by Michele Borba, Ed.D
I have a 4-year-old that is starting to show more aggression than I like. Whenever we talk to him about what he's done wrong, he'll shake his fist at me and pull horrible faces. I have no idea how to respond other than giving him a smack on his behind. That doesn't seem right to me though, just perpetuates violence. I'd like to know what to do when it happens again and how to stop him from doing it in the first place.
First things first -- congratulations. You have a typical four-year-old. This is about the time we begin to see (especially with boys) more aggression and copying behavior. It's also exactly the age to call a cease and pronto. Here are a few suggestions -- and then you play detective and figure out what will work best.
Whatever you choose - do it as a family again and again and again. New behaviors usually take 21 days. Really! So keep practicing whatever calm down strategy you choose to use with your child (there are lots - the trick is to just find one that works and keep consistently using the same strategy).
Hang in there. The trick is CONSISTENCY and CALMNESS.
Michele Borba, Ed.D, is an internationally renowned educational consultant and recipient of the National Educator Award. She is a frequent guest expert on TV and NPR talk shows including Fox & Friends, The View, The Today Show, and serves on the honorary board to Parents Magazine.