I need some advice, because my wife and I are at the end of our ropes with our younger son, who turned three in July.
He's a very good boy in many ways - smart as a whip, behaves well in pre-school (we've only heard good things from his teachers), loves his 6-year old big brother and is very affectionate.
The problem is, he's absolutely incorrigible when he's with us. Punishment seems to have no effect on him. We can give him time outs, yell at him, take away privileges, etc., but his naughty behavior doesn't change. He often just smiles and repeats the bad behavior immediately after being admonished for it.
What behavior am I referring to? Constant "potty" talk, temper tantrums, refusal to go to bed (bedtime is often a 2-hour ordeal, with him repeatedly leaving his bed and running out of the room he shares with his brother and/or keeping his brother awake with constant chatting), hitting (usually us or his brother), throwing toys, wrestling other children to the floor, running away from us in public places, and other misdeeds.
I realize many three-year olds engage in some of these behaviors at one time or another. But with him, it's all of them, all the time, every day. I don't think he has ADHD, because he actually has a very good attention span for books. He also can focus on playing with toys or in the sandbox. I think he's just very excited about life, and has trouble calming down.
In a worriesome development, some of our friends have indicated that they don't particularly want to hang out with us because his behavior is so awful. And I can't blame them. I just went through the weekend with him and feel like I survived a war. My wife and I both feel that our friends must think we're bad parents, although our first son is usually quite pleasant to be with.
I'm from a different part of the world and culture but I face the same problem, my 4 yr old just will not listen , he hits me, his elder brother, everyone, with any reasoning/scoldings having nil effect. He cries, throws tantrums, and it is an ordeal to control him, but he is such an angel at school, a darling of the teacher...!!?? I can't figure out what to do, and I feel that I have not been a good enough parent. I'm waiting for an answer too
Most of the time parents raise their children all the same ways but some children just do not respond to the same parenting as another child does. It is important your son knows who the parent is. Many times we give in to kids and this allows them to take on the control role instead of the parent being in control.
In other words he has his parents bluffed by his antics.
If he has been checked out by the doctor, and no problems diagnosed, it is time for parents to take back control. This does not mean to be harsh, but does mean to be consistent. You cannot tell a child no and then around and let them do it just because they threw a tantrum. Children learn early how to manipulate their parents.
I agree with Misty. Also, do not believe everything your preschool is telling you. If you have friends that don't want to hang with you because of your son's behaviour, it's a good bet he also does this at school too. Perhaps they have a way of dealing with it that actually works for your son. Can you observe without him knowing you are there?
Also, I believe in consistency. It sure sounds like you're trying everything, but are you trying everything a zillion times a day? You say he does the bad behaviour right after being scolded for it. Keep at your calm, firm discipline, use one or two methods and DO NOT deviate. If you want time outs as your tool, then really work it. Get a chair or whatever, away form ALL toys, distractions and he needs to sit there the entire time, no talking, no yelling, no tantrum. You stay calm and do not speak to him other than the first time you put him in time out.
We also have a method for extreme bad behaviour for home or while we're out in public. Whatever child is acting up has to hold one parent's hand. We tell them they have to do so until they are under control and behaving properly. They will resist of course and pull, tug and cry more than likely, but it does work. In public, we will go off to a corner or whatever so we're not disturbing other people but if we're in a loud place, like a mall, they hold our hands and we go about our errands. It only takes a few times and they realize it's nicer to be nice! My kids now are to the point where I'll hear one of the older ones say "Mom's going to make you hold hands, come on, be good."
Our big thing is we always calmly, but firmly tell them what they are doing is unacceptable and what the consequence is then follow through. It's sure easy to give in, but do your best to stay strong! I've found boys go through this 2 to 5 year old stage that can be horrendous. Hang in there.
You know why these kids are angels at school? Because there is a routine there and CONSTANT consequences for inappropriate behavior. You say that you discipline him but I'll bet you let it slide sometimes and this is all the window that he needs to know that he can get away with his behavior at least some of the time. Like I just wrote in another thread, this child also sounds like he doesn't have any self control. Self control comes when the parent gets control over the inappropriate behavior. Children are not born with self control, it has to be learned by experiencing it. The child experiences control only after the parents gain control. Also, doing positive things with the child will help. Spend some time doing an activity with him. You probably had more energy with your first child to enforce rules. All parents are more tired with their second child and the rules don't get enforced as well. And with constant rule enforcement it will get worse before it gets better but hang in there!