My (almost 3yr old) son chokes me when he gets mad!

Brandi - posted on 01/21/2012 ( 25 moms have responded )

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It started near Christmas time. He was trying to slide a toy out the door (stealing) I grabbed him and told him NO! Explaining that we don't do that. Things have to be paid for. While I was telling him he put his little hands around my throat & started to squeeze. I whooped him in front of everyone in the store. He just done it again when I was trying to explain to him why he can't call mommie bad names. I took him from his chair telling him why we don't choke & put him in the corner. I left him there 2 minutes went back *the whole time he was screaming for his aunt* & had him turn around & explain to him what he did wrong. He came at me saying he would kill mommie. I popped his butt and put him back in the corner. About 8 times of going through this he finally said he would no longer choke.

Has or is anyone else having this problem? And if so how I can remedy this immediately? Both my parents are deceased & I'm a single mom. I've asked the doctor and he said it was my fault since I work. Which to me is completely ludicrous!



**He is not spoiled, he gets told 'no' often.***

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Kate CP - posted on 01/21/2012

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Sooo...to teach him to not be physically aggressive you hit him? Also, any doctor (or person, for that matter) who would tell you you're at fault because you're a responsible adult and work to support your son is a jackass. :P



He's 3 and doesn't know how to express himself verbally, so he does it physically. Instead of spanking him for it, teach him how to talk and express himself. The next time he tries to choke you take his hands and look him firmly in the face and tell him "I know you're angry. It's okay to be angry. It's NOT okay to hurt people." And that goes for YOU TOO, mom.



Where is he getting the concept of killing a person by choking them? That's not something kids just understand on their own. They also don't understand the concept of stealing at the age of 3. All they know is it's a toy, I want it and I'm going to take it. Use it as an opportunity to teach him the value of items and money and how much things cost: "If I were to buy this toy for you, that's the same as buying groceries for a week! That's a lot of food!" or "This toy costs as much as ALL THESE TOYS together! That's an expensive toy, isn't it?"



Every mistake a child makes isn't done out of defiance or maliciousness...they just don't know any better. Use it as a chance to teach them, not just punish them.

Elfrieda - posted on 01/23/2012

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That's a horrible thing to say, LeeAnn, and I think it's totally crazy. He must have seen it somewhere.



If it was me, I'd hold his arms to his sides and explain in a very stern voice that "Choking is bad. You DON'T choke Mommy. You DON'T choke anybody. When you are mad, you can cross your arms and stomp your feet and say, "HHMPH!"

Then I'd let him go (if he's listening and not tantruming... if he's tantruming, I'd ignore him and talk to him later when he's calm) "Let's practice saying, "HHMPH!"" and have a little fun with it. And then I'd tell him, "Say sorry to Mommy. When you choked me, it hurt my throat and it hurt my feelings."



You'll have your own way of doing things, but that's just one way that would probably work with my two-year-old.



Is there anyone in your group of friends that threatens to kill her kids when they misbehave? I know some moms think it's a fine way to talk, but I disagree. I think it influences kids more than we know, just like something is influencing your son.

Michelle - posted on 01/24/2012

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If you have Dobson's "Strong Willed Child" you're right, he advocates spanking young children. I have that book, and was also raised with spanking but when following that method, I thought, it was "effective" if by effective we meant she was scared enough to not do that action again, but the look in my child's eyes after spanking of fear had me wanting a different way.

I picked up some books on raising your spirited child as a complement to the Dobson. I found that even that difference between looking at a child as strong willed vs. spirited changes the view of the behavior. A strong will is something we seek to "break" in a child whereas a spirit is something we don't seek to crush. So the view is how to stop inappropriate behaviors in ways that are teaching rather than simply punitive.

I would talk with each sitter about the expectations and what can/cannot be shown with your child. And as he ages he may want other shows that you have to nix if he keeps picking up behaviors he sees. My daughter is VERY susceptible to what she sees on TV even now, so I have to limit and ban some shows that other kids her age may watch because of the effect on her. Good luck, but it sounds like you're finding the causes and dealing with it now.

