discipline help w/3yr. old - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 10-25-2005, 03:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I need help with my three year old. He bites, kicks, hits, spits, curses...you name it. He does it. I try redirection. When that doesn't work I count to three. Once I count to three if he has not stopped the behavior I put him in time out. He doesn't stay and there is no way I could keep him confined. Sometimes he goes into complete rages. His behavior is so out of control I have to swaddle him in my arms and speak gently in his ear and tell him to calm down. After five to fifteen minutes he does calm down. This seems to work.

Most of the time I attribute his rages to the fact that he is over tired or over stimulated by his enviorment. I am working to get him out of these enviorments before he is overstimulated, but that is not always easy to see coming or practical to do.

I am also working hard to get him into bed before he loses it. He does not take naps any longer and I know he needs them. Late afternoon he is very cranky. I try to lay down with him after I get him relaxed. We read books before hand. He won't take a nap!

It really upsets me that he hits, kicks, spits on, and bites his friends. He sees his friends about four times a week. I am a SAHM so no day care. He also has this behavior with his older brother. I need these behaviors to stop. This child is really out of control and does not respect my authority.

I'm really at a loss for what to do. Good books, websites, and your experience are all welcomed.
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#2 of 20 Old 10-25-2005, 06:34 AM
 
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for you mama. Sorry can't give you an advice hope other moms can help you.
Good luck.
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#3 of 20 Old 10-25-2005, 10:55 AM
 
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Hi,
Lots of kids react badly to being sleepy and over stimulated. I would say try to be very observant to situations that bring it on. You might even try making notes when it happens so you can become more aware of what triggers it. As for not napping have you tried reading him a story and then tell him it is rest time and play soft music, have it kind of dark. You might consider whether or not it could be due in part to allergies as they can make you quite cranky. Also maybe try to give more praise, rewards for good behavior and less reaction to negative behavior. Although personally at that age I would give him a time out for biting or hitting.
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#4 of 20 Old 10-25-2005, 11:10 AM
 
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sorry for this rough time. not sure if this is along the 3 year old need for power and control, or if there is something else going on, such as allergies/food sensitivities...is he a HN kind of temperment?


recently dd (3.5) started exhibiting some negative behaviours like yelling, angry throwing tirades, etc. I realized that i wasn't giving her enough autonomy, choices in the matter. kind of like treating her in the 2yr old way - distraction and sweeping her along. so i give her (limited) options...pick this or that...now or in 5 min.....and i've seen a tremendous positive change

hopefully someone with more btdt can reply...
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#5 of 20 Old 10-27-2005, 04:37 PM
 
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: I hear ya! I've been struggling with my almost-3 ds lately too. sounds like maybe not as bad-- he's not much of a biter-- but I avoid playdates because it's mostly just too blasted hard! : sounds to me like you've got a spirited kid on your hands, as do I. two books for you: Raising Your Spirited Child, by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, and Without Spanking or Spoiling, by Elizabeth Crary. RYSC will help you understand your child, and feel sane and not alone (and not guilty!!). its only major shortcoming imho is that in all its discussion of how to handle schools and their problems with nonconformist kids, it never gives so much as a nod to the idea of hsing. WSOS is VERY hands-on, with techniques and worksheets! I was turned off at first glance but it turned out to be brilliant! plus it acknowledges that with intense and persistent personalities you will have to repeat yourself 100's of times. rather than hating to hear that, I was relieved to know that what I go through is normal for my ds's personality type. I have the good fortune of knowing 2 other mommas with sk's who also share my "mdc" type philosophy, which has helped immensely. I did NOT find support in the sk groups I tried, what with all their willingness to medicate and punish their children into compliance.
recently we seem to have hit a developmental marker of some sort and things have gotten rough again (on a relative scale ), so I am going back to WSOS to do the worksheets on solving problem behaviors. we've had some major upheavals lately (moving etc) and I think the major culprit is that my and dh's consistency has gone out the window. we have moved in with my inlaws also (not as bad as you might think ) which further complicates the discipline issues-- too many cooks spoil the broth, kwim?
anyway, this is a bit rambly but I hope it at least helps you feel better! hang in there, when these sk's get older their fierce determination will be a beautiful blessing in their lives!

