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3 Bumps

Behavioral Issue

My 3 yr old DS has been acting out really bad the last couple weeks. Hitting a lot and also hitting himself when he gets in trouble. He has been written up twice at daycare this week and in trouble 2-3 more times as well. When he is at home and hit's himself I grab his hands and tell him not to do that and explain why. If it continues I place him in timeout.
I talked to the teacher at daycare and she said none of the kids hit themselves besides him. She is also worried because he is usually the most behaved at daycare. This behavior is very unusual for him and has be concerned. It's been going on just over a week now. Nothing has changed in his routine besides maybe my brother moving back t town. he has bipolar but I am with my kids at all times when they see him and my brother doesn't acted out around my kids. He lives with my dad so I have no choice to bring them around him when my kids want to see Papa.
I've made an appointment for his doctor next week but figured I will get advice here as well.

 
LostSoul88

Asked by LostSoul88 at 9:21 AM on Mar. 29, 2013 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 40 (119,476 Credits)
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Answers (14)
  • Maybe something is happening at daycare like another kid is making him frustrated. Are there any new kids in his class? What has the class been working on lately? Can you pop in unannounced to take a peek at him & see what is going on? Are they doing construction there? is it very loud? Is he sleeping? Have you given him anything new to eat? New vitamins? (I gave my Son new vitamins & in a day he was anxious & hyper). Are they giving him anything to eat extra at school? Has the Teacher been yelling lately??

    ILovemyPaulie

    Answer by ILovemyPaulie at 9:33 AM on Mar. 29, 2013

  • sounds like frustration and he is THREE

    I used to hit myself when I was little- don't punish him for that, talk to him ask him what the problem is.

    3 yr. olds are harder than the 2's if you ask me!
    Hang in there- this will pass

    also- has anything at the daycare changed?
    charlotsomtimes

    Answer by charlotsomtimes at 9:38 AM on Mar. 29, 2013

  • Hitting (biting, etc.) expresses intense frustration.
    Try to support his expressiveness at those times (when he's getting in trouble) rather than focusing on trying to make him stop hitting himself. View the behavior as expressing some intense frustration, and try to show understanding for his feelings (so he won't need to "act them out" so drastically.)
    Take a look at the overall dynamic, how you (and daycare) tend to address problem behaviors.
    If the hitting (other kids) is happening, and then he hits himself when he gets in trouble for that, take a look at the response to his initial behavior. Perhaps you & his teacher can explore a way of responding that doesn't focus solely on stopping/punishing the behavior. This will reduce the frustration he takes on, particularly if the hitting is happening BECAUSE he's frustrated or having difficulty navigating a social interaction, which is missed entirely by punishing the hitting.
    girlwithC

    Answer by girlwithC at 9:46 AM on Mar. 29, 2013

  • A lot of kids go thru things like this around this age. They still can't completely verbalize their frustrations & so they act out. They have to be taught other safer ways to handle their frustrations. The sleeping pattern change you mentioned could be caused by any number of things & could also be contributing to his outbursts. Hopefully between you, the teacher & his Dr., you can come up with a plan to help him. Hang in there. GL :)

    mrsmom110

    Answer by mrsmom110 at 10:35 AM on Mar. 29, 2013

  • Even 5 yr olds (the age you say they say he's almost as smart as) can have trouble expressing themselves if they're very frustrated or it's a situation beyond their understanding. Adults can have that problem - I'm sure there's been a time you were so frustrated or angry at someone/something that you couldn't find the words to express it ("I was speechless!").

    You say it's hard to get him up in the morning when it wasn't before. Does he seem more tired, or just harder to wake? If he seems more tired, I would see if you can check on him a few nights (I know it'll be rough on your sleep) and see how he's sleeping. If he's very restless, tossing and turning, he might be having bad dreams or be overheated or cold or something else that is making the sleep he's getting less quality. Being sleep deprived (which low quality sleep would count as) could lead to frustration and anger and outbursts like you describe.
    wendythewriter

    Answer by wendythewriter at 10:46 AM on Mar. 29, 2013

  • My first line was supposed to be
    Hitting (biting, etc.) the self expresses intense frustration.

    girlwithC

    Answer by girlwithC at 9:49 AM on Mar. 29, 2013

  • Dreams do seem to intensify at this age.
    This is not a solution, but when you see him gettin to where he is going to hit, especially himself, see if he is willing to sit down and draw a picture of what heis feeling. You have to sit right next to him while he does it and encourage him.
    Saying things like, that is a lot of red, you must be angry. Can you show me what has made you angry? Or this is kind of wild, can you tell me what the story is?
    Save the pictures just in case you want to have a child spcialist look over them at some point. It does not sound serious to me. It does sound like he is very frustrated and can't get it out in any other way.

    He needs to know that the feeling are fine and normal but there are other ways to express it and those are ust too big of concepts for him.
    If he doesn't like coloring maybe try cars or some other way that he can show you and you can open up the communication.
    Dardenella

    Answer by Dardenella at 1:28 PM on Mar. 29, 2013

  • My 3 year old had a couple weeks where she went berserk. No hitting but a ton of screaming and spitting and flailing of arms. SO UNLIKE HER.

    She was also having trouble sleeping and waking up crying. Maybe it's nightmares, puts the kid on edge. I think it's about developmental time for dreams?
    staciandababy

    Answer by staciandababy at 11:26 AM on Mar. 29, 2013

  • Maybe he has teeth coming in?
    ILovemyPaulie

    Answer by ILovemyPaulie at 11:43 AM on Mar. 29, 2013

  • This may sound goofy, but it might help. My daughter went through a spell of hitting when she got frustrated. I thought maybe it was brought on by being around other kids at school who acted out, but whatever, she has to learn to be around a lot of different kinds of people eventually. I found that she was having trouble putting her feelings into words. So first I taught her what "disappointed" meant. Something made her unhappy because it didn't go as planned, she had a new word to express that, and it made a big difference. Then, for more complex emotions that were harder to figure out, I just taught her to say "Urrr! Urrr! Urrr!" with as much expression as she could muster up. The ability to voice her anger without struggling for words helped her immensely. She eventually got the skills to verbalize her thoughts, but "Urrr!" has been taken up by everyone at our house now as the catch-all "I'm pissed" phrase!
    Ballad

    Answer by Ballad at 4:59 PM on Mar. 29, 2013