An unusually stubborn 3 yr old. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 12-06-2012, 10:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all,

 

My son who will be 3 shortly never let me hold his hand when i am trying to show him something. Like for example when I try to hold his hand to trace the alphabets he never let me do it. He pull it back and makes a fuss when I try to take it forcibly again. Same with puzzles. At the same time he does not get them right and gets frustrated easily since he does not know how to do it and loses interest and goes back to playing cars. 

 

Why is he acting so stubborn . At this rate he will not learn anything especially writing. All he is interested is in his cars. Otherwise he is a normal kid.

 

Can anybody explain his behavior and suggest a few things.

 

Thank you!

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#2 of 20 Old 12-06-2012, 11:19 AM
 
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He sounds three alright! I equate toddlers to goats.... You can try and force them to do something but it will just be a messy struggle. Best to offer encouragement so they will participate willingly. Try offering your hand so he puts his hand out too. Show him the object but don't force him to hold it... I find my 3 yr old DD curious but not always comfortable having to touch something new and unfamiliar to her.

I wouldn't worry too much about whether he will learn... He will! And there is tonnes of time for him to learn puzzles and numbers. This stage learns by exploring so I would make those things available to him but don't force him to play puzzles if he isn't interested yet. One day he will just surprise you and pick them up!

There are all kinds of alternative ways you might teach him as well... Try to use his cars to introduce those concepts if you were so inclined. Point out that there are 'two cars' over there and name their colours. Make a parking lot grid of his cars and set them up in lines according to their colours, leaving empty spaces for him to slot in the right colour of car to complete the grid. (ok, not quite comparable to a puzzle but you can see where I am going with that... smile.gif

If you are keen to encourage learning through play, I highly recommend setting yourself up on pinterest... There are ridiculous amounts of great ideas on there!
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#3 of 20 Old 12-06-2012, 11:23 AM
 
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Lol... Just realized not everyone will truly get the goat metaphor. I grew up on a farm so it is a vivid reference for me.


Toddler behaviour = goats? See if you agree... smile.gif
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qD3T1I0NnE&feature=youtube_gdata_player
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#4 of 20 Old 12-06-2012, 11:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Man parenting is one tough Job. My son refuses to learn thru conventional methods. So flash cards, number charts usually don't work for him. I have to introduce everything in a play with his cars. Though I am not sure if it is a health habit.

 

For example for counting I used his cars. For number recognition i used cars just like the way you mentioned about the parking lot idea.

 

I would have been so happy if he would learn in the conventional way. For him everything is abt play. dizzy.gif

 

And he gets a bad rap in the house because of his cousin who is 7 months older than him and way ahead in writing, spelling, puzzles etc. So there is always this comparison. But my gem of son is so happy go lucky he never bothers and just plays. He is just happy and very talkitive. joy.gif

 

Not sure how my son turns up in academics. May be with all c and d's orngbiggrin.gif. I'll be having one hell of a time then

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#5 of 20 Old 12-06-2012, 12:28 PM
 
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At 3, play is the absolute best way to learn, but to be honest, all he needs to be doing at age 3 IS play. Learning is definitely not a necessity at this age and trying to make him learn may only cause problems further down the line. Just let him play and don't worry, he will definitely learn as he goes!
 

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#6 of 20 Old 12-06-2012, 02:38 PM
 
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Hand over hand is super hard to do with toddlers.  They generally would rather "do it themselves", which makes it hard to guide them sometimes.  It's especially so at that age.  Ironically it's easier when they get a bit older.  Go figure.

 

It's better just to model writing/drawing yourself and let him watch and try to imitate.  If it's something he thinks is interesting, he'll naturally want to do it to.  If he doesn't want to, then no big deal. 

 

Almost all kids learn through play and prefer that (because that's what "normal" children do.  The ones who don't usually get referred for autism screening, after all).  The compulsion to play is as natural as breathing.  (It's just as true for young animals as it is for humans, it's our biologically determined way of learning to function in the world).  If you watch preschool teachers, early childhood educators, and therapists working with children, most of what they do appears to be "play" but it really isn't.  "Play" lowers the barriers to learning, reduces anxiety, and helps children feel more confident as they develop new skills.  This is actually true for teens and adults too, it just looks a little different. 

