We are having some major problems with anger in my ds1. He is 3.5 and I don't understand how he can be so angry. It like a switch flicks and he goes crazy. Hitting, pinching, yelling and he just can not control himself. Nothing works to calm him down.
Generally it starts by hurting his brother and I ask him nicely to say sorry, use your words, don't retaliate etc.. We just had a 20 minute meltdown because I asked him to say sorry. At the moment i deal with it by taking him to his room and letting him lie on his bed while i sit with him and tell him he can come out when he stops being angry. This morning I had to 'bear hug'him so he wouldn't hurt me.
The other day he hit me in the face at my parents house because I said he couldn't have anymore sauce, and followed with a major meltdown.
I don't know where Im going wrong? Or of this is normal 3.5 year old behavior? Any suggestions, thoughts would be very much appreciated.
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28-02-2012 09:20 #1
Normal 3.5 year old behavior?
28-02-2012 10:52 #2
I have always been extremely firm with agressive behaviour towards myself and siblings. Hitting me will not be tolerated. Generally it is time out with a very clear message it is not acceptable and that I am NOT happy. No warnings, straight to time out. I just don't subscribe to the bear-hugging, sitting in the room with theory..to me that just says "If you hit me, its ok". This is something I have a strong opinion about. The number of children I see that hit their parents at 3, 4 and 5+ years old and their parent just sits there grinning astounds me. Teaching respect begins at this point... I am happy to say that my kids have laid their hand on me less than a couple of times in their lives.
My SIL's nearly 4 yo has been hitting her since age 2, and he still does. Hits her in the face, throws sand at her, kicks her in the shins. She tells him off, put him in time out for 2secs, which he walks away from and and then cuddles, tell him how much she loves him and not to hurt mummy, only to be smacked in the face again. Its not working and its terrible to watch. My very soft-hearted SIL is constantly in tears and emabarrassed by his behaviour, but she can't stand the thought of him being unhappy with her. I hate to think what will happen as he gets older..
Mind you he doesn't do it with his dad, who is much firmer and he simply does not get away with it.
Anyway, just my 2c, and not everyone will agree I have strong opinions on this subject, can you tell!
28-02-2012 11:16 #3
We have been very firm with it from a young age too. How do you make a child stay on time out though? We did time out from a young age and he has never stayed there. No amount of putting him back would work. The only reason I stay with him is because otherwise he goes into what I would call a full on rage, throwing things, hitting walls etc. If I stay with him it only lasts a minute or two then is over.
Btw I have a two year old and newborn so sometimes discipline can be tough..
28-02-2012 14:23 #4AKA Nikki
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- Dec 2008
Hi I find aggressive behaviour tricky to deal with too!! It often stresses me out!! I have an almost three year old and he can sometimes hit or pinch when he doesnt get his way - I dont give in and this results in a tantrum similar to the one that you described (hitting throwing and yelling). While it's really difficult and frustrating to go through, I think that its fairly typical for this age group. I have a book called the Might Toddler by Robin Barker and she gives some really good advice on what is typical behaviour for that age and ways to respond to it. I have used her timeout method and its not full proof but it works most of the time and he seems to be aggressive less often. I also try to tell him to use a grumpy face or tell me he is grumpy rather than using grumpy hands and feet - this sometimes works but when he is in a real state its not very useful!!!!! I still like to offer an alternative for how he is behaving - you know, at least try make him aware of choices that he has!! (Im a teacher and this is something I try and do with junior primary kids) I hope this helps!! You are certainly not alone, I have lots of moments when I worry about him and why he acts out that way but I think they are just too little to always respond reasonably to setbacks!! Good luck xx
28-02-2012 14:51 #5
There's no shame in anger, it's a normal human emotion. But like all emotions, there's appropriate ways to express them. I think that when you're little, it's tough having all these emotions and not having a good grasp on them, and I think that's why some kids often are really angry. Some kids are placid, some cry a lot , some hit, it's all just them learning to deal with their emotions.
Have you tried talking with him when he's calm about more appropriate ways he can express his feelings?
You could maybe even draw a chart together and divide it into what's ok, and what's not ok, so the next time he hurts somebody you can use the chart to remind him what's ok to do when you're angry and what's not ok. If it works, I'd definitely praise him to the moon and back when you see him expressing his emotions in a safe and appropriate way. I've seen this work really, really well in the past.
When he's not feeling angry is he usually empathetic, or is he still learning about empathy? If he's still learning about empathy, modelling and leading empathetic play can really help.
I'm also not a huge fan of time out, but I used what I called 'time to move way', which was moving kiddo to another area of the house, and them spending some time away from my attention. This was always an area where there were appropriate activities, not a corner or a step. (i always moved them after saying, 'Stop!' with a hand signal, then 'hitting/biting/punching hurts, you need to move away')
Hitting people is NEVER ok in my book. Similar to Kaybaby, when I worked in ECL I was very firm when it came to physical and verbal violence.
I've worked closely in the past with a few kids his age who were having anger issues, and I've experienced a little bit of how tough that can be, so my heart goes out to you.
I'll never forget the fat lip I had days before I went on holidays to Mauritius, the bruises on my shins, the bites, the eggs from blocks to the head, rammed ankles by bikes, or the stamped on toes. But they were great kids all the same, and it never stopped me from thinking the world of them.
Your LO is blessed to have a such a wonderful mummy who loves him very much, and is willing to find the best way to help him grow into his feelings.
Last edited by Berrie; 28-02-2012 at 14:58.
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