3 year old with tantrum problem! please help

Denise - posted on 04/04/2012 ( 40 moms have responded )

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hey every one! im in desperate need for help with my 3 year old son...i just dont know how to deal with it anymore..he throws fists, screams, cries as if someone was hurting him and i cant control him! my daughter (5) never gave me this problem(just talks back, but i guess its normal for a 5 year old)....my son hits my daughter, hits me or whoever is in the house and just EXPLODES with anger and thinks he can get away with it. i live with my parents since his dad and i split 2 1/2 years ago, and my parents tend to spoil both of my kids...but Matias has just gotten TOO spoiled and i have NO CLUE what so ever as to how to get him to calm down when he's angry...i've tried time outs, talking to him, "convincing" him...and have gotten to the point of spanking him (-_-)...can someone PLEASE help me...im desperate =(

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Cyndi - posted on 04/06/2012

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A solution I used when my 5 children were young was immediately pick the child up and place them in their room. I did not yell, scream, or spank. When I set them down in their room, I would calmly tell them when they were done screaming they could come out and convey their feelings by talking to me. The first few times the screaming could last up to an hour and a half, but I ignored it and went about my business. When the screaming stopped, I would open their bedroom door and ask if they were finished and ready to talk to me about their needs. If they started screaming again, I would shut the door and repeat the process. Eventually, they would say they were finished and would then talk to me. After a few times, they figured it out. When a tantrum started, I would look at them and calmly ask, "Would you like to take some time sitting in your room?" The tantrum would immediately stop and conversation would take it's place. If violence toward other family members was also involved, I would tell them they needed to apologize to the person they hurt, but not until the crying stopped. I use this same method for my grand children and it works like a charm. This works because I do not show a negative reaction and I am always willing and ready to listen when they are ready to talk to me.

Jessica - posted on 04/06/2012

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When my daughter was going through that phase, I found something she really liked, (shoes) and took a pair of them away from her. That killed her!! And if she didn't throw anymore fits for 3 days, she could earn them back. It's disciplining for bad behavior, a

nd rewarding for good behavior all at the same time. It worked for us.

Debra - posted on 04/06/2012

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I used to tell my kids, "go ahead, kick harder... you're not kicking hard enough... hit the floor harder [when they were pounding their fists on the floor] ... scream a little louder... I can't hear you" etc. It used to either make them stop & listen or madder but either way, they stopped hitting, kicking & screaming because they didn't want to do what I told them to do. When they stopped, I would say something to the effect of, "You don't need to act that way & I don't need to listen to it." I also would ignore some of them or go in another room. It really bothered my daughter if I would say something like, "Fine, I don't need to listen to that but when you are quieter, I will talk to you." She would usually settle down really quickly because she hated it when she thought I was not going to talk to her. I really had very few problems with tantrums because I think my kids figured out that I was just as stubborn as they were! Good luck! Debra

Mary - posted on 04/06/2012

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I have a 3 year old daughter and for the most part she is very well behaved but if she gets overtired we're all in trouble. She too would do the screaming and pounding on her door non stop till I thought she was going to throw up. I have spanked her (not something I want to do) but she doesn't seem phased by it. I recently discovered something that works when she's having one of these meltdowns.

We will go to a quiet room (usually her's) I'll sit on the floor and put her on the floor between my legs. I then cross her arms and hold them with my hands on her wrist and cross my legs over hers, and we sit there until she calms down and we can discuss the problem. She then has to take a regular time out (3 minutes) and apologize to everyone involved.

She doesn't like it (and neither will you) but it serves 2 purposes. One it prevents her from hurting me or herself and two, it forces her to take a minute to breath and calm down. I was taught this by my mom who works at a school for troubled boys and this is how they have to handle behavioral issues. I will say that it does work, by the time she is done she is calmer and more affectionate. This is now my go to way of ending a meltdown.

I hope this works for you and you can find peace with your little boy. I recommend that if there are other adults in the home that you teach them how to do this, so they can all handle a meltdown.

