My Almost 4 Year Old Is Mean to Himself When He Gets Angry.

Updated on March 18, 2008
M.O. asks from Deckerville, MI
8 answers

I need some input on my son's behavior latley. My son is going to be 4 in April, he has always been a little on the short fused side. I have a family daycare business & he can be jealous of my time that I spend with the other children. He is getting better as he gets older, but latley when things don't go his way, whether it be with me or another child he freaks out yelling and starts to pinch himself. I have sat with him during and even after this crazy out burst and talked to him about how it is okay to get angry, but told him that it is never okay to hurt ourselves or anyone else. Does anyone have any suggestions at how to cure this crazy rage????

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answers from Grand Rapids on

I am not expert on this but are you giving him personal time with you after the other kids leave? He may be asking for your attention. We as parents get so wrapped up in day to day living that we forget about the most important things, time with our children.

When my children, ages 11 & soon to be 7, do not get their own one on one time, they are very naughty. No they do not hurt themselves but they act out so I will give them attention when it's bad or good. That may be what he is asking for.

The next time he does it, try and ask him why he does it? If your showing interest that way he may stop.



answers from Detroit on

Let me first start by saying that I am not a doctor. I am, however, the mother of a 5 year old daughter that was just diagnosed with a Sensory Processing Disorder. Over the past 2 years we really began to bang our heads against the wall wondering what happened to our beautiful, sweet baby girl! It was almost as though aliens had snatched her in the middle of the night. Of course, this is the age that kids really start to become their own little people.

My daughter was defiant, when she would have a tantrum she would be inconsolable. She would hit herself in the head or bite her arm. From the outside looking in, we had a really bratty daughter and I could almost hear the people talking if we were out in public.

The long story short.....last year my daughter became really funny about the way that her clothes fit her and if if didn't feel right, she would panic and literally tear the clothes off of her. Her focus this year turned to her feet and her socks and shoes. MY POINT?????

When we began to put the layers together, we discovered that she has a sensory processing disorder and that she needs Sensory Intergration Therapy to regulate her sensory intake systems.

I had never heard of such a thing before but have done quite a bit of reading on the subject. Sensory intergration dysfunction typically manifests in either aggressive or timid behavior, and usually begins to surface by the age of two. Since some kids are unable to modulate their reactions to stimuli, they have dificulty calming themselves down.

Here are some websites for you to check out........... (Kaufman Center in West Bloomfield, MI)

I hope that this helps. Like I said, I am not a doctor. I am just a mother that fumbled through the dark until we found a diagnosis for my daughter.

Good Luck!



answers from Detroit on

Sounds like he feels the lack of personal time with you. He sees you giving "good energy" in the form of kind words and hugs to the other kids, and he sees that you are often very busy when he would like some attention. So, perhaps you can arrange some one-on-one time with him to have a little fun together? Even on a regular basis? Easy to say, hard to do. Maybe he feels he is not important to you. If you can give him extra hug time during the workday (perhaps a near-impossibility!)he might feel that he is indeed important and loved by you.

I had trouble with my kids when I taught pre-school music classes that they attended. I felt I shouldn't give them extra attention because that would be showing favoritism. Each child's behavior went from less-than-desirable to downright hidous. My son could never explain his feelings, but my daughter was able to articulate it at age four. She said she secretly wished that mommy was there just for her, but that she knew it was wrong to feel that way.

I wish I could say that I found a good solution, but I didn't really. Looking back, I wish I had given each of them *more* attention, not less; i.e., holding his hand during circle time, putting her on my lap, etc.

Also, by the time I got home and was fixing dinner, etc., I was more grouchy. So, they saw me at my best when I was relating to the other kids (I was getting paid to do that, after all), and at my worst when I was relating to them at home. I'm not proud of it, but they did turn out very well in the end - they're in 10th and 12th grade now, and really good kids. I don't deserve it!

So, my final advice is to give him MORE attention each day, before he starts to act up (so you don't reward bad behavior). It's very hard to share mommy. Imagine how you'd feel if you saw your husband flirting with beautiful women all day every day. You'd want to pinch him - and perhaps yourself - too! Best wishes . . .



answers from Grand Rapids on

I have a nephew who has these same type of outbursts... he'll also put himself in the corner when he feels that he needs discipline. He is now 13 and they have discovered that he has a type of autism. It took them years to discover this, and there were times that he was out of control. Hopefully, your son is just a child that has a short temper and he will learn to control it, but keep it in the back of your mind and maybe if you don't see improvement, or you see other signs, you can have him see a specialist.



answers from Lansing on

have him check for some med promblem he migthn't be able to handle it because of a med promblen have him check out with your dr thay can run some test amd migth get some help with it



answers from Saginaw on

Hi M. it sounds like you are loving him and not punishing him for his behavior. Just be patient with him and continue to be consistent in how you treat his outburst. Let him see you angry and how you deal with it. Tell him you need a hug when you get angry or maybe count outloud so he can see other ways of dealing with his anger.
Pray about it with your son.
Hope these things help. But above all else be consistent.



answers from Detroit on

Try asking him if he'd like YOU to start pinching him.

Or set him down and ask him if he feels better, if his arm feels good, when he does that to himself. If he says no, then ask if he'd like you to do it to him as well. Explain the bruises that occurs.

If all else fails I would consult with a pediatrition. This is borderline controlling. You could also try just letting him do it and explain that if he enjoys hurting himself and bruising, fine. But walk away.

He's trying to get your attention. And even tho you give it, there is life outside his realm. Try a time out area where he can scream and pinch himself to his heart's content, but you won't be a part of it. When it's quiet, he's allowed out of the time out area and can exchange hugs with you. Explain you love him but not the outburts or pinching. Curb it now or he'll learn to use it to control you.



answers from Saginaw on

It looks like you've gotten some pretty great advice. One thing I can add to them is first off read the book The Five Love Languages. It will help you to determine wether his language is attention and thats what he's striving for or other wise. This book made a huge difference in my house hold because I can now speak to each of my family members hearts in there way. My son's is quality time so every morning I start the day with quality time. I don't know your schedule but maybe you could give him a half hour in the morning during breakfast or something where you guys talk about what your going to do today. Let him know that you stay home and bring these other kids into the house so that you can stay home with him. Let him know your world revolves around him.
Next I would say during the tantrums make sure he is in a safe place and give him a way to work it out. Like a stress ball and teach him to count it out. This can't be a time that he gets positive attention from you or he'll see that and take it to the bank. Set a timer and say that it is not ok for you to hurt your self and it's going to hurt my feelings if you do. This is what you did wrong so I want you to sit here for 4 min and think about that. You can use your stress bag but no other form of anger and walk away.If he had a good time out reward him with a ton of praise and like 5 Minutes of positive attention. I know it's hard but after all the others go home or graduate from college your son is all you have left. You have to give him your everything.
If your still not having any luck then I would bring a doctor into the situation. Whatever happens good luck it sounds like your a wonderful mom and your deffinately trying your hardest. If you ever need to talk I'm available.

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