3 yrs old and pushing pushing pushing the limits. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 06-24-2004, 01:25 AM - Thread Starter
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My dd is just over three and for the last two months or so has been pushing like crazy. A complete and total reversal of personality. She is the Jekyll and Hyde of three year olds, and it is freaking me out. Not that I want her to be always obliging of everything everyone says, but to stand there and smile looking at me as she does something that I just asked her not to do, over and over, is driving me batty. And I have been noticing in the last few days that she will do something JUST to make me upset. Or to see what will happen I suppose, pushing those limits ever so far... Today she said to me are you mad mommy? be mad. ??? huh?
I think I have been so patient and gentle, and I am trying to understand so hard where she is coming from and why, but whew this is tough. Two was a breeze compared to this. My dh is stupified, and utterly passive, which doesn't help bc she walks all over him, literally. And it makes it so much harder for me. He doesn't know how to be assertive, and is lousy at it.
I have read and read, and a lot of the reading has been extraordinary, and so useful, and then there are times when I draw a blank. How could she be soooo stubborn and obstinate and contrary? and I am so exhausted with the struggle that I just have no idea what I am doing at times.

Sorry for the rant, I am burnt out today and feeling like a mommy on edge feeling guilty and lost. : blah...

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#2 of 7 Old 06-24-2004, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by bellasmum
.. Today she said to me are you mad mommy? be mad. ??? huh?
So. Be mad!

Kids like to see limits, not punishments.

2 ways.

1) Be really mad. Really yell.

2) Just pretend. (so she knows). I do this all the time with my two.

BIG ANGRY VOICE "how shocking!!! Come here (clap hands) I'm going to tickle you bottom" Squeels of laughter as they run off, and I stamp down the hallway making as much noise as possible.

Ususally this just turns into some kind of big-bad-wolf role-play game or pirates or something.

When I'm knackered, I offer a truce and we all help make a milk-shake.


PS sometimes I'm the ice monster and put ice down thier backs!

Go on, have a laugh.

The anti-Ezzo king
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#3 of 7 Old 06-24-2004, 09:23 AM
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I think 3 is the hardest age. At least the hardest age I'v enountered yet! Much of it has to be muddled through, and then it starts to get better eventually.

I also think that at 3, they still need you to get up, walk over, and guide them through whatever you've asked them to do/not to do.
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#4 of 7 Old 06-24-2004, 02:13 PM
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My son is 3.5 and I have been saying that I have entered whole new terroritory that I find frightening. My son has always been pretty easy going and "well-behaved" but lately, he is an all out monster! The major issue is that he gets in his head that he wants something a certain way and most of the time it is out of the question, and when I redirect or compromise or explain why that isn't possible, he FLIPS OUT! I mean full out, violent flipping out. Screaming, throwing things, hitting scratching or biting me...oh it is really fun. I have lost it a few times. I swatted his bottom twice in the past two months when I lost control and after he had hit or bit me in the process of removing him from danger. I do not want to hit him ever, so I am very disappointed that I have lost control over myself.

It has been difficult to go through this. Dh and I wonder if we have done something wrong. But mostly I think it is a combination of things. I think 3 is a very "difficult" and also enchanting age. He is coming into his own in so many ways and able to do so much more. He has been so attached to me and that has been coming undone over this past year. I have started feeling this shift and started putting more energy into things that are mine, like writing, and we also have become pregnant (about 2.5 months along). So that is a lot of change for a 3y.o. to process.
This biggest thing that has helped is to let him do as much as possible on his own without helping him at all. And the other thing is to not let myself get angry so I stay in control when he is having a reaction that I find terrifying to parent through.

Hope this helps somebody. And if anybody has more advice for me, I welcome it.
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#5 of 7 Old 06-24-2004, 06:05 PM
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I have a very high-maitenance 4 year old. From 2 until now he can go from calm and peaceful to screaming and throwing in seconds without warning.
The one thing that we found worked was our 1-2-3 rule. I learned it from my aunt's child psyc class. It works wonders on both out boys (2 and 4)
1-we tell him no, explain why, explain the conesquences
"Don't throw blocks, you can hurt somone. If you keep throwing I will take them away."
2- Tell them again. ds never hears it the first time. Make sure they know it's their last warning.
"Do not throw blocks. I will take them away next time."
3- enforce action. Do not warn again. Then talk about the probelm and redirect to positive behavior.
Our guy is super stubborn and will just close up if he feels badly about something, so we sometimes have to talk later about the problem. Usually his agression is from lack of attention. He is a born limit - tester. He has to see just how far he can go every time. With this method, dh and i are more consistent, and ds knows he will not ever get and farther.
hope this helps... it may not be for everyone, but works for us!
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#6 of 7 Old 06-25-2004, 12:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your replies. Today was a much better day. Last night I stayed up reading the "Is there room for punishment in GD" thread and I feel so much better about my capacity to handle things. I took so much from that thread, and made my dh read it too, and we talked for a long time about it.

It is very true Alexander, and thank you for reminding me once again, that I need to get a sense of humor, and not take things so damn seriously all the time. I need to try to play with it more for both our sakes. A very good suggestion..

I am learning, and so is she. There is so much that is challenging both of us at this age, and this is a whole new stage for a first time parent too. Every new stage will be, and I need to take care with it, but give us both a break too.
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#7 of 7 Old 06-25-2004, 09:44 AM
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DD is not quite 3.5 yet. Wow this is really new territory isn't it? Two was nothing compared to 3. We have good days and bad, but the first thing I noticed was when she deliberately did something in front of me she knew was not right, and wanted to see my reaction and do it again. I remember being kind of dumbfounded, as usually she was always doing this or that wanting to please you or get your approval.
We do something similar to what tibdoml explained and it was worked for the most part, and for something extreme "revoking a privilage" - a before bed video or something.
Right now we are suffering from extreme separation anxiety and clinginess but I look forward to reading the replies to this thread!

:energ y
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