Aggressive Four-Year-Old

Hello Naomi. First I want to say THANK YOU for your words. I am amazed at the love, patience, and understanding you promote. I am currently reading your book, but I couldn’t wait to finish it before asking you for advice with my four-year-old boy. I am very worried about two things: he is very loud, yelling and screaming all the time; he pushes, hits, and yells athis 17 month old sister and does not share with her.  Please help.

Dear Parent,

The child always has a valid reason for what he does. Our job is to find why he is driven to do what he does. When we find the cause we can do something about it. To help you find your son’s valid reason to yell push and hit, I would need to know a lot more about him and your whole family. I therefore hesitate to respond, as it will be mostly hit and miss, with me trying to guess the causes/s. I highly recommend that you give yourself a phone session with me to sort it out completely and bring peace into your son’s soul and into your home. You can sign up for a session on my site: http://naomialdort.com/guidance.html

I wonder when your child started developing his loud and aggressive ways. It is may be related to his sister. Please read the last part of my book, Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves, where you will learn to understand his difficulty. For reason he cannot grasp,  his wonderful life, the way it was before his sister joined you (or since she started moving around,) is gone. If this is the case, then he needs to do the play therapy I describe in the book. It is a way of letting him express his emotions with a doll representing his sister or other ways he would be able to unleash his feelings.

When a child is told to give up anything at all, for the sake of a younger sibling, he ends up feeling second to that sibling, and he doubts his own worth. This leads to aggression and anguish based behavior.

I suggest not only that you don’t ask him to share or give up anything for her sake, but instead, make sure that his toys and creations are protected from her little curious hands. Maybe put his stuff on a higher shelf, and when he plays or paints, protect his space so his sister can do no harm to his creations. Let him feel that he is important.

If he hurts his sister and you are angry with him and protective of your daughter he can easily conclude that your love her but not him, and that he is not worthy. This then leads to wanting to hurt his sister more and be out of control in variety of ways. Instead, make sure he doesn’t miss what he loves because of her, and if he hurts her, remove her and then validate his feelings and find solutions to his frustrations.

If our son’s loudness and aggression are not related to his sister (or not only to her,) they could also be the result of a few other issues that must be explored. These can include food allergies, hearing issues, feeling too restricted, feeling helpless, having too much power over others while not enough autonomy, or something else I cannot know about without more information. Each one of these is a different whole answer. However, my sense is that having a sister is a huge calamity for him and he needs your loving help.

Connect with your son, dive into his reality, and listen to him with deep compassion. Realize that your child is right. This does not mean that you let him hit. On the contrary. He needs real outlets that satisfy and real solutions that alleviate the causes of his behavior.

I hope this gives you a beginning of a direction and I will be happy to assist you by phone.

Warmly,  Naomi Alodrt   www.AuthenticParent.com