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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, so DH and I are just at wits end with our 3 yo DD. She is very strong-willed, to a fault. No matter what we say, she has some smart, backtalk for us, has a tantrum or ignores us completely. Hitting has also been know to be part of her repertoire.<br><br>
We have tried giving her warnings/opportunities to "right" things, putting her in her room to calm down, giving her consequences, DH has even taken things away from her, etc. I just don't know what to do anymore.<br><br>
Like today, we were at the beach, having a great time. It started to rain, so naturally, we had to leave. Well, DD throws a huge tantrum, refusing to get up from the sand. My brother ended up having to pick her up and carry her out bc I had a sleeping DS in my hands. My brother asked DD to calm down and tell him what was wrong. Screaming. Put her in the car seat, tried to calm her down. Screaming. This went on for 5 minutes when, I'm embarrassed to say, I began screaming. This is how it is all the time. I try to calm her down and tell her that I can't help her until she stops screaming bc I can't understand her and nothing. inevitably, she gets placed in her room to calm down, and gets so crazy, she pees all over her rug-even though she has a potty seat right in her room.<br><br>
Something has to give or I am off to the funny farm PLEASE give me some suggestions. We are so desperate!!
 

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IME that's just what 3yrs is like. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
I would NOT take it personally. And punishing (non-natural "consequences") won't help.<br><br>
Hang in there. It gets better.<br><br>
-Angela
 

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I agree with Angela. I think 3 is kind of an age that you just have to ride out. I have found that the less I fight, the less fight I get. The more emapthy and understanding I give, the more cooperation I get. For example, my almost 3 yo wants to change her clothes a million times a day and is always looking for something "more fancy" and is not easily satisfied. For me, this is a PITA and when I fight it I end up with tantrums and fights. But, if I just take a minute and find a nice pink feather boa for her (if you knew me, you would understand just how funny that is!) we both move on happily. So, my investment is one minute rather than the next 20 minutes dealing with a tantrum.<br><br>
For the beach example, it might have seemed obvious to you that you leave when it rains but it probably wasