Typical three year old behavior or something else? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 03-09-2012, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Not really a "gifted" question except that I think sometimes my behavioral expectations for her are too high and I don't know if (am hoping that) maybe that's the case in this situation.  Over the past couple of weeks DD(3) has been acting up daily.  I know - terrible threes and all that - I just didn't expect it to be like this.  She starts by getting really silly - laughing uncontrollably and displaying lots of excess physicality - climbing up furniture, running away, jumping really wildly on the couch/her bed, etc.  She then becomes defiant - refuses to do whatever we ask her to do, screams, throws things.  Not aggressive - just defiant.  It typically ends with me carrying her to her room while she laughs and fights me the whole way.  Less then 5 minutes later she has calmed down and is rational again.  We've talked about it, I'm consistent and calm when responding, the breaks "work" in the moment but nothing seems to be decreasing the frequency or intensity of the behavior over time.  Triggers are transitions - getting ready to leave, getting ready to eat, getting ready for bed.  We give her warnings and tons of choices and try to incorporate her interests (eg pretending she is a character).  We also stopped allowing her to have screen time because that seemed to be another trigger.  It almost seems like she can't control herself except that when I threatened to cancel her birthday party on one occasion out of desperation she calmed down really fast.  Any thoughts?

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#2 of 10 Old 03-10-2012, 08:06 AM
 
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You are not alone. Sorry I don't have an answer for you. We are going through the same thing for 2 months now. My dd will be 3 in June. I don't know what to do sometimes. I have been carrying her to her room she screams cries and then goes and put a VHS tape for herself and sometimes calms down. She has an answer for everything . She is not like this in school just at home. Its like I have 2 children somedays wink1.gif... Everyone is telling me 3's are worse...

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#3 of 10 Old 03-10-2012, 12:40 PM
 
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I think this started around 3.5. for us. Has gotten a lot better, but the year was hard.

Does she have issues with low blood sugar, too, or is it just transitions? Getting a high protein snack into DS mid-morning and mid-afternoon and making sure his real meals were real was crucial for us.


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#4 of 10 Old 03-10-2012, 08:21 PM
 
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Sometimes I do think it is the low sugar. I try to get her to eat but usually she will want to do the opposite of what I say. I do notice it is a lot worse when she is having another milestone. She should be sleeping now but is drawing she just started drawing stick figures really well. Sleep I think she slept better when she was an infant and that was not much. Ahhhh she just passed out in my arms. I'm know I'm going to miss that one day. smile.gif

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#5 of 10 Old 03-12-2012, 07:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sounds like typical behavior it is.  Thanks - that's what I needed to hear.  Yes - low blood sugar is also a problem for us but we usually have that pretty under control.  Too much sugar is also apparently a problem.  She ate a really good breakfast the other day and then we let her have a sweet empanada as a treat.  She went to her soccer class where she usually does a really good job listening and participating appropriately and she was completely out of control.  Running all over the place and laughing instead of listening to the coach and playing the games.  Then she crashed really hard afterwards.  I think lack of sleep is probably a big part of it too.  I wish there was something I could do to get her to nap again.  :-(  

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#6 of 10 Old 04-05-2012, 10:38 PM
 
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You have just described my daughter- seriously I could have written that. For us it started at around 2 1/2. Getting out the door was hell- I knew she wanted to go, but she would run around the house and refuse to put on shoes, jacket, whatever. She still does it sometimes (she's now 37 months- just past 3) but it doesn't seem as bad. I think it helps that she has figured out how to go and lie down when she needs to regroup. She doesn't nap, but she will lie down and rest, sometimes for as long as 40 minutes.

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#7 of 10 Old 04-06-2012, 06:28 AM
 
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DS just turned 3 and we are going through the same thing.  He gets into moods where everything he says is so angry sounding or overly assertive for no reason. He doesn't act that way at daycare, just with me.  I think he is trying to find, and prove to himsef and me, that he has a self identity separate from me.  His ego is very large and very tender right now so it is easily injured with the slightest and sweetest request from me.  "honey, i'm going to open the oven.  Stay back so you don't get burned love.gif "  is met with "angry.gif No, don't tell me to stay back!"  How dare I try to control him.  Ugh!!!!


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#8 of 10 Old 04-06-2012, 09:25 AM
 
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I can't say we've experienced the laughing fits, but maybe your daughter has some extra jolliness my kids don't have in that amount.  But we do get some wild mood swings and tantrums.  It goes with the age. Until around 4 they really have difficulty.   My first was super hard since birth but at 3 it really got horrible. Then my second one was easier until 3.  My almost 2.5 y/o is just getting started, though is still good most of the time. So I think in my house there are no terrible 2s like they say but rather horrible threes. But it might be that I have so many little ones that it makes it more difficult for me, not sure. 

 


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#9 of 10 Old 04-10-2012, 07:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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IT does seem that lack of sleep seems to be pretty much the answer here.  On the very rare occasion that she naps we do not see the behaviors.  I wish I knew how to get her to nap more regularly but that seems to be impossible at this point.  I am working on trying to get her to bed earlier... 

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#10 of 10 Old 04-13-2012, 08:33 PM
 
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DS has been doing this for about a year now (turning 4 in July).  One moment he is charming and sweet, the next... watch out.  Things fly-fists, feet, toys, whatever.  Lately he started describing what he is going to do; "mommy, I am going to smash you, and put you outside, and you will be cold, an you will not like it!'  Also he holds grudges.  He told me in the car yesterday that he was 'frustrated with Baby Dylan (his cousin) for standing on the chair"  This happened two days ago.  We are a big-time nonviolent household.  Don't know where this comes from.  Between him and the 6 other children that have moved in and out of our house (we do foster care) he is, by far, the most challenging.  However, he is also the most engaging and precocious. 

 

Diet and sleep are big factors.  We just cut milk, and that helped.  I have a high metabolism, and I think he inherited it, so we make sure he has snacks available.  It is sometimes hard to get him to snack once his mood has turned sour.  I am super strict about naps.  Every day.  No exceptions.  If he didn't have this down time with less stimulation he will be totally overwhelmed by the end of the day.

 

He stinks at transitions, too.  I try to keep the day pretty routine, or at least the week (we do the same things on Mondays, Tuesdays, etc.)  We do a calendar routine everyday and write out the schedule with pictures for him.  We also use timers to set up transitions, and let him choose the times:  "Buddy, it is almost bed time.  Do you want to brush your teeth in two minutes or three minutes?" 

 

BUT, I still end up hauling him to his room.  It is either multiple times a day, or none...  Great or awful days, no in between.

Anyway, even with all this, it is still just part of what makes him the funny, intense little guy he is.  Around other people, all this energy is focused in being charming and inquisitive;  the people at church who faun over him would never guess what the normal day with him is like!

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