April - posted on 04/06/2012

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Both my oldest kids are 3 and 4. I know that the younger one models and does what the older one does. It is important to get both of them doing the same thing early on. The earlier the better to deal with problems in the future. Another thing I've noticed is that kids like games. Make EVERYTHING fun and more game-like. You you will almost never lose. Good luck. :)

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Brenda - posted on 04/25/2012

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I have used the mimicking trick with all 3 of my boys and I absolutely love how quickly a tantrum will end. By doing this you are drawing the attention from whatever reason they are throwing the tantrum to you. All 3 of my boys would end up laughing at me instead of continuing. After the tantrum stops I would then explain to them that the behavior they just saw me do is what everyone else sees. The explanation and understanding only works for older kids because 3 year olds don't always understand this kind of stuff.

Rachelle - posted on 04/15/2012

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Don't ignore him. If he is acting out that bad he is needing something. My three year old does the same thing. I go to a quiter part of the house away from his siblings, but where I can still see them get down to his level and talk to him. As an example of a dialogue I say I know you are upset so if we sit here and you calm down and tell me what's wrong I can help you. Or sometimes I just hold him and hug him and try reassuring him. The tantrums can be frustrating but it's their way of communicating. Also if he has tantrums when you say no try using a different phrase like you can't slap so and so cause it hurts them and makes them sad, if he wants an object or food item he isn't allowed to play with/eat tell him maybe we can eat/play th that later. You also mention that your parents spoil your child talk to them about your concerns of your child's behavior and to back you up with your parenting rules/ strategy if you haven't already done that.

Tabitha - posted on 04/12/2012

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I'm going to share something I read about and thought sounded absolutely crazy until I tried it. Understanding that a three year old can't communicate with the world the same way adults do, know that he's trying desperately, and is just as frustrated as you are. So, when he starts to whine or scream, mimic him. I tried this in private first, of course, but it was amazing how quickly the tantrum stopped right there and didn't escalate. And, frankly, I find it just as funny as my boys do.

Donna - posted on 04/11/2012

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He's having a difficult time dealing with you & his father separating. But it also sounds like he's acting out the only way he knows how. I would take him to the doctor to make sure there's nothing medically wrong with him. If not then look into getting him help to deal with his anger. If not it's going to get worse. I would also sit down with my parents & tell them you know that they love the children but they are making matters worse by not following the rules that you have set for them & by spoiling them. When you need to discipline him he's rebelling & not in a good way.

Good luck & please let us know how this works out.

Helaine - posted on 04/09/2012

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first, give him a chore chart to earn time withthe pr you or things, tell your mom and dad he is not to receive any other rewards unless he has earned it. let them purchase the prize, keep the communication open and the chore chart handy with a heavy plastic cover that he can not rip. Keep communication open with your parents and give them plenty of thanx when they follow through. Good luck- it willl take 3 weeks before you see a small change.

Denise - posted on 04/09/2012

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thanks everybody for your advice!! im gonna try a few of your opinions for some time and see how they each turn out..!! i hope one of them works..or ill deffinately have to find professional help! .......... :( ..like i said, my daughter never gave me such a problem when she was younger..i mean she'd cry..but NEVER like my son does...

thanks again everyone!

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I agree that you need to ignore the child and never react so that he/she finally realizes that this behaviour is getting no reaction from you. The worst thing you can do is let him/her know that it bothers you. Punishing the child will show him/her that their behaviour is bothering you. Don't punish, just ignore. Hopefully that will eventually put an end to it.



However if this doesn't work and the behaviour remains, then no, I don't agree that this is a passing phase. This needs to be nipped in the bud or it can turn into your child's permanent personality and that's something you don't want. Bad habits and bad behaviour depending on the severity of the problem can remain permanent if not immediately attended to. Don't let this pass.



As for grandparents, ya, i completely understand. I have a very dominating mom who thinks she knows everything and completely ignores what i think. I agree, to a certain point you need to try and lay down the law with your parents. If possible, moving out of their home would be a good start.

