My intense stuborn 3 year old driving me crazy - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 11 Old 12-11-2009, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My ds has been having very terrible tantrums. He is intense, persistant and stubborn. He is also so much fun and wonderful when not in a trantrum.

My dh does beleive in spanking. It used to be that he tried not to, and it made him feel bad when it happened, but now he is fully admitting that sometimes it is all he can think of. I fight him on it. We dissagree much on this.

He had three tantrums after I picked him up from day care yesterday. The first was about his big sister not wanting him in her room because it had been along time since he went pee-pee and he refused. He does this a lot lately and ends up having accidents. His refusing to go to the toillette, or get in jammies with a pull-up, or stay out of dd's room, resulted in a long session of me and him on the bathroom floor with me against the door and him trying to push me out of the way, occasional trying to harm me, me holding his hands trying to get him to say he would not anymore, all the while screaming at the top of his lungs. Twice I asked if he would stay out of dd's room if I let him out, and twice he ran into her room. One of these times dh hit him. this made it so much worse because now dh and I are not getting along and ds sees it and is further traumatized by me not letting dh in the bathroom, and dh trying to push me and the door out of the way. He did not try that too much, and finnally I got ds to agree to have some dinner.

My brain does not remember what the 2nd one was about. But it envolved a lot of banging on his bedroom door.

The 3rd one happened at tooth brushing time, him insisting on help, me wanting to give it where I was sitting, him ordering me here, me too tired to get up, me saying we just will not do it if you do not come here, then you will go to bed. I take him to bed and get in with him to do our routine but he is tantruming so it takes along time to settle down. This one was solved with me breaking down in tears. I could not remain the worrier that we are suppose to be. Then he got upset with my crying and we both settled down. In my break down I sobbingly asked why is he so mad? Enough mad, I said etc.

Any ideas are welcomed. Anyone else going through this?
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#2 of 11 Old 12-11-2009, 04:50 PM
 
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no help, just wanted to say this describes my 3-y-o exactly. hang in there!

Mommy to The Boy (August 2006) and Another Boy (November 2009)
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#3 of 11 Old 12-11-2009, 04:54 PM
 
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You should send him over to talk to my now-5 year old. She was like that at 3. Every day. Maybe she could give him a few pointers!

Sorry.

Seriously, though, I think that in a lot of ways it's a 3 thing. DD1 did leave a lot of that behind once she was past 4. I'm sorry you're going through this. It sounds like the worst part of all is your disagreement with your DH about how to handle it.

I agree with you-- I think spanking, or any other out-of-control response like yelling or getting involved in grappling with a hysterical child, are all terrible ideas. They only escalate the situation. A child who's having big, huge, out-of-control feelings needs to be handled with calmness, and steady consistency. My favorite approach, when DD1 started getting extremely oppositional with me, was always just to walk out. I'd say, okay, that's fine, you call me when you're ready. Then I'd go downstairs and go do something else. She's rage for awhile, sometimes a long, long while, and then realize nobody was listening, and eventually she'd come find me, and be in a much better frame of mind.

In the case of not staying out of the sibling's room, what about a gate? They make really tall virtually unclimbable ones. We used a gate for DD1 when my twins were younger, so that poor DD1 could get some peace and privacy.

It helps, too, to really choose your battles. Relying on a more playful approach when you can, and distraction, and saving the "firm" approach for those few situations where you absolutely must set a limit. Letting the small details go, and giving him as many chances as you can to make his own choices and do for himself.

In the meantime, though, I think that you and your DH have some issues to work out. I myself would be looking for outside counseling, if my spouse was hitting my kid and I was against that hitting. That could so easily turn into scary abuse, if your DH loses his temper-- and an oppositional 3 year old can CERTAINLY push those buttons.

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#4 of 11 Old 12-11-2009, 04:59 PM
 
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Pick your battles. Every time you push, a 3 year old will push back. That's my experience anyways.

And you and your dh need to get on the same page as far as discipline goes.
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#5 of 11 Old 12-11-2009, 05:13 PM
 
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You describe my 3 y/o DD as well. It is so freakin hard sometimes. We have tried seperation (me walking away or putting her in her room to "rage" and cool off) and it jsut backfires. She gets so upset being taken away, but not in a constructive way. She has nearly broken down her door multiple times kicking and hitting it.

My newest appraoch is to try to get her to control herself. I can not control her, she must learn that skill to be a productive human. So when she flings herself on the floor, instead of walking away, I pick her up and ask if she is hurt. Then I tell her she needs to get control. I demonstrate taking deep breaths and rolling her neck to relax. Eventually she joins in and the screaming and crying turns into hitched sobbs. Finally she becomes verbal again (she is not able to speak well when she gets so upset) and I ask her to tell me why she is upset. We take it from there. Usually if I see her heading into tantrum zone again, I can cut her off by making her do the relaxation stuff again.

We have only been trying this for 2 weeks, but so far it is working. As for the pull-up at night we've been there too. I let her go to sleep diaperless then sneak in an hour or so later and slip one on her. She seems confused come morning how she got a diaper on, but she is just going to have to deal with that. I have forgotten a few times and every time i am woken by a soggy toddler at 2 am. Not my idea of a fun time, KIWM?

W (26) and C (27) parenting G (11/06 ) and D (2/09 ) plus a new one (3/11)
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#6 of 11 Old 12-11-2009, 05:21 PM
 
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3 & 4 yo's are often very challenging. Maybe it's that newfound independence - they are vocal, have good motor skills, and have figured out so any things. Power struggles are common at this point, and I often have to remind myself 'wait, I am not arguing with a 4 yo!' I mean, not that he's not a person worthy of disagreeing with, but usually it's over silly things such as toothbrushing, or getting dressed, or which cup he wants to drink out of -- totally not worth the drama and frustration. Anything that can lesson that a bit, is a good idea to me.