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#6 of 20 Old 10-27-2005, 05:27 PM
 
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one more book playful parenting, by lawrence cohen. when I have the energy, works great! I think he's really right on with his ideas.

also, sounds like you have a great technique in place with your whisper-swaddle method! 15 minutes to calm down from a tantrum sounds great! we also have to do that to get through meltdowns. when I forget/ have pms/ lose my temper/ etc it just escalates out of control. lowering my volume in response to his going up is the only way to bring it down (sometimes that doesn't work either, in which case I just have to ride it out). redirection and distraction haven't ever worked for us-- ds is too persistent.

a friend once mentioned reading about (and agreeing with) the idea that a child who has difficulty in playgroups may just not be ready for them. at an earlier age I stopped going to the only one we had b/c it was provoking ds too much and bringing out aggressive behavior. at our current age/stage, we can go, but I have to be alert for signs of personality conflict. ds is very sensitive and really flips out with certain personalities; with others he does fine. I'm trying to find a balance between giving him social opportunities and giving him *successful* social opportunities-- not the same thing! imho too many negative experiences build undesirable behavioral patterning that becomes part of who the child is...the take-home message is, try not to feel bad that the playgroups aren't going well; see if it goes better with some kids than others; and consider limiting these playtimes if they are consistently unsuccessful (a personal decision only you can make). just because someone else's 3yo can do it doesn't mean yours should be able to also. mine can't either! others have mentioned allergies; my ds is sensitive to red #40 and cannot control anything when he has it! which doesn't stop the grandparents from feeding it to him and then expecting him to be able to handle it :

HTH,

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#7 of 20 Old 10-27-2005, 11:18 PM
 
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I would recommend Becoming the Parent You Want to Be. It explains the developmental reasons for all of the behaviors, which can help you manage them more easily.

I also would recommend Kids Are Worth It.
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#8 of 20 Old 10-28-2005, 01:38 PM
 
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Is he like this all day long? If he's happier in the morning hours I'd limit play dates to that time of day. My ds is 3 and doesn't always nap, then he's whiny and irritable and we don't go anywhere in the afternoons if I can help it.
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#9 of 20 Old 10-28-2005, 02:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks mamas so much. I love the book recs. I will see what is available through my library. I also appreciate the stories of experience. Very helpful.
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#10 of 20 Old 10-29-2005, 12:30 PM
 
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I just had to post because my ds (almost 4) has been like this in the recent past and is still at times. He becomes very violent and mean. It's not toward friends, though, just toward me. I, too, have to hold him tight and talk softly before he can calm down.

He seems to be growing out of it, thankfully. In the midst of it I read the Spirited child book the pp recommended. It was comforting, reassuring and very helpful. I don't know if ds is a classic spirited child, but he definitely fit the bill in those moments. So, hopefully you will feel reassured, too, by reading it.

Best of luck. And, please, know your child is not alone and this is likely a phase that will pass like all others.

Take good care,
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#11 of 20 Old 10-29-2005, 01:23 PM
 
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The Explosive Child
Raising Your Spirited Child
Kids, Parents and Power Struggles
How to Talk so Kids will Listen, How to Listen so Kids will Talk
The Highly Sensitive Child

Dairy (in anything, casein and whey too), corn syrup (especially high fructose corn syrup, not sugar) and artificial colors, yellow and red cause aggressive behaviors in our son. The dairy behaviors are observable about one hour after consumption and last for 1-6 hours depending on exposure. We avoid these food ingredients in our home and our son willing does too when out and about. He is four and has understood about these issues for over a year and recognizes when he doesn't feel as well from "re-testing" this theory on occasion.

You might check out "The Feingold Diet" on line for information about food additives that create behavioral issues.

The Explosive Child helps to 'pick your battles'. I highly recommend it. The Sprited Child helped me to see how recognizing my temperment and our son's could clash or increase the intensity of conflicts, and how to alter that. I was stunned to learn about Highly Sensitive people and how some environments are just inherently overwhelming and cause meltdowns (dh included) if there are too many people, too much noise, too many bright lights, colors, chaos, etc. And limiting our son's exposure to his level of tolerance for that type of outing has made all the difference in the world for us.

