I have no idea what is going on with my toddler. He will be 3 in in 2 weeks. I need help, is this normal? He's my first so this stage is new to me but it's so frustrating I want to cry (and sometimes do!), I feel helpless...
-He is repetative to the point he sometimes gets tongue tied(He does speak well and have a decent vocab though)
-He flat out ignores me or my husband at times
-Kicks and screams on the floor over simple things
-Headbutts me (Used to headbang)
-Continues to do things I explain are hurting me and then laughs at me
-Was potty trained but now just refuses, seemed to happen overnight
-It's 1:46 and he's still awake (It's a common problem for him to refuse, he screams so loud he disturbs the baby if I put him in his room)
-He always thirsty but never wants to eat food, meals are always a struggle even if I space them further apart
- Everything is "No" or "I don't want it" with him
The list goes on but I'm too mentally exhausted to type more.
Please help. Is this normal? I'm at my wits end.
First of all I would say that all of those behaviours sound pretty darn normal for the age. Tantrums, outright refusing to do what you say, increased pickiness with eating, refusing to use the potty, etc. The language thing is also v. normal.
My best guess is that most of these behaviours are tied to control. He is trying to assert control where he can. He is coming into his stage of independence. In your post you also mention that you have a baby, and something I know from experience is that a new sibling can make these behaviours much more prevalent and intense.
Put aside as much time as you can each day to give him your undivided attention. It can be hard when you also have a baby to attend to, but it can make a huge difference. He is still your "baby" too.
As for eating pickiness I suggest that you do not get into a power struggle over this one. Set out "snack plates" with an assortment of healthy stuff (cheese, apple slices, carrot sticks, nuts, grapes, crackers, sandwich pieces, etc) and let him graze. When my kids were toddlers I noticed that sometimes they'd be too busy playing and they wouldn't choose to stop to eat. Something I did was give food "on the go" (sandwich in the stroller on the way to the park, etc). If he's mostly interested in drinking then try giving him smoothies. You can hide tons of good stuff in smoothies.
Re. continuing to do stuff that hurts you and laughing. At this age he is not really able to be empathetic (put himself in your shoes). He does not really "get" that what he's doing hurts you (despite you telling him). Sometimes kids laugh when we get angry at them to try to diffuse the situation. Don't focus on the fact that he's laughing (which I know can really be a button pusher). If he hurts you (or is about to hurt you) you need to remove yourself from his reach, or remove him from you. Saying "no" won't make him stop. In our house we are not allowed to hurt each other. Period. There are a couple of things you could try. If he is hitting out in the middle of a tantrum you could try hugging him close to you. Some kids react well to this and it helps them work through and let go of their big feelings. Some kids do not want to be touched, but do better to be in a quiet place (by themselves, or with a parent) until they calm down. Remember it is all about big feelings: anger, fear, frustration, and him not knowing yet how to work through those feelings. Help give him the tools. Name his emotions for him (empathize): "You seem really frustrated! Your lego building got broken."
Ok, I've gotta run and deal with my kiddo... hope that helps. I'll come back later with more thoughts.
ETA I think it's right now it's going to be a fine balance between giving him MORE control where you can (more choices), and giving him a little extra "babying".
I also wanted to say - It will get better! I promise! This is a tough age and stage.
Kate, mom to 7 year old Djuna and 4 yr old Alden. Missing our good friend Hal the cat who died June 2, 2010
My ds1 just hit three years old last month. So far, I agree that it is a tough age. I just picked up a book at the library: "Your Three Year Old" but am finding it a bit off for us. It states that 3 is a time of equilibrium where kids are eager to please and love doing things with a caregiver. According to this book 3.5 is a time of disequilibrium and talks about some of the things you mention: verbal changes, not interested in listening/pleasing any longer, food struggles, etc. It does mention that not all kids go through the same stages at the same time.
I'm going to keep an eye on this thread for suggestions since I am struggling with this stage as well.
Mama to Blake, 6, and Grant, 4
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Sounds like what is going on around here as well. Ds turned 3 this week. For us I know my own exhaustion from having a newborn is making it worse - I have to work darn hard some days to keep my own emotions under control.
Doula mama to dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08) and expecting (Apr '17)
In the same boat. DS will be 3 in December and says no to everything. The only thing I've found helpful is making everything into a game, or pretending like he can't do the thing I want him to do. Like "you can't brush your teeth, you're just a baby..I'll bet you can't do it!" and he laughs and giggles, and brushes his teeth to prove me wrong. Tonight while putting on his jammes and diaper, he normally kicks his legs, and says "no!" the whole time, but instead I told him a silly story while doing it and it distracted him enough to cooperate and listen to the story. Takes work and sometimes I just want to lock myself in the bedroom and take a nap, but I'm almost positive this is a phase and I've just accepted that I need to figure out new ways of parenting, and that what I was doing before won't work for awhile :) Potty training is a whole other thread :) He hasn't ever really been potty trained yet, so no backslide there, but his outright refusal to do certain things isn't helping the matter!
DH(9/04) DS(12/08) and DD(5/11)
minutes of Jessie time and mommy time. We use the timer on the stove and for ten minutes I do whatever she wants to do. It helps me enjoy her more and she thrives on it. At the end of ten minutes, it's mommy time, and I'll leave her to continue playing while I do a few dishes or sometimes shell come in the kitchen with me and "help" or maybe throw a bit of a fit, but after several alternating ten minutes special time, the rest of the day always goes better.
Wow, what a mirror reflection to read your post. Our 2 year old daughter is soon to be 3 in December and much of what you've described is what we're dealing with. It is NON-STOP. I don't know what was in the water in 2008, but whatever it was was pretty potent!
She had a bit of a speech delay that now seems to be just about caught up following therapy, but other than that, the only thing her pediatrician, therapist and we can pinpoint are certain traits of Sensory Integration Dysfunction. She is one who can't get enough touching, and keeps liquids going down similar to your child... and what a night owl! (Much like her mom I'm afraid.) My husband has tried tactics with heavy playtime (running, chasing, just being outside) and it still didn't seem to slow her down. I can say that after learning how to navigate around various websites like Sprout, PBSKids, and Poissonrouge, she is settling down quite a bit from a few months ago. In fact, the speech therapist asked to watch her in action on the computer during a recent session. Much to her surprise, no wiggles, no having to fight to keep her on task, for nearly an hour.
I can't say this will solve your problems but it surely has helped ours. She was just looking for something constructive to do it seems. Now we have worksheets at some point of the day (yes, even at 2) and give her a reason to do something meaningful with pen and paper. It's made quite a difference in our days.
She's still a handful, but I'm thanking God for some semblance of a respid after 30+ months!
'Hope this helps.
Just another agreeing that its a tough age. My ds will be 3 in a month and I could have written your post. We're dealing by setting firm boundaries and getting as much outside time as possible. It's hard.
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