Why is my 3 year old hitting me?

Kim - posted on 05/30/2014 ( 7 moms have responded )

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I don't understand his behavior lately. He has been stealing all sorts of candy and snacks, then he gets caught and throws a fit and tries to hit me constantly. He wants to slam doors and throw toys and I am not sure how to put an end to it. Then when he is happy I will try to play with him or something and out of nowhere another tantrum. My other 3 children are not like that I am not letting him get away with anything but I am not sure how to solve this issue. Help please

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Shay - posted on 06/03/2014

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I would start with adjusting the snacks and sweets he has access to because if he is at the point of sneaking to get it, something that is in it may be creating a comfort feel for him. It's just like us with chocolate, or some other comfort stuff (for me it's Haagen Dazs ice cream (lol)!) The problem is just that there are so many additives and ingredients we can't even pronounce let alone know what it is or what the effect on us is that we just have to be careful. That makes it extra hard for us as moms. Some foods/additives can be addicting and even though it never affected any of the other children, he may be just that one. For sure cravings and moods correlate.

Perhaps start a log and try to keep track of the tantrums and maybe you can pinpoint if it is over something specific or just a particular time of day. Maybe check with the pediatrician at the next visit and have them look over routine lab work just to make sure he is not deficient in anything (Vitamin D, Zinc, Iron, etc) that maybe his body is making up with the cravings for the snacks.

Too many of our little ones out there are being diagnosed early with labels (ADHD, etc). In some cases it is valid don't get me wrong - but seriously not in all children and nowadays teachers, doctors, etc are so fast to give behaviors a name without understanding that there may be other factors #1 and #2 some things are normal stages of life. So its great that you are being pro-active before it gets out of hand and before someone tries to slap a label on your little guy. What he is going through I think is a little normal at his age for age as far as tantrums, toddlers will try your patience to see if they can get there way.

Hopefully between the pediatrician and other moms here you can find some ways to understand why he's throwing the tantrums and turn it around before he is pre-school/kindergarten ready.

For the hitting I went through that with one of mines at that 3-4yr old stage and I used to constantly say "Use your words and not your hands - just tell me what you want (or how you feel), mommy's always listening". It passed in time. I hope this was at least somewhat helpful.

Erisreignssupreme - posted on 06/03/2014

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well listen candy and snacks will cause that kind of thing...its like a drug and you cant help having fits...so number one keep him away from the sugar. and when he gets emotional try to stay calm and just sit with him and let him express his emotions try to understand them by just connecting with them feeling them right along with him. its hard to understand how to help somone whos freaking out if we cant empathise and get into their shoes. a kid cant explain their emotions logically so you ahve to observe what is triggering his outbursts carefully. is it when he seaten sugar when hes tired when hes not getting what he wants.. is there something he needs to do place he wants to go that he cant express. sometimes they just want to go outside and move or change scene and the pent up frustrations build up so movement is great fo rgetting those emotions shifting..a good run around in the park. excersise is so good for that. i am presuming his like between one and six?

Mommabird - posted on 05/30/2014

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Im dealing with tantrums and attitude from my 4 yr old son also. Im pretty sure hes learning to do it from the 21 mth old boy that I babysit. That is exactly how the 21 mth old acts when told No, and not long after I started watching him is when my son started doing it. As long as you are attempting to correct the behavior consistently he will eventually get the point. Different parents believe in different methods but you could try time outs of 3 minutes(min=age), practice deep breaths with him til he calms down, or just give him a spat on the butt.(My mom used to lightly pop my mouth when I yelled, talked back or had screaming tantrums).

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Kim - posted on 06/08/2014

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Thank you guys for all your help. The candy is in my Schrank which is locked he takes advantage when his dad forgets to lock it properly. He usually just takes stuff in the mornings when everyone is asleep. I don't think the tantrums are because of the snacks, I have been watching and a lot of times I try to give him attention and he gets mad I am not sure the reason at all when his dad is home he is not like that really. Maybe he gets bored? I have bee pretty busy trying to do my school work and keeping up with housework and errands, bills. Typical stay at home mom stuff I just cant seem to balance it out and manage my time to do fun things with my kids. I feel awful because they are growing so fast and I don't think I am doing enough for them. It might be to me just one of those days. Anyway I am thinking its a phase and he will eventually grow out of it. He seems to be doing a lot better this week than he has been in many weeks before.
Thank you guys so much

Kim - posted on 06/02/2014

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I do that with my almost 8 year old son. I tell him that he is the role model and his brothers look up to him and look for him to show him how to act along with their dad but doesn't really help anymore

Mommabird - posted on 06/01/2014

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When my 4 yr old starts acting like the 21 mth old I just tell him "youre a big boy, hes still a baby so you have to show HIM how to be a big boy". Usually after I say that he gets in the mode of 'Im a big boy and Im going to teach him to be a big boy'. Makes him feel important that way. Haha

Kim - posted on 05/31/2014

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Thank you that is basically what I have been doing. I guess I just have to wait it out and continue telling him its not acceptable to hit anyone especially me. lol. He acts crazy when his friend comes over too. His friend is only 2 months older than him and he is not potie trained and cant talk in real words. So when he is here playing with my son my son acts like him he tries to not speak in words just baby talk, I correct it right away though.

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