Mothering Forums

Mothering Forums (http://www.mothering.com/forum/)
-   The Childhood Years (http://www.mothering.com/forum/65-childhood-years/)
-   -   4 year old behavior (http://www.mothering.com/forum/65-childhood-years/1380918-4-year-old-behavior.html)

organicviolin 04-02-2013 11:15 AM

I am in desperate need of some advice, help. I am at my wits end and don't know what to do or where to go for input. So I'm throwing a shout out to you for any insight you may have.

My eldest son Alex just turned 4 on March 13. He's a bright, fun and wonderful kid except: we've been having major behavioral issues for over 6 months now. I thought it was just typical "3" stuff, but am now becoming much more concerned...

He's been hitting, being mean, obstinate and generally uncooperative. He's even acting out in his new preschool that he's been attending for a little over a month now. So much so that the assistant teacher has now spoken to me twice about it. He's been hitting, being mean and refusing eye contact when discussing what the problem is.

We tend to be an attachment and positive discipline type family. We try to connect before correction, we redirect and yes we've used time outs plenty. Nothing is working, nothing is helping. After he's been behaving inappropriately he will sometimes say, "I was behaving like x because y."

He's doing well with his violin practice for whatever that's worth. He's a very bright child (when I had Sam, he told me what labor was and he was only 3!) and I have often read that bright kids can be very high needs and high maintenance. Is this true? How on earth can I deal with this and keep peace in the home? Lately it's all about surviving until bed time. It's not a good place to be.

Do I need to get him evaluated for something? If so, where? Is there something else I can do for him?

I've tried asking him what he needs and he shrugs his shoulders and runs off....

Any insight would be very beneficial. I just don't know what to do or where to go. Is there actually a problem or is this neuro-typical? It seems a bit extreme to me and I've nannied in the past and am a certified teacher.

mama amie 04-02-2013 12:15 PM

I have/had similar issues with my son (now 4.75). I find that his main triggers for behavioral issues are these:

Hunger
Needs to pee or poop but won't stop playing
Needs some positive, individual attention
Is feeling sad or angry- could be past or present issue
Needs help focusing or calming by story time, nap, or creative activity
Fear- he has begun feeling afraid of many new things such as being alone in a room or going into any dark area.

I don't know if any of these are applicable, but it is a mental list I like to keep for assessment and problem solving. This is a time of major growth. Gaining new skills and independence can be as scary as it is empowering. I find that I forget to stop, get down to his level and really listen to him when I am busy with housework or the toddler. If I remember to make sure he feels heard and not "punished" for his maturity and independence by leaving him to figure too much out on his own, then his cooperation and behavior tends to reflect positively.

Good luck mama! Hope this helps somehow.

organicviolin 04-04-2013 06:41 PM

thanks for the input. I appreciate it.

GISDiva 04-05-2013 10:12 AM

You haven't mentioned rewarding good behavior instead of correcting bad, have you gone down that road at all?

 

For what it's worth, my smarty-pants four-year-old boy makes me want to tear my hair out on a regular basis too.  He's currently in 4K and most of the issues we have, his teacher assures me, are perfectly normal.  For some kids, social behavior learning comes later and it's more of a struggle.  It's getting better as we turn the corner to 5 (next week!), but I never thought going into 4K that I'd have "that kid".  To complicate matters, there's another little boy who struggles even more and they feed off each other and my son is oddly attracted to him even though he isn't treated the best by him most days - some days they're best friends and other days it's like oil and water.  He also tries to explain his behavior like you described, he likes to make up answers for things to explain them even if he doesn't know the real answer.  It's his way of ordering the world.  I gently remind him that he needs to worry about himself when he tries to blame others.  He is making the choices and he needs to be responsible for them, regardless of the choices his friends are making.  Repeat 8 times a week...

 

Honestly, I think that the chaos of the classroom is sometimes over-stimulating for him.  There are 14 kids, 12 of whom are boys, most of whom are a little nuts.  orngtongue.gif  I agree with Mama Amie's list too, hunger or tiredness is often a trigger.  My son's imagination at night is *wild* and I think sometimes he doesn't sleep the best.  He still takes regular naps as a result, he just seems to need more sleep than other kids his age I know.

