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Dr. Rossi
Dr. Rossi, Licensed Psychotherapist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 4627
Experience:  Certified Hypnotherapist, Parenting Book Author, 13+ years of experience.
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A relatives son 9whom we are close to and love) who will

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A relative's son
9whom we are close to and love) who will soon be 5 in a few days, has turned from sweet sweet boy of his whole life to sour and sneaky, the parents believe because all his best friends were graduated to kindergarten whereas he missed the age deadline and so is held back for another year of pre-school.

It must have been a shock, him not comprehending pre-school was 2 years and not everyone goes upwards to kindergarten each year. The school is suggesting he's as ready as any child for kindergarten and are ready to move him up; the parents are considering, but don't know if being youngest in the class his whole life will be a detriment longterm. Even if moved up/ allowed to reunite with his friends, will the sense of shock and betrayal he has been through, and his sneakiness and sourness towards suggested group activities which has developed in the last weeks (sudden change, these never seen before in this child) be an imprint with him needing particular discipline or counseling? What level of discipline repetition vs comprehension of why he has become sour/ sneaky, can be addressed with a nearly 5 year old? Or is sneakiness and sourness a normal passage around this age anyway.



Children are resilient. This experience is teaching him that there are things in life that happen and must be accepted. His most recent change in behavior is possibly triggered by his disappointment and he's displacing anger as a result of it.


Behavior can be reshaped. If he is to go and be reunited with his friends, that only teaches him that if things don't go his way (and there will be many in life), that tantrums and manipulation would help him. It does not offer him the opportunity to learn self control of his anger/disappointment. At this age, children expect instant gratification.


As far as discipline, his anger/disappointment should be acknowledge (he is grieving about the separation from his peers) and dealt with. His attention ought to be redirected to other positive things that he can focus and occupy his time with. Such positive things (whatever he finds pleasant) can be used as rewards for positive behavior. Age related consequences can also be used when his behavior is inappropriate. If time put is given, it should be for about 5-6 minutes at a time. If toys are taken away, he should be told how he can earn them back.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

And ... if his parents decide to move him up to kindergarten like the school is suggesting ... because he is most coordinated and fits in well with his peers who moved up to kindergarten ...
I could imagine that he might apologize first to the pre-school teacher for having been sour/sarcastic and sneaky, as part of his proving himself mature enough to move forward, a marker division point so to speak from recently developed tantrum habits back to full participation.
I also could imagine that as marker, he might be moved up on his birthday itself (in about a week), as way of signifying to him that it wasn't as personal as he thought, but that what occurred was structured by society.
These just ideas ...

QUESTION : Are such ideas too sophisticated for a 5 year old?
Also I am the aunt of the mother, his parents come to me as soundboard/ brainstorm for everything.
I'm great with adults myself, but not educated about child stages of development like you.

QUESTION to you in particular since I notice you are hypnotherapy trained (yea):
Is age 5 too young for that. He's started having nightmares these weeks since this disappointment.
Not that he has to be fixed or anything, e.g. yes heard your authentic trust in children's resilience.

At his age the ideas are not per se too sophisticated if explained in age related terms to him but he would do better with immediate consequence/rewards.


Hypnotherapy would not be recommended for him for this. It would be better to look into behavioral modification.



A Volcano in My Tummy: Helping Children to Handle Anger - Paperback (July 1, 1998) by Eliane Whitehouse and Warwick Pudney


My Kid is Acting Out and I'm About to Shout: Parenting Made Easy! - Audio CD (Mar. 4, 2008) by Dr. Rossi Davis

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