4 Year Old Not Getting It!

Updated on March 18, 2013
K.I. asks from Katy, TX
22 answers

Okay Mommas! I need some reassurance here and even some recommendations. My four year old son is very strong willed (just like his father) and can be very compassionate and sweet the majority of the time. However, he no longer takes naps and sleeps almost 12 hours or more a night so I don't think sleep is an issue. At least several times a day and maybe more he gets into "tiffs" with his 2 year old sister. Yes she is an instigator, but that's no excuse for him to bite her! When he was 2 1/2 -3 he went through a phase, albeit it a long one, of biting others. We've since gotten through that but he's still biting his sister. Usually it is during a playful moment, but sometimes it is out of frustration. Long story short he's been frequently screaming at top of his lungs when being told no or he is not able to do something or being told to go to time out (for biting/hitting). He usually shows remorse and is genuinely upset after he's bitten his sister; however, he is automatically put in TO for biting. We also started putting him in his room when he screams at top of his lungs. If he doesn't stay in TO he goes to his room. He fights us tooth and nail when it comes to discipline but we are nothing if not consistent. If he pounds on his door while in his room (sometimes he even pees on the floor out of anger), he is spanked. He is told that if he bangs on door he will be spanked but he just doesn't care. My concern is that time and time again (one day he bite his sister 4 times in the course of an hour and was sent to his room for at least 10 minutes each time), but just doesn't learn his lesson. This is the same 9 month old who would play with tv stand only to pinch his fingers time and time again. I think he must have done it 50 times before he finally just got bored. Oh and to top things off he will sometimes say "I hate Mommy" when he's angry about something I asked him to do. When I told our pediatrician's nurse about this she said this was not normal! What?! A four year old can't possibly hate his mother or even know what it truly means. I am more concerned with his thick skull and not responding to cause and effect of discipline. What normal child does something over and over again only to result in a negative effect but STILL continues to do it?! What am I doing wrong? What can I do to get him to "Get it"? Stop biting your sister!!!

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So What Happened?

Thank you for the comments and encouragement thus far...Please keep it coming. As for the person who told me to stop yelling at him (I don't yell at my son. One word, go to your room!. I don't "beat him" for knocking on door. I simply warn him if he is going to pound kick and throw things at the door, I will give him a swat on the rear. I do give my daughter a time out. She's usually not doing anything to warrant a bite or a hit. )...Please stop the judging...I'm not on here to be judged and neither are you. So peace!

More Answers



answers from Seattle on

Consistency is the key. And I know what I am saying, I have a strong willed DD as well, we have been working on an issue for two weeks straight, every night right now. Same thing over and over again - by now I have half of her toys in my closet as a consequence... (they got taken away).

Some kids get it after you say it once, some kids need a broken record and 100 repetitions. It doesn't mean they are not smart or that there is anything wrong, it is just the process of learning how to make a good decision when one's impulse is to do one thing, even though the rules say something else. Most of it is impulse and emotional control and at this age (and for quite some years to come) they are still working on that. You are doing good, stay consistent, give him the same consequence each and every time. Right away, no warnings.

Saying "I hate you: is normal at this age and beyond. No, he does not actually hate you or really know what it means, but he knows he gets your reaction when he says it. I found it most helpful to just ignore it and say "too bad, because I still love you".

I am not for spankings or even escalating the discipline. It is usually counterproductive and if you think about is illogical: you are inflicting pain on your child in order to teach him that it is not ok to inflict pain on others... doesn't work. If he bands on the door ignore it. He has all these emotions going on they need to go somewhere - in these situations being in his room tantruming by himself is pretty much the only outlet he knows. When he is calmer you can try to teach him other techniques to vent his anger/upset. If he pees on the floor - make him clean it up when he is calm again.

So, take a deep breath, this too shall pass and stay on it. I know it is exhausting, I know it sometimes feels like he will never get it... but so far I have to say, eventually they will (... and then something else comes up)...
yes, it would be easier if they'd make it easier on themselves... but alas!

And who knows, tenacity and stubbornness can be great qualities later on when he wants to learn or succeed at something really difficult.

Good luck and much patience.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Hate to tell you, but really this is normal. And strong will children, if their spirit isn't broken are usually very intelligent. Find a way to channel his energy into something positive. Play ball with him and such. He needs more constructive play. Have him help you make muffins or wash dishes,etc.
A bitter is a h*** o*e to deal with. But keep your cool. Be firm, but loving. Make up a story about a dragon that wanted to bite people and how he learn not to or something to his affect. Once you make it up write it down and then tell it to him. Tell it every other day or two. Of course not as a repremanment but as a story. Story telling can do wonders if done in love and pleasure. Everyone needs and love stories.

There is a book called Healing Stories for Challenging Behaviour by Susan Perrow, it's wonderful. Maybe the library has it. It's worth the $ if used. I'm glad to use mine. It's really made a difference in our lives.

You may want to develop this in and for yourself and for your children.

Don't expect too much from a four year old. And four is a very hard age, lots of frustration.

You may also want to try telling him, "we can bite cookies, we can bite apples and carrots and what else can we bite, yes cereal (or whatever he names) but we cannot bite people, we cannot bite babies, we cannot bite dogs, we cannot bite trees, we cannot bite houses, we cannot bite" _________ - let him fill in the blank - Make a kind of game out of it but keep it simple, fun and calm. He's four, he needs mom to be warm and fun and happy.

Although I totally get your concern and I sure wouldn't like it either. I've had my kids bite but I haven't had a bitter but I have cared for them and I've had relatives that had bitter kids. They usually cured it with giving a bite when all else failed but then they didn't try anything but spanking and or scolding or timeout, which never works.

Hope all will soon be pleasant and peaceful in your household. Hugs to the little ones. And try not to pull your hair out.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

It is totally normal for him to say he hates you. Seriously!!! He probably tried a few other phrases and found one that got a rouse out of you. He does it because he's upset and doesn't really know what else to do.

My son also went through a biting stage. It is so hard. As adults we know that biting is so much worse than hitting or kicking or pinching, but kids don't. They really don't, and you can't make them see it. It's his go to when he's frustrated or upset.

I think you really have to try and help him learn a new way of dealing with the situation. What is something he CAN do when he's upset with her. Also, make sure you're catching him being good. You might already be doing this, which is great. But this would be a really good time to give him some positive attention for being good to his sister or helping you or remembering to put his clothes in the hamper and not on the floor or whatever. If he sees that you really approve of his good behavior, he will desire that praise more and more and good behavior just might take the place of some bad behavior.

It really sucks when your child is biting. Just keep working on it. He will grow out of it.

The concerns you have are very normal to an extent. At 4 years old he's still learning how to deal with all his emotions and all of life's disappointments. Just keep working with him. If you really don't see any progress at all in a few weeks, then mention it again to your ped. But I think if you give it time and give him enough positive reinforcement, you'll see an improvement.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Yep, you have a very strong willed child on your hands and unless you have one...it's easy to judge. I have one too. :)

I have learned a million things over her 9 years. First, it's all worth it. She's a lovely girl and I'm happy to be her mommy. At 9 she's maturing and we have infrequent outbursts now. So, there is hope.

Also, I've learned that empathy and understanding for her impulse control issues, and lack of coping skills when frustrated, can help tremendously. My husband is learning this too and it works! Instead of jumping into expecting her to do exactly what we say, we listen to her first and help her through the process. Yes, we make her do what we want, but in a very constructive way where she feels a sense of control too. It's not so much about us winning and her losing, it's more about us teaching her how to behave. Sometimes I even have to teach her what words to use and what to feel. Some kids don't come by this stuff as easily as others.

I've read a zillion books about this too. My top picks are The Explosive Child and 10 days to a Less Defiant Child. Very good books that help you see things from their perspective. These kind of kids are not easy to raise and they can't be managed in the same way as other kids. I have one who "gets it" and one who will do the opposite of what I say every time, just to see what will happen.

These are very bright kids who are wired differently and you can make things better and more peaceful. I completely understand what you mean about them doing something over and over and getting a negative response each time. Yep, that seems to be their goal and it's frightening. I say, take the negative response away and teach them a new way. I agree with many of the suggestions of the other parents. Christine D. is spot on with her response. It's a bumpy ride with these kids, but worth it.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Well, K., I actually think that one of the posters on your thread borders on being a troll, so please ignore the stuff that makes no sense...

I wonder if the nurse meant that all the biting and the fighting with you wasn't normal, rather than him saying "I hate Mommy" wasn't normal. (Plenty of little kids say that.) I DO think that you have a real problem on your hands.

Please talk directly to the ped about what is going on. I do think that you need a change in how you deal with this. Ask if he can refer you to a play therapist. I really think this would help you a great deal.

Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Cincinnati on

The following site has some great articles that might help with your situation.
The articles on Discipline, Rules, Taught Not to Listen, Patience, Punishment, Timeout, and Praise may be helpful for dealing with your son. Really all of these articles have been useful to me at one time or another with my son. My son never did the biting, but he would throw things, scream at the top of his lungs, and hit us, the wall, etc... whenever I told him no. We had to bubble wrap our tv at one point (he was three) because his anger was so uncontrollable and he would throw anything in sight. I tried the timeout method that supernanny uses, but timeouts like that just caused the situation to get worse. Then I stummbled across the proactive parenting website. I tried the recommendations on the site. It is like I have a different kid, now.

I also paired it up with using yoga and following bible heroes to help my son learn ways to calm down and how to be kind to others. We use The YogaKids DVDs, and the kids book 100 Bible Heroes. The parenting book, 'The Secret of Parenting: How to Be in Charge of Today's kids-from toddlers to preteens - without threats or punishment' by Anthony E. Wolf is also very excellent. He talks about why such things as 'I hate you.' can come out of your kids mouth. All very normal, and a good sign that you are still in authority over your kids. Your son wants to get a reaction from you. You are giving him one, so why would he stop. If you can get this book it is well worth reading. It doesn't take long to read, is full of humor, and has some great tips.

Focusing on the positive, gets positive results. My son still gets angry sometimes when I say no, but the calm down time is so much shorter for him and takes less of a toll on me now. He can deal with the 'no' much better than before. Start disciplining your son without punishing him and yourself.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I have a strong willed son and I have to say ages 4 -6 were hard. He would be sent to his room and would scream his head off up there. He would kick the door or throw toys (he'd get them taken away)) and yes he would say he hated us when he was mad. I did go talk to a psychiatrist about him and after answering tons of questions about my son he told us that he's a normal, smart, very strong willed child. Our son is almost 9 now and sooo much better...so hang in there. He started really maturing starting in 1st/2nd grade. We had a quiet sit down talk with our son when he was in a good mood and told him the house rules. Things you could not say or do and what the consequence would be. Then we started really praising him when he was being good and hugging him a lot when he was being neutral. We also started spending time with just him...I'd take him on a mommy/son date night. Or my husband would take him to the hardware store and they'd do a project together. Our son also has a younger little sister and it was quite trying for him once she got mobile. Anyway, keep being consistent but don't forget to praise him multiple times a day when he does something right. Don't forget loving touches or hugs too. I hope that helps you.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Mindy T. had some good insight: does he know what to do instead of bite?
(I don't agree with the soap on the tongue)

Make sure that he knows what the appropriate response is when he is angry, upset or his sister is annoying him in some way. Spell it out for him, and play/practice it with him, so that he knows how to handle it. He won't just automatically mature into knowing---you have to teach him.

You didn't give any examples of exactly what sets him off with his sister, only that "Yes she is an instigator." So it is difficult to really give you specific examples how to respond in those particular situations. But show him what IS ok to do. (come tell adult, ask for the toy back, tell her he is angry, tell her he doesn't want to share, etc). And maybe take a step and figure out if there are ways that you can keep the same-old same-old battles from being set up. If she always takes his batman toy everytime he plays with it and it sets him off, then have him play with it in his room, away from her, to start with, and you can completely avoid the issue. Give her something else to do. Obviously, you can't do that forever and with everything, but if you can recognize some patterns, it can help you avoid the triggers, and shed some light on how to deal with them.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

first off, i think you got a nurse who didn't know what she was talking about "i hate you" often starts at this age - and if you give it attention of ANY kind, it will continue. completely ignore it when he says that. it's not personal. he doesn't even realize what he's saying. your reaction to it teaches him what it means. do you think all his bad behavior is personal? it's not. it has to do with him, not you or his sister. i just wanted to set your mind at ease about the "i hate you" because whoever told you that's not normal, was way wrong.

a couple things, some of the ladies have good advice about strong willed children. listen to them. those that have them are your best help.

