HELP. I am at the end of my rope with my 3 yr old AND feel I have lost connection :( - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 08-18-2012, 08:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay..so a little background info first off..I very much believe in GD and treating children a humans and with respect..I just can't figure out HOW to do this anymore. I feel as though all I do is talk and repeat myself until I am blue in the face..and get nowhere. Myself and my fiance were both raised verryyyyy NON-GD. The cycle is DEEPLY engrained into our consciousness and I am finding it IMPOSSIBLE to ignore.

We have done great so far. DD is 3 and is wonderful..love her to death..BUT I just don't know what the hell has happened. I feel as though I have lost all control and connection with her. She has been SO incredibly defiant lately..I feel like all I do is yell and scream greensad.gif We do not and have never hit her. I honestly stay DO incredibly upset with her that there are times I just don't want to be around her. She has a little sister who is almost 14 months and she is constantly being overly boast and aggressive with her. I know that she gets the yelling from us (sadly) but I just don't know how to fix it. She is also becoming increasingly aggressive and explosive towards us. I try so hard to allow her to express her emotions, but it is scary. Everything is a battle and I am exhausted. I try to read up on things and am *trying* to read Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves by Naomi Aldort..but I seriously do not have the time.nor energy at this point. I have been battling severe PPD since DD2's birth and this is just spiraling it all back down.

I mean, I just don't even know what to do to set and enforce boundaries..or the fact that she cannot be mean to her sister. Other things I can deal with, but when it comes to danger, I am serious..but at a loss. I talk and explain and validate..but I am SICK of it as it seems to not be working. I have resorted to constantly snapping and yelling..I dread getting out of bed even bc I know it will start. My fiance is starting to really doubt GD..I try to explain that most of this is developmental but he is exhausted just like I am.

I just need something..anything. I feel like I am on a direct road to parenting failure and my once loving and close relationship with my DD is gone and will be for good. I know that how I am yelling and acting is hurting her..but I am just empty on resources. Help.

Earth-loving, birth-loving, body-working, simple-livin' mama to two sweet girls and fiance to a hard-working man treehugger.gif namaste.gifbellyhair.gif

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#2 of 10 Old 08-19-2012, 12:31 PM
 
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Hi,

check my reply to the thread - book recommendations for 9 yo 

CPS - collaborative problem solving appraoch by Ross Greene , Myrna Shure has a problem solving book for kids up to 7   http://tinyurl.com/dytwnyu - an eg of using CPS with a 3yo 

Playful parenting L cohen 

 

talking does not help , because we do the talking , the kid speaks , we direct with questions 

lower the rope ,your expectations, and create an environment that is safe - you need to be more around and supervise , you can become friendly with a family that has kids that can come around and play with the 3yo and be a baby sitter 

try to talk softly , focus on connecting time - kid talking and you listening, informal learning like making the kitchen a classroom etc

 

Mary  

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#3 of 10 Old 08-19-2012, 01:16 PM
 
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Two things stand out at me: the new baby, and the age. 3-year-olds are trouble at the first time. I bet we get more posts here about 3-year-olds (or 3.5-year-olds) than any other age.

They stop being babies really at that age, and start to have their own wants, opinions, to a greater degree than before, AND are desperate for autonomy so they can have power over their own lives. They intentionally get into tons of power struggles to break free from their parents and have some control over themselves.

This is probably made even more severe by having a new baby in the house. That can make them feel jealous, anxious, and a million other stressful feelings, and can exacerbate everything else.

My best way of dealing with 3-year-olds wanting autonomy is to give it to them in every area that where it is not very important for them to do what I want due to safety, annoying the world, whatever. But I step back and re-think every time I tell them not to do something. (And I have a 3-year-old right now too.)

So if my 3-year-old says she isn't cold but I know it's cold out,and she wants to wear her sandals and no sweater, I grab a bag, throw her shoes and some socks in it, throw a sweater in it, and go. I don't fight over what she should wear. What to wear is huge for them because it's a real bodily autonomy issue. If she feels cold at some point, I have stuff for her to put on.

