3yo DS getting major attitude, only acting out at home - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 8 Old 01-21-2009, 05:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Paddy is normally a very happy, complacent, even obedient child. He is a total teacher's pet at preschool and they always rave about how "good" he is and how he always does his work as told. Not one second after I come in the classroom to take him home, he starts acting ridiculous and not doing what he's supposed to (wash his hands, get his lunchbox, etc...) and runs away from me in the hallway!

At home, Paddy yells at us if he wants anything. "I WANT A GLASS OF WATER!" "I'M TIRED! BE QUIET!"....which also brings me to another problem of his constant interruption of DH and I's adult conversations. Paddy will yell at us to stop talking or be quiet whenever we are discussing anything. I don't know if he feels left out, or if he really just doesn't want us to talk.

He's also being bossy with his little brother, and will say things just to upset him. He also tells the baby to stop crying if he's in a bad mood.

MOST of the time, Paddy is very nice to his siblings, considerate to others. But he really needs to learn some manners because quite honestly I will not tolerate a rude, bossy, constantly interrupting kid in my house : (you can see this has been going on for quite some time and I am quite frustrated by it) I am also at a loss as to why he only acts like this when we are at home. I'm also tired of hearing from everyone that "Paddy is perfect with us, he must only act that way with you!" Great! So I suck at parenting my 3yo and my 3yo hates me! Great!
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#2 of 8 Old 01-21-2009, 05:23 PM
 
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Oh no-- you don't suck! I know it can be hard not to take things like this personally, but really try. I've read a few places (can't remember right now exactly where, but I could look it up) about young children "behaving" for other adults and then allowing themselves to act out with the adult they feel the closest to. When dd (also 3yo) starts throwing major hissies with me after being sweet with grandma, I always remind myself of this. I tell myself that it's a bit stressful for her to be with someone else, trying to meet their expectations, and that I shoul be happy she feels confident enough in my unconditional love for her that she can let all that stress out with me.

Now, some of the other things-- the demanding and the interrupting- I'd love to heae suggestions for
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#3 of 8 Old 01-21-2009, 05:52 PM
 
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To be honest we have started setting clear limits for our ds on this sort of thing (he is 3.5) and we are seeing results. We are letting him know that when we are speaking we are unhappy when he constantly interrupts, we are asking him to say "Excuse me." when he wants our attention. We are also setting a rule that he ask to get down from the table when he is done. This has helped a lot as he often has a mouthful of food which is a choking hazard so we remind him to wait until he's finished eating. It also sometimes has the effect that he'll start eating again, but that is just his choice.

We are requesting basic manners from him, I would like, or may I have? not I WANT! I've found myself repeating my parents phrase "I want doesn't get"!!! I'm pointing out to him that negative behaviour such as screaming or throwing a tantrum will NEVER result in him getting his own way. A couple of times I have had to explain to him that his own behaviour made sure he didn't get his own way. This was really frustrating to him but we keep pointing out that it is totally in his control. I've certainly noticed that the tantrums have reduced recently and his tone of speaking to us is so much better. It was just a matter of us setting guides for him and letting him know our expectations.

Of course it works 100% of the time with no problems. Ever. Honest...
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#4 of 8 Old 01-23-2009, 12:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by hedgewitch View Post
To be honest we have started setting clear limits for our ds on this sort of thing (he is 3.5) and we are seeing results. We are letting him know that when we are speaking we are unhappy when he constantly interrupts, we are asking him to say "Excuse me." when he wants our attention. We are also setting a rule that he ask to get down from the table when he is done. This has helped a lot as he often has a mouthful of food which is a choking hazard so we remind him to wait until he's finished eating. It also sometimes has the effect that he'll start eating again, but that is just his choice.

We are requesting basic manners from him, I would like, or may I have? not I WANT! I've found myself repeating my parents phrase "I want doesn't get"!!! I'm pointing out to him that negative behaviour such as screaming or throwing a tantrum will NEVER result in him getting his own way. A couple of times I have had to explain to him that his own behaviour made sure he didn't get his own way. This was really frustrating to him but we keep pointing out that it is totally in his control. I've certainly noticed that the tantrums have reduced recently and his tone of speaking to us is so much better. It was just a matter of us setting guides for him and letting him know our expectations.

Of course it works 100% of the time with no problems. Ever. Honest...

well of course! Everything works that way! I will have to be more aware of this and be more encouraging of his manners. I've totally fallen into the trap of just giving him whatever he's yelling for because I'm so tired and fried from everything going on and I don't want to hear him whine..(yet this only causes more yelling and whining! )

His willfulness really amazes me sometimes lately, though! Like tonight, it was time to get into jammies and go to bed. Paddy started running away from me, laughing, saying "No I'll do it later!" and refusing to stand up and walk to the bathroom to brush his teeth. I don't believe in teaching children "blind obedience", but darnit when I tell him to do something I want him to do it!!
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#5 of 8 Old 01-23-2009, 12:26 PM
 
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You sound really frustrated! Are you getting enough sleep/food/water/me time?

Yes, it sounds like normal behavior--some kids are angels for other adults, but let loose at home b/c they know they can be themselves and you'll still love them.

You need a break (well, lots of regularly scheduled breaks would be great, right?) so you can regain some perspective. Engaging in silly power struggles over minor issues with a 4 year old is a waste of energy. When my 3.75 yo DS doesn't want to come into the bathroom to have his teeth brushed when I'm ready to do the brushing, I smile, grab the toothbrush, and take it to him on the couch or bed, wherever he's at, and I brush his teeth there. No big deal. His teeth still get brushed. From his perspective, just b/c I say it's time to brush teeth doesn't mean he's ready/willing to stop whatever he's doing (and I can assure you that whatever he's doing is way more fun than getting his teeth brushed). And for us, it's usually only twice a month that I have to do that.

