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Dr. Bonnie
Dr. Bonnie, Psychologist and RN
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2189
Experience:  35 years experience counseling children and families
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My grandson who will be 4 in May is hitting, kicking and saying

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My grandson who will be 4 in May is hitting, kicking and saying things like; you shutup, I don't care about you, stupid, loser, etc. I have him on average 3 nights per week, and I know he does acts out more when he is tired, so the first night I have him it's a battle and time outs are fequent. I don't know what to do-I know he is trying to express his independence, but I don't want him growing up to be a bully. His Mom does not spend a lot of time with him, his dad is out of the picture, and daycare says that he is so much better when he has been with me. Is this normal behavior for a child his age, and could you recommend some books I could read (and maybe his mom) child development and mental health? Thank you
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Bonnie replied 4 years ago.
Hello and thank you for consulting JA,

This negative or aggressive behavior in young children is generally the way they express uncomfortable emotions. So it could be anxiety about the lack of stability; anger or sadness about being abandoned by father or wanting more time with mother. So when he is aggressive it is best to acknowledge the feeling: "I know you are feeling angry right now...but the rule is no hitting. Here punch this pillow when you feel this way and use your words: I am angry."

There is a book about child emotional development that I recommend:

Even better, here is a book you can read with him about negative feelings:

PS: see the other books recommended at the bottom of the Amazon page too.

I hope this helps and thanks for being this little guys advocate.

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