DH thinks DD has psychological problems - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 30 Old 01-15-2011, 12:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think that he might be over-reacting and that her behaviour is within the 'normal' range for her age, but I definitely think we need help in figuring out how to deal with it.

 

As quickly as I can, background is as follows:

- She's just turned 3

- New baby sister (4 months old) who she seems to love, but who is also pretty needy

- DD1 is a typical 'spirited' / high needs kid, and has been this way since birth

- I'm sleep-deprived and introverted - combination which means that I've not been reacting entirely calmly to lots of noise/screaming/crying and have ended up yelling myself far more than I would like.

 

Problem behaviours:

- *Constant* meltdowns over the smallest things.  E.g. I ask her to wait a minute for something, she starts screaming and crying, runs around slamming doors etc. Finally comes back and apologises (sometimes) only to do the whole thing all over again 10 minutes later when I hand her the wrong puzzle... This happens upwards of 10 times a day.  Obviously with a small baby in the house this isn't great, as she'll often run upstairs to her room to have a screaming fit, which only results in her waking the baby, who's then miserable and cranky and takes even more of my attention away from DD1.

- When her daddy comes home from work she runs away from him and slams doors in his face.  Refuses to say hello, or otherwise be nice to him.

- Dinner time battles; she won't eat, won't sit at the table with us, won't feed herself... I think we should just disengage from this, as I really don't want food to be a battle, but DH is scared of letting her go to bed hungry so he ends up spoonfeeding her, bribing her to eat, yelling... It often ends up taking an hour to get her dinner finished.

- The one that really gets me.  She'll say "I want to be naughty.  I want you to get cross with me." Then will deliberately do something she knows she shouldn't, like throwing her toys around, spilling her drink.  Then turn and say "Are you cross now mummy?"  I'll stay calm, explain that that's not acceptable behaviour, ask her to help me clean up and/or give an acceptable alternative.  At which point she'll refuse point blank, screaming "No, no, no - I want to be naughty.  I want you to be cross." and continue to do naughty things until I end up snapping, yelling and scaring both myself and her.  This is the one that I think is most 'weird' - surely it's not normal for kids to deliberately set out to drive their parents over the edge? 

 

So questions:

1) Is DH right and should I be looking for a psychologist for her?

2) If this is normal behaviour, how do you/have you dealt with it with your own kids?


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#2 of 30 Old 01-15-2011, 12:49 PM
 
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Have you asked her why?

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#3 of 30 Old 01-15-2011, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes, but she doesn't seem to know.  She knows what's acceptable and what's not when I catch her in a calm moment, and she can tell me things she can do to help herself feel better, like taking deep breaths, hugging her soft toys etc. But then a few minutes later she'll just go ahead and do all the things she knows she shouldn't anyway! :sigh


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#4 of 30 Old 01-15-2011, 01:30 PM
 
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I'm not sure this is entirely the reason at all, but I'll bet when she does finally provoke you to snapping, you completely stop thinking about the baby in that moment, and she gets your undivided negative attention. That can be a very satisfying feeling, to know you made the grown ups totally focused on you. Same thing at dinner. She ends up being spoon fed! Again, she ends up getting to be the baby, or at least get as much attention as the baby. It is 10x easier for a three year old to do this by being naughty. Niceness is so easy to overlook, kwim?

 

Personally I think this is all completely normal for a 3 year old with a new baby in the house. I don't think you did anything wrong--this is just the way some children respond to a new baby. They might love the baby but it is profoundly upsetting to be displaced as #1 baby in the house!

 

I really hope mothers of two or more kids can come here and give you some good books to read. I only have one child and have not dealt with this firsthand--but I have seen MANY posts in here over the last 10 years dealing with this very problem with 3 year olds!


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#5 of 30 Old 01-15-2011, 01:34 PM
 
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I just want to add that at 3 years old I would not expect her to be able to know why she acts this way. She is too young to process her feelings objectively. I am sure the answer will lie in you and dh getting on the same page as to how you will respond, in a way that does not feed the negative attention she tries to provoke. Also, it is SO important to catch her being good and shower her with positive attention. I think it would be a good idea for you both to explore some regular activity you can do alone with her. At that age my dh took ds out for half an hour when he got home from work. They went for a walk, or to get ice cream, or to feed ducks at the park. The lure of getting to go out 'on an adventure with daddy' was like magic--it always got ds in a good mood!


