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I am sorry to hear about the problems you are experiencing with your son. He is most likely trying to have power over his world as he is beginning to be able to do more than ever before. You may want to pick your battles and offer him choices on the things that you are willing to let him decide. Then on the others, rather than giving in, you can either try to distract him or matter of factly refuse to debate with him and go about your business treating this as a temper tantrum. As difficult as it may be, try not to show emotion at these times. Keep in mind that any behavior that gets attention is likely to continue happening. It has been called the law of the soggy potato chip in that if a child thinks that he has a choice between a soggy potato chip or no chip at all, he will choose the soggy chip. If your son feels that he has the choice between negative attention or no attention at all, he will choose the negative attention and so he will act out until he gets it. The only way for this pattern to stop is to begin to catch the good behaviors and reward them with attention, and to calmly and matter of factly give consequences for the negative behaviors with as little attention as possible. A very good book on this subject is Win the Whining War & Other Skirmishes: A Family Peace Plan by Cynthia Whitham MSW. The more consistent you become with this positive parenting, the more secure your son will begin to feel and the more his behavior should improve. I hope this answer is helpful. Please let me know if I can clarify further.
Thank you for the additional information. Given your concerns and the severity of the symptoms that you are describing, I would suggest that you have your son evaluated by a child psychologist who specializes in preschoolers. It is possible that there are stressors that have created this issue for him, or that he is experiencing some anxiety. Scheduling an evaluation with a child psychologist would be helpful to find out if there are any emotional issues that are causing problems for him. Generally children respond very quickly to play therapy. They also typically enjoy the process of therapy. Please let me know if I can help further.