My four-year-old son refuses to listen and is very aggressive.

My four-year-old son refuses to listen to anything we say or tell him to do. He is very aggressive and when he is upset or is told no, he will throw himself down, try to hurt himself, or he will hurt others around him. When we are in public he acts like we cannot put him in time out and will do random things just to get into trouble. I have had him tested for several things, and have been told he is normal, but he has severe anger issues and no one can tell me why. I am very concerned because he is also refusing to talk. He screams at the top of his lungs…A LOT. I am not sure what to do anymore.

Some children seem to be prone to anger.  It may be because of genetics, trauma or just chance.

Your son needs very strong parenting to overcome his problems.  You need to encourage all positive behavior and discourage his hostile behavior.

Finding positive things to encourage will be a challenge but absolutely necessary. Even minor positive behavior should be paid attention to. Maybe your approval can be expressed through a smile or a touch.  Sometimes telling him he is doing a good job may work too.

Show him a lot of warmth and caring. You need to keep loving him.

The best way to discourage hostile behavior is to ignore it. Respond to him when he talks normally. Ignore him, perhaps by turning away or walking out of the room, when he screams. In the beginning he will increase the hostile behavior to get you to pay attention. If you continue to ignore him, he will gradually give up.

Ignoring minor misbehaviour is difficult. If you ignore him for a few minutes and then pay attention, it will only make him persist.  It is important to stick to ignoring misbehaviour.

Punishment must be used only for major misbehaviour.  Use timeout as you are. Sometimes, take him out to do something he wants to do with the full intention that if he misbehaves you will return home immediately.

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