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Anyone elses almost 3yo argue every moment they are awake?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Seriously - if this kid does not turn out to be like the Presidents lawyer when he grows up, he will have missed the entire point of his existence. He argues every single moment he is awake. Even when I state things as a non-negotiable. ALL things are argued about. What kind of bread his sandwich is on, what kid of peanut butter (smooth or crunchy), what color shirt he wears, what jeans he wears (they all look alike b/c I got them on crazy sale), what toys he plays with, every single time he opens his mouth ALL DAY he is arguing. He doesn't want to brush his teeth and when I give up and send him to bed he insists he has cavities and HAS to brush. He doesn't want to wear a coat, hes FREEZING - not THAT coat! The OTHER coat (he only has one - I don't know which other coat he's talking about). He wants his FIRETRUCK, no, wait, he wants Lightning McQueen!! He wants mac and cheese, no wait, he wants YOGURT! No, actually he wants a PB&J, NO - he wants an apple and a banana! (I do not cater to his food wants - I make one thing, if he doesn't want to eat he doesn't have to)

 

It's driving me up the wall. I try not to engage him, I try SO HARD not to engage in the argument and just go about whatever it is that needs to get done. But he just keeps going. He NEVER stops arguing.

 

It's getting to the point that he's either arguing, or he's sleeping. I don't think I can take it anymore. He'll be 3yo on Jan 10, 2012. I'm going INSANE.  Help please??

post #2 of 19

Only commisseration here. It really is no fun. I try to give choices where I can & disengage from the argument when I'm capable.

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeguard View Post

Only commisseration here. It really is no fun. I try to give choices where I can & disengage from the argument when I'm capable.



Oh how i wish this worked!! He doesn't want choices, he "chooses" something that isn't a choice. It's hard because its making him so hard to be around, and its driving me NUTS.

post #4 of 19

You just described my 4 yo DD to a T. She acts just like that non stop and I actually sometimes enjoys when she is asleep for the quietness.

post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by averysmomma05 View Post

You just described my 4 yo DD to a T. She acts just like that non stop and I actually sometimes enjoys when she is asleep for the quietness.



Well, someone did think he was 4yo yesterday on the bus....He talks like a 5yo too, so that doesn't help.

post #6 of 19

I was just coming to ask the same thing. My daughter will be 4 in March and I'm ready to smother myself with a pillow. She is absolutely contrary - about EVERYTHING. She acts like she hates me and I'm the worst mother ever. She's never happy with anything and she's driving me nuts. No matter what it is, she'll argue about it or say "no." It doesn't matter what it is. She hates it and only wants the impossible. This happened literally overnight and her behavior the past few weeks has been atrocious. She will, for no reason, suddenly think I'm "mean" and slam doors, etc. I thought she was sick, but doc says she's healthy. No allergies I can find and nothing is different. No food dyes or anything artificial. No sugar. She's driving me just bananas. One week, I have a happy kid that loves life and the next, she refuses to be happy about a single thing.

 

Part of our problem, too, is that she won't eat. Is yours doing that? If I make her something, she refuses to eat it. Meal after meal goes into the trash. If she asks for something and I make it, she still will not eat it. She eats maybe one string cheese stick per day's worth of food. She complains constantly that she's so hungry and her tummy hurts because she wants to eat, but she won't. I've tried making a rule that she must eat what she asks for, but she will just sit in her chair until bedtime and go to bed hungry. No idea what to do about it. It's almost like she's purposefully trying to make herself unhappy and it's constant. Literally every single second of the day. There are no happy moments here. Not sure how to handle it. Time-out for snotty behavior and breaking rules makes things hundreds of times worse, so I'm at my wit's end.

 

My only okay moments are when she's asleep. I want to lock myself in the bedroom ever moment she's awake. I miss my baby. :(

post #7 of 19

My son is like this too.  Everything's a battle or negotiation.  And when he refuses to eat it makes him more cranky.  His behavior is much better when he gets a good night sleep and he eats well.  He's been having bad dreams at night so his sleep is interrupted and it affects his behavior.  That combined with refusing to eat what I cook equals recipe for disaster.  

 

His other new behavior since he turned 3 was if you ask him if he had a good time at a party or did he like his new toys he got for Christmas, he'll say no.  Then if you ask him, oh so you dont like your toys, should we get rid of them and he says yes.  Do you follow up with it?  Now I am not sure how much he means it, but it drives DH crazy.  It's like how can he say he didn't enjoy his friend's birthday party or the new toys when while he's playing he is enjoying himself and smiling?  

