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Hi, my 4 year old son is experiencing a lot of problems at home and nursery with behavioural problems. He started nursery last September and was absolutely fine being one of the best behaved kids there. His behaviour was slightly erratic when his dad decided to see him after 6 months of no contact but I thought he had settled down again. He is now in trouble every day at the nursery, I have even been called in for a meeting as he is violent, disruptive etc and this behaviour continues at home now as well. If you ask him if he enjoys nursery, he says yes. If you ask why he is naughty he just goes quiet. Its like he is bottling something up and will not talk about it. Not sure whether this is due to his dad turning up again but I am not at my wits end and have no idea what to do. He was always a very pleasant little boy who everyone liked at the nursery and now the other children do not go near him and they are now starting to bully him. Please help.
(I am on my lunch til 1pm after which I will be unable to check answer)
Hi. Welcome. I am a Licensed Master Social Worker with more than 20 years experience working with individuals and families on a variety of issues.
Whenever there is a sudden change in behavior it would indicate that something is going on for your son. Since he is 4 years old he doesnt have the skills yet to express what he feels and so he acts out in order to get the attention he needs. Like you, I am inclined to think it is related to his father showing up after some time. Is he in regular contact now with him or is he gone again from his life?
If he is not in contact your son may having a strong reaction to being left but again is unable to express it.
Sometimes helping him with his feelings could help him to acknowledge and get the support from you.
If the behavior continues I would reach out to your pediatrician and ask for a referral to a child psychologist as maybe a few sessions could help him express how he is feeling.
On your end, when he hits, I would let him know that hitting is not allowed and it hurts. Let him know what the consequence will be if he hits, such as losing his favorite toy and then stick to that if he hits.
Try to remain calm in response to it and just repeat hitting is not allowed and it hurts and he will lose a privelege.
let me know your thoughts. i see you are here online with me.
Thank you for your feedback. It is axactly what I was thinking as well. My son now sees his dad every second saturday for a couple of hours however this has not been consistent as he either shows up late and only has 50 minutes with him or he cancels the visit at last minute. I will keep being there for my son and as you have said if things do not improve I will take him to our GP to be referred. I am meeting with the nursery dep head tomorrow to explain the situation as well so that I can get there support as well. Thanks for your prompt service.
Thank you so much. Keep doing as you are and I believe he is feeling unsteady as things are very inconsistent. That is hard for us as adults so imagine how he feels. Keep being a great Mum.