 

So don't worry about it.  It's normal.  As they say, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. 

 

Another thing to keep in mind is that young children have short attention spans, and tend to get tired of things quickly.  It's better to do things a little bit at a time over a sustained period of time, than to try to do a long session.  If he's resisting, then you can be sure he's not learning anything, and it's a waste of time to continue.

 

Specific ideas to make writing more fun:

 

1.  Sandpaper tracing letters

2.  Letter magnets (or words) to rearrange

3.  Dry erase boards or chalkboards

4.  Huge novelty pencils or jumbo crayons

5.  Environmental print scavenger hunt (go outdoors and look for specific letters or numbers on signs).

6.  Storyboards:  narrate a story and illustrate it together.

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#7 of 20 Old 12-07-2012, 02:21 AM
 
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I also think he is being a very normal 3 year old and not at all out-of-the-ordinary stubborn. Put yourself in his shoes, you're in the midst of something really really interesting, and then someone comes along and wants you to stop whatever you're doing and do something that you have no interest in. It's like I'm watching my favorite show and DP comes in and starts talking about XYZ. I just get so irritated to say the least.

 

I'm going against the tide here but I make absolutely no effort to teach my daughter much. I want her to just play. She'll have time to learn in school. My reasons are many but mainly, as the eldest child, my parents made a lot of effort to teach me with play, I basically got a lot of attention to be ahead. By the time my youngest sister came only (the 4th kid), my mom was too busy to put in all that one-on-one time with her. She basically grew up running around exploring, playing non-stop and taking up whatever caught her fancy. Of all of us, she is the one most focused on whatever she's doing, is a lot more self-motivated than I am and tends to finish whatever she starts. I really believe it is because in her childhood, she was left to pursue her interests without much interference/interruption.

 

I can really understand if you're feeling uneasy, my suggestion is pick up on his interest and go from there. Use cards with cars on them. Get a book about cars (I bet he'll want to read at some point because he wants to know what the book says). And I'd just leave the things in his way rather than make a session out of it. 

 

Cars by the way are a great way to learn many things. They come in many colors, they have different number of doors, you can fit a different number of people in each car, there are many car brands (letters?), they come from different countries, some are cheap some are expensive (comparison? finances? Saving?), and I didn't even get started on the physics of a car (burn fuel, motion, ...) but that's anyway not the scope of a 3-year-old.


Mama to my little Lily luxlove.gif (09/2010), and a sweet baby boy joy.gif (12/2012)

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#8 of 20 Old 12-07-2012, 07:05 AM
 
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It sounds like your expectations might be a bit off base for a 3-year-old. Most 3yo's would rather play, most will resist that hand-over-hand method (often quite vehemently! I would hate to be taught that way myself, even as an adult...) Many many 3yo's will be more interested in play than academics. I'm not sure where you've come up with the theory that he should be doing more & learning more at such a young age. Even in preschool (ages 3-5) they mostly just play and have fun, very gently starting to introduce some academics but the best preschools tend to do it through play and low-pressure, and it's more about exposure than mastery.

Please don't decide your DS will be a poor student because he's acting like a typical 3yo. He has several years before he has to start focusing on academics, and he will change so much in those coming years. If you go at it with the attitude that he's behind/delayed/stupid/etc., he will catch on to your feelings and it can be really damaging to his self-esteem and ultimately discourage him from learning. He sounds like such a happy, fun kid. Just enjoy him & have fun with him, he is great!!

