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Discipline for out of control 4 year old
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Discipline for out of control 4 year old

My story is similar to other postings.  I have a son who will turn 4 in September.  Over the last month or so his behavior has become out of control.  He throws things, screams, hits/kicks others, etc.  We have recently moved into a new home and I am 7 1/2 months pregant so it could be due to the changes in his life.  I have read postings on this forum about using time outs as discipline and remaining consistent.  I am OK with starting this but I have some more detailed questions that I don't think have been answered before.  He goes to daycare every weekday for almost 10 hours a day.  Does daycare need to follow the exact same routine for punishment as we do or do I let them do their own thing?  And if he has a really bad day at daycare do we punish him when he gets home or should his only punishment be given at daycare?  Another question is do we give him a time out for every little thing he does or only major behavior issues?  Should he ever get a warning first?  For example when he takes a toy away from his younger brother (normal misbehavior) I've always heard not to intervene and let them work it out on their own.  My last question is should we always stick with the same punishment (time outs) for everything or can the punishment change depending on the behavior (no TV, no toys)?  I intend to buy the SOS book in hopes that it will answer more detailed questions I have but I want to implement something right away because he is so out of control.
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I'll address your various questions in this context: ultimately you should rely on your judgement and on your knowledge of your own child. But the guidelines I offer will generally hold you in good stead.
Your son is in daycare for a long time each day. He must be pretty depleted by the end, and I would expect he'd not be able to withstand much by way of stress by the time he returns home. It would certainly be beneficial if the daycare provider(s) managed behavior the same way you manage it. This would allow your son to develop the certainty that particular behaviors will result in particular, predicatble consequences.
At his age, you needn't discipline him at home for his comportment at school. Later on, you will want to do precisely that. But right now he's too young for that.
Relative to which behaviors deserve time out, you should identify behaviors (e.g., any form of aggression) that will earn an immediate time out. Other behaviors (e.g., failure to follow a direction) should be handled by a single 'warning' that the time out will occur if compliance is not forthcoming.
Some of the time (e.g., mistreating a toy) other options are more appealing. In this example, a sensible plan would be to 'time out' the toy - i.e., deprive your son of the toy for a time, with the message that he needs to take care of his toys.
I'm sure you'll appreciate the book - it's a gift to many parents.
3 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
Hello. My daughter is going through the same thing and she will be turning 4 in septemeber as well. From what I've been hearing, 4 is the stage where they have trouble dealing with frustration. My daughter stays home with me all day and I'm sure she is sick of me, which is probably why I have such a hard time with her. She gets angry pretty quickly, and lashes out mostly at me. Whether she is screaming, throwing things, or hitting me. I've realized warning her with a time out or warning to take toys away, or that I won't play games with her is she doesn't behave - does not work for me. I am also getting the S.O.S. book to help with these problems. Sorry I don't have anything helpful to add. Best of luck. If you find anything that works for you, let me know!
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Avatar_n_tn
My son is 11 years old.  He was unbarable at the age of three with outbursts and hits, and kicks, and screams....
I wish I could go back and do it differently.  I was too mild for an aggressive child, and now he still tops me.
Please, crack down on them!!  You will regret for years to come if you don't.  There is nothing wrong with spanking.  NEVER let them win one!!!!  NEVER!!  Keep going until you win.  If they win...they will win again and again until you are defeated.  Put them in their room until they stop what they are doing and appologise.  If they keep going take stuff away.  FOR GOOD!!!  Like a week, not 2 hours.  Take EVERYTHING away if that is what you have to do.  Just remember, everyone knows you love them and nobody will look down on you for punishing your child....they will look down on you for the excusses and non punishment.  It is hard work to keep on top, but it won't last long.  
***@****
Lisa
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A related discussion, How to discipline my girlfriends 4 year old girl. was started.
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