Posted by: Carol | 2009/03/02

4 Yr Old aggression towards mother

My son turns 4 in May. He is an only child. The past few weeks he has been extremely demanding. When he does not get his own way he rushes up to me and bites me (which really hurts - my arms and full of bruises). If he cannot manage to bite he will punch, kick and pinch me. I try to tell him that it is not right to bite and hit and scream but eventually it really gets the better of you and I spank him and put him in his room. When he comes out he says he is sorry but then head butts me at the same time. He does not do this to my husband. I work half day and then I fetch him from school and about 2:30pm. Should I be more strict or how can I control this? There have been no changes in our lives at all and his teacher says nothing has changed at school either.

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Our expert says:
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Try also posting this question on the Parenting forum, as this specific forum is not really intended to deal with child discipline problems.
I was going to say "Has it struck you..." but then that seemed too appropriate --- Has it occurred to you that spanking him is using violence to express your frustration and to try to solve a problem --- which is exactly what he is doing, which you complain about ? So your actions contrdict the explanations you have been giving to him ?
You don't say what he is suddenly so demanding about. What has changed in his life and in your household, lately ?
Watch the excellent BBC TV parenting programmes shown in DSTV.
Think about why he does not do this to your husband. What's the significant diference between you, in this regard ? Have you tried simply emphasizing that ANY suuch aggression and screaming will end all discussion on whatever it is he wants, and that you will place him in a quiet room or place for 4 minutes to cool off, and unless he calms down, and apologises ( without head-butting or any other contradictory behaviour ) , he would then be re-placed there for a further 4 minutes.

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