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what is the best way to deal with a 3 year old boys temper tantrums?

my little boy has out of control temper tantrums. he hits, kicks and throws himself and his toys. sumtimes he will cry uncontrolably for a long time. he doesnt really understand the consept of time out either so i have compleatly given up on that. he also has speach problems. he cant really even put 2 words together let alone tell his own mom what he wants or needs.

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Asked by 2momsandsuave at 3:59 PM on Dec. 31, 2008 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (11)
  • If you can, move him away from things so he won't get hurt. When he throws toys, take the toys away from him. He can't play with them until he learns not to throw. I think tantrums result from kids not knowing how to express themselves. Either they can't talk or they don't know how to put their emotions into words. Let him cry it out and when he's done, try to talk to him. Explain you understand why he's mad and then go on to explain what he can do when he's mad, like maybe hit a pillow. My son knows to go sit n his bed until he's done having his fit. The more attention a tantrum gets and the more you cave in to his demands, the worse they will get. Be consistent and good luck.

    Answer by PnMMom at 4:45 PM on Dec. 31, 2008

  • have you tried jus ignoring him

    Answer by MiSs.SmOkEy at 6:20 PM on Dec. 31, 2008

  • You say he can't put 2 words together - all the time? If so, he may be developmentally delayed and you need to consult his pediatrician and consider. If only when he's upset, you need to help him use his emotion. Try using "think time" rather than time outs by telling him he needs to calm down (after he knows what "calm down" means) and that he cannot come out until his is calm. If he is unable to self-soothe, then you need to determine at what point you need to help him calm down by holding him. Does he always have severe tantrums or just some of the time? If some of the time, can you identify what the trigger? If you can identify the triggers, try redirection or mirroring his frustration before he gets past the point of no return. If he's always having severe tantrums, then it's possible he doesn't have any self-soothing skills - something you'll need to find a way to teach him or consult a therapist. Good luck!

    Answer by JPsMommy605 at 6:23 PM on Dec. 31, 2008

  • Also try teaching him the angry son:
    If you're angry and you know it, stomp your feet!
    If you're angry and you know it, stomp your feet!
    If you're angry and you know it and you REALLY want to show it,
    If you're angry and you know it STOMP YOUR FEET!

    Teach him appropriate expressions for his frustration.

    Answer by JPsMommy605 at 6:25 PM on Dec. 31, 2008

  • i have tried ignoring him and sometimes it works bot most of the time it doesnt. he will just cry himself to sleep. and if its in the early morning or if we are out in public i cant just let him get all wild....i am at a loss for ideas at times.

    Answer by 2momsandsuave at 6:26 PM on Dec. 31, 2008

  • You have to read up on your options - there's more than time outs that work. When out and about and he has a tantrum, put him in the car. My son hated this, but it worked. Also, if severe tantrums are not the norm but just seem that he's lost control, throw some water on him. read that right. I did this to my son when he had a complete meltdown after he turned 3 - it shocked him back to his senses enough so that he could calm himself down and we could talk about how he felt and why. I had to use this sparingly for about 4 months before the severe tantrums went away. For the 4th month, all I had to do was run water and he would jump on his bed to calm down!

    Answer by JPsMommy605 at 6:35 PM on Dec. 31, 2008

  • in response to JPs mommy605- he does have speach language and learning delays, and we are in the process of going to his first therapist apt. but thats not untill late january. im also thinking he might be alittle ODD and ADHD. he very rarely puts words together. alot of the time he grunts and points to what he wants. when i do get him to say words it sounds as if he is getting letters mixed up so its hard 4 me to understand him. his tantrums are all the time. when he wants sumthing he cant have or things are not going his way. what do you mean by mirroring?

    Answer by 2momsandsuave at 6:38 PM on Dec. 31, 2008

  • Go to the Love and Logic Parenting group here on Cafemom and post your question. It's an extremely effective form of parenting. Also, I agree....put them where they can be safe, then leave the room. Most tantrums are for attention even if it's negative attention. Just say, "I'm really sorry you have to go through this and are upset. When you can talk to me nice you can come find me and we'll talk. But until then, you can just stay here." Then walk off. Act completely calm and pop in some earbuds to an ipod or MP3 player so the noise doesn't get to you. If he comes out, take him back, and leave again. But DON'T ENGAGE in the tantrum. That's the whole point of them throwing a tantrum is to get you engaged so your full focus is on them.

    Answer by proverbsmommy4 at 6:49 PM on Dec. 31, 2008

  • A child with developmental delays isn't likely to have a tantrum for attention but because he cannot express his emotions appropriately. That's why I don't recommend ignoring - if you ignore him, then he KNOWS he's not being understood. Mirroring means you express back to him vocally the same level of frustration that he's experiencing, using minimal but repetitive words and his name. "Tommy's mad...MAD MAD MAD!!! Tommy wants cookie and Mommy said no and Tommy's MAD!! Tommy wants the cookie, but mommy said No No Tommy and now Tommy's MAD!" After he realizes you understand, then you can offer an alternative. "Mommy says no cookie, but mommy says YES - here's an apple (or ball or whatever else you can redirect him to)." Try reading: Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp. Remember that your son, being delayed, will respond better to disciplines that apply to toddlers or infants.

    Answer by JPsMommy605 at 7:17 PM on Dec. 31, 2008

  • Also, if you suspect ADHD, then structure and routine are VERY important to him - he needs to know where things are, what to expect next, etc...Transitions can be very difficult. Always give warning when there's going to be a change coming...whether it time to go someplace, time to stop playing, whatever. Give him several advanced warnings as the change approaches. Help him know where everything is so he can always find it in the same place. He'll need to have the sense of control as much as possible, and structure helps to provide that.

    Answer by JPsMommy605 at 7:20 PM on Dec. 31, 2008

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