My ds is 4 is truly a sweet and loving child. In the same breath, I can say he is a typical boy....loves to wrestle and sword fight. He is always jumping, running, kicking etc. I know in some ways this is completely normal and healthy behaviour for a boy. On the other hand, I find it difficult to parent him because he can be so violent. He is constanly walking by me and everyone else and smacking or hitting them on his way by. I have tried everything to get him to stop. He is extremely smart....he knows what is acceptable and what is appropriate. It's as if he has no conrol over his limbs. He has no impusle control. Is this still under the realm of normal? Anyone else out there with a very physical boy?
It could be a lack of impulse control, or attention getting behavior. Or it could be a bit of sensory seeking. Or a combination of all three. My (neurotypical) ds liked the physical contact as did his (autism spectrum) friend. They'd like to kind of push into people and feel the resistance, I think. My ds always liked being held firmly. As an infant, he didn't like the ring sling because it didn't feel snug enough.
And 4 can be a challenging age with the kids asserting their independence and not so interested in parental approval. It did help my ds if I used positive phrasing saying "keep your hands to yourself" rather than "don't hit." My ds's impulse control was much better at 5 though it showed more in public than at home with me. He never was one to hit other kids but he'd kind of poke them to instigate an interaction. I coached him into introducing himself and asking the other kid if he wanted to play. He was probably 3 when we were focusing on that but he was very verbal so he did that well. The other kids, however, weren't always as verbal or social so he wouldn't always get the result he wanted. I probably had the worst trouble with kids he knew really well, like his cousins. He'd want action so he'd jump on his cousin and otherwise pester her, partially to tease and partially for the interaction. And partially because he'd get overstimulated or he'd "rev" himself up because he was actually tired.
My ds is the same in the sense that he is more aggressive to his closest friend and his sister. Everything you say sounds like my ds. I do use the "keep your hands to yourself" phrase A LOT. Now its "keep your hands and feet to yourself"!
He really seems to need to touch/bounce off of people. He really needs that physical touch but it is always so rough!!
Will he simply outgrow this? is it a phase we ride out??
My ds did seem to outgrow it. I wouldn't say he was aggressive, though, just physical. There are probably some sensory activities you could do that would give him that contact... We had a made up game that involved burying ds in pillows and squishing him. I've heard of body bags (think stretchy small sleeping bags) that the kid can go in and push against. With his cousins, part of the problem was association. He'd see the cousin and jump on her. I'd try to keep them from getting started with wrestling because he wouldn't stop once they got started. She'd leave the room and next time he saw her, he'd continue where he'd left off.
4 was definitely the worst age. It gradually got better from there. His impulse control got better during his 5th year. He started needing less sleep and less frequent food which made him overall more reasonable (he'd get especially whacky when he was tired or hungry).
I have two boys who are similar (4 and 6). I try to say boys will be boys, but honestly some days it just drives me nuts. I make sure they play outside LOTS regardless of the weather and when things seem to be getting out of control I will have them do a craft or playdough or some type of activity where they sit and are quiet, but can still be creative and focus their energy in a different way. I also try to ignore the "violent" behaviors. My boys aren't really violent, but they enjoy wrestling etc... I have found that if I make a big deal out of it or let them know it irritates me, they just do more of it. So I do my best to ignore them.
Proud Mommy to my amazing boys (6 and 4) and my precious little girl (18 months).
What do I do if he just doesn't want to sit still but be really physical? My dh and I get so tired of wrestling with him. The rougher we are with him, the more he enjoys it. He could wrestle all day long.....no matter how much gymnastics, swimming, outside play is given, he seems to have boundless energy that is usually physical contact!!
I'd actually avoid wrestling with him, myself. If dh wants to, fine, but my ds would associate the person with the activity and would jump me all day if I wrestled with him.
Related to not wanting to sit still, my ds was particularly bad at waiting in lines in stores so I'd give him directions like do 10 jumping jacks or run to that pillar and back (only when the place was empty). Some kids like physical tasks like moving bricks around the garden.
Then there is that thing with spirited kids. They "rev" themselves up when they get tired. They get more and more active because they are actually tired and they are subconsciously trying to wake themselves up. Ds still can get wild at bedtime, especially if he is overtired. It's like their brains can't let go so their bodies can rest. So, too much activity can be a problem, too. How does he sleep (good quality or restless?) and how many hours does he get?
This author is good. I read a different edition but I imagine this one is good, too. http://www.amazon.com/Raising-Your-Spirited-Child-Rev/dp/0060739665 It might give you some insights. Your library might have it, too.
Just last weekend, my sister commented on how much energy my ds had (running around playing with his cousins). I looked at him and just thought he looked exhausted! It's actually pretty easy to mistake overly tired for energetic with spirited kids.
I agree with pp. I just wouldn't wrestle then. My boys went through a phase where they would wrestle anyone who walked in the door. We finally had to say no more and teach them this was an inappropriate behavior. We would do other activities with them and I would do give them little obstacle courses to run through uinstead. For ex. 10 jumping jacks, crawl through the tunnel, 3 donkey kicks and run backwards to the end of the hall. Now they ask me for obstacle courses. Good Luck.
Proud Mommy to my amazing boys (6 and 4) and my precious little girl (18 months).
That is my son to a T. I have cut out Red 40 from his diet and it really helps with sleep and behavior, which go hand in hand. For the impule control\ hitting stuff I just say the work "hands" and he knows it means to stop what he is doing with his hands. He has some language delays,so that plus the short attention span makes it harder for him to listen to too many words. So I try to keep requests short and to the point.
Our extended family is very close and he has trouble when all the kids get together, so i have to be more vilgialant about watching him. When we are around alot of other kids I found a couple things helpful like really paying attention and stopping the before before it becomes a problem, we do not allow wrestling with other kids ever bc it always gets out of hand and that is the only way he will play with them once he starts, I have talked to family members and explained that he can't play in a really rough manner with them or their kids becuase he won't be able to stop he will take it too far and someone mgiht get unintentally hurt, encourage LOTS of outdoor sports type of play.
pp, I also have to really supervise his play and stop any aggressive behaviour before it gets out of hand. I feel awful that it is only my kid who can't play well in the group. All the other kids play just fine together and then there is me who still can't leave her 4yr old to play in a playroom at a friends house. It is so frustrating and a little embarrassing because no matter what people say, I still feel they blame my parenting. We have brought him up in such a loving, sweet, ap lifestyle.....where is this coming from?? I do tons of outdoor play and a lot of those races and excercises the pps were talking about. He can"t stop hitting and smacking. He is so smart and he knows what is right and wrong so why can't he learn that he has to keep his hands to himself?
That was exactly how my ds was at 4. And I couldn't let him play unsupervised with other kids, either. It wasn't that he was always the problem (he was a sweet kid, really) but he'd respond physically to other kids being mean or saying something mean, like having an exclusive "girl's club." It's pretty typical with boys to respond physically to nonphysical things. And my ds has a strong sense of justice so he'd get upset by certain things more easily. So an adult facilitating was really helpful and I always ended up being that adult since it was my kid who required it. 4 was just a really hard age, too. But ds grew out of it! So hang in there everyone!