4 year old behaving BEYOND badly

Jenny - posted on 05/05/2009 ( 8 moms have responded )

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My nephew is 4 years old with a 2 year old sister. Recently his behavior has gone from that of an average well behaved child to that of a rude, demanding, argumentative demon child! He has bullied and teased his sister to the point that all he has to do is look at her and lift a finger and she squeals - literally. There is nothing you can ask of him that he doesn't find a way to be argumentative about. Everything that worked to dicipline and correct behavior no longer does. Timeouts of any length are out, quiet room alone time is out, taking away toys/tv is out, reducing outdoor play time is out, removing special treats....none of these things work anymore. My sister is at her wits end and I don't know what to suggest anymore either. You can chastise him and the minute you turn your back he is back at whatever the bad behavior was or a variation of it. Does anyone have any suggestions of what might help to correct this behavior?? What has worked for others?

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User - posted on 05/19/2012

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I have the same problems with my four year old. I have tried everything in the book even therapy. he is on meds as well aderax the highest dosage to be exact and it does nothing at all. he is extremly hyper active refuses to eat refuses to listen to any reason any mean of punishment are just games to him he puts things in his mouth throws tantrums destroys his toys then complains about boredome. i tried the diet and the chart they did nothing im on my last hair with him. i even thought about hospitolizing him. we have a new baby and he dont really show no jealousy he has been like this since before we found out about the baby anyhow. he refuses to pay attention to his surroundings. i cant take him nowhere without him telling everyone he sees things that are personal like the fact that he takes pills. he is very smart and has a wonderful memory. does anyone have any suggestions please i will try anything if there is something i have not tried yet.

Melissa - posted on 05/07/2009

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If Angela Troxell and Karen Gillilan' posts don't help, (i've tried both, y 5 year old daughter is out of control and my 8 year old son has adhd) as much as i still hate to say this.... take him and get him evaluated for ODD and ADD or ADHD. I didn;'t want to do it with my 2 oldest, especially b/c i have been on countless meds and to a million doctors b/c i have depression and anxiety attacks, but since my son was 4 he's been on concerta, and is an awsome A+ above average student. They did tests on him and he's so advanced they want to move himm up to gifted classes... he could NEVER have been able to concentrate and control himself w/out his medicine. He has gone a few days w/out it and his teachers call me very concerned. As for my 5 yr old daughter, she is acting out so badly that she slammed my 2 year old's finger in a door so hard (for no reason excpt b/c she thought it was funny) that we spent 6 hrs in the hospitol having her fingertip sewn back on! (and the tip of the finger is fractured completely off w/ no way of fixing it at this time) that was my last straw, we took her to the doctor and found out she has ODD w/ possible adhd on top of it. she's not on meds yet, but we really dont know what else to do with her besides meds. I hope i helped atleast a little, and good luck!

Eryn - posted on 05/05/2009

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Positive reinforcement always works better than negative. Time outs, loss of things and privledges never worked for my son but when we introduced the "star chart" things turned around quite quickly. It also teaches lifes lessons that you have to earn it to get it.

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Cherie - posted on 05/07/2009

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The lady who said to check into his diet has a very valid point. Although it may seem strange, many behavior issues can be a direct result of food allergies (sugar and white flour are two big ones). Try cutting them out of his diet completely for a few days (takes longer than one day to determine) and making sure he gets plenty of sleep and water. See if it helps at all. Also giving him a reward to earn points or stickers toward is a good idea. Make it something he would truly enjoy (say a day at the zoo or park or something...too much technology like computers or tv can make some kids act out simply out of boredom, especially if they are rather smart). Find some definite good behaviors to start with so he has earned some stickers, praise him a great deal and remind him "Wow! You only need 5 more...now four more...etc." Then when he acts out simply tell him he will lose a sticker and now he has to earn it back before he can get his reward.

Cathy - posted on 05/07/2009

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He might be reacting to feeling frustrated or scared...you mentioned his Dad is in the military, is he away a lot? Try to talk to him about his feelings (when he is calm and happy), and find out if he's worried about anything, and reassure him that he is a special wonderful boy. My son went through a period of acting out when my husband was away for a couple of months, and after much quiet time one on one with him, we worked through it. Just a thought...good luck!

Jenny - posted on 05/06/2009

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Thank you so much for the responses so far! I will talk to my sister about his diet, but I believe everything lately is the same as usual. It's definitely something to look at though, and not something I think of as a major contributor to behaviors over long term rather than short term. She is wanting to implement the chart system, it's the next "to do" on her list of things to try. With the two kids, a husband in the military and all the usual things that go on in life, she's super busy and working on finding time to get it set up. Thank you for taking the time to respond...and keep the answers coming, it's great to hear from other mothers!

Karen - posted on 05/05/2009

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It may sound really strange, but has she changed anything in his diet? We have children who are sensitive to certain food dyes (red #40 and yellow #5), these same children have issues with getting too much sugar as well. Some children have food allergies that can mimic behavioral issues. She may want to check with her pediatrician or an allergist to see if there is a food allergy. I would also just like to say that I have had experiences with some pretty horrific foster children and found that changing what they eat helped tremendously. Hope this offers some help.

Angela - posted on 05/05/2009

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Jeez hes a tough one, I have stepkids with behavioral problems. There is never a day without a tantrum. We implemented a chart of behaviors that have to be followed in order to get a 'star'. The kids have to earn their stars to have their toys, computer time, wii, ect. The thing they want the most we set with the highest goal. It never worked to take their stuff away either, but with the chart they can see their progress, and if they dont earn it they dont get it.

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