How to deal with violent tantrums in 3 year old? - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 7 Old 11-02-2006, 06:10 PM - Thread Starter
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I need some "in the moment" strategies. I am working on finding the root cause and proactively avoiding them, but if one DOES happen, what is the best way to deal? DS is very tall and strong for his age, 45 lbs, and he is fully capable of throwing a chair, heavy book or toy, etc. and he does this every so often when he has a meltdown. It's dangerous! He will just start hurling objects left and right. I have told him that if he throws a toy, it gets put away for a day. I stick to this rule but it hasn't helped.

I can't you know, just calmly sit there talking him through it as he tears his way through the room or house. I have to restrain him...which he hates...but if I don't gently hold him he will just keep running through the room tearing it apart. I mean, it's okay to restrain him, right? He's going to hurt himself or someone else.

I have to put his sister on the other side of the gate to protect her while I deal with him. Is there some other strategy out there? Like i said, talking him down doesn't really work. In fact the more I say, the more pissed he gets. But holding him down doesn't seem right either, he gets very mad and struggles even if I try to do it lovingly. He also tends to kick and hit at me when I do this. Not fun.

If anyone has any ideas, I'm game to listen!
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#2 of 7 Old 11-02-2006, 07:28 PM
 
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#3 of 7 Old 11-14-2006, 01:29 PM - Thread Starter
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So this happened again this morning. Only when I tried to restrain him from throwing objects all over, he tried to bite me. Any ideas for IN the moment strategies? I am trying to be proactive and keep these situations from arising at all, but when they do, I really need some new ideas..

Today when he started throwing stuff, hitting and kicking at me I got really upset. Not angry, wish I could spank you upset, but sad, I can't believe he's doing this upset. I told him how hurtful it was that he hit and kicked me. He just changed the subject.

Thinking back I suppose I shouldn't let him know how sad it makes me feel, as we all know that ccan be scary for kids to feel that power over their parents...

He's at preschool right now, happy as a clam, and frankly I was never so glad to drop him off there in my life, which makes me feel very guilty!

I did take away the toys that he threw at me, explaining that if he couldn't use them safely we would put them away for awhile. I got another good swipe taken at me as a reward for that tactic...

So any other ideas?:
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#4 of 7 Old 11-14-2006, 02:01 PM
 
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I think its okay to restrain a child if they are a danger to themselves or others. I don't think you should feel guilty. But I imagine its very difficult to restrain a 45-lb out-of-control child! I think putting your younger DD behind the baby gate is perfect to keep her safe.

You say you are trying to be proactive in heading off tantrums - do you want any more advice along those lines? If so, it might be useful to give us some specific examples so they we can help brainstorm ideas. If you feel you have a good handle on this, then nevermind.

Is there a room, maybe his bedroom, that you can tantrum-proof? Move all hard toys to another place, strap down or nail down chairs or furniture that can be thrown, etc. Make it a safe place so that when he is in there, he does not have to be restrained because there is nothing that can hurt him (or you).

In this place, add some "comfort" things:" Maybe a couple bean bags with blankets that you two could cuddle together on, a CD player (up high on a shelf or something), etc.

Also have in this place some good activities to honor his need to be physical when he is upset. You could have a pile of nerf balls that together you can fling at the wall or each other when he is upset, for example.

When he becomes upset, you can ask him to come with you to his "calm" spot. If he doesn't come, you can, as gently as possible, escort him there. Go inside with him and close the door. Then you can do what you feel is best for him, either just wait it out, join with him, modelling the footstomping dance or flinging nerf balls while saying, "You are SO MAD right now!", reflecting his feelings, whatever seems to help. If he attacks you, I would deflect and redirect (but this is just me. You could step outside the door for a few seconds if you fear getting hurt). You could try different types of music (sometimes soothing music makes things worse and a child needs something with an aggressive beat which paradoxically helps them calm down; I don't have any idea why this is so). Eventually the idea is for him to use these other ways of handling his anger with little prompting from you; maybe someday he will be able to take himself to his room and do what he needs to do in there (throw balls, scream, play music) then come out when he is calm.
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#5 of 7 Old 11-14-2006, 02:33 PM
 
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I found The Explosive Child to help me understand my emotional reactions as much as our son's. We are both intense people. I wanted to mention The Feingold Diet (see www.feingold.org ) related to artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and high salicylate loading. And dairy, soy, wheat, and high fructose corn syrup all are associated with hyper aggressive behaviors in our son.

Naomi Aldort's new book Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves and Sheedy Kurchina's Raising Your Spirited Child both helped me learn communication tools of validation.
http://www.amazon.com/Raising-Childr...e=UTF8&s=books
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...23288?v=glance

You might also see if the traits of "The Highly Sensitive Child" match your son's temperment. Our son is auditorially sensitive and very sensitive and triggered by other's emotional lability. http://www.hsperson.com/pages/child.htm

Here is a link with many other resources and references that you might consider. Many of them may already be familiar. https://www.mothering.com/discussions...ld#post5823432

Also check out the "My Challenge, My Love" thread: https://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=328627 and the "Parenting and Rage" thread. They both help a lot with challenging children. https://www.mothering.com/discussions...light=feingold

I hope things are more peaceful for your family soon.


Pat

I have a blog.
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#6 of 7 Old 11-14-2006, 06:47 PM
 
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rainbow, do a Time Out, FOR YOU...if you are home.

Leave the room and close the door (but don't lock it).

I keep re-reading your post and I wonder if he thrives (going wildy about the room) because he has an "audience"...does that make sense?

When DS went into his Wild/Man/Tantrum last night, I put *Myself* in Time Out and went into my bedroom. I listened and he stopped tearing the living room apart (he was angry because I told him he could not have something).

Anyway, he came in and I was just sitting there silent and he said "Are you okay?" I said "I am fine DS, are YOU okay" he smiled and said "Yes Mommy I'm okay"

Sigh of relief...the storm had passed.
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#7 of 7 Old 11-14-2006, 11:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you everyone, for all the responses.

The rest of the day went well. I was feeling a bit shaky emotionally inside, but we had lunch after preschool, went for a nice long walk, played trains together, etc. He was fine. I am really examining my reaction. Because I really felt hurt, rather than angry. I see him changing so fast. He is no longer 3 in so many ways, he seems more like 4 even though he doesn't turn four til Feb. I think he is moving toward more independence and it is scary for us both.

I think the main trigger was low blood sugar, generally I am very careful about keeping him fueled with protein and complex carbs but that didn't happen this a.m. The reason I asked for "in the moment strategies" is because this doesn't happen too often,I think we get a pretty good handle on avoiding them. It's when it DOES happen I am sometimes unsure, due to his size, strength, and safety issues.

I loved the book "Raising Your Spirited Child" and need to read it again, WuWei. I should check out the other titles.

Bellingham, thanks for the moral support and ideas! We don't have a place we can send him for blowing off steam where he can't be hurt...wish we did...but we did talk about hitting a pillow today instead of Mommy next time.

New Mommy, you may be right about the audience thing, but I just can't leave the room and let him trash it. He's too big and strong. I have tried leaving the room and he's throwing stuff around and I'm really afraid he is going to break something or hurt himself. He's a 3 year old who is wearing 5T clothing...45+ lbs. A big guy! But I appreciate your comments.

Let's hope tomorrow will be better. It usually is after a big blow up.
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