Help, I need advice with my 4 year old son

Katy - posted on 01/24/2013 ( 173 moms have responded )

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My son is four years old and is having major problems at school. I am a young mother and I don't know what to do. He is constantly hitting his teachers and it's really embarrassing. He throws complete temper tantrums. I am at my wits ends. I do time outs, taking away toys and tv and even popped his bottom. What are the other options? Please, I need advice!!!!

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Lisa - posted on 01/24/2013

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Contact your school psychologist. Even if you attend a private preschool you can contact your child's psychologist from your home district to come and observe, gather information, and work with you and his teachers on these behaviors at school. This is at no cost to you. This is what your taxes pay for to your school district. Let me know if you have any questions and good luck!

Jodi - posted on 01/24/2013

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Or he could have one of many other common issues. I hardly think at his age it is lack of respect for authority figures. Katy, is he behaving like this at home too, or is it just a problem at school? Have you spoken to his teachers about his other behaviour there, such as, does he have friends, is he socialising with others, is he capable of the work they set him? There is some reason he is behaving like this, and I think getting to the bottom of it is important in knowing how to deal with it. Have you tried to sit him down once he is calm and rather than punish him, talk to him about why he is behaving like this?

Helen - posted on 01/25/2013

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This is a difficult one - and I am talking both as a parent of almost 4 year old and 21 month old boys, and as a trained and experienced childcare worker.

It would be interesting to know how much positive attention he's getting in school - he's used to getting lots of attention from you, and from staff in his previous class. Its hard with him going up a class - he might be able to cope with the 'work' but he is still a baby and maybe he just can't cope emotionally being with the 'big' boys and girls, being separated from his friendship group etc - maybe it would be better for him to go back to his old class (with his friends) and just have the more difficult work given to him to stop him getting bored.


The use of star/reward charts is a great one to help with behaviour - we use a star chart where anyone in the family who is kind gets a star on the chart and when there are enough stars you all get a treat - fit it to your family as to how many stars are needed before the treat etc, and treats could be a trip to library, going to local cafe for a drink, having an extra bedtime book, more time or extra bath etc doesn't have to be big or expensive, just something fun.

Most important in this is that bad behaviour, as much as possible, is ignored and good behaviour is praised immediately. The more praise you can get in the better - and for as many different things as possible - what he does, for being him, for helping, for being good, etc


To use this to help at school I would start with finding out how often he hits, when he hits and if anything seems to trigger the behaviour. I would then make it so that if he could go for a certain length of time without hitting he would get a star, with treats coming quickly and gradually make the time longer to get the star and then when he can go the length of time needed you can start making it more stars for the treat. It would be even better if the school could do this.
Also after school I would praise him for being good but once bad behaviour has been dealt with at school, he doesn't need to be told off again by you (imagine being told off for something at work, coming home and your husband/partner telling you off for the same thing!), by all means be disappointed but don't tell him off.

Good luck, and know that it is probably a phase, and I hope things improve soon.

Tracey - posted on 01/25/2013

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Good grief, he's *four*. In some of the most educationally-advanced countries, like Sweden, they don't put 4-year-olds in school! Unless by "school" you mean daycare. Even that is iffy at age 4.

Studies show that kids who are put in daycare before they are ready tend to be more aggressive than kids who stay home. Other studies show that kids who are forced into academics before their brains have sufficiently matured tend to get depressed and upset--nothing like being forced to try to accomplish things that your body and brain aren't yet ready for! In fact, those brain structures aren't in place until the average age of 7 to 8, which is why this is normally the legal age for compulsory education. Up until this age, it's voluntary (check your state laws to find the legal age where it's required to be doing some form of education by).

I'd say bring him home, and get involved in some Mommy and Me-type groups. That way, when he acts up away from home, you're right there to correct the behavior. You can explain to him why whatever he did was wrong and demonstrate to him a better way. Sometimes kids this age need a pattern to follow, and in a setting where it's almost completely other kids, the patterns they see to follow aren't good ones.

Heather - posted on 01/24/2013

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When was he moved to Pre-K? How long has it been going on? Maybe he is just having a harder time adjusting, and it is showing through in this behavior (boys will often react in a more aggressive way when they are having a hard time, as opposed to girls who will usually just get more emotional). Maybe you could talk to the school, and he could go back to his previous class temporarily, and try a more gradual transition instead of cold turkey. Start out with a little bit every day, and gradually increase the time spent in the new class. That might work better? Definitely try different approaches-above all he needs to feel secure, and boys are harder to judge because they don't react the way us moms expect them too.

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Melanie - posted on 01/04/2014

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Hi Katy:

This post is almost a year old. As people are still responding to it, can you update it and let us know what the situation is now? I work with this age group in a kindergarten setting as an educational assistant, and if it is still a problem, I would like to answer it. Thanks.

Jennifer - posted on 12/29/2013

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We do what we know and it sounds like your doing the best you know how. Thats all anyone asks of you. Good Job at reaching out for help. You must let your child know hiting is unacceptable behavior. What do you do to get that message across in a positive manner. Well, what behavioral management does your teacher have in her classroom? when you drop him off she need to adhere to those classroom rules. I'm sure using gentle touches and no hiting is a rule. She needs to follow thru with utilizing that behavior management when he hits her. Than , you need to create house rules just a couple and enforce them at home. These rules must be age- appropriate so google: house rules for four year olds. Also, you can get a very small jar like the size of a kids drinking cup. sit your child down an explain to him everytime he does positive things to another person at home you put a marble in the cup when the cup is filled up than you can reward him for be respectful to others. The reward can be quality time spent with you alone, going to the park or something highly enjoyable to him. You must reinforce him everytime hes being respectful at home and make a big deal of it by telling others what he did and praise him. After awhile if your consistent with this than your see his behavior change. Its a process and takes time. That way you and the teacher are on the same page and hes hearing what appropriate behavior is at school and home.
In regards to tantrums, unless hes hurting himself or others ignore them. Don't look at him or talk while hes having a tantrum because when you do it gives him attention and reinforces more tantrum. Safety is always the key. Make sure everything is safe around him and if not make it safe by removing him to a safe area or removing the things unsafe than ignore him. After awhile he will know thats not how he gets his way.Start with these small steps.

Joanne - posted on 09/16/2013

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Your son must have a strong will to exert his self righteousness. Nothing is wrong with that except when he retaliates by hitting people. This is the problem, obviously. HIs temper tantrums are coming from frustrations due to not being able to get his way. Children need to win too. They need their chance to get what they want. Otherwise, too many "No's" and "Don't do's" will accumulate within and then BOOM, he'll blow up. You can learn how to balance this out. They have stories about real life situations that other moms endured. You can get free parenting tips too. http://www.truekidsstories.org

Misty - posted on 06/24/2013

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I have been going through this for the last month as well. My 4-year old has never liked to be touched and I advised his new teacher of this and when I dropped him off one day he was upset and she tried to comfort him and he slapped her. He was suspended from school that day and then the next week he slapped multiple teachers and even hit a kid. He always told me that he didn't want to go to school. I have found out by asking questions and really listening and working closely with his teacher that he does not like going to lunch or back to his class for nap. The issue he has is that it is loud during the movement from both rooms. Have you ever thought maybe it is not a temper tantrum but something more? I notice a difference in my son between the two so I took him to a therapist to help me help him. Saying that I could not parent my child without some outside help was honestly the hardest thing I had to ever do. I wish you all the luck.

Ann - posted on 04/14/2013

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CHADD Educator's Manual on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivty Disorder (AD/HD): An In-Depth Look from an Educational Perspective
About ADHD: The Complete Practical Guide for Classroom Teachers, 2nd Edition
IF your child is diagnosed with ADHD or ADD get yourself and your child's teacher a copy of one of these books.
Approach the teacher saying that in your profession, or something, there was not enough time to cover everything in depth, or over time things change. ( depending on the age of the teacher, I had a new grad who knew "everything") Give the teacher a copy of the book, and ask for a meeting after he/she has had time to look it over. Then decide, perhaps with your psychologist or social worker, what may work with your child, suggest this (firmly) with the teacher.
With my son, the page had smiley faces. So, so many smiley faces equaled a TV ticket. Or something else, if he saved enough, a match box car. He could get a ticket for bringing his sheet home, homework home, etc. That's just one suggestion.
Remember your child is not bad, his/her brain wiring is off. PET scans proove this. Hang in there all of you.

