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3yo DS out of controll....long vent

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Sorry guys I don't post often so I'm sure none of you really no me, but I am at my wits end and need some advice, or at least just to vent I don't know where else to turn.

I am a single mother of a very spirited DS who just turned 3 years old. I love him dearly, my life revolves around him. Ever since the day he was born I knew he would take a little more than the "average" child. I couldn't imagine what I was actually in for. Life today for example, we were visiting my mother and he started fiddling with my mother bag of crocheting stuff (not that big of a deal) and I asked him nicely to try not to hurt anything because grandmom was working very hard on that and it might hurt her feelings....he looks at me with the cocky grin adn stares me dead in the eye and dumps everything out of the bag and starts throwing it every where, I got down on my hands and knees to his level and looked him in the eye and tried to talk to him about what he had done, he turned his back (like he couldn't even hear me) and stuck his hands in his baked beans held them in the air (so its dripping all over the place) closed his eyes and started singing and swaying back and forth (as though I wasn't even in the room) I sent him to sit on the couch and play with his toys while I cleaned the mess up...(big mistake) he runs in a minute later and says mom I got a fish.......what do you mean you've got a fish......he said on the table..........I go in the room he has pushed the coffee table up to the 55 gallon fish tank and took out a fish with his bare hands and layed it on the table!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and he couldn't fathom why that would make me upset!!!

This is daily, normally I am no less than two inches from him at a time because I know he needs constant direction, but its just keeps getting harder and harder to handle. Now his tantrums after being told somthing was wrong become viloent, he will hit me, kick me, bite me, and pull my hair!! You can see it in him eyes he is purposely being hurtful he is sometimes full of rage!! I don't know where he gets it from he has not been exposed to any violence, and these are not new behaviors, this is who he has always been its just getting progessively worse.

I am at the point where I don't really enjoy him anymore, which hurts me and scares me. I don't even think I want anymore kids which saddens me because he is all I ever wanted but he takes sooo much and nothing works, I have tried everything to try to instill some direction in his life and nothing works.

What am I doing wrong?? He is extremely smart and articulate, I know he understands what I am asking from him, he just doesn't care!!! I keep waiting for things to get easier for him to grow out of this but it just gets worse!!

Sorry to ramble but there is no one else to talk to no one else understands!! Thanks for listening!

post #2 of 19
He sounds a lot like my dd (who will be three in a few weeks) . I don't know what to tell you. Lilyka isn't quite that defiant but we are also a little more firm and do use punishment (because nothing else works).

I would seek professional help if I were in your shoes. It my be allergies or food sensitivites ("Is this Your CHild" is an intresting book with suggestions for elimination diets etc. . . ) Is he getting enough sleep? I know dd hardly sleeps but if I can get her to take a nap during the day (somehitng she stopped doing during regularly at 4 months) it makes a night and day difference. (There is a book titled "I your child Overtired" I forget who it is by and the guy says a lot of crap but he does make a valid point) Another book that has been of some help is "parenting with Love and Logic"
post #3 of 19
awwwwww, I knew as soon as I saw the title that this was going to be one of those "Boy have I been there" posts. This sounds like my ds to the tee at three years old...and I got lots of "advice" that basically told me my parenting sucked...things like, "...sounds like he needs more supervision...." etc. It was really insulting to me at the time because I was questionning myself so much anyway, but was pretty sure I was working my butt off....anyhoo, I truly believe it's the age. I mean, sure, some 3 year olds will be less active, less rebellious, less whatever, but they were probably also less those things at the earlier ages as well. My ds is spirited and very very active, also requiring one eye on him, no matter what's happening. I found that things eased up considerably just before 3 1/2 (which may not be consoling for you right now), but we still definitely have periods...the last two days (see, he just rolled off the couch with some kind of flip involved as I was typing just now) have been very difficult for the whole family, and I'm trying to figure out what's going on, but I'm certainly not enjoying him this week. : IMO, consistency is key, and I'm sure you are just that, so keep on doing that and hang in there as much as you can. again.
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your replies

I really appreciate be able to come here and vent. I don't know what magical cure I was looking for, but I wish there was one. He is such a special child, I hate the way I feel about him sometime. No one ever understands, they just look at me like I'm a failure when we are out and my child is the only one screaming at the top of his lungs, and running around like a nut! It never stops. But its nice to hear there are others out there and its not just me (misery loves company...)

Thanks for you support

post #5 of 19
I have not been there, and I am sorry you are going through this. It must be really difficult not to question yourself, and then to have everyone else blaming you for this...ugh.

I have begun reading about the "toddler years" as my DD is getting older now and I want to be prepared. I have The Discipline Book by the Sears' and Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen. What I am finding interesting is how different young children are in the way they communicate compared to adults. It makes sense: emotions are new to them, and things we take for granted they haven't yet figured out how to work through. I think maybe your child is trying to tell you something. Maybe there are things he is frustrated with, etc. I really don't have any experience here, but wanted to suggest maybe some reading would help (and probably you've read it all by now anyways, lol).
post #6 of 19
Have you read Parenting Your Spirited Child? It's a wonderful book! There's a yahoo groups that has also helped me a lot. It's not all AP parents, and most have older kids, but the advice is sound.

My dd's only 28 mos. but was doing many of the things like you described, and I could see where she was going. Like misbehaving on purpose while smilling at me. I finally had to get tough with her in these areas, while still being a very loving and reasonable parent in other areas. That book mentioned above gave me a lot of tools.

Also, I started using time-out consistently. I tried to first find a natural or logical consequence but sometimes she was out of control and I had to give her a chance to calm down and regroup herself. I give her one chance only to correct the behavior or it's a time out behind the baby gate in our bathroom area. With things like spitting and hitting she gets an automatic time out because there's no need to warn her that those things are not acceptable. Believe it or not, after a few days of this, she knew I meant business and now most of the time she's a very sweet, cooperative child. If she's not I know there's something wrong, like her cutting molars a few days ago. It's made a huge difference to follow through with a consequence after one warning.

Another thing is to not set ourselves up for disaster. She gets overloaded easily-- too many errands, too long of a visit somewhere, etc. The book tells you some of the key trigger points and how our kids will often misbehave because they get overstimulated and have to let out some energy.

Hope things get better for you!

post #7 of 19
I just thought I would share todays shining moment

Tonight was my oldest dd award ceremony for AWANA at a very conservative church (not ours) so we actually arrived early (nothing short of a miricle) and dds are saving seats for the grandparents. Everything is fine one minute and the next I hear this screaching comeing from my right I look over and Lily (the three year old) had flown across the seats with the sole purpose of terrorizing her sister and had one hand yanking on her hair and the other dug iinto her arm. Madeline starts wailing in her so Lily decides her teeth (as her hand are busy) need to get involved and they do this pit bull grasp into her leg Did I mention that I was holding the baby who hadn't stopped whining since 4:30 this monring. Lily is parctically on her head at this point, both girls are screaming , panties are showing and I grab l;ily by the leg and just sorta hold her there while she flails at hisses at her sister. If anybody had tried to help I am sure the would have been offering an exorsism at this point., Finally my ILs show up and seperate them from each other and me from them. As a general rule I don't take them out but today I was to brain dead to remember that

So here is a hug for us both I have to say though It sounds a lot funnier in the retyping. You iknow the thing is that she is so cute when she isn't terrorizing that I let her get away wioth more than I should. Her sister would never get away with this sort of stuff.
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for that I needed it!!

I don't know how you do it with 3.....sheesh.......I am swimming with 1!!!! I always wanted 4 close in age - but DS takes up every second of my time I don't think I could do it!

I know exactley what you mean when you say she is soo cute she gets away with more, because sometimes something is so bad, but he is so adorable when he does it that I can't help but laugh.

The bad thing is......he's just like me. I am a loud, energetic, high strung person, I would be bored if he was anything less than challenging. I just wish he could learn to manage it now and then.

Somedays I am proud when people say "I don't know how you do it" I even have a girlfriend who said if he was hers she would probably be in jail for child abuse....but there are many nights when he refuses sleep after an especially trying day he would rather dance on my head and sing at the top of his lungs when I am just ready to quit.

Thank you for your post - it helped
post #9 of 19
I strongly believe anyone who thinks 2 is bad has never had a 3 yr old.. (sigh) It's a good thing they look cute when they are asleep because otherwise we might just kill them!!!!

