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need help witha 4 year old boy?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

my 4 year old son is at nursery, and we have recently being having problems. when he gets annoyed, he gets his privates out and tries to hit other children with them. i am extremely embarrased, as a few parents have seen him do it to their own kids! i have tried many disciplinery measures when i catch him doing it by saying things like 'that's naughty ryan' and i give him a 5 minute time out when we get home. the nursery teachers have also said that they have tried timeing him out and excluding him for 5 minutes from games etc. when my 15 year old daughter tries to annoy him, he does the same thing to her. However, he never does it to me. is their any way i can stop this behaviour? i am getting to the point where i want to home school him to avoid the embarresment.

any help will be appreciated. regards, sandra.

post #2 of 12

I'm not entirely sure that this type of behavior is normal.... can others chime in about this? Have you asked him WHY he is doing this? Or, the bigger question for me would probably be WHERE he learned this behavior from.

 

I would have a serious talk with him about our bodies/genitals being private and he shouldn't be asking/allowing anyone to touch him there. In our house the general rule is you may only play with, and have genitals uncovered, in the bathroom or your bedroom.

post #3 of 12

I don't have any advice...sorry.  I just wanted to say that i don't think kids have to 'learn' this from anywhere.  My daughter started pinching me when she was 15 months old and she didn't 'learn' it from anyone.  I am friends with some moms of 4-5 year old boys and these boys (3 of them) are the best of friends.  They are not allowed to be alone in a room because they begin to compare their privates and such.  It's a natural exploratory thing that happens. 

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

thanks for the replies guys. mttsy, i asked him why he does this earlier on this week, and he said that 'i dont like being picked on, mummy'. from what i can tell, other children have occasionly pulled his hair, and that's about it, as far as i know. his sister sometimes calls him a 'poopypants' because that annoys him.

 

as for where he learned this from, the only thing i can think of is that he once walked in on me and his dad doing foreplay, where his dad was 'poking' me with his privates. that is the closest i think he has come to any sort of situation similar to what he does.

post #5 of 12

Hmmmm, I have never heard of this.  I am wondering too what his motivation is.  You say he only does it when he is upset or annoyed with someone, so maybe he has realized that this is the one way to really let people know he is MAD and it will convey to them in a way that will force them to feel equally annoyed.

 

If time outs and ostracization have not worked, perhaps more discussion of appropriate ways to handle the feelings of annoyance and aggression.  Instead of, that's naughty, try as you scoop him up or physically redirect his body away from his victim while you help him re-dress  "Ryan, you seem annoyed, can we use our words to tell XX that you are annoyed?" If he draws a blank (as I would guess he does not know how else to express these emotions as even after punishments he can't help himself) help him:  Gee, XX I wish you'd give me some alone time, I don't want to be near you right now."  or "Gosh, XX, I really want a turn with that toy, can I have a turn now please?  When can I have a turn?"  or "Hey, can you stop shouting at me please?  I don't like it when you shout at me."  Or whatever it is that you think it is that is annoying him.  You may suggest to the teachers this method as well, as teachers of larger groups tend to not think of the individual needs as much as the group needs and rely on time outs as a way of deterring unwanted behavior but rarely remember to address the feelings that lead to the behavior and how to give better coping skills.

 

It seems to me from what you said that he understand that it is naughty, unacceptable, private, etc. but that it is worth it to him to get in trouble to express his feelings that way because it gets the results he wants which is to make the victim of his genital slapping feel the anger, disgust, frustration and general upset he is feeling so the idea is to give him an even better tool to express his anger and frustration.  If he can name it, it will probably be easier for him to express what he needs.

 

If he needs a physical release before he can verbalize his feelings, perhaps a punching bag at home, or some cushions in the classroom?

post #6 of 12

We cross posted there. 

 

So it sounds like he is having a hard time dealing with hurt feelings and expressing those hurt feelings in appropriate ways.  I definitely think time outs are NOT the way to go here.  I think he needs to find better forms of communication, and you can discuss with him when he is calm the social consequences of his behavior, such as if he continues to slap people with his penis they will tease him more and probably never want to play with him.  But, it will take, IME a LOT of consistent and firm redirection and modelling IN THE HEAT OF THE MOMENT, to teach him the skills of communicating his feelings with words and requesting actions respectfully to meet his needs.

 

FWIW, DS had a clasmate at that age who would wipe bodily excretions on classmates when he was upset.  As a teacher I'd take a slap from atiny clean dry penis over a shmear of unidentifiable bodily goo, ANYDAY!

 

I really do not think he got by watching you and your DH.  Kids figure these cause and efect things out all by themselves.

post #7 of 12

I've been thinking about it more.  Hakeber has some good suggestions to help him verbalize his feelings.

 

I was wondering how his sister reacts.  If his first offense got a strong reaction from the sister then he probably continued the behavior for more attention.

 

I am no child psychologist so I don't know what is within the realm of 'normal'.  But i was thinking about how boys genitalia can be a lot of fun.  Not trying to make light of the OP's situation, but I have heard of things boys can do, like writing their name in the snow.   Maybe girls don't have as much fascination with theirs because it doesn't protrude, you can't whip it around, nor can you aim your urine very well.  Maybe the OP's son is pretending it's a sword and defeating his enemy with it....I don't know.

