toddler anger issues, how to cope?

Shaina - posted on 11/07/2009 ( 4 moms have responded )

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Lexi ( just turned 3) has been having fits lately when she gets mad and screaming at people or swinging to hit people. These aren't terrible two tantrums, she's past that, She has valid reasons to be angry...I've been telling her its ok to be mad, but it's not ok to scream or hit people, so I'm trying to teach her healthier alternatives. the only thing I came up with though is hitting a pillow to "get the mad out" any one have any better suggestions or success stories in teaching their tots how to deal with anger?

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Jessica - posted on 11/08/2009

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You're doing the right things already by teaching her the right way to deal with anger. I think it's so important for parents to tell their children it's ok to be angry but not ok to hit, make sure she knows you understand her and that you are their to talk about any of her frustrations if she wants. I worked in a daycare with two and three year olds so I experienced this hands on daily, i have yet to experience it as a mom, every kid is different so I don't know if this will work for you but sometimes a child can be so angry or overwhelmed that they will push away anyone who wants to try and help so letting them have space is good too. If she's too upset and you think she needs some space, find a place where she can go to cool down and relax, not for "time out" purposes, just so she can be alone and regroup herself, maybe offer her something quiet to play with so she doesn't feel like you're punishing her, tell her when she's ready to talk or change the way she's acting then you'd like to talk or sit down and play with her for a little while if that would make her happy. This worked for a lot of kids. It's just very important to talk to them and find out what's making them so angry and to help them find a solution because a lot of times children want to calm down but they don't know how to.

Aryn - posted on 11/07/2009

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My son, who just turned 3, has been acting out in the same way when he gets angry. He never had any fits while he was 2, but as soon as he turned 3, it was a whole different ball game. The hitting and screaming doesn't work in this house either. He knows that, but its understandable that your anger can get the best of you. We all have moments where we wish we could just hit something. The one thing that I have found that works with my son is getting down to his level. If I raise my voice to get his attention, it sets him off more. So I squat down to his level, grab his arms so he can't swing at me, and I make him look at me. And as frustrated as you are with them, you can't show it. I calmly ask him to relax. Majority of the time as soon as I squat down, he calms down. We then talk about what made him upset. It gives him the opportunity to tell me in his toddler way of why he's mad and then while I have his attention, it gives me the perfect chance to explain to him that he doesn't need to scream, throw things, hit, etc. Another thing that works, is asking him if he needs a hug. He's getting better with that. I know it won't last long because he's a boy, but when he does get upset or sad, he will occasionally come to me and ask for a hug. It lets him know that no matter what, he can always come to me. I hope this helps! I definitely believe that the age of 3 is worse than 2 as far as tantrums!

Jessica - posted on 11/07/2009

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I work with kids as a behavior specialist consultant, and the one thing I have found when we let kids hit pillows etc, is that it really isn't teaching a "healthier way" to deal with anger, just redirecting it. It can still send the message that hitting is okay. I'm not saying that hitting a pillow is bad...just to watch it and make sure it doesn't backfire. Some other things you could try would be to ask her to use her words to tell you what she is feeling, you could see if she would draw a picture instead...I will admit these seem a little hokey, but they do work with some kids. If screaming is an issue, tell her that you cannot understand screaming and that when she is calm you will talk to her...kids really hate to be ignored...and will hopefully stem the screaming pretty quick. I hope this was a little bit helpful. Good Luck!

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well shaina i have a three year old boy who is the biggest boy in his class at school and does the same thing plus a little of that only child syndrome,,,,,,,so it makes it a lot worse. and believe it or not, we like to play fight with him, like wrestle on the floor, let him have some of those blow up boxing gloves to "punch" with and when he is all done and tired out from it, he feels alot better, but we also remind him he can only do that with mommy and daddy. he still does throw some tantrums at school or at some friends of ours houses, but they aren't as bad. and we just really try and keep the real violence to the home where he can be physical with us and know its ok in a playful manner. you know? because its supervised..... i hope that helps

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