So no, I don't think there is anything remotely unusual about your son's behavior, well at least not from what you've described. I suggest going to some mom's groups or playdates so you can see the wide range of skills and interests in this age range, instead of just comparing him to your nephew. Also read up a bit about child development and milestones. The PBS site has some good guidelines, here's age 3: http://www.pbs.org/parents/childdevelopmenttracker/three/approachestolearning.html

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#9 of 20 Old 12-07-2012, 06:41 PM
 
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Looks like your son will be facing the " comparison " thing with his cousin a lot. I would strongly urge you to be his supporter, specially as he grows up. You must believe in him or he will " catch on " to things like he is dumb etc. Not only is that probably wrong but more importantly its wrong for a child to be pitted that way.
Sorry if thats not the case...I just wanted to make sure you realize that kids who are compared unfavorably suffer a lot.

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#10 of 20 Old 12-08-2012, 03:31 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amy@STL View Post

I just wanted to make sure you realize that kids who are compared unfavorably suffer a lot.
I agree. Especially because kids will naturally compare themselves even without adults expressly saying such things. I only found out in adulthood how much my younger sister mentally badmouthed herself in comparison to me which is so so so sad when she is such a beautiful, talented human being with no need to compare to anyone in any way.

Kids at this age will develop at VERY different rates too so comparisons don't mean a thing...

As they grow up, I hope to tell my kids that I don't expect them to be #1 at everything they do, but I do expect that they will do THEIR very best so they can feel proud of their efforts. Find their own unique tallents and focus encouragement there.
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#11 of 20 Old 12-08-2012, 03:46 AM
 
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He sounds like a typical 3 year old.

:)

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#12 of 20 Old 12-08-2012, 03:55 AM
 
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Err, there is no reason to work on academics till six or seven. The brain isn't developed enough to retain the information and use it usefully. All you are doing is wearing yourself out. He's three. His cars are supposed to vroom and that's about it. smile.gif

My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.

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#13 of 20 Old 12-08-2012, 08:38 AM
 
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Nebula, I was thinking of you today, I know you have had a lot of struggles with your family around this issue, I just found a couple of articles that might encourage you (and maybe you can even share it with the extended family?)

http://susanlemons.wordpress.com/2010/02/06/the-truth-about-early-academics/
Quote:
The truth is, not one single study that has shown that early academics are beneficial to young children. There is no proof that learning to read earlier is better than learning later. However, there is considerable proof that early academics can cause harm.
(I hope you'll read the whole thing, it's really a good article!)

http://www.besthomeschooling.org/articles/david_elkind.html You specifically may want to focus on the "Complex Understandings" section, as well as the last section, "Current Practice."

You aren't doing anything wrong, you just have to find a way to filter out the family members who are pressuring you & your son. The best way I know of to do this is to start believing in yourself & in your child, building up your knowledge which will give you more confidence. And you can't compare a child with autism to a neurotypical child. Their needs are different, their learning is different, and their goals are different. (I have a child who really really struggles with social & emotional issues.)

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#14 of 20 Old 12-08-2012, 09:06 AM
 
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I am going through the stubborn thing with my 3 yr old too. lol. She is only doing it in one area right now and for some reason it's with what shirt I put on her in the mornings. As far as writing, reading, drawing, coloring, I never force those on children of any age. Those are milestones IMO. All children reach them at varying ages. You don't have to wait til your child is 6 or 7 necessarily, and can keep introducing them along the way, but don't push it on them.  :)


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#15 of 20 Old 12-08-2012, 03:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by rightkindofme View Post

Err, there is no reason to work on academics till six or seven. The brain isn't developed enough to retain the information and use it usefully. All you are doing is wearing yourself out. He's three. His cars are supposed to vroom and that's about it. smile.gif


yeahthat.gif

 

Just my experience, but most of my friends didn't learn to read or write until they went to school at 6 or 7; it didn't stop them to learn several languages and go to university in several different countries of Western Europe or North America.

 

Playing is what will help them learn the most at this age.


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#16 of 20 Old 12-08-2012, 04:12 PM
 
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Does he like art? We did colored water art, using a dropper to drop different colors onto paper plates. What does that have to do with writing or puzzles? It practices fine motor skills in a fun and playful way! He may be more inclined to do something like a puzzle if his fine motor skills are better. And then again, maybe puzzles and tracing letters is nor very appealing!

