Lately my husband and I have been feeling completely frustrated and overwhelmed with our son's [spirited/stubborn/strong willed/expressive/defiant/exhausting] behavior. He's 3 years old. Most days I feel at the end of my rope, and sometimes even fighting back tears wondering if I've somehow done something wrong or failed as a parent.
Let me give some of examples of what might happen in a typical day:
- Everything seems to be a cause for yelling/screaming/protest, from getting dressed to getting buckled in the car seat. (not always, but often)
- I ask him nicely to put away his toys and offer to help and he refuses.
- He'll throw the fridge magnets on the ground. I ask him to stop. He doesn't. I ask him to pick them up. Nothing. I hold his hand and walk him back over to the fridge and say we need to pick these up now. He picks one up and throws it.
- After I pick them up I find him dumping out a bottle of shampoo on the floor.
- We go to the store and he wants to bring his snow shovel in with him. I say he needs to leave it in the car, but he can bring something smaller. Screaming and kicking protest in the store. We have to leave.
- Anytime we have to leave somewhere he usually causes a big screaming/flailing scene. As in, leaving because it's just time to go home for lunch or the thing we came to do is now done. (playgroup/library story time/etc.)
- Every morning when dad leaves for work or if I have to go somewhere in the evening...Lots of crying.
- Screaming and kicking if I'm putting him in a shopping cart. (the only way I can get him to stay in is to remember to bring some sort of special treat.)
- Refuses to use the potty.
- He has ruined several wall and carpet areas while the adult on duty was using the bathroom. (permanent marker on walls & floor, glue and paint on carpet) (I didn't even know there was a permanent marker in that closet he found it in and the other time I had locked the door to my art supplies and he picked the lock with a butter knife!)
-When I'm not looking and he wants something I've put up high, he'll start emptying containers around the house and stacking them, to climb up and reach.
I could go on, but this gives you a pretty good idea. I think he is a very smart kid and just has a very strong will and opinions about how he wants things to go....but I just feel like I can't do anything (house chores/run an errand/make a phone call/look away for 5 seconds/breath/finish my lunch) unless I put him in front of the TV, which I don't want to do, ....because if not, something in the house will probably get destroyed or he will do something unsafe. My nerves are just a bit fried. Help! :)
I go between wondering if this is just normal 3 year old boy stuff and I just have to wait and hold on for dear life and until the tide changes...or if there's something we're doing wrong, that we can change. It's especially hard when I talk to friends with kids and I feel like I'm the only one dealing with this kind of thing. ...or they say "oh, I just told her once not to do it, and she never did it again." or "he pretty much just wanted to use the potty and taught himself." I can almost never even accomplish a simple errand with my son in tow (unless it's just a drive through) with out feeling completely frazzled afterwards because of him always trying to run off or having a fit about everything. I feel like we have to miss out on lots of fun kid things because they require him to sit, follow along, and not wonder off and do his own thing for 5 minutes.
Surely someone else has been through this and has some sort of advice or direction to point me in. I've even wondered if I should find some sort of parenting coach. Man, I was such a good parent before I had a kid. ;)
Edited by GuavaGirl - 4/16/13 at 12:39pm