Brenda - posted on 04/07/2012

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A few things I learned with my oldest son, over 20 years ago, was that you have to lay down the law with other people involved with your kids the fact that you don't want them spoiled. When my son started having tantrums I would walk away. Show him NO attention, that's one of the things they are looking for when having a tantrum. Another thing I would do is throw my own tantrum (imitating whatever he was doing) to draw attention away from whatever reason he was having the tantrum. When he got older I would take away favorite toys and sit him in his room (with no toys to play with) and tell him when he's finished he could come out. The point is, show them you are not interested in the tantrum. I used all of these examples with my two oldest boys and it works wonders. Good luck.

Denise - posted on 04/07/2012

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It is very important to keep your cool and be very consistent with timeouts. When he hits someone someone he needs to be placed on timeout. Let him scream all he wants and show him that it doesn't bother you and of course let him know why he's on timeout.

Courtney - posted on 04/07/2012

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Ok So I was in the same position. My son turned 3 in January and I had no answers. It was as if a switch went off and there was no turning back. Nothing triggered it, just happened. With much controversy and research, I finally made an appt with the state to have him evaluated. Every state offers a free in depth evaluation. In Colorado it is called "child find", in other states I have hears"early intervention". Regardless... Low and behold he needed some speech and occupational therapy.

With the therapy, Joey and I are learning many ways to cope and redirect his anger and frustration.

I was so sad knowing that I myself could not calm my own child, now I know some simple ways to deal with his outbursts.

I hope this helps and that you find some coping mechanisms in the near future.

Respectfully,

Courtney Louie

Nikki - posted on 04/07/2012

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My nephew was kinda like that when he was younger. What my mom used to do was literally hold him down with all she had until he settled down and then would talk to him about why he threw a fit. When my two and a half year old throws fits (not quite like your son but I can see her doing just that as she gets older if she takes after me) is I send her to her room until she calms down, or just tell her why she was sent there in the first place while she is crying. Now I know how you feel about grandparents not helping. My father I law lives with us and is sometimes not a big help. You need to sit your parents and talk to them about it. Tell them that it's one thing if you weren't living with them and they spoil the kids and another when they do and they need to help discipline when needed. You are only one person and you need their help sometimes. They need to learn how to say no to the kids and help with setting up boundaries and consequences. I hope that some thin I said may be of some help to you if not then good luck with what you are going through.

Heather - posted on 04/07/2012

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Have you tried placing him in a safe environment (like his room) with perhaps a gate that he can't get out of the room and just leaving him there. If you have, then disregard this, but I have a 6 year old step-son and he still has his moments of throwing a tantrum. The only thing that has ever worked with him is forcing him to go to his room where there was no audience for him to continue the tantrum for and nothing could continue to feed it. It's weird but sometimes we feed the tantrum simply by trying to calm it down. Once in his room, he should eventually (it may take a few minutes of screaming and stomping and possibly throwing toys or worse) but it should stop if no one talks to him or he can't see anyone. In addition, if he's alone, he can't harm anyone else. This was the only thing that worked for us and continues to work to this day. Hope things get better.

Rebecca - posted on 04/07/2012

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What worked for us was simple... Step one hands on tummy step two deep breathing step three help them identify their feelings ( anger, sad frustrated etc) . Kids throw tantrums because their emotional intellegence is not developed and they have a hard time expressing and identifying their feelings. It can be overwhelming to feel extreme emotion and not know how to properly address it and vocalise it. The first few times you try the hands on tummy chances are you will have to walk him through the steps, physically place hos hands on his tummy, show him how to deep breath. When he gains emptional intellegence alot of violent behaviour will stop on its own. People think kids are bad or spoiled when in reality they need to be taught how to properly handle their emotions. Remember to model the way you want him to behave by remaining calm, talking slowly and using a soothing voice.

Taylor - posted on 04/07/2012

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My son has fits like this, and I understand that timeout is sometimes not an option when the behavior is that destructive. My method is to "hold" my 3 yo. When he has a fit like this I take him into my arms firmly enough to keep him still but not enough to hurt him. Sometimes when he starts kicking I even wrap my legs around his. I repeat, "You cannot control yourself right now, so mommy is going to hold you until you get control." it's hard. It may take a long time at first, but eventually he will get the hang of it and calm down quickly. When my son finally stops thrashing and screaming, I calmly count down from 5, then hugs and kisses and we move on!



