I have a four year old son. After attending a different school for a year at the age of three, he became more and more difficult, and the school labelled him as a bully. I moved him out of that school and since the beginning of the year he attends a private school and things (at school) have been much better, however we have been notified on three occasions in the past 8 months, that he has been very unreasonable all day and hurt classmates.
At home he is an absolute terror, he is the only child at home. I know my husband and I have never really agreed properly on how to discipline him, we often differ and fight over it as I think he is too harsh, sometimes he accuses me of being too soft, and often we will overrule each other because we believe the other was too harsh. He is very difficult and it is all deliberate. As soon as you say no, he will scream deliberately and cry big crocodile tears (classic tantrum). He will also do the opposite of what you say. If I tell him not to hurt the dog, he will make sure I am looking at him and deliberately hurt the dog. I tried the “thinking spot” “naughty corner” taking away sweets, tv or toys, but most of the time, things are so tense and unpleasant in our home, I resort to smacking him. Both of us get so mad and angry and often lose control in front of him, which we know it is wrong. We both work full time, but any time at home as a family at night or on weekends it’s a constant struggle of screaming, crying and fighting, sometimes I get so frustrated I have to leave the house to calm myself down, we just cannot get it right.
He is also a master of manipulation and will quickly say sorry and give me a hug to avoid punishment, but 5 minutes later he will be up too it again. We do show him a lot of love, and probably spoil him. After punishment of any sort we will always try to explain why it was wrong and why we are so cross. We hug him and tell him we love him.
Other than this, he is very clever, well adjusted and happy child. I suspect that most of the time he just wants our attention, but after school and work we are just too tired to deal with it all effectively. I have your book, but I just feel that all this “thinking spot” effort is pointless, or am I just too lazy to do it properly?