Kaitlin - posted on 01/24/2012

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you are encouraging the violent behavior by responding to his violence with violence. Children this age are 'monkey see monkey do'

Fran - posted on 02/06/2012

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Thanks for posting Brandi, I have a son that is quite aggressive too, it is reassuring to know I'm not the only one, and some of the responses to your post have been helpful. Mostly getting down to his level is working the best, when he gets really mad I sit somewhere quiet with my arms firmly, but not tightly, around him until he calms down, then we have a discussion about why he is angry and what words he can try to use next time he feels that way. He is slowly improving. I can say for sure that your doctor was not only way out of line but completely wrong. I'm a stay at home mum and my son ( while not trying to choke me) has violent outbursts, so to suggest it is your fault because you work is crazy. Hang in there and goodluck.

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Gayle - posted on 02/01/2012

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My older boys used to hit me when they were about that age [one even bit me a bunch too]; hubby said it's because we spank them and they were just retaliating. WE stopped spanking and started being more consistent with our punishment, doing more timeouts, definitely more getting down on their level. The Doctor said it's normal behavior of children testing their limits. But choking & saying "gonna kill Mommy"??? I wonder if your son is repeating behavior he's seen on TV or what he's seen other children do (if he goes to daycare); Simpsons shows Homer choking his son Bart saying he's gonna kill him. I don't have advice for you, other than ignore what your jerk of a doctor told you and just keep on doing what you're doing.... my sisters would say, "Just keep loving him."

Good luck! Just been reading through everyone's posts now, wow what a diverse collection of opinions. I think you're doing great.

Pallas - posted on 02/01/2012

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Physical punishment gets you no where. It teaches him aggression, teaches him to resent, as well.as fight back, rebel, disrespect and lose trust in you as his mother. You need to look at positive discipline and learn how to work with your child to teach him limits, boundaries, respect, right and wrong, trust in you, etc... A great book and classes to take are Love and Logic for early childhood.



There is no quick fix for establishing your role as a positive role model, you need yo learn new ways of handling discipline and your anger. Your child lives what he learns, and he needs to learn limits and boundaries.

'Whooping' is more damaging to his developing psyche, spirit and overall being. Its confusing and VERY scary for them to literally be attacked by there caregiver, who towers feet above them. Remember, your very young child is figuring out his world, has a very limited perspective of what the world is and how it works. You are his world, make it beautiful, positive and full of positive limits and boundaries, he desperately needs this.



And, in the real world, people dont go around hitting each other. When they do, they go to jail as juveniles and adults. What makes it right as a mother to hit your baby?



Teach him by positive actions and words. Don't rule and dominate his world by fear and physical pain.

Elizabeth - posted on 01/25/2012

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so, you're hitting your child so he won't physically attack you? Maybe think about that for a minute.

Stacey - posted on 01/24/2012

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I am trained to teach his age and truthfully most of what I deal with out of my boys is aggressive behaviors. The moms that are telling to to get down on his level and talk him through his emotions are exactly right. He doesn't have the words to tell you how he feels, by getting down on his level you are showing him not only are you serious but that you care enough to give him your undivided attention. In my classroom we do not under any circumstances have "time out" at that age they just don't understand it. You might try giving him the words to say how he feels. Next time he acts out hold his arms firmly but gently, get on his level and say " I know your mad because of ...., but you can't choke mommy.When people get mad we use our words. Can you say I'm mad because if ....." this gives him a life long tool to help deal with intense emotions. Just keep in mind if you expect him to use his words you have to too. (I know it's hard at times, I have a little girl that can throw some pretty good tantrums lol) And for the people that say children can inherit bad behavior, shame on you. Children learn behavior based on their surroundings.It scares me to think that people have that mindset with children this young.

Anyway it sounds like you are trying your best to be an awesome mommy, Keep it up!

Krista - posted on 01/24/2012

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Thanks for the update, Brandi -- it sounds like you're handling this perfectly! keep it up!



And I agree with Kate. It is ludicrous to think that a baby is consciously manipulative from birth. Ugh.

Kate CP - posted on 01/24/2012

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Good God almighty the things I'm reading in this thread are astounding.



