If that's not disturbing, I don't know what is.


New Member
I'm so floored by what my 3 1/2 yr old just said to me, that I can't even totally recall the entire conversation word for word, but basically here's what happened.

M started the Summer program at his theraputic school today, so C and I were alone until about 3:15 pm today. As a contrast to most days lately, we actually had a really nice day! He was pleasant to be around, I didn't have to raise my voice at all, and he even used the potty all day and only had one accident in his pull-up! Of course, he had his little issues here and there...but it was managable. Then M came home.

We played a new card game together (all three of us) and C increasingly was becoming his defiant, mischivous, violent self. Putting his hands over M's mouth, coming from behind me and pulling hard on my throat (essentially choking me), throwing pillows at us to upset us, throwing our brand new cards behind the couch, destroying M's things and throwing those behind the couch, etc. Eventually, he took a bag of Pirates Booty (a snack food) and dumped the bag of crumbs all over M's face, getting crumbs in his eyes. :frown:

Of course, I immediately dragged C off to time out (which, of course I always feel like why do I bother because it has NO effect on future behaviors) and afterwards, I proceeded to do our routine of processing the event with C. I asked him why he was in time out and he said because he dumped the Pirates Booty on M. Then I went on to explain that this was NOT OK because M got hurt, and yadda, yadda, yadda, and THIS is what my child says to me...


I just looked at him. I wanted to cry. My 3 1/2 yr old LIKES to hurt people. It makes him feel happy. I don't even know what to make of it. I just want to RUN to the psychiatrist's office and scream HELP right now, but our first appointment with the therapist isn't for a couple of weeks yet.

I blinked, and then went on to explain about how being hurt doesn't make other people feel happy and that M wasn't feeling very happy right now. (I fully understand that my 3 1/2 yr old probably can't grasp empathy, but I'll lay the groundwork anyway) Then I told him that there are OTHER ways to feel happy and I asked him what else makes him happy...he said "Playing," so I said next time he wants to feel happy, to please ask me to play instead of hurting somebody. Ah well, at least I had SOMETHING to say in response to his comment. I was just totally floored.

:frown: I don't know...it's one thing to look at M and know that when he's raging, he's feeling out of control and he doesn't like to be that way...and even then, he wouldn't purposely hurt a fly...but to look at C and to think...Oh my gosh...these are choices...he is enjoying this...hurting people and animals gives him pleasure...and he knows it and can ARTICULATE IT...and with a speech delay to boot! :frown:


Well-Known Member
Try not using so many words. Try-"No hitting!!!" Then set a timer for 2 minutes and have him sit somwhere off to the side. Then when the timer goes off, say again something like-"You do not hit!!! Then, "Go play, and he'll try it again. Also, while he is in time out don't speak to him. Wait til the timer goes off, they be brief. Less is more. Also, be consistant-so he knows exactly what to expect, and not feeling that sometimes he gets away with it , so he'll just always try. It's tough in the beginning because you will feel like you are doing this alot, but give it a little time-Alyssa. You will see improvement, and understanding


Active Member
OMG Alison......I would be so upset as well. However, jogging my brain back to when my difficult child was 3 1/2, I remember him telling me some quite disturbing things as well. I remember once he said he wanted to do to me what he saw in a movie (one he saw at an unmonitored moment at the sitter). He described the movie in great detail, and then tells me how the lady gets killed by someone at the end. We were on vacation at the time, and I am here to tell you, the rest of my vacation was spent in tears. How could my baby have just said that? And further more, what does this mean? I have to admit, there was a period of time I felt like I was raising the next serial killer - I was petrified. He said and did all sorts of weird things during this period of time, talked about fires, peed in the closet, hit me, all sorts of things that were in line with a true conduct disorder.

However...............none of my fears came to fruition. Of course, he has had and does have many problems, but none of them have lead him down the path of acting on any of these odd things he has said, or does say. I don't doubt for a minute that these thoughts don't still pass through his mind, but he does not act on them.