 

To the previous posters- are your kids sleeping well?

post #8 of 19


Mine sleeps great. No trouble there.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skippy918 View Post


 

To the previous posters- are your kids sleeping well?



 

post #9 of 19

My 15yo ds is still like this.  I try to disengage and act like a teenager by rolling my eyes at him as much as possible.  And my oldest will be 18 (!) on 1/10!

post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skippy918 View Post

 

To the previous posters- are your kids sleeping well?


Yeah, ds sleeps wonderfully.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 34me View Post

My 15yo ds is still like this.  I try to disengage and act like a teenager by rolling my eyes at him as much as possible.  And my oldest will be 18 (!) on 1/10!



Thats my ds's birthday!! Only he's 15years younger than your ds winky.gif

 

Are there any books you would recommend? Survival tactics? Methods to tame the madness of an attorney in training?

post #11 of 19

C likes facts so I watch a lot of discovery channel and read the Guiness book of world records.  He gets a lot of exercise.  Not popular on MDC but he started playing competitive sports at 4; it's the only thing that ever wore him out.  Now that he's older, if he insists on wearing shorts throughout the Colorado winter - have at it.  Have you asked him what other coat he wants to wear (I'm sure you have) ?  I made mine show me whatever he wanted, that I was pretty sure either didn't exist or wasn't his.  We actually do have both kinds of PB in the house because smooth would never have been good enough.

post #12 of 19

Mine's 4, but the arguing is the same. We used to yell at him to get out of the bathroom b/c he would turn on the water and play with it all day (and we're in a water-shortage area and don't like to waste natural resources anyway). Now we have to yell at him to actually wash his hands instead of going into the bathroom and standing there looking the mirror, then touching a towel. If we say, "Done eating? Please go wash up," he screams back at us and cries like we just took away his dinner while he was still hungry. Ugh. (And when I say "yell," I mean "be firm" -- real yelling doesn't work but I use that term b/c we started out getting really angry at his reactions until we realized that it was just another one of "those" phases and it's here to stay til it's done with. It's still supremely annoying, however....)

 

Even when it's something he WANTS to do, like go to the park, he refuses to get dressed. So we say, "I guess you really don't want to go, since you're not getting ready." That results in angry crying and tons of attitude. I only offer help with getting dressed once. If he doesn't cooperate, I leave him to do it himself. More crying. EVERYTHING is a struggle. Every f*ing thing.

 

The interesting thing that I have noticed is that it's gotten much worse over the past two weeks. And in that time period, we had lots of "different" things going on that were not part of the daily routine. There was lots of shopping and errands surrounding his birthday and the holidays. His normal activities ended for a couple of weeks due to the holidays, and DH is home on vacation. When DH is home, he doesn't nap. During the week, we have a good routine and 90% or more of the time, he naps. On weekends when DH is home, I rarely even try anymore b/c he can't settle down when Daddy's around. So while DH has been off work, only one nap until today. Today we lucked out, let him watch a video, and he fell sound asleep for over 3 hours. He woke up his usual happy, amenable self. I'm hoping it lasts...

 

One thing I have been working really hard on is positive reinforcement and positive attention. Any little thing I can find to praise, I do. Most of the time, that results in the opposite behavior and I get exasperated, but I've gotten better at ignoring the negative reaction that follows the positive, and sometimes I see a glimmer of hope that he does really "get it." Friends with older kids have told me that shortly after they turn 4 things got drastically better, so that's what I'm hanging onto!

post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by swd12422 View Post

Mine's 4, but the arguing is the same. We used to yell at him to get out of the bathroom b/c he would turn on the water and play with it all day (and we're in a water-shortage area and don't like to waste natural resources anyway). Now we have to yell at him to actually wash his hands instead of going into the bathroom and standing there looking the mirror, then touching a towel. If we say, "Done eating? Please go wash up," he screams back at us and cries like we just took away his dinner while he was still hungry. Ugh. (And when I say "yell," I mean "be firm" -- real yelling doesn't work but I use that term b/c we started out getting really angry at his reactions until we realized that it was just another one of "those" phases and it's here to stay til it's done with. It's still supremely annoying, however....)

