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Angry 3 year old boy

(4 Posts)
Lossy Tue 05-Jul-11 15:16:53

I am looking for any advice or anyone who can relate to this as I am a first time Mum and I don't know what is normal and what isn't.

Me 3 year old boy is strong willed and defiant, both of which I can deal with, but sometimes his anger escalates into violent outbursts, and I just don't know where this comes from or how to stop it.

Today we went to a childs play area, and I gave him plenty of warning when it was time to leave. However when I stood up and said ok times up, lets go, he started screaming at me and punching things. I was so embarrased in front of the other Mums. I calmly explained to him that it was time to go and he continued the same behaviour and everyone was staring so I picked him up and left. He punched me in the arm and shoulder all the way to the car.

Halfway home, he started saying he was sorry but it was almost like in that moment he saw red and just couldn't control himself. Obviously I couldn't have backed down and said 'oh ok we'll stay then', but I am in turmoil as to how I could have handled this better and how to stop him doing this again.

He spent time on the naughty step and has had toys confiscated and I have made it VERY clear I will not tolerate such behaviour, but I'm not even sure that this has got it through to him or will stop him next time.

He seems frustrated and to want his own way all the time and these behaviours are exagerated with tiredness or hunger. I know thats probably normal in a sense. But these 'red mist' moments worry me. Do they do anger management for 3 year olds?!!

redonblond Tue 05-Jul-11 17:02:53

Think you are doing all the right things. He is at an age where he will try and push boundaries. As long as you continue to be consistant and clear in your approach and of what you accept as reasonable behaviour giving no mixed signals, just clear boundaries, I think he will probably grow out of this.

Bouviergirl Wed 06-Jul-11 12:40:55

Would you feel differently about it and feel more sure that it is normal (which I think it is) if the other mums hadn't stared so much? If they stared, a) their children are younger than yours, they think their children won't do this and they're curious to find out what's in store for them, or b) their children are older and grown out of this stage and they're remembering how grim the terrible toddler years were or forgetting theirs did this too. Or c) their children are same as yours, do this too and it makes them feel better to see others having to go through it in public and thanking their lucky stars it's not them!!

I do think it's unhelpful and insensitive when other parents stare and really gets my back up. We all know children throw wobblies. We all know how embarrassed and horrified we feel as parents when it's in public. So get over it and don't stare. It'll be you next week, so if you don't stare, maybe others won't stare at you!

We have had elements of this behaviour at different times (3yo and normal toddler tantrums since about 18mo). I think you did very well to keep your calm under the pressure and pick him up and walk him to the car. It sounds like you're doing right things. We also praise ds when he apologises - "thank you XX for saying sorry, that's very very good of you" etc to place emphasis on that part of the behaviour.

ppeatfruit Wed 06-Jul-11 14:23:12

Yes bouviergirl is right i would also add that IMO and E 3 yr. olds don't really understand delayed punishments. I would have a look at his diet; some DCs are intolerant of high sugar foods and colourings used in drinks etc. also sometimes wheat products can set them 'off' IYKWIM.

3 yr olds can walk and talk but they are not mature emotionally if you think about it they were tiny babies only 2 years ago they often forget that they can talk so you do need to be understanding and reinforce the good behaviour (he said sorry in the car i would have left it at that).

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