"A child who has learned to pay attention to parents will go to school prepared to pay attention to teachers. "

Chaos ensues when a 3 year old is in charge.

Question

Hello Dr. Rosemond-

I am a mother of two boys- age 1 and 3 (almost 4 on the 19th of July). It is the 4 year old I am writing to you about. I know much of his behavior is typical toddler behavior, and I am looking for more effective ways to deal with it. He's a very smart, considerate and loving boy. He is very active. He enjoys playing sports, and playing the drums. Everything is a drum, and he likes to listen to music on Spotify and drum with it. He also likes to control the music, which is not my favorite part because I am not thrilled about him using the iphone. My husband and I have allowed him to use the phone, right now only for music (in the past for watching videos, not for long periods of time). We know the phone is not a good thing, but when out to eat or if something else really needs our attention, of course we have caved in.

He's a thoughtful boy. He can pay attention to his tasks, he is very interested in learning and listens well when he is learning something new. However, his behavior has been a lot more elevated lately. He is impulsive, will yell and scream for no reason (usually when we are at events like church or a basketball game...like a burst) or yells/screams when he is upset that he can't get his way or when we request a direction he does not like. He argues, tries to negotiate, laughs when we discipline him and runs away. I do not chase him, but if in public sometimes I have to go after him because he will not stop. If I tell him to stop something, he will purposely try and harm his brother, or say things like "I just want Benny to choke" or "I just want that car to hit me." The only thing that seems to get him to pay attention or stop a behavior is being very firm. But I don't feel that I am being consistent enough, and sometimes I get so frustrated that I react to him in a verbally aggressive way, raise my voice and say things that aren't very nice to him like "damn you" and "you're a bad boy." I know this is wrong, and it has to do more with how I am handling myself. I am really trying and I have improved a lot. It's just lately that his behavior has been harder for me to deal with, so I need a good concrete plan of how to handle him, and me!

Thank you so much.

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