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Does this sound like normal behaviour for a 3.5 year old?

(5 Posts)
Picante Sat 12-Sep-09 19:15:07

I'm concerned about a very close friend's child. I don't know if it's just his personality or if there's something else there that my friend really should investigate.

I'll try to be brief.

He's always been very active. Never see him yawn, rub his eyes or show any signs of tiredness. He goes to sleep very easily and sleeps through.

His behaviour deteriorated shortly before my friend had her dd. She was born prematurely a few months ago. Friend was in hospital for over a week.

When she came home with the new baby his reaction was extreme. He threw things at the baby, bit her, squeezed her, threw things at my friend, wet himself and pooed himself on purpose, and became violent towards other children (including pushing my ds off a bench and laughing, and biting my ds then shrugging his shoulders when asked what he'd done).

The thing is, that he's still doing much the same things - almost six months on. My friend has tried everything - shouting, putting him in his room, ignoring, reward charts for good behaviour etc. He never seems remotely remorseful for any of his actions. His behaviour is frankly malicious and my friend can't leave the baby alone for a second.

He just seems on a different planet. He's reluctant to give eye contact and basically spends all day bouncing off the walls - even when he's been 9-3 at pre-school. His speech is pretty good though.

Unfortunately it's obviously affecting how often I see my friend (especially seeing as I have just had a baby myself), but that's another thread...

I wonder if this should be ringing alarm bells? And if I think something's not quite right with him, how on earth do I suggest that to my friend without risking the friendship?

MaMight Sat 12-Sep-09 19:25:45

Well, without too much difficulty I can imagine my 3.5 yr old behaving like that if she was feeling terribly insecure. Manic naughtiness because their feelings are too much for them to understand or cope with sometimes?

I realise you are just giving a snapshot of a long and complicated situation, but the things you say your friend has tried all seem quite negative ("shouting, putting him in his room, ignoring, reward charts for good behaviour "). Has she tried a sustained approach of reassurance, one-to-one time and calm consistency?

My (happy, secure and well loved) 3 yr old went to pieces when her brother was born. We just didn;t see it coming. It can sometimes be so hard for them when they are tiny themselves and suddenly all mummy's attention is on the new baby.

wheresclaire Sat 12-Sep-09 20:36:04

Anything to get mummy's attention I'm afraid. My DS was similar when his sister was born. He put a cushion over her face. He became really naughty after she was born, I suspected ADHD too. I hope your friend gets through this difficult time. Support and reasure her because I can guarantee she is tearing her hair out!

Ceebee74 Sat 12-Sep-09 20:42:46

DS1 is 3.2 and was 2.4 when DS2 was born.

Until DS2 was born, we didn't have a problem with biting/hitting etc - but as soon as DS2 arrived, he was biting and hitting the baby and us on a regular basis. We tried all sorts but I think he just grew out of it - but every now and again (always when frustrated because we have said no about something or he is tired), he will hit DS2 or throw something. Even now, although there are times when I have to leave them alone together, I try not to if I can help it.

So, I guess what I am trying to say is that I think it sounds normal but unfortunately have no advice as to how to deal with it as me and Dh are bluffing our way through (and some days, it seems we are doing that badlysad)

Picante Mon 14-Sep-09 07:07:59

Thanks. I thought I was probably overreacting - I just hate seeing my friend struggle so much!

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