 

I think at home I would ask all family members not to react when this happens.  They should just seem like they are bored and go to another room.  Then later Mom should address it with him.  Maybe use some of Hakeber's suggestions after he is calm.

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

thanks for the replies. he knows that privates should be privates. as regards to his sister, she just gave him a light tap on the back side, and told him he was a freak. i will try to take a more personal approach to discipline, as hakebar suggested. but would this confuse him if he just discipline him in a new way? i raised up my daughter with a more laid back approach, and she was golden, and deep down knew that mummy was dissapointed if she misbehaved. i think that my son knows what i expect on him, and he immediately says sorry after i time him out for 'genital slapping', and he never seems to disrespect me. however, with other children he can get angry quite easily and often resorts to genital slapping. now his sister, just walks away if he genital slaps her, then he stops it.

post #9 of 12

I only have one child, but from what i have heard, kids in the same family can be completely different and even need different methods of discipline.  I don't think it will be hard for him to understand.  It might be hard for you to adjust to a new method and try new things.  Maybe he needs more help verbalizing things than your daughter.

post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 

i rang up my son's nursery teacher earlier - we are friends in real life. i asked her if she knew about my son's odd behavior, and she said it is possible he has some sort of autism. could this be possible? he seems normal other than this odd behavior.

post #11 of 12

I don't think this is indicating something like autism! He is telling you what the problem is, he doesn't like being picked on. I think he has discovered that this gets a reaction out of people and he feels like it is helping him deal with the feelings from being picked on. If he were my son I would talk to him about healthy ways to communicate.

 

To me, it doesn't seem like a "genitals are private" kind of issue. It seems like a "this boy is being picked on and doesn't know how to deal with it".  Talk to him about what the other kids are doing to pick on him. Give him different ideas to try to deal with it. Like, if the kids are pulling his hair tell him to say "that's not the way we treat friends", or "stop treating me like that I don't like it", and if that doesn't work tell him he can go tell the teacher.

But if he is verbalizing the reasons for doing it and no one listens he is going to resort to things like this. Maybe he doesn't realize that the teacher would stand on his defense if he tells him/her the kids are pulling his hair and teasing him.

 

Also, I would make it very clear to the 15 yo sister that she is not to call him a freak or anything like it. Also, I really do not think this is the kind of situation that calls for discipline. He is ONLY 4. And he has hurt feelings and doesn't know how to deal with them. He's trying to figure it out, there is no reason that behavior is bad. He needs you to help him figure this out. That all it seems like to me.

 

I would be really careful when dealing with this little guy. He is trying to figure out life, and if he doesn't feel like he gets understanding and acceptance from his family for what he going through right now it might cause him to choose bad behavior in the future.

 

Alot of my thoughts are the same as in the post made  by hakeber.

post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by allhailkingryan View Post

thanks for the replies. he knows that privates should be privates. as regards to his sister, she just gave him a light tap on the back side, and told him he was a freak. i will try to take a more personal approach to discipline, as hakebar suggested. but would this confuse him if he just discipline him in a new way? i raised up my daughter with a more laid back approach, and she was golden, and deep down knew that mummy was dissapointed if she misbehaved. i think that my son knows what i expect on him, and he immediately says sorry after i time him out for 'genital slapping', and he never seems to disrespect me. however, with other children he can get angry quite easily and often resorts to genital slapping. now his sister, just walks away if he genital slaps her, then he stops it.



I don't think it confuses children to have a change of rules if the rules work better for them.  If you suddenly ebcome violent, yeah, but when you suddenly realize a better way of communicating...I wouldn't think so.  It just means things might be more effective.  But it might be hard for you to adjust because it will mean probably having a little more patience and a a super keen eye (which might be impossible if you are already watching him like a hawk as I suspect), maybe even double duty.  I would in fact enlist your DD to help.  She is old enough to start modelling, too and can help in his learning how to express himself.

 

From what you describe it isn't that he doesn't get it's naughty or that he shouldn't apoligize to you or that he shouldn't be remorseful afterwards, but in the moment it is his only method of expressing those hurt feelings.  So he just needs new ways.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by les_oiseau View Post

 

Also, I would make it very clear to the 15 yo sister that she is not to call him a freak or anything like it. Also, I really do not think this is the kind of situation that calls for discipline. He is ONLY 4. And he has hurt feelings and doesn't know how to deal with them. He's trying to figure it out, there is no reason that behavior is bad. He needs you to help him figure this out. That all it seems like to me.

I have to agree.  I totally missed in the first post that she was 15.  What in the world is she doing antagonizing her little brother? I would definitely want to be discussing with her the inappropriateness of that and find ways for her to help get involved in encouraging him and building his confidence and communication skills instead of breaking them down which what calling names and using words like Poopy-pants do.  Not cool, big sister!

 

Yeah, there may be consequences for choosing to hit someone with your penis, but I leave them to natural and social/logical consequences and do away with punitive ones, like the sort of TOs you described above.  At least until he has demonstrated an ability to use his words consistently.

 

I also do not think this signifies autism in and of itself. 

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