Subject: Malicious 3 year old anger
Question: Our son who has been three for about four months has been acting out in a very malicious way when he doesn't get his way.
We also have a one year old that is normal as we think.
When our son doesn't get what he wants or does something bad he goes to his corner for about 3 minutes or so. Obviously he'll cry and scream, we can understand this but now he'll come up to us and hit, slap you in the face, and bite, scream no!! at you.
The other thing is that the look on his face when he does all this makes him look like a demon child. He seems to be intentionally trying to hurt you. His anger is out of control. The big change was when he started potty training.
We think he sees his younger sister in diapers and he wants to be also. So we let him run around the house naked and his potty training is going very well, but with that he touches himself down there alot. we don't know what to do about his anger. Help with some insight please.
Answer: Dear Justin:
It is normal for children to get angry and act out when they don't get their own way. I am more concerned when about the parent when I read he is angry like a "demon" child, and the younger child is normal, and he touches himself "down there," rather than he "looks angry or rageful" and "he touches his penis."
My concern is not to shame you or make you feel bad I am sure these comments are about how you were raised as a child. Please consider getting some parenting classes which teach child appropriate behaviors and developmental stages of children.
First of all he is 3 years old. He probably needs support/help in identifying his feelings. At the age of 3 he most likely is "jealous" of his sibling. This is quite natural for an older child to feel a loss (grief) of the attention they once had from their parents. They now have to share center stage and he most likely isn't adapting to having to be on the sidelines. This is why it is important to have some one on one time with him where he is once again the center of your adoration as he was before the baby came onto his scene.
Second, get some books about feelings and help him develop his feeling vocabulary so he can use his words. There are also great books about how to use his hands and how hitting, biting, kicking etc are not acceptable. I have examples of both of these posted here in your question. If he is still having trouble try teaching him feeling words in sign language. Sign language is very expressive and he will FEEL a release when he signs his feelings.
If you are still concerned about your son's acting out then please by all means seek some counseling for him and you.
M Kay Keller