BTDT Moms - Older Kid's Behavior?

7 posts / 0 new
Last post
Joined: 08/11/11
Posts: 262
BTDT Moms - Older Kid's Behavior?

I have been noticing for the past couple of months, my almost 4 year old has been acting out a lot more. We have been having to really watch him with our 2 year old closely since he has been trying out a lot more aggressive behavior (hitting, pinching, pushing down, taking toys away, yelling/screaming at not getting his way) and just doesn't listen or follow directions a lot of the time. It's honestly exhausting at home, and then I found out on Friday that he was very aggressive with another kid in his class at school and I had to sign an incident report at pick up. (I think the teacher felt bad since I was on the verge of tears when she told me - I was feeling pretty crummy already on Friday, that almost put me over the edge!). He has listening problems at school, too, and seems to have a lot of trouble sitting still for even 5 minutes.

Anyone else have experience with this? Do you think it could be partly due to the baby on the way, and/or feeling my discomfort and "over it" vibes? I grew up with a sister, and then twin brother/sister that were 7 years younger, so this physical acting out is new to me and I don't know how much to put up with from brothers, when to step in, when to let them work it out, etc. He's a very verbal child, talked from a young age, can express himself well. And if you ask him what he should have done instead of putting his hands on his friend or brother, he tells you right away what the more appropriate behavior would have been. And he goes right into time out when he acts mean, no fight there since he knows he was in the wrong. I am doing both consequences as well as rewards for good behavior and try to compliment him whenever I see even the smallest nice thing or notice him use words first.

Is this just the age? Is this boys? Maybe he needs more one on one time with me? What else can I try? I am open to any thoughts and suggestions!!

Kier's picture
Joined: 03/12/12
Posts: 1973

From my own experience, I think its just a kid thing. He is testing you, his limits, his conveniences, etc. I also think that kids sense when we are more vulnerable. My DS1 was avery early talker, and picks up thibgs really quick. I have also found him to be my most challenging kid. Last year he had a bunch of issues at school, and then found that they were carrying over to home. Turned out to be a combination of a new teacher that just couldnt handle her classroom, singling out bad behavior and focusing on that, and the fact that he just wasn't being challenged enough. Boys tend to have a harder time sitting still and paying attention for periods of time. And, if they get bored, they tend to act out more. I think you are doing the right things. He knows his limits, consequences, and you are focused on catching him being good. I would just find things that help get more energy out, even if DH just needs to take him for a walk, and things that challenge him mentally. We got Ds1 his own art desk, and found work books, and stuff he can do that way. We also have toys, like leggos, that we keep up that only him, and now DS2, are old enough for. I am also setting up an area in our basement with ride on toys, and will bring our little slide in, for an area for them all to get energy out when its too cold to go outside

Joined: 07/07/08
Posts: 325

I agree with Keir its normal behavior for 4. My DS is 5 and seems to go through stages where he'll be really well behaved for 3-4 months and then he'll backslide into bad behavior (talking back, not listening, throwing tantrums if he doesn't get his way, pushing and shoving his sister, etc.) We're going through a backslide right now and I think it has a lot to do with all the changes around the house, getting ready for the baby.

I agree you're doing all the right things just keep being consistent with consequences and he should begin to have better behavior. Is he involved in getting things ready for the baby. That's one way that I am trying to get the kids excited (more DD because she is having a harder time since she was the youngest). I let them help me hang up the baby's clothes, set up the baby's bed, fold burp rags, etc and we talk about how the baby is going to need them to help him eat, etc.

jgriffith's picture
Joined: 08/20/10
Posts: 420

It comes and goes around here. We have had to tighten up around here because we have been having obedience issues. Just be very consistent with discipline! Good luck!

rmc's picture
Joined: 07/27/03
Posts: 340

oh yes, we have a 4 1/2 at home. I am ready to call the school district for an early age pre-school observation assessment as we honestly don't know if he will be ready to face school next fall and the "social" skills necessary. He has been challenging since he was born but it seems things got worse and he backtracked around 3. Not only was he potty trained at nap time anyways, he is never dry anymore and actually will out pee his pull ups several times a week at night now. He drinks a ton and he we had his urine tested for diabetes and it was negative.

He has had some recurring sinus infections and although he does have one outdoor allergen, these issues seem to be recurring all year after colds of whatever and we just had his adenoids out. I was hoping that his sleep issue... there is a relationship with bad behavior and that the adenoidectomy would help.

We have tried everything. I am out of options and we need help. I look at how my daughter behaves when we go to church or school and Ben is very clearly the opposite. Positive rewards only get us so far. We had a toy that he wanted for weeks and weeks up on the fireplace. All he had to do was be good for one week in church and zip it. He has no volume control.

Anyways, I am too used to the incident reports. We actually have had to pick him up a couple times. Once he kicked the teacher in the face when she was trying to move his tantrum out of the way of the other children and to a quiet place. Another time he threw a chair.

We have waited so long because he will have months of being fairly good in between but everything is still somewhat a challenge with him. I love him dearly and just wish we could help him and get help ourselves in dealing with it. And there are other times he can be so sweet and even his teachers will comment. It is pretty sad the stress level of picking up at daycare and holding our breath.

Anyways, I hope for you this is a stage and he will outgrow it. I am finally realizing that I am not so sure this is a stage for us. Ben was unbelievably "colicy" the first 10+ months of his life and we tried and tried to do everything possible to help him.


augustbaby2010's picture
Joined: 01/27/10
Posts: 158

mom on the run, my son is 2 and he i have noticed him becoming more aggressive with other children these last few weeks. i am wondering if it has to do with a new baby coming along, too. for example, my son and i went to a park this morning where he hit a kid twice and also yelled at other children who were playing on the swings. he acted mad and frustrated. i have been seeing this behavior more and more from him. it is starting to worry me and i have considered calling the pediatrician. but, in the back of my mind, i really feel like it is nothing to worry about, that it is a stage, and that he is expressing his feelings regarding all the changes that are about to take place here, at home.

i think you are doing all the right things. i also didn't grow up with boys so i don't know what is normal either. maybe you could plan an outing just with him this weekend so you have some special time together. it may not solve the problem but you and he will both enjoy it. good luck!

Joined: 08/11/11
Posts: 262

Thanks, everyone! You've made me feel better! I'm going to just stay the course, stay consistent, and let him know what is just not going to be tolerated, behavior-wise. He is a super sweet little guy, I just was starting to get worried and want to be sure I can be there for him with what he needs. It's been hard feeling that I can't be as energized as I'd like to be these past couple of months! Such mommy guilt, but we will get through it!!!