Childhood Diseases

Posted by: Anne | 2011/03/02


agressive baviour in 4year old

my 4 year old is very agressive if he does not gets his way, if you discipline him he will start punching and kicking you and i am very worried as i cannot control him anymore, not sweet talk nor spanking helps. does he have ADHD and will ADDvance help this behaviour

Expert's Reply



It is difficult to be sure about the answer to your question. Your son may not have an ADD problem at all and his behaviour may just be due to ongoing temper tantrums. Obviously you cannot continue to allow this to continue and you certainly cannot allow a 4 year old to hit and kick you because he cannot get his own way.Do not hit him as this will only aggravate his aggressive behaviour.When he starts with a temper tantrum immediately tell him to 'Stop doing that!' in a clear firm voice. Do not ever plead with him. He must know that you mean what you say. If he does not listen then immediately take him to his room and close the door. He must not be allowed out until he is quiet and until he says 'Sorry' He must stay in his room even if it takes an hour or longer and he must say sorry!If he does not say sorry he must return to his room until he does so. Do this every single time that he has a temper tantrum and he will soon learn that he must stop this behaviour. You can also give him any good quality Omega 3, 1000mg, supplement every day.

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user comments


Posted by: PUrple | 2011/03/03

Hi there,

Sorry, not coming to stay with you I have enought trouble with my own brood.

Personally what I do if they haven''t calmed down after time out, I extend the time for a further few minutes.
Also once I was so angry with my son for his behaviour that I was actually afraid I would hurt him - so I shut him in his room and I made a cup of tea and sat in the garden and drank it and read a magazine until I" d calmed down - which took me nearly an hour.
He had trashed his room in this time, but I was calm enough to stand over him and instruct him on how to tidy it up.
I have a kitchen timer that I set for the time of time out and nobody may leave their room until it buzzes and if they open their door or slam it or kick it I extend the time.

My son is 7 now and I expect a proper apology from him after time out, not just sorry but sorry I did xyz - I want him to understand why his behaviour caused a problem - as I believe that is what teaches kids self discipline which is the ultimate goal of the discipline in my house.

Remember tha tth wheels fall off for all parents, that we all have days where we yell at the children and I''m very anti smacking but even I have smacked my children - in anger on the bum with my hand. As it hardly ever happens it gives them a huge fright, but is definitely not effective long term, whereas time out and removal of priveleges and toys (starts working from about age 5) is.

I also find that positive reinforcement - star charts with small treats linked work wonders too.

The two books that help me most with the kids (because the advice actually works) are Toddler Taming and Beyond Toddlerdom by Dr Christopher Green an Australian peadiatrician. They are so sensible and full of real examples that you can see happening in your own home.

Good luck - we are all in this boat together as parents. We are all fly ing by the seat of our pants hoping the real grown ups will arrive and take over.

Reply to PUrple
Posted by: Jacky | 2011/03/02

Hi Purr

Very good advise, can I invite you to come and stay with us for a week or so? I also have a 5yr old boy and twin girls of 19months and to be quite honest I also do not know how to discipline them most of the time. Just 1 question - if you put the naughty kid in the room for 4min and he still has not calmed down in that time - do u leave him until his calm or just wait for the 4min?

Reply to Jacky
Posted by: Pur[ e | 2011/03/02

hitting children worsens this type of behaviour as if that is how you respond when something makes you upset then they don''t see why they can''t do the same - and so you get punched and kicked and pinched in return - they are just following your example.

Sweet talk doesn''t work on children as they just walk all over you then.

You need to have consistent rules in place - general rules not thousands of specific ones - so no aggressive behaviour (including shouting), no tantrums, no hurting others.
When one of these is transgressed, you put him in his room or the bathroom for a minute per year of age. Ignore the screaming and everythign that goes on. This gives you both time to calm down. When you go to take him out hte room, sit with him, ask him if he understands what he did wrong, explain it if he doesn''t (sometimes they genuinely don''t know why you are cross).

Also look for why he feels so aggressive. Sometimes it is from feelings of insecurity or they are unhappy at school or with a care giver, or someone is teasing / bullying them and they don''t have the skills to respond appropriately or they take out their frustrations on their parents.
When you put him to bed at night, talk about his day, as questions if you don''t understand what he is saying.
Read him a story and give him a cuddle.

Make sure he has a consistent early bed time (no later than 7pm at this age), if he can''t sleep at that time, then he shouldn''t be sleeping in the afternoons anymore. Tired children act up more and I would guess that about half of parents who think theire children have ADHD just don''t have a bed time for their kids and their children are chronichally exhausted.

Make sure his day has a predictable pattern to it - it doesn''t need to be like boarding school wtih supper at 6pm etc, but on waking up you could all snuggle together in bed for ten minutes, then have breakfast then dress and brush teeth, in the evening it is supper, bath, story, bed - its the predictability of knowing what comes next that gives small children security.

Ensure he is eating three healthy meals a day and two snacks in between and even a before bed snack if necessary. Tummies are small and don''t fit in much in one go so lots of little meals keep tummies full. When children are hungry they sometimes behave badly. Same goes with thirst. Have water available all the time and have diluted juice available with meals.
Sweets don''t make children hyperactive, but rather fill the tummy with good healthy food. Sweets in moderation are fine - so long as the tummy is generally getting good nutrition.

Make sure that you find time to play with him so you can also have fun together. Parenting is hard, and you need to find time to enjoy your children too.

Reply to Pur[ e

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