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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My ds is 2 1/2 and very precocious and sensitive. Lately he has started having screaming fits or pretending to wail with sadness whenever he doesn't get what he wants. He will seriously go around all day pretending to cry, and then when I catch him out of "role" he will smile at me and give me an impish look.<br><br>
for example, today I was trying to buy some pants. I took him into the store in a grocery cart (we were in our mall) and he wanted out of the cart and into the change room, so he started crying really loudly about how he needed to see me and for me to come out. So finally, the pitch is getting ridiculous, so I pull him out of the cart and let him come into the change room. Well, he's grabbing my legs, and when I go out to look at a pair of pants he's standing in front of me and banging the mirrors. So after a few "we don't bang the mirrors, Andrew" I tell him "stop banging the mirrors or you go back into the cart". He keeps banging the mirrors, looking at me gleefully. I put him in the cart and he starts fake crying "ahh haaa . . . I'm sad. aaaaaaaaah". I ignore him and go to change. He starts screaming "MOMMEEEE I need to see you! See you!" There are sobs and screams, the whole time I am changing back into my own clothes, at which point we leave because I refuse to make a huge scene. The instant we get out of the store he stops. His eyes are dry. He looks at me and says "now we see the Garfield cars" (we always play with the mechanized car minus the mechanization in the mall).<br><br>
He did the same thing with his nap. He does the same thing to get out of church during the service. He does it to get food off of other people, or to get kids into trouble. He wails about how sad he is when I put him on the potty, and is now on potty strike and back in diapers. He demands that I change his clothes four or five times a day for no reason. He asks for food and then doesn't eat it. He repeats himself and cries and whines endlessly until he gets what he wants.<br><br>
He bosses around his 3 month old brother and takes all his toys away and pulls his hands out of his mouth whenever he starts to chew on them.<br><br>
I am seriously at my wits end. I can not abide this whiny, sad, sobbing child who is really fine tailing me all day with ridiculous demands. I know its partially my fault, becuase I was giving into them a lot when the baby was little, but now he's getting increasingly demanding as my ds2 gets more communicative and demanding, and I don't know how to respond to it. I'm giving him lots of hugs and offering to read to him while I nurse (which was great for a few months) and talking with him non-stop and trying to be as attentive as I can with a baby to deal with, but he will not let up. I'm trying to maintain a daily routine as much as I can with a 3 month old.<br><br>
for a while I would just say "stop working yourself up into a fit" or "you are just pretending to be sad. stop it.", but then I started wondering if I was teaching him to supress his emotions and shutting him down, so I stopped. Now I'm pretty sure its all fake, but its pretty out of control.<br><br>
What is going on? Is this a new stage? He's always been a bit of a control freak, but now it seems like he's trying to conciously manipulate our emotions to control us, KWIM? Any advice / suggestions?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>jilly</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7932267"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">He repeats himself and cries and whines endlessly until he gets what he wants.</div>
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Who wouldn't? I mean seriously if someone basically told you that you needed to whine and cry to get what you wanted, why would you not do it?<br><br>
My basic advice is to decide if what he wants is reasonable. If it is, let him have it. If it's not, or if you have decided, not to, then don't. IF he whines and cries, be empathetic, sympathetic. Don't get mad at him for being upset. But don't give it to him BECAUSE he is whining and crying. (And don't not give him something that you would otherwise have just because he is crying)<br><br>
But it is very unfair to a child to say "you can't have this unless you whine and cry" and then to be annoyed at him for doing that to get what he wants.
 

