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Carol Kryder LMFT
Carol Kryder LMFT, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 808
Experience:  APA Board Certified, Diplomate,Substance Abuse Professional, 20 years family therapy experience
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My grand-daughter is almost 3 years old. She is being very

Customer Question

My grand-daughter is almost 3 years old. She is being very aggressive with adults and her playmates. She is being very mean tempered. Has hit people for no reason and animals too. Today I took her to her gym class play day and observed her go up to children and initially be nice and then very mean to them. She was walking by the younger children and kicking them or hitting them hard for no apparent reason. Please help with advise where to start with help for her. She is very sweet for the most part but when she acts mean it is so concerning to me.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Carol Kryder LMFT replied 7 years ago.
This is quite distressing and your granddaughter is not acting normally for her age. Has she witnessed any violence, either on TV, movies or domestic violence among any family members? Has she been treated violently? She has somehow learned that it is OK to hit and kick other kids. I am also quite concerned about her treatment of animals. Children of this age often act out violent actions which they have seen or have experienced.

It is appropriate to talk to her and give her a time out or go home if she behaves in this manner in a public place. You might also try a sticker chart in which she is rewarded with a sticker if she refrains from assaulting other children or animals for that day. After three days (one day for each year of her age) she gets a special treat, outing, prize, or whatever you find that will motivate her for this behavior. Always give her plenty of praise for self- control.

If she has been a witness to or victim of violence, she may need to be evaluated by a child psychologist. You don't mention her parents, but I hope they are as alarmed as you are and will follow through with finding out what is happening with your granddaughter. This is nothing to be swept under the rug. If her behavior does not improve with the suggestions I have made, please have her evaluated by a professional.

I hope this has been helpful. I wish you the very best of luck.

Edited by Carol Kryder LMFT on 6/2/2010 at 4:53 AM EST