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Lori Gephart
Lori Gephart, Licensed Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 259
Experience:  Licensed Psychologist and Hypnotherapist 20 years of experience helping clients of all ages.
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My 4 year old has just been kicked out of daycare for the second

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My 4 year old has just been kicked out of daycare for the second time. The first time I was told he wasn't ready for structure and was too aggresive. This time he was released for constant aggresive behavior. My husband and I are good parents who do not abuse or neglect our children, but I do think our parenting skills could use a little help. We tend to be non consistant with our discipline. My husband however does suffer from PTSD due to a tour in Iraq. We have been married for 13 years and I feel he had some anger issues even before them. Could these anger issues be heridetary or is it just bad parenting?

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I am sorry to hear about the problems you are experiencing with your son. Most likely his issues can be resolved with some positive parenting. He may also be feeling some stress and/or learning some patterns of behavior from his father's anger. 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, or being inconsistent when he becomes angry, 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. If you do not see improvement within a few weeks of being very consistent with this, then a child psychologist who can help him to express his anger through play therapy could be very helpful. I hope this answer is helpful. Please let me know if I can clarify further.


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