First off, "whooping his ass" won't help him deal with his anger, Nicole.



Secondly, Doris, children are not born manipulative little turds trying to get their way. THEY ARE BABIES. They can't talk or reason or understand anything except crying equals mommy helps me. It is a known fact that children are not born knowing how to get attention...they are born knowing that crying is their only means of communication. Jeebus, no wonder we have such warped children growing up these days. People think they're little monsters from birth who need to be beaten and ignored. God, that makes me sad.



Anyway. Brandi, your update has lifted my heart and my spirits! I'm happy to hear he's learning to communicate with you and you with him. Keep it up, Mom, you're doing awesome! :)

Theresa - posted on 01/24/2012

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We don't do Spongebob in my house. I found out my niece & nephew let my 3 year old watch it just once, and I put a stop to it. Listen, I know he was conceived in rape, and there is a chance he could have gotten a temper from the sperm donor (he's not a father), but I don't think you can inherit an urge to kill or hurt people. That's bizarre. It might help to take him to a counselor since it seems like he has a lot of rage. I think the people saying not to spank him might have a point. I'm for controlled spanking, but it sounds like it's going to backfire in this little boy's case. It might insite him to even more rage. It sounds like finding him a safe outlet to vent his anger might help. Maybe one of those punching bags that pop back up or something. Please consider taking him to a therapist. God bless you for keeping him and not just aborting him. You sound like a wonderful person trying to do the best you can. You are in my prayers.

Doris - posted on 01/24/2012

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What you did was right just keep putting him back till he finally realizes that he is wrong and for that doctor to tell you that someone should take a look at his practice. Start by taking things away from him also !!! But first and farmost you were right in doing what you did. I'd of did the same thing I 'd of kept him there till he finally realize no means no!!!! You say he is three they understand let me tell you children know from the day they are born how to get your attension ! It is a know fact if you read up on it!!!! Like I said everytime he does something take something of his or place him in the corner and make him realize why he is going there eventually he will get tired of being in a corner and not being able to have his toys. I would start now with it don't wait till he is 6 or 7 years old then it's too late !!!!

Brandi - posted on 01/24/2012

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I would like to thank you all for your opinions. I don't have parents to go to & I don't have friends that I could ask. Majority of my "friends" don't have children so it's really just my son & myself. I bought a book before asking this question, about Strong Willed Children & going through the steps has helped a lot with his aggression and his attitude!!!



Thank you all again for all of your constructive criticism & interesting techniques.



Update: He tried to choke me again Monday afternoon & I held his arms to his side & waited for him to calm down. I talked with him and asked him where he was learning this. And his response was Spongebob. :( He told me he was sorry and was mad at me. He stomped off. He got mad today started to reach for my neck & stopped halfway... He looked at me and said sorry, I'm mad... I want my way. and walked off. Came back a couple minutes later, kissed me & told me he misses me when I'm at work.

Michelle - posted on 01/23/2012

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Spongebob is certainly a place he could have seen the choking. As echoed here, you need a consistent discipline. One time you spanked him, another time you did time out, then time out with spanking...discipline wise it is all over the map. Choose a form of discipline and stick to it.

For a child who tests limits it can be as much of a game to figure out if I do this today will I get a time out? A spanking? Talked to?....intermittent reinforcement is the most powerful motivator.

We've seen this in my daughter's school behavior, the teacher who was exasperated with her was the one who dealt out different punishments for the same infraction. One day she was warned, another she had detention, another they called mom, and it wasn't an escalation of one to the other, it varied constantly. That is a powerful misbehavior motivator for limit testing kids!

Connie - posted on 01/23/2012

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I would have to agree with LeeAnn. unfortunately there are most definitely traits and tendencies that are genetic. get professional help while he is still young and pray hard.

Nicole - posted on 01/23/2012

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Whoop his ass til he understands you mean business. Spare the rod, spoil the child. Don't let up bcuz it only gets worse if you do.

