Why Is My Son Still Angry, Violent, Hateful, and Disobedient.......

Updated on September 24, 2011
L.D. asks from Marshfield, MO
20 answers

He is 3 yes I know...but we can't go 5 mins with out him hitting, screaming, whining, yelling, or getting into some other kind of trouble. yes we have taken him to the doctors.....they just tell me he is 3 and maybe we need "parenting classes" This is not normal and its stressing out the rest of the family. yes, we do all the usual things to teach a child to behave and all that stuff. Yes, we play with him, yes we tell him its ok to be angry sad,, etc. But enough is enough.

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So What Happened?

we can put him the corner....he will throw him self around bang his head, we can send him to his room, he will scream and beat teh door till things fly off the wall, we can take his toys, he continues to do what ever it was anyway, we can try to side track him, doesn't work, we can try reverse psychology on him, doesn't work, and he is very verbal.....too verbal. I am looking forward to trying some of the things everyone has suggested. Parenting classes just is not an option for us at the moment. (we can't afford the cost...gas, child care, and loss of work to go to them)
However Just so you all know, he does see a behavior specialist. And he is now in Headstart. I talked to my husband this morning and we agreed to try some new methods as Dr. Sears has on his website. I think he wrote it just for us, LOL.
Thank you all Momma's!!

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answers from Appleton on

Contact headstart and have him tested for Autisim. Even before you have him tested take all foods with MSG out of his diet and remove yorgert from his diet. Both MSG and yorgert will make an Autistic child violent.

Look into websites such as autisimspeaks.org and the easterseals.com for helpful information.

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answers from New York on

Hi L.. You don't actually say what you've done to try to change these behaviors, but these aren't really typical three year old behavior. Maybe parenting classes would be helpful if he is just being disobedient, but if you think it's something more, take him to a behavioral psychologist. Maybe it's just bad behavior that needs to be dealt with, with certain parenting/disciplinary skills or maybe he has some behavioral disorder. The right professional can help you to make that determination and set you on the right path to how to make things better at home. Good luck!

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answers from Houston on

If you really think he needs it, you can try play therapy for him. Although, he just may be a very active, high energy, sensitive sensory kid that needs constant attention, activity and redirection. One of mine is like that, with no other type of disorder at all.

Dr. Sears is an expert in this field and has some wonderful tips on discipline and behavior shaping tactics for this age range. He also addresses specific 'bothersome behaviors', so be sure to click on that subcategory link as well for a wealth of knowledge.


5 moms found this helpful


answers from Erie on

These behaviors could be signs of something more serious. YOu should take him back to the doctor (or find a new one!) and get a full psych and medical evaluation. If your other children do not act like this, it's not you, unless you treat him totally differently from them. Even if you can just get one appointment with a child psychologist for a family evaluation, it would be time well spent.

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answers from Minneapolis on

My friend's son was doing the same type of things. It turned out that he had severe intolerances to a lot of different foods: gluten (wheat), dairy, soy, high fructose corn syrup, and more. Once they changed his diet, he became a really sweet kid. They went to Windgate or Wyngate in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area.

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answers from Charlotte on

I'm sorry you are having this problem, but whoever is telling you that you need parenting classes is right.

And enough is enough is true - but it falls on YOU, L..

It's not your child's job to figure out how to stop the negative behaviors. It is the job of the adults who take care of him. You can say it isn't normal, but unfortunately, saying that doesn't help. You have to learn to deal with YOUR child the way he is.

Some kids have easy temperments. Some have difficult temperments. Your child is hardwired to have the temperment he has. So that is what you have to work AROUND.

You need a plan. You need consistency. Right now, what you are doing isn't working. Go find help from a professional who can work with you to navigate this age. Three is hard! If he has special needs, that makes it even harder. And the family being stressed just makes him stressed and adds to the behavioral problems.

Start with your ped. Ask if he or she can refer you to a play therapist. They can make make some good assessments as to whether or not your child needs to be evaluated. They can also teach you what you are doing right and wrong. And help you make a plan.

Good luck,

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answers from San Francisco on

Is he super verbal? If not, he may need help with expressing his feelings. Instead of screaming and tantrums, tell him he can go and yell into his pillow, or get him a mini-trampoline and let him jump. Boys have super, super energy and need to physically work things out- Are you getting him outside daily for at least a couple of hours? If not, take him to the park and let him run, run, run! Things will be better---hang in there. If nothing changes after doing these things, call your doctor for a referral to a good parenting class. Best wishes.


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answers from Seattle on

If you are certain that this is not normal behavior, go with your gut. Doctors (MD's) are utterly useless for this sort of thing. Five minutes of observation simply doesn't give them enough data points to be able to tell you much of anything.

Regarding parenting classes and normal disciplinary approaches: try a new strategy with absolute consistency for a solid week. If you haven't seen any significant changes in a week, it is not an appropriate strategy for your child. Try something else. No it probably won't work better if you just try harder and longer, no matter what the "experts" say. If you find something weird that works, go with it, no matter what the "experts" say.

