3 year old son-- seems very angry

Our 3 year old son has drastic mood swings. However, it's normally when we don't give him what he wants. He can sometimes be easily distracted and he will switch, just like that, but other times, it can drag out for a long time. He will scream repeat things over and over, he'll even 'act' nice "may I have water", we'll give him the water, and, then he will throw it.

Or "momma', Momma, momma." Repeating over and over. We’ll explain that he has to calm down first. And then he will start yelling, or say things. I'm just worried, thinking its more anger issues versus bi-polar.

I will call his doctor and discuss with her, but was just wondering what other symptoms are. He generally is a sweet boy. Loves to be hugged and kissed. It's just more so when he doesn't get what he wants. He is the middle child. So I have wondered about that. But we do try and make things equal with all children. We'll ask him what he is feeling, or ask him why he is so angry, and he just says "I don't know".

He has mentioned that he doesn't like me to go to work. But I try to explain the importance of working and also that he gets to have a lot of time with daddy (we work opposite schedules).

Trying to put a fun twist on it. I'm just worried and wasn't sure if this is normal. the oldest is a girl, and I've heard boys are different. Since this is our first experience with this, I'm just worried and concerned. Thanks for your help. Do you have any suggestions? reading materials? Thank you for your assistance.

Signed concerned mom

Hi concerned mom! I would be most concerned about your child’s behaviors if you have a history of bipolar disorder, alcoholism and depression in your family.

It certainly sounds like he is having some difficulty with anger, and also with anxiety but in no way does that mean that he has bipolar disorder. For specific symptoms of bipolar disorder in children I would read:

http:// www.kristen-mcclure-therapist.com/bipolardisordersymptomsinchildren.html

For even more details about Bipolar Disorder in Children I would recommend “The Bipolar Child: The Definitive and Reassuring Guide to Childhood's Most Misunderstood Disorder”, by Demtri Papolos.

Here is his website

Good Luck!!

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Feb 03, 2014
3 yr old is oversensitive to disciplin
by: Anonymous

my grandson is my world but recently he has turned anti social and oversensitive to disciplin. HE WAS ALWAYS FALLING AS A TODDLER AND HAD many BUMPS ON HIS PRECIOUS HEAD , CAN THIS LEAD TO PERSONALITY DISORDERS?

Oct 16, 2010
hmm..same here
by: Cassandra

SAME HERE! He will test limits to the extreme! Time-out situation? Same here. After about 10 mins he'll be calm, sniffling, looking innocent and all. But we'll tell him "if u move it'll be longer!" And he'll get down repeatedly..screaming, kicking, hitting..he also pulls hair and earrings..he has a Child Psychology appt on the 28th so hopefully *cross my fingers/praise the Lord* they will have a solution to all of this..he does things when he's angry that can potentially hurt him badly! I'm afraid he'll hit his head hard one day and we'll end up in the ER! I know there's hope..I just pray we can find peace soon

Sep 12, 2010
you're not alone!
by: Cassandra

My son does the same. Instead during his tantrum he gets very physical, hitting u..even jumping on u trying to bite, throws himself around, grabs whatever is in reach and throwing it. He can be such an ANGEL...so sweet he will talk in a soft tone but soon as u tell him no he will FLIP instantly! Sometimes he will also ask 4 something then throw it and complain and it just repeats in a cycle. He also will say the same thing OVER N OVER expecting a different result? Idk but it really stresses me out and worries me. We have a history of depression, schizophrenia and bi-polar and my son's father has VERY BAD anger issues. I really wanna help my son he seems miserable when he gets so angry I don't know what to do! He just turned 3 a week ago what could this be?

Oct 01, 2008
response -- 3 year old con
by: Anonymous

well... to be honest, when my husband and I went to marriage counseling a couple years ago. The counselor wanted my husband to go to a specialist to see if he was bi-polar. My husband has bi-polar symptoms. But he has refused to get it checked out.

That is why i was wondering about bi-polar. I am so worried with his anger. He can be so sweet and kind and gentle. But then easily it can switch to anger. Kicking and screaming. He doesn't seem to care for consequences. For instance, he will scream and i will say that if he continues he will be put in an time out. He will do it again. I say "okay, you are in a time out for 3 minutes, if you continue it will be 4 minutes." He will continue and this will go on and on. The longest time out he's had is 30 minutes. After about the first 10 minutes he will sit quietly. Afterwards i talk to him. And tell him that he should apologize. Once, he does, i ask him why he was put in a time out and he will answer. Sweet as can be.

Another thing I've tried, is when he is so angry. i just hold him and talk calmly to him. Tell him how much I love him and that it makes me sad that he is so angry. I will ask how he feels and say that it is okay to feel the way we are feeling. those are legitimate feelings and that I get frustrated and angry as well. But that he needs to learn how to express is angry and it is not appropriate to kick or scream, but if he uses his words than we are better able to undrstand him.

I'm just so worried. again not sure if this is just age appropriate or not. But it breaks my heart to see him like this.

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Scared Mother of 3yr old boy


For a long time I have felt that something was different about my son. His temper tantrums are not like most toddlers. They are much longer and it is almost impossible to calm him down without giving in, and because I don't give in they will last up to an hour or longer. During these tantrums he seems to be in another world and he refuses eye contact. It's as if he is staring off into space. If his sisters are near he will hit or scratch them. He is aggressive towards other children at preschool and it is obvious they do not want him there. I know he needs to be in another preschool but I am fearful of how he will cope with the transition as has trouble simply getting in or out of the car, or leaving the swing to go to the slide, or going from one activity to the next. Small things set him off. It's as if all behaviors of an average toddler are magnified with my son and he seems miserable a lot of the time. On the other hand when it's just the two of us it is pure joy to be with him. He is by far the most sensitive of my three children. He is extremely concerned when he thinks one of us is upset. He is very affectionate. Compared to other children his age he has an expanded vocabulary and grasp of how things are put together...yet he has been difficult to potty train (#2) and he still uses a pacifier at bedtime. We just want him to be a care free happy child. Any suggestions?

Hi Scared Mom

There are so many things that could be going on with your child it would be irresponsible for me to try to diagnosis him online, in fact I can't do that. But, I can tell you I am concerned by the things you report. The problem most of the parents of the children I work with have is that the medical profession is not as concerned about their child as they are. It's especially difficult with toddlers, due to their inability to communicate what's really going on with them. I am certainly concerned about the rages that you report and the aggression . This suggest that your child is in distress in some way. I take him to a variety of doctors: neurologists, psychologists, and psychiatrists, until you feel satisfied you have some idea of what might be going on medically. Good luck


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Apr 21, 2010
Scared Mother of a 4 yr old
by: Jen

I've actually had to quit work to stay home with him all the time. The 3 day cares he has been in won't allow him back. We put him in preschool Aug. 09. We sent him to a private school because the class was smaller. I ended up being called had having to pick him up almost everyday because he was hitting and kicking his teacher and other students. The teacher requested a meeting with me in Oct. 09. At the end of Oct I had to remove him from school because he bit a kid so hard he drew blood.
We have been trying to work with his doctor and I'm from a small town so we are seeing the public school theropist. She's scheduling special time for us in hopes of getting him back in school next year.
In the past couple of months his behavior has gotten worse. He has his good days and his bad. On the bad days..... by the end I look like I've been beatin. I'm covered in bruises, claw marks, I've had black eyes and bloody noses.
I babysit my nephew once a week. We have never had an issue this bad before today. My nephew is 2. Today my son pulled him out of a chair basically threw him across a room and he hit his head pretty hard. I had to call my sister to come and take him to the hospital. While I was trying to tend to my Nephew, my son continued to kick and scratch and hit me. After my nephew left and I could handle my son it was an extreme battle to get him in time out or even to calm down. Finally he calmed down and instantly fell asleep. After his nap he was my sweet little boy again. No more problems today.
I have holes in my walls from past fits where he has thrown my kitchen chairs. We get invited places birthday parties and I'm afraid to go. We have attempted a few but usually end up leaving.
Like your post when its just me and him he is the sweetest kid I could ever ask for, but as soon as his dad or anyone for that matter walks in it starts again. Its hard to find babysitters.
In the past he has tried to strangle me, luckily he's still to little to have the strength. I protect him from violent movies, games things like that. No caffine or sugar.
Doctors and theropist keep telling me it might just be 3 year old behavior. I've been told he may be ADHD because I am. I have also been told to keep a journal on him, been doing that for 2 years now. As a baby, he had night terrors. He sleep walks now. He was hardly sleeping at all until his doctor prescribed Clonidine. She said that would help his sleeping and his behavior. It has helped the sleep not behavior.
Today I started video taping him.
I'm scared. I don't know what to do.

Oct 12, 2009
by: Anonymous

this is EXACTLY what my son does and he is 2 1/2, if you have come up with any awnsers or solutions please email them to linnyluvsyou@gmail.com when i started reading the symptoms of early onset bipolar i just started crying it seems like every symptom he has and i am very scared as well. thank you for sharing your story... Carson's mom, st. louis, mo

Oct 16, 2008
Same problems
by: Cindy

My son has been exhibiting anger and frustration since he was seven months old. Often going into a rage for something simple as me touching his food or moving a fork or something. He is now about to be 3 and we have good and bad weeks. He cried for over an hour and half because he wanted to play on the playground instead of take a stroll in his stroller and screamed at the top of his lungs the entire time. When he gets upset he will hit his 2 year old sister very hard and ugly. If he refuses to do something it is just about impossible. He will hit scream try and bite pinch. EVERYTHING. For no reason. He becomes a complete different child. He is very smart. He knew his colors before he was one he knew his ABCs at 2. He can now count to twenty. I feel like my child should be happy at all times like his sister. I just never know what kind of day we will have, or week. He literally wakes up angry some days. I thought things would change once he started to talk but they haven't. So now I will resort to professional help.

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