My 3 year old is really rude to his father - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 03-16-2013, 05:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My son is almost 3. Lately he has been really rude to my DH. He ignores him when he talks to him, he won't answer if I say "Tell Daddy what we did today" or he'll say something like, "No, I won't!". Most often we will just ignore it but its starting to get to my husband. Last night I tried to engage my son in a conversation about why he was acting that way but I didn't really get very far. He occasionally will act like this with other close family members as well, and it just makes me cringe. I feel like he's being so rude and I'm not sure how to handle it in a gentle way. I want him to respect the people that show him respect.

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#2 of 12 Old 03-16-2013, 06:21 AM
 
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My ds does this and it used to drive me crazy. Then I realized that I am disrespectful and condescending as well when I ask him: Tell your dad XYZ. I mean, I would feel the same if someone asked me: tell X what we did today... I would say: why don't you tell him yourself :)

 

Also, I found that (some) kids remember things differently, so when I ask ds general questions, like, how was school today? I usually get "fine". "What did you do?" "I forgot." duh.gif

 

I don't know if it's a boy thing or not. It's certainly not because of ds's personality; he's the chatty one in our family, if we let him be.

 

So I usually pick a very specific thing or person to ask about, and he usually starts talking. Like: did you sit beside your friend Y at lunchtime today? Did you have to stay inside at recess because of the rain?

 

Usually if I lecture him about being respectful and answering questions it makes him shut down even more.

 

HTH
 


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#3 of 12 Old 03-16-2013, 06:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I know, it ended up with my DS all angry and I knew I had handled it wrong. I definitely want to do as you suggested and find better "conversation starters" because he probably didn't like the question. That reaction, paired with the ignoring every time my husband tried to talk to him, just really got under my skin.

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#4 of 12 Old 03-18-2013, 03:32 AM
 
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Hmmm. My sense is that this relationship is one that needs to be between your husband and your son, and I wouldn't intervene overmuch. Does your dh take him out alone? To fun places but also just to shop for groceries etc? Does he involve him in his life? Does he read to him (or start reading a book out loud if your son says he doesn't want to hear a story) or play with him? 

 

I have to say I won't have my kids being rude to anyone and that includes me and dp. If my son was being rude to dp, I'd make it clear that I didn't appreciate it either. My 9 year old can be, for want of a better word, "mouthy" at times (door slamming, shouting etc) and we've always had a united front on this one. I will make it clear to him that I don't appreciate rudeness to dp. Now sometimes my son has a point, we as his parents do slip up and its ok to be upset or annoyed by that. Its totally ok to communicate this in as respectful a way as he can muster and we'll work together. However what I've always made clear is that rudeness is unacceptable, And rudeness includes ignoring. 

 

Fair enough your son is only 3, but I think the big thing I'd do is just to make gently clear that its not on to ignore or be rude to your partner. 

 

OTOH it could also be that he's feeling a bit shy, if your partner has just come home, and uncertain as to the situation. Is he a child who struggles with transitions? Maybe you could, say, suggest he tries to think of three nice things to say to his dad when he gets home and practice that in advance. And, as I say, see if there are areas your dp perhaps needs to boost in their relationship.


Raising Geek_Generation_2.0 :LET ds= 10 ; LET dd1= ds - 2; LET dd2=dd-2; IF month=0.67 THEN LET ds = ds+1; 
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#5 of 12 Old 03-18-2013, 06:53 AM
 
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I usually "prep" my DH what has gone on while he's at work (by text throughout the day or when he gets home before he comes upstairs at night - we have weird hours) so that when he sees the kids, *he* can ask directed questions like, "I heard that you X....." and engage them in conversation that way instead of me directing the kids to talk to him, you know?   My kids hate to be put on the spot by one person telling them to say/do something for another person...parents included.  We called it "performing monkey syndrome", because while they loved if a person asked them about something and got them in conversation about things they liked, they HATED being asked to "perform", including recapping what we did in a day, if prompted by someone else to do it instead of directly by the person who wants to have a conversation with them.  This is gettign better as they get older and they're understanding the nuance of conversation, and of people being interested in things you do but maybe not exactly sure what's been going on so they need a little help/prompt.  

 

I will say as a kid, myself, I hated when people talked *about* me when I was right there, even if it was positive, or if someone put me on the spot like that too, instead of whoever it was just talking to me directly...so I get where they're coming from.  It was like, "Why can't that person ask me themselves?  If they really wanted to know that they could talk to me themselves instead of mom forcing it on them."    

 

My kids would even prefer, "So mom told me about x...."  instead of me prompting one of them to talk with DH about something.

 

The other thing I'll note is that if your son is being rude to your husband, your husband should be the one addressing it in the moment, and doing whatever it is you two have agreed on as the way to handle that, not you....then in a later moment, at bedtime, or some other connecting time when you're with him, you can talk with him about it in a general sense, and include that you are upset about rudeness....BUT, give him scripts/options to *politely* decline things, so he's not just hanging with wondering what he can say if he doesn't feel like talking/showing something.


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#6 of 12 Old 03-18-2013, 08:52 AM
 
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It's hard for me to imagine that a 3 yo is capable of being rude...he's just 3.  My son, who's now 5, just only recently started understanding what was expected when someone says "what did you do today".  Kids just live life; they don't store up moments to tell a story about them later.  My son would regularly say "I didn't do anything" or just not say anything because didn't know what to say.  If you want to start a conversation for dh's benefit, then say directly to your son something specific about what he did and something that interests him to remember..."X, did you get to play with the green train at the library or the red one?"  Or have you dh ask him after being told what he did.  As far as your son ignoring your dh...what kinds of things did your dh ask him?  And are they close in general...like does dh spend time with him one on one playing?  Because it almost sounds (just from the few words you've posted here)...that it's the kind of reaction kids have to people they're not very familiar with like family members you see once in a while, and they're a little standoffish with those people.  

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#7 of 12 Old 03-18-2013, 11:32 AM
 
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I struggle with this same thing with my daughter too! My husband is a great dad, and I know she loves him, but ever since his last deployment (when she was 14mo-18mo) she has been very rude to him, especially in the mornings. She is now a little over 2.5yo, and still will say "NO!" when he asks for a kiss good morning. She will whine and cry if I set her down on the bed with him before he has gotten up. She very clearly prefers to cuddle with me over her dad. It makes me so sad for him, because I know it hurts his feelings. He is gone a lot for work even when he is home, so maybe that has something to do with it. She absolutely adores him if they are alone and I am not around, and she loves to rough house and play with him. I am nervous because he is about to be gone for 8 months soon, and I am worried she will want nothing to do with him when he comes back :-( Sorry to hijack, I just needed to get it out somewhere! OP, I hope you figure out a way to help your son open up to your husband!

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#8 of 12 Old 03-18-2013, 02:48 PM
 
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Lmk1 brings up a fair point ; 3 year olds are very direct (blunt!), and often what is helpful is modeling what you would like them to say right after they say something, helps get the point across to them as opposed to calling them out on rudeness(which they may not understand yet). So, for instance...

"Tell daddy about your day, son"
"No!"
"Next time please say, 'Can I tell you later instead please?' ".

As they get older, that turns into "Please try again, that was rude" or "I 'm positive you can figure out how to say that politely....." But hosts when they're like 5,6+ and they've had a few years of the scripting "next time please say X" thing.

Amy, this may sound dramatic but one of the best things you can do for your kid is NOT make them feel bad about saying no to a request for affection...especially for girls. They need to know they have the absolute right to say no to affection and are not obliged to let people touch them/touch other people, even family members. Giving polite but firm ways to say no to undesired affection, and/or friendly alternatives, like for relatives( a handshake, a high five, etc.) is really important. I know it's her daddy, and he loves her, yet still... She's learning about what's ok in relationships from him (and you) and this is pretty big stuff in reality. If the good morning kiss request is becoming a repeated issue, I'd ask him to back off and find some way that's special and comfortable to *her*, be it a secret handshake, a song, or something else like that that can be just theirs.

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#9 of 12 Old 03-19-2013, 09:04 PM
 
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My 3.5 yr old DD does this kind of stuff to me. She see's her Mum a lot more, and is generally attached to her Mum more. Although her and I have a very close relationship.

I find that it happens more when she is feeling disconnected from one or both of us. If she is feeling disconnected from her Mum she will push me away as a way to be closer to her mum. If she is feeling disconnected with me she will push me away as a way to show me that she is upset that we are disconnected.

 

I find that if I lay of the pressure and then spend some quality silly play time with her it gets better. Just finding ways to connect with her that relieves the pressure and she finds enjoyable.

 

I also agree that kids that young do not like the (to them) out of nowhere open ended questions as conversation starters. It is helpful for me to ask direct short questions. And then only if she feels like talking about that kind of stuff at the moment. Three years old isn't the time to have general polite conversations about your day.

 

I also agree with PP to have your Dh be the one to address it. I hate it when my DW tells/asks my child to listen to me or answer me or whatever. I usually just say to my DD, "it's OK if you do not want to talk/ OK if you're upset, etc....but it is not OK for you to be rude to me. You can just say I do not feel like talking right now". This usually helps some.


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#10 of 12 Old 03-25-2013, 08:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone. It's hard to know what to expect from him as this is my first and only child so far, and he's pretty verbal. Sometimes I do forget that he isn't even 3 yet. I think it does have to be something my DH handles.

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#11 of 12 Old 03-25-2013, 12:49 PM
 
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My guess is the little fellow is feeling a little competitive with Daddy over Mommy's attention.  A little more time with Daddy or a little more independence from Mommy might help. 
 

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#12 of 12 Old 03-26-2013, 07:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I agree. He has rarely been with my DH without me. They definitely need to do some boy things!

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