3 Yr Old Is Mean

Updated on October 09, 2008
A.C. asks from Menasha, WI
7 answers

My son turned 3 march 10 and he is sooooo mean. To anyone unless you are super happy with him he likes you. He was kicked out of the gym daycare we go to yesterday for throwing toys at the other kids. He does not listen to me. I give him time out and he dont care what you do. I am going crazy and i never want to take him anywhere fear of a huge embarrassing fit or just being darn rude to people. I am pregnant with baby #2 and i want to nip this in the butt before the baby is here. I want my sweet little boy back. People tell me its the age but i just feel like its my child and people look at me like hello your kid is out of control. Help any ideas would help. Thank you!

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for the great addvice. most of the advice i am doing. When he is put in time out he knows and he is three so 3 min and after that i go to him get to his level and we talk about why and what had happend. i am always calm with him and we always talk about it and i always ask him why he is mad and soo on so i am gonna go with its a phase. Also i am home with him all day and we have special time everyday and we are always going to the park or going outside in his pool. He is really excited about the baby he picked a pacifier out at the store just for the baby and that is all i have bought so we will see thank you again

More Answers



answers from Detroit on

My son is exactly the same way...he'll be 4 in September. I hope he out grows it once he starts preschool in the fall. I have no suggestions....just wanted you to know you aren't alone! :-)



answers from Jackson on

Are you sending him to timeout without showing him how to play properly?

Punishment doesn't "teach" anything. And if you are sending him to timeout without showing him what he did wrong and how to do it right you might as well be sending him to timeout for no reason in his little mind.

YOU have to teach him how to play nice, YOU have to teach him how to be gentle with others.

You can do that by getting down on the floor with him and playing. Don't let him more than an arms reach away when playing with others so you can stop the misbehavior before it happens and so you can model gentleness to him.



answers from Detroit on

I agree with Rebecca W. If you are positive your child is going to be out of control in a social situation, then it is imperative that you are within arms reach at all times that he is around other kids, for now. I realize how hard this will be, but if you are not there to help him, he is just doing what makes sense to him. I also know that at daycare, that is not feasable...but when you go somewhere, you should be right there teaching him.



answers from Grand Rapids on

My son went through the same thing, and now my 2 year old. The only way that I got through it was to be consistant. Before you go somewhere, tell them what you will be doing, what you expect from him, and what the consaquences are if he does not listen. Then the hard part is sticking to it. Set realistic rules, and i noticed that when i include my kids in what i am doing, our outings go alot smoother. I hope this helps, hang in there and let me know if there is anything else i can do to help.



answers from Detroit on

Hi A.,
I have a 13 yr old boy 2 yr old girl and 2 mos old boy. I find that when I let things slide, my kids push the edges. The thing is to be consistent. I wouldn't do too much explaining and discussing. Kids just don't have the attention span (even if they are looking at you). When you see something get up go to the child, make sure they look at you and tell them don't (fill in problem), if you do that again you will get a time out. Then move them to another activity or to play with someone else. When it happens again (and it will, probably withing a couple of minutes) then go and pick them up and take them to a time out spot where you can watch them, and they can see you, follow the nanny's time out rules. After you return them keep a very close eye on them and the next time, go directly to time out. This will be a week of severe concentration for you, you will be in constant monitoring of your child. However, it will work! But be aware, they kids always push the envelop, you should always be in sight of your child and keep one eye on them, and never give more than one warning and never give it from across the room, always go quietly and quickly to the child, and get on their level and give them the warning. You might jsut notice that the other kids are being mean and provoking!



answers from Jackson on

This is something I got in my email today and it might help. I copied and pasted it. Good luck hun.

Does your toddler sometimes hurt other children? It's not surprising — many toddlers act out in this way. The good news is that he doesn't mean to inflict pain on his playmates. When he pulls another child's hair, he's either fascinated by the reaction it provokes or copying another child's behavior. Making a fellow child yell or cry seems like great fun at this age. The best response is to gently but firmly stop the hurtful behavior and redirect his attention. The more he gets a rise out of you, the more likely he is to repeat the behavior.
Why it happens
Shocking as it may be to you (and onlookers), aggressive behavior is a normal part of your toddler's development. Still-emerging language skills, a fierce desire to become independent, and undeveloped impulse control make children this age prime candidates for getting physical. "Some degree of hitting and biting is completely normal for a toddler," says Nadine Block, executive director of the Center for Effective Discipline in Columbus, Ohio. That doesn't mean you should ignore it, of course. Let your toddler know that aggressive behavior is unacceptable and show him other ways to express his feelings.

