4 1/2 Year Old with Behavioral Problems

Updated on March 25, 2010
K.D. asks from Yorktown Heights, NY
11 answers

My 4 1/2 year old son is having behavior problems. He is diagnosed as having PSD-NOS (Pervasive Spectrum Disorder) and is usually a very loving and sweet child. Lately he can switch moods like someone turning on a light switch. He has started hitting/kicking/sassing/talking back. Have tried the corner, time outs, taking away toys, time alone in his room, you name it, it has been attempted. At my wits end at this point. I work full time and am a single mom (divorced) and his father is in his life. Any suggestions anyone has would be greatly appreciated.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

We do praise for good behavior, trust me, he is constantly being praised, hugged, kissed, etc... the i love you and am proud of you is a biggie in the house... we do the charts, etc as well. he gets OT weekly at pre-k (he is enrolled in a EI specific pre-k and is in his 2nd year there and will hopefully have no problems integrating in kindergarten). Thank you for all your kind words and esp the hugs... sooo need them... and will def try the other "natural" sources. we have already modified his diet and he did really well. Thanks again everyone!!!

Featured Answers



answers from New York on

Pick a punishment and stick with it. ALWAYS I would rule out isolation in his room and opt for sitting in a chair watching what is going on around him for at least 5 minutes. Because of the PSD a corner or alone time might be what he wants. But consistency is the key. He needs to know what to expect ALWAYS. However do not use the same punishment for everything he does wrong. Save the one you pick for hitting or being very rude.
Also try to watch him and see what might be setting him off. Is he frustrated with a toy or task? Is he hungry or over tired? With most kids if you can identify the cause and nip it before they are overwhelmed, the tantrums will become greatly reduced. Then talk WITH him about how he might avoid the frustration the next time.

More Answers



answers from Boise on

You could try these:

NCD zeolite, which removes heavy metals. Metals can affect the nervous system and indeed cause aggression, hyperactivity, and cross behavior.
They have been using this for autism but have found surprising results in treating other symptoms.

Magnesium also can chelate heavy metals out (some). Magnesium acts as a chemical gate blocker, which relaxes nerves. Low magneisum levels increase adrenaline. Low magensium can be attributed to bipolar, depression, asthma, Compulsion, confusion, inattention, aggitation adhd, and increased blood sugar levels.

Cod liver oil , which is high in vit D, is called the mood vitamin. It can increase a sense of calm and wellbeing.

Vit B complex, drops under the tounge can round out support of the nervous system.
Oh, and don't forget- nerves run on HYDRO-electricity. So if a person is even slightly hydrated, the nervous system will be aggitated.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

find out if something or someone is bothering him at daycare/school. my oldest usually lashes out at me at home when his school bully has been bothering him.



answers from New York on

I don't have anything to add to discipline -- it's clear that you're trying really hard on that front, and good for you for continuing that. I would just add that, whatever his behavior, make sure he has 15 minutes of one-on-one time each day (maybe even at the same time each day) where you sit on the floor with him, play what he wants to play, let him take the lead and you just give that time to him. For those 15 minutes he is the apple of your eye.

I had to intentionally do that after our 2nd child was born because our older son had started attacking me -- and of course, in the midst of all of that, I was the safe one to attack because he knew I wouldn't go away. We did the same craft at the same time each day (he was 3, so foam stickers every day didn't get old) and during that time he could see himself as a well-behaved golden child (as opposed to the rest of the day, when there were constant barriers and boundaries that he bumped up against.

I guess it was like taking a vitamin for behavior -- we kept up with the regular nutrition, but this was just a little extra that I could do and I think it made a difference.



answers from Albany on

I would like to tell you about a program that my son has been in for about 2 1/2 years. He is a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) child which they tend to have many impulse behaviors. We did not know how to teach him or handle the behaviors he had so a specialist came in to help us. This program has changed our lives. It is called the learnet program and is based on teaching the child self regulation technics to help with everyday situations. Their website is very over whelming but take the time to look at it. It will change your life if you use the problem solving and self regulation technics on a daily basis. This program was brought into my childs classroom and it did so well the principle expanded the program to 8 other normal classrooms to see what it would do. We now have this program in all the classes in this school. This is the website for the learnet program. http://www.projectlearnet.org/ . Also take a look at the Altamont Enterprise March 18th edition and look at the article how one childs TBI help change the whole school forward. Good luck in your problem solving adventure and may God Bless you as he has us.