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Sometimes I tell ds "I can't understand what you want when you are using that voice. Please use words to tell me how you feel."<br><br>
This works for ds for general whining, but sometimes you have to say no and stick to it. For example, ds has to ride in the cart when we go grocery shopping. This is non-negotiable. Sometimes he whines, cries, or protests, and I work with it the best I can, but he doesn't get down. Usually it involves me labelling his emotion ("you feel frustrated because you don't want to ride in the cart"), and redirecting ("I need you to help me put the apples in this bag"). There are probably other things I do in the moment, but I'm mostly just rolling with it. When push comes to shove, if he's mad and he wants to express himself, then he's just going to have to get it out of his system. He's entitled to his feelings, after all.<br><br>
Another thought... since you have a new baby, maybe he's regressing a little bit? He sees how the baby cries for attention, so he uses that tactic too KWIM? Just a thought.<br><br>
As far as being bossy, I think that's a normal developmental stage. 3s (and sometimes almost 3s) have a strong sense of what is "allowed" and how they think things should be, but no sense of empathy or tact.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I already do use the "I can't understand you" and redirection and the labelling and the "i don't listen to that voice".<br><br>
I probably have been guilty of not doing things just because he is whining, though. I guess I just need to get in control of my own frustration before I can deal with him properly, and not let him get to me so much.
 

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I personally wouldn't say "I don't understand you..." (unless I really can't understand it) because it's not true. Something along the lines of "I'm not going to respond to a whiny request" would be much more honest.<br><br>
Here's a thread about dealing with whining that has a great script:<br><a href="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=658284&highlight=whining" target="_blank">http://www.mothering.com/discussions...hlight=whining</a><br><br>
Also, Here's what Becoming the Parent has to say about whining:<br>
They say that whining has a "hook" which makes it hard to "step outside our first reaction and see what our child is really telling us." So we need to "unhook" ourselves and help dc think about what they are really trying to express.<br>
So, say 4yo ds wants to go to Benji's house. An unhooked response might be (from btp) "You really want to go to Benji's. I hear in your voice how strongly you feel about it. I'm sorry you can't go right now."<br>
Another one- 3yo ds is whining for juice. The unhooked response from BTP is: "I hear you asking for your juice. When I hear you use that voice, it sounds like you're telling me it's hard to wait."<br>
They also say that if whining bothers you a lot, it's important to tell your dc, empathize that you can see they are having strong feelings, and invite them to use another way to express to you what they are feeling.<br><br>
I can't really help with anything else, but the whining is an issue here too, so I've been trying really hard to come up with a good solution!! lol
 

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All I can say, is pick your battles. He's got it figured out that if he fusses loudly enough at you, that you will give in. At that age, if you give in to a tantrum, you have taught them that they get what they want that way! On the other hand, when my boy was that age, it really was easier to make sure that he got his meal on the YELLOW plate because it would provoke outrage to do otherwise. You have my sympathies, it sounds like he is advanced! The threes were much harder for us than the twos, and he sounds more like a three.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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I like "use your words" and "ask me nicely". If it gets bad at home, just walk away. Seriously, they need an audience for this crap and don't you give it to him! If he pulls this stuff while out in public, pack him back to the car until he gets the idea. Once or twice...... an abrupt leaving.... especially if they usually got some treat at the end of the errand...(like the Garfield cars) sent a huge message to my kids that this simply was not acceptable.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>maya44</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7934066"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Who wouldn't? I mean seriously if someone basically told you that you needed to whine and cry to get what you wanted, why would you not do it?<br><br>
My basic advice is to decide if what he wants is reasonable. If it is, let him have it. If it's not, or if you have decided, not to, then don't. IF he whines and cries, be empathetic, sympathetic. Don't get mad at him for being upset. But don't give it to him BECAUSE he is whining and crying. (And don't not give him something that you would otherwise have just because he is crying)<br><br>
But it is very unfair to a child to say "you can't have this unless you whine and cry" and then to be annoyed at him for doing that to get what he wants.</div>
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I agree. And I kind of think 2.5 is young to sit in the cart while you try on pants. That doesn't even seem particularly safe.
 

