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4 year old has no empathy

(4 Posts)
Meandmycrew2 Mon 05-Aug-19 14:03:08

This is my first post so bare with me.
My four year old (nearly 5) son has started pulling hair, hitting and poking other kids at nursery for no apparent reason. He will literally go up and pull hair etc with no prior warning and show no signs of remorse if / when there’s a reaction. Is this normal behaviour? He is quite shy and struggles to involve himself in a group activity or approach a person or situation. Is this his way of doing this or has he got no empathy? I’ve tried rewards charts, explaining why we shouldn’t behave like that, explaining feelings and emotions, telling him off but he still does it, almost like an instinctive thing. He doesn’t do it anywhere other than at nursery

OP’s posts: |
Pineapplefish Mon 05-Aug-19 19:11:11

How worrying for you, OP. The fact that he only does it at nursery makes me think that it's something about his feelings towards the setting rather than an underlying character trait. Can you approach this in a different way and think of ways to help him feel happy and settled at nursery? How about asking some of the other kids over to play to help him form friendships? Maybe invite the whole nursery class to his 5th birthday party? Would it help him to take in a comfort toy (my DD needed hers at nursery at this age)? Carry on with telling him not to do it as well. Maybe talk to the staff to see if they have any ideas. My DS went through a hitting phase (he was younger than yours though) and suddenly one day he just stopped and has never done it again. Hope it's the same for yours!

Meandmycrew2 Mon 05-Aug-19 19:29:50

Thank you. The staff have been quite unhelpful when I’ve asked about what we can do (as in us and them) or even in telling me if this is ‘normal’ behaviour or not.
I too feel it’s something in the setting, possibly having so many kids together at once. He goes to school soon so I will definitely take your idea on board and arrange lots of play dates with the other kids.
🤞🤞 what we are saying to him is sinking in and it’ll all just click...soon!

OP’s posts: |
Bristolgal Wed 07-Aug-19 05:31:41

If it's any comfort, then according to research children don't develop empathy skills until 5 years old approximately, so it'll come. He sounds like he's bored or needing some more attention?
I wouldn't worry too much though. It just soinds like a phase which many kids go through!

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