 

Even when it's something he WANTS to do, like go to the park, he refuses to get dressed. So we say, "I guess you really don't want to go, since you're not getting ready." That results in angry crying and tons of attitude. I only offer help with getting dressed once. If he doesn't cooperate, I leave him to do it himself. More crying. EVERYTHING is a struggle. Every f*ing thing.

 

The interesting thing that I have noticed is that it's gotten much worse over the past two weeks. And in that time period, we had lots of "different" things going on that were not part of the daily routine. There was lots of shopping and errands surrounding his birthday and the holidays. His normal activities ended for a couple of weeks due to the holidays, and DH is home on vacation. When DH is home, he doesn't nap. During the week, we have a good routine and 90% or more of the time, he naps. On weekends when DH is home, I rarely even try anymore b/c he can't settle down when Daddy's around. So while DH has been off work, only one nap until today. Today we lucked out, let him watch a video, and he fell sound asleep for over 3 hours. He woke up his usual happy, amenable self. I'm hoping it lasts...

 

One thing I have been working really hard on is positive reinforcement and positive attention. Any little thing I can find to praise, I do. Most of the time, that results in the opposite behavior and I get exasperated, but I've gotten better at ignoring the negative reaction that follows the positive, and sometimes I see a glimmer of hope that he does really "get it." Friends with older kids have told me that shortly after they turn 4 things got drastically better, so that's what I'm hanging onto!


Oh, my! Your DS and my DD must be twins!! This is just her to a tee - especially the bolded.  She'll be 4 in a couple of days, and I've really been hoping that 4 will be a better year for us than 3, because it's been such a struggle.  

 

DD1 doesn't sleep well either - she still wakes a couple of times a night, wanting snuggles. She only sleeps from about 9pm-7am with no nap, so she's definitely on the low end of sleep, but that doesn't seem to be the problem for you, OP.

 

I know that the last 6 months have been pretty unsettled here - we were house hunting a lot, one sale fell through at the last minute, and now we're just getting ready to move into a new house.  Our schedules have been crazy with not very much time to do fun things like go to the park, play at home etc. though I have bent over backwards trying to fit in as much of that as possible, but sorting out a place to live had to take priority too sometimes... I'm hoping that a combination of turning 4 and finding our new 'normal' once we're settled into the new house will help DD to overcome the insanely oppositional behaviour.  (I've actually suspected that she may have ODD, but also suspect that circumstances and my own stress/distraction over the last few months has played a big part in some of her more difficult behaviour, so I've chosen not to pursue that line of enquiry for the time being.)

 

We also joke that DD1 is going to grow up to be a lawyer to exercise her argumentative abilities! I think that's something actually that has helped us through - trying to focus on the positives.  Sometimes it feels like all she does is misbehave and argue, but when you dig down you can find good stuff to think about, and praise the kid for too.  For example, DD1 is really a wonderful big sister to DD2 (they do fight occasionally, of course!) and so every time we see them playing nicely together, or giving each other a hug, or DD1 tries to teach DD2 a new sign, we make a point of praising them, particularly DD1.  It's also quite effective to 'gossip' about DD1's good behaviour to each other.  (If praised directly she often tries to argue against it! "I'm *not* caring and loving mummy!!") So, I'll tell DH about all the good things that DD1 did during the day at dinner time, so she can hear it - I think she tends to think it's more likely to be true if we're telling someone else about it.

 

(((hugs))) 3 year olds are really hard.

 

post #14 of 19

Lisa's post just reminded me that I realized lately that the "gossip" way of praising does work better for us, too. He doesn't argue or react much when I tell Daddy about "our" day during dinner, other than getting a bit silly and stopping eating for awhile when Daddy then turns to him and gives him attention....

 

Also, my mom just pointed something else out to me. My grandmother had three brothers, and as the only girl she was tasked with looking after them. The youngest was developmentally delayed, but no one knew it at the time b/c they were poor and uneducated and just thought he was a "good, quiet" baby. Everyone thought he was "perfect" b/c he was so obedient and it took them years to figure out there was a problem. Obviously, we are much more aware of such things these days, but my mom reminded me to be thankful for that "spark" and realize that these arguments couldn't come from a brain that wasn't intelligent and well-developed.

