My 31/2 year old is basically very sweet, but she has recently started acting out aggressively at her preschool and when she is disciplined with a time-out, she bites herself while she is crying and tantruming. We have not seen this behavior at home, but she is not listening at all and basically behaving in an aggressive and unpleasant manner more frequently. She never sits still and we are reaching the end of our rope at times. What makes me nervous is that she seems to consistently seek validation from me, the mommy, by saying she loves me every time she does something or if I am using a tone of voice that indicates I am upset with something (even if it is unrelated to her). I am worried that she has low self-worth and perhaps thinks of herself as "bad" even though I have really tried to be sure she receives positive reinforcement and lots and lots of love. HELP!!!
Three-year-olds are learning how to handle the anger that is associated with frustration of their wisher. This is a normal part of development, and her tantrums (including the biting) will eventually wane, as long as she is receiving proper limits and guidance, including discipline when needed. Children of this age very much crave the approval of parents, so they'll be sensitive to appearances of disapproval. This all helps them to regulate their behavior and to learn to do what pleases their parents.
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