I do want to say that restraint holds as a practice of discipline has generally been considered escalating rather than calming. We don't use this technique as I feel it is a violation of our son's body space if he is struggling to get away and move his body and I am physically restricting this. I have scooped him up and left an environment that has deteriorated and sat down with him elsewhere; but I don't restrain him. I have found that carrying him to his room as a *safe place* for him to vent his angst, *with* my support to validate and listen to his emotions has been useful. This removes him from where others are potentially going to be hurt by his physical expression of his emotions. With only one child, I just sit down wherever I am and comfort or cuddle him. If he doesn't want to be held, I will sit and wait for him to come to me. But I continue to comfort and validate his frustrations with my voice. Whispering and being at his eye level does help too. Or just sit and be present with him when he needs that.

Jan Hunt's "The Natural Child" and Naomi Aldort's writings about gentle parenting are on line. I'll try to get the links. There are reflective listening tools that don't involve threats and time outs which change the dynamic to cooperative rather than adversarial. I highly recommend "The How to Talk" book. It will change the pattern in one to two weeks. See the Amazon customer testimonials. It is an amazingly empowering book! They have "How to Talk" parenting classes around the country too.

HTH, Pat

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#12 of 20 Old 11-05-2005, 04:14 PM
 
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oh boy, more books!

for us the holding is never restraint-- I agree with the pp about that; besides, I would get hurt! it's a comforting type of holding, rather, and ds isn't struggling, just screaming/melting down. if he were to struggle (I can't remember that ever happening), I would not hold him but would stay close enough to prevent accidents. usually he buries his face in my shoulder, and his feet are always on the floor, now that I think of it. I speak soothingly and whisper, rub his back, tell him he's ok, etc. not to talk him out of it, but to reaasure him that he can handle his feelings and mommy can too! his angry outbursts and violence are directed at me too, as someone has mentioned. it fits with the idea that he explodes where he feels safest. lucky me!

we also have the corn syrup and red #40 sensitivity. he can go to sleep after eating an espresso bean (no we did not intend for that to happen!) but will spazz for hours from those 2 culprits. I told my family he's allergic
(which is not untrue, but his sensitivity doesn't match their defn. of allergy) to the red color to prevent them from giving him artificial colors. he still gets them sometimes-- you can't control everything-- but this has helped me deal with my well-intentioned but ill-advised family

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#13 of 20 Old 11-05-2005, 06:52 PM
 
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Very interesting. Here I thought I was the only one w/the angry "almost 4 year old." Anyway, for those of you that mention sensitivities/allergies to red and yellow dyes. Is this something that you tested your dc for, or did you just keep a food journal and watch for results? This is definitely something to check into. I'm going nuts every afternoon w/my non-napper!

Liz~A wife and homeschooling mother to two gifts from God!
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#14 of 20 Old 11-05-2005, 07:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mama_kass
I have to swaddle him in my arms and speak gently in his ear and tell him to calm down. After five to fifteen minutes he does calm down. This seems to work.


I'm really at a loss for what to do. .
it seems to me that you are doing the right thing already, and you say that it is working. good for you.
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#15 of 20 Old 11-05-2005, 08:12 PM
 
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Simple experiment: give a red (fill in the blank food item) and watch them bounce off the walls. I found it happens much more quickly than dairy. Which for our son, dairy takes about an hour for the aggitation to be observable. It might be the combination of corn syrup and red though as they are so commonly together. I am trying to think. We avoid it now, and mostly with red (and yellow) we would just have hours of hyper energy, restlessness, unsettled frustration overloads, insomnia.

To do a proper elimination diet, if you do not see obvious changes since other foods may be already causing hyper energy, you need to eliminate all culprits and add them back one at a time. And then observe for patterns. Eliminating dairy takes about a week (or three) to fully eliminate the effects from the body.

