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Old 08-05-2008, 02:24 PM
 
Location: Stallings, NC
124 posts, read 522,896 times
Reputation: 67

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Hi - we're having a problem w/our 3 year old that is clearly directed at me. At school and social events he's a very respectful child. At home however, if I ask him to do something or say no to one of his requests (like a snack before dinner), he reacts with aggression toward me. He throws anything and everything in sight (his toys, dining room chairs, tips coffee tables, you name it). We use the time out method but a 3 minute time out could go on for hours because he will not stay on the time out chair. When he gets off of it and I pick him up to put him back on it, he will spit, bite, kick, pinch and hit me. We give him a lot of opportunities to make his own choices because we know he's struggling w/his independence. But, safety always comes first and I reserve the no answer for those type of things. We've taken the toys away that he's thrown, he could care less. The only thing I can think of at this point is to remove the one thing that he does care about and that is being with me. Would it be right to tell him that he's not allowed to hit mommy or throw things and if he chooses to do those things that mommy will need to go out for a while and then come back 1/2 hour later? Anyone else have these issues? How have you handled them?
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Old 08-05-2008, 02:42 PM
 
Location: Dallas TX
14,298 posts, read 20,550,720 times
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We have been lucky enough that neither of our children acted out with aggression. My GF's daughter did, and I can tell you she was very consistent doing exactly what you are doing. It took awhile before her daughter grew out of it...good luck.
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Old 08-05-2008, 03:20 PM
 
Location: South FL
9,444 posts, read 14,986,181 times
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I couldn't read and not respond. I just want to say first of all, that it seems that you are doing an amazing job. Your family is beautiful by the way and your son is adorable!!! It is a challenge to be a mother of a 3 year old spirited boy, I have one myself, nobody prepares you for it.

Being aggressive is common for boys that age. I think most boys are still not that verbal, but their minds run thousands of miles per hour and they think more then they can say. Unfortunately a lot of the times, even the most verbal boys cannot express themselves well enough and it turns into agression. When he is agressive, try to verbalize his feelings by saying: "I know you are angry, frustrated, mad..." Help me learn to use his words rather then his fists.
Please do not take personally that he is well-behaved in public and not at home. Toddlers are notorious to be at their worst with the people they are closest too.

One of the things that I find helpful is to find the root of the aggression, the underlying reasons. Is my son overtired? Hungry? Did he have just a little too much sugar today? Allergies could be a big trigger, it could turn a child into a monster.
Perhaps you can try a new time-out approach. Instead off the chair, perhaps you can create a "time-in/peace corner". You put him there when he is agressive and stay with him there, stay calm (I know it's hard) and just tell him he will have to stay there WITH YOU until he comes down. Keep his hands down and get a tight grip on him so he can't hit you. I found with my son, that there is just something about the chair that makes him feel very isolated and he won't come down there, he will keep running away. He does much better in the "time-in corner".
Also, you totally do not deserve being hit/kicked and punched. It is definitely "okay" to let him know that when his agression gets bad, you will isolate yourself from him and walk away leaving him in the safe place. He will probably scream, but you need to come back every few minutes and repeat that mommy does not like being hit, mommy feels hurt and upset and she won't be around that. Keep repeating that you still love him, but you won't allow him to hit you.
Yes, consistency is very important. What's more important is for him to consistently know that even when he is at his worst, you still there for him.

Are you a stay-home mom or working mom?
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Old 08-05-2008, 03:51 PM
 
1,156 posts, read 3,229,798 times
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When my son was younger he had similar behavior to what you are describing. He was was well behaved at preschool such, but at home he could be a terror.

There were a couple things factoring in with our situation:

He has a fairly significant speech delay, and one of the effects it had on him as a toddler was that he expressed himself physically/nonverbally when we couldn't understand him. This could take the form of grabbing, pushing, tantrums from frustration...

We have learned that he needs routines and likes to know what's going on ahead of time. This was a big challenge for me because I'm a fly-by-the-seat-my-pants type of gal. Having routines helps him manage his moods and enjoy things. Also as Max's mamma said - hunger and fatigue can really intensify situations.

Knowing the rewards and consequences for his actions ahead of time is a big deterrent for bad behavior and incentive for good behavior.

I personally understand what you're asking about a mom-time-out, but I don't like the sound of it. I think that will alienate your son and make it harder for him to develop compassion and empathy. I'm not an expert on any of this, just going with a gut reaction.

