how can i help my child's behavior?

Hali - posted on 10/25/2011 ( 10 moms have responded )

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I have a 3 yr old that is out of control. He hits, bites, smacks, punches, and even head-butts. I have tried everything i can think of to get him under control. He constantly tells me "no" and does not listen to a thiing I say. If anyone has advice please help!!

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April - posted on 11/01/2011

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Cheryl- I wholeheartedly agree with you. My son is 3 and I had beenin cintact with his dr. about some odd behaviors since he was 20 mos. He would scream for hours, bang his head on the wall, and had no regard for safety. As he got older he just semed to get worse and worse. He hit, bites,scratches, says no, cusses at me and his preschool teacher, has absolutely no empathy and I have had to restrain my child on more than one occassion with the help of a trained professional. There are some children who do not respond to the norm. About a month ago we were in the dr.s office and my son screamed and yelled for 45 mins and then we the dr. opened the door he took off and ran around and around the office while I tried to catch him. At the end I was in tears and he was laughing. My sons dr made a referra and now he has seen a phsychitrist who last month diagnosed him with severe ADHD and Oppositional Defiant Disorder and put him on medication. There are many parents that attack our decision to put our son on meds at such an early age, but they work and life is beginning to be different. His behaviors while not 100% gone are 10 times better than they were, he is sleeping at night, and most importantly he is happier.

I am not saying that your child has ADHD, what I am saying is that gettting professional help can only help you and your sonin the long run. And don't let what anyone else tell you you made the wroug choice.

Adrienne - posted on 10/31/2011

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Cheryl, I'm sorry that time outs don't work for your out of control kid. They're the only thing that worked for mine when he went through that phase. Spanking only escalated his behaviour. And time out on a child's bed usually won't work for two reasons: 1) They are surrounded by their toys/stuffies/etc and 2) they can then associate their bed, which should be associated with sleep and comfort, with punishment/being in trouble. Time out needs to happen in a neutral area where the child is within your sight/hearing but not in sight of toys, television, siblings, etc. Also, to spank a child who is in trouble for hitting is counter productive. A two or three year old rarely can distinguish between "hitting" and "spanking". So you are "hitting" them for "hitting" their sibling/friend/you. It's not a logical consequence and is confusing. It's not okay for them to hit, but it is okay for you = mixed messages.

Cheryl - posted on 10/31/2011

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Time outs don't work for out of control kids. My now 4 yr old girl has never stayed on her bed for a time out in 2 yrs. You have to make sure they know you love them and that you are in charge no matter what. We spank lovingly and talk with them, and will repeat until the matter is solved. I have also found that she responds when I take my attention away from her and just ignore her until she is sorry for what she did. She really wants to feel loved and knows that spanking is us showing her we love her because we care enough to give her a "reminder" that teaches her to obey. You have to make sure that you only spank when you are calm and only on the bottom so it never leaves a mark. That way it is very different from hitting because it is consistently done in a calm and orderly manner.

Liana - posted on 10/31/2011

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I agree time out is the best thing to do, it can take a long time for them to stay im place but thats down to you, never give up, you are the person in charge and he will learn to respect you more if you follow through?dont give up on the time out. he sound like he is looking for for you to react,, dont, stay calm if he smacks you tell him its not nice with a straight face and put him in time out, do not talk to him when he is in time out, if he smacks or bites uther children do the same thing but then turn your attention to the child that is hurt make a really big fuss of them the after time out is finished explain that he really hurt him/ her.
most of all if he dos something good tell him make a big fuss do things with him that you enjoy to. dont give up! i have two children 2years and 3years and this dos work!

Lacey - posted on 10/31/2011

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I have the same problem with my 2 yr old. He hit everyone including his 3month old brother. He tells everyone no and makes sure you are watching when he does thing hes not supposed to. I've heard the terrible 2's can start later and even when they are 3.

Adrienne - posted on 10/28/2011

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Advice: Consistency and Relevant consequences. You have to be consistent in your approach and the consequences have to make sense for the behaviour. Warn once (unless it's a safety issue) with a "Stop (insert behaviour here) or you will go in time out" If it continues, you say "okay, you're going in time for x behaviour for 3 minutes." (1 min per year of age) If he comes out of time out, calmly put him back in. If he comes out again, let him know that the timer won't start until he stays in time out. Keep doing it if he keeps getting out. If you can, find a spot for time out where you can see him but he can't see the tv, rest of the family, toys, etc. When the timer dings, sit down with him and ask him if he knows why he was in time out (the answer most of the time at this age is no) and explain to him why he was in time out. If he throws a toy, take it away for the day. If he hits, time out. If he bites, time out. If he doesn't listen to you, time out. On the listening, I have a policy: I politely ask once. The second time I tell. The third time I command, ie the "Mom Voice" comes out and is followed by or you go in time out. Etc. Don't smack, spank, etc as it sounds like this just escalates the issue. It's one of the main reasons that I don't spank my son. If he's throwing a fit, send him to his room and tell him why.



It will take time, but you HAVE to stick with it and be consistent. And the consequences have to make sense.



Other than that, have there been any major changes in the home or family? That can cause a child to act out. How is his diet? A lot of the additives and preservatives in processed food can cause behavioral problems in young children. Try eliminating any and all sugar and processed food. Is he acting out only in certain situations/times of day or is it constant? If it's still a problem, talk to your GP/Ped for advice.



Good luck. I know this can be exhausting.



**edit to add - Also, put yourself in time out if you find yourself getting too frustrated. Just tell him "Mommy needs to go in time out because I'm frustrated". It actually worked with my son. He knew at that point that I had reached my limit/he had crossed the line and it gave BOTH of us time to cool off.

Amanda - posted on 10/27/2011

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Sounds like my son. He just doesn't care what consequences I give him for his actions and refuses to listen. Just now I have told him not to play with the door and to either go outside or stay in. He has now ripped my screen door off the rails and left it hanging, because I told him not to touch.

After I went to the doctor I felt so much better. Even though my specialist appointment isn't until the end of November, and the doctor told me we could be dealing with ADHD, I felt so much better knowing that I had finally bit the bullet and asked for professional help. I didn't feel so crazy and helpless after that.

Hali - posted on 10/27/2011

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I have tried spanking he hits back, I have tried time-outs he won't stay put, I have taken his favorte toys away he doesn't care, when he bites someone we've bit back, I've tried to hold him down to calm him down and he just fights me back, I've tried talking to him and still does no good. I have had it up to my eyeballs with all of this. I thought that if he went to daycare it would help and he treats them the same way. I will talk with his doctor maybe he has an idea. Thank you for the help.

Amanda - posted on 10/25/2011

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What have you tried???
I have the same issues with my 3 yr old son. I was at the end of my rope a few weeks back and went to my doctor again about the way my son was behaving and to try and find another way of handling him, because I wasn't coping and our family life was starting to suffer. We have been referred onto a paediatric behavioural specialist, I'm hoping that we can come up with a solution.

Apart from that I don't know what else to suggest apart from speak to your doctor. They might be able to suggest a different approach to dealing with your son or at least put you in touch with someone that can help you.

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