also, i would say that he is biting and tantrumming because he doesn't have a better way to express his emotions. help him find the words. tell him when he gets riled up, "use your words. are you angry? what made you angry? i can't fix it if you don't tell me what it is. hitting/biting aren't going to fix it but i can help you fix it if you tell me." if expressing it in words doesn't help, get him a pillow to hit. let him go to town on it. (and when i say "mom can fix it", i don't mean mom will punish sis for looking at him wrong. i just mean that if you know what upset him, you can help him by teaching him how to better deal with it. OR yes, if necessary, helping resolve the situation.)

last, you have to find a kind of discipline that speaks his language. i'm not a big supporter of taking away privileges at this age, but that might be what "gets to" him. is he playing a lot of video games, watching a lot of tv? take it away for bad behavior. or a favorite toy. NOT for a certain amount of time - but until his GOOD behavior earns it back. bad behavior = something bad happens. good behavior = something good happens. this is something my son's kindergarten does that i really like. when the kids misbehave, they get sent to a quiet spot, away from the class. they have to sit quietly and behave for a certain amount of time, to "earn" their way back to the group. then it's in the kid's hands - they're not just doing random penance and then running off. i love it. hth.

(i do believe in spanking in extreme circumstances - when it is a safety issue, OR when timeouts haven't worked and the child is being stubborn. mine isn't "always" strong willed but i can count on one hand the amount of times he has just - weirdly - dug in his heels and REFUSED to comply about something- we're talking hours long fights, in some cases - and yes, i have spanked. i understand. but it does sound like it's backfiring on you. start looking into methods for strong-willed children. i bet that will help you a lot.)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cumberland on

If the spanking is not working then stop spanking. The more you escalate this with him the worse it will get. This has become an attention seeking behavior (4 times in an hour?). The fuss and tussle of the TO's and swats and all the attention for hurting her has become reinforcing in and of itself. I wish I knew why some children can be this way. I understand it is frustrating but if you step out of this cycle with him you might shock him into some change. Instead of going over to him when he bites, first go over to her and give her tons of attention and tend the "wound". Watch his reaction. He may act distressed or start yelling or may just be stunned that you are not running over to him first and starting the attention seeking cycle with him. Don't say anything to him and walk him to his room. If you like make it clear to him before a biting incident occurs that if he needs to go to his room for biting and he throws or abuses his property that he will lose X (tv time, favorite toy etc.) Say as little as possible during his room TO. He is kicking the door partly out of the lack of emotional regulation and partly to get your goat. Simply tell him when the TO is over that he may return but he has lost whatever privilege for being destructive to his room during the TO.
As a preventative, I would very closely monitor their play.. Like A Hawk. If that means stuff doesn't get done--its better than your daughter being a chew toy. If it means he has to take whatever toy he wants to play with and do it in the room you are cleaning, etc. so be it. Let little sister the freedom of being in whatever the main toy room is and make him essentially be grounded with you and the toy he has picked. Tell him he has to earn back the freedom of being with all the toys by dealing with his mad feelings better so he can be trusted with his sister. Perhaps find some show or books about sibling problems and read them with him and talk about how big brothers need to protect little sisters etc. Set up a chart so that for every hour, half day, or day he is kind to his sister, he earns X (show, sticker, small treat, access to a really fun toy). Hope some of this helps. You've got to get him hooked on getting good attention instead of bad. I understand it is hard as the mom of a strong willed girl.
Also you might be interested in the Second Step curriculum --it deals with emotional regulation among other things. I've taught my daycare kiddos and my daughter these steps when they have a strong feeling : Hands on your tummy, Say Stop, Name the feeling, Then take Belly Breaths. The idea is for them to immediately recognize that they are having a strong emotion and to get their hands right on their stomach so they won't hurt anyone else and then to identify their feeling and breathe to calm down. Model it lots for him when you are upset, with puppets etc. and then guide him to use the steps when he is mad.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I would try to find a discipline method that doesn't involve spanking because I think if you are trying to get him out of reacting physically, you need to not react physically to him, either.

My DD is very mercurial. Yay 4s. One of the things I do is tell her she can go to her room til she is calm but she cannot come out til she is calmed down. I don't know why the nurse said his acting out isn't normal. It's not fun, but he's not the first kid to say he hates his parent.

If punishing after the incident isn't working, what about watching for triggers? Working on him in advance? Not leaving him to play with her alone for too long? "Son, you need to play nicely with your sister. If you are getting upset, do not bite. We do not use our teeth to bite people. You can go to your room to calm down or you can talk to me and I'll help you." Or "I think it's time to go outside now. Everybody get a coat and let's run off some of this energy."