Try to relax and avoid comparing him with other children.
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#17 of 20 Old 12-19-2012, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi All,

 

Thank you all for these wonderful replies. 

 

These replies have helped me in retaining my sanity.

 

I am in a very depressed state in my third trimister. Sometimes it feels that it would have been so nice to be a nuclear family. Right now all the members of the family pay an extra attention to my nephew(because of his autism) and in that process my son is left out completely. So he has become extremely clingy to me. He refuses to go to my MIL or FIL. 

 

Apart from that he can sense that they are partial towards my nephew with all the "Good Job" chanting they shower on him. And they don't observe the little things my son does. I guess he feels bad sometimes. And now a days he is saying "I miss you mommy and daddy" a lot of times. We have recently put him in montesorri preschool, so that might be one more reason for his clingyness.

 

That being said I don't mind it at all when all the memebers shower praise on my nephew or spend a lot of time with him. If this is what makes him normal then so be it. Its important that he is on the wellness track.

 

Coming to my son I spend extra time with him. But his stubborness and  recent whining is wearing me out. He says no to dinner, No to bath, No to clothes i choose, No to anything i teach, No to potty training. Its like i have given birth to a devil.

 

Can you please tell me how to deal with this in the long run and survive in a extended family. How to shield my son from this comparison. I don't want him to develop inferiority issues or insecure issues. I just want him to be the happy kid that he is.

 

Thank you!

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#18 of 20 Old 12-19-2012, 01:19 PM
 
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Spend as much time as possible away from the extended family members! They are draininh both you and your son. You are in a difficult situation, so be kind to yourself and your son. If your husband is inclined to talk with them, he may be able to get them to understand the hurt they are causing. Then again, he may not. That's why I suggest minimizing contact.
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#19 of 20 Old 12-20-2012, 03:08 PM
 
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I agree with pek64. I don't know how much time you are currently spending around family but it sounds like you need to cut back -- for both his sake AND yours. If they are just a small part of his life, the comparisons and feelings of inferiority will also just be small things. As long as he is around supportive, loving people MOST of the time (i.e. you & DH) then he will integrate all that love & feelings of being perfect just as he is, and the other stuff will just be small things that he can let roll off of him.

It would be great if you guys could talk to everyone & point out how you feel your DS is kind of being overlooked & overshadowed & made to feel inadequate. They may be trying so hard to help your nephew that they don't even realize how it's affecting your DS & you. It might be that all you need to do is point it out & they will self-correct.

I would guess that his clingyness probably has more to do with starting a new preschool than with the family comments (unless you are spending excessive amounts of time with family). I think that is a common reaction to starting a new school/daycare/etc.

As far as the stubbornness... first, remember that it is a phase, and it will pass!! Second, try to set up a 'yes' environment, where you minimize what you are asking of him & he has more opportunities to cooperate. This probably means giving him more power & more choices. So instead of, "Here are your clothes, get dressed," try laying out 2 outfits and ask him which he wants to wear. Give him options for dinner, or have him help you choose & prepare the meal. You can also try not asking him to do so many things -- just stick to the bare minimum. So maybe not a bath every day -- just a couple of times a week/as needed. Maybe this is a good time to lay off potty-training, if he's going through a stubborn phase it really isn't a good time to work on that. And same with teaching him things -- I can't really think of a reason to be teaching him things right now (academics etc.)... he will learn that in time, at his own pace & when he's ready. Just focus on playing with him, doing the things he wants to do. Work on understanding & appreciating & joining in on his interests instead of spending so much time trying to get him to be interested in yours.

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
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#20 of 20 Old 01-14-2013, 09:46 PM
 
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I have a stubborn 3 yo boy as well. I agree that giving him some options will help him to feel like he has some power in his life. Also check in with your stress level, he is a reflection of you so take care of yourself. I think I saw you said you were pregnant. This is a crucial time for the two of you to spend together before the next one comes. Maybe just let him be clingy and give him lots of hugs and kisses, he clearly needs it right now. If you are struggling, step back and figure out how to stop the struggle. Its okay to give in.
 


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