What to do
Follow up with logical consequences. If your child gets into the ball pit at the indoor play center and immediately starts throwing the balls at other kids, take him out. Sit down with him and watch the other kids play, and explain that he can go back in when he feels ready to join the fun without hurting other children. Avoid trying to "reason" with your child, such as asking him, "How would you like it if he threw the ball at you?" Toddlers don't possess the cognitive maturity to be able to imagine themselves in another child's place or to change their behavior based on verbal reasoning. But they can understand consequences.

Keep your cool. Yelling, hitting, or telling your child he's bad won't get him to curtail his behavior — you'll just get him more riled up and give him examples of new things to try. In fact, watching you control your temper may be the first step in his learning to control his.

Set clear limits. Try to respond immediately whenever your toddler is aggressive. Don't wait until he hits his brother for the third time to say, "That's enough!" He should know instantly when he's done something wrong. Remove him from the situation for a brief time-out (just a minute or two is enough). This is the best way to let him cool down, and after a while he'll connect his behavior with the consequence and figure out that if he hits or bites, he ends up out of the action.

Discipline consistently. As much as possible, respond to each episode the way you did last time. Your predictable response ("Okay, you bit Billy again — that means another time-out") will set up a pattern that your child will recognize and come to expect. Eventually, it will sink in that if he misbehaves, he'll get a time-out. Even in public, where you may be mortified by your child's behavior, don't let your embarrassment cause you to lash out at him. Other parents have been there too — if people stare, simply toss off a comment like "It's hard to have a 2-year-old," and then discipline your child in the usual fashion.

Teach alternatives. Wait until your toddler has settled down, then calmly and gently review what happened. Ask him if he can explain what triggered his outburst. Emphasize (briefly!) that it's perfectly natural to have angry feelings but it's not okay to show them by hitting, kicking, or biting. Encourage him to find a more effective way of responding — by "talking it out" ("Tommy, you're making me mad!") or asking an adult to help.

Make sure your child understands that he needs to say he's sorry after he lashes out at someone. His apology may be insincere at first, but the lesson will sink in. The passions of toddlerhood can overtake a child's natural compassion sometimes. Eventually he'll acquire the habit of apologizing when he's hurt someone.

Reward good behavior. Rather than giving your child attention only when he's misbehaving, try to catch him being good — for example, when he asks to have a turn on the swing instead of pushing another child out of the way. Praise him lavishly when he verbalizes his desires ("That's so great that you asked to have a turn!") and, in time, he'll realize how powerful words are.

Limit TV time. Cartoons and other shows designed for young children can be filled with shouting, threats, even shoving and hitting. Try to monitor which programs he watches, particularly if he seems prone to aggressive behavior. When you do let your child watch TV, watch it with him and talk to him about situations that arise: "That wasn't a very good way for him to get what he wanted, was it?" (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under the age of 2 watch no TV at all.)

Provide physical outlets. You might find that unless your toddler gets a chance to burn off his abundant energy, he's a terror at home. If your child is high-spirited, give him plenty of unstructured time, preferably outdoors, to let off steam.

Don't be afraid to seek help. Sometimes a child's aggression requires more intervention than a parent can provide. If your child seems to behave aggressively more often than not, if he seems to frighten or upset other children, or if your efforts to curb his behavior have little effect, talk to your child's doctor, who may in turn recommend a counselor or child psychologist. Together you can determine the source of the behavior and help your child through it. Remember, your child is still very young. If you work with him patiently and creatively, chances are that his pugnacious tendencies will soon be a thing of the past.



answers from Detroit on

Hi A., It sounds like your son is rebelling against you. Has he seen you buying stuff for the new baby, he could be having feeling of jealousy and this is his way of expressing himself. Maybe you could set aside one day a week that is a special day just for the 2 of you. Plan something fun, go to the park or local pool. Maybe even to a movie depending on your budget. I know you are afraid of how he will react out in public but your son needs to see that he cannot control his parents. I know you may not have the energy to do this but please try, positive reenforcement works wonders. I know how hard it can be to deal with a mean child, I have a 8 year old and 5 year old. The 8yr old is very rebellish and mean to our 5 yr old. The only way we can keep it under control is to have special days with him and positive reenforcement all the time. When ever he is mean I always say to him that the Thompson boys do not act like this, they are nice, kind and friendly and I know he can act like that. Then he try's real hard to prove to me that he can be nice. Maybe instead of using your last name you could use his first name since he is so young. I wish you lots of luck. S. t

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