earth he is becoming so violent and angry.

I've never had any real issues with him. He sleeps well, eating isn't great variety wise but eats. He is an only child. He is exceptionally well behaved at school.

Just lately he is becoming more aggressive at home and when out. He gets so angry he punches and kicks others and this is totally not what he's ever done. He really fails to understand that it's unacceptable and will always blame someone else for why he's hit out. I've spoken to him about why we don't hit and how does that make people feel ect.

We use time out but he's sat there for an hour due to refusing to say sorry for his actions. He's very stubborn also so will sit in his room for 2 hours.

I'm not sure what to do... I'm a family support worker and I deal with this all the time with other families but now I can't deal with it myself. I understand children have phases and anger is a normal emotion but it's literally like someone's turned a switch. I'm not sure if it's being out of routine or if it's just something that's happened. I've used time out, removing toys, ignoring him, going to bed early ect and none of it seems to have an effect. I need tips! I feel like a failure... I tell others all the time and yet I can't do it myself blush

FluffyMcTuffy Mon 15-Aug-16 23:10:07

Hullo Periwinkle
Sounds like you're both having a tough time, my heart goes out to you! One thing knowing it's a normal phase and emotion, but it does feel hard when it's your LO and it's directed at you, and nothing you do seems to help! My DS is newly 4 and we've just been through this very same phase, so I wonder if any of the stuff that helped us may help you too. We have come out the other side intact, and even more closely connected than before, so I hope that gives you a bit of hope.

I had the usual advice about time outs, ignoring, punishment/reward etc. that you seem to have tried. But they seemed to be punishing him in one way or another, just for having feelings which he didn't yet understand and impulses he couldn't yet control, (which we all have and god knows even adults can't control properly). But there were quite a few things on line, that were an alternative to all that, and which were the things which really helped us come through it.

There were some ways of understanding what was going on for him, and tips and techniques, that were particularly helpful, so a few links below are for you to have a read through for you to check them out if you're interested. (If you can stick with some of the Americanisms I did find it worth it - and they explain what I found out far better than I could even attempt to explain in a post!)

www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/positive-discipline/Child-Hits-parent

www.handinhandparenting.org/article/children-hitting-biting-pushing-helping-children-with-aggression-2/

www.janetlansbury.com/2014/07/my-preschooler-is-hitting-me/

www.positiveparentingsolutions.com/time-out/transform-your-time-outs-to-time-ins-guest-post-from-dr-laura-markham

www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/positive-discipline/effective-limits

The other thing that was a complete godsend was the book 'How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and How To Listen So Kids Will Talk', by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish. I'm not one for parenting books, experts and 'gurus' at all but, I was at a loss myself otherwise, and gave it a go. It was £6 online and the best £6 I've ever spent. Dead readable, could dip in and out of it, and every bit of it helped,especially the chapter on empathising with your child's negative feelings. That made us turn our first corner from a biting, kicking, slapping, punching, shouting, screaming scratching, defiant little boy, to a scared and angry little boy who turned to his mummy because he knew I'd listen to him and that I'd do my best to understand him, to a happy, confident, cooperative (mostly - he's 4!), empathic, kind and secure little boy. So, not quick fix, but for us, it worked.

So good luck, lovely. Sorry for massive post but I hope perhaps our experience might help you both move on to a much happier (and less defiant and hitty) place xx

Perriwinkle9991 Wed 17-Aug-16 23:30:00

Thank you for your very informative post. I've ordered a different book " no drama discipline" so will see what that's like. Will look into the book you mentioned.
So far the approach this week I've used is copying the school with name in a book and two ticks you loose something. Seems to be working had 2 trouble free days as such... Few meltdowns but no hitting! smile

MiaowTheCat Fri 19-Aug-16 08:13:05

Think it's just a developmental phase to be honest- my own 4 1/2 year old is having real problems controlling her temper at the moment (she does visibly try at least bless her). She's really struggling with boredom at the moment as well from the long holidays now as well which isn't helping (despite days out etc - I refuse to spend the entire time being an all singing all dancing kids entertainer). The lack of structure and that dead bit between nursery and school is sending her bloody loopy!

Don't sweat that you don't know all the answers despite your job - I'm a primary teacher by trade (no longer working as one) but good-god mine have almost cracked me several times!

She's lashed out a couple of times but immediately you can see her think "oh heck" and take herself off to calm down so I figure at least the boundaries are there - they're just a bit wobbly at the moment.

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