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Anxiety and Stress Disorders (Children)

Aggressive Behavior

08/06/2008

Question:

A 3 year old throws tantums every time you cross him. He hits yells "no" and has been disciplined every time he has these behavior problems. No amount of discipline helps. He hits or messes up other childrens toys. He seems to not have learned and this behavior just continues.

Answer:

Temper tantrums at age 3 are natural and expected. How parents deal with tantrums and aggressive behavior often determine the outcome of the interaction. Aggressive behavior is frequently the first sign of behavioral problems in preschool children and is the leading cause of difficulties later on in school. I would consult your child's pediatrician concerning both the nature of your child's aggression as well as your own parenting style in dealing with it.

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Response by:

Floyd R Sallee, MD
Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati