Dear Mr. Dad: My six-year-old son is behaving aggressively. Just yesterday, he was suspended from school for two days because he poked another child in the eye with a pencil. Fortunately, the other kid wasn’t seriously injured. And not long before that, he poked his sister (who’s ten) with a pair of scissors. I’ve tried time-outs, talking to him, removing toys from his room, not letting him have playdates or watch TV, and I’m not sure what to do next. Can you recommend any books on discipline?
A: It sounds like you’re doing all the right things. And yes, there are a lot of great discipline books out there. But you’re way, way beyond the book stage. If your son were just pushing kids or snatching toys away from them, some new discipline strategies might help. But he’s doing things that could cause serious damage to others; taking away his toys and not letting him watch cartoons isn’t going to do the trick You need to get your son evaluated right away by a good child psychologist. The school nurse or the principal will probably have a list. If they don’t, ask your pediatrician for some recommendations. Clearly, there’s something going on here that’s well beyond anything you can deal with on your own. You’ve been lucky so far. But make an appointment today—before your son does something truly horrific.