Ann - posted on 04/14/2013

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I hate saying this, I sound like a broken record. Ask for an IEP, and get a psychiatrist to evaluate him. There are many reasons he is acting out, frustration, oppositional behavior disorder, etc. OR, he just does not like school. The point is that you need help handling his behavior, and so does his teacher. Take charge and get help.

Katie - posted on 04/10/2013

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I don't t know a lot about your situation, but my little boy was very frustrated at that age and would sometimes act out a little bit verbally or just close down. He was having a hard time transitioning from one activity to the next. For example, he didn't want to quickly draw something for the teacher then move onto something else. He wanted to spend maybe 30 minutes until he felt like he was done and ready to move on. He would get upset when he didn't get to completely finish what he started. He had a very patient, very good preschool teacher who found, if she gave him enough warnings, like- we have 5 minutes left, then 3 minutes, and so on, he was a lot less frustrated and enjoyed school a lot more. I talked to his teacher the next year about doing the same thing and he's done great. I always felt like I needed to address the behavior to correct it right as it was happening. It turned out he was just as frustrated as we were and finding the cause of the frustration and showing him we were willing to compromise a little to ease his frustration made all the difference.

Shirley - posted on 03/24/2013

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My twin Grandsons have been in a structured school setting since they were three, at age four they were moved to a different school where they were in a pre-k school environment. They have blossomed. They had each other to help them adjust (unlike your little one) so I disagree that children at this age are too young to be in a "school environment" I think it truly enriches their lives and prepares them better for when they go to school. My grandsons will attend kindergarten in the fall and I know they are ready for the transition. They are very smart for their age. I contribute most of this to the last three years they have had in their daycare/school setting. If you have the right school your child will benefit greatly from the experience. I also agree that if you have the time, and the school permits, you should see about being a parent helper. even if it is just for a few hours a day, something that he can look forward to, something that he knows will be going on, maybe it will change his outlook on the class he is in and he will be happier about going. If not you, then maybe a grandparent or someone else that he loves or trusts?

Shelly - posted on 03/24/2013

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I would have him tested. That's my 1st thought almost always. He sounds really frustrated, maybe he has something going on that you don't know about. My son was acting out and being violent & I had him tested, it took 3 times to find a therapist to listen but now his anxiety is under control and we found out why he was acting out & it wasn't my fault or his! Knowledge is key.

Holly - posted on 02/11/2013

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rewarding a child for not doing something HORRIBLE?! not the way to go with this. take away prized possessions and make him EARN them back... the first time he hits or has an angry outlash in bad behavior take away one of his favorite toys, for a week, if he does it again before the week is up take another toy away and extend it another week.... eventually he'll learn, hitting and angry outlashes of violent behavior, whether it is on a human/animal/or another person's property is NOT the way to get something he wants... show him how to talk about it.

Chaya - posted on 02/10/2013

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You may wish to try rewarding him for going 3 days without hitting teacher, or getting into trouble at all. It doesn't have to be expensive, or involve monies at all, it could be being allowed to stay up half hour later, or he can pick what to have for dinner, ask him what's important to him. Next month, try rewarding him for going five days without getting a note sent home. (Good notes don't count) Maybe he can go swimming or pick the ice cream out. You may wish to use whatever reward he finds appropriate.

Nakeisha - posted on 02/08/2013

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Spare the Rod ( belt, hand), SPOIL the child! Your the parent be that, step up &Stop being the child. I bet he hits you, tell you if he going too eat, yells at you & if you don't pop those legs he WELL START CURSING YOU OUT & Knocking you in your head! Your child, all children needs correction. NOTICE I didn't say STONE HIM! Cause you know someone will show their stupidity & brain. Do right by him, train him to be a young man not a young minist. Whip his butt!

Aida - posted on 02/07/2013

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There might be something at school he doesn't like and that's why he is acting out. If you haven't tried to ask him how his day was at school and see if his gestures change or ask him what is going on in school. Hope everything gets better. Also ask the teacher if it happens more during a certain time of day or activity. Kids usually act out because of a reason and not just because

Ginger - posted on 02/07/2013

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I still cannot believe how many people want to label their children! Kids NEED something that makes them happy and we don't give it to them. Everyone needs a "thing"! We are so busy labeling our children and giving them physical things and pushing them to use technology that we forget the basic human nature to DO and be challenged!

Marie - posted on 02/07/2013

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@ holy milfownry she did not asked for your yo sense , she asked for help and good advice.