I put her dishes and her cups where she can reach them, I have a spot in the pantry for snacks she can have, and a spot in the fridge for cold stuff she can have, and she's in charge of getting her own water, her own snacks, and if she doesn't like what we're having for dinner, getting her own healthy substitute.

There are two benefits to letting them have their way as much as they can. First, they get that sense of autnomy they're desperate for, which hopefully makes them less desperate for it and want to fight for it less. Second, it helps you save your strength for the big things, because there will still be issues you have to fight about. It's easier to fight about the car seat and win if you haven't already fought about 20 other things that morning. It saves your sanity a bit.

And please take care of yourself as far as the PPD thing goes. I've had that and it's so hard. it is probably making him more stressed, and of course making you have a harder time dealing with stuff. Do you have any people in your life you can lean on for a bit? Maybe someone to take him out to the zoo or museum sometimes, or someone to hang out with the kids at home while you nap, or someone to do some housework for you? The age of 3 is difficult for all parents, but to be dealing with that, a new baby, AND PPD is an awful lot. Hugs to you!
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#4 of 10 Old 08-19-2012, 07:03 PM
 
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yeahthat.gif

 

I am pregnant and have an almost 4 year old (in Dec) at home, I'm SAHM.  When I finally said screw it, what do we want for our family and forget everyone else, things got much easier.  If he wants to go to the park or store in a tutu, diego sweatshirt and rain boots, then good.  There have been so many fewer fights.  And we enjoy each other so much more.  

 

He gets options for everything.  They are all options I approve of, but he gets to pick.  If he wants a snack, I give him 3 options (or howver many) and he picks.  If he refuses all of those options then we try again in ten mins.

 

I've also found that he really does well with some level of scheduling, I hate schedules so it's my struggle, not his.  

 

I wish you luck mama, when ds was turning 3 I thought a little monster had replaced my child, I was wrong, I just needed to reframe who my child was and what he was capable of.  

 

And I totally second Playful Parenting, I have used it lots this year.

 

hugs.

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#5 of 10 Old 08-19-2012, 07:23 PM
 
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I thought of a few other things that might help, depending on her personality, and your personality, and your routine.

Give her jobs to do! 3-year-olds love having jobs and responsibilities. Like it's her job to put soap in the dishwasher, or help feed the dog,or match socks in the laundry, or whatever. Kids that age feel so much more mature and happy when they feel useful and helpful. This isn't a "chores" thing, but a "can you help me" thing.

How much sleep does she get? Sometimes an earlier bedtime can help things.

For one of my kids, when she had a protein-based breakfast, her behavior was better from morning straight through till bedtime than when she had a grain-based breakfast. Consider breakfast and see if it has a lot of grain and/or sugars (even natural sugars.) Maybe try to decrease grains, and make the breakfasts more protein-based.

I don't know how easy this would be with the new baby, but days here go better if I plan one outing each day. I have a bunch of free or very cheap places we can go, and we rotate. Museum, library, parks, etc. Having a plan of something to do can make days go better too.

(I keep editing because I see typos that make me look illiterate. I apologize for typos. I'm on an iPad and it's hard to type.)
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#6 of 10 Old 08-20-2012, 05:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

Two things stand out at me: the new baby, and the age. 3-year-olds are trouble at the first time. I bet we get more posts here about 3-year-olds (or 3.5-year-olds) than any other age.
 

I was just about to say this! Back in the day, when my 10 year old was young and I spent A LOT of time on the GD forum, I used to play a game of "guess the age of the child in the post". When the parent was really wigging out, the child was always 3. 3 is hard. It may be especially hard for GD parents. I have a feeling that the "terrible twos" are postponed for GD kids - or something like that. 


Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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#7 of 10 Old 08-23-2012, 10:03 AM
 
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Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post

I was just about to say this! Back in the day, when my 10 year old was young and I spent A LOT of time on the GD forum, I used to play a game of "guess the age of the child in the post". When the parent was really wigging out, the child was always 3. 3 is hard. It may be especially hard for GD parents. I have a feeling that the "terrible twos" are postponed for GD kids - or something like that. 

I totally agree! All my friends talk about the "terrible two's", but Holy U@Y#I$ in my world three kills me. I think it's about parenting also, but still think you go through the crazy stage no matter which way you choose to parent.

