Posted by Rowena on September 08, 2003 at 21:32:41:
In Reply to: To Debbie (or anyone else who is interested) posted by Phil on September 08, 2003 at 11:54:41:
I must say the book Debbie recommends sounds wonderful and it probably covers some of the suggestions I make below.
As well as the use of time-out, at 4 years old your child is old enough to understand the use of other forms of behavior modification techniques that would involve postive or negative consequences for actions (time out is one consequence but there are others).
The consequence could be a reward for good behavior or the removal of a privilage (like watching a favorite tv show) or temporary or permant of a possession for misbehavior. (I would not suggest to use these on children much younger than 4 because they lack the understanding at a younger age).
The use of a star chart can be a very helpful tool to encourage good behavior. I would recommend you try this one for the problem with getting ready for pre-school. If he gets ready without a fuss he gets a star to put on his chart. Once he has earned a certain number of stars he is then entitled to a treat of some sort. (I would suggest you keep it small).
The removal of a privilage or object to discourage misbehavior should ONLY come after a warning and MUST be followed through (otherwise it's nothing more than an empty threat and a child will quickly learn this). It should fit with the behavior. An example would be if your child was not doing as you told him but continued to kick his ball, you would say "stop kicking that ball right now or you will loose it for one day" (or two days, a week, whatever time you decide). If he was also being destructive with the ball, at the same time you might also add "and go to time out". If he kicks the ball again it is removed for the time you said. No matter how much he complains and wants the ball back stick to the time. He needs to know you mean exactly what you say. The time you make has to be realistic. I sometimes hear parents make empty threats out of frustration, and know it would be impossible for them to stick to it.
You mentioned that the angry behavior is out of character for your son, could there be any added stress in his life that would be contributing to this. I would suggest you have a chat with his pre-school teacher to see if there is any problems there. If there is no stressors that you can identify I would suggest you have him checked out by a doctor to ensure that he is perfectly well. I am also a strong believer that diet and sleep play greatly impact on a child's behavior and there may be some improvements that you could look at there. Good luck