Marcel - posted on 02/07/2013

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Make sure he is getting 10 hours of sleep at night and his day and night routine has structure throughout and stays the same.

Julie - posted on 02/06/2013

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My son was very well behaved at home and had the same problems at preschool and has occasional issues still in kindergarten. Your school district should have a child study team and inquiring to have him evaluated can't hurt. My son has a cognitive delay and some minor sensory issues...those 2 things combined make adjusting to school very difficult. As long as you are sure he is being treated kindly at school and is acting this way under normalcircumstances

Mary Jane - posted on 02/05/2013

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Hi Katy,
When my son was your son's age, I was constantly being phoned by his teachers due to them not having the training or ability to work with him. I was in college doing my practicum and then my intern, and having 2 other children to take care of...it didn't lend to my sanity (lol) My son was diagnosed with ADHD. I did take the time, as frustrating as it was, and embarrassing, it didn't matter, I didn't want him to feel like an outcast. I would leave whatever I was doing, I would take him outside and play basketball or just run around the play ground, and would speak with him about how his behaviors were affecting others around him. He just had lots and lots of energy and through no fault of the school and the teachers, a lot of education was being brought forth because, You know that saying, "It takes a village to raise a child." Well my son is now 22 years old and he made it. He is doing great and doesn't have stigma attached to him. He's very creative and very handsome. and he still has tons of energy! which I love. I work with a population of people that others (even people that get paid for what they are doing to provide quality service...and yet for whatever reason, can't or just won't, either way) my point is, don't feel badly about how your child is behaving, embrace him and let him know you are there, encouraging him and standing by his side. We are not always available and don't see what he is going through when we are not around. So listen, be still and be his advocate. Stay strong!

Renata - posted on 02/05/2013

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Maybe he is missing you....maybe he is Also saying that he wants to spend more Quality time with his family....
And it's not ready to go to pre school

Julia - posted on 02/05/2013

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Since your son is sweet and respectful at home, it seems unlikely to me that he has a learning disability or psychological disorder. Since he has been in daycare for years without any trouble, I think taking him out of school seems a bit extreme. Without knowing you or your son, I would guess that either a) he misses his friends from his old class, b) he misses the easy life of preschool and the feeling of being a "big fish in a small pond", c) he has some kind of personality conflict with his new teacher, and/or d) there's something else bothering him, maybe something that seems entirely unrelated. My first piece of advice is to let go of your embarrassment. As a parent, I know it's hard to do that. We tend to see our children as a reflection of ourselves, the lens through which teachers, counselors, etc. see us. Unfortunately, being focused on your own feelings makes it difficult to see what's really going on with your son, especially if you feel defensive. It is your family against the world, not you and the world against your son. As little as he is, he is his own person with his own experiences, opinions, feelings, and beliefs. You are his greatest influence and example. It sounds like you have a good relationship with him, so you're already ahead of the game. Apologize to his teachers but don't force him to say something he doesn't mean. Talk to him and find out why he's unhappy and what he needs. Tell him calmly how his behavior makes you feel, make sure he knows he can trust you no matter what, and really listen. Try not to freak out even if he tells you something upsetting, and try not to dismiss anything he says. Just use your grown up powers to get to the bottom of it and apply remedy, reassurance, or support as needed. And don't let anyone, religious or otherwise, cause you to doubt your parenting skills.

Tasha - posted on 02/05/2013

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Hello Katy,
My name is Tasha, I am a mother of six;out of the six I have a set of triplet boys! They are seven years old but I can recall when they were that age. Is your son the only child or is he the youngest child? He could be seeking attention, wanting time with you,wanting to be noticed. To children any attention is better than no attention. Sit him down and ask him, children are good at expressing their feelings when asked. Most important out of everything I said is PRAY for your son and or children. I am a believer and born again christian. If it was not for Gods power and srentgh motherhood would be impossible for me. Do you believe in Jesus Christ Katy? Are you saved? If so great,if not and you desire the lord to come into your life just invite him in. Confess your sins and ask Christ to be your savior and everythingelse you need him to be for you and your son.He will be the father to you and your son. Pray;its just a conversation with you and God,read Gods word the bible; start with John 3:16 to know what God did for you.
God bless you and be encouraged God is able to turn your son around!

