Intense anger and giving up


My 3 year old had open heart surgery last May - and we've been amazed at how quickly his development has skyrocketed since. I have previously just chalked this up to developmental delays resulting from his heart issues, but we are far enough past surgery and he has made so many other strides with other growth that I'm not too confident anymore.

He is generally a sweet kid who loves to make sure everyone around him is taken care of and I'm very grateful this behavior does not seem to be directed at people at this time.

When he is struggling to do something - i.e. build his train tracks and make the loop connect. He might try once or twice but usually gives up fairly quickly and goes from calm to intense anger in a matter of moments - yelling and often hitting his toy over and over and we struggle to get him to stop. He gets so focused in on hitting the toy that won't "behave" and ignores our calls for him to stop. Most often, we have to go to him and hold him until he calms down.

When he's not in the midst of this, I try to talk with him about not giving up and to keep trying again - but the emotion is just so overwhelming in the moment, I'm not sure how capable he is of controlling it. He often won't try something unless he's confident he can do it - so I like to encourage him to try new things especially when he's surprised that he can actually do them and even more so if he practices, but I worry that I'm pushing him too hard when it results in these extreme emotions.

Is this something that's common for 2-3 yr. old boys? Is there any good way we can encourage him to not give up and get so upset but instead to keep trying or ask for help before he gets so angry? I'd really like to help him figure this out while he's young and before the frustration and anger stems into other endeavors and possibly comes out towards people.

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