Good luck to you, my advice is be consistent and firm and loving - But Do Not Negotiate!
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Old 08-05-2008, 05:20 PM
 
Location: Stallings, NC
124 posts, read 522,896 times
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Thanks to each of your for your input. I am a full time everything...mom, wife, career and it is hard but I would give everything up to be a full time mom if i could financially afford to. Kenny's verbal skills are actually far advanced for a three year old which can be a good or bad thing! I agree consistency is key and we have been consistent w/our approach for the past few months; still no improvement. I don't want my son to feel isolated from me but at the same time he needs to understand that I will not allow him to physically abuse me any longer. He does not do these things to daddy; only to me. I have had a very close bond w/him since day one; I think the other thing that makes this hard is that he is an only child - he doesn't have a brother or sister to argue with, play with, etc....I talked w/his teacher today and she lent us a couple of books we'll start reading at bed time about feelings, hands are not for hitting, words are not for hurting, etc. One day at a time, but I do think I will try the leave the house for 15 minutes next time; what I'm afraid of is that he will then start this behavior towards daddy. I guess we'll just have to try it and see. I've also made an appointment w/the pediatrician to discuss w/him as well. Thank you so much.
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Old 08-05-2008, 07:24 PM
 
1,156 posts, read 3,229,798 times
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Didn't mean to suggest your son had the same issues - just giving some context.
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Old 08-05-2008, 07:34 PM
 
Location: Stallings, NC
124 posts, read 522,896 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdc3217 View Post
Didn't mean to suggest your son had the same issues - just giving some context.

No offense taken whatsoever. Many three years olds are still learning verbal skills, I just wanted to point out that he can speak, too well. LOL! Tonight was a relatively good night; good enough I didn't have to leave the house....Peace today; tomorrow's another day. I appreciate your insight.
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Old 08-05-2008, 11:42 PM
 
2,542 posts, read 5,821,348 times
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Make sure his father takes control of the situation when he is around. Daddy is the person he will eventually look toward and emmulate to become a man, especially in how to treat a woman. Although it is too early for him to really start emmulating dad, having your husband be stern with him could help.
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Old 08-06-2008, 08:16 AM
 
Location: Duncan, OK
2,919 posts, read 5,984,799 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KennysMom View Post
Hi - we're having a problem w/our 3 year old that is clearly directed at me. At school and social events he's a very respectful child. .... Anyone else have these issues? How have you handled them?
Oh yes... With us, it was our Daughter. Beautiful, petite, intelligent, articulate little TERROR! From the time she was born until she started school every day was a power struggle. If she wanted to do something she WOULD do it, regardless of ANY kind of punishment! I never gave in, and I never allowed her to strike me but she would constantly abuse her older brother, have screaming fits that would nearly shatter the glass in her room, and throw things hard enough to make dents in the walls.

This was all at HOME...in public she was a different child. When she started Kindergarten at 4 1/2 I dreaded the first meeting with her teacher...

Well, her Teacher informed me that OUR Daughter was the MOST helpful and SWEET child she had in her classroom! I was (for the most part) speechless... I did ask her several times if she was SURE she was talking about our Daughter...

When we got to the car I asked my Daughter... "WHY are you such a sweetie at school and not at home?" Her answer? "Because I save all the rotten for you." (I'm thinking "Wha??? ) I asked her WHY do you do that???

She says very plainly "Because YOU love me." At that point I was totally speechless... 4 1/2 years of butting heads with this child, pulling my hair out, and wondering if she was going to be a blight on society... And all because she had a headstrong nature but knew all along that she was loved unconditionally and no matter WHAT she did, that would never change.

I never made the mistake of underestimating her "perception" again!

She is 20 years old now and that headstrong nature and tenacity has served her well.
She has a Daughter of her own, and she is a great little Momma. (I get GREAT pleasure out of hearing her tell HER 1 yr old daughter, "Don't you dare get an attitude with me young lady! I know all about attitude and you are NOT going to be like I was!" LOL)

She always was the best kid in class, and she continued to save "the rotten" for us, but we did develop boundaries over the years that saved the house, AND her brother...

So... Don't assume that your son's aggression being aimed at you is a bad thing... it might be just the opposite! Be patient, set your boundaries, and try ASKING him why he does it.

Good Luck and Hang in there!!
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Old 08-06-2008, 08:21 AM
 
Location: ARK-KIN-SAW
3,434 posts, read 8,796,274 times
Reputation: 1574
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyme4878 View Post
Make sure his father takes control of the situation when he is around. Daddy is the person he will eventually look toward and emmulate to become a man, especially in how to treat a woman. Although it is too early for him to really start emmulating dad, having your husband be stern with him could help.
exactly..children for some reason love to try and push around their mother..I know I did..that is until that first sign that she was goingt o call my dad
It takes me less than 10 seconds to diffuse a situation that my wife has been struggling with the kids over..maybe its just my charm-lol..
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