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#6 of 30 Old 01-15-2011, 01:46 PM
 
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Oh.My.Goodness. She sounds just like my dd did up until a few months ago. She was horrible, and there wasn't even a new baby in the house (though there was, and is, one in my belly). My dh even wondered if she needed psychological help as well!!!! However, I know from reading this GD board that 3 yr olds are sooooooo difficult that if we just did our best with her and stuck it out she will outgrow all these behaviours. At this point (she's 3.5yo) she is already WAAAYYYY better. So I don't have any specific help for your exact situations, I think you know in your heart how to handle them, you just have to try your best to get through this difficult stage and not destroy your relationship with her, or her strong personality, in the process!


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#7 of 30 Old 01-15-2011, 02:00 PM
 
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Honestly, it just sounds like she is crying out for attention.  I think those behaviors seem perfectly within the range of normal for a 3 year old child who has a new baby in the house.  She has found ways of getting that negative attention from you/your partner and it sounds like it has become a vicious cycle.  She becomes the focal point due to her negative behaviors, not the baby.

 

How to deal with it is outside of my realm of experience.  My dd was 23 months when my ds2 was born and just a baby herself so we really didn't have many adjustment issues.  I also chose to arrange childcare for her for three hours a day twice a week for the first couple of weeks ds2 was home which many here would be uncomfortable with but was a lifesaver for me.

 

For myself, I would find whatever books I could that had ideas for solutions and try them all until I found what worked for my family.  I know I've read several mentioned here about spirted children.   

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#8 of 30 Old 01-15-2011, 03:17 PM
 
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That sounds just like my 2.5, right down to the misbehaving to get a rise. "Do not ride the dog!" "I WILL anyway and I don't CARE"<stomps foot> Then hits me and shrieks when I remove her from the situation. Arrrgh.

 

I always thought it was well within the range of normal though. Dd is just a very intense kid, esp compared with her mellow older sister!  And we don't even have a new baby to add to the mix as you do!

 

So just from your post I vote normal. Crazymaking for the adults, to be sure, but normal! I loved Heartmama's suggestions....I have a really hard time controlling my own temper sometimes, especially when my dd hurts her sibling.

 

Here's to this phasing out soon.champagne.gif

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#9 of 30 Old 01-15-2011, 06:01 PM
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Sounds normal to me.  I did not have a three year old in the house when my second and third (twins) arrived, but I did have a two year old.  A friend/neighbor gave me the advice to make individual and undivided time for my two year old each day.  For me this meant making sure my twins were fed, dry, and safe and taking time to read with my older child before nap time - no interruptions.  I also spent time each night with my older child alone as my twins had an early bedtime and we could spend time reading and snuggling at bedtime.  These were short periods of time, but they made all the difference in the world.  

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#10 of 30 Old 01-15-2011, 06:05 PM
 
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It sounds perfectly normal - and a great chance for "playful parenting."  When she says " I want to be naughty," that's a great opportunity to totally run with it. Say something completely outrageous. OK - you be naughty and I'll be so mad - steam will come out of my ears - GO!

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#11 of 30 Old 01-15-2011, 06:16 PM
 
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DD was really tough when she was three.  Verbal and easily frustrated and badly needing to learn manners...it actually IS better now that she is five.

 

With the naughty thing, could you turn it into a naughty game?  So the first time she does something and asks if you're mad instead of saying no, say "Yes, I am sooooooo mad!!!  I am coming to get you!!!!!!" and chase her a bit, or humorously tell her how very, very bad she is?  That way she gets attention, but you don't have to lose your cool for real? 

 

DD also went through a thing where she was really rude to her father for a while when she was 3 or 4.  It passed very quickly!

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#12 of 30 Old 01-16-2011, 06:50 AM
 
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I was going to suggest making it a game too like: "oh your so naughty I bet you would go to London and stick your tounge out at the Queen.  I bet your go to the zoo and pull the lions tail".  All sorts of mad things she couldn't really do.

 

Have you asked your dh what he thinks a physcologist could do? his answer will help you decide if it's needed or if you could do that thing in some way without professional help.  People assume that a professionl like phsycoloist will magicaly come in and change a situation but they wont.  And if you do see someone it helps to know what you want from them.  From what you've said I don't see any phsycoloical problems just a v young child wanting some attetion after a sibling arrives.

