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How do I teach my three year old about anger and emotions?

His dad and I are going through a divorce and his dad has anger problems and when my son gets in trouble or doesn't want to do something I ask him he starts hitting his head and raising his voice and throwing a fit. I want to help him understand his emotions and anger but I don't know what he will understand and comprehend. How do I teach him this?
Thanks so much for ANY advice!

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Asked by HappySam at 1:15 AM on Jun. 4, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 6 (151 Credits)
Answers (6)
  • My daughter is 3 and has a pretty good grasp on what she is feeling at any given time. What I do with her is name her emotion when she is experiencing it. When she is frustrated because she can't do something she is trying to do I tell her "You're frustrated. Let mommy help you with that." (or actually, I ahve to say "let mommy fix it" because she doesn't want HELP lol). When she is sad because her friends had to go home I tell her "I know that you are sad right now because your friends had to go home. But we will see them again soon. Let's go make cookies."

    And I know I'm gonna get blasted for this, but the Nickelodeon show Ni Hao Kai Lan is good for teaching emotions. My daughter will imitate them now lol. "I'm mad at brother!" "What did he do?" "I don't know, mom, but I'm mad at him!" (with a little smirk on her face).

    Answer by Ati_13 at 1:19 AM on Jun. 4, 2011

  • My little girl will be 3 in September and I too like her watching Ni Hao Kai Lan, as it is an excellent resource for teaching kids about emotions and how to deal with them in a way that respects their feelings but also doesn't allow for a cycle of negativity. Treat him with patience and kindness. Never punish an episode of frustration or anger - that's counter-productive. He needs to be allowed to have negative feelings but then help him to move on from them. Divorce is really hard on kids. *hugs* to you both.

    Answer by judimary at 1:29 AM on Jun. 4, 2011

  • R u 2 seperated? It sounds like maybe he is imitating a behavior he has seen. I know my 2 yro does. My sister has a bad habit of liking to throw things when she get pissed off and I saw my daughter throw her toy once when she got mad at it and yell at it like my sis does. lol It was pretty funny thinking back on it. But I know her behavior will have to change before something bad happens and show her another way of venting...

    Answer by Michigan-Mom74 at 1:49 AM on Jun. 4, 2011

  • Each of my 3 DSs have, at the age of 2 or 3, told me that they hated me. Now, this was not true but it was the only way they knew how to express what they were feeling. I asked them if they loved me. They always said, "Yes". Then, I asked them if they really hated me. Their answer was always, "No". I had to teach them that they needed to tell me that they didn't like what I was making them do. I explained to them that telling me that they hated me made me feel sad. After the explanations, they were better able to explain how they were feeling about what they were supposed to do. Sometimes, as parents, we have to teach them how to express what they are trying to say.

    Answer by dustbunny at 2:13 AM on Jun. 4, 2011

  • Talk about his feelings often. Ask him how he is feeling and discus how he is OK to have these feelings. Give him lots of attention and have strict guidleines as to what is and is not acceptable but enforce them with kindness and understanding. Don't foget the hugs and kisses too. Kids need to know they can talk to you and be able to vent.

    Answer by whitepeppers at 4:55 AM on Jun. 4, 2011

  • Thank you guys so much for your advice. Yeah we are separated and my husband will yell at me right in front of my son. Gurr!! But I feel better and want to give my son all the positive encouragement that I possibly can. I want him to understand what the emotions are and how to better 'deal' with them but sometimes I get frustrated with HOW to do it but I will take your advice and run with it!!! Hehehe

    Comment by HappySam (original poster) at 8:09 AM on Jun. 5, 2011

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