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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This year has been trying, to put it simply. Anyway, I thought ds's (3years, 3 months) tantrums were easing. He's just always been strong-willed, spirited. I try to limit the Nos, let him do a lot, spend time with him, validate his feelings, yadda yadda. I'm not really gonna make 300 disclaimers. I don't think my expectations are too high. But I would like to know what some of you do when/if they start "destroying" things when they're mad.

Like today, his baby brother tipped over his lego tower. I apologized that I didn't stop it in time. When he threw himself on the floor, I picked him up and just tried to validate that it wasn't fair and how frustrating it was. It seemed like he got more emotional when I picked him up, but I don't think I was overly emotional about it, I just wanted to make him feel validated b/c he's been acting up so much. So then he tried to hit his ds2, and I said we can't hit even when we're mad. And then it was on to dumping the legos out and throwing the tub of legos. I said You're mad, but it's not good to throw things, etc. etc. And I said we had to go upstairs to calm down a little. I stayed pretty calm but he just got worse. I know it's just legos, but I feel like I should say something. I didn't get upset. He tries to "trash" his room when he's mad too, throwing all the books off the bookshelves or throwing clothes out of the drawers. Is this no big deal to you? Bad destructive behavior? I try to get him to pick it up with me later, and sometimes it's easy, and sometimes he just won't. It's getting me really mad, b/c I try to calmly stop him but no matter what I do it just gets worse, so I wind up just waiting til he's done, which also feels wrong, and it's not like it helps him calm down quicker either.
 

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It seems that when he is frustrated he wants to express it physically. I would just try to find some physical outlet that you both can agree on.

Can you or he think of something that would be good to throw? Or maybe try a punching bag? Adreneline converts to a need for physical outlet in some people.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That seems marvelously simple, and yet we haven't really done that. I guess I didn't really think that he had to physically act out, but then I always wanted to throw stuff as a kid when I was mad. When he was two his tantrums were always very minor, and a hug would do the trick. Perhaps I'm just not changing accordingly. Actually, we used to kind of try something similar- we would do some exercises or some big arm cirlces or something I read about here to kind of wind out the energy. I guess I forgot about it b/c it didn't seem very natural. And then some people suggest punching pillows. I never much liked the latter idea, but it's better than destructive physical outlets. I'll try and focus on that.
 

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just remember that A LOT of people (mostly adults) use physical exercise to deal with frustration/anger. Ask anyone who joggs or cycles how much frustration would be in their lives if they were not allowed to run/cycle when they wanted to.

It is just harder to focus that energy for a kiddo.

Also remember that there is a big difference between punching and violence. It just has to be clear that the pillow/punching bag is not a proxy for the person you would like to hit (hopefully you don't want to hit a person). It is merely something that is appropriate to punch when you feel like punching.

As an adult male the "fight" reflex is triggered in me more often by my own clumsyness than by a person. I assure you that when I hit the pillows on the couch I am punching because I am full of adreniline, and not because I wish I could be punching a person.

Most often it goes like this _Wrenching on the car, strip a bolt that I have been working on for 1 hour, it is 100 degrees outside, sweat has filled my eyes, and if I wipe them there will be motor oil in them too... calmly walk into the backyard, punch the snot out of the ground, walk back in to the garage, work on the bolt some more. No other people involved, just an apropriate physical outlet for frustration.
 
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