Aggressive behavior 4/5yo — The Bump

Aggressive behavior 4/5yo

Ever since DS has transferred to the 4yo old class at DC he has been showing aggressive behavior at school. We though initially it was because he transfers early before the rest of his good friends so he was trying to keep up with the older boys but it has continued on and off even when his friends move up. We have seen it ebb and flow on and off over the last 6-8 months. However the last 3 weeks he has aggressive behavior every week. His aggressive behavior includes hitting, kicking, pushing, and tackling. His class is more boys then girls and we don't allow such play at our house but he does it at school at least one or 2 days a week (he goes 3 days a week). A number of months ago we implemented a reward system where if he had 3 days of no aggressive behavior he would earn something like a sleep over with DH, a trip to Dunkin Donuts, a movie night etc. and this system worked more often then not. However the last 3 weeks he has not earned his reward and has been aggressive at school. He also has been struggling at floor hockey where when he is waiting his turn he will hit his friends sticks, or his friends legs/feet with the hockey stick. At home he is great. Just when he is around his peers he seems like he forgets everything. Is aggressive behavior normal at this age (almost 5)? He has never had any issues at school until the move to the 4s. Any suggestions to help?
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Re: Aggressive behavior 4/5yo

  • neverblushedneverblushed member
    edited January 2014
    Just like 2 year olds are known for negativity and 3 year olds are known for whining and irrational anxiety/fears, the hallmark of 4 year olds seems to be dealing with anger and aggressive feelings.

    I have a daughter and a son and they both went through this phase at 4, only it took very different forms.  My daughter showed her anger in her speech.  She would yell and say, "Mommy, I'm MAD at you!" when things didn't go her way.  But she wasn't physically aggressive at all.  My son was more prone to rough, excited, physical play, and LOVED to pretend violent scenarios and talk about all kinds of aggressive stuff.  He actually had two imaginary friends at age 4.  One was the "ideal" friend, who was noble and super powerful in a good way.  The other was the "awful" friend, who did everything mean, aggressive, infantile, and just plain gross that my son wished he could do.  I sort of encouraged him to work out his aggression and his efforts to be good through these two characters.  

    You might want to encourage your son to keep his aggression in the world of pretend.  Of course, he can't actually kick someone or hit someone while pretending, but he can pretend to be a "bad guy" or a monster or even a super hero who is attacking the bad guys in an aggressive and strong way.  Doing so might channel some of that aggression and give him space to work it out.  Pretend and play is a surprisingly strong force in 4 and 5 year olds; working things out through play can really make a difference in their non-play behavior!

    ETA: I doubt this is very much related to the switch to the 4s classroom.  Although it may be that he's around other boys who are also working out their aggression issues, and it ramps him up!  Still, my kids were at home with me, and they both went through this.
    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
  • @neverblushed Thank you so much for your response. I wasn't sure if this was normal 4 year old behavior or not. I appreciate your insight.
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