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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What has happened to my sweet, well-mannered DD? She's 3 ½, and has always acted very grown-up. She went through tantrum phases, but they were generally mild. We used to use time outs to calm down, but I stopped doing that in favor of a more GD approach.

I have been having a HUGE problem with her over the past few days. She's throwing major tantrums over who knows what (it doesn't really matter - she'll do it over anything). She tells us she "can't" do things like stand up and walk or get off of her bed and then throws a tantrum if we won't pick her up and help her. Just for the record, we pick her up and carry her and help her A LOT. I've really been trying to stick to GD, but it's hard with all of this going on.

Last night, she was eating her dinner (she wanted eggs and toast - fine), and she was moving all over the place and getting food everywhere. She even spilled her smoothie all down her shirt. I asked her several times to sit up to the table, eat over her plate, etc. At one point I suggested that if she needed help sitting the right way, we could put her in the high chair. DH started to get really annoyed. He asked her to eat with her fork. She then leaned her head down to her plate and ate a piece of egg with her mouth.

DH lost it, and took her out of the chair, telling her that was bad manners and we don't eat that way. She started crying uncontrollably. DH commented that she was being very difficult and it seemed like she was tired. He said she should go to bed (DD: "I don't wanna go to bed!") I gave her a choice: she could sit at the table with us, or I would take her upstairs to her bed. She continued to scream and cry, finally asking to sit in Daddy's lap. He was too mad for that, so he said no. I finally convinced her to sit in her seat, which she did, but then she freaked out about how far the chair was in (I pulled it out a bit, she continued to freak). Finally, I scoped her up and we went upstairs. So much for our nice family dinner.

I calmly undressed her and started getting her ready for bed, while she continued to tantrum. She screamed at me, kicked me, and hit me. Once she was dressed in the jammies she wanted to wear (took a few changes), I tried to sit with her and cuddle her. It took a LONG time, but I finally got her to calm down. Then we talked about how she screamed and hit me, and how that wasn't nice. I asked her if mommy screams at her and hits her (and she said YES - which is not true), and reminded her that we don't because it hurts people. We then went to brush teeth and go potty. We did her bedtime routine and I left the room. It was 8:30 and I was thankful, because I thought if she got to bed at a decent hour, she wouldn't be so grumpy in the morning.

Flash forward to 9:45. I go upstairs to put DS (who has been asleep on my lap for an hour following a nursing session) in his cradle next to my bed. I see DD sitting up in her bed, playing with a bunch of ceramic snowmen her grandma gave her. So much for getting enough sleep. I get DS settled, and go in to help her put the snowmen away and get settled AGAIN. DH comes upstairs a little while later and goes in to lie down with her. Eventually they fall asleep - call it 10:30.

This morning, she woke up on her own at 6:45, and she was a complete mess. "I can't. Pick me up! NO!"

So, are we doing something wrong? Is she just doing it because she's tired or is it something else? If you do think it's because she's tired, how can I get her to actually GO TO SLEEP when I put her to bed? We get home at 6, so the 8:30 bedtime barely allows enough time to make and eat dinner, get a bath, and do the bedtime routine. And that's even more the case when I don't have DH to help.

If this is just the way 3 1/2 year olds are, then someone get me a hug and a glass of wine.
 

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Well 3.5 can be tough and there is a new baby in her house who is getting all sorts of help with things she is able and expected to do on her own. She seems to be asking to be babied rather than be the big girl. I would try to really baby her for a few days and spend some one-on-one time with her and see if it helps.

My kids have the same age spacing and when ds1 was 3.5 and ds2 was a newborn ds1 was the toughest he has ever been. In retrospect I was too hard on him because he seemed really big compared to the baby, but now that ds2 is almost that age I am shocked by how little he really was then...you know?

I am expecting a third in the spring and am expecting the same sort of play from ds2 in March. Take heart and enjoy that glass of wine.

HTH - I can't pass up a post with the word RANT in the subject


BJ
Barney & Ben
 

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Unfortunately, if kids are overtired, it is harder for them to fall asleep. Does she nap? My ds always slept better at night when he had naps. Even if he went to bed slightly later, the quality of sleep was much better and he was less likely to wake up too early.

Someone pointed out recently on the Gentle Discipline forum that an over tired child is a regressed child. When your dd acts this way, it might help to pretend that she is 18 months again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by 4evermom
Does she nap?
At home, she will not nap. Getting her to do "quiet time" instead is a huge challenge as well. She usually naps at school, but she told me yesterday that she didn't take a nap. I don't know if that's true, since she gets "today," "tomorow," and "yesterday" confused, so it could mean that she didn't nap on Sunday (when she was home with me).
 

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My ds often doesn't realize he has fallen asleep for a while, and will say he didn't sleep when he did. He is more willing to nap if I say let's lie down together for a while, then we'll get up again if we don't fall asleep. Once we are settled in bed, napping is more attractive than when it is an interuption of play. He also has a harder time napping on weekends because dh is around.
 

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Age 3 has been a very trying time for me with both of my girls. I know sleep makes a huge difference, but so does nutrition. My youngest seems to do better if I can get protein in her which is hard because she's a carb lover all the way.

My 3 year old plays helpless a lot and it is so frustrating. Her latest thing is to tell us that she doesn't like us or love us. I try to just respond with a simple "Well, I love you anyway." because she is trying to get a big reaction out of us.

Good luck.
 

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This is how ds is when he is tired (also hungry but he is more often tired rather than hungry). It started when he stopped napping some days. On days he doesn't nap bedtime is often 6-7pm because he is just totally melting down. It's hard. Some days we can avoid meltdowns and when he's at that stage I don't expect things like him being able to sit at a table and eat. I just do whatever I can to get through it, and get him lying down and nursing. Then he usually just goes to sleep.

That's just how we cope!!
 

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My Matthew (great name BTW
) is one month older, and man, can I relate!
: I think he may be trying to give up his afternoon nap because he has been falling asleep later and later in the afternoon, and does not want to go to bed early either. He also is one to be up at 6:30. As far as getting them to sleep better at night, getting them outside for some physical activity makes a big difference here. Even just a walk around the block. We do the same stuff if he "can't"...help him, and if he gets too whiny, he has to lay down for a bit because he is obviously tired. I think (hope!) they will eventually outgrow this!
 

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My ds has started having much more "active" tantrums, just when I thought we'd left all that behind. I've since read that this pretty normal for this age, and that because they are bigger, stronger, and more verbal, the tantrums are just much more intense. After my initial horror and questions of "what in the heck is going on and where did *my* child go???", I just started trying to head them off, and deal with them as calmly as I could. But when he's cranky, tired, or hungry, watch out! "I want so-and-so" to "NO, I don't want so-and-so!" to "I want so-and-so!" And collapsing in a heap sobbing because you fixed the snack that he asked for 2 minutes ago. Aiyahyaiyahyai.

Kristen
 

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Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! For this thread. My DD just turned 3 and this is exactly what is happening at my house. I am expecting twins, and frequently need to rest. I can't lift her as much and I can't reach everything she wants. Now she has days where she claims she can't sit up by herslef, or walk, or eat with utensils. I get so frustrated by the shouting and the whining! Oh, and the selective hearing! It is nice to know we are not alone as we try to maintain a sense of humor about all of this. I am not hopeful that this will pass before the twins get here. I am preparing for worse. Can it get worse, do you think?
 
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