Almost 4 year old is shoving kids, having tantrums

We have a super verbal almost 4 year old (December 2012) who is highly anxious (separation anxiety with mom, avoids new situations, iffy on new people etc.) and his behavior at home and preschool is escalating. His preschool asked us to find someone to come observe him to offer more support. They said he has difficulties sharing resources at school and will push/shove etc. to get what he wants. We see this at home. We also spend over an hour dealing with bedtime craziness every night. He argues with everything we say. He throws big tantrums in response to simple things that are part of our every day routine (ex. brushing teeth) and literally cannot function if mom has to miss bedtime. So basically, who should we see? We are seeking a psychologist who will work with us around parent coaching and do some observations as well. We've contacted Whole Child but they haven't responded. 

Parent Replies

New responses are no longer being accepted.

Fragrances can cause anxiety and irritability.

I suggest that use use fragrance-free laundry detergent, personal care products, cleaners, etc. Also, the formaldehyde in carpet can be a serious problem. 

 Hello! I'm sorry to hear of your challenges but I know how you feel. Just in case you aren't able to connect with the psychologist that you likerighy away, here are some other options for you:

For a free evaluation, you might try contacting the Easy Bay Regional Center. You can find them online and although it takes a little while, they have about 45 days or so in which to respond to a parents request for an evaluation of a child's behavior. You would then go with your child for an evaluation for about 45 mins. They can let you know if they think your child needs behavioral support. They don't provide any sort of diagnosis but they can let you know if your concerns warrant attention. 

Another option is to contact your local school district for a preschool evaluation.  Similar process, you would go for an assessment with your child and they would let you know where your child might need help if any. 

 In either case, they would also ask you to fill out some questionnaires before hand to get your input on the challenges you're facing. Best of luck to you! Addressing this sort of thing early is always the best for your child and your family!

Hi there, 

I don't have the magic person, well I did but she's handling some health issues so is not seeing clients for a while, but she is a "behaviorist." I wanted to put out the idea that a behaviorist may be what you're seeking. I also wanted to offer empathy. I also have an almost 4 year old who sounds different from yours, but does a lot of pushy/shovey, even hitting (and used to be biting) at school. It's so hard! Another parent on here told me she son was the same and it ended when he was 6....Anyway, wishing you the best of luck and if you find an amazing behaviorist, let me know:)


For a 4 year old, the regional center would only assess if there were a concern about autism, intellectual disability. What is described by the previous poster is Early Start which is for below the age of three. Have you looked to your medical insurance for evaluation by a developmental pediatrician. Easy if you have Kaiser.

You might want to consider the HANDLE Institute, Holistic Approach to NeuroDevelopmental Learning Efficiency. The local practitioner is Sindy Wilkenson, in Lafayette at the Enhanced Learning and Growth Center, (925) 934-3500. There's a lot of sensory integration work and tracing back to deeper patterns of neuro development that affects everything: emotions, self-help, coping, regulation. It's not cheap but your son is at a good age to do this. It's a good positive interaction between you to address the parts of life that are hard for him. By the time I found it, my son was high school and would not do it. He still needs it! There's an initial, several hour assessment, then you go to lunch and when you come back there's an exercise program laid out for you. Return in a week to tweak it, then every month for six months as things change and progress is made.  Good for any kind of neuro affliction: strokes, traumatic injuries, learning/emotional challenges.  All the best; I'm sorry it's hard for him (and you) right now.