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Is this normal 3.5 year old behavior?

I need advice/suggestions/support with my 3.5 year old. This child has me emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted by the end of the day. He is either super duper hyper or super duper calm. There is no in between with this kid. He has a 1 year old sister that he adores and she adores him but he is constantly mean to her (pulling her hair, pushing her over, hitting her on the head). Everyday is a battle with him. He argues over everything and constantly does the opposite of what I ask him. I've started taking time away at naptime and bedtime in 5 min. increments and when he gets too out of control, I put him in his room to calm down. I am just beat and I don't know if I should seek professional help. I don't know if this kind of behavior is normal. I know that he is different in the fact that he is more high needs and spirited than other kids but when is it something more? I love him with all my heart!!

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Asked by il_c_23 at 11:56 AM on Jan. 25, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (3)
  • 3 year old sometimes don't understand punishment that is going to take place hours away. They need immediate reinforcement, like a timeout

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:00 PM on Jan. 25, 2010

  • He needs to get out of the house. Get him in preschool, run him ragged outside, get him involved in classes through the YMCA (swimming, sports, etc). Get into a playgroup through or here on cafemom. In addition to increasing his exercise you need to become more consistent with punishments. I suggest you pick up either 1-2-3 Magic or Parenting the Strong Willed Child. The exact method to your parenting isn't as important as consistency. You can spank or put on time outs or count, but your child has to know that doing X results in Y every time without question. Hitting and abusing a younger child is unacceptable behavior. I don't think that taking time away from his normal routine is doing you any benefits and putting a child into their room instead of making them sit in timeout is fairly ineffective and more of a break for mom then an actual punishment for the child.

    Answer by IamPatSajak at 12:02 PM on Jan. 25, 2010

  • From what I've seen on the nanny shows they say to be consistent with timeout for each unacceptable behavior. If he's 3, he gets a 3 minute timeout. Every time he gets out of time out, you put him right back in it and explain to him that his time starts over every time he gets out. It may take a while, but it's worth a try.

    Answer by Kissybratzmom at 6:56 PM on Jan. 25, 2010

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