 

So yeah, another one for the "thank goodness it's 'normal' but so maddening!"

post #15 of 19

I have two of them, if one doesn't argue, the other one does ... eyesroll.gif

 

or they argue with each other - loud!

post #16 of 19


Are you sure you're not talking about my DD?  She's 6.5 and her reason for being is to argue with me.  Every.single.thing. we do has to be negotiated.  I have gotten to the point when I dread doing crafts with her because she wants to re-design the process and re-invent whatever it is we're making.  (To a certain extent I'm sure that's good, but I just wish she could do *one* thing I say, especially when it means a pretty end-product rather than a big mess).  

 

Even things that you'd think she'd be happy about and things that don't really affect her in anyway have to be argued:  "Mama, you said you had to go to the bathroom and you haven't gone yet."  "Mama, you said we'd leave the house at 4:30 and it is 4:29!"  "Mama!  You said younger-sister and I would share a banana but now you've given us each our own!"    And forget about choices because the options never are good enough!

 

*sigh*  I need serious advice because I feel like I spend my whole day annoyed!  I suppose this is a good thing, in some way, right?  I mean, at the least this is a skill they are developing, right?

 

This made me laugh out loud: 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Super~Single~Mama View Post

Seriously - if this kid does not turn out to be like the Presidents lawyer when he grows up, he will have missed the entire point of his existence. 

 

post #17 of 19

My DD has been arguing since she first learned to communicate. The good news is at almost 7 the arguing has subsided a lot and there isn't quite so much anger and tears on her part. The bad news is, though, I'm pretty sure she argues for fun now, which drives me batty because I absolutely hate arguing. I find it very draining. She especially likes to argue about things that have nothing to do with her or just plain don't matter, like whether or not it's really okay for DS to play with the thing of mine I said he could play with, whether or not he truly likes and will eat the food that I gave him (which he is usually shovelling into his mouth mid-argument), when my doctor's appointment is scheduled for, whether or not the sky is actually blue, whether or not Roomie's navy blue uniform shirts are black, whether spiders are insects or arachnids, whether or not insects are animals, et cetera. Then there are those non-negotiable things like whether or not that tunic top that her butt is hanging out of is a dress, and whether or not holding her hands over her nipples (or placing stickers over them) makes it acceptable to run through the house to the laundry room totally topless when the roommate is home. When I tell her I've had enough of the argument and it's over now, she argues about whether or not we're going to continue arguing. I have witnessed her arguing with her books (and trying to drag me into it). These days I'm working on not playing into it and just walking away. The awesome thing about this age, though, is that she can read now, so a lot of the things she wants to argue about I can just hand her an encyclopedia or a dictionary (those books she does trust) and tell her to take it up with the book. I've jokingly told my roommate (who also thrives on arguments) that I'm going to leave her with him when I move so they can argue to their hearts' content. It really has gotten better, though. The arguments were way more constant when she was 3-4. She gets more reasonable with age.

 

So no advice really, but I totally feel for ya. On the bright side, I hear lawyers make decent money.

post #18 of 19
You guys are describing my 4yo DS perfectly, except that this isn't a phase with him. He's always been like this. We joke that he's either going to become a lawyer or the dictator of a small island nation, lol.

None of the usual discipline techniques work with him. We do time outs, and when he comes out of time out he seems happy and cooperative, but five minutes later the next little thing happens and it starts all over again. He loves praise, but it doesn't affect his behavior. This kid is screaming and arguing all. Day. Long. For the last several nights he's been carried up to bed kicking and screaming because he refuses to go potty, refuses to get pjs on, refuses to pick out a bedtime story, etc. On top of refusing to eat dinner, of course. It is so, so emotionally draining. It's like he is intentionally trying to be miserable.

What do you do with a kid like this? How do you cope? How do you help your other children cope?

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post #19 of 19

my 3 y.o. dd2 is just like this. AND she is in a helpless phase. so much fun. Everything is "the worst ever". and for no reason, its just the worst ever. the other day she was saying this was the worst summer ever. and later, i was making popcorn for her and dd1, so she is walking around the kitchen mumbling to herself, "the worst mommy ever, the worst daddy ever, the worst big sister ever. this is the worst family ever". then ate the popcorn.

i was taking them out to lunch (which we never do so it was a special occasion) and she was FREAKING out about where we were going. we weren't going to her favorite place. so i just ignored her about it and she stopped pretty quickly. that was the FIRST time that had worked, so maybe she is growing out of that particular phase.

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