Ds just turned 3 on the 9th, and he is by far our most enthusiastic (that's the word we'll use!: ) so far.. He started throwing headbanging temper tantrums at 9 months old.. The continued well into 2 and 1/2. They have subsided for the most part now.. (THANK THE LORD!!!) He does take a LOT more supervision than his older (4 almost 5) brother ever did at that age.. He literally gets his big bro into trouble with some of the stuff he thinks up!! (sigh) And we're having a 3rd!!! WHAT WAS I THINKING!!! Well i know what i was thinking, but anyway...

The only thing that i found that works is consistancy in time outs.. I don't want to be around him when he is behaving that way, so he goes to his room.. I tell him he can come out when he is ready to behave in an appropriate manner.. Some days i swear the kid spends all day in his room.. On those days i do try to spend more one on one time with him, but my gosh..

I know.. I'm not a big help on this one.. Just know you aren't alone.. Every family has kids like this.. If they say they don't they are lying to you....

Warm Squishy Feelings...

post #10 of 19
How do you get them to stay in their rooms duirng a time out? It would require massive force or something I am not comfortable with to do so for my defiant kid...I'm really looking for a way to make the time out work, but he just won't stay in the room!!
post #11 of 19
My 15 mo and I are on the way there. When you get through this phase, write a note to tell me how you dealt with it. The thing with dumping out the crochet stuff with the evil little grin right after you told him not to...yup...been there. About 15 minutes ago my ds refreshed his bite mark on my wrist that he left there a week ago. :

The "Raising your spirited child" book is trully a treasure. If nothing else, it lets you know that you are not alone.

Some days I don't know how I am going to make it without spanking.
post #12 of 19
Originally posted by teachma
How do you get them to stay in their rooms duirng a time out? It would require massive force or something I am not comfortable with to do so for my defiant kid...I'm really looking for a way to make the time out work, but he just won't stay in the room!!
When we started his time outs i would walk or carry him to his room mid temper tantrum usually.. And put him in his room on his bed or just inside his room on the floor, and tell him he could come out when he was done.. Then i would stand out side the door because as soon as i left he would try to leave.. He would still be screaming a bloody blue streak, so i would ask him if he was done.. .Usually he would just scream some more so i would tell him to go back into his room until he was done, and shut the door.. Eventually he got that screaming like a banshee was not getting him what he wanted, and he could indeed come out when he was done... Problem solved.. It took awhile to get to that point, but we did get there.. He knows his time out saves him from different types of punishment born out of frustration, and i feel better because i don't get as frustrated..

I would just grab a book and sit outside his door telling him he could come out when he was done, and if he was still screaming he wasn't done..

It worked for us..

Warm Squishy Feelings...

post #13 of 19
Thanks Pynki, but I guess my issue is a little different because my son deosn't really have tantrums. What he does is blatant, defiant actions where he looks me right in the eye and does exactly what I had just gently requested he not do. If I don't remove him from the situation, he might go into a rampage and run around throwing things, spilling, etc. I feel he needs a consequence when he does this (it probably happens once or twice a day), and a time out would suit me fine- but I can't bring him to his room and say, "Come out when you're done," because he's not doing the behaviour any more- it's done already. Also- after a time out, he sometimes comes out and does something equally as bad! I guess that's a different issue.
post #14 of 19
I have dealt with these very same issues, both the tantrums and the directly defiant behavior with my now 3 yr old.
I have to second the consistancy is the key opinion above. If I let her get away with one bad behavior, just cause shes so darn cute, she will do equally bad or worse the whole week, trying to see when shell get away with it again... Shes always testing boundaries and expectations, even down to bad, bad behavior...

What works for us is routine. We dont have a set schedule, except on days when we HAVE to, but we have a routine, so she always has some foreknowledge of whats going to happen. I try to giver her fair warning about transitions, because they are tough on her, and cause lots of tantrums. She tends to be awful and meltdown a lot on days when she is tired. When thats the case, I send her to her room for quiet time- no noisy toys, just books or dolls and preferably in bed. 90% of the time she is asleep in 10 minutes. The last few days when she melted down, she would ask me if she could go, or tell me she wanted to go to her room for a nap. I always make sure I tell her she doesnt have to sleep, but she is only allowed to play quietly because she needs a break, that way she doesnt come out screaming "NO NAP!!"