I got this method from a "parenting the difficult child" website. Wish I had the link for you! I'm sure you can Google it :)

Jennifer - posted on 04/07/2012

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Make sure that his time out is in a chair and in and in the same spot, every time he has a time out, I have a 2 1/2 year old I am trying to having some issues also, I am having some sucess at it, but their are times that I have to calm her down because I am afraid that she is going to get herself sick from crying when she has her melt downs !

Sally - posted on 04/07/2012

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at this age you cannot reason with him - what u need to do is figure out the trigger to the behaviour. First tho, lay down the law with your parents, I know they love him, but enabling this type of bahaviour is not helping. Kids crave structure and control and he is out of control and sometimes they need help getting a handle on it. You know your kid best, when you see him start to lose it, remove him from the situation. Make him do a few jumping jacks or just put his arms over his head, this relieves stress in the body, I know it sounds wierd, but it really works for pent up anger/stress. He can then have his time out in a corner or a naughty chair in your sight for 3 mins/his age calmly. This will take some work. Get an egg timer he can watch. Don't reward his behaviour at all. See, kids at this age are looking for attention and they can't differentiate between positive or negative attention all they see is "oh look I have mom/grandma/grandpa's attention all to myself' and they have won. I am hoping its a phase, but you might want to examine his diet to see if things like hfcs,dyes affect him they can make a kid crazy they are in things like juice boxes and snacks and lots of processed foods. A simple diet change might help. Talk to your pediatrician too, they can be an awesome source.

I have seen/heard and helped in so many situations in my 22 years as a Nanny and now as a Mom. Good luck to you! Love your child, take a deep breath, this will pass with patience and perseverence :)

Margaret - posted on 04/07/2012

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For my son this behaviour completely disappeared and I got a beautiful cooperative happy son when I worked out the food he was intolerant to and removed them from his diet. I relaced them with a very nutritious diet full of vitamins and active enzymes. That meant lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. He (and the rest of the family) changed to a gluten and dairy free diet. We ate some meat but not beef (because that comes from a dairy herd and should be removed from the diet when dairy is removed.) Chiropractic manipulation helped so that he did have an problem food he didn't react as badly and I used Evening Primrose Oil that I rubbed into the front of his wrist if he went feral after eating a problem food. He was so good when he ate gluten free and dairy free that you would think there was no way he would misbehave so occassionally we tested out foods at parties etc. He always reacted badly but the effect may not be seen for a couple of days. Generally dairy products take 2 days to show an effect. Children seem fine after they eat the food then 2 days later you get a tantrum or bad headache or angry aggressive mood. Artificial colours and flavours chocolate and oranges are usually a problem too. Some energy healers using Reiki Kinesiokogy etc can also help as can homeopathy. Zinc is important and multivitamins omega3s etc can help. Search the internet for lots of information on this too. This can also apply to adults and generally all members of the family will benefit from such a diet change if one member of the family does. Its much better if everyone eats the same way its much easier for everyone and you'll be better able to monitir yourchild and feel how they feel when their diet is changed. Usually they are addicted to the foods causing the problems of they hate them and are forced to eat them because they are "good" for them. Contrary to everyday belief eating dairy fre is a very healthy option for everyone. When the diet is right for their body they will not get sick at all. That's what we found.

Patricia - posted on 04/07/2012

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yeah i agree we let it go thinking it was us not doing our jobs right then when the school told us get him check or we would get in trouble for neglect well we did it and the meds do help some but it has to be followed my alot of care and direction too

