Question of the Week: What To Do with an Angry Preschooler

We often get questions from our readers. We believe these questions are of value to us all as we think about how we would handle various situations and/or share ideas that have worked for us. So we’ve created a special Forums section of the website where moms can ask and answer questions.

We believe that if you get enough deliberate mothers together, they can solve pretty much all of the world’s problems! And for every question one mom in our community has, there is likely at least a few good answers from other moms in our community.

So here’s a question we received through our Facebook page:

I’m pretty desperate for some parenting help. I’m 28, married for 5 years, have a 4 year old son, 2 ½ year old daughter, and I’m expecting my third child in 1-2 weeks. I’ve really been struggling with my son for the last few months… and it’s not getting better!

My son started pre-k this week, and I thought that most of our problems would just melt away because he would be busy all day, and tired when he got home. There have been some major power struggles the last few months. He gets very defiant and challenges everything I do or say. He started getting more physical and trying to hit me a couple of times. I do spank, so I’m sure that rubbed off on him. He just wants to fight everything and can get so angry in a split second. I thought things would get better once he started school, but now he just saves up his foul mood for home it seems. I think he’s very good at school and even in the car ride home, but once he’s home… it’s like a light switch goes off and he starts to get so mad. I think he’s very sleepy when he gets home, but he absolutely won’t go to sleep and gets super angry if I try to make him. Fighting with him to sleep creates so much contention and takes so long, that I don’t even suggest it because I don’t want it to mess up his bedtime routine.

I’ve read so many of your articles about strong-willed children etc. and tried to implement what I’ve learned…but I don’t know what to do or change now. I try to spend some fun time with him, but he ends up getting very mad and tries hitting me…so I have to stop because I’m so pregnant. He can be happy for a few minutes at a time, but the second I look at him the wrong way/I have to be a parent and stop something/I have to say anything, then he just immediately gets so angry and will stay in a bad mood for a while. Lately I feel like I have to give in and let him get whatever he wants in order to keep some peace at home.

I want home to be a refuge and a place of love…but I also don’t want him to rule the nest and think that I have to follow his orders. I’ve hardly been spanking lately and rarely do timeouts because I’ve been trying to find other ways to discipline, but I don’t know how to have a good relationship with him because nothing seems to work. I want him to be confident and smart, but also to understand that he needs to listen to his parents and that he can’t just get angry to get whatever he wants. Plus, his behavior has started to rub off on my daughter, so it’s creating more problems.

I hope you can help me! I am so lost. I’ve read different books and articles and talked to others, but nothing seems to actually work. Please help!

Do you have any ideas that can help this mom? Please go to our forum to add in your answer (and submit your own questions, if you’d like by simply typing them into the forum!). We ask that any advice be respectful and constructive. (Critical/negative comments will be deleted.)

Image courtesy of