Okay, I give up. I need some major help with my 3 year old. - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 39 Old 11-08-2013, 03:26 PM
 
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I hear you!!!

Mine is 9 now. She has grown out of a lot of it, and she still does a lot of it. Quite often, I think it's as much about me growing up, as about her growing up.

One of my hardest lessons has been to stop talking. Those endless discussions just about drove me crazy, created more conflict, and often led to me losing my temper (not a good scene). I've had to give up having the last word. (Grr! I like to be right! I want her to acknowledge that I'm right!) Nowadays, I'll give an explanation once, maybe twice, and then say, 'what was my answer the first time you asked?' And if she carries on arguing, I just ignore her and make a massive invisible effort nt to get drawn in. Not easy!! especially if she's hurling abuse at me. I used to feel totally helpless and powerless when she refused to comply. These days, I don't necessarily say anything, I just carry on acting as if she is going to do what she was told. Astonishingly, she does. It's downright weird to hear her going on and on about screen time or something, while turning off the computer and putting on her shoes to go out. And the abuse has decreased a lot since I started ignoring it.

 

I wanted to be the parent who led gently and kindly and explained things. My child needs a very authoritative (not authoritarian) parent who defines right and wrong very clearly and holds very strong boundaries.

 

That whole reflective listening thing doesn't go very well either, especially if I do it with the agenda that 'we'll get this empathy out of the way and then she'll do what I want.'

 

Your child sounds like mine -- not quite average. A bit more extreme than most. (Yes, it's probably typical behaviour for her age, but a more extreme version, which parents of less intense children just don't get.) Gradually I'm learning what my child's issues are. They are mild, so professionals don't pick them up. They aren't around them all the time in an intense one-on-one relationship. I'm learning to be my child's advocate, to be on her side. Things that trigger her: too much stimulation, hunger, tiredness, too much noise, unexpected changes of plan, unfamiliar situations, anything she perceives as unfair. The triggers may be different for your daughter: diet, lack of stimulation, whatever.

 

The Louise Bates Ames books (Your Child at One, at Two, etc.) suggest that children often go through a period of disequilibrium at the half-year times (e.g., 3.5, 4.5 etc.) and are more in equilibrium on the years (e.g., 3, 4, 5). My daughter certainly goes through periods of disequilibrium that are really, really difficult. Their timing is unpredictable because developmentally, she's at her age from some stuff, ahead for other stuff, and behind on other things. At those times, survival is the best we can do. When she's in equilibrium, we recover.

 

It IS hard, very hard indeed, and it WILL get better. All we can ask of ourselves is to do our best -- and I know we do try our best.

Oh -- and when it's really tough, I often say a little prayer along the lines of, 'I can't handle this -- how can I respond lovingly and effectively?' Very often, just taking a moment to think that thought gives me the space to step out of the conflict.

 

Big hugs, mama, and hang in there!

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#32 of 39 Old 11-08-2013, 03:54 PM
 
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Blimey. Another 3+ thread I have to subscribe to!!!!

 

Right there with you I'm afraid, with our completely loco 3.25 year old girl. She's been kidnapped and replaced by some kind of cute looking but entirely shouty, horrid (sometimes, well...a lot) little alien/monster kid in the last 5 or so weeks.

We are having nearly all of your list too - some very badly, especially numbers: 1 (oh dear, oh dear), 2, 6 (weird isn't it? mine spaces out and doesn't answer me), and definitely number 7.

 

My thread along the same lines has died it seems :-( ....so will watch yours here as nothing much has changed for us unfortunately.

Our preschool experience started off blazingly well three weeks ago - but since the first two good days, we've had one refusal...and then yesterday a sneaky departure by her parents (I know, I know...we had not planned it that way...but the teachers said...just this once) - she was okay, and had a good day, but was mad at me when she came home. THEN she forgave me.

It is not going as I'd hoped at all unfortunately, even though I know she is enjoying it. She is just so insecure about being away from me right now (could be the preschool that caused it??) that sometimes she wants me to not go upstairs whilst she's having dinner, but instead, stand there and hold her hand.

I'm really hoping I can talk her out of this kind of stuff ....and / or reassure her somehow - we would really, really, really like her to continue with preschool.

I'm considering doing some role-playing with dolls etc....just haven't had time to sort it all out in my mind - too busy dealing with the crazy.

 

We are also struggling a lot because she won't do ANYTHING for herself at the moment...prefers instead to shout the house down to get ME to do it for her. She's not spending time with Daddy anymore - it has to be ME...and is being so clingy I can't even take a five minute break away.

Nothing is good enough for her...nothing is right - "NO!! NO!!! DON'T PUT THE CATERPILLAR (toy) THERE...HIS BUM IS FALLING OFF! (Move caterpillar) "NO!!! NOOOOOO!!! THAT'S NOT RIGHT...HIS HEAD IS GOING TO FALL OFF THE CHAIR THERE!! NOOO!! STOP!!! DON'T!!! MOVE HIM!!!! MOVE YOUR ARM!!!...." On and on...relentlessly about everything all day it seems. Shouting, screaming. It's enough to make you weep. And I have done a few times now.

 

Gah. Gah. Gah.

 

I need help too. Some days I think I actually need to move a nanny in!!!! I wish I had that kind of option.

I had a really rough time when she was a baby, then we had two good years - but this is by far the worst so far. It's awful not to know what to do about it all...and to have SO MUCH going wrong at the same time. These kids are hitting us not just with both barrels, but ALL the behaviour barrels possible...all at the same time!? How do they even have the energy!?

 

We are trying to do everything at once to help too - give her more love/attention (trouble is, she doesn't want to do anything either much...or if she does, everyone is doing everything wrong and she gets very upset very quickly, like yours) - try and chill out with her...but she doesn't want to read stories with me any more. Play in the garden? NO! Go to the beach? NO!!

 

Yeah - and on and on and on.

 

We're wondering in our house whether to try any discipline methods at all right now, because seriously, she just seems to have completely lost her marbles!

It seems like trying to teach a crazy or drunk person the road rules - i.e. impossible??

 

In her five minutes a day that she's 'normal' and happy (actually, more like a dozen of these periods...but still interspersed with the angry alien the rest of the time) - we can talk...and have fun - and things occasionally stick...but, omg - crisis. That is the word for it....living in the middle of an ongoing crisis.

 

I read recently that it helps if we are not scared of our children. Well, I'm not scared of my daughter...but I do find I'm very scared and anxious of the consequences of all this negativity...I don't sleep at all well anyway (insomnia) - and lately sleep has been filled with teeth grinding and extra wake ups. 

We are trying to ensure she is sleeping between 11-12 hours a day...but a lot of the time she is undersleeping (10.5-11) and wakes up in a foul mood too - or wakes up crazy early like this morning, at 5am...then is hideous all day long.

 

Anyway - you can see from the above, and my thread, that I have no useful advice whatsoever.

So sorry about that....

Sorry about the ranting too.

 

But I'll be watching.....!

 

And, those of us who are posting these 3+ nightmare threads - should totally try and update them a bit down the track, to give others some hope (hopefully!!!) - as I find it more alarming that I just see similar posts about 4 year olds...then 5 year olds.....ARGH!! That IS frightening.

 

 

G

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#33 of 39 Old 11-09-2013, 10:40 AM
 
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Hugs mama <3 <3  I so remember that age, especially with my oldest (who was really like an only at that point because her bro was just a baby.)

 

I just want to say, you are getting some great advice and it sounds like you are so gentle and so patient.  I really think you gotta relax though!!! It totally sounds to me like you are getting sucked into little-kid arguments all day.  I know it feels rude not to engage but I think you need to set the boundary.  I am a believer in the idea that you can't tell your child what to do, but you can tell your child what you will do.  (My 3yo: I don't wanna go home!!  Me: Sorry I know it's hard to leave but it's time to go.  Would you like to walk or should I pick you up?  Him: Waaah!  I don't wanna go! No! I have to get my dinosaur! etc.  Me: I have to leave now or I'll be late to pick up your sister.  I'm getting in the car.  Here's your jacket if you want it.)  I'm not saying this works no-tears every single time but I cannot spend all day arguing with a preschooler.  You are just not gonna win.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by newmamalizzy View Post
 

It's funny, until this recent phase hit, I thought we HAD nipped it in the bud!  But my whole toolkit from her toddler years, which involved lots of empathy and redirection, is completely obsolete now, unfortunately. 

 

YES!!  I think that's exactly what makes this age so hard.  Don't worry, you will find your way. 

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#34 of 39 Old 11-09-2013, 10:47 AM
 
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Sorry another thing I wanted to say here before my internet browser slowed down to a grinding halt (what is up with that?  Is it this site or is it me??)

 

At 3-3.5 with my oldest was when I had to sit down and figure out how I wanted to parent.  I read a lot of books.  One thing I came across a lot was offering a choice or working out a solution.  For my DD 3 was a little young for this strategy to work right away.  It took lots of practice on both sides.

 

You might see a lot of threads about crazy 3yo's and then crazy 4 or 5yo's but they aren't always the SAME kids.  Everyone has that one age that is really difficult.  People are on here because they need help.  The people who have found something that's working for them just don't post as much.

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#35 of 39 Old 11-11-2013, 07:28 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

3.5 is a really really hard age. They crave autonomy and create power struggles on purpose to get you and them fighting. It's their instinctive way of trying to separate from you a bit, but at the same time they are scared by the separation. I found this age to be really difficult.


Life has been awful at our household too for the last few weeks. I came on here looking for ideas, support, help! And what do I find? Most threads in this section are about three year olds...sometimes it's nice to know my child is like all the others and it's not something I'm doing. It was helpful to read that 3.5 is a hard age...rather it wasn't so but this is exactly what we are seeing. I see my ds really struggling these days. He seems to need lots of snuggle time with me. I feel like I make an effort to give him extra but it never seems to be enough. So instead I see lots of hitting, throwing things. I am generally a very patient person but after having multiple things thrown at me all day long, I am losing my patience with him. I don't like that I am raising my voice. I keep telling him that it's not ok to hit, throw, etc. that I don't want to be hurt, etc. whenever it's possible, I put my 6 month old down somewhere safe so I can snuggle ds and do a time in with him. But it just doesn't seem enough. I have started telling him that if he throws, I will take away that toy and I do so when it gets thrown again. But honestly, there are a lot of wooden toys, and just general household stuff that he could throw. He'll always find something to throw when he's wanting to push my buttons. I can't clear the house of everything! He even tried to throw a squash at my car the other day when I set a limit then went in the car to wait for him. We just end up in a day long struggle of him throwing and hitting and me tryingt o set limits. It's just not fun!
I will try some of the stuff suggested on here. I know I need to follow through on the limits I set the first time they are said rather then giving him chances. It's also good to know it's also a matter of just being consistent and things eventually get better. Sometimes I wonder if his grandparents are right and time outs are the answer. I don't think so, but sometimes you wonder if your approach is making things worse. But when I look at him, I see a child who needs closeness, not to be pushed away. It was helpful to read that it's their way to create autonomy but they aren't fully ready for it. Helps to understand!
Sorry to add a rant rather than offer help. I wish I could offer something but I'm at a loss too! Maybe we need to start a parents of three year olds support thread and just be there for each other as we ride the wave until they are four? It gets better then, right?
Hugs to you and I hope things get better

married to DH, mother to two amazing little boys born May 18/2010 and May 20/2013!

Infertility has been part of this journey - no more littles for us, but so grateful we have two happy healthy boys and we can now begin to heal from that experience

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#36 of 39 Old 11-11-2013, 07:29 AM
 
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Oops, my previous post shows up as one long quote. Just the first bit is quoted from another post. Rest is my rant smile.gif

married to DH, mother to two amazing little boys born May 18/2010 and May 20/2013!

Infertility has been part of this journey - no more littles for us, but so grateful we have two happy healthy boys and we can now begin to heal from that experience

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#37 of 39 Old 11-13-2013, 05:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wanted to post a quick update that things are going a lot better around here.  It seems to have been a waiting-it-out thing.  She's still argumentative, bossy, and weird on a regular basis, but I don't feel like we're in crisis mode anymore, and I've seen some amazing changes in DD lately.  I think the first thing that happened was that we went to a restaurant and my DD had her heart set on macaroni and cheese, but they didn't have it.  Her normal response would have included lots of loud screaming and hard to control physical flailing and whatnot, ending in her removal from the restaurant.  Instead, she started to cry.  She cried and cried in a sad, heartbroken way.  Not tantrum.  Cry.  And then she slumped her head on me and was silent with her head down for 10 minutes.  It's become a bit of the norm - instead of a tantrum, she'll droop her face and shoulders and walk away slowly, or lie down on the floor with a sad, sad face.  Some crazy part of me jumps for joy every time she does this because it shows that she's suddenly able to accept the negative answer instead of battling against it.  Granted, she still battles, but sometimes she just accepts and is sad.  It's a big step for her. 

 

If there's anything that I think helped, it's been counting to 10 a lot.  I realized at some point that I was being REALLY impatient with her, and maybe I just needed to give her a little bit more time.  So if I ask her a question or ask her to do something I count to 10 in my head before getting angry that she hasn't responded.  It actually seems like 10 is about the right number for her.  She will often respond or comply if I give her that amount of time without nagging or getting annoyed.  Who'd have thought? 

 

I did also take the advice of many on here to back off - REALLY back off my expectations for her.  I've been very careful in my phrasing of things so that it's clear to me and to her when I'm asking her to do something that is not optional.  It was nice for both of us to have her getting in trouble less, so the feeling in the house was nicer and I think there was a positive feedback loop that helped us both out of the hole. 

 

Mostly, though, I think it was just time :) 

 

Thanks again for all the advice and support, and hugs to those dealing with troublesome 3-year-olds.  It's HARD. 

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#38 of 39 Old 11-13-2013, 06:26 PM
 
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^ Jealous of you!

When's our 'phase' going to end?

 

(Great news though - wish mine would slump and be sad etc - we are still going nuclear over most things...including, and especially mummy-separations, and very very minor frustrations.)

 

:(

 

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#39 of 39 Old 11-30-2013, 04:06 PM
 
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Thanks for your thoughts in my crazy-3-year old thread. Are things still going okay?

 

What are your thoughts for the preschool thing (you read my thread, but preschool going well for us now! Knock on wood.)

 

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