Anxiety and Controlling Behaviour in 4-Year-Old Boy

Dear Naomi, my 4 year old son has become very anxious over the past weeks for everything to remain in a certain order he sets up . He get’s very upset if reality does not comply with his wishes. He tries to control me, other kids, our dogs, and gets angry and hits/yells/curses/bites me if I do not act as he wishes. We’ve been following Attachment Parenting and are unschooling, being as respectful as we can of his needs. We don’t want to medically label him, but how can we find out what the real cause for his behavior is? Could it be hormonal, neurological? Validation is not helping anymore. Thank you for your time!


Dear Parent,

The heart of your question is: “… how can we find out what the real cause for his behavior is?” The answer is, by tuning into your child and really observing, free of preconceived ideas or expectations. 

Without much more information, I can only guess and am unlikely to discover the cause fully or accurately. My guesses may be useful or totally unrelated, since I don’t know your child or precisely how you parent. 

It is possible that your son is yearning for more predictability in his life and maybe more leadership on your end. If you confuse freedom with license he would try to make up for it by bringing some rigidity into his life. 

Another possibility is that something scared him to the point of needing to control his environment in order to feel safe. A child may be frightened by something that we, adults, hardly notice or think much about. Fear can also result from natural expansion in awareness. Make sure to connect with your child and to notice other changes in his outlook on himself and others. Are there any general changes that may have shaken his sense of continuity? 

All medical labels are nothing but the failing attempt of “professionals” to define what they don’t understand and to justify toxic and harmful medications. In a way, they are doing what your child is doing: clinging to order, names and ways to “grasp.” So I am glad to know that you are staying away from these.

Validation is not intended to “work.” It is not a manipulative device to stop the child’s emotional expression. On the contrary, when the validation is accurately touching the child’s feelings (without dramatizing or patronizing,) his crying will increase and be more healing. 

Obviously, your child needs the cause of his anxiety to be addressed. If my general guesses lead you to an insight and a clear understanding, you may be able to support your child’s direction. If this response leave you with no real solution, I highly recommend that you book yourself a phone session with me by registering on my site:

In a phone session I will ask you leading questions in order to know much more about your child and about his life. I can then guide you in finding the best ways to help him direct his own way out of inner conflict.

Warmly,  Naomi Aldort,


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