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sudden aggression from almost 4 year old

(4 Posts)
Sunflower30 Thu 03-Mar-16 13:24:30

I am at my wits end with my son. he is 4 in april and he seems to have turned from a sweet natured little boy into a an aggressive and short tempered one almost overnight. he has always been 'spirited' and strong willed but has always been manageable. we used to use the time out step and a sticker chart as behaviour management and rewards and these have always worked well. but just lately, nothing works! If I manage to get him sat on the timeout step for a few minutes, when I come back to him, he is not remorseful and would rather sit on the step for half an hour than come and talk about what happened. He doesn't care if he earns a sticker for his chart (after earning 5 stickers he gets to choose a treat from a treat box). He doesn't care if I take a toys away. The only thing that seems to bother him is when I ignore him..which I hate to do and I only do this when I know I am reaching my limit. Today was dress up day at nursery, we sorted his outfit last week when he decided he wanted to be a dinosaur and when I tried to get him ready to go he said no. I said, its nice to join in with your friends and he slapped me over my head and then punched me in the neck, just out of the blue. He had been perfectly happy until that, I really don't feel there was an obvious trigger. I have heard that boys go through this at around this age but i would really appreciate any advice on how to cope with his behaviour in the meantime. thanks!

holeinmyheart Thu 03-Mar-16 19:16:30

Has anything happened at Pre school or nursery that has disturbed him? Also check with your GP that he hasn't got any infections ( ear problems)
Then, if all is clear, you need to consider that this is fairly normal behaviour for a four year old. They do push the boundaries and they do become horribly contrary. They also know they can behave like this with you as you will always be there for them.

If he hits you again, I would get down to his level and say with a stern face how absolutely unacceptable this is, and how hurt Mummy is. Try to be patient and consistent when you withdraw rewards for bad behaviour. Try and concentrate on the positives.
He is hardly past being a baby and is just not capable of plotting to make your life miserable.

I used to use distraction a lot.

Me.... Come and put your coat on.
Child.... No I don't want to!
Me ...( turning my back to the little rogue) Oh! Look at this,! pretending I could see something out of the window.
Child.....comes over to see what I could see, allowing me to get hold of him and slip his arm into the coat as I said..... There was a large big, huge bird/ space ship/ Darth Vada out there....etc etc...

You have one go at bringing your DCs up to believe in themselves and respect you. They deserve to be treated like you would like to be treated.....that is with patience and respect.
We have all been there, believe me, and feel like throttling the little so and so's, but if you can count ten and be as patient and as loving as possible, you will be rewarded in shedloads when they grow up.
They won't remember your exact words but they will remember the warmth and love they received from you. I remember my childhood, as I received none.

hugs, because we have all been there, and it is not easy having DCs.

LostInMess Sat 05-Mar-16 18:06:56

My little boy will be 4 at the end of this month and I have noticed a similar change. Fortunately, I have a friend with 5 boys who had warned me about the testosterone surge at age 4 so I have been expecting it - doesn't make it any easier though! Google it and there's plenty there. I think it's also not helped by the being at the top of the tree at preschool - DS1 has been there since age 2.5 and is now one of the bigger ones and very confident.

I think there's an element of using usual techniques but also seeing what else works. Interesting that you said ignoring works - I find a lot of my son's behaviour is what I term showing off so I do tend to ignore him if it's just shouty silliness otherwise I take action - but I do find removing him from a situation/leaving him alone most effective.

This too shall pass.......

flumpybear Tue 08-Mar-16 13:25:27

I've just posted a very similar post! I wondered if it was testosterone too so nice to hear they have a surge at 4 as this works out timing wise for my little boy who is 4 this month

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