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Sarah, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 143
Experience:  Chart'd Psych, 12 yrs exp. English prisons, Clinical Hypnotherapist, EMDR Therapist, BPS, HPC reg'd.
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Is it normal behavior for a 4 yr. old intelligent,beautiful

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Is it normal behavior for a 4 yr. old intelligent,beautiful little girl who is a 3rd child (ll yr. old bro, 10 yr.
old sister) to often scream, "Get away...don't touch me!" at her
siblings and/or any adult present? Or when playing in her
room, to say aggressively to others wanting to enter the room, "I
want to be alone...get out!" and remain there watching TV,
etc. for hours. Is this simply a discipline or manners/training problem? What does it indicate? She is loved but often teased by her older siblings.
Thank you,
Concerned aunt
hi there,

Thanks for your question. When you say 'is it normal?' I guess you mean does it lie within the realms of what other children often do, and I would say no, this is not usual behaviour for a 4 year old. I would also be concerned that a 4 year old is (a) wanting and (b) being allowed to stay in her own room for hours. When you say that she is teased by her elder brother and sister, is this harmless and done in a kind manner? there is teasing that is usual sibling stuff, but also teasing that can leave the child feeling hurt or unloved? you mention manners and discipline - would you say that the manners and discipline of the older two are poor, adequate or good? this would give you some idea as to the manners training and discipline that the parents are able to give. Is there any reason why the youngest would receive any different treatment? I hear what you are saying when you say that this little girl is loved, but can you be absolutely sure that she has not been touched inappropriately by someone in her life? I am NOT suggesting that this has happened, but I feel it is something that is worth exploring because of what she is saying. The aggression is coming from somewhere and it sounds like she needs some help, wherever or whoever it is directed at. As an aunt, are you in a position to discuss is with the parents or the child? I have asked many questions so I will press the 'info request' button and hope you get back to me. best Wishes, Sarah
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Hi, thanks for your answer and questions for clarification. No, I'm not in a position to talk with her parents or her. I just hate to see her often seeming angry and unhappy instead of joyful and loving. I did mention it to her grandmother, who is often the caretaker for the chidren, ("Nana") and she said I should just ignore it. I also mentioned to her older sister that I thought some of her teasing was a little too strong (i.e. taking a favorite toy away and not giving it back until there are tears) and she said that, "She has to learn to take it."

I don't live in the same city as the family.does, and when I visit, it is usually on holidays and birthdays to the grandparents' home with visits back and forth to children's home. All three children are "model" children at their school, particularly the 10 year old sister.

hi there, thanks for your reply. as all of the children are appropriately behaved at school, I would conclude that discipline and manners aren't an issue, otherwise they would be pick up here too. it sounds as if it would be very difficult for you to 'do' anything given the locations of you all, but if this child was a brought to me, I would be exploring how she feels about herself, how she thinks/feels that she fits into the family, who she believes loves her and who has a vested interest in her happiness. I would be asking why does she often have to go to Nana's (obviously this could be due to work commitments of the parents, etc.) but does she go with a happy heart? there is a big age difference between age 4 and 10/11, so I wonder who this little girl has for a special friend of her own. My role isn't to upset you, but I share your concern. Would it be possible for you to start building up a special relationship with her by posting letters or cards to her? She will almost be able to read the most simplest of messages and she could keep them in her room to remind her of your love. I know there is a hint of favouritism in this suggestion, and you might have to battle that one with your other niece and nephew, but it might be something that your youngest niece responds to. maybe the older girl is a bit tough because she was brought up in the same way and this is her way of dealing with it. As parents we always try to do what is best and sometimes we cannot shield our children from the way that they interact with us. They all respond differently because they all bring their own personality. maybe this little girl is more sensitive than the other two and will feel hurt more easily by the circumstances of her family. If you are visiting and she seems angry, you could say something that is merely an observation rather than a judgment, such as 'she seems so angry' and see if a conversation stems from there. i hope this is helpful, Best Wishes, Sarah
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PS. i would also ask what she is watching on her TV and see whether it is being monitored for age appropriate stuff. Send her some age-appropriate music on a CD (I'm thinking of gentle classical music for children to calm her down) or young children's story-telling for her to listen to. it will also remind her of you. Best Wishes, Sarah thanks for payment, please consider giving feedback. (no need to pay again)

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