Our expert says:
You're not failing anyone. Kids differ in personalitym, and the tactics they choose to use. I wonder--- you mention that they each get what the other gets, as regards hugs and praise --- I hope that doesn't mean that that A gets prasie when B has done somnething good, but that the praise is earned, and there's equal opportunity to earn it. Otherwise praise, good though it is, may not get associated with behaving well. Does he somehow fel that because the well-behaved child gets praise by no criticism ( obviously ) --- he is somehow feeling picked on for receiving criticism, overlooking the fact that he earned it, too.
The comment about killing himself is chilling --- even if he didn't fully understand it ( at that age some kids don't recognize death as being permanent ) and one both wonders where he got the idea of this as a useful threat, and whether it doesn't point to him perhaps having a low self-esteem and feeling unwanted, despite your best efforts ?
It is age-appropriate, and part of it may be that many kids ( not all ) discovering their POWER to disturb the worlld by saying NO, by acting negatively, by being oppositional. If we can be ingenious and find ways to challenge them to feel powerful by saying YES, by being helpful, that can help harness this otherwise negative energy.
By the way, I notice that in September the new BBC Knowldge channel ( I think that's the right one of the 4 new BBC channels ) will be broadcasting some of the excellent child-behaviour / discipline series they do so well --- check out DISH magazine for details.
Curious makes an important point --- for whatever reasons, only very partly understood, we ARE wired differently from birth, and as it were have a different repertoire of inclinations.
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