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Aggressive 4-yr-old boy - not out of meanness, just wild/active
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Aggressive 4-yr-old boy - not out of meanness, just wild/active

My 4-year-old son is full of energy. The problem is, he plays very aggressively with his friends. I don't think the aggressiveness comes from anger, more excitability. If he's running around, he'll start bumping into or pushing other kids because he thinks its fun. If he's waiting his turn at the top of the slide, he'll push the child in front of him down, again, because he thinks its fun or funny. He also likes to tickle people and doesn't always stop when the other child tells him not to do so. We've repeatedly had converesations about playing nice with our friends, not pushing our friends, etc. because it makes them sad or could hurt them. He repeats what we say and will talk about himself as if he truly understands. If he starts to get rough, like slightly bumping another child, we'll give him a warning and remind him to play nice with his friends, but he usually doesn't pay attention or tries to pull away from the convesation impatiently. We completely remove him from the situation and send him home immediately if he's overly aggressive when playing with the neighbor kids or hurts someone. Unfortunately, these efforts don't seem to be working as this behavior continues. He has a younger sister (2) and no changes at home. He's always been on the wild boy side since he was younger. Our pediatrician says he's just immature. My husband and I are starting to stress out -- Is he just a normal boy on the wild side who will grow out of this as he matures? What other efforts would be helpful in the meantime??? Anyone else have suggestions on how to curb his behavior issues??? Thanks!
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13167_tn?1327197724
I think maybe you might need to reconsider whether he's doing this out of "meanness" as you say in your title.

Overly bouncy boys who run around corners and knock adults over accidentally,  or get to swinging plastic bats that bop other kids behind them are one thing - all these behaviors your son is doing are purposeful,  and at four years old,  he knows they hurt.  The tickling thing is a form of aggression that people often overlook as trying to be funny,  but if he does it often and other kids are clear they don't want him too,  he's being aggressive.

Obviously,  I could be wrong.

But I think if you keep approaching this as a problem of a child with too much energy who doesn't recognize what's happening,  you may be missing the main point.


Best wishes.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have a similar situation with my neighbors son.  He is extremely aggressive with my kids.  Usually they start out playing nice but then he gets out of control, and hurts one of my kids.  Being rough is one thing but being aggressive is another.  His behavior also rubs off on any child that he plays with, I think because it is when kids see one child get away with bad behavior they need to try it also.  But, when he gets aggressive you have to remember that the other child on the receiving end of it can get seriously hurt, and it can only take an instant of you taking your eyes off of him.  You will then be responsible for any damage he inflicts on the other child.  I don't know how you and your husband are disiplining him, but it obviously is not working.  You might need to take a different approach.  You don't want him to become a continual bully.  With a lot of patience and consistancy his behavior can be changed at this young age.  As for him being immature, I don't know too many boys who are 4 that are mature.  When you find a method that works, you will need to stick to it, because you only have one year to get his behavior under control before he starts school.  It can be done.  Best of luck!!!
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Avatar_n_tn
Thanks for the comments ... but he really isn't a mean kid. All of our neighbors have said the same thing about him -- he plays agressively because he thinks it's fun and doesn't have a mean bone in his body. Rather than judgments, if anyone could provide some constructive recommendations, particularly anyone who has gone through a similar experience and found something that works, we'd appreciate it.
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Avatar_n_tn
In addition, the activities he's doing are  normal kid things like the ones you describe -- knocking into someone while racing around a corner, playing chase when other kids ask him to do so, etc. I think the problem with things is he doesn't know when it's OK and when it's not. The slide thing, for example, started because a friend asked him for a push. Now he thinks all kids need a push. The tickling is because he has another friend that he has tickle matches with that likes it so he thinks all kids do. I don't want him to think it's not OK to play -- I just want to teach him when it is and isn't, which is hard to do when some kids like that kind of play.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am having the same problem with my son. I do however think part of my son's problem is part of his inability to display his emotions. He acts aggressively when he is around other kids and often it comes off as mean or mean-spirited. Like your son he is just excited. Problem is he demonstrates his excitedness all wrong. He ends up being too rough and hurting other kids. Again, like you he is removed from the situation and punished and the situation is discussed. He always acts like he "gets it". Next day, it happens again.
I don't have an answer or solution for you. We have just this week started a reward system. He gets tokens for each day and at the end of the week can "buy" a reward based on token amount. He gets tokens for chores and randomly for good behavior. But he gets ALL tokens for the day taken away if there is bad behavior. It seems to be working....so far. From what I have read my main goal is to be firm and consistent. Hopefully he will learn how to better play with others.
I just wanted to let you know I know how you feel and I know how frustrating and heartbreaking this behavior can be. Other mothers seem to forget that not all kids who show bad behavior are bad all the time. I just want everyone to see my son as the loving, sweet boy I know. I am sure you want that too.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have a 4 year old son who can be very well behaved then all of a sudden not want to listen and totally turns everything out even me threatening to take away games and toys ...he has a 7 month old sister he loves but likes to growl and sometimes act like a baby at..have tried everything to get him to calm down..doesnt work..he also has a speech problem  was getting better then he started to regress again..what is going on?
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi Everybody, I was searching on the net about my son and stumbled across this post. I am going through the exact same issues with my 4 year old now. I see this post and the replies are from 3-4 years ago.

Did any of you find a solution that worked out for you and your child? Or now that they are older have they grown out of this phase? Please let me know. Right now me and my husband are very frustrated and completely lost about how to handle situations with my son and bring him on the right path.

The issues described above fit my son's behavior to a T.

Thanks!!
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