Mel - posted on 02/05/2013

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Maybe your son has Aspergers Syndrome or Autism..... My son could have, it seems like there playing up, but they can't help it..... maybe worth checking out. Good luck xx

Melissa - posted on 02/05/2013

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Also, Maggie is correct to check for food allergens, or others. Some kids have a lot of sensitivity to different additives, etc. mine also require a ton of exercise to calm down.

Melissa - posted on 02/05/2013

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Don't start throwing out cleaning supplies or major life changes yet. Ask the school for a functional behavior assessment, you may have to demand to convene an IEP (Individualized Education Program) for this. Then call you local department of mental health to have the intake department do an assessment. Most pediatricians are not trained to recognize behavioral symptoms, you need a specialist. If your child has a genetic or medical behavioral prob, it's NOT your fault, but you can help. You can get parenting classes, NOT because you're a bad parent, but because some of the strategies seem counterintuitive at first. The most important part is that your child gets some form of behavioral therapy. You are not alone. My kids had it, and it helped them tremendously. (And us!). But don't wait, hoping it will get better on its own. This is not going to cost you a fortune, but it will take a little time. It's worth it.

Ruth - posted on 02/05/2013

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Try taking him to a psychologist. They can diagnose any ADD, ADHD or slight Autism that the child might have and recommend counceling or medication. There is nothing to fear and doesn't mean your a bad parent. If you've tried all the conventional methods and find they don't work and seek a professional opinion, that can only make you a better parent.

Gail - posted on 02/05/2013

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Get him some therapy... Outside of school. Most major centers for children cover the cost under your mental health ins. The therapist will become his life coach and help you to help him. Trust me this will work.

Irene - posted on 02/04/2013

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sounds like your son needs counseling
go see a counseler
you could take a parengting class at teh family educatino center in olympia wa
talk to mark, or shellie willis and they can help you get set up
you could try to sit him down hold him with your arms around him and try to get him to talk out his problems

Rochelle - posted on 02/04/2013

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What did u do to help your son? My son seems to be going through the same thing.

Margareta - posted on 02/04/2013

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Hi , I am a mother of a 4 year old boy and my advice is to go to your pediatrician and ask for a full assesment and or a behavioral consult .
I'll explain why. You never know what might be Contributing to the behavior 1) diet & 2) allergies
These are some of what can be contributing to the behavior and then how you react to the behavior also can be another factor that could be escalation the behavior .
So sorry you have to go through this but your not alone . I have a child that had a lot of different contributing factors to what we were seeing and we have been through it all and it was well worth all the trouble of assesing everything what we found out about his allergies (that weren't visible ) and the averse reaction to her personality and behavior. Check everything :) good luck and stay strong :)

Ginger - posted on 02/04/2013

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Maggie, love your response to this question. However, I would add that its not good to give excessive praise either... reason being, if a child does something that truly is fantastic, now they get the same praise for putting a sock on as they do for learning to tie their own shoes. A better example is playing sports... if a kid is terrible, focus on them trying their best and having fun but, don't tell them how great they did... in my mind that's false advertising. Be honest and the praise should suit the achievement just as "the punishment fits the crime".

Dearne - posted on 02/04/2013

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Ask him what is going on. Is it normal behaviour for him or does he just do it to the teacher.

Maggie - posted on 02/04/2013

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When he behaves well then praise praise praise! Lots of hugs and high fives and pats on his head. Spend time playing with him, especially things he wants to play. The more positive attention he gets the less negative attention he will seek. Try asking him to calm down and use words so you can help him. I tell my boys "i can't understand you when you are screaming. Calm down and try again". This usually does the trick and I can help them resolve whatever problem. Also try working on getting him to find solutions on his own. When faced with a problem ask him what he thinks should happen. Offer a few solutions if needed and let him choose what he wants to try. Then he can start seeing cause and effect. He will also have experiences to use toward future events. Have a conference with his teacher and see if there is a particular thing that sets him off. Ask about snack and lunch times to rule out grouchiness from hunger. See if there is a problem with another student. Ask the teacher how she handles his tantrums. Offer solutions that work at home.
You can also look at other factors like diet (food additives and artificial colorings have this effect on some kids), exercise (kids that age need a LOT of physical activity, especially boys), sleep (move bedtime earlier, add a nap if possible, check for apnea.
Try giving him some big buy responsibility at home. Have him clear his dinner dishes, put away his clean clothes, or feed a pet. It will help him feel important and needed.

It is a TOUGH situation but your son is a GOOD boy. Make sure you tell him and show him often. Fill him up with love. We always say if he is full of love then there is no room for grouch. Check out the book "the five love languages for kids" by Gary Chapman.

Laura - posted on 02/04/2013

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www.positiveparentingsolutions.com and Talk So Children Will Listen and Listen so Children Will Talk. They give STEP BY STEP guidance on how to deal with these sorts of things. WORTH EVERY PENNY.

Patricia - posted on 02/04/2013

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What kind of cleaning products are you using in your home? EPA(Environment Protection Agency) says the average home is more toxic than outdoors.Your cleaning products including washing detergent, shampoos, bath soap, especially bleach and amonia,Lysol can cause a
lot of damage to you and especially the children.you are breathing it and it can penetrate your skin. Women are getting cancer and don't understand why. children are having learning disabilities and problem like your son. And when they give medication, that increase the problem or causes other problems because of the mixture of the medication and the toxin he is breathing. it has been noted that the schools are using bad toxic products and kids have come home sick from school. These products are silent killers. Procter and Gamble, Lever Brothers, Johnson and Johnson have chemicals in their products that will blow your mind. Go to www.concernedmoms.com Email me. I can explain more patty.t@att.net

Lisa - posted on 02/04/2013

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Chris, I agree. Anger (at this age) is usually a response to another feeling like being scared or frustration and it comes out as anger. I went around and around in circles to find that my son did not have any sense of structure at his daycare, and it was his attempt to control the situation. He also didn't feel safe because of the lack of structure. It took FOREVER and a lot of help from others to get there. I am just now finding out there is a language delay, and the earlier the better for help with this! It is hard to identify (as a mom) when they are telling elaborate stories that they do not understand the directions at school!

I feel for you, Katy!

Eva - posted on 02/04/2013

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He needs his mommy and time to get ready. He is trying to tell you he is not ready for school. Play with him. read him some books. take him out into nature. Slow down.

Chris - posted on 02/04/2013

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have you checked into behaviorial specialist ? it sounds to me that he is angry and he is too young to have the words to say it so he acts out .

Debra - posted on 02/03/2013

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what kind of routine is he on at home? do you have rules? a proper bedtime in place? does he get nutritious meals? some kids get bad behavior if there is too much processed foods/dyes in their diet vs healthy fresh food. Is your home in order or do you have personal issues that you are dealing with Ie. house is in flux, no dad in the picture, fighting with your spouse etc. All those things will play a role. It sounds like he is acting out and is overwhelmed. Maybe you need to reflect on what could be making him so upset. Does he get enough sleep at night? temper tantrums usually happen when kids get tired.

Muriel Sadie Missinne - posted on 02/03/2013

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sounds like he is overwhelmed. time outs and taking toys away is as far as i would go. he is talking then talk to him and ask him what is wrong. if he is good at home then you need to go and find out what is happening at school. Question the teachers, question the principle. keep going until something comes. Take the little guy to the family doctor and tell the family doctor what is happening. maybe the family doctor can have a word with him or check to see if there is something physically hurts he is not talking about. If popped his bottom means a spanking do not go there again. It just means your bigger and you can. settle things the way you would like him to settle things. be a role model. fight for whatever is upsetting him like this. i would.

Bobbi Jean - posted on 02/03/2013

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@ Lisa, language delays are good suggestion.

My daughter reminded me a few days ago that we had to have language therapy for her when she was young. She knew what she wanted to say, she just couldn't be understood! It was a very good two years investment for her.

Best of luck. : )

Ashley - posted on 02/03/2013

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I have has 5 children, I feel like ur problem could have started in daycarw and he may learned it there just by watching the other children. He may have never been involved
But watched another child being a bully... Some children don't like the change and act out in different ways. He more than likely doesn't mesh with the new teacher. I would switch him, even if it means switching schools. The experience in the beginning matters so much for the future yrs to come.. I've now noticed the kids that
had a tough time in prek have a tougher time now. Also use the counslors that's what they're there for! I loved mine and they helped me so much :-). Good luck and don't let it get to ya u sound like ur trying ur best to fix it now :-)
@ Ashley grow up, meds don't fix everything, the right parenting techiques do!!!!!