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#16 of 20 Old 11-06-2005, 04:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all so much for your responces. i am still having major problems with my ds. I have been reluctant to call him high needs because I don't want to label him. I think sometimes labels will just make the person behave even more so in the label that they are given. KWIM?

Ds just got 5 stitches the night before last after jumping off my cedar chest in bed room onto my bed. It was time for us to go to sleep and he climbed up, jumped, and cut his eyebrow on the corner of my cedar chest. Very scary.

I have one of the books mentioned on hold at the library and I am going to try an elimination diet.

It is hard when we go to a friend's house and after an hour we have to leave because he starts to hit, or throw toys, or act out of control in some other way. Please tell me that he is going to learn how to behave!
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#17 of 20 Old 11-06-2005, 06:11 PM
 
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Here is a link to attributes of an explosive child, according to Dr. Ross Greene.

http://www.homeschoolzone.com/add/greene.htm

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#18 of 20 Old 11-06-2005, 06:17 PM
 
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Here is an Amazon link about the book "How to Talk so Kids will Listen". http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/cus...views.start=11

Please read the customer reviews about the effectiveness of the Real Life practical tools that are demonstrated and explained in the book. Many parents found that the book changed the dynamic in their home in only a week! It is well worth the $10 or so. It will help immediately, or I will buy the book from you. I am that certain.

Pat

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#19 of 20 Old 11-06-2005, 09:51 PM
 
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hang in there, eventually you'll figure it out, and this too shall pass! the red 40 is immediate with us too. the high fructose corn syrup doesn't help, of course, but even in something where the sugar quantity is very small we've seen the effects. it's much easier to track than dairy or wheat. I am soon to embark on the gluten-elimination journey to see if it resolves ds's constipation issue but that's for another thread!

for us, though, diet is only part of the picture. I know what you mean about labels, and I avoid using them when I think it will be detrimental, but I also find it helpful to understand that children are all different. some demand much more energy and creativity from their caregivers in order to get a handle on their energy, their emotions, etc. my ds is extremely intense, and he really challenges me. I am very verbal (ya think? ) and not very physical, and while he's pretty verbal he is extremely physical. he is definitely high needs. when he was a baby, I had no choice but to hold him all the time when he was awake, or he would scream. this didn't bother me a bit, and I figured it was appropriate-- he had no medical problems and just wanted to be held! later I saw other babies who would wake up from a nap and just look around contentedly, and I thought, wow, I didn't know they could do that! now that ds is turning 3 in a couple of weeks he has boundless energy, and I don't always know how to keep up, which is when I get clobbered : but a "new" development for us has been the elimination of tv-- I put new in quotes since it's not like I didn't know this already, I was just afraid to try it we had a gnarly sinus infection this week and spent TOOOOO much time watching videos, and his energy was totally unmanageable (I know, duh, right?). I decided to try preparing him a couple of nights ago, telling him the next day we wouldn't watch any and instead we would play and paint etc. I expected major rebellion and was prepared to be flexible, but instead he surprised me and was the fantastic kid I know he can be! the only time he brought it up was when he had his Stellaluna puppet ask to watch tonka trucks it was so sweet! I just told him to remind Stellaluna that we weren't watching tv today, we were playing instead because it's much more fun, and he said, "okay, I want to build a tower!" and ran off to do so! later dh told me he was telling Stellaluna about how we weren't watching tv today, etc while they were playing. he used his mind so much more, and played outside more, took a better (and earlier) nap, went to bed easier... we've been tv-free for 48 hours and it has been amazing! I was completely shocked, and it may not go this way for others, but if you haven't tried it yet I encourage you heartily! if it generates major violence going cold turkey you can always try some weaning method-- don't mkae yourself miserable! just see what happens and roll with it. you may be delighted!

wow, sorry this was so long!

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#20 of 20 Old 11-06-2005, 10:05 PM
 
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I found a great little book called Your Three Year Old. I felt so much better after reading it b/c it mentions 3.5 as a period of disequilibrium (sp?). Developmentally it is a hard age and the child is simply wired this way for a time.

The book has some recommendations but mostly says to try not to see your child as the enemy & look forward to him/her turning 4!

Good luck --
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