That said - from reading your post objectively - I would be willing to guess that your son perhaps is happy hurting people because he is deriving power, and attention from the episodes. In fact, it may not be that he really likes hurting people, but more that he likes the power he gets from hurting people. To me, those are 2 different balls of wax - one sounds severely disturbed, and the other sounds like a brutally honest statement from a little boy who is needing to control his world. It is also interesting that all of this happened after really special mommy time - that went very positively - and then big brother came home. Jealously sounds like the name of his game in this instance.

Just my thoughts.......try to think positively......it will all be fine.


Well-Known Member
I'm sorry, this is what works with our 5-6 year old autistic kids. I can see your son is verbal, and I do think you are doing everything right. Even pointing out other things that make him happy, and doing those. I wish I had more helpful things to say. ((hugs)))-Alyssa



I am so sorry, but perhaps it was one of those silly three year old statements like "I like to eat my underwear", more to get a reaction out of you? But I can understand your seeing a red flag. I would ask him again next time and see if he says the same thing.


Wiped Out

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I too understand you seeing a red flag and would definitely mention it to his doctor the next time you see him. on the other hand, it might not be something he has actually thought about and was the first response he could think of or articulate. Hugs.


New Member
Allison, I know this is off topic, but are you aware of the recent recall of "Pirate's Booty" snack foods? Many of their products have been found to contain salmonella.


Active Member
If they watch anything as old as "Tom & Jerry", you'll get a lot of those comments! Remember: "back in the day" we never thought that you could get up off the ground if a 2,000 lb. anvil fell on your head. Now they think you will!

We went through that type of talk. We started to wickedly sensor everything that they got to watch on t.v. including all cartoons.

Our 8 yr. old son is obsessed with YuGiOh and has been since he was 4. When he was 5 he told the school psychologist that YuGiOh was talking to him and told him to go to the top of the school and jump off the roof. Many, many hours on the "couch" if you will, revealed that he knew if he said it, he would get to come home with me. No wonder I lost my job!!! :thumbsdown:

Bottom line: some kids say what they say to get a rise, I vote mention it to the psychiatrist and see what she thinks!

Good luck!



New Member
My take on this is that C made the statement he did because he sees M's conduct and he is patterning himself after him. His actions seem almost retaliatory-- as if he was trying to gain some ground in his 3 1/2 year old way after M came home and brought chaos to his otherwise lovely day. And at least in my house, the relationship between the 3 1/2 year old and 7 1/2 year old involves total adoration of the older from the younger sibling. Perhaps C felt that his words would make him more like M.

If it makes you feel any better, 3 1/2 year old Miles who has speech delays but absoultely no signs of ADHD or ODD told me the other day: "I shoot you. I die you". This because he was annoyed with me and because as Seb pointed out, he was referring to one of Seb's video games. As horrific as the words were, I don't give it much more importance.

The words of a 3 1/2 year old can be prophetic though sometimes and so one wonders. I happened upon a book in which I wrote down the clever / odd things Seb said at 3. Among them he said: "I am a dangerous guy and I like to do dangerous things". This one proved to be true. But so many others were just babble. I am hoping that C's comment owes more to the context of the dynamic with M in the moment and isn't some kind of awful prophezy.


Here we go again!
I'd probably be freaking out if it were my kid, too. However, I don't know your story very well, and so on the surface, I have to agree with Ella. My take is that he's not happy about having to share you with M and he's doing his darndest to sabotage your time and attention with M. Still and all, I'd let the psychiatrist know and keep it on your radar to see if it's just an anomaly or becomes a pattern.


New Member
After years of working with kids I heard kids say things like that many times. Or they would say things like I want to kill them or I hate myself, etc. Granted, sometimes they were concerning statements, depending on knowing the kids, their mental status, etc. But often, especially with the younger ones, they just didn't have the right words to express themselves. We would have to explain "I understand that you are upset with yourself, but if you are saying you want to hurt yourself and/or others, then I will have to get you some help. DO you really mean that or are you just really angry and don't know what else to say?"
Usually that is the case and you can just help give them some better expressive words to use.
Hope that helps!