How are your toddlers doing? (Behaviors?) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 10-19-2010, 03:11 PM - Thread Starter
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We seemed to get a 1-month honeymoon period from our next youngest (just 3yrs old) daughter. For the first month she was great--really well behaved, really helpful, really sweet to baby dd.

Now in the last week her behaviors have gone through the roof. She's still helpful and super-sweet to baby, but she's causing all kinds of trouble. She's waking her SN brother (her roommate) up at night, lying quite a bit, sassing, throwing public tantrums, and trying to get away with things she knows she's not supposed to do. We're a family that uses timeouts, and I swear--if she got timeouts for every thing she did, she'd be in timeouts for a LARGE part of the day. There doesn't seem to be anything we can do to make her care about not consequence (or "choice" as we call it) that makes it worthwhile for her to keep herself in line.

I know that one of the usual suggestions is to spend more time with a child, because they probably need the attention, but honestly--neither dh or I can stand her right now. She is a button-pushing monster at the moment, and all we want is to get through the day and put her to bed.

We're keeping her interactions with baby positive, and I'm TRYING to stay calm, stay rational, stay kind, but I'm really losing it. She's a beast all of a sudden! She's always been our most challenging child, difficult to say the least, but now she's just AWFUL.

Please--someone who's been through this--please give me some good advice. I don't like disliking one of my own children this much.

RedOak ~ Momma to DS (8) , DS (4) , DD (3) , & DD 9/10 ~
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#2 of 8 Old 10-19-2010, 03:22 PM
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No advice, just sympathy. My 3 year old has been having the worst tantrums of her life over stupid stuff. "I WANT TO WEAR THE PINK PANTS!!!!" "I WANT YOU TO READ ME A BOOK WITH NO PEOPLE IN IT." "I WANT A BOOK THAT'S SHAPED LIKE A TRIANGLE."

The tantrums are worse than when she was two. She's always had difficulty handling her emotions and this new addition has really bee trying for her. She loves the baby and never seems to direct her anger toward him but sometimes, I can't stand being around DD. It's sad. I'm hoping it will pass. Her teachers say she's just fine at preschool so she must be saving it all for us!

Mom to DD (3), my little peanut (9/10/09) and our newest addition 9/16/10
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#3 of 8 Old 10-19-2010, 04:33 PM
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We've been struggling with DS1, who is 33 months, too. I have been trying to implement the advice from the books Siblings without Rivalry, Raising our Children, Raising Ourselves and Discipline (Brazelton). He has been having a lot of tantrums and defiant behavior. He has been hitting. He has been pushing buttons purposefully, pushing limits, etc. He is also usually sweet with the baby.

The advice that I have found helpful is the following:
Validate feelings - DS1 has said on numerous occasions, "I don't want you to hold the baby". Instead of responding, I hold you too, or I have to hold the baby, or other defenses, simply say, you're upset that I have to hold the baby. It makes you feel sad to see the baby with me so often...etc., then follow up with, but I like to spend time with you too, I enjoy all the fun things we can do together. But, most importantly, validate their emotions.

Do give them some special, one-on-one time (only 15-30 mins day but just you) - your sweet little daughter is still in there, and she will come out to play with you. Come up with a new, constructive activity to do together...

Consider their pushing buttons as really just testing limits - they need to know that you will react consistently but not angrily, that there is order and discipline in their lives.I Try not to get angry (I know, hard with all the hormones running around) and respond firmly and consistently.

Don't feel bad about using crutches! Okay, this is not from any book, but putting on more shows and offering special treats is okay when you have a new sibling in the house! You can decrease their use later on.

So far, I have benefited quite a bit from the validate point -- it really seems to work for us. And, since I have been healed enough to do things with DS1 one -on-one, things have really improved. Also, I have to make a concerted effort to be cheerful sometimes, but it pays off in that he's in better spirits too. It's really hard to keep in mind the pushing buttons as just testing limits and not getting angry! That has been hard to implement!!

Anyway, I really look forward to hearing others' responses!!!

Mama to angel1.gif angel1.gif angel1.gif angel1.gifangel1.gif

DS1 (6) jog.gif , DS2 (3)sleepytime.gifbaby.gif DD is here!

