I'm really struggling with 4yo ds (turned 4 in may). I keep waiting for him to grow out of the irritating "toddler" stage (or irritating 3yo stage) but he's just.. not. Just seems to be evolving and getting worse. dd (now 6) started becoming noticeably much easier to get along with right around this age. I know, small study with a sample size of 2 ;) He often will hit his siblings or the cats, completely unprovoked. He has literally gone up to the cat while it was eating and stomped on his tail. He'll randomly smack the 20 mo in the car, and when told to stop, he says "but he has a messy face!" (or something equally illogical). And the spitting! Ugh!! He is constantly spitting at people. After hurting another person/cat, his response is often a gleeful "Thats what he gets!" At the slightest correction, or being told no "I won't let you hit your brother" or "No more juice, you can choose water or milk" he freaks out, screams, then immediately comes up with a threat. "then I'll...never eat or drink or sleep again!" but lately its been "Then I'LL KILL YOU!" If I'm approaching him to stop him doing something, he takes off running, laughing like he's having the time of his life. He often will, unprovoked, in a normal mood, just start doing something that seems like its specifically to annoy me or someone else. One thing off the top of my head, I got a diaper ready for his wiggly toddler brother, trifolding the prefold and laying it in the new diaper. Then I go to catch the toddler and carry him to where the diaper is, and 4yo ds has grabbed it off the couch and thrown it on the floor. I feel like I have ZERO authority over. Telling him not to do something/stop doing something is the surest way to guarantee he does it. I know this and can "tiptoe" around him to avoid his landmine triggers, but 6yo dd is especially prone to causing him to escalate. What starts as a mildly annoying sound in the car, once she starts saying "stop it" it turns into this pissing match of her saying "STOP IT!" and him increasing how obnoxious he can be. spitting, hitting, getting louder with the sounds. Its the kind of thing where if she ignored him in the first place, he would have quit on his own within 10 seconds. Wish I could figure out how to convince her to quit antagonizing him. He's exceptionally difficult to take in public. He just walks away from us in stores. Its like he has no idea that there's any reason he should stay near us, or even inform us where he's going. Its very purposeful, like a destination in mind, not just a distracted kid wandering off out of boredom.
I have no idea what to do, on a day to day basis, to make him easier to live with. I've looked over the symptoms of sensory processing disorder, and though I can identify some sensory seeking and sensory avoiding behaviors, I don't think the label fits. For example, he really hates loud noises, like in the movie theater he had to wear ear plugs, and still was especially stressed out (freaking out and needing to leave) during the previews. the movie wasn't quite as jarring as the previews so he was able to watch the movie. doesn't much like fireworks. hid on the porch with ear muffs while everyone else sat at the end of the driveway. He really likes light touch tickles on his back, face, or palms of his hands. He likes when his dad tickles him when he falls asleep, and it helps keep him calm and still sitting in church. I'm also remembering what he was like around the same age toddler ds is. I could hardly take him to parks, because he would constantly run off. He wanted nothing to do with play ground equipment. toddler ds, while definitely a "toddler" with all the normal toddler things that entails, is so much easier to handle. And he only runs away at the park if he's chasing after a ball or a dog ;)
Help?! Is this (still) just an age thing he'll grow out of? I have no tools. Literally, NONE, whatsoever, to deal with him.