LeeAnn - posted on 01/23/2012

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I have raised two boys so far and am currently pregnant with my third. Im sorry that you feel my opinion is crazy Elfreida, but I have had alot of experience with behaviour and I raised my kids firmly and calmly without the need to hit, this mother is having difficulty and needs advice on dealing with him and i feel that this childs behaviour is rather extreme as far as 3 year olds go and seeking professional help for dealing with childrens behaviour may not be the worst idea considering the family history with this child.

LeeAnn - posted on 01/23/2012

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Maybe genetics is a factor in his behaviour, i would look into some form of counselling.

Heather - posted on 01/23/2012

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He must have picked it up in daycare or at his babysitter's house. I would change sitters. It sounds to me like someone else is doing these things to him, and that's why he is doing them to you.

Krista - posted on 01/23/2012

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You know, Brandi...even if YOU turned out fine, your kid is not you. You are not him. Different disciplinary methods affect people in different ways.



I'm with the other girls. If your child already HAS aggressive tendencies, spanking him is pretty much the worst thing you can possibly do. You need to teach him to express his anger and frustration in non-violent ways. He needs to know that it's okay for him to be angry with you, but it is NOT okay to hurt you or to threaten to hurt you. And that rule is a hell of a lot easier to enforce if you're not turning around and hurting him.

Brandi - posted on 01/23/2012

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It really freaked me out because I was raped and that is how he was conceived. I do believe in spankings. I was spanked as a child & I turned out just fine. My son only watches tv for an hour a day and that's 30 minutes of Umizoomie & 30 minutes of a movie *Like Shrek or some other Disney movie*. I've been doing a sticker chart & his reward for enough stickers for a week is to be able to watch a full movie in one sitting at a time (A disney movie of his choice *Usually Ratatouille or a Shrek*)

However, I did find out that his babysitter had allowed him to watch Spongebob & that has been stopped. (too much violence & too much adult humor)



Thank you all for your honest & valid responses!!!

Renee - posted on 01/21/2012

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Firm, fair, and consistant. Definitely continue to discipline him for this behavior. He is testing you bad right now. It might be that he needs to know you are paying attention to him if he is feeling insecure for some reason. Maybe pointing out to him how good it makes you feel and how proud you are when it does something right (more than normal) might help. Good luck and God bless.

Nikki - posted on 01/21/2012

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Well, firstly maybe look at doing some positive parenting courses to better equip you with some effective behaviour management skills.



Try to avoid any physical punishment, it's hard to communicate that he isn't allowed to hurt you, when it's perfectly fine for you to hurt him.



What is he watching on TV or seeing at home where he understands what killing means? Maybe restrict his TV viewing to child related shows.



At his age he wants a little bit of control, so rather than snatching things off him, as you did in the store. Talk to him and ask him to but the item back.



Time out doesn't generally work for aggressive boys, they sit there and stew on it, making them more frustrated than before. Maybe talk to him about the rules of the house, have a sticker chart for when he is good and try to encourage positive behaviours. I would remove toys for a day if he does the wrong thing.

Anna-marie - posted on 01/21/2012

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you're fault because you work??!!! thats a terrible thing to say.



i feel for you, i really do.

i dont really have any advice on that extreme level, but my boy had started to hit me, which is very embarrassing in public.

i am normally very calm, but at that point i was 8.5 months pregnant, in a queue on xmas eve!!!



i took him out the shop as fast as his legs could carry him and put him in the car, telling him he was having time out when we got home. when i got home, i put him there and told him why, ''you smacked mommy so you;'re now here for 2 mins'' then he did it again!!!

so i then said, '' you smack mommy once more and i will show you what its like, and he did!! so i smacked him.

(i'm not condoning my behaviour at all ) he whinced and whined for about 30 secs then nothing. i went back in after 2 mins, told him to say sorry and we carried on pplaying.. and guess what.. he has never done it again.



whatever you decide to do, just make sure you get down on his level, look him in the eyes, even if this means holding his head and telling him its unacceptable to do that to mommy, it hurts you and makes you sad.



i was always told to blame the behaviour, not the child

ie: holding mommy's throat hurts and makes me sad.

not

''thomas thats very naughty'' they need to know what they are doing and how it effects you.



like i say, i dont condone the smack i gave him, but in this case, for me.. it worked.



good luck xx

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