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#4 of 8 Old 10-19-2010, 05:04 PM
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DD (34 months) didn't really get worse, but all her existing toddler behaviors seemed more annoying to us than usual. What has helped is to try and get as much sleep as possible b/c that really helps with my patience. We moved DH and DD into the guest room and so now everyone gets more sleep and that seems to help us all.

And I am trying to spend a lot more time with her. Whereas before DS I would try to get her to play on her own so I could make dinner or whatever, now I try and spend as much focused time as I can with her. DH is doing the same. This seems to be helping with her behavior. Of course, it means that lots of stuff gets left undone and meals are less healthy. Sometimes it feels like it is killing me to spend 45 minutes playing with DD when I've finally gotten DS down for a nap and there is SO much to do around the house, but in a way it kind of forces me to slow down.

And on the disliking thing. When DD was a baby even though I would get frustrated sometimes I never felt like I disliked her. It was such an adjustment when she became a toddler acknowledging those feelings and trying not to feel guilty for having them.

DD 12/07 DS 9/10

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#5 of 8 Old 10-19-2010, 07:16 PM
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DD#1 just turned 3 in August and we are having all of these same issues. She is extremely gentle and positive toward the baby (seriously, she hasn't said a single negative thing toward the baby or even complained about her). But her fuse has gotten so short lately. She whines, she throws tantrums, she wants contradictory things, she just screams or grunts instead of using words (and she's normally very verbal).

We just had a parent-teacher conference with her preschool teachers, and they said she isn't doing any of this at school, so I think she is acting out with us because she trusts us the most. We've also noticed her doing it with her close friends who don't go to her school, which seems like more evidence that she is pushing boundaries in the places where it feels safest for her to do so.

It makes me feel better to hear that others are going through this. It was very hard when my family was here because at first they were not recognizing what a huge transition she's in, and were kind of impatient with her behavior. We talked that through, but it's made me question our parenting at times.

thalia loves Jesus and DH wordyeight and DD#1 : 8/2007 and DD#2 9/2010
and remembering: little turtle 5/23/2006 and poppyseed 7/15/2009
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#6 of 8 Old 10-19-2010, 07:34 PM
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My 3 yr old is discovering her evil side . My 19 month old is sweet/clueless about baby in general. Doesn't care so long as his tummy is full and I will read to him.

My only tips are: find things for 3 yr old to do alone/with you. Read to him/her while you nurse baby. Play dough. And don't let them out of your sight.

Can you get yourself and the kids out of the house, for a playgroup, time at a park, library storytime, whatever? I took my older one to a playgroup today and I'm hoping getting out of the house will help some. The thing that is pressing MY buttons is the non-stop talking and the "I won't do ____ without you coming with me" that my kiddo likes to do. :-/

Mom of 7, ages 13, 12, 9, 7, 5, 4, and 2.5!
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#7 of 8 Old 10-19-2010, 09:26 PM
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Mine has been an angel and a devil. He is incredibly sweet and loving towards his brother. However, he's also been testing the limits much more with DH and I. And just like previous posters, it's usually over little things. I think it's more about being just shy of 3 than about his sibling. He's seeing what he can get away with. Overall he's very good - he seems to save the acting up for just before bed, and thus we have a nightly naughty step moment. BUT, after a full week of him being told not to jump on the couch and being timed-out for keeping at it, today I gave him the warning and he stopped!
It really helps that DS1 only spends a day or two with me and DS2 - most days he's at Nana's or day care. I felt guilty at first, but that was the routine before my maternity leave, and it gives me bonding time with DS2 without offending DS1. It also keeps me from getting fed up with antics, so I am able to be consistent and less likely to just give up and let him be a demon.

Mom to two intact boys, born at home. DS1 11/07, DS2 9/10
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#8 of 8 Old 10-19-2010, 10:52 PM - Thread Starter
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thanks for the commiseration, and porcelina especially for the ideas and viewpoints from that book. I'll try to increase my efforts, I guess. I"m definitely going to have dh read this post--he's at his wit's end, too. What is it with 3yo girls?? (dd is 36 months)

RedOak ~ Momma to DS (8) , DS (4) , DD (3) , & DD 9/10 ~
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