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4 yr old DESPERATE BEHAVIOUR - Help! Spitting, Screaming, Kicking, Scratching, Biting

(9 Posts)
Tinkabelle Tue 22-Jul-08 22:16:12

VIOLENT OUTBURSTS - SPITTING in my face, calling everyone "STUPID IDIOT", HITTING, SCRATCHING AND KICKING. My son is about to be 4yr next month, everyone who meets him thinks he is the most charming adorable boy, however he has these horrendous outbursts when things don't go his way. He seems so mature in so many ways, he is an excellent communicator, shares well, expresses himself well. However these explosions are unbearable at times as they happen in public and at home.

I am an intelligent women who has read up on raising boys and been to parenting practice workshops. I employ all the techniques they that are recommended, and basically sat down and discussed with my son how ridiculous he looks when he does this behavious, and that he is embarressing himself with his 'immature babyish outbursts'.

He is very defient and basically says he doesn't care about any punishment, time out never works as he kicks the door down and screams his head off for the entire duration. Taking away pleasure's eg. comforters, treats doesn't work either. He just says he doesn't care and that I am a STUPID IDIOT.

Help! I find it terribly embaressing being spat out and my face clawed in the supermarket and screamed that I am a STUPID IDIOT!!

Due to his behavious friends are cautious now to have him to play in case of his outbursts and also because of his influence on their children I am sure.

Can anyone offer advice. He will be going to full time school in September and has an older 6 yr old brother who is very well mannered and has threatened to leave home because he can't cope with his brother's outbursts.

Please can anyone offer help. I do not think he has any known 'label' I think he has a very bad temper and high testerosterone. I find this difficult as I only grew up in an all female environment and now live in an all male one.

Hecate Wed 23-Jul-08 14:07:18

I think that you should ask your HV for a referral. You say you have read up and used everything you can find, you've even been to classes - I'm not sure what else you can do without some support.

Ask for him to be assessed by a paed, or child psychologist. They may have suggestions you have not come across before.

HonoriaGlossop Wed 23-Jul-08 14:23:14

I don't know if you read the response to the other thread you posted it on yesterday, but I wanted to repeat what I said on there (what I can remember)

Main thing was to stop bothering talking to him about it in terms of how awful he looks when he's angry or how babyish etc. IMO this simply cannot help. At worst it CAN create a feeling in him of being 'got at' and engender more resentment and anger, IMO and at best it's just useless, he's too young to take it in and moderate his behaviour because of it. He is still at an age where he can't quite govern his strong feelings

Don't think that time out isn't working because he yells or bangs the door; you can't control what he does, all you can do is impose the consequence, be consistent and give him the TIME to learn. Don't think a consequence is not working just because he is defiant. He's only 3, give it time and also remember he won't be like this forever because he won't be 3 forever.

Spitting, hitting, kicking, scratching would all be 'time out' things for me - but it doesn't have to be in an angry, punitive way; gently explain that's not how we treat eachother and he can have 3 minutes on his own in his room to think about it etc

Hope some of that helps

Phil75 Wed 23-Jul-08 22:51:06

Just wanted to add that my DS will be 4 in September and is also being really really difficult at the moment. He is extremely articulate and mature in many ways, but is being really rude to me and showing very aggressive behaviour at the moment. Having watched the other boys in his preschool who are a bit older and going on to school in September, I am reassured, as they all seem to be absolutely wild at this age. It's very much a boy thing. I just wanted to sympathise as I also work a lot and DS goes to nursery 2 full days and preschool 2 mornings and you can't help but feel guilty & responsible. I really struggle not to lose it with him but also know that this is just a really frustrating time for him.. caught between high emotions and immaturity at how to deal with them.

The problem is exasperated by the fact he's started refusing to go to bed. He's currently sitting outside my bedroom door! Any advice on that one??!! Think we've tried everything!

Good luck to all with their difficult boys! Greatly reassuring to read all the posts.

HonoriaGlossop Wed 23-Jul-08 23:01:14

blimey phil he sounds a determined boy smile

I think I would make a deal with him - I'd say I'd sit in his room with him so long as he is laying down to sleep. If he messes around then you go etc etc. You may have tried this! But it worked with my ds when he didn't want to be left at bedtime.

Phil75 Thu 24-Jul-08 10:04:16

Thanks Honoria... that will be tonight's tack! And then it's straightjackets!!

HonoriaGlossop Thu 24-Jul-08 10:46:49

good luck

What I've found with ds, and maybe it's a boy thing, but he's not very good at realising WHY he feels a certain way. He might not be able to realise "I don't want mum to go because I'm feeling scared of being alone/bad dreams/the dark" so instead he might just get pesky, as in your ds' sitting outside your door thing....

I think sometimes children (boys?) need help to get in touch with their feelings. DS sometimes asks me to tell him why he feels sad, and I have to explain that no-one else can tell us - we have to try to think what has made us feel a certain way

Darth Vader voice works for this "Search your feelings....." grin he can relate to that and I think it's helped him understand the concept a bit.

juuule Thu 24-Jul-08 12:12:53

Phil, my dd also did the sitting outside the bedroom thing and refusing to go to bed. She got worse when she started nursery and would then also wake in the night screaming.

After finding her asleep outside our door with her quilt and pillow, we did let her sleep in our bedroom if she wanted to. Eventually she stayed more and more in her own room. Now at 8yo she goes to bed normally and is quite happy in her own bedroom.
Have you asked him why he doesn't want to go to his own bed?
Some of my other children didn't like sleeping in their own beds around this age too. We tried various things that allowed them to be near us until they were confident and able (and preferred) to go to their own bedrooms.

tinkerbelle If one of mine was spitting/screaming/kicking I would go very quiet, stop whatever I was doing and remove them from wherever we were. If I was shopping, I might or might not leave my shopping depending on where I was with it and how bad the tantrum was. I would go home and after telling my child why we had to stop what we were doing and that I needed an apology for such poor behaviour I would carry on with whatever I needed to do giving very little attention to the child until got over the tantrum/mood and were in a more receptive mood. Tantrums that involve spitting/kicking I put the child in another room until the storms blown out. Keep checking frequently by asking are they finished yet.Once in a more receptive mood, at 4yo, I'd give a quick recap of what should/shouldn't have happened and then all be friends again.

Tinkabelle Fri 25-Jul-08 13:37:07

Thanks everyone for your advice. I have taken it all on board. Will continue with time out, however he destroys whatever's he's near, eg. smashes things up and throws things or shreds all the loo roll etc and I have to hold the door shut. As he kicks and shouts to try and get out.

Any more advice greatly appreciated.

T

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