 

Can you ask dh to back off meal times for a set time like a fortnight and see what happens? What is he so worried will happen? Being hungry a few nights won't hurt her.  having to fix food sepratly or deal with a hungry grumpy toddel would be difficult but the current situaion is difficult.  Keeping doing the same thing will keep resulting in the same thing.

 

Good luck!


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#13 of 30 Old 01-16-2011, 06:57 AM
 
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:) Tell DH you have a full fledged 3 year old

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#14 of 30 Old 01-16-2011, 07:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the reassurance mamas! My feeling was that it was fairly normal, especially given the circumstances, but neither DH nor I have any experience or contact with other kids, so it's hard to know for sure.

 

My gut feeling was that she needs more attention too, so it's good to have that confirmed, though I'm still stuck on how to give it to her.  She's very HN, and before DD2 came along I spent a large portion of the day focused on her exclusively, and I just physically cannot manage anywhere remotely close to that amount of attention now, especially since DD2 is also quite HN and fussy.  I guess I'll just have to keep working on it...

 

Thanks for the reminder to catch her when she's behaving well too - I do try to do that, but I've mostly been focusing on positive interactions between her and her sister.  I need to praise her for other non-big-sister-related good behaviour too.

 

WRT the playful parenting thing - I read the book and really liked it, but either I'm doing it wrong, or my DD is just not 'parentable' in that way, because no matter what I do it doesn't seem to work (for negative situations at least).  I've tried the playful parenting response to the "I want to be naughty thing".  It went something like:

DD1: I want to be naughty.  I want you to be cross with me mummy.

Me: Ok, what kind of naughty thing do you want to do? Do you want to stick your tongue out at me? 

DD1: *screaming at the top of her lungs* NOOOOOOO I WANT TO BE NAUGHTY

Me: Yes, screaming is a naughty thing to do - okay now I'm cross with you (trying to make an amusing cross face)

DD1: *still screaming, throws herself on the floor kicking and thrashing* YOU'RE A HORRID MUMMY I HATE YOU

Me: *getting down on the floor too* Can I play too? I can roll on the floor too

DD1: Hits me

 

I don't tolerate hitting or kicking so that's when I stop being playful.  I hold her hand and tell her sternly that I can't allow her to hit me.  I ask her to go to her room to cool off.  She refuses, so I walk away to try to cool off myself.  She follows me, rugby tackling my legs, still screaming....  (This is just an example - we've had many many similar interactions with me trying various playful parenting ideas)

 

I'd love to just be able to distract her and get her giggling, but it just doesn't seem to work for me.  But I was never able to distract her - even as a baby, when the advice was all 'distract, redirect' etc. there was just no redirecting this kid.  She gets something in her head and that's it - no way to get her off track.

 

I've been talking to DH about this, and a problem we're running into is that he thinks that spending quality time with DD1 is just rewarding her for her bad behaviour.  He wants to withdraw attention and affection from her as a punishment.  I understand the feeling - I'm the one at home all day being driven round the bend with her, but I can't see that this is the best approach.  But at the same time I think maybe I need to get a bit more strict with her - maybe I've been too lax because I'm just in survival mode right now.  All I want to do is get through the day relatively unscathed - I just don't have the energy to do any more.  I don't think time-outs will work, because there's no way I could get her to stay in one spot.  Time-ins don't work either though because she will run away from me, and if I try to hold her gently she'll just hit or kick me.  I'm thinking maybe removing privileges? But the problem with that is that the 'privileges' she has are things that allow me some time to deal with the baby.  Like she gets to watch a DVD while I put the baby down for a nap, because without that she's on her own for half an hour or more (DD2 is also a horrible sleeper..) so if I take away her DVD privilege then I'm left trying to get the baby to nap while DD1 runs riot downstairs or stands outside the bedroom door shouting for me.  AGH - I just don't know


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#15 of 30 Old 01-16-2011, 09:27 AM
 
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Maybe she wants to be naughty to get your attention. Maybe, when she misbehaves, whatever her consequence is, make it involve as little mom as possible. If your dh is home, you get quiet and DH removes her from the room or you leave the room while he does whatever needs to be done (i.e. time out, talking to, extra chore, toy on time out, etc). Then, be extra good to her and pay attention when she is behaving. 

 

Someone once defined children are being like mentally ill adults. If you think of them as adults, they would all be mentally ill. LOL..they said it much funnier. But the point is, children need to be considered different. Bizarre behavior for an adult is all normal for a child. She is 3. That is why she needs parents and is not off living on her own. She needs parents to guide her and love her and teach her how to be. Your dh just needs to get in to the child mood and understand how children are, and enjoy these years. 

 

Good luck!

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#16 of 30 Old 01-16-2011, 09:36 AM
 
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Oh, and mention to your dh, that while 3 is a hard age, 4 is often worse. I am convinced that is why they invented kindergarten at 5. By the time they turn 5, you want them to go. LOL (and I home school and still, all my children have gone to kindergarten). My daughter was, well, a HUGE patience tester at that age. I think she was 4 when she had a knife and acted like she was going to stab her cousin. I was mortified and thought for sure I had serious problems on my hands. But, she is 14 now. She is amazing. She is strong willed, but that has been channeled for the good. She is a high A student, all her teachers think she is great. The neighbors think she is great. She is so different from others (the strong will means she is not a follower) with her great behavior, her kindness, her high standards for herself, etc, I have other parents asking me how I got so lucky with her. She is way ahead of grade level. She is in 9th grade but taking mostly 10 and 11th grade classes. 

 

So your 3 yr old is very normal and all will be fine in the end as long as you keep at it to channel her in the right direction. She sounds like she is quite smart too.

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#17 of 30 Old 01-16-2011, 10:28 AM
 
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My dd started her tantrum phase when she was three and the tantrums were often like you describe.  When she was younger she wanted a cuddle when she was upset but when she was three she didn't want to be touched, she wanted to be furious and let the world know about it.  I prevented the triggers as much as possible and that helped her have less tantrums.  I also slowly began to realize that she needed more freedom and lower expectations and that helped a lot.  I always thought that three was this magical age where kids would be able to do so much and it actually isn't.  My expectations were way too high and she reacted by melting down a lot.  When she did have one I empathized and told her I was there if she needed me but pretty much just let it run its course. 

 

It sounds like your dd is also dealing with having a new sibling on top of being three (a very hard age for many parents).  It sounds like she has figured out that she can get a lot of attention by being naughty.  I think you and your husband should try to have one on one special time.  It sounds like your husband really needs to rebuild the bond because she has a lot of anger towards him.  Maybe your husband could take her out alone for a apple cider or hot cocoa date on the weekends or on a playdate at the park or an indoor play place so they can rebuild their bond while doing special things.

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#18 of 30 Old 01-16-2011, 12:13 PM
 
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I think you DD is acting like a lot of 3 year olds, it doesn't sound like phychological problem. But she knows how to push your buttons and get away with it. She has the power over in your house and makes you play by her rules by getting you angry and refusing to go cool off in her room when you ask her. she is clearly asking for you to step up and inforce the rules you are imosing on her. I know a lot of people on this forum do not think that time outs are GDf do not like to use time outs as a punishment. However timeouts (mostly to cool off)worked for us in similar situation. There is a book "Beyond Time Outs" it does not advocate for any sort of spanking or harsh punishment. It has a logical step by step plan how to deal with situations before you are in it and how to deal with your child if they refuse the time out.
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#19 of 30 Old 01-16-2011, 01:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post

She is strong willed, but that has been channeled for the good. She is a high A student, all her teachers think she is great. The neighbors think she is great. She is so different from others (the strong will means she is not a follower) with her great behavior, her kindness, her high standards for herself, etc, I have other parents asking me how I got so lucky with her. She is way ahead of grade level. She is in 9th grade but taking mostly 10 and 11th grade classes. 

 

So your 3 yr old is very normal and all will be fine in the end as long as you keep at it to channel her in the right direction. She sounds like she is quite smart too.



This is so amazing to hear, because this is exactly my hope, as (not the OP) a mother to a very strong willed 3.5yr old girl. I 've had enough people tell me similar things that I know they are good qualities for girls and women to have & I don't want her to lose her personality even though at 3 and taken out on Mama, it's so difficult to handle!!!


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#20 of 30 Old 01-16-2011, 01:52 PM
 
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How is her sleep schedule?  Although 3 is a rough age, not getting enough sleep can make it 100x crazier.


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#21 of 30 Old 01-17-2011, 06:35 AM
 
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OP I agree with PP's that this sounds totally normal.

 

Just a few thoughts on the playful parenting approach folks have suggested. In the "playful dialogue" you posted it doesn't read as if you are playing the game with her, it reads as though you are saying "I'm calm, I'm not going to be upset by this." Which is basically NOT playing the game. She doesn't want you to react calmly, she wants to play that you are upset. Maybe really entering into the game with her would make a difference. So Instead of "Ok what naughty thing do you want to do?" or "Can I play too?" you could say "I am so mad right now you are being very naughty!" and build from there. Really enter the scene and let her play it out. Don't ask questions, try using "Yes and..." So when she says something like "I'm naughty" you say "YES you are so naughty! behave yourself right now! AND do not throw your stuffed animals around!" Hopefully she throws some stuffed animals around, you say "That does it! Now I'm really mad" and you start throwing stuffed animals etc. Perhaps you find a way to be naughty and let her be angry with you.

 

My niece often wants people to pretend they are mad or, scared, or that she hurt their feeling and they are crying. When she asks for this we try to give it to her, so when she says "I hurt your feelings and you are crying" I weep and wail and sob and she laughs. It sounds weird but I think it's a safe way for her to process "bad" feelings. It sounds to me like your daughter is asking for a way to do something similar. Not all kids process this way (my DD doesn't) but some do, and from observing my DN I think it's a healthy way for her to explore scary feelings.

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#22 of 30 Old 01-17-2011, 06:59 AM
 
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Something else to consider as I went through this with my DS when our life was in a bit of upheaval: she IS testing her limits with you. I talked to my son and found out that basically he wanted to make sure I still loved him even when I was angry with him. We finished that phase when he was reassured that I would still love him, no matter how angry I was with him and no matter what he did. I explained to him that I love him still even when I am angry with his behavior but it took a while for HIM to separate the two.

 

I also talked to him (my son is very verbal) and explained that it would be better to let me know he needs some love and attention with words, rather than trying to make me angry. So now that is what he does; he comes to me when he needs some love or attention instead of doing something funky to make me angry.

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#23 of 30 Old 01-17-2011, 07:05 AM
 
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She sounds like she wants more attention now that she has a baby in the house.  Very normal.

 

I'd have dh lay off the food thing.  She's getting attention that way, but I don't think that's healthy attention.  Let her eat or not eat.  If she gets hungry, she'll ask for food.

 

And then I guess I'd try to set aside time for you to give her one-on-on attention, and for your dh to give her one-on-one attention.  Maybe play a game with her or something.

 

My dd was older than yours when her baby sister was born, but she got jealous of the attention the baby was getting, and like yours the baby was maybe three months old before the jealousy got bad and then lasted a few months.  It's like she figured out that the baby was there forever and that things were changed for good.

 

Anyway, I think normal, but intensified by having a baby around getting all the attention babies naturally get.

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#24 of 30 Old 01-17-2011, 07:33 AM
 
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Well.. she is three.  Three is harder than two.  THEY can do it.  THEY have to close the door.  THEY have to pick the clothes.  YOU never, ever give them the right thing.  That wasn't the string cheese they wanted, they wanted the third one on the left... not the second one on the right. (you were supposed to know that!)  You cut their food up wrong.  Even if you ASK "Do you want me to cut it up?"  She'll say "Yes", then be mad that you did because she didn't want it cut up, even though she did want it cut up.  

 

Also, she wants your attention.  She LOVES her baby sister, but she wants more attention than you give baby sister.  She's also bored.  She's constantly waiting.  Waiting for you to play with her, waiting for you to stop feeding the baby.  Waiting for you to stop cooking dinner.  It's all very boring.  It's not really fun to play alone for very long.  Three year olds can wear you out with their constant need to be entertained and their busyness.  

 

She's probably Mostly trying to get your attention.  But, she might also want some boundaries.  Three year olds act like they  want to be in charge, but they really don't.  They need to know that you can handle issues and that you will rise to the occasion right away.   I don't think she really WANTS to slam doors.  I get mad, but I don't want to be allowed to run around slamming doors. 

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#25 of 30 Old 01-19-2011, 01:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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OP I agree with PP's that this sounds totally normal.

 

Just a few thoughts on the playful parenting approach folks have suggested. In the "playful dialogue" you posted it doesn't read as if you are playing the game with her, it reads as though you are saying "I'm calm, I'm not going to be upset by this." Which is basically NOT playing the game. She doesn't want you to react calmly, she wants to play that you are upset. Maybe really entering into the game with her would make a difference. So Instead of "Ok what naughty thing do you want to do?" or "Can I play too?" you could say "I am so mad right now you are being very naughty!" and build from there. Really enter the scene and let her play it out. Don't ask questions, try using "Yes and..." So when she says something like "I'm naughty" you say "YES you are so naughty! behave yourself right now! AND do not throw your stuffed animals around!" Hopefully she throws some stuffed animals around, you say "That does it! Now I'm really mad" and you start throwing stuffed animals etc. Perhaps you find a way to be naughty and let her be angry with you.

 

My niece often wants people to pretend they are mad or, scared, or that she hurt their feeling and they are crying. When she asks for this we try to give it to her, so when she says "I hurt your feelings and you are crying" I weep and wail and sob and she laughs. It sounds weird but I think it's a safe way for her to process "bad" feelings. It sounds to me like your daughter is asking for a way to do something similar. Not all kids process this way (my DD doesn't) but some do, and from observing my DN I think it's a healthy way for her to explore scary feelings.

You know, this is a really good point!! I'm not really a 'playful' sort of person, so I have a hard time with the playful parenting approach, especially as it wasn't something I grew up with.  

 

I've also been having a really hard time keeping my temper lately, so I guess I was more focused on that aspect of it - here's a way for me to keep my cool and for DD to get out some of her feelings.

 

I actually tried the "Yes, I'm cross with you now" thing yesterday and it actually worked! DD burst into pretend crying, ran away, then ran back to me and I was able to reassure her that no matter how cross I got with her I would always love her (which I've been telling her all along anyway, but I guess she needed to sort of play-act it to 'get' it).  

 

We've actually had a better couple of days - I've asked DH to back off on the food thing (and showed him this thread so he got that it wasn't just me being weird) and he has mellowed out.  I've also let the housework slide and spent baby's naptimes completely focused on DD1 - though that's not a sustainable pattern, I can gradually cut back to spending maybe half an hour exclusively with DD1 then the other half on stopping the house from turning into a total disaster!  I had a good chat with her at bedtime the other night and explained that we both want to have nice days, and we each suggested ways to make sure we did have nice days - so far it's working! 

 

I'm sure we'll have more of the unpleasant behaviour, but at least I know my lovely sweet DD is still there now :)
 

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#26 of 30 Old 01-19-2011, 04:49 AM
 
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Glad to hear things are working out. Another thing I want to recommend about the food, DD (turned 3 in Nov) is an absolute beast when she gets hungry, but she rarely tells me when she is, and it seems like most of the time when I give her food, she won't eat it. But, if I leave it out where she knows she can get to it, eventually she comes back & chows down. Also, it seems like she will often be ready to eat around 3 or 3:30. If she is really hungry then, she won't eat much for dinner, but we don't make a big deal about it, just try to remember to offer a small snack right before bed (usually a cheese stick or something like that). I've noticed the more conscious I am of ensuring there is always food out for her, the happier & more easy going she is.

 

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#27 of 30 Old 01-19-2011, 08:53 AM
 
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I mostly skimmed the other posts, so I don't know if anyone mentioned this; my pediatrician told me when DS was 2 and DD was a baby that it really helps for the older sib to get 15 minutes a WEEK ( that's all) of one on one time with one parent or the other.  Doing anything, a grocery trip, the bank, the park the post office.  Anything, it makes the older feel special, and gives her/him the one to one attention.  It made a huge difference with my DS and he was only just barely 2 when his sister showed up. If you DH is worried about it reinforcing bad behaviors, just make sure it isn't the result of a tanrum, but planned out.  I wouldn't make it contingent on anything either.

Good Luck.  3 really is very trying at times.  They are so clever......smile.gif

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#28 of 30 Old 01-19-2011, 10:18 AM
 
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My DS was sooo difficult at 3 (and we didn't have a new baby in the house).  I remember finally talking to his preschool teacher (and she had taught in a 3 y.o. class for more than 10 years and had 3 lovely older children of her own) in tears one day, and she just smiled and told me, "everyone talks about the terrible twos - no one tells you that 3 is way worse than 2, though".  My DS is now 6, and we both made it through it and he is a great kid.  