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It sounds to me as though he has learned that if he throws a big enough fit, he gets his way. He has you trained! So you have to make a major change - make the rules, and stick to them.<br><br>
As someone else said, of course your requests have to be reasonable, and he might have a valid reason for wanting something different (which you should respect). But only if it's done in a nice voice! Negotiation is never done with whining or crying.<br><br>
If you choose this path, it WILL get worse before it gets better, because he believes that eventually you will give in. Eventually he will realize that whining and crying are not getting him what he wants, and it's a waste of time and energy.<br><br>
Good luck!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all the encouragement. I'm usually pretty good at not letting him get away with things, but sometimes you slip into bad habits, and I think that right after the new baby I had kind of been in a "lets just do what's easiest for a while to get through this" mode, and slowly letting more and more things slide. And I'd never encountered the fake sadness thing before -- at first I thought it was legitimate sadness for having less time / attention.<br><br>
So after two days of being more proactive and no-nonsense about things, it has been better. Of course, we haven't made a particularly long trip to the grocery store or church yet . . . I'm sure we'll have some battles there. Fortunately he figures out pretty quickly when something's not working any more and he has to come up with something new. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue">
 

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Hi Jilly!<br><br>
Congrats on the new baby!<br><br>
My ds has been this way since birth and I'm really not exaggerating. I completely empathize with you.<br>
I hope the no nonsense approach works for you. It really doesn't for us as my ds can go on for a very long time with his fussing/yelling/crying. Mine is relentless and doesn't back down. It makes parenting to be quite a nightmare on these frequent occasions. With these very strong-willed, high need, sensitive children, life, especially at this age, can be extremely difficult.<br>
Keep us posted on what's working. I could use some tips myself!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>jilly</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7949429"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Thanks for all the encouragement. I'm usually pretty good at not letting him get away with things, but sometimes you slip into bad habits, and I think that right after the new baby I had kind of been in a "lets just do what's easiest for a while to get through this" mode, and slowly letting more and more things slide. And I'd never encountered the fake sadness thing before -- at first I thought it was legitimate sadness for having less time / attention.</div>
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It seems like he might be trying to tell you that he really is sad, or unable to figure out how to express it. My dd has done this too, and it's been alarming to me. I have taken it as a cue to slow down and listen to her because her real crying and genuine emotions aren't getting through to me, or she's been feeling like she needs to be tough or something.<br><br>
Something just doesn't seem right about a 2.5 year old and "fake" sadness.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>natensarah</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7950373"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Something just doesn't seem right about a 2.5 year old and "fake" sadness.</div>
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Our 2 1/2 yr old does fake panic. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> It seems fine to me, but our ds2 is a very sensitive/emotional/dramatic boy, so it's inkeeping with his intensity and tendency to dramatise the mundane. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
What helps him most of the time for this is simply stating 'You are panicking.' His reply then follows his needs, such as, 'please help me mummie,' or 'I am thirsty,' or 'I don't like the game ds1 is playing with me,' etc... and I have an opportunity to converse with him. He now sometimes states by himself, "I am panicking," and calms down.<br><br>
Initially when he began this bizarre behaviour, I told him to stop, but if he did, which was infrequent at best and usually escalated the fake panic into a real one, I still didn't know what he needed. This way, he can 'act' and I can help him obtain what he needs.<br><br>
Op, could this approach help with your dc? I mean, just identifying the behaviour matter-of-factly as though it were not unsual, and certainly without engaging yourself emotionally in his expressions, and then allowing dc to express a need, if there is one (and our ds <i>always</i> comes up with one even if he may have forgotten the reason he began, which seems to alleviate him anyway).
 

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Jilly, I'm so glad to hear things are going better already!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hi, TudoBem, thanks for the congrats (although many days I don't know what I was thinking) -- glad you're still out there in cyberspace and not yet institutionalized <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"><br><br>
Well, I went on a visit to some of my family and I was talking with my brother, whose boys are now 17, 15 and 13. He was telling me his 17 and 13 yr olds are still really emotional and his 17 year old still tends to be easily frustrated and give up right away. And his 13 yr old never just walks into a room, he Enters it. And come to think of it, my brother is pretty dramatic and emotional as well . . .<br><br>
So I realized that it is a family trait to tend to overblow everything into a big, dramatic "situation". I've been using the "Andrew, you are panicing" line lots, and that has been working. Other times when I catch him right at the beginning and he's just working himself up I turn it into a shared joke by saying something like "You don't look that sad to me" or "Oh no! How terrible!", which also seems to diffuse the situation. Oh, and I've stopped giving in.<br><br>
Now the drama seems to have shifted to making his BROTHER react to him . . . <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">:
 
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