answers from Chicago on

I'm sorry you are struggling. It must be really hard being a single mom. I don't have a child with this illness, but was wondering if you have tried rewarding the things he is doing right? I've heard a lot of great things about "marble jars" where kids can earn marbles for making good choices, or helping around the house, which then help them earn something bigger and more fun. You can do the same thing with sticker charts. From your post, it sounds like you might be dwelling on his bad choices more than rewarding him for the good choices he makes. I've studied animal behavior (and we are animals too!- it's helped me a lot with my 2.5 year old son!) and I know that whatever is drawn attention to (positively or negatively) tends to get repeated. So, try for a month to dwell on the good things he is doing, and see if he doesn't start doing them more often, or making better choices.
Also, is there any kind of OT or PT that you can do with him? There might be funding for this, so you might not have to pay for it. Is he in school right now? How is he acting at school? Does his teacher have any suggestions on how she handles him and what might work?

Hang in there, mama. I know you must be tired, but I'm sure things will start to turn around. I'm sending you lots of good thoughts and hugs,



answers from New York on

Hi K.,
If he was diagnosed already, is there anyway you can get him some medical help like taking him to see a behavioral specialist? I wouldn't recommend starting him on meds, but you need to get some professional help. It is important for you to understand that this is not something he is doing purposely, but he has a disorder that needs to be treated. Don't lose sight of that, because it'll be hard for you to deal with it, just thinking that he is just being bad. If the dad is in his life that is a very good thing, maybe he can also help you in getting him the help he needs.
Best to you and your son.



answers from New York on

My son was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Develpmental Delay) at age 5. And we have always struggled with his behavior. The book - "1-2-3-Magic" was very helpful with him then and now (he will be 9 at the end of the month). It won't solve everything but it definitely gave me some ideas. Stay consistent in your consequences and hang in there.



answers from New York on

Sounds like he is really angry. I'd try to keep things ordered, get the tv/gaming/angry music off. Classical music soothes and set a good atmosphere (I always have it on in the car and it really makes a difference). And in a calm time, after dinner, sit on the couch and say in a few words, "I am sorry we are divorced. I am sorry you do not have your daddy here all the time. We are doing the best we can. And I know that it is hard for you." Boys really really need a man in their life. So, if you have a brother or someone who could also be in his life to throw balls with and wrestle with (these days with you around or another unrelated adult), that would be good for him. Make sure during his day he has time to run, jump, climb. If there is only one recess during the day at his school (not enough) and he is expected to sit sit sit, he has huge amounts of energy built up. That's another general boy fact - they have to get out that energy actively every day. My friend with 3 boys had to take them on 2 1-hr walks a day. Maybe pick him up at daycare/school and spend an hour at the park or on a walk - bringing fresh fruit, fresh nuts for a snack. Cutting out food coloring and refined sugar will help, too. Both just mess with their brain and body.



answers from Portland on

I love the books Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, and How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk. You can learn how your children themselves can help solve all sorts of behavioral issues and classic family problems. You can read part of this wonderful parent-workshop-between-covers here: http://www.amazon.com/How-Talk-Kids-Will-Listen/dp/038081....

Also, as a person who suffers all sorts of symptoms (including abrupt emotional swings that are hard for me to ease myself past) to chemicals in the air or in food I eat, I hope you'll look into the suggestions you've received for dietary solutions, as well as eliminating as many scented or potentially toxic products in your home as you can. I have especially bad reactions to air "fresheners" and fabric softeners.



answers from New York on

Have you had blood work done on him? My nephew has the same diagnosis and because of the town he lives they checked his blood. He is now on amilk free and glutten diet. Which is working wonders. His body is unable to process out the metals that we take in everyday. He is on suppliments to help flush them out. He also has to stay away from all the artificial food dyes, red, blue and yellow most especially. He does go to a DAN Dr.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions