my 3 year old is driving us off the edge... - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 17 Old 05-14-2007, 11:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My 3 yr old daughter is smart, articulate, and very strong willed! For the past couple months she has been a nightmare to deal with. She talks back constantly, it's ridiculous, I feel like I'm talking to a teenager! I tell her it's time to do something, "NO!", I tell her she can't have something,"YES!" I tell her lunch isn't ready yet, "IT IS READY!!!" It usually ends up with me repeating the statement I've made with her and her talking back some more,and then freaking out and whining/crying. I've tried everything, reasoning with her, time out, ignoring her, yelling back(which is so completely counterproductive, I know). Nothing works. I'm at my wits end. Is this normal behavior? Will she out grow it? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Banana, doula wife to Papa Banana and mother to Banana One, Banana Two, Banana Three, Banana Four...

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#2 of 17 Old 05-14-2007, 02:02 PM
 
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I think someone broke into my house when DS was 3, kidnapped him and replaced him with a child who only LOOKS like my kid

Seriously, though, he turned 4 about a month ago and is starting to get better!! This has been a very trying age for his father and I. We have even spanked him a few times:
Not for several months, though. He just got so mean and wild for a while that we started to wonder if we were being wishy washy about GD...but I know for sure that spanking is not the answer for our family. But it is hard when both of us were raised with spanking.

So just try to be as consistent as possible, and learn some calming strategies for yourself. I have DS breathe in through his nose, then out his mouth when he is having trouble listening or playing nicely. I usually breathe with him and it helps both of us a lot. My response is always better if I take time to breathe. Also, I try not to blame myself for his behavior. The more I acknowledge that he is a person of free will, and that his actions are not a direct reflection of me I don't get as upset about it.

It gets better!! hang in there!
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#3 of 17 Old 05-14-2007, 05:36 PM
 
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I am right there with you mama! my 3yo acts the same way at times.
it can become very tiring. hang in there!

Blissful Mama to DD-(5), DS-(6) and someone new due in November!
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#4 of 17 Old 05-14-2007, 05:39 PM
 
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3 is my least favorite age. Although I am reconsidering that with the 2 yo pushing me to the brink and my 9yo driving me insane but I think it is me and pregnancy more than them. 3yo has been the most trying age for us. It does pass, it takes a lot of patience and nothing seems to work for a while. Just try to be consistent, take time for yourself and keep chanting "this too shall pass, this too shall pass!" I am not looking forward to my son being 3 with a newly mobile baby around the house. It should be lots of fun next summer at my house!
Wendi
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#5 of 17 Old 05-14-2007, 05:40 PM
 
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I second the breathing.

Also, this may sound nutty, but I visualize my dd as something slippery that I'm trying to "catch"--you know, the more pressure you apply, the more she squeezes out of your grasp. It keeps me calm, and the more calm I become, the less crazy she seems to get. I imagine that I'm "absorbing" her energy, rather than bouncing it back to her.

Maybe I'm the only person that works for!

Wife to a wonderful dh and mom to four beautiful kiddos, dd (3/04):, ds1 (1/06), ds2 (10/08), and ds3 (7/10)
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#6 of 17 Old 05-14-2007, 10:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everybody so much, for your support and suggestions. It's good to know that it's not just mine!

Banana, doula wife to Papa Banana and mother to Banana One, Banana Two, Banana Three, Banana Four...

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#7 of 17 Old 05-14-2007, 10:10 PM
 
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From 2.5 to 3.5 is a tough time for us. I remember dd being way more challenging then and now ds (who'll be 3 in Aug) is really trying my patience.

Sorry no specific advice but I can certainly empathize with you.

Sara:  Playing ref to my jumpers.gif    Sweet Pea 10 read.gif Tootle Pants 7 bouncy.gif& Trouble Monkey diaper.gif 18 mo

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#8 of 17 Old 05-14-2007, 10:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ledzepplon View Post
I second the breathing.

Also, this may sound nutty, but I visualize my dd as something slippery that I'm trying to "catch"--you know, the more pressure you apply, the more she squeezes out of your grasp. It keeps me calm, and the more calm I become, the less crazy she seems to get. I imagine that I'm "absorbing" her energy, rather than bouncing it back to her.

Maybe I'm the only person that works for!
This is so cool. I'll hafta remember this...
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#9 of 17 Old 05-15-2007, 12:11 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ledzepplon View Post
I second the breathing.

Also, this may sound nutty, but I visualize my dd as something slippery that I'm trying to "catch"--you know, the more pressure you apply, the more she squeezes out of your grasp. It keeps me calm, and the more calm I become, the less crazy she seems to get. I imagine that I'm "absorbing" her energy, rather than bouncing it back to her.

Maybe I'm the only person that works for!

That is exactly the kind of advice that works for me, thanks!

DH & Me + DS(7)  DD(6)  DD(4)  DS(3)  DD(1)  
 
Baby #6: 20****25****30****35**heartbeat.gif** - EDD December 17, 2010
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#10 of 17 Old 05-15-2007, 11:43 AM
 
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Learning to keep myself calm has helped me immensely with my 3 yo son. He pushes and pushes to find the limit. This is just his way of doing research into whether or not I will follow through with consequences when he pushes too far. I remain calm and offer him 2 choices. I encourage him to make the best choice for the situation. He is getting good at this routine and usually chooses the best choice. When he doesn't we go to his room to clam down or remove the toy or item that is causing the problem for a period of time. He accepts the consequence without too much fuss because he chose it over the other possible outcomes. I have been trying this for about 6 weeks now, and he is testing me much less often than before.
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#11 of 17 Old 05-15-2007, 11:53 AM
 
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Oh heck no, you're not alone! There's a moms of 3 yo support thread on the Childhood Years forum, I'll have to bump it and link you to it...it's really helped me.