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#8 of 10 Old 08-23-2012, 04:18 PM
 
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My children are almost 3 and 5.5, and I found myself yelling a lot.  I think it was mostly about me, and I have been working on taking care of myself.  Even just acknowledging that I am doing a lot and making a list of things to do to take better care of myself really helped me stop yelling at my kids -- even before I had actually changed anything.  So, get sleep, get fresh air, get exercise, eat well, drink water, take baths, take time to yourself -- really even walking around the block alone can make a big difference.

 

My ds will be 3 next month, and he is a bit of a tyrant.  He screams at me when he wants me to do something, sometimes he hits me.  I have been loathe to isolate him, but it's what I finally decided to try, and I think it really helps.  As soon as he screams, hits, throws his food, (pick your completely unacceptable behavior) I tell him to go to his bed.  If he doesn't go immediately, I take him there.  I do this all gently, and calmly.  If he follows me back out of the room screaming, I take him back in.  I leave the door open.  I tell him he can come out when he's ready to be nice (or something like that).  Sometimes he will just come out soon and be fine, sometimes I have to take him back in there, and other times he sits in there and yells for me to come get him -- he might yell for me for 10 minutes trying to get me to stop what I'm doing and come get him.  When he comes out, he has had a reset and is generally over whatever it was.

 

I know it sounds mean, like I'm ignoring his needs, but I really don't think I am.  I think, for us, this is a workable way for me to avoid power struggles with him.  The other option would be for me to leave so that he can't hit me anymore, because he won't stop.  Occasionally, when he's really freaking out and I can't handle it, I lock him in the bedroom until one or both of us is calm enough to handle the situation.  I am not proud of this, and I would like to stop doing it, but sometimes I just need for him to be away from me so that he can't hit me or pull on my clothes and scream at me, or whatever he's doing.  For the longest time I thought I could help him by being with him, but when he gets like that he doesn't want me to hold him or talk to him or do anything else either, so he will often intentionally interfere with whatever I'm doing until I remove one of us from the situation.

 

So, my post sounds awful so far, but really, things are getting better between us.  I have not yelled for weeks, and ds is throwing fewer tantrums and has been less violent with me and others.  I think he really needs some quiet time to himself, but doesn't know how to take it.  He doesn't have his own room or a play room or anything.  We are working on getting him a room, and I am hopeful that he will be able to use his room with his toys in it as a retreat for when he needs time to himself.

 

I do try to give him plenty of good, healthy attention and engage him in my daily activities.  Dh and I also try to have some one-on-one time with each kid on a regular basis so that they aren't always with each other.

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#9 of 10 Old 08-23-2012, 07:52 PM
 
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I'm sorry you're struggling but it's such a comfort to read this and know I'm not alone. My (you guessed it) 3.5yr old has been a delightful 3 year old until now - I have truly enjoyed him the most I ever have up 'til this point. Now I'm 7 months pregnant, he's clearly feeling strain around that, and it's manifesting in a lot of violent meltdowns. I have no solutions because clearly what I'm doing isn't working but I wish you luck.

One gorgeous solstice babe 12/08, two smitten mothers - mothering consciously with conscience and compassion. Birth & Postnatal Doula. Student Midwife. Expecting #2 November '12.

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#10 of 10 Old 08-24-2012, 04:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by sunnygir1 View Post
  I am not proud of this, and I would like to stop doing it, but sometimes I just need for him to be away from me so that he can't hit me or pull on my clothes and scream at me, or whatever he's doing.  

I tend to agree with you on this idea that there are very few good solutions for a melt down that includes hitting mom (or anyone else). Where I think I would focus is on prevention. For instance, if your child has a high need for alone time, I would try to stay out ahead of that so it's a prevention more than a reaction, yk? Of course, this won't always work but I remember this feeling better to us when we did things this way. 

 

Still, although I also agree that the "go to your bed" solution doesn't always feel great and it isn't an ideal situation -- if it's working for you child, it may well be an ok solution. stillheart.gif


Mama to DD September 2001 and DD April 2011 *Winner for most typos* eat.gif
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