Toddler Aggression - New York,NY

Updated on May 07, 2013
A.L. asks from New York, NY
6 answers

Hi, all. I have a 3-year-old boy. About a year ago he went through a period (about 1 month) when he pushed other children on the playground. Then the behavior stopped. Now he started doing it again. Every time he does it, I explain that it is wrong, that he should not do it and that I get very upset when he does. But it does not seem to help. Any advice on how to deal with this?


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answers from San Francisco on

He's three and he could care less what you SAY. Also, you are getting him in the habit of you explaining yourself to him. Not a good thing. That is going to really ware on you as he gets older. Remember, kids have an answer for EVERYTHING!

I think you need to be MUCH sterner when talking to him after an incident and discipline with a time out or something else that you use for bad behavior. But the consequence must be immediate and memorable.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

Back to Basics Discipline by Janet Campbell Matson. I've got three non-aggressive kids including one born with a massive temper. Nip it. Effectively. Immediately.

Aggression is one of those things you don't want to react to with kindness and explanations. Calm warning? yes. ONE warning before Follow Through. Ironically, repeatedly explaining why they shouldn't do it will allow the child to continue and escalate and does NOT send the message of zero tolerance for aggression. Getting upset is also not a consequence that affects the child. At three, it does or it doesn't immediately directly affect them and they react accordingly. They don't care how other people "feel" as in upset, yelling etc. This is normal. You have to be firm and swift. I would remove, then DISCIPLINE and then return them to the spot to behave nicely or I would repeat. (never had to repeat). If you HAVE to leave and not come back, be sure to warn in advance the next time and be prepared to do it again EVERY TIME. Leaving is not discipline by the way, you have to DISCIPLINE after you leave with the most immediate unpleasant thing on your discipline menu.

You can always talk about why it's not nice to be aggressive at other times, but it's not a substitute for discipline.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Remove him immediately and be very, very stern with him. Make an impression.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

What is he watching on tv? Find the cause of the behavior.



answers from New York on

Our kid presents his share of challenges, but thankfully shoving isn't one of them. The daycare tells me that if shoving happens. They give the shover a quick and stern correction, then turn their attention to the kid who was shoved. They make the "aggressor" "help" in making the "victim" feel better by giving gentle touches, hugs etc. The intent is to teach empathy.

Not sure if this strategy works in a playground setting, or with older kids. Maybe the best thing is "natural consequences." Three year olds are old enough to make the decision not to play with someone if they don't play nicely.

Last thought, maybe you can offer up some rules and consequences, and have your kid mull them over. Our boy is 2.5. We were at a neighbor's this weekend. He threw his toy car on the floor. I told him that if he threw the car again, we would have to leave. He repeated my directions several times (internalizing the rule perhaps), but did not throw the car.

Choose other consequences if you aren't prepared/ willing to leave a place. Or if you think he is behaving badly to bring about a quick departure which is what he is really after. A time out can be administered anywhere, as can a spanking, if you are so inclined.

Good luck to you and yours,
F. B.



answers from Chicago on

Is the time peroid about the same(spring allergy time)? If so, maybe the shoving is more about him not feeling right (seasonal allergies and all). Just a different perspective.

My son, if he eats chocolate he gets mean and agressive. It seems like it is no apparent reason, but it is because the chocolate does sit well with his system. Makes him feel funny/weird and he retaliates by being mean.

I feel this way, when I take allergy/sinus meds. I get anxious and jittery.

Good luck

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