My friends worked really h*** o* their son putting words with feelings instead of hitting. He was about that age, too, so it might be a boy thing to be more aggressive vs my DD who screams.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

It sounds like you need a consequence that has an impact, and that you will stick with even when you're tempted to give in. Time out was never that big a deal for my son, he was happy to play in his room. Plus he'd try to keep arguing with me through the door. Losing privileges was a much bigger deal. For example, he really looks forward to watching a movie on the weekend as we don't do screen time during the week. On the occasions that he has lost that, it's a huge deal. It also could be that your son sees that he can continue the drama/attention with the pounding on the door. Can you go to another part of the house while he's having his tantrum? Perhaps if you just let him wear himself out without the satisfaction of your reacting or responding to his performance, it will lose its allure. I remember my mom would send me to my room and tell me I was not allowed to come out of my room until I was calm and ready to apologize (old school parenting :-) ). I would yell and kick and scream but eventually I got tired and bored with it all. As far as the peeing on the floor, do you make him clean it up? I would. He's old enough to handle that. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

It seems you are doing everything "right" in reaction to the child's behavior.
The underlying 'cause' sometimes is as simple as sibling jealousy/rivalry and the child wanting to get some attention - even if it's negative attention. The one other thing that could possibly help is time away from sister, and let him be a good "big boy" during those outing, to be reassured he is still loved by both parents.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

What worked for my parents, is if you did something to your sibling, you had to make amends. When we got older, you had to make amends until the person you wronged agreed that it was okay. We would have to give them toys or do chores for them.

So if he bites his sister, he has to make amends. This could mean giving her a toy of his, or doing something nice for her. Eventually he will get tired of having to do something nice for her and may think before he acts.

This especially works if he is intelligent.

I would also stop with the time-outs. I would start making him DO things to fix what he has done. It's much more positive.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from College Station on

My youngest was like this. We were so frustrated and at the end of our rope. We took him to therapy. What a difference! He has some serious anger issues along with Oppositional defiant disorder. The therapist taught him how to deal with his frustrations and I think having someone other than mom or dad to talk to was highly beneficial.
Now, this is not a magic bullet. We all had a lot of work to do. She worked with my husband and I as well to help give us skills to help him along.
It was beneficial to the whole family and we get to enjoy family time again!
Now, he does still have fits sometimes when he doesn't get his way, but that is usually when he is tired and hungry. But, overall, it was well worth the 6 months in therapy!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

My mother, honestly, would tell you that the next time your son bites your daughter, bite him back. Not hard enough to break the skin, of course, but hard enough so he "gets it."

I'm not sure I agree with her advice, but I can literally HEAR her saying it in my head. I wish I had better advice for you! Good luck!



answers from Columbus on

I second the suggestion to put him into therapy. I am not saying he's "messed up" -- I'm just saying that professional assistance, to work through his anger/frustration would be a good idea. Because despite being consistent with consequences, it is not helping him to manage and deal with the anger. That's not your fault, and not really his---he is still learning and getting a professional to assist you to help him and you just means that you're being smart about it. My brother was this way, and didn't start to improve until after he'd start seeing a child psychologist. He is now an upstanding member of society. :)



answers from College Station on

I apologize if someone has already answered similarly since I haven't taken the time to read all 23 responses that you received so far.

I had a psychologist recommend something that has been very effective at my home (of three boys!). Make your answer be "no" for an appropriate amount of time after the incident. Let me explain. Say that at 10:15am your son does bite his sister. You have put him in a time out, good. (When he is older, after the time out is a good time to review what the appropriate action would be in such a frustrating situation.) Next comes the hard part: say "no" if he wants candy, like "sorry, no candy as a snack: you bit your sister"; and again, "can I go play with my toys outside?" - "no, you bit your sister. You can't go outside". "Mom, I want to watch my favorite TV show" - "sorry, you aren't allowed since you bit your sister." So, he asks (even non-verbally) for something and you answer with no, because ...

Now you don't make this last all day. You decide when it has been long enough. And, believe me, the next time the biting happens, he may be sneaky enough to get the bite in when you don't hear a scream; you just find the evidence on the sister's arm. Make you answer "no" for a longer part of the day.