Time outs have to be consistant. 3-4 minutes usually works for us. At first I would have to sit with her, even sometimes hold her or repeatedly put her back in time out, but now she will go herself to time out and come out when I say okay (or sometime after about 5 minutes if i forget, she knows how long time out is now...).
With time outs, she sits on the couch, hands in her lap and is not allowed to have toys or tv. Those specifications are important to us, cause that means she has the same time out when we are out other places or even at the park. After a few weeks of enforcing time outs after a warning for stuff she already knew she shouldnt be doing, she stopped a lot of behaviors.

The trouble with these kids is that they are smart enough to know when they wont have punishment (i.e. at a friends, in a restaraunt, etc). If occasionally, you let them get away with bad behaviors at home, they will be constantly testing for the next time you let them get away with it. However, if you are consistant, and they have consequences no matter what the circumstances, they will learn that too. It just takes longer with the smarter kids to teach them that you are serious.
post #15 of 19
How do you get them to stay in their rooms duirng a time out? It would require massive force or something I am not comfortable with to do so for my defiant kid...I'm really looking for a way to make the time out work, but he just won't stay in the room!!
We use a tall baby gate and it works great! I spent one day putting her into/taking her out of time out because she would keep doing defiant things on purpose to test me. So I kept putting her in there. She got so mad but the next day her behavior got a whole lot better. By the third day she was in my (and her) control again.

Also, with defiant behavior it's good to find the "yes" in the situation. LIke if he's pouring water out of his cup tell him to pour it in the tub or a plant instead of on the floor. Sometimes that will solve the problem without a power struggle. If he pours on the floor take the cup away. Our dd only gets sippy cups for this reason even though she drinks from a normal cup just fine. She will pour out what's left on the floor and laugh and I got tired of cleaning it up. We'll try again in a few weeks.

post #16 of 19

A somewhat different approach ....

I thought you might find this article, called Who's In Control interesting...

post #17 of 19
The trouble with these kids is that they are smart enough to know when they wont have punishment (i.e. at a friends, in a restaraunt, etc).
i know-- we were at dinner at someone's house with no kids and Abi took the liberty to jump on the sofas and try to climb up on the dining table several times. So we had several time-outs in their guest bathroom. After about 5 time outs (none of them being very long) she got the picture and stopped. She also started screaming this blood curdling scream and I told her to use her indoor voice. SHe said "go outside and scream" so we went to the balcony and she screamed to her heart's content. When she was done we came back and she was fine after that. We also went for a walk when she got too worked up to concentrate on her behavior and that helped, becuase she could be herself and run all she wanted.

post #18 of 19
Those are great ideas, Darshani!

I also try to take kimber out of the situation a few times to let her get out some energy when she is misbehaving. A lot of time people give sideways looks cause Im letting my 3 yr old run circles screaming on the lawn of a restaurant, but the way i figure it, better outside than in. Ill let her do that for a few minutes, then well have soem quieter activity (the bathroom works wonders for calming her down) then back to the table. She is usually much better prepared to handle being good after a little time away.
Of course, I hate that I miss adult conversation, my food is usually cold, and I end up getting up 2-3 times during a meal, but hopefully she will grow out of it, I already see it getting much easier on her to sit still.
At home I try and let her run around on the yard a little every time I get laundry, it helps her get out the energy. I notice on days when she has heavy play, shes likely to take a nap, and shes usually much more in control of herself.
post #19 of 19
I'm really sorry that you're struggling and I know what it's like! My dd is also 3. When she was 2, I asked my mom why everyone called them the "terrible twos" because Julie hardly ever got into a tantrum or anything. Now that she's 3 it is very hard! Some days it's amazing how good she is! To the point where people are staring and smiling at how well-behaved she is. Then there are days like today...I took her for a nice long walk. We went to the store and I let her ride one of those little motorcycles that you put money in. I bought her some goldfish crackers and a little sesame street paint book..then we explored a neighborhood we never saw before. So of course I leave the book somewhere so we have to get another one..we have lunch and then she won't nap for an hour even though I'm exhausted! I wish I had better ideas for you. I also do time-out. Just remember that you can always come here and rant..what would we do without mdc?
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