My son is almost 4. Two months ago he totally changed. From well behaved, compliant, and kind to crazy. He started back talking, not listening, not following directions...etc. He also became extremely physically aggressive. Not in anger, but in play - he thinks its funny, gets carried away and out of control. He gets this gleam in his eyes and just wants to throw things around or bang them or torment his sister. He hits me every-once in a while but seems to know it is wrong (of course I talk to him about it and do time out or take away a privilege) almost like he cannot help himself from this urge to be physically crazy. He picks up a stick/rock and like has to throw it -not at someone, just throw it for fun. I am sure this is typical boy stuff but I am very unsure about where to draw the line when it comes to these things. I know it must be developmental and he must need to be that way for some reason but how far do I let it go? About a month after I started noticing this change the teachers at his preschool told me they were so amazed by his progress. They said he was like a whole new person, outgoing, confident, running around and playing with the other kids, answering questions in class and participating. They were so happy to see this change. They say he is great at school. I hope this makes sense but my concerns are that I am unsure of when to discipline this physically aggressive play. What could have brought about this change and should I be concerned about ADHD? His twin sister was the crazy one of the two -attitude, lots of talking back, not listening well, etc... until right when he seemed to have this personality shift and now she all of a sudden is amazingly well behaved. Kind of like they jumped into each-others bodies. I just cry sometimes because I am so exhausted from having to be on him all day. Today he wanted to get past his sister and she would not move so he threw a shoe at her....is that normal 4 year old brother behavior?
This does not indicate ADHD. The report from school is very encouraging and argues against any serious emotional disorder. From a management point of view, the situation is clear. You should have 'zero tolerance' for any aggressive behavior. Any aggressive gesture on his part should be met with an immediate time out (sitting in a chair quietly for ten minutes - use a timer to track the time). Make no exceptions. It's important that he get the message that aggressive behavior directed towrd anyone will not be permitted.
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