But what you're describing sounds like a kid under some type of extreme stress. Your child sounds like he's deeply, constantly frustrated by something he cannot fix and cannot communicate. Because he is three, he expects you make it better. Since you are the all-powerful adults, he subconsciously assumes you are intentionally allowing him to remain uncomfortable. That's where the anger is coming from.

It's not likely to be resolved by normal discipline. It would be like trying to discipline a child to stop screaming....when there's a nail in his foot! Your job now is to identify and resolve that stress. This is pretty much a series of trial and error. Start with the basics and work outwards.

Your core skill is observation. You're looking for patterns. Since you spend the most time with him, you are the most qualified to do this. Start a journal. Note time of day, good times, bad times, and any environmental factors you think might be relevant (food, location, people, etc.) Create the shortest shorthand you can think of, since you don't have a lot of free time. Ask others for their observations as well.

Professionals are unlikely to be answer the question "what's wrong with my child?" Professionals are very useful for answering questions like "Are my child's sleep patterns within the healthy range for his age?" or "Does it appear he's dealing with some kind of sensory processing disorder?" Once you can get a specific question, the right professional can be gold in helping you come up with an accurate answer. But you have to develop the specific question yourself.

Things to think about:
Sleep: He should be getting about 12 hours of quality sleep. If not, there's a problem. Does he have a regular sleep schedule? Does he appear rested in the morning? Does he have dark circles under his eyes? All of the behaviors your describe can be caused by severe sleep deprivation.

Breathing: Is he breathing well. Are you sure? Two doctors told us my son's breathing was fine. Two doctors were wrong.

Sensory problems: read The Out-Of-Sync Child. See if anything sounds familiar.

Allergies and environmental illness: Food allergies, mold, dust mites, pollen, etc can put pretty severe stress on a child (or an adult).

Pain: If your child is in chronic pain they will not usually complain of pain. It becomes normal to them and they can no more describe it than a fish can describe water. Doctors are often very quick to assume a child's behavior problems are due to poor parenting techniques. Sometimes this makes them less diligent about checking health concerns. If you think there is a problem in this area, be persistent. Be sure to check teeth too.

Nutritional deficiencies: Certain people have abnormally high needs for certain nutrients. Even if your child has a fairly healthy diet, it might be worth experimenting with increased doses of various types. Work closely with a nutritionist if you try this approach, to avoid toxic overdoses.

And......whatever else you can think of. It may be a simple fix, once you find the problem. Or, there may be several different issues stacked up on top of each other. Whichever it is, the most difficult part is usually identifying the problem. Once you know what you're dealing with, you can fix it or make appropriate accommodations.

My son is my "onion boy". We were dealing with similar issues with him at age three. Five years later, we're still peeling back the layers of what he's struggling with. So far we've found breathing problems (resolved), severe sleep deprivation (resolved), black mold in the house (resolved), speech problems (improving), sensory problems (improving), visual problems (starting therapy now), and dyspraxia (starting therapy now). We have not yet identified all the layers, and will be doing another round of assessments this year to find the next layer.

He is truly a joy to live with now, but he still gets frustrated more easily than many kids. I explain to people that for him, most tasks and interactions take a level of concentration and effort akin to a lawyer studying for the bar exam. When he withdraws or gets uncooperative, it's because he's exhausted. You would be too!

Good luck!

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answers from Houston on

Not normal. It sounds like he doesn't take you seriously, he has no self control and you have lost all manner of authority. This isn't a matter of how much time you play with him. Its to the point where he has been getting away with so much that nothing is ever enough.

When you say no, do you mean it and follow through? For example, when you tell him "you can't hit. If you do, you won't watch any tv" but then when he does hit, you are so exhausted dealing with him after a few minutes you turn on the tv just to keep him quiet?

Do you reward him w/food/snacks/special treats? If so, bad.

Maybe if you give us some specifics, we could help out better.

I agree w/the parenting classes suggestion, but I also think you should take him to a child therapist or psychologist. Soon.

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answers from San Francisco on

Some children just get angrier and more violent and verbal when punished in the usual ways: time outs, yelling, threatening and taking away priviliges. If I'm having a really bad day and my usual parenting approach is compromised and I resort to yelling or putting my son, 3 years also, in his room I immediately notice his regression and acting out. When I'm 'connected', listening and patient (85% of time) he is a different child. We follow the parenting by connection approach see www.handinhand.org and it's changed our lives. Key things to remember:
1.Expect 20% less than what you are getting - this basically sets you up to expect the worst so you will notice the positive more and reward that.
2. Reward Positive behaviour with positive attention - negative behaviour gets the withdrawal of attention - I can see your really angry right now so when you are feeling better we can continue....and ignore tantrum.
3. Only choose fights you can win or are really worth winning.

