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#1 of 9 Old 02-06-2013, 10:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am losing it. my dd is testing my limitss and I failing to parent the way I had envisioned it. I have torepeat all requests three times. time out is not effective. she makes me threaten before reacting. I tell her no and she does it any way. I feel likeI have to break her spirit to get through. she is in constant motion, pinging from one thing to the next. it is overwhelming and frustrating. I losemy temper and yell. I am not the sweet gentle angelic mother I should be. I am a ranting raving lunatic that hardly smiles.

so I recognize that my reaction to her behavior isn't acceptable. now...how do I fix us? how do I know if pinging is normal? is she bored?does she ignore me because I am notparenting correctly?or is that par for the course? I feel like I haveto break her spirit to get her attention, make her sad that I am mad...I don't want her to be sad. I don't want her to behave so I am not mad. I just want to say no you can not have a yogurt, you haven't finished the granola bar and for her to finish her granola bar. not for her to run to the fridge and get the yogurt out any how then show me she has it.

I just don't know what is normal for her or for me. my mom was a screamer...how do I unlearn that

Sophia ~ 9/21 learning how to be crunchy mama. Uh oh, I just went over the crunch edge! ECing!! Planned ~ maybe next time : :
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#2 of 9 Old 02-06-2013, 04:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sugarpop View Post

I am losing it. my dd is testing my limitss and I failing to parent the way I had envisioned it. I have torepeat all requests three times. time out is not effective. she makes me threaten before reacting. I tell her no and she does it any way. I feel likeI have to break her spirit to get through. she is in constant motion, pinging from one thing to the next. it is overwhelming and frustrating. I losemy temper and yell. I am not the sweet gentle angelic mother I should be. I am a ranting raving lunatic that hardly smiles.

so I recognize that my reaction to her behavior isn't acceptable. now...how do I fix us? how do I know if pinging is normal? is she bored?does she ignore me because I am notparenting correctly?or is that par for the course? I feel like I haveto break her spirit to get her attention, make her sad that I am mad...I don't want her to be sad. I don't want her to behave so I am not mad. I just want to say no you can not have a yogurt, you haven't finished the granola bar and for her to finish her granola bar. not for her to run to the fridge and get the yogurt out any how then show me she has it.

I just don't know what is normal for her or for me. my mom was a screamer...how do I unlearn that


Well, if it's any help, this sounds an awful lot like life with my almost-three year old right now.  The "pinging" in particular caught my eye.  My daughter makes my head spin lately.  She asks for one thing, and as I start to get that set up for her she asks for something completely different over and over and over again until I'm completely confused.  I think this is the hardest part for me because it really messes with my own sense of clarity and calm when I have this little non-stop-talking-person pulling my head this way and that all day.  A few things I've found helpful so far:

 

*  Follow through.  I mean....REALLY follow through.  I thought that I was following through on the things I said to her until I reached this stage, and I realized that I'm not, really.  I think the difference is that that second chance used to always work, but now she's so stubborn that we're moving on to third and fourth and fifth chances for stuff, or talking about it endlessly...So I've mostly stopped giving second chances. 

 

*  My DD can be inspired by immediate logical consequences.  We used to to "If you don't put your shoes on, we can't go to the store."  Now what works best is "If you don't put your shoes on, you'll have to go out without shoes."  Or "If you don't let me help you put on your shirt, I won't help you put on her shirt."  I know that sounds ridiculous, but it hits her where it counts - in her sense of rigidity, and things having to be a certain way.

 

*  Be more playful.  This is absolutely the hardest thing for me to do, but when I can do it, we have better days.  I actually HATE playing, and playing along with DD's pretend play stuff is sooooooo trying for me.  But I've developed this whiny child persona that I use now when we play, and it's making things a lot easier.  Plus I get to give DD a little taste of her own medicine!!! 

 

* Get out more.  I realized I had kind of stopped doing stuff because DD was so difficult to get along with.  I'm forcing the outings to happen, getting DD out to see more kids, getting myself out to see more grown-ups, and it's helping.

 

I still snapped and yelled at her today.  It's tough stuff, and I understand how you feel. 

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#3 of 9 Old 02-07-2013, 06:29 AM
 
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Sounds a lot like my 3 year old.

Sometimes I yell too but I try not to. I try to remember he's only three. His brain is still developing and right now he can only reason as well as my dog. He literally doesn't know any better.