 

Does his teacher seem overly concerned or is she simply telling you what his challenges were that day?  Remember, she may have had the same conversation with three other parents that day too.  We feel like our kid is the only one and oftentimes it's normal social growing pains.


organicviolin 04-05-2013 11:03 AM

We definitely reward good behavior. We will let him watch a tv program (98% of the time there is no tv watching at all), pick a special treat or quality time with dh and I without the siblings and just say things like, "thanks for being such a big helper, handling that situation well etc).

The behaviors are always worse if any of the previous list is occurring. Tiredness, hunger etc.

I spoke with his teacher and we had a nice chat about everything. A lot of it is typical. I still have some concerns though bc there is some atypical stuff that we are dealing with. So, we discussed it and think its good to get an evaluation done just to make sure.

He is very bright. Makes if, then statements regularly, figured out labor completely on his own (in January we had a baby) at the age of 3 years 9 months. Figured out his a major scale in 10 minutes on the violin etc. so I want to make sure he's getting what he needs. Especially as he's been getting extremely frustrated very quickly and seems to have a fear of failure. He doesn't want to try anything unless he's sure he's going to master it ASAP.

GISDiva 04-08-2013 08:48 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by organicviolin View Post
Especially as he's been getting extremely frustrated very quickly and seems to have a fear of failure. He doesn't want to try anything unless he's sure he's going to master it ASAP.

I think we have the same son.  lol.gif


Marnica 04-09-2013 08:02 AM

Sounds totally normal to me, including the hitting. My son is almost 5 and has had many of these behaviors from about 3.5 until recently. Alot of it for us had to do with the arrival of our second child. Do you think that is contributing for you as well? If you feel better about having an evaluation, go for it, but personally I wouldn't go there just yet! Anyway I had a great response from a child psychologist when I wrote to her in desperation. I will PM you a copy of her response. I've found it to be very helpful!


mama amie 04-09-2013 12:13 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marnica View Post

Sounds totally normal to me, including the hitting. My son is almost 5 and has had many of these behaviors from about 3.5 until recently. Alot of it for us had to do with the arrival of our second child. Do you think that is contributing for you as well? If you feel better about having an evaluation, go for it, but personally I wouldn't go there just yet! Anyway I had a great response from a child psychologist when I wrote to her in desperation. I will PM you a copy of her response. I've found it to be very helpful!


Ooh! Any chance I could get a copy too? My boy is really challenging me lately. smile.gif

patternfall 04-10-2013 11:31 AM

A bit late to the response, but I can say that I'm seeing some of this behavior in my 4yo daughter. I can add one more item to the really great list above:

 

* Boredom

 

I mention this one because you mention a preschool and that he's really bright. If my daughter has mastered something (or feels that she has or the task is unimportant), she can be obnoxious. She stops listening to teachers, does her own thing and even used to spit at them. (We've curbed the last one, but the "listening ears" are still a bit of an issue.) She doesn't really hit -- she's just very rough and always has been -- but she does get verbally unpleasant and very very screechy. Every time this has started happening, when she's having a better day, the teachers have moved her up to the next classroom for a day or two. After that, she's much better behaved for a while.

 

From seeing a friend's kid grow up, I can ask another question: Does there ever seem to be anything in his diet that is common at those times? There are food sensitivities (particularly wheat and food dyes) that can get a kid feeling ornery. If there is a particular thing -- like 1 hr after he has a cookie or a sandwich -- then you may want to attempt an elimination diet to see if there is something that is bothering his belly, thus giving him a reason to act out.


3lilchunklins 04-10-2013 12:38 PM

You mentioned that u just had a baby in January, maybe he's acting out for attention. When I had my 3rd child, dd ( who had been potty trained for over a yr) started regularly wetting herself. She just needed more attention and that was how she communicated that need.... Just a thought


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:51 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Resources saved on this page: MySQL 7.14%
vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.