Angry and aggressive 4 year old - delayed reaction to new baby?(5 Posts)
DS is 4 1/2 and up until the last couple of months I've never had any real difficulties with him. He's always been a lovely little boy - intense and very demanding of my attention at times, but also sweet and funny and affectionate. He's normally a fantastic little person to be with and I used to really enjoy my time with him.
Over the last few weeks his behaviour and mood seem to have changed quite dramatically. He's been sulky and rude, and at times quite defiant - really testing the boundaries. He seems angry, with me in particular, but also very needy, as though he wants me to focus on him all the time. Sometimes he gets into a sort of manic state where he's hyper and over-excited, and there's a lot of charging round and bashing and shouting and silly voices - I think this is mostly when he's tired.
In the last fortnight or so he's started to have proper melt downs where he just can't seem to control his emotions. This is normally triggered by me saying no to something, or giving him a gentle telling off for some minor misdemeanour. He gets incredibly angry and quite aggressive, trying to hit or kick me and throwing things around the room. On a couple of occasions he's said that I don't love him, that everyone hates him and even that he hates himself
DD is 7 months old and I'm wondering whether part of this is a delayed reaction to having a new sibling? For the first few months I thought he was coping brilliantly with the change, and has been very sweet with DD - but recently he's made a few comments about how he'd wish she would go away because he wants to play with me, and how he can't wait for her to be 1 because then I won't have to feed and carry her all the time.
I have no idea whether I'm handling all this in the right way - this kind of behaviour is new to me and I feel out of my depth. When he gets angry I try to stay calm, reassure him and encourage him to talk about feeling angry rather than lashing out - but I also want him to know that it's not OK to hit me, and I can't have him wandering round the house destroying things! I'm worried that if he gets really out of control he's going to hurt himself or DD.
Any advice? I can't bear for him to feel this sad, and I feel like I don't know him at the moment - I just want my sweet little boy back
No advice but my 4.5yr old is the same, exactly as you described. He also has a 1 yr old sibling and is incredibly jealous about me bf him. I found the book 'siblings without rivalry' good to help understand the pain and hurt... but no idea on the behaviour. Another theory (which has been somewhat debunked) is that there is a testosterone surge between 4 and 5.
Is he at pre school or school and something possibly happening there?
Could you speak with staff and see how he behaves at nursery/school? It could well be him acting out his displeasure at his sibling and doing some full blown attention seeking behaviour. I found a parenting course The Incredible Years so helpful as I struggled with my sons behaviour and it worked wonders. It's so hard isn't it? You sound like a very reflective person and a lovely mum. Gather resources ie other supportive people, mums that parent similar to you and ask how they do things. I remember the strategies about keeping consistent, clear boundaries, a short list of absolute no-no's, lots of praise, ten minutes of child led play each day without interruption, time out to calm and quieten down, etc. Lots to think about but don't struggle alone. Get support.
Thanks for the support! He's at pre-school - I had a quick chat with his teacher who said that he's lovely at school and there are no problems that she's aware of.
I think most of it is related to DD. Last night she went to bed early and we had a quiet half hour doing Lego together and he was really happy. I'd like to give him more one-on-one time but he's at pre-school till 3pm Monday to Thursday and after school I have DD with me. The after-school hours are always a bit of a nightmare - everyone's tired and he wants my attention but I'm trying to make tea, feed DD etc.
You're right about resources - I'm reading the 'How to talk so your kids will listen' book which seems helpful. What I find hard is striking the right balance between setting boundaries, and giving him a bit of a break because he's clearly fed up . Maybe I will look into a parenting course too.
Going to pick him up now so will see how this afternoon goes...DH is back late tonight so could be a long evening!
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