4 Year Old Bad Behavior at Preschool


My son, 4, has had a spotty record at school for not listening, “peer aggression” (the school’s words) amongst other things. As a result, I instilled the ticket system for talking back and not listening. The “peer aggression” is met with zero tolerance and he’s immediately put in his room. Unfortunately, he is unfazed by losing the tickets. He accepts their loss, and just about every other consequence, with ease. When he is placed in his room or loses all his toys (we thought that might be an effective punishment) he doesn’t argue and even helps pack up the toys.

This week at school he ramped up his bad behavior and even tried to bite a teacher! His teacher reported, only after we asked, that his ”behaviors are reflective of a younger, more impulsive kid. His excitement level and intensity in situations can be used for good but I feel that he needs very restrictive environments to be successful.” And he “decides to interfere with either a good or bad suggestion. I.e.: someone in line is hanging on the rail, A. decides to tell them to stand up which then escalates the entire situation or someone at circle time is laying down during a story so A. decides to pop them on the back.” They have suggested again that we “seek a specialist for intervention purposes.”

I’m not pretending that he is perfect. However, he is a smart, loving and charming child who is popular at school in spite of his actions. I know regression is normal, but I don’t want to discount the bad behavior because of that. But is it normal to regress this much? (Biting is new and not like him, he doesn’t bite at home – ever.)

To complicate matters, my husband and I both work full-time, and he is cared for by his grandmothers after school (my mother is a devotee of yours, my mother-in-law thinks nothing is wrong) so his discipline messages are mixed.

Help! What should our next step be? Should we stay the course? Start “kicking him out of the garden”? Or is there something else we need to do?

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