The psychologist was saying "for the rest of the day", but after a few times with my youngest missing out on his favorite things for half of the day - I would give in or I would forget about it. ;)

Be sure, at the end of a time out, to add a minute of discussion of the appropriate response / reaction in such a situation. What you are looking for here is getting to the point where he recognizes that his response could have been to ______ instead of the biting response (I suppose one "appropriate" response could be to move his toy to the other end of the room. Does he have a room or some space that is his space? He will need to be able to "get away" from his sister at times.)

BTW, I've heard the "I hate Mommy" and "Mommy, you're mean" replies. Shrug those off. If you get through on the biting issue, you could start on the saying-bad-things-of-mommy an issue and say "no" for the day! ;)

And, your child is quite normal to do something over and over again. Sometimes the negative consequence isn't negative to him or the negative consequence doesn't seem relevant, to him. What we think is a natural consequence, might not be tied to the negative behavior like we think it is.

Best of luck!



answers from New York on

Hi K.,
I see that you're frustrated with him for doing this, and that he's getting a negative consequence for biting (which he should), but what I don't see is the step where you've given him another option. Maybe I'm stating the obvious but you didn't mention it. If you want him to stop biting his sister when he gets frustrated with her, he needs to know what to do instead. At four, he may not be able to figure it out for himself. Does he know to use his words - "Give me back my toy" or to come and tell you? I know it sounds like a no brainer, but we can't assume that preschoolers have the skill set to just know this on their own. Don't tell him what NOT to do, tell him what he SHOULD do. Set it up so that he can see that if she takes his toys, teases him, doesn't let him on the couch or whatever, that if he comes and asks you to help him solve the problem rather than biting, that SHE is the one who will be in time out and he'll get a cool sticker for choosing the right behavior.
If he does bite her, while I'm not usually a fan of this type of punishment, I think he needs a teeny dot of soap or something else bad tasting on his tongue. He's being oral. When he goes to bite, he may remember the feel/taste in his mouth associated with biting and stop himself.



answers from Indianapolis on

Hi K.,
I think it's a phase. He may be a little jealous of his sister. You do have to set boundries to let him know that biting and hitting are not good. A swat on the bottom is fine. You are not abusing your child for doing that. My daughter was a bitter when she was 2 until I finally bit her back. I didn't bite enough to bruise or break the skin but it got the point across and she never bit anyone after that. Just try to stay patient. This will blow over soon. Good Luck!!



answers from Waco on

In your question, I didn't really hear you give any other specifics on consequences other than you are spanking him. What else have you tried? IMHO spanking just doesn't work. Study after study suggests this, as well. In my experience, it only "teaches" or "models" that violence is an acceptable behavior. If you are trying to prevent that type of behavior, then it really isn't the right option for you. I think you know that already, otherwise you wouldn't be getting the results you are getting or posting this question in the first place.

I would suggest perhaps having him evaluated and then trying some type of play therapy. You should also read the book Parenting With Love and Logic. It focuses on real consequences and teaches you how to model appropriate behavior and give consequences that teach him how to grow up to be responsible for his actions. Keep in mind that 4 is also a tough age. Many kids have a hard time letting go of the terrible 3's and misbehave like this well into 4. Best wishes to you!


answers from Lansing on

I didn't read any of your replies, but isn't it normal for siblings to fight??? I must admit for the most part my girls get along exceptionally well, but they have their moments. And no matter HOW many times I tell both of them, especially my youngest, they always resolve their fights with a hit or slap. On a normal day to day basis they don't hit or slap their friends so I know they know how to resolve issues. So I just assume its just that normal sibling relationship. I constantly have talks about how we can't resolve our issues with hitting, but yet again one of them always resorts to it.

It sounds to me like you are handling it. It also sounds like your son has some growing up to do. My advice is to stay strong and keep up the discipline. Also, maybe it would help if you worked through the issues with his sister and came up with appropriate examples on how he could have handled the situation better, that is when he's calmed down and willing to listen.

As for the "I hate you's", I've for sure heard that one enough in my lifetime and my oldest is only 7. I ignore it and move on. My daughter knows it is not nice, as I've told her and most the times when spewed will come back afterwards and apologize for the harsh words. Lately though, during my oldest punishments she spews out that I love her sister more than her. Its just part of being parent, I believe.....

Good luck!

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