Lisa - posted on 02/03/2013

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Language delay? Is he an only child? Questions to think about.
He is getting attention for this, and this is what he is wanting. It doesn't matter to him whether it is positive or negesative. Please don't think this reflects on you! That is probably the hardest thing about this because, as you can see from other posts, people are quick to judge.

There is a high level of frustration he is feeling and he doesn't have the language to express it. He does need to figure out that this behavior will result in being excluded, not given extra attention... Have you talked to your pediatrician?

There must be some kind of pattern at school? Have them document why and do a count for a few days. then make an action plan with how they will handle this each time and how you'll handle a bad day/good day. Be really up front with him about it too. Emphasize good days, carry out the bad days and give minimal attention to him, but don't be angry/embarrassed. Learn to let it go. He's the one that's being the stinker, you are a good mom! Best wishes with you independent lil' man

Nancy - posted on 02/03/2013

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Wow! What an absurd comment from a "school psychologist"! First of all, it is not the school's responsibility to fix behavior problems. It is the parents' job! Teachers and school staff are VERY limited in the steps they can take to correct a child. And let's not forget the obligation the school has to every OTHER CHILD in that classroom. Too many out-of-control children are ruining school for the rest. They take up valuable teachable time and waste it on behavioral issues. The school was 100% correct to reach out to the parents to ask for help. Katy, I have so much respect for you for trying to help your son and not expecting the school to fix the problem. As a teacher, my advice would be to first contact your pediatrician to rule out and physical/biological issues that may be present (believe it or not, allergies or sensitivities to certain foods can cause behavioral issues). I would also contact a someone who specialized in sensory issues. If your son has problems with sensory integration they will be able to help. He may just be overwhelmed by all of the stimulation he is exposed to. And I would also recommend contacting a behavioral specialist/therapist who can teach you productive ways to handle behavioral issues. Then you can work with the school and all be using the same techniques. I know I am always willing to work with parents/specialists to make sure my students get all of the help they need. Most importantly, by you taking charge your son will realize that you are on his side, helping him, and that you and his teachers will do all you can to help. He is a VERY lucky little boy to have such a caring, dedicated mother - I wish more parents were like you! Good luck!

Linda - posted on 02/03/2013

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It could be that he has one of the many learning disabilities. This could be why he only acts out at school, unless you have him by a doctor who specializes in learning disabilities you will never know for sure. Many children have learning issues and act out because of it. He needs all the help and love you can give him.

Lois - posted on 02/03/2013

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you may wish to explore food allergies, as it can affect behavior. Chart everything he eats and drinks, including brands, also dyes in food & medicines. Track for several weeks and record the childs behavior to see if a pattern is shown, as with many food allergies it takes time to pinpoint.

Lisa - posted on 02/03/2013

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Something you can do is look for a supported child development consultant they're usually funded by the ministry of family services

Ginger - posted on 02/03/2013

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I find it sad that so many moms are suggesting seeing a "professional"!?? It also bothers me that so many moms are quick to have a "professional" label their child. I would give credit to those who are educated but also remember, anyone with common sense and strong will can learn anything if their will is strong enough!! Being a mom is not rocket science... its much simpler yet MUCH harder. I feel greater benefit comes from hearing other people's suggestions and how they handled their own children... there is great truth in the old adage "It takes a village"!! Don't worry Katy... you will figure it out.

Heather - posted on 02/03/2013

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I am having issues with my almost 5 y/o in preschool as well. Not the hitting and such, just non-sence stuff, but still not what I want. We are going to try to reward her is she goes a week at school with no problems and see if that helps. And by reward, I am talking small trinkets! :) What are the results at school for his bad behavior. Hopefully you and his teacher can find a good solution!

Christina - posted on 02/03/2013

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When my son first started pre k we had similar issues. What I did was we had a "team meeting." I went to his school with his father and his grandparents (because he is very close with them) and we explained that he had to listen to and respect his teacher like he does with us. That she was a "team member" on team Gage. I know it might sound cheesy, but explaining it to him in this way made him understand. He knows that everyone on his team loves him and wants what is best for him, and because of that we have to tell him no or ask him to do things that aren't fun sometimes. Of couse he is a three year old and will have a bad day every once in a while but the teacher saw a dramatic change in his behavior. Good luck!

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