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When to worry about behaviors?

I have an almost 4 year old daughter. She goes to preschool 2 days per week and to daycare 2 morning per week. She is generally pretty good. This last week for some reason, she as been much more irritable and defiant. She gets angry over the slightest thing and immediately throws a fit. She did this for several days and was being good the last 2 days. Then I get a call from her teacher stating she hit another child over the head with a toy. She did not show remorse and refused to apologize. Is this normal preschool behavior? She has also recently hit her cousin and she will apologize to him, but I'm not sure she means it or is just doing it because I've asked her to. How do you teach empathy & remorse? She also seems to be aggressive with her dolls. She makes them fight and to shut their mouths.?? Any suggestions?

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Asked by Anonymous at 12:06 AM on Mar. 11, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Answers (7)
  • Is there anything new going on in her life? Has she been exposed to violent cartoons, television, or games?

    Answer by MamaChamp at 12:09 AM on Mar. 11, 2009

  • Have her watch Dumbo, you do not want a bully, seriously!

    Answer by 2mothershelpers at 12:14 AM on Mar. 11, 2009

  • Many children will go thru this stage, especially if they are exposed to other children (like she is at daycare) who are having the same type of behavior problem. They see another child do it and want to test the boundaries to see what they can get away with and what they can't. My youngest daughter is having some trouble with this right now when she's at her dad's. She has 2 younger siblings there and a lot of competition for attention, so she tends to act out just so dad will have to take time to pay attention to her to correct her.
    Having seen all my other children go thru this same thing, (even tho he won't listen) the best solution is to try to downplay the behavior as much as possible. Give the extra attention to the child who was hurt and simply point out the hurt to the child who did the hurting. Once they acknowledge it, suggest a solution. Treat the fits as temper tantrums (see my post on tantrums).

    Answer by 6KidzMommie at 2:53 AM on Mar. 11, 2009

  • You may want to spend some time reinforcing the no-hitting-people rule and then direct her energies to something she can hit, like a bop bag or pillow. It may be that she simply has more aggressive tendencies than you would expect from a girl, especially from the way you describe her doll-playing. Take a good look at her environment, also, and see if there are any triggers there, whether TV, food allergies, behavior she sees in the family (especially between parents/adults). If she's been exposed to something new, either a food, a behavior she sees at school/home, or something else, this could be her way of acting it out, exploring it and trying to understand it. Try talking with her about her behavior choices, about what she feels when she's playing with her dolls or hitting her friends. Try to delve into her motivations for the behavior and see if you can find the trigger and a way to express more appropriately.

    Answer by JPsMommy605 at 9:40 AM on Mar. 11, 2009

  • I wouldnt say its normal, only because im going through it as well and we are in therapy and thats what they tell me, he has alot of changes going on in his life and this GREATLY increases the chance of them being irritable, we moved, he is at a new school, im married now, so much! I didnt know what to do but go to therapy, ofcourse i prayed and things like that, but i still wanted another outlet. I would just love on her, and tell her to treat others how she would like to be treated. I learned (alteast with my child) it doesnt help to make them apologize if they arent really sorry. My son will come and tell me when his heart is in the right place. Good Luck

    Answer by camtri3 at 2:01 PM on Mar. 11, 2009

  • She is 4. It's normal. My four year old hit her brother rather hard today because he was in her way. She knows that what he did made her mad and I sat down and explained to her that we can't hit people when we are mad. They do a lot of "emotional" teaching at the daycare that she goes to, so that helps. At daycare anyway. It could be that she is going through a growth spurt and is just not getting enough sleep and that is causing the problems. My daughter is always cranky and mean when she is growing.

    Answer by peppermintmocha at 2:12 PM on Mar. 11, 2009

  • My 4 year old is going through the same thing right now...I just keep reinforcing the good behavior and having constant talks about the bad behavior. I also moved his bed time up by 30 min. That seemed to help a lot. Just stay very consistent and don't give up. stay in close contact with her teachers and back them up by talking to your daughter about her behavior that day good and bad. We can do this! (sorry I have to keep telling myself that)

    Answer by But_Mommie at 3:40 PM on Mar. 11, 2009

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