Maybe brush up on some playful parenting ideas? (And if you're stocked up on food/rest, you might have extra energy to devote to being more creative.) Just to cut down on the waste-of-energy power struggles.

When your DS isn't using a pleasant tone of voice and you want him to, try asking him to use a quieter/more pleasant/nicer tone of voice. And model for him what that sounds like. And whenever he does ask for something in a nice way, be sure to catch him at it, and give him a high five or a hug, or just a verbal, "Thanks for using a pleasant tone of voice to ask for xyz." Then repeat that a billion times, and you're done! =)
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#6 of 8 Old 01-23-2009, 06:13 PM
 
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I completely understand. DS (3.5) is so much the same way. With him it started a month or so before he turned 3 and then he became sooooo stubborn!! It's been a process over the last several months for sure and it is getting better. I know that I respond and deal with him much better when I am not over tired, over stressed, over done period. I certainly have had my share of parenting tactics I am not proud of.

We initially did the counting thing to give him time to start doing it himself. Such as "you do xyz or I will count to 5 and then I will do it". We pretty much stuck to this and it often led to dad and mom wrangling a screaming child into his pajamas, school clothes, teeth brushing. He's getting better and now when I say I'm going to count to 5, he says "No, don't do that!" and usually starts to do what I've asked him. He really likes to do things himself now and so "threatening" to help him is doing the trick lately.

We really had to emphasize the "please" and "may I have" which he is pretty good with. When he gets demanding and yells for things I typically ignore it the first time and if he asks that way again, I remind him to ask for it nicely.

I have to laugh about the not letting you and your dh talk. DS will come over and cover up my mouth when dh and I are trying to have a conversation and will also yell at us to stop talking. It is pretty annoying and we've told him we all get to talk when we want to. Generally I've noticed this when he seems to feel like he's not had enough attention. Although with the way life is it is sometimes difficult to do that before I need to talk to dh about something.

Seems it really is just a normal stage. But whoever said terrible twos was way off.

Oh yeah by the way he is an "angel" at school. But he's also extremely shy and so I think he blows off all of his steam at home.

Good luck mama. Make sure you take a break for yourself if needed!
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#7 of 8 Old 01-23-2009, 09:45 PM
 
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I would also second the playful parenting thing. This helps us a lot. We do a bath train (he's very fastidious about coupling up properly), can't catch me for a bumble bee up to bed, panda's in the hair for hair brushing, pandas on the teeth (they are very pervasive), we make competitive games for eating dinner (we pretend we want to eat all of his food), counting games to get him to do something more quickly ad infinitum.

BUT I do have clear boundaries about what is ok. I'll play and make things fun as long as he does his part too. I'm a bit impatient though, I totally admit that, so my threshold will be a lot lower than other peoples!

Also the modeling thing is super important, I'll often 'reword' his requests to give him phrases that I would prefer to hear. So he'll say "I want a drink" and I'll say "Do you mean I'd really like a drink mummy?" or "Was that may I have a drink?" he'll then repeat what I've said using my polite tone. He's starting to pick up on this really quickly and it is helping me to keep my preggy hormonal cool
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#8 of 8 Old 01-24-2009, 12:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SweetPotato View Post
Oh no-- you don't suck! I know it can be hard not to take things like this personally, but really try. I've read a few places (can't remember right now exactly where, but I could look it up) about young children "behaving" for other adults and then allowing themselves to act out with the adult they feel the closest to. When dd (also 3yo) starts throwing major hissies with me after being sweet with grandma, I always remind myself of this. I tell myself that it's a bit stressful for her to be with someone else, trying to meet their expectations, and that I shoul be happy she feels confident enough in my unconditional love for her that she can let all that stress out with me.
: My 3.5 YO DD is the same way. She's sweet and shy at school and playgroups . . . mostly keeps to herself but if another child comes to play with her or wants to play w/something she has, she shares so nicely and plays along nicely. Her teacher at preschool and the other moms at playgroup always compliment me on how sweet she is. In fact, her teacher has a hard time believing me when I tell her about how DD has acted at home before. When we get home, it's like something about walking through the front door causes her to transform into this rude, whining and demanding little girl. I'm really proud of her for being such a great little girl when we're out and about. I've come to realize it's hard for her to be "on" all the time, KWIM, and that she needs to let loose sometimes and that usually happens at home -- better than in the middle of the grocery store, no? Like SweetPotato said, I'm glad she's confident enough in my love for her that she knows can let loose on me and she knows I'll love her no matter what. I mean, think about it . . . we, as adults, end up having our moments too where we end up blowing off some steam (intentionally or not) and where does that usually happen? At home, around those who love us the most.

But I digress . . . I usually let one little incident slide upon arriving at home. She needs to let that go and I want her to know that it's OK to let off some steam, in an appropriate way, of course. However, I have no tolerance for rude and demanding requests. If she's wanting something and being rude/demanding about it, I tell her, "I'm sorry, mommy doesn't respond to rudeness. Mommy responds to nice requests." Then I go back to whatever I was doing. She usually squawks out the same request in a rude/demanding tone a couple more times and I ignore it. Then she'll ask nicely for whatever it was she wanted and I'll give her whatever it was and say, "Thank you for asking nicely."

Ditto the playful parenting stuff too. We do lots of races around here (with mommy usually being the slow poke ). Also, learning to pick battles is very important . . . some things just aren't worth the fight. Now if only my husband would realize that. Can't win 'em all, right?!

Mama to my 3 wild things.

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