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I am afraid if I let it go he will think it is ok to be disrespectful to his family members, which I do not want. However I feel like all I do is tell him no. For instance the other day he shoved his sister down and she split her lip. He seems unconcerned whenever he is mean to her. Like I said, he is very jealous of her and I am worried he will really hurt her one day and not mean to. He told me today he wanted a different mom, which broke my heart. I do lose my temper when he pushes or hurts his sister and I do yell even though I know I shouldn't I just can't seem to make him understand otherwise what he did was wrong if I don't yell; which I do know isn't the answer--I just lose my patience.

The last thing I want to be is a yelling mom, I just don't know how to handle it I guess. I need some help and insight if you have any. Does this sound like normal 4 yr struggles or do you think something else is going on? Dear Shell, I am so sorry to hear your little guy is having such a tough time -- and giving you and his sister such a tough time!

It is not unusual to have a difficult adjustment to a new sibling, and he's also at a challenging age.

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But most worrisome is his anger at you. He is not telling you that he wants a new mom because he is testing you. He is furious at you, and doesn't know what to do with those feelings. Look at it this way. He was your only child. You were the center of his universe. Enter the interloper, your darling little girl. He feels mortally wounded, heart-broken.

Toddler Hits You--Now What? Help for Parents When Little Ones Hit

He is in mourning with no words to express what he's lost. What's worse, he feels hateful toward his sister, even though he loves her, so he's full of anger he doesn't understand. On top of that, every time he expresses it he loses your love. He's trapped in his tangled up angry emotions, which cause him to lash out. So not only is he bereft, but his doting mom has disappeared and been replaced by someone who yells at him. He may be expressing anger, but underneath, he's heart-broken at the loss of your love and respect. It's difficult to be three. Kids are trying hard to master all kinds of developmental tasks.

Parents often crack down with too many rules and expectations. Three year olds desperately need their parents and want to please them, and are acutely sensitive to any lack of parental approval. They really can't bear it when they think you're finding fault with them, which is why they might tell you to shut up! As they approach four years old, kids often hit a difficult stretch where they want more control and get angry when they are treated in what they feel is a less than respectful manner. Because he's angry at you for jilting him, he's extra-prone to fight with you and get into power struggles, but he might well be doing that anyway.

Four year olds also test the limits, so that if they are allowed to treat others disrespectfully, they do. That doesn't mean they'll grow up to be axe-murderers, it means they're four, and they need us to teach them how to manage their feelings responsibly. The key with kids this age is teaching them that feeling mad is just part of being human, but he needs to use his words instead of lashing out in violence. Of course, that does mean that at times his words may seem disrespectful, when he's furious.

But that's a great deal better than hitting, and he will slowly gain more control over his words, as well.

Your son is still developing impulse control and empathy for others. He doesn't actually have a lot of empathy for his sister, and he doesn't yet know how to appropriately handle his anger. That's why it matters so much that you model calmness. I realize it's hard to stay patient with him, particularly when you are worried about DD's safety. But every time you get angry at him and yell, or force him physically into a timeout, you are modeling that might makes right.

How can you stay calm when he's terrorizing DD? See it from his perspective. I don't mean let him get away with hitting her, ever. You need to set limits on his behavior. But you can certainly remember that anger is always a defense against other, more threatening emotions: hurt, fear, sadness. Your son is lashing out at his sister — and at you, with his attitude -- rather than letting himself feel his devastation at having lost his place as your special only child. Every time you react in anger, the ugly cycle will escalate. Every time you react with compassionate understanding, you send him the message that maybe he hasn't lost you after all.

So, what can you do to improve this situation? Stay connected with him. You are doing great with this by spending an hour with him each evening, so that he can count on that time without his sister around. Any other time you can spend with him during the day right now is also critical. I would suggest that he also needs time with each parent individually, possibly on weekends.

Why do I say that? Because he is uncooperative with you, so that relationship needs some healing.

During that time, focus solely on him. Read to him, play whatever game he wants. If possible, do lots of snuggling. Your goal is to reassure him that you haven't ditched him despite the presence of a new sibling, and to build a strong relationship, which will make him want to cooperate with you. Give him as much control over his life as possible. For instance, there is no reason you need to fight with him about what he wears if you let him pick his own clothes every day. Have only healthy food choices on hand, and then let him be in charge of what he eats as much as possible although at dinner, obviously, you don't want to make a whole separate meal.

As for toys, be sure there are plenty of toys that are his, that he can feel are in his control. Those should not be available to his sister without his permission and he should not be forced to share them with her. He has to share you and DH; he should at least be able to keep his toys for himself. Don't fight with him. No one wins a power struggle. If he's looking to lock horns, your job is to sidestep. He may want to argue with everything you say, but it takes two to have an argument.

If he disagrees with you, don't worry about having the last word. Ask him to tell you more about why he thinks that. Keep a light touch and a sense of humor.

  • - The Washington Post;
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Agree whenever possible. If all else fails, give him a hug! You don't have to prove you're right. That will just make him feel worse about himself, which will make him act worse. Let him save face. I guarantee you that if you force him to do something your way, he'll become more defiant in other areas. It's ok for kids to assert their preferences and express their feelings; it isn't a challenge to the parents' authority.

Trump suggests 'nuking hurricanes' to stop them hitting America – report

That's what any self-respecting person needs to do. The trick is setting the limits you need to without getting into a power struggle. Every way you can. Stretch your creativity! Use Parenting Aikido, which is to go with his need for control but still meet your need as the parent to keep things safe. Remove yourself from the authority position. Instead of "Because I said so" you say "The rule is" and express your empathy that you're sorry, you didn't make the rule.

Wherever possible, make a chart showing what needs to be done with pictures so you aren't barking orders. Even when it's your rule "At bedtime everyone brushes their teeth. Mommy does it too. That's the rule" , distancing yourself from being the source of it removes the child's need to rebel against you. You become the empathizer instead of the heavy. DS feels you're on his side so he's more likely to cooperate rather than fight with you.

Help him grieve and work out his feelings of loss.