(I don't know if this is a discipline issue per se. Maybe it is as we have these issues around things we need to set limits on. Maybe I should have posted in childhood? Are 3+ year olds still toddlers even?)
My daughter has just started raging. I don't know how else to describe it. Anything can set her off it seems. There are deeper things at work obviously - see below.
An example (that I just posted in another thread):
Yesterday she sat on my knee for 45 minutes kicking, screaming...occasionally hitting and scratching me. All the while yelling at me to wipe her tears away...but as I tried, she screamed and screamed about how I was not doing it right - "Do it like THIS!!!! NOOOOT LIKE THAT!!! NOT LIKE THAT!!!! NOOOOOOO!" Even how I had my legs crossed, not crossed, positioned...sent her raging too.
The best I could do was sit there and wait whilst she raged and flailed. I cried too in the end, and she screamed at me for that too. "DON'T HAVE THAT FACE!!!!! DON'T!!! HAVE A HAPPY FACE!!!!!!"
Cause of tantrum/rage/unbelievably sad upset?
Dad ate a piece of her toast she wasn't eating. (Though, to be fair - that was just the trigger...she had, had a hard and very overstimulating day).
As a bit of background.
1. Our little girl is 3 years and two months old. She is incredibly bright, verbal, mentally busy (almost too much I think sometimes). She is ahead a little in this regard, and I struggle sometimes with keeping her from being bored (but that is another story). She seems to be entering a phase of wanting control over everything...which I understand is common, and part of their search for autonomy. She is feisty, and the word I throw around all the time is INTENSE. She is very, very INTENSE. Always has been. Even as a baby, she was very difficult to 'calm'. Nowadays cuddles are never enough, she usually chooses an external non-parental thing to make herself feel better (though these things are also sore points for us all unfortunately) - e.g. a bottle of milk, or a video.
2. Changes: Lots of things happening for her at the moment. We've just moved around the corner but into a brand new house. The house is bigger, better....more child friendly - spaces are nice and I think she loves being here. But it is a change.
We're also potty training, which she is doing okay at thus far.
We've ALSO gone to preschool 3 times, with me attending for 3 hours with her each time - and we had planned to do the big scary separation thing next week. However, the latest of her rages happened after preschool yesterday. Well, in the evening anyway. She had had a very full-on morning where there was lots of noise whilst the kids were doing a particular activity with a fitness/movement coach person...and I could tell at the time she was overwhelmed...so we didn't stay for the whole session. It made me pretty sad though as her previous two visits had been great...now of course I'm full of anxiety about next week (sigh).
Oh - and whilst I've been resisting and resisting - she is now finally done with naps...and we're having trouble deciding whether to try and enforce some kind of quiet time (we could 'enforce' it, as she is still in a cot that she doesn't escape from...but she just seems far too old for this now) - she won't sit down or chill out by herself ever it seems. Hmm.
I have no idea what to do about her behaviour.
The only thing that occurs to me is to help her express herself more. Perhaps not JUST verbally, in terms of a straight Q & A conversation about things (which she is generally very good at, if not already upset) - but through play of some kind maybe?
Although she is bright and verbal - and although I know she is still very little - I would like to help her get some of the 'stuff' out before she explodes like she has done a few times now. It is heartbreaking to see, and I'm not coping at all well with it...which in turn is not helping her at all.
I read a lot about tantrums and raging all over the place, and have committed to re-reading Raising the Highly Spirited Child...but am wondering if other's have any ideas for games, or expressive play, or anything at all that might help me to help her diffuse her frustration and anger or sadness before it becomes overwhelming.
I also realise that she has limited words for emotions. She knows angry, sad, frustrated (and excited, happy, bonkers <--- we use this one for crazy-happy-fun moods) - but maybe she needs more words...? A word for the volcanic/raging feeling...? A word for when she's beyond angry, or beyond just sad? I don't know.
Should I be trying to play-act with her toys, some of the new scenarios in her life? Preschool...? Or whatever? I just don't know where to start with that kind of thing.
Has anyone read Playful Parenting and put those ideas into practice? I'm not sure my LO would respond well to some of the physical stuff in that book...she is just not that physical or touchy-feely generally...but on the other hand, maybe healthy physical outlets combined with constructive talking is exactly what she needs?
To be clear, I can't and wouldn't want to stop all this behaviour entirely - she obviously needs to get it all out - I would just like to guide her more effectively, so it can be less traumatic and (violent?) and frightening for everyone.
It's a slightly different issue - but I also desperately need some ideas for how to set limits for her. We are at a loss here too. Fun/interactive ways would be the thing...does anyone know a good book, or blog or something?
Someone said in a thread that this is a common age for this. And in a thread I posted a while back someone tried to warn me of the 'three' thing. Gah.
I. Am. Not. Handling.
I have my own problems (insomnia/bruxism and more) - and my energy is so low it is hard to even think, let alone act on things at the moment...hence posting.
Thanks for reading.
Edited by Grover - 10/25/13 at 2:35pm