I try to step out when I want to yell. Take a break, or at least a breath.

Remember that when he's most difficult it's probably something physical - he's hungry, he's tired, he's sick or hurt.

Lots of hugs. Keep the connection strong. Remind him and myself how much I love him.

Bribery. It works. It might not be the best parenting technique but in a pinch it's 100 times better than yelling or spanking.

He's three. Soon he'll be four and five and then... 16. This too shall pass.
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#4 of 9 Old 02-09-2013, 07:57 AM
 
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Three IS tough--I think it makes two seem easy-breezy...  I had to come up with a whole new game plan when my DS turned three.  I read a funny book about toddler development recently that basically said, "Send them to preschool when they turn three--you'll want them back again when they turn four." ;-)

 

Thinking of every kid I've ever known, they were usually hideous at three, and delightful at four.  So when DS is driving me nuts, I just keep telling myself he'll only be three for 365 days...364 days...363 days...

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#5 of 9 Old 02-09-2013, 10:05 AM
 
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Three is when they really start wanting autonomy. They work to break apart from you and control their own lives. They create power struggles on purpose and fight over even little thigns to the death. It can be maddening.


The desire behind the power struggles is a desire for autonomy. If you can give them some autonomy, it can relieve some of the power struggles, although to some extent this is what this age looks like and you're likely to get a bit of it no matter what. But when they aren't fighting for autonomy, for me it seemed to be not such a big deal. Also, when you aren't fighting over little things (like whether they should wear long sleeves or short sleeves today), it isn't as maddening when you have to fight over the big things (like sitting in a car seat.)

 

I would let them choose their own clothes, put on their own clothes, choose their own cup and plate (put their stuff where they can reach it), get own their own snack, get whatever they can get by themselves. If you think  they need a sweater and they don't want to wear one, just let them wear what they want and carry the sweater along. What they wear is a big deal for them because they want to be in charge of themselves. And also, start getting them doing little jobs, like chores. It makes them feel grown up and autonomous and can help. Help them pick up, but make sure they're getting used to picking up after themselves even if you're helping. Have them help sort laundry. Whatever you can come up with. They like to feel useful too and doing work can help with that.

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#6 of 9 Old 02-11-2013, 08:38 AM
 
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Seconds what mamazee said about the autonomy thing:  I find that my DS has better days when I give him LOTS of choices. 

 

Since he's at an age where he wants to do almost everything himself, I try to remember to include him more (in doing stuff around the house).  His favorite expression right now is "I want to do it."  So, whenever I do anything, lately, I've been asking him, "Do you want to help mama do (whatever)?"  It's kind of become a game at the moment:  Who gets to feed the dog?  Who gets to open/shut the door.  Who gets to turn the lights off.  Who gets to go outside first.  Who is going to put this in the trash can?  Little piddly things that I wouldn't have even thought about before, but I keep him so busy with having to make all these small choices that it really does seem to SOAK up  some of the need to have these huge power struggles over the things where it matters more to me.  He gets so happy about being the one who gets to do all this little stuff, that it kinda sucks up the energy he was using to fight things like eating dinner, taking a bath, putting away toys, etc.  And I am a lot less stressed out, and kinda appreciate having the extra pair of hands.

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#7 of 9 Old 06-19-2013, 12:56 PM
 
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Oooh this thread made me feel better. :) My 3.5 year old and I have been having some bumps lately and it's so draining for BOTH of us! I really resonate with what y'all are saying, esp about making your head spin and the tantrums. I find that I begin to get sucked into the drama of the tantrums (usually precluded by overexcitement on his end leading to throwing things at me or hitting me/spitting on me). But today, I simply told him that *I* needed alone time, due to the tantrum, and then he started crying for ME.... anyway, it ended with a hug. I carried him out into the living room and he calmed down. Sigh.

 

I'm also on the fence about preschool. He has a late birthday, so if I enrolled him this Fall he would get two years. I'm not sure if I want to do that or not, if anyone would like to share their experience, please do! xo mamas

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#8 of 9 Old 06-19-2013, 04:13 PM
 
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It's really hard to look up and realize that you aren't being the parent you always hoped you would be.  I'm pretty sure we've all been there, and it isn't easy.  It's especially difficult to break out of habits like yelling that are hard-wired in you because it was the way you were raised.  

