Very badly behaved 3 1/2 year old - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
Old 05-20-2011, 08:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
soontobestepmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I'm new to this site and don't really know the abbreviations, so please bear with me. I have been seeing my boyfriend for about 7 months and am moving into his house in 2 months. He is a wonderful man, and very supportive. His ex wife and he share custody of their two children (Leon, 5 and Penelope, 3 1/2), switching off every other week (50/50). They have been separated for a year and a half, but their mother only moved out of the house 7 months ago. 

 

I suppose I should mention that I am American and my boyfriend is French (we are living in France). His ex is also French, and the children to not speak any English (I speak French). 

 

His son, Leon, is a very sweet boy and I feel as though we are bonding at a good rate. He is kind and inclusive. His sister, Penelope, is another issue altogether. She is EXTREMELY possessive and controlling. She wants everything to be done her way all the time, and if she is told now, she can throw a temper tantrum from 2 minutes to 40 minutes. She does this to everyone (her mother, father, grandparents, schoolteachers, etc.). My boyfriend is a very active father and he tries very hard to lay down rules and have them be obeyed. He doesn't give in to his daughter and tries to make sure she knows her behavior is not appropriate. He gives her a lot of attention because she asserts herself, and he tells her he loves her and is always going to be there for her. 

 

Penelope does not like me. I think she is threatened by me because she's already lost her family unit and seeing her father two weeks of the month. Perhaps she believes that I will take him further away from her. I'm at a loss for what I am supposed to do around her. She won't talk to me and if I ask if I can help her with something (opening a yogurt after dinner), she ignores me and waits until her father will do it for her. I realize she is only 3 1/2 but her behavior is really irritating, and hurts my feelings. 

 

Am I just supposed to continue as I am now, offering my help and being ignored? It's difficult to want to put any effort into making a connection with her, but I feel that if I ignore her as well...it will only reinforce that I'm only interested in taking her father away from her. 

 

Mostly it's the temper tantrums that we have problems with though. She screams, cries, kicks, punches, stomps her feet, etc. One evening it went on for 40 minutes. My boyfriend told her he would not let her do what she wanted to do and she lost it. Then she was told he wouldn't carry her because they had agreed it was her brother's turn. She continued to scream. He told her he would carry her later on if she could be quiet and she wasn't. We were walking back to his car, and she screamed the whole way. When we got to the car, he tried to pick her up and she screamed and backed away quickly from him and the tantrum got even worse. People were staring at us thinking he was kidnapping her or beating her or something. He hadn't even touched her yet! He had to pick her up to put her in the car, and I could see how much effort it took for him to control his temper. She kicked and screamed and threw her hands all around as he put her in her car seat, and continued to scream as we drove off.

 

We could REALLY use some sound advice for what to do, or at least some happy ending stories if this has happened to anyone else. We're hoping she'll grow out of it if he just keeps holding his ground.

soontobestepmom is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 05-20-2011, 11:49 AM
 
rubelin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: los Angeles, CA
Posts: 5,821
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)

it sounds like she's being 3 1/2. I suggest that you do some research on child development and positive discipline (which takes developmentally appropriate behaviors into consideration). A great book to start with would be "Your Three Year Old" by Ames & Ilg - this is part of an entire series for each year of childhood.


Robin~ single, work-at-home momma to my WonderBoys
YoungMan (6/00) & LittleBoy (6/04)
rubelin is online now  
Old 05-20-2011, 11:56 AM
 
csekywithlove's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 409
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

How is your relationship with his ex? Do she and you talk at all?  If you get a long well then maybe an outing with the girls (you, mom, and Penelope) to the zoo or something fun. I know it sounds weird but maybe if she sees everyone getting along and that you aren't a threat she may calm down a bit.


Artist wife to dh_malesling.GIF. Mom to DSS superhero.gif (3 yrs) and DD (04/12).  brokenheart.gif (2/28/10). winner.jpgcd.gif

csekywithlove is offline  
Old 05-20-2011, 09:16 PM
 
Kindermama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: she's only happy in the Son
Posts: 2,604
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Sounds like pretty normal 3 1/2 year old stuff. I do think you should read up on positive parenting ideas because being that she is just 3 and going through a stressful experience, I think the response she is getting from the adults in her life is not giving her security. When she tantrums like that, you guys have to be her higher brain for her and comfort her until she can regulate herself. She is not being manipulative. She's 3!  You cannot take it personally. I repeat you CANNOT take it personally. She is still so small. Give her time. Lots of it. Years. If you can't do that, then don't move in until you can. 

 


Consciously mothering 3 girls and 2 boys
Kindermama is offline  
Old 05-21-2011, 12:08 AM
 
BabyBearsMummy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 805
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

 

It sounds like you all are in for some challenges and might have a sprited child in the family. This book is a huge help. http://www.amazon.ca/Raising-Your-Spirited-Child-Perceptive/dp/0060923288

BabyBearsMummy is offline  
Old 05-23-2011, 05:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
soontobestepmom's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 2
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Thanks everyone...will look into the books. This past weekend seemed to be a real eye-opener for us. It became very clear that she is afraid of losing her father/me taking her father away. My boyfriend is being very attentive and making sure she knows both physically (hugs and kisses) and verbally that he will be there for her. He's also trying to let her know that I will also be present in their lives. As for an outing with the ex-not possible. She and my boyfriend do not talk except to exchange text messages about the kids and a very rare phone call for more complicated issues. They children are dropped off at school in the morning on Mondays, and the other parent picks the them up in the evening every other Monday (split 50/50). 

 

I realize she is not being manipulative, she's 3 1/2 and doesn't understand why her world fell apart. Her bad behavior, however, began before the split. We are both willing to put in the effort to try and make the childrens' lives as stress free as possible, and hopefully over time everything will work out. I've already started reading books on being a stepmother. For the record "The Smart Stepmom" is a book that is supposed to give "practical advice" but is centered around Jesus and religious beliefs. When I researched the book it said nothing about these things, so I was a little annoyed to have every chapter tell me to put my faith in Jesus. I was able to get some beneficial information from the book, however surprising. I have another book that I'm starting to read now as well. I have a bit of time before I move in with my boyfriend, so we're trying to become as prepared as possible.

 

Thank you again for all of the advice!

soontobestepmom is offline  
Old 05-23-2011, 10:49 PM
 
csekywithlove's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 409
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by soontobestepmom View Post

Thanks everyone...will look into the books. This past weekend seemed to be a real eye-opener for us. It became very clear that she is afraid of losing her father/me taking her father away. My boyfriend is being very attentive and making sure she knows both physically (hugs and kisses) and verbally that he will be there for her. He's also trying to let her know that I will also be present in their lives. As for an outing with the ex-not possible. She and my boyfriend do not talk except to exchange text messages about the kids and a very rare phone call for more complicated issues. They children are dropped off at school in the morning on Mondays, and the other parent picks the them up in the evening every other Monday (split 50/50). 

 

I realize she is not being manipulative, she's 3 1/2 and doesn't understand why her world fell apart. Her bad behavior, however, began before the split. We are both willing to put in the effort to try and make the childrens' lives as stress free as possible, and hopefully over time everything will work out. I've already started reading books on being a stepmother. For the record "The Smart Stepmom" is a book that is supposed to give "practical advice" but is centered around Jesus and religious beliefs. When I researched the book it said nothing about these things, so I was a little annoyed to have every chapter tell me to put my faith in Jesus. I was able to get some beneficial information from the book, however surprising. I have another book that I'm starting to read now as well. I have a bit of time before I move in with my boyfriend, so we're trying to become as prepared as possible.

 

Thank you again for all of the advice!



I'm glad to hear that things are getting better! 


Artist wife to dh_malesling.GIF. Mom to DSS superhero.gif (3 yrs) and DD (04/12).  brokenheart.gif (2/28/10). winner.jpgcd.gif

csekywithlove is offline  
Old 05-26-2011, 06:05 AM
 
Phoenix~Mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Lehigh Valley, PA
Posts: 5,230
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I'd caution calling her behavior "bad".  It really is very normal for a 3.5 year old.  They don't have the tools to deal with everything they are feeling and being a toddler in general is very frustrating.  (they are on this edge of being able to do things for themselves, but do not always have all the motor skills to do things yet and get frustrated... hence tantrums).  It's a very interesting journey of little people "coming into their own" so to speak.

 

Are tantrums fun for adults?  NO!  lol  Believe me it takes A LOT of practice to "put your game face on" and keep your patience and try to look at a situation from the toddlers perspective.

 

For instance, the 50/50 split.  Some kids it works great for... others not so much.  For me personally as an adult, I can't STAND living in two places at once, it drives me totally insane.  I've basically been living in two places for the last 2.5 months while I transistioned/acclimated my kids to my BF's house where we will be moving.  I'm 29 years old and I fully admit I have trouble coping with having half my things in one place and half my things in another... so think about how a 3.5 year old may feel about that.

 

Tantrums are more about telling a parent that something is wrong, rather than acting out.  I have found approaching a tantrum with empathy and trying to figure out what has my DD (dear daughter) so frustrated and validating why she is frustrated soothes and calms her much faster and more affectively.

 

For instance, when your BF's DD was tantrumming about not being able to be held right then... you or her Dad could stoop down to eye level with her and say, "Are you sad because you want to be held too?  I understand it is sad when you really want something and have to wait for it.  I really want to be able to hold you too, but I can only carry one of you at a time, so let's take turns.  I can give you a hug now and then carry you when it's your turn."

 

Or something like that... I'm still working on the positive wording... like I said it takes practice!  But I just had to say the above almost word for word to my daughter because I her brother was very upset at the time and I needed to hold him.  The children are getting too big for me to hold both now.  When I explained that I really wanted to hold her too and I would as soon as I could, she did calm down.

 

I'm not saying this will always work either.  lol  Sometimes kids need to cry to feel better.  Sometimes adults need to cry to feel better. 

 

But for the examples you gave, it sounds like empathy could really go a long way.


ribbonpurple.gif  Proud Single Mama, Birth & Postpartum Doula

Student, Aspiring CNM 
treehugger.gif  DD ~ 1/7/09   shamrocksmile.gif  DS ~ 9/22/10

Phoenix~Mama is offline  
 
User Tag List

Thread Tools


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off