[deleted account] ( 4 moms have responded )

My 4 year old son has had really bad tantrums since I can remember. He saw a neurologist and the dr stated that he has some autistic behaviors like the terrible tantrums, but did not make an diagnosis. He always wants everything his way. He tells me to shit up. Tries to hit me when I explain that he should not be yelling. He screams out the top of his lungs for no reason. When it's nap time or bedtime he throws a tantrum and throws toys. He spits on the floor when he hears something he don't like, for instance "stop jumping on the couch" or "don't throw that". Is it really autism or is he just stepping all over me. He's very smart and understands what he's being told, so I don't know what to do. Is spanking really that bad to get him in line? If he's like this at 4 to his mother, how will he be at 25 with authorities????


Jodi - posted on 11/20/2014




What consequences do you have in place for his behaviour? Just saying "don't throw that" is NOT a consequence. He needs a consequence in place that will actually mean something to him, that he cares about. Spanking is also NOT the answer, you are just teaching him to hit. For instance, when he throws his toys, do you throw them out? Take them off him? If he spits on the floor, do you make him clean it up, even if it takes all day?

We can't say whether he has autism or not. He could just need some discipline consistency. Four year olds throw tantrums. It's normal behaviour. Not acceptable of course, but normal. So you need to set up some logical consequences. Also, always praise for the behaviour you DO want. Every time he listens when you ask him not to throw or not to jump, let him know he made a great choice and you are very proud of him.


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Guest - posted on 11/21/2014




Autism is a set of symptoms that lay on a very broad spectrum--and almost all of us seem to have a few of those symptoms in very mild forms.

As Jodi said, enforce consequences and make sure he knows them before he breaks the rule. For example, if he is throwing a toy, say, "Do not throw toys. If you throw any toy again, I will take the toy away and donate it to charity. If you want to keep the toy, treat it nicely." Then when he throws the toy (and he WILL throw the toy just to test your will), donate the toy to charity and do not replace it with a new on. When my son was little, I kept a box in the back of my car and tossed the toys to be donated into it so that I could drop them off next time I was out. He lost a great many toys one week, but after that week, I seldom had to donate a toy.

If he is jumping on the couch, say, "If you jump on the couch, you will have to go to your room, but if you sit nicely or play on the floor, you can stay out here." Then send him to his room until he is ready to come out and follow the rules.
If he spits on the floor, make him clean it up. Explain, "We only spit in the sink or the trashcan. If you spit anywhere else, you have to clean it up."

The basic idea is to give him choices. Every choice in life has a consequence. You want to teach him to look at the choices he has and their consequences, then make his own choice based on the consequence he wants. This will be a skill that will help him all through his life. Also, by giving him the choice, you give him the power over the consequences--he can't get mad at you for disciplining him because HE made the choice that came with whatever consequence he is enduring.

When he makes a good choice, make sure you let him know you noticed and are proud of him. Often, bad choices are cries for attention, and a little extra attention is another incentive to make good choices. When he makes bad choices, keep your attention and interaction with him to a minimum.

Sarah - posted on 11/20/2014




By giving a 4yo some control over simple things can help. For lunch, ask him if he wants sandwich or soup. Does he want to wear red or blue shirt today. Allowing him to make some decisions will help him feel empowered and he is less likely to pitch a fit. Give him a heads up that nap time is in an hour, then in a half hour, let him choose what toy or books he takes with him to lay down. Sometimes when a child is suddenly told to do something, it's like a reflex to resist. Knowing what to expect over the course of the day may calm him down a bit. Also, the way you correct his behavior can affect his response, instead of saying "don't jump on the couch" you can say "couches are for sitting, lets go jump outside". Good Luck!

[deleted account]

Thank you, That's very useful advice. I'm just very overwhelmed and considering that I didn't grow up in a big family with other children around I don't know what's normal or not.

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