3 1/2 yr old defiance


I have questions about two similar scenarios that are problems for my 3 and a half year old son. The first is that when he's around kids his own age for some sort of a program requiring group participation (Sunday School, library story time, "Mommy and Me" gymnastics) he becomes angry and defiant, crossing his arms and refusing to participate. We've been teaching his Sunday School class every other week and (after almost a year) have started offering rewards after church for specific behaviors we want him to demonstrate... One M&M for each song he participated in, being attentive and remembering the story afterwards, etc. It has brought nominal results. He could enjoy so many things so much more if he could let go and participate.

The second scenario is that when we go into a place where it may be loud or have lots of fun things for kids to do... The second he enters he gets really angry, almost instinctively, and says he wants to smash whatever is offered (bounce houses, trampolines, balloon animals, you name it)and can't be persuaded to participate in or enjoy anything. The only thing we've found is that if he has a friend with him, he's more focused on the friend and runs around enjoying everything. How can we help him get over the anger and enjoy himself?

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