4 Yr Old Throwing Things and Hitting

Updated on September 06, 2013
J. asks from Arlington, TX
8 answers

I am in need of help. My 4 almost 5 yr old has been hitting and throwing things at his friends. He doesn't like to be provocked especially by his older sister so I know that has been an issue at school some time ago. He is now throwing chairs at friends and big toys and today kicking. With the first incident he was asked to be a helper and he told the teacher no which is unlike him at all he ALWAYS wants to be a helper. The teacher then went to another kid and asked him to be a helper. He then threw a chair at the kid. Next day in the afternoon he and abother kid were rifing bikes and another kid crashed into him the then threw the bike striking that kid. Then today that same kid got upset with my son and said he was going to call the police on him. My son got upset and kicked another kid.

This is new to him. I know he hates been called names, being told he was late to school or being provoked so I get todays incident but not to kick another kid. His older sister has provoked him in the past and he dopesn't like it so I see how today he would be upset. I have done role playing with him every day as to waht to do if x were to happen. i would do it to him and tell him how to handle it. We talk about it at night several times and in the morning before school. He doesm't like for me to be called when these instances happen. I have taken away his kindle and my computer which he plays games on and that doesn't seem to work.

He doens't throw or hit when made, now I have seen him hit if he is really upset but not very often. All of the role playing we have done he hasn't thrown or hit and I did what had provked it. We don't throw or hit or kick in our family so not sure where this is coming from adn they say its not another kid.

My boy is so sweet and loving even at school so this is a shocking behavir. The teachers even say how hes happy and sweet. I just don't get it and sure don't want him kciked out of scool. He says he likes school and likes his friends..Any advice? My heart is broken over all of this.

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answers from Portland on


Were I in your shoes, I might have called a specialist a while ago. I don't know if you have talked to your pediatrician about your son's behavior, but to me this would be a big warning flag to get my son some professional attention. I would get a referral to a behavioral therapist for my child if I was seeing this sort of rage. This sounds like he is feeling very out of control and that he is needing a lot of support right now.

I understand your confusion about his non-reactivity during the role-playing together. Please understand that he is old enough to cognitively understand the pretense of the role-playing, and the fact that you are 'playing' it is what keeps it emotionally safe for him, so if these provocations happen in real life, suddenly, then it's reasonable that you would see a reaction despite the prep. Role playing is helpful and yet, your son is needing something more.

What also needs to be said is that you cannot punish a child into being good. Taking away his pleasures isn't working because it's not a fair trade-- he's not having these outbursts for pleasure or just to be reckless, so while it was appropriate to take those privileges, this won't really get to the root of the problem. It will certainly, over time, escalate a power struggle if this is your only route. You must get them to buy into *why* learning to master their emotions and follow directions or not hurt others-- why this is good for *them*, and this is really very important. However, we are also very emotionally involved with our kids and they do tend to cause us anxiety, anger, and sometimes they really press our own buttons. So, once again, getting professional help gives us objectivity and guidance as to options.

A good professional will give you options, not force you to do anything. I have noticed in your previous posts that you have had some questions about your own attention deficit disorder. This is a very real concern to address, for both your son's and your own sake. I am not saying this to pick on you, either. Please know I've had my own challenges in recovering from and living with PTSD. Needing help can feel hard to deal with. Your writing in your last few post seems very distressed, so I hope you are finding some answers and getting started on feeling better. Please find good resources for your son. It will be a good investment in the long run.

These moments are opportunities. Use them well.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Tyler on

Hey -
I know this is frustrating for you and you are trying to deal with it. However, I do want to reiterate that it is very important that you do deal with it. A 5 year old boy threw a chair in my child's Kindergarten class this first day of school. The school dealt with it and I have not said anything. But trust me, EVERY DAY, I ask my daughter how that child is behaving in class. Because, if I hear of ANY more incidences like that, I am going to be talking to the school. That kind of behavior is unacceptable. And, I am even more sensitive to this because my daughter seriously injured her eye right before school started and she has been having to wear a protective eye patch - to protect herself against thrown objects. I definitely don't need a "thrower" in her class room. So, I KNOW you are working on this with your son, but trust me, others might get involved where you really don't want their involvement.

Good luck,

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

Put your foot down with this bad behavior...tell him if he does this again then he is going to be in very big trouble when he gets home. Tell him this is totally unacceptable behavior and when he is mad he is NOT allowed to do things like this. Tell him he may do x, y, and z. Do some role playing scenarios with him and have him practice with you things he CAN say and CAN do when he is provoked at school. Then tell him what his consequences will be when he does this...make it a painful lesson. For example, make him apologize in person as well as writing a letter of apology. No playdates for a week...no going to his favorite place...no tv or computer time for a week. Whatever you think would really be upsetting to him. When my son was 5 he got very upset by a neighbor boy and he hit him with a toy. I marched him over to that child's house and made him apologize. He was mortified...seriously...you would have thought I was killing him. Then he was not allowed to play outside with all the neighbor kids for a week. This was soooo hard for him. I will say, he has never hit again. Teach your son how to handle the other little boys...go over with him how he IS to behave and how he needs to handle himself when he is angry. Practice with him. If he tells you he got it right and did not hit or throw chairs when he was mad then praise him like crazy!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

As you already know you must get this behavior under control. I am uncomfortable with the use of 'provoked' as that word shifts part, if not all the 'blame' on another party when this behavior has to be totally owned by your son. Be careful the words you use when talking to him. I do not see the other child being the helper in any way 'provoking' him...he just lashes out when he doesn't like something and that is not a positive thing. Please consider getting professional help as you need it for him and you....you are feeling out of control and he is getting the control....will be thinking of you...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I know that you've mentioned that you personally struggled with ADD in the past. You should get your son tested for similar issues.

Taking away the Kindle is not a good punishment for throwing a chair at another child.

But, I don't think your son needs punishment right now - he needs treatment, a good doctor/therapist to help figure out what's going on.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

Role playing is not discipline. A four year old shouldn't be dictating whether he "likes you to be called" etc. No kids like to be provoked, but how they react is up to their temperament AND discipline and boundaries. Back to Basics Discipline is a great book. He needs firm consequences for aggression or the habit will keep growing and he could become a bully if no one stops him. You don't want to see your sweet boy go that route, so intervene to the FULLEST.



answers from Houston on

I just made a similar post about my child, who got suspended today. Be prepared for people calling you a bad mother. And people telling you there is something mentally wrong with your child.

And then be prepared for other wonderful, non judgmental people giving great unbiased advice that you can really use. That's all I got.



answers from Los Angeles on

How is he at home? Try talking to him and give consequences if he doesn't correct his behavior. Look at your home is it safe, loving free from anger, hitting etc. that could also be a problem and he's acting out. If u are do ing all the right things at home, positive reinforcement, time outs, not reacting yourself with emotions, ands he's still misbehaving then yes u may want to get him evaluated. I honestly don't think every answer is oh he must have psyche issues or ADHD because I don't know u or any writer or how one behaves in their own home. We are all not perfect parents but sometimes we can add to the misbehavior and by correcting how we react can make a world of a difference.

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