3 year old grandchild Julie will say things like "Bad Julie" or "Just throw me away mommy" or hit herself especially during tantrum. During her tantrums she also will tend to scratch and bite anyone that may be near her. Is it normal for a toddler to behave this way?

2 Answers 2


Self harm, lack of self regard, and repeated, persistent violence against others are a warning sign, but its hard to say without more details. You should probably seek professional advice.


My son had tantrums at 2 (I think) where he would hit himself and others in frustration. He didn't say the things your granddaughter is saying but his verbal skills weren't that far along.

I can't say whether this is normal or not, but I can say that he's mostly grown out of them ok (they do still happen if we do too much in a day for him, but they're way less bad than they were).

I am concerned by the phrases she is saying, she may be repeating what I think is some harmful language that somebody else is saying. It may be beneficial to try and ask her about why she says those things once she's calmed down and try and talk with whomever the source is to ensure they're not unintentionally worsening the issue.

Overall, though, it sounds like she's frustrated. This always seems to be the root cause of all tantrums and the solution for me has always been to try and expand the ways she can express herself as well as facilitate regulation.

  • For my kids, I've taught them a handful of sign language to help them communicate when their words aren't working for them: https://parenting.stackexchange.com/a/43566/26398
  • To append to that, I would also teach 'Help'. My son is genuinely happy to have this one and uses it all the time, even when he's not feeling frustrated. He'll bring me his shoes and do the sign for help very excitedly when asking me to help him tie them.

With regards to helping to facilitate regulation, I'll refer you to another answer I posted awhile back. I'll just provide a quick summary here, you can read the rest in that post:

  • Try hard for a regular nap.
  • Try to make time for a playground.
  • Cut her nails.
  • Have a soft space you can take her too.
  • Try to stay with them through the tantrum, but keep yourself safe with a few martial arts tricks.
  • Try to control your tone when speaking; speak with a firm but dispassionate tone.
  • Try to talk about it afterwards.

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