Dealing with an impulsive child — The Bump
Pre-School

Dealing with an impulsive child

I need advice on how to deal with this. DS1 is incredibly impulsive. He just doesn't think before he does things. I know that this is in part normal behavior for a three year old, but it seems to the extreme with him. 

Today, for example, we had some people over who were getting ready to leave. DS was riled because he'd been playing with the older kids. He ran around the corner holding a little metal toy rake and threw it at the group pretty hard. It didn't hit anyone. I know he didn't mean to hurt anyone, he was just excited. I asked him to go pick it up and apologize to everyone. They all left and I sat down and asked why he did that and he, of course, didn't have an answer. I explained that he could have hurt someone and asked if wanted to hurt someone and he said no. I of told him he needs to think about things before he does them and to try to think if something might hurt someone before he does it. He listened but who knows if any of it registered. 

Like I said above I know this can be typical for the age, but he seems to be doing things like this all day long.  And sometimes it does hurt. 

Any words of wisdom? 

Lilypie Fourth Birthday tickers Lilypie Second Birthday tickers Lilypie Pregnancy tickers

Re: Dealing with an impulsive child

  • I don't know if it's just a bad example, but that's not impulsive, that's just wrong.  If DD had done something like that I would have put her in the house and not allowed her to come out and play for a while, an apology wouldn't have been necessary.

    DD recently left the house and went into the car while I was putting wash in the machine in the basement.  I yelled at her, but felt kind of bad because it was clear she didn't think what she was doing was wrong.  If she ever does that again then we won't be leaving the house (she was excited because we were going to Chuck E Cheese).  I think an explanation once is ok, I'm sure your son has been told before not to throw things at people, but the 2nd time they need to be punished.  

  • imagemommymegan831:

    I don't know if it's just a bad example, but that's not impulsive, that's just wrong.  If DD had done something like that I would have put her in the house and not allowed her to come out and play for a while, an apology wouldn't have been necessary.

    DD recently left the house and went into the car while I was putting wash in the machine in the basement.  I yelled at her, but felt kind of bad because it was clear she didn't think what she was doing was wrong.  If she ever does that again then we won't be leaving the house (she was excited because we were going to Chuck E Cheese).  I think an explanation once is ok, I'm sure your son has been told before not to throw things at people, but the 2nd time they need to be punished.  

    I agree with you wholeheartedly that it is still wrong. I don't mean to say that because it is impulsive it isn't his fault. But it is different than overt disobedience. He spends plenty of time in time out. We aren't permissive parents in general. But there is a difference between me saying something and him not listening, or him taking a toy from his brother and this. It is like he just too excited to register that his actions mean something. He has also spent plenty of time in time out for things like this too. I just feel at a loss because he is in this phase where every time I turn around he is in timeout and I'm trying to figure out another way of dealing with this. How do I teach a 3 year old to think before he acts and develop self-control! 

    ETA: other examples: hitting a trashcan with a stick, pulling curtains down, spraying brother in the face with a hose, kicking a toy as he walks along. All wrong/destructive, but when he does them they seem impulsive. Maybe I'm making too big of a deal out of the word impulsive. 

    Lilypie Fourth Birthday tickers Lilypie Second Birthday tickers Lilypie Pregnancy tickers
  • Loading the player...
  • You have to keep reinforcing behavior that is appropriate, and follow through with a punishment if something like that happens again.

    Also, don't set him up to fail.  If you know he is impulsive, nothing good can come about from raising a metal rake over their head in a throw stance around other children - you need to step in and to remind them in a quiet tone (to avoid embarrassment) before the action occurs, to avoid punishment.


    photo notebook.jpg 
      
    Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers 
    Lilypie Second Birthday tickers
  • imagefredalina:
    Impulsivity IS different than intentional bad behaviors IMO. It's a skill that needs to be learned. For some, getting a wild hair and spraying brother with a hose when the baby pool is filling is not thought out beforehand. It's a lot like spilling milk when they're first learning to pour; it's a skill they are working on and they need to be patiently taught how. Punishing for impulsivity is like punishing for spilling while pouring. IMO it's better to focus on how to teach them the skill and, if they do screw up, how to make amends, than to focus on punishments. You can stick me in time out 40 times for not knowing how to do calculus but unless you actually help me learn it, it's not going to get better.
    This.  You could also ask your ped. if they have any recommendations for books/references for how to tackle impulsivity as it is part of many childhood disorders and development so they may have some ideas as well.  My just-turned-4-year old has some impulsivity issues, especially when he is wound up/emotional/out of routine and it can be a difficult issue to tackle.  GL!

     

     

     

     

     

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • LIke others have said, I think at 3 they are figuring out right & wrong but some kids are going to control behaviors more readily than others... if it is a new behavior that you have not told him he shouldn't do before, he might not know it is 'wrong'...

    re the examples you gave

    hitting a trashcan with a stick, pulling curtains down, spraying brother in the face with a hose, kicking a toy as he walks along.

    My DS still does some of those at age 4... particularly things like the kicking a toy or hitting something w/ stick. At 4 they know better than to spray someone in the face though I could still see him doing that accidentally or not realizing the other person wouldnt think it was funny...but one would expect after the first time & a stern reaction from a parent/adult that it wouldnt happen again.

    So if you have already corrected the behavior previously, I think it's all about the 2nd time. We have recently instituted toy jail in our house- a large plastic bin w/ a 'toy jail' sign on the side. It is where toys that are abused, used incorrectly (in dangerous or other types of ways) or are not cleaned up after we ask DS/DD to clean them up after they're done. to get the toys out they have to do something like a chore that is not normally expected of them, help their sibling or us with something, etc. I just put a plastic golf club in toy jail b/c DS was hitting the wall or something w/ it, I asked him to stop, he continued & then lost his grip & it flew across the room. Since they know what toy jail is, I said, give it to me, where is it going. "toy jail". why? "b/c i was hitting things with it."

    Obviously it only applies to toy related things but just an idea for some of it. obviously not allowing him to play w/ the water is a consequence. The curtains are harder so maybe something about not being in that space/area if that is something that might work...

    GL. Having b/g twins I am well aware of differences between boys & girls but obviously it is not true of all boys/girls and it goes both ways, but I do think some of it is just about boys often just experimenting & playing in a more physical type of way. 

     

This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards