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<p>Helping kids express their anger in healthy ways seems to be a common theme in this sub-forum and our story isn't too different.  Maybe I should just read other threads, I'll probably do that, too.  Anyway, DS will be 4 in January and has recently taken to throwing things at our pets or hitting them (an old cat and a small dog) when he's frustrated.  The cat can't really take it, so we've been keeping the cat separate from him (he's old so we just keep him in another room that he never goes in so the cat can sleep in peace).  He will also try to put things on the animals, like bowls on their heads, because he thinks it's fun (sometimes he does this out of frustration, sometimes because he's being playful).  Well, they clearly don't like it (go figure).  A good deal of the time he's sweet towards them, pets them and runs around with the dog.  But when he's frustrated they're often the immediate target.</p>
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<p>So far we've been dealing with it by putting the object up that he's using to hurt them with, and having him either beat a pillow or express to us what is frustrating him.  Well, he's so young still that he's often not able to understand what is making him upset and other times he gets so rambunctious that he just won't listen.  Sometimes we have to give him a time-out, but we stay with him during this time and let him know that we're not abandoning him, we're just helping him cool down.  It typically works in the moment but it's not stopping the pattern of behavior.  He's not doing this every day, but it's pretty regularly.  I'd like to figure out how to help him express his frustration in a healthier way so it gets to the point where, eventually, he won't feel the urge anymore to take it out on the pets.  Does anyone have any BTDT experiences or any advice?  I'd appreciate any help I can get at this point.  Not only do I feel bad for the animals (they haven't been injured or anything, but clearly the cat is too old for such nonsense and the dog certainly doesn't like it, either) but I also am concerned that if this pattern isn't stopped and re-directed then this could manifest in more serious behavorial issues later on in life.  Not to mention the fact that he's going to have a baby sister soon and the last thing I want, of course, is for him to take out his frustration on her.  I just don't know what to do...</p>
 
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