Sometimes my 4 yo is so majorly out of control that I have no idea how to deal with him -- those times are rough (and I often just have to walk away for a while), but spanking, IMO, would only make things worse, not better, yk? How does it work for your DH? Does it calm your child down? Make him easier to deal with? I think fear is not a good tool for communication/parenting, so I can't see it helping in the short/long-term at all.

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#7 of 11 Old 12-11-2009, 05:40 PM
 
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I am right there with you. It's so reassuring to know that we're not alone, that this is normal 3yo behavior and we're not an aberration. When we're out and about, other PARENTS give us weird looks if our 3yo sets one two out of line, it makes me certain something is up with her, and then when I read discipline articles they always talk about this behavior in 2yo, and sometimes even say it gets better at 3. I've been convinced that we're thoroughly developmentally behind because DD was a saint at two years old. Only now that I think hard about it, and she's not awake to howl at me, I realize that I've heard lots of people comment on the "terrible twos" continuing straight on till four or five. Could it be that we're not behind, we just managed to avoid most of the two year old conflicts?

Anyway, the only way I can feel at all cool, calm and in control with our 3yo is to reduce my role to mostly damage control. I talk to her at length and I model. I work very hard to pump our days with positive interactions. There are still frequent tantrums (do you know how petty/relieved I feel that a lot of people are going through three tantrums a day? it's like a sign from the MDC gods that she's still doing ok!), and faced with them we're still stuck at usually stonewalled redirection attempts, time outs/ins, and eventually pinning her hands or even her if she's physically lashing out. I'm so tired.

What's helped is extreme childproofing the house. We've packed up and removed everything that's non-essential that we don't want her to touch. It looks like "Walden" in here. We're likewise reducing her toys because we've learned they all can be weapons and they're going to be tossed all over the floor first thing every morning.

What exhausts me is not the behavior. I understand that most of the behavior she simply can't help, but the defiant attitude. Being told "no!" "never!" or simply pointedly ignored makes me see red every time. I guess that's some insight into how she feels.

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#8 of 11 Old 12-11-2009, 05:59 PM
 
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Moving to "Gentle Discipline"

Please remember to be gentle ladies. MDC does not promote or condone violence.

 

 

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#9 of 11 Old 12-11-2009, 06:41 PM
 
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What's helped is extreme childproofing the house. We've packed up and removed everything that's non-essential that we don't want her to touch. It looks like "Walden" in here. We're likewise reducing her toys because we've learned they all can be weapons and they're going to be tossed all over the floor first thing every morning.
My DD's room resembles a mental asylum room. A bed, a dresser (with NOTHING in it) and a celing fan. Her closet door has a babyproof cover on it to prevent her from getting in there (she pulls on the clothes and snaps the hangers or comes out wearing 8 outfits at once). She had a nightlight but she disassembled it and I found her with the bulb in her mouth. She had a TV and DVD player, but she messed with them too much as well. Her windows did have that plastic stuff on them (for winterizing?) but she ripped that down too. Her room is for sleeping in only, all toys are in the toy room.

I remeber being horribly judgmental when my niece was this age and they had shelves in her room that were like 6.5" up on the wall, like why not have them at her height? Now i understand. I dream of her having a pretty girlie room, but it is just not possible right now. Maybe in 2 years......

W (26) and C (27) parenting G (11/06 ) and D (2/09 ) plus a new one (3/11)
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#10 of 11 Old 12-11-2009, 07:10 PM
 
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first...hugs to you!!

I just got out of the daily tantrums. I would dread having to pick ds up from pre-school because he'd always have one. My 2 bits of advice (after full tummy & being tired issues) are to try and be a step ahead of him. He's had many tantrums so now you know not only what can set him off but also when one is coming if it's a new situation. Occassionally I could talk him out of having one before it escalated. Talking to him about a tantrum when he's calm is also do-able. What happened, what could we have done differently? What did oyu need to not have a tantrum? And go right into the rules: for him: "you may not go into sister's room unless you go potty." Just like no getting into the car until you go potty.

You & dh must be on the same page. We spank occassionally, not proud of it, working on other ways, but we've never done it during a tantrum because a kid is so "gone" you just have to wait it out. I often just let a tantrum happen on the floor and I'd say "have you're tantrum, I'm going to keep cooking."

ANother thing I did by accident was to let ds see part of "The Nanny" and a kid was having a tantrum so my ds said what's wrong with him? I said he's having a tantrum, that's what you look like when you're having one. And I tell you, I could see a light go off in his head! From that point on, when he was about to have one, I could squash it by saying don't go into a tantrum/are you going into a tantrum because if you do you can't do --- and we'll have to stay home/go home.

I'm learning "less is more" for discipline. Tell him what you expect and walk away or stop talking. In the scene you descriubed, I think getting your ds to a safe place (his room, living room) to have his tantrum and walk away *might* have kept it from escalating. ALso, talking through a what we are going to do scenario has helped us too. For instance, your ds likes to go into your dd's room when he gets home or after dinner? So as you're driving home, ask him if he wants to play in dd's room and what does he need to do first. And what happens if he doesn't go potty, he should be able to say he can't play in her room.

And this is working for us....after I say "no" if they ask "why not?" say "Because I said so." and stop talking or turn your back and do something.

sorry for the ramble!! I feel your pain - believe me!! bottom line, don't try to reason during a tantrum, just let him get through it and then talk after it.
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#11 of 11 Old 12-11-2009, 07:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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There are some really good ideas and support. Thanks

I did just sign up for a therapy session next Friday.
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