Patricia - posted on 04/07/2012

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well i have the same problem lay down the law now make your family respect you and do what you want not give in or sneak them things when you say no i know this because i have delt with it for 9 years and still dealing with it my grama constantly goes against everything we try to enforce and we try to teach my son not to throw tantrums and say nasty things and talk back and try to redirect him PLEASE i stress get them under control now granted my son does have some mental issues part was caused by the unstable life and lack of disapline due to interferance and part i dont understand maybe genes or something but he has adha odd and possabley aspergers and he has a bladder problem to but part of the bladder problem is physical and part is mental sometimes he can control it and sometimes he does have a accedent he is on several medications for his bladder problem adhd odd mood stablizers sleeping pills allergy pills psychontic meds he goes to therapy once a week but if you let the behavior progress and let others interfer to long and not stop it you may be like me with a son who is 9 had fits of anger meaness physical abuse wont listen pees his pants all day has to have every underwear and pants clean everyday and wears a adult diaper to bed and now the teachers want him to at school cause he pees and it makes him stink none of the other kids want to play with him and make fun of him he has no friends couldny go to a friends if he had one cause he would ruen there funiture so please get it under control while you can it will get worse and some counsling might not hurt exspecially since you say the father is missing i know how things like that effect them you think oh there to young but you never know i know my son is going through alot of that we lost alot last year we were living with my mom her house got forclosed one so we had to move back to gramas all of us were we are back in the same boat were she talks bad about what we do gives him what he wants and goes against what we say and do which is why i left from living here to go to my moms also my husband left he had to he had anger issues and it got way to out of control so he was made to leave so that effected him my sons dog died and my brother just suddenly stop talking to us diappeared we dont even know were he is if hes ok he abandoned is dog all of us and my son was close to him my sisters husband up and just left and my son was close to him and then all the bullying at school well just catch it now while you can be strong be firm an stick with what you say if you say no tv to day well then stick to it or it wont work ok take care hope i helped

Teena - posted on 04/06/2012

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Are you sure it's naughty behavior and not an underlying issue? It pays to get it checked, keep a journal for two weeks record exactly what he does then rake it to your doctor and as for help my son was similar and before we went down the naughty boy road I had him assessed just in case turned out he is Mild Aspergers so glad I insisted on checking first mow he's getting help n so are we and it's been a much better relationship now, not to say there's anything with your son but it's better to check just incase, hope this helps you a little I know what it's like to be at your wits end and nobody listening to you or brushing u off, keep smiling it will get better :) Happy Easter

Dawn - posted on 04/06/2012

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Uggg...I've gone through that 4 times over! 1st off, you need to sit down w/ your parents & tell them what you expect of them. Spoiling is definitely a big part of it! As for his tantrums. Leave him be, & COMPLETELY ignore him. All he wants is for you to react. If he starts throwing things or hurting people....It's corner time! Explain to him why he's having a time out. (Make it short & simple) Set the timer to his age. (3min's) While in the corner DO NOT look or respond to him, no matter what he say's. If he runs out, don't say a word. Just put him back & start the timer over. Once he's finished, give him a hug & tell him you love him. (: As he gets older you should expect an apology. But for now, the corner is torture enough. lol! It's not gonna be easy & you may feel like crying at times. But I gaurantee, it works! ; ]

Thouraya - posted on 04/06/2012

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Ignore, and give positive reinforcement (verbal, hugs, edibles, go to the park) when he is quite and following your instructions, if you give attention as they are screaming you are reinforcing that behavior as they got your attention.

take a book and start reading do not give any eye contact (but keep watching if they are ok) other than that ignore, DO NOT SCREAM or give them ANY kind of reinforcements (bribes ) to stop when they are screaming cause they will know if I want (chocolate) mmm ya just scream and cry !!! those little people are smart and learn quickly

you need to be patient this may take some time he might scream louder and louder but the moment you give him attention next time he will start screaming at the level you paid him attention he “knows” that at that level of screaming my mom paid attention !!

if you spank him it might work once but gradually they will get used to it and he will do the same to his sister or other kids (children imitate how their parents behave) !!

your parents should respect the way you would like to raise your kids and be on board if not then take your kid to his room and just leave him there (make sure there is nothing he can get access to and break and hurt himself) when he is quite he can leave the room (timeout).

hope those tips help

he needs to know you are the one in control not him !!!

Natalie - posted on 04/06/2012

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I would put him in his room and have home take a time out. He is 3 so the time out would be for 3 minutes. When the time out is over and he is calmed down, make sure he knows why he had to do a time out and have him apologize for whatever negative behavior he did. Also have a special pillow set aside for him to use as a punching pillow. Tell him if he gets angry he can punch or hit that without hurting himself or others.

