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professional_Alison, Child Care
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 78
Experience:  Degree in early years,16 years experience in childcare
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My son,s 4 year old boy is biting his mother leaving large

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My son,s 4 year old boy is biting his mother leaving large bruises on her legs,,he hits his 2year old sister. When put in time out he destroys his room kicking the walls doors etc..they are at wits end with him
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  DrFee replied 5 years ago.

Hello! Please remember that my responses are informational only, we are not establishing a therapeutic relationship.


I can imagine that you are extremely frustrated with his behavior!


Some four year olds are too young to be in time out unattended. Sometimes the parent has to take the time out with the child to help them truly stop moving.


The best resource I have for this behavior comes from Howard Glasser and his "Nurtured Heart approach. The website is


I think praise and time outs are excellent tools, however, it's very easy to not use them appropriate. Glasser, for example, shortens the time out significantly from the standard advice you will see elsewhere --because the point is lost and forgotten with long time outs. He tries to help parents make the link between "This behavior makes the fun stop," and the life only stops for as long as it takes for the child to realize what they did that caused the fun to stop.


The way he teaches how to use praise is a little different too --it's much more observational of small things the child is doing right, it's also not a "big deal," when it happens and it's done far more frequently than people typically do (I think we as parents naturally tend to give 4 criticisms for every 1 positive we give!)


I know that your four year old probably doesn't read, ;) but you might want to take a look at this book: My Book Full of Feelings: How to Control and React to the Size of your Emotions --you can read it and it might help you to understand emotions from a child's perspective.


Children have poor impulse control, and they cannot verbalize their emotions --hence they come out in behavior ---for some kids, obviously hitting and biting.


The point of the 2 resources above is to help you identify his emotion, help him to identify his emotion, teach him that he can have the emotion (but needs different behavior) and reinforce everything that's not this destructive behavior.


Please feel free to follow up ----


Expert:  professional_Alison replied 5 years ago.
Hello there, may I help you? I have a few other ideas that may be of use to you. Four years old is too old to be deemed as a phase for biting. Your son needs to know and understand that you will not stand for this. My advice is to set up a reward chart daily with a sticker for good behaviour and a red cross to be inserted if he bites or hits each day. If you get three days with no biting he gets a small treat or reward a book or bubbles for example. If out get to five days he can have a special day out, swimming or a park trip. If you get to ten days he could perhaps go and choose a small treat. The other thing to do is, when he does bite is to get down to his level look him in the eye and say you do not bite Mummy. Then dis engage from him and go as do something else. When he makes demands form your attention wait a few minutes then, getting down to him level say quietly and calmly. You hurt Mummy and I do not like that behaviour, I would like you to say sorry. Then whe he does give him a cuddles and move on positively. Say right shall we go and do a puzzle etc. Do the exact same thing with regard to hitting the younger child but obviously comfort the younger child.The important thing here is to remain consistent in your methods of discipline. If you stay strong and keep at it the biting and hitting should subside.
professional_Alison, Child Care
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 78
Experience: Degree in early years,16 years experience in childcare
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