When a child Is physically hurting you, someone else or property intervene: pick them up and remove them "I'm sorry but i can't let you do that" if they have already done something "I'm really disappointed you did that". And notice the good behaviour "it makes me happy when you help pick up your toys"

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answers from Santa Fe on

This was our son at age 3 as well. He is 7 now and is lovely. I just wanted to tell you that...hang in there! Some children are harder than others and it does not mean they are not normal like some posters have said. Our son was also extremely smart/verbal at that age. I have no idea if that has anything to do with it. I think part of it is just the age...3 is so hard in these intense kids. I have no idea what you guys are doing with your parenting skills but we found it really helps to be extremely consistent with discipline. Be quite black and white about things. And when he is being good praise him like crazy!!! Go overboard with the praise! The other thing that was SO important with our son was to make sure he ate regularly. He had to eat quality snacks waaaaaay more often than a more moderate child to keep his mood up. And of course he needed that nap daily. If we got busy and a snack got forgotten he would turn into a beast. Good luck with your little boy. (Have you read Raising Your Spirited Child yet? That was a good one for us)

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answers from Boca Raton on

Along with another mom's response, I wondered about a possible ASD (autism spectrum disorder) too. Of course it may have nothing to do with your child. But it's definitely something I would consider and then consult with a developmental professional.

I like this book: "Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies: The Groundbreaking Program for the 4-A Disorders" by Kenneth Bock, M.D. and Cameron Stauth. Your library may have it.

Good luck and I hope you can find some answers.

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answers from St. Louis on

Is he getting enough sleep? Sleep deprived kids tend to act out. I have a 3 year old that will act the same way when he's over tired. How much sleep a night does your little guy get? Ideally he should probably be in bed by 8:00 at the very latest and wake up around 7:00, and then he should still be getting a nap. I know it sounds over simplified, but it's amazing what not getting enough sleep can do to a child.

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answers from Washington DC on

You need to be absolutely 100% consistent with this child. Sit down and make a list of house rules and go over them with him. Go over the consequences of each rule. Make sure the consequence makes sense.
Time out - done correctly - does work.
Putting him in his room does not work.
You need a spot in your house -- if he bangs his head in the corner, so be it.
Get a timer and set it.
Make time out work.

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answers from Dallas on

This is not normal behavior for a 3 year. Keep taking him to doctors until you find one that listens. Don't down play anything he does to the doctor. You are your son's advocate - fight for him and your family. Parenting classes could help but I don't think that is the issue.

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answers from Kansas City on

on the one hand, you have listed a whole lot of things you have tried, and only one you haven't, which is the parenting classes - if it was me i would try that before giving up. on the other, many parents say they "tried everything" and that means once or twice. like another mom said, you really have to try it for at least a week. meaning, not a day or two, not putting him in time out but when he gets up and runs, giving up. you really have to work hard for a solid week. check out supernanny.com, there are some great tips. the key for my son at this age was truly, being more stubborn than him. and i was surprised by just HOW stubborn he could be. you gotta be stronger willed than your child, especially if you KNOW you're doing what's best for him. if it gets to that black rage place, i have once or twice just physically held him down on my lap, pinning his arms and legs to me until he calmed down.

always remember, when they are hardest to love is when they need your love most.

good luck. good for your for reaching out. it's great that you realize you don't have the answers - but we may not either. i would look beyond your normal circles.

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answers from Norfolk on

this sounds exactly like my 3yr old nephew, it could be aggressive adhd, its not as common as regular adhd, but its real, and with the right doctors and counselors its very possible to get under control, im not saying thats for sure what it is, but its a good idea to look into it and see what options you may have.



answers from Los Angeles on

This is not normal behavior for a 3-year-old. You need to investigate and figure out why he is so angry. The other moms have a lot of great suggestions. I would also encourage you to investigate if he has mild traumatic brain injury. This can be assessed with a QEEG brain map. One bump on the head can cause this type of erratic behavior. My older son has been in special ed since just before 3 years of age. We've gone through so many specialists and now when he's almost 9 we find out he has mild traumatic brain injury. It's more common than parents realize.

Also, discipline is probably not what your son needs. He needs understanding. He probably is unable to process the discipline instructions. I would consult a parenting specialist to see what form a parenting works best in a child with this behavior.

Prayers to you. Follow your intuition. Ignore the doctors who say nothing is amiss.



answers from San Luis Obispo on

I came back on today and was looking at your post regarding your 11 year old daughter and saw this one about your 3 year old. And have to suggest that you look at the tone of your letters. It is all about them and who you seem to have labled them... THEY are not the problems! Their behavior is!!!
I can't reiterate enough that if a child is made to feel disobedient, selfish, a brat, uncontrolable, sneaky, etc... they become the label more times than not. I had a friend whose mother was mentally ill.... my friend told me that their daughter was just like the mother. I said... "I hope you never said that in front of your daughter..." There was silence. Guess what? The daughter had mental problems as well. It's not rocket science! We need to re-think our approach.
If you can't get Super Nanny to your front door, buy a season's worth of her visits! She teaches about positive reinformcement and consistent redirection. Every child is teachable!


answers from Tampa on

It seems like all this friendly, nicey-nicey discipline doesn't work on your child... how much longer does your child's behavior have to continue before you finally try simply spanking him for his inappropriate and unacceptable behavior?

There is nothing wrong with physical discipline, especially when you have tried all the verbal, logical and passive approaches.

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