Heather - posted on 04/06/2012

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He will continue to have them if he sees that they are working for him. It depends on the kind of personality your son has as to how to deal with these tantrums. I have dealt with all kinds of tantrums as a daycare teacher, so not every method works for every child, but there are a few that are tried and true and I would be happy to discuss them with you. message me on facebook if you like.

Camber - posted on 04/06/2012

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I have a 3 1/2 year old son and went through that stage, all I would do was put him in his room on a stair and shut the door. He would cry and throw his fit and when he was done crying I would give it another minute or so and go in and explain he can't act like that and give him a hug. That phase only lasted maybe a few weeks and he figured it out. Good luck!

Jenn - posted on 04/06/2012

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I have started putting my 2.5 year old in his room when he has tantrums. We leave the door open so he does not feel completely shut out, but we ignore him completely too. He will scream and bite his arm and yell "ow" and I ignore all of it. I let this go on for a few minutes then I re-enter the room and remind him that when he is calmed down he may come out of his room and play with his younger brother and myself. It may take me a few trips down the hall and a few reminders about calming down but eventually (or should I say "finally") he will calm down. Good luck and I hope this helps, if only a little bit :)

April - posted on 04/06/2012

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Again, I stress to start doing things with them and make EVERYTHING fun. I even make cleaning fun for my kids. With a two year old a lot of rewards and praising is key. Unfortunately the terrible twos are here for you and may stay until she is four but just have patience and never let her over rule YOU! Good luck! :)

Yaneli - posted on 04/06/2012

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i am stress with my 2 yr old she has thos tantrums everywhere where she throws her self in th floor its really bad.

Jeanette - posted on 04/06/2012

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I live with my mom, so I have some understanding about the grandparent interferring, both by spoiling and disciplining. I had to "lay down the law" so to speak and put up boundaries. Everyone needs to be on the same page. As for the fits, I hope someone has some good advice, as i have a 3 yr old and 1 yr old and both have fits.

April - posted on 04/06/2012

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I think all this stems from you and your husband splitting. I think continuing to do what you are doing by talking to him and keeping the communication lines open is key. I also think that if possible you should make a "Mathias and Mommy day" just you two. He will feel that you love him all by himself. Maybe some counseling is in order too.

In my house we do time outs and spanking at times as needed. It is also important that your parents are on the same page as you. By this I mean that if you keep something from Mathias like if you do not approve of something, do not let your parents give it to him. i.e. He asks for a snack and you say NO and then he goes to your parents and gets it.

I hope I have given you some good advice. :)

Michelle - posted on 04/06/2012

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I remember my now 4 1/2 year old pulling an tantrum.. i told him that he was naughty and wasn't talking to him again until he could say sorry and calm down... he now packs a tantrum but when i say.. "im not listening" he has a small think about it and stops.. i knows its hard but ignore him he wants the attention.. and when hes doing the tantrum its only to get u to notice him! give him random hugs and say i love u.. trust me... when they have bad days after that u will notice u haven't said i love u or hugged him and when u do they are so chuffed they forget about why they were grumpy..



good luck....

Tracy Kirkland - posted on 04/06/2012

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just know that it is just a phase and he will outgrow it. living with other people that spoil your kids ( i have been there too ) makes things really difficult. what worked with my kids was to just put them in their room and basically ignore them ( just make sure they are safe ) and eventually when he doesn't get a reaction from you he will give up on his own. I hope this helps. I do have some other suggestions if you would like them. You can email me at Tracy.vigil@yahoo.com





Much luck and patience to you!!!

Chasa - posted on 04/06/2012

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time outs and ignore them!!! if you make a big deal they freak more! i would put my daughter in her crib and wait till she relaxed...in your case his room....my daughter would throw herself on the floor and scream at the top of her lungs like she was gettting hurt badly and it was usually over nothing, shed also spit when she was mad and hit...i did the time out thing and just ignore it when it happens and say i dont like that behaviour ill talk to you when you calm down....and shes 2.now and almso out of them! so i hope by 3 she will be done with them lol good luck

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