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3 3/4 year old boy - sudden and uncharacteristic aggressive behaviour towards me - help!

(7 Posts)
stills Wed 19-Aug-09 21:15:15

Just joined MN this evening to get advice on the following - i have a 3 3/4 year old boy and an 18 month old boy. The older one is brilliant - i adore him, could spend hours in his company and to me, he walks on water, but since a 3 night (solo) trip to his granny's a few weeks ago, he's been a little buggar, mainly manifesting itself in a sudden snap followed by physical abuse of me and his little bro. Yesterday and today, he had me in tears after, in a sudden fit of rage over really nothing at all (not letting him watch tv - he doesn't watch much anyway so not such a hardship - and not filling up his bowl of dinner, when it was already half full) punching and kicking me, spitting at me and the final straw - pulling my hair really hard - sounds silly, but it really hurt - my tears were a mixture of pain and utter despair/feelings of uselessness. I'm pissed off that he saw me in tears because i lost control. But he wasn't bothered by it at all. He's not bothered by treat/toy deprivation, sending to room, time out etc, so my tactic has been to try to ignore it - even when he's whacking the sh*t out of me - but then put him to bed early while the baby gets to stay up reading books, which the older boy would love to do. I'm not sure if the behaviour is attributable to tiredness (he has been waking up earlier than usual recently, but usually has no problem doing 7pm - 7.30 am), school holidays and change to routine (although we do a lot in the hols - lots of fun - an outing every day either just to park or further afield), the little brother becoming cuter every day (although i try to be really even-handed with them as have always been acutely conscious of this), or just growing up...I feel that our relationship is quite intense in that it's just me, the 2 kids and my husb, who doesn't see them that much during the working week (isn't that much the same for everyone??) - husb and i both have very close families - they aren't in london but the kids adore and feel very comfortable and loved with each. Hoping it's just a phase ...any ideas?

Bubble99 Wed 19-Aug-09 21:17:51

Has he done a solo trip to granny's before?

Spidermama Wed 19-Aug-09 21:20:00

Just a vague guess .... Could he be upset that he had to go to Granny's on his own when the little one got you all to himself? He may have got jealous and resentful.

How did the trip to Granny's go? Did she mention anything?

It's quite a big deal for a not quite 4 year old to go on a solo trip. Maybe he's a bit needy while resettling himself.

Spidermama Wed 19-Aug-09 21:21:01

There's no reason to think that this is anything other than a phase btw. Perhaps if you make some time to spend with him, he might feel more secure again.

DEMhasbeenverynaughty Wed 19-Aug-09 21:30:47

I suspect that there is probably a link to being unsettle from his first trip away from you BUT there is a surge of testosterone around this age (3 1/2 - 5ish) which can be a real PITA (pain in the ass) and manifest itself like you described with increased interest in boy rough play. Either case i would recommend reassurance, and if it is a surge then it gets better as the body settle down. My little monster has morphed into a little angel (compared to his norm) since his hormones have settled (took about a month.

stills Wed 19-Aug-09 22:14:41

Thanks for all the advice. The trip to Granny's went fine - he's been before although he might not remember - this time she spoiled him rotten, he had a great time and there were no tears at all - other than once when i told him that i missed him - that might be the key...but not sure what else i can do to put this right.

DEM - what kind of reassurance would you suggest, other than quality time and not going mental when he hurts me? we are generally quite affectionate, always i love you-ing and chatting and enjoying each other but i can't seem to get past this latest aggression.

Re spending time with him, I try to do this every day for 1-2 hours while baby is sleeping. I know it's a good thing to do, but it begs the general question - if you spend good quality time with one, and then have to share yourself with both of them, doesn't it just piss number one off that he was having fun for those couple of hours with mum and then little bro comes along and wrecks it all again?

DEMhasbeenverysilly Wed 19-Aug-09 22:30:34

I have had to resort to I love you always but i dont want to spend time with you when you hurt me. I would tell him that you miss him when he is away because he is your boy/son (whatever you normally use) but you think it is good for him to have fun at his nan's (it is possible that he is reacting as he thinks you wont let him go again and that you didnt want him to have fun (kid logichmm))

I have used timeout/fun-time reward type thing. I removed my ds from situation (often put into his room or in a bath (ds calmed by water) but naughty step or whatever you normally use) making sure that you remove your attention during this timek, if he is persistant he looses out on me + him time. For good behaviour give (as much as possible) 1-on-1 tine with you that is a bit special (eg baking or something he really cant when little bro about.

As long as he know he is still special and that you want to have special time with him regularly, but cant do some stuff when little bro about; i dont think he is as likely to be anywhere near as upset as if you had completely cut out you time.

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