 

Are you a big reader?  Several titles jumped into my mind as I was reading your post that could be helpful.  How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and How to Listen so Kids Will Talk is a great one.  You mentioned that you have to threaten in order to get her to listen - it may be that you have created a situation where she knows you aren't serious the first time you say something, so she knows she can wait until you do mean it.  When you say something the first time, make sure she really hears you - don't call over your shoulder while you're doing dishes and she's playing with a toy.  Go to her, get on her level, make eye contact, and get confirmation from her that she understood you - then wait expectantly.  

 

I second the recommendation to incorporate more direct play with her.  Playful Parenting is a great book explaining why we need to play with kids in their world.  Play is how kids connect, and the more connected the two of you are, the more harmonious your relationship will be, the more she will WANT to listen and comply.  

 

I'd also say to pick your battles wisely, but when you do decide on a boundary, keep it firmly and calmly.  In your example, to me, asking for a yogurt before being finished with a granola bar is not a battle I would fight.  You can always save uneaten food for later.  If it becomes a boundary-testing game - asking for yogurt, getting yogurt, no longer wanting yogurt and wanting toast instead, then not wanting toast, wanting soup instead - THAT is a boundary I would set, calmly refusing to get more food.  What I think is sometimes, maybe most times, is going on with that boundary seeking behavior is not that they're looking to be controlled, it's that they are looking to feel secure.  They want to know that you have control of the ship, because if you do, then they are safe.  If you don't, they are not.  You can empathetically set the boundary, without yelling and without punishing.  "I'm sorry you are so upset.  You may eat any of these things I've already gotten for you, but I am not getting anything else."  The most important thing is to stay calm.  Take a break if you need to, but stay calm.  

 

Also, try to re-wire your perspective of a situation - so, she wants a yogurt, you say no, she says, "Fine I'll get it myself."  Superficially, my goodness, that is infuriating!  It can feel like a real slap in the face.  Try to think of it as a positive thing that she is so independent, that she is willful.  It will serve her well later on.  While we would all probably love to have children who are blindly obedient and just say, "Yes, mama" all the time, do you really want to raise an obedient adult?  Or do you want an independent, self-sufficient, bold adult?  Unconditional Parenting is a great book to help you keep the long view in mind.

 

Best of luck!

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#9 of 9 Old 06-22-2013, 09:41 AM
 
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Oh, you don't know how glad I am that I found this thread! You are describing my 3yo ds - the defiance, the pinging from thing to thing, the hitting and spitting. We recently had a second child and so I am now home with both instead of working. Going from working a full week to being home with ds was a shock as I suddenly am dealing with all these behaviours that weren't as apparent when we were only home evenings and weekends with him. I have been chalking some of his behaviours to adjusting to the new baby, but apparently some of it is just him being three. I must say its maddening at times and I have been at a loss as to how to handle it. I'll be using some of the suggestions mentioned here. Most of all, it's helped me to realize its not me or him that's doing something wrong, but that this is normal at this stage.
Wish I had more suggestions to offer...the sleep deprivation and newness of our situation means I've tried little to deal with this. I find my ds loves to concoct foods with what he has - mixes what he gathers or is given to him to make his own foods. He likes to mix yogurt, milk and fruit for example to make a yogurt drink. It's messy but it keeps him busy and he tends to eat what he creates. He also likes to help make meals - cut stuff up for salad or whatever. I think he enjoys having a sense of ownership over the food.
I also agree that getting out helps. Playgrounds and play groups have been a great help. I'm not sure how to keep him more focused, less pinging. I'm just glad he's not the only one! Lol I was starting to worry. I guess toys are just collecting dust these days. I do find he likes to combine activities. We build block towers, but it takes his play hammers and saws to do this, and to demolish them. Adding the saw and hammer made a difference.
Any suggestions to deal with the hitting and spitting that we are seeing now would be helpful. I suspect it has to do a lot with losing that one on one time with me as I'm the main one to get hit and bitten. I keep telling him I don't want to be hurt and do a sort of time in when I can manage it. I try to give him words for his feelings. But sometimes I raise my voice and get so frustrated. He sees this and I think it just feeds it more. I hate that I lose my cool.

married to DH, mother to two amazing little boys born May 18/2010 and May 20/2013!

Infertility has been part of this journey - no more littles for us, but so grateful we have two happy healthy boys and we can now begin to heal from that experience

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