The more I think about it, the more it seems to me that the squished frogs in the driveway are a big part of this.
(And I'm so glad this thread is back! I've kinda been dwelling on this subject since the thread disappeared).
This little boy is seeing frogs in two very different states...the hopping around state, and the flattened in the driveway state.
He knows there's a transition between the two, and it does seem like running over the frog with his car it too dead-on symbolic play to be coincidence.
I really think you're going to have to give the frogs in the driveway a funeral to end this behavior immediately. Also, you're going to have to act sad. Beyond that, try to really be at least a little
sad for these unfortunate frogs.
The story about the baby frogs missing their daddy frog would work well, but it's kind of a lie, as I don't think tadpoles really learn from their parents.
I don't know how you feel about lieing to kids to get a point across, but I'm usually opposed to it.
I think it's important that you explain that it hurts the frogs really, really bad when they get squished by your car, and it hurts when he squishes them.
As long as he gets the message that the frogs in the driveway don't matter, he's not going to "get it" that frogs have feelings and hurting them is wrong.
This issue is so complex, and really does open up a can of worms in regards to vegetarianism, etc. In fostering empathy for critters both big and small, you might very well be creating a future vegan.
Random thought, kinda off topic...Does anyone here remember that episode of the Andy Griffith Show...I think it was one of the first ones (maybe the first one ever?)...where Opey kills a bird with his BB gun?
He was, I think, 5 or 6ish. Very sad. I never thought of Opey as an animal abuser who needed to be in therapy and might grow up to commit acts of cannabilism...just a little kid who made a very bad, very sad mistake.
Sorry for the lack of cohesion in this post..lol...I've been thinking a lot about this for a few days.
Edited to add link:http://www.tvacres.com/birds_backyard.htm
Opps. It was a slingshot, not a BB gun. Taking this post even farther OT (sorry)...I can help but notice that, for a show back in the day when physical punishment was the rule, this episode was also a perfect example of the power of natural consequences and gentle guidence.