Angry 3-year-old

Mary - posted on 03/30/2015 ( 2 moms have responded )

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This is my first post on this site so I'm hoping to just have someone be able to relate. My daughter is 3 1/2 years old and I'm having a lot of trouble controlling her anger. I feel like I've tried everything and I just can't figure out what my next step should be. Her father has a lot of anger issues. He's not in the picture but I'm hoping that it's not a hereditary issue. I'm also still trying to decide whether her actions are just normal toddler actions or if it's something I should consider looking further into. I've made an appointment with her doctor to discuss what's going on. I just am at my wits end and I'm not sure what to do anymore or how to react. I know my baby is a good girl she just has a really hard time showing it sometimes.

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Tina - posted on 03/30/2015

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What behaviors is she showing specifically? It's hard to know if it's normal toddler behavior or not without more details.

I know with my son a big part of dealing with his anger was trying to give him a way to express it calmly, so to use his words and asking going over what he should have done once he's calm again.

The best system with him is 'time-away' which is different than a time out. So if he was starting to freak out/yell I'd say you need to calm down or you're going to your room, and if he continued then I bring him to his room and say, when you've calmed down and are ready to talk you can leave.

Sometimes he'd scream more and try to leave the room, and I'd just bring him back, without speaking to him or giving attention (this is really important). I might say, you need to calm down before you can talk (or some such) if he needs a reminder but really not very much talking should happen. Once calm I'd say, you're here because ____, and can you please apologize? What could you do next time? (get an apology, assist with plans for next time if needed). You're really trying to prep her to deal with issues herself.

You should also go over calming techniques, such as deep breathing, counting to 10, talking about feelings, using words.

Also try to do things to alleviate tantrums and give her control over situations. So my son has a problem with transition times, instead of saying we have to go now, I try to prep him with we're going to do this in 5 min (or 10 even) then remind him at 3, then 1. Even if he starts yelling at the first reminder it doesn't matter because I can just walk away. It gives him time to process the fact that the situation is changing. I also don't do what I call 'nit-picking'. If I tell him his shoes are on the wrong feet and he refuses to change them I don't care. Let them be on the wrong feet, it really isn't important to me.

At toddler age you really don't know what's just toddler anger and if there's really an issue. My son was an AWFUL toddler, it wasn't if but when and how many tantrums a day he'd have. I have become quite a patient person and now that he's older, he does still have some troubles, but he's much better and learning to use his words and talking about issues than before. I'm also a lot better at seeing the signs to issues and being able to help him take a break before things get out of hand instead of a big blow up.

I hope some of this is helpful and if you want more specific advice talk about what type of issues she's having specifically.

Hope that's helpful!

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Mary - posted on 03/31/2015

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Thanks you Tina F. I have tried that method. I gave her ways to try and work it out herself like the counting breathing etc. That was the one that seemed to be working best so I was consistent with it and then it stopped. It seems like she is good for a couple weeks at a time and then I cannot even control her for the next couple weeks. She's yelling hitting screaming throwing things. She gets right in my face and screams at me. I am not one for spanking my child so I don't even know where the hitting came from. I'm at a loss for words sometimes. And it hurts being I know she is such a great kid. She's loving and sweet and caring and that's why it kills me because I know how amazing she is. It's like jekyl and Hyde.

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