Here's what I do - and I realize that there's a wide spectrum of GD people here, so I know that not everyone will agree with my routine, but it's what keeps me sane and keeps me from yelling.

When he does the, "BUT IT IS READY!" thing, I respond one more time, "No, honey, it is not ready, and it will be ready in about 15 minutes. You may either help/go color/play trains until it is ready." Then, I just stay quiet and take deep, long 5 second in and out breaths while he melts down. When he is approachable, I will lean down to hug him or just smile at him, or whatever, but I don't waste any more energy engaging him with discussion or reasoning.

If he's truly in freaking out mode, I will offer him a glass of milk or juice or a small, healthful snack, because when he's acting that way, he's usually either bored or hungry. If he refuses, then I tell him that he may certainly continue to holler and yell, but that he needs to do it in his room. If he refuses, I pick up and carry him in there, and set him in his bed. I tell him that it may be helpful for him to spend a quiet minute in his room, playing and just taking a break from what's frustrating him. I tell him that when he's ready, I would love some help with dinner/help him get his crayons, etc. And I walk away.

The key for me staying calm is doing the deep breathing, and trying to make the hollering/screaming/crying fit background noise. If he's shrieking to the point where I'm getting frustrated or angry, that's when I remove him to his room (or my room or wherever is comfy for him but away from me).

Three is hard, mama.

Mama to H (6) B (3) : A (1)
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#12 of 17 Old 05-15-2007, 05:10 PM
 
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Yeah, I hope it's normal ... I was about to ask you if you live at my house ..

"No, it IS ready" .. whine whine etc.etc.

I say "really? is it ready? gosh, could have fooled me" as he looks at the food on the stove and sees that it's still cooking .. it works sometimes.

I tell him that I don't want to be yelled at, that nobody wants to be yelled at, and that people don't want to help yellers. He's getting better about it and will now say, if angry, "I just want to yell at you" in a normal voice, but will stop short of freaking out, usually. Same with whining.

It's great fun, huh?
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#13 of 17 Old 05-15-2007, 07:17 PM
 
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I have always maintained that if they had boarding school for three year olds I would send them and get them back at four. I always say that three year olds have developed will without reason! Been through it three times now (first a double dose with twins) and one more little one heading in that direction. Eeek!
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#14 of 17 Old 05-15-2007, 07:33 PM
 
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For us, attitude happens when she has inadvertantly had some food dye or is in the midst of a sugar crash. Dye-free and healthy regular snacking make a huge difference - she's an entirely different person. Next time you might do a quick rundown on what's gone in recently and see if you notice a pattern. I've tried to find low glycemic index food snacks that she likes and offer them often. It's helps limit the attitude a great deal.

I also try to keep in mind that everyone feels irritable sometimes. So does our 3 year old - now how can I help her 1) feel less irritable and 2) learn to recognize it and learn to handle it herself?
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#15 of 17 Old 05-15-2007, 07:33 PM
 
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I am right there with you. Everyone talks about the terrible 2s, but you get no warning about the torturous 3s I hear it gets better...: :

Cheryl, wife to an amazing man, homeschooling SAHM to Gavin 12/03, Rhys 09/06, and Ian Aug 11, 2010.

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#16 of 17 Old 05-15-2007, 08:23 PM
 
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I am right there with you. Everyone talks about the terrible 2s, but you get no warning about the torturous 3s I hear it gets better...: :
Some days its the thunderous 3's here!
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#17 of 17 Old 05-15-2007, 09:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Neldavi View Post
Yeah, I hope it's normal ... I was about to ask you if you live at my house ..

"No, it IS ready" .. whine whine etc.etc.

I say "really? is it ready? gosh, could have fooled me" as he looks at the food on the stove and sees that it's still cooking .. it works sometimes.

I tell him that I don't want to be yelled at, that nobody wants to be yelled at, and that people don't want to help yellers. He's getting better about it and will now say, if angry, "I just want to yell at you" in a normal voice, but will stop short of freaking out, usually. Same with whining.

It's great fun, huh?
HA HA! my dad used to have a hilarious response to "are we there yet?" or "yes it IS ready" he would say "yes, we ARE there! we are having a great time. you are going up and down the slide right now!" or "it is ready. we are eating it--its delicious!" it made me mad at the time, but its funny to think about now.

i feel for ya. its hard times around here too. it helps me to know that i can't "fix" or "correct" the problem. just like you wouldn't expect your 15 month old to not throw food off their highchair b/c it is developmentally appropriate, your 3 y-o is acting in a developmentally appropriate way. so for me, it helps to know that i don't need to "do" anything, except not get mad... to keep myself sane and calm as we go through this phase. you just need to preschooler-proof your life, just like you did with your 15 month old. that's what helps me anyway.

L married to J 8 years. Parents to 6 y.o. dd and 3 y.o. ds :nana
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