Help! Speech delayed 3 yr old and tantrums!

Marissa - posted on 03/23/2012 ( 3 moms have responded )




I need help! My son Koltyn turned 3 in feb and right around his 3rd birthday I thought we finally had his tantrums and hitting under control thanks to time out but it's all back. In the beginning it all stemmed from his speech delay but he now knows many more words and it doesn't seem to be coming from frustration from not being understood. He hits me all day long and his new things are biting and scratching. I put him straight into timeout with no warning for violent behavior and now as soon as he gets on his timeout mat he screams "HELP ME MAMA!" and pokes himself in the eye while saying "Ow boo boo mama" and he clings to me and I have to pry him off. I can't leave him in timeout because he will hurt himself. It's breaking my heart and even his speech therapist is at a loss. He's a very sensitive kid and time out seems to really hurt his feeling but no discipline just isn't an option for the hitting, biting, and scratching. The behavior is so bad we had to delay putting him in preschool because we were all worried he'd be kidded out. Any advice I can get on this I will greatly appreciate! I love him and want him to be happy. So thank you in advance!


Sad and frustrated mommy


Jennifer - posted on 03/24/2012




I agree with checking with a doctor or dietician, some kids DO react very strongly, and negatively to common dyes and preservatives in a lot of foods. Beyond that, give him positive feedback when he is good (don't underestimate the importance of making a big deal of him when he does something good, all that positive attention feels great and makes them want to get more of the same!), and continue the time outs when he is hitting/biting/scratching. I would also suggest that you put the time out mat somewhere where it's not in your direct line of sight. Put him there, and walk away, do NOT come back until his time out is over, and THEN deal with whatever he did to himself. He's not going to cause himself serious damage and once he figures out that hurting him gets him nothing, he'll likely stop.

When my daughter was younger (she's 3.5 now) she liked to have MASSIVE tantrums. Kid would scream for nearly an hour solid! How she did it without going hoarse I will never be able to tell you but she did. I finally started just putting her in the bedroom with the admonishment that she could come out when she was done have a fit, and would close the door! It took about a week or so, but the tantrums, at least major ones like that, stopped because she realized she would get NO attention when she threw one instead of MORE.

Also, I don't know if you believe in physical punishment or not, but if he slaps/scratches you I would swat his hand, just once, and smack his mouth for the biting. I would do this hard enough to cause damage, but fast and just sharp enough to sting and get his attention followed by a sharp, "NO, We do NOT do X behaviour." After the time out he also recieves, sit down with him and ask him and ask him if he enjoyed getting in trouble and explain that what he did hurt you and that hurting someone will always get him into trouble. Once you're done talking, make sure he knows you're not mad at him anymore, give him a hug and then just let it go and move on to the next part of your day.

The other thing you could try would be to take something away from him. For example, my daughter is allowed to watch a movie on my computer every night before bed. She feels like such a big girl being allowed to use the computer! She was having a problem with being mean to the other kids at daycare so I told her, "If Miss C tells me you were being mean to the kids when I come to pick you up, you will lose your computer priviledges." I made her repeat the new rule back to me, that being mean meant no computer, a couple of times before I left, so she'd remember. She was mean that SAME day and was all kinds of upset when she didn't get to use the computer that night but I reminded her of the rules and that she hadn't followed it and asked her what I had told her would happen if she was mean. She looked down and muttered, "No computer." She'd been mean because she hadn't thought I'd actually stick to it! lol One night was all it took for her to get the point and we've not had a problem since. If your son has something he really enjoys and that you can take for awhile, then he might also get the point that actions have consequences!


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Heather - posted on 03/26/2012




I would have him checked out by a professional. It sounds to me like he needs to see someone else and that doing speech therapy isn't the only kind of therapy he needs. It is not ok for him to be hurting himself like that. BUT, he could also be doing it to get your attention because he knows that you will take him out of time out when he does it. I would try ignoring him when you put him in time out. Tell him that if he hurts himself why he is in time out, he can't have or do this or that when he is out.

Tina - posted on 03/24/2012




may be seeking attention if he hurts you or himself he gets attention. Maybe turn it around my rewarding him when he is good and the mild misbehaviour try to ignore. I really wouldn't know what to do about the bitting. Maybe find some ways to keep him occupied letting him paint and express himself in other ways or getting him active in what you're doing. Maybe talk to a doctor or dietician. Diet can have a big impact on kids behaviour certain preservatives can cause behavioural problems. Hope this helps.

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