 

So, she sounds totally normal to me.  I think she is trying to tell you in her limited 3 y.o. way that she is mad and jealous and trying to figure out her place in your family now that there has been a change in the dynamic.  Bless her little heart.  I would make sure she has plenty of sleep, plenty of exercise/outdoor time, enough food/snacks and designated one on one time with a parent when there are no baby interruptions.  I know it has helped a lot of our friends to highlight what she can do because she is older - "the baby can only drink milk, but you can have a special cookie because you are so big" or "you can go play with a friend, but baby just stays home and sleeps".  Finally, maybe enrolling her in a very part time preschool program would help.  At 3, my DS went to school 2 mornings a week for 2.5 hrs each time.  He loved it, he felt so grown up and it gave me a much needed break (and he was so tired when he got home, he took a long nap!).  

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#29 of 30 Old 01-19-2011, 09:13 PM
 
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I've been talking to DH about this, and a problem we're running into is that he thinks that spending quality time with DD1 is just rewarding her for her bad behaviour.  He wants to withdraw attention and affection from her as a punishment.  I understand the feeling - I'm the one at home all day being driven round the bend with her, but I can't see that this is the best approach.  But at the same time I think maybe I need to get a bit more strict with her - maybe I've been too lax because I'm just in survival mode right now.  All I want to do is get through the day relatively unscathed - I just don't have the energy to do any more.  I don't think time-outs will work, because there's no way I could get her to stay in one spot.  Time-ins don't work either though because she will run away from me, and if I try to hold her gently she'll just hit or kick me.  I'm thinking maybe removing privileges? But the problem with that is that the 'privileges' she has are things that allow me some time to deal with the baby.  Like she gets to watch a DVD while I put the baby down for a nap, because without that she's on her own for half an hour or more (DD2 is also a horrible sleeper..) so if I take away her DVD privilege then I'm left trying to get the baby to nap while DD1 runs riot downstairs or stands outside the bedroom door shouting for me.  AGH - I just don't know

No no no!! Don't withdraw your attention from her, that's the major thing you can give her that will help! Positive attention! Without the baby! the poor thing has just been totally uprooted from her comfy position as both the Only Child AND The Baby, and she's a baby herself, who can't really process the powerful emotions she's feeling, who wouldn't be angry?

So normal!!

that said, i am totally empathetic, we have so much in common. I too am an exhausted and sleep deprived introvert, and have a VERY spirited 8.5, yr old, and a VERY spirited just-turned-3 yr old boy, and a new 4 month old dd.

 

My son is EXACTLY like your dd-total flinging himself to the floor screaming meltdowns over little stuff, button-pushing, waking the baby on purpose.It's maddening. Sometimes I want to scream and say terrible things, too. Good for both of us for being coolheaded-it's sure not easy sometimes.

 

I think what has helped me help him the most is making sure I make time to sit on the floor and play with just him several times throughout the day.Even though I don't have the time or the energy. He is like a different kid. The time I'd spend with him in tantrums is more than this little bit of one-on-one by far, and so much better for us all. When I can leave dd with dh for just a bit, I take him out by himself and give him my undivided attention. Even a 30 minute outing to grocery store is a huge thing for him when it's just the two of us. (dd too)

 

I think it's helped me relax about it, too, seeing my older dd grow up and out of obnoxious, trying phases,(3 wasn't hard but 4 was EPIC hard) and come out the other side this amazing, bold, funny, brilliant, social butterfly. She's incredible. Plus with her around, ds seems like the little tiny guy he really is, not a big kid because im contrasting him with the new baby-every kid seems older than they are next to a newborn.

 

I recommend Raising Your Spirited Child, by Mary Sheedy-Kurcinka. Such an invaluble resource, lots of sound advice.


 

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#30 of 30 Old 01-21-2011, 09:07 AM
 
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wow, that sounds like my 3 year old son. LOL i mean i know it isn't funny, but sometimes it is either you laugh or you cry.

he does alot of the same stuff, yelling, doing things that seem like he is bent on pissing you off, just to do it. just so you are mad. when you ask "why did you do that" he has no idea. he says he hates everyone all the time, will not hug/kiss or even be really nice to dh at all most days. thankfully (knock on wood) we don't have alot of food issues. BUT when he does get a bug up his butt about not eating we let it go. he can get down from the table, and he usually plays near us. we do a bedtime snack so he doesn't go to bed hungry. 

i am hoping this too shall pass. LOL i mean i know it will, but it seems like this phase it taking awhile to get over. 

 

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mama to 6 amazing children joy.gif married to my main man for 21 years love.gif and finally home FULL time dishes.gifhang.gifknit.gif

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