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Dr. Keane
Dr. Keane, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1674
Experience:  Parenting Workshops, Teacher, PHD Clinical Psychology, 30 yrs. Exp. 4 Children
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Hi, my 4.5 year old son is acting aggressively in school with

Resolved Question:

Hi, my 4.5 year old son is acting aggressively in school with some bizzare behaviours as described by his teacher at PTM today. While he can sometimes be difficult at home, i find his aggressive behaviour is beginning to come home with him. He is an articulate, clever little boy who met all his developmental milestones. He can sometimes not listen to adult direction and continue to do whatever it is he is intent on doing, eg during swimming lessons, wander off in pool & ignore instructor (this came after a few weeks of lessons when he felt confident in water & can be disruptive in drama class he's enrolled in as hes not interested, but its paid up so he's going!!)
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Dr. Keane replied 2 years ago.

Dr. Keane :

I can help you today but would like additional clarification on what you mean by bizzare behaviors. What are the aggressive behaviors he exhibits? What you have described in your posting sound like a 4.5 year old child exploring his world. If he doesn't listen what behavior modifications are in play? Are there realistic consequences for his bad behavior? How do you discipline. I will be better able to help with a bit more information.

Customer:

Hi Dr Keane,

Customer:

When i asked the question last night i was in a state of shock/panic following parent/teacher meeting! I knew my son was getting into fights at school but was putting it down to a number of factors 1;theres another boy in his class who is quite aggressive and has been since they were in pre school together & now he's fighting back: 2; maybe he's hungry as hes constantly hungry at home!; 3;maybe he was just too immature to start big school. When i think a bit more objectively now about his teacher's concerns which include running out of class to go meet older kids getting off bus, his obsession with dinosaurs (i think this is perfectly normal!), he's still unsure about which hand is his dominant hand for writing etc, he throws himself face down on the ground in a tantrum if he doesn't get his own way, he won't look at her or any teacher when he's being corrected..... Teacher suggested there may be something wrong with him and that he should attend GP for referral. She did also say ahe had consulted with other teachers and they too felt there may be a problem.

Customer:

He was at home from school sick today and I tried to monitor him objectively, well, as objective as a mother can be! I feel he's fine and that when he matures a little he'll grow out of it. As for behaviour modification, well, naughty step or givng out to him doesn't work, positive reinforcement seems to work best at moment. Aggressive behaviours would include punching, kicking and the newest one is spitting. Another 'bizzare' behaviour describe by teacher is him lying on wet ground looking up at the birds!

Customer:

I work in the area of social care with teenagers who display more severe behavioural problems and so i looked up various disorders/syndromes eg. conduct disorder & Asbergers Syndrome but they really don't fit my sons profile I'm glad to say.

Dr. Keane :

Hi, thanks for the additional information. Although some of these behaviors may seem extreme I would not jump to any conclusions (which I believe you haven't after some thought). Positive reinforcement is the best way to correct inappropriate behaviors etc. Immaturity may be playing a big role too, I agree. I would not rush to get him evaluated but I would question why the constant desire to eat when he is at home, is it habit or is it a anxiety reaction, doesn't know what to do with it so he eats. I would modify that behavior at home. I am not a big fan of making a child "look at anyone" when they are feeling discouraged or angry. Why? they hear you reprimanding whether there is direct eye contact or not. I would not accept the physical punching, etc. but you know how to use modification strategies so do not let these behaviors be acceptable. May take some time but he is young and will learn how to to learn the frustration he feels as he matures. I hope this set your mind at ease and validates your interpretation. Glad you had some time to process your initial shock and feel better! Please accept so I get credit for my response and good luck.

Dr. Keane :

handle his frustration...

Dr. Keane, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1674
Experience: Parenting Workshops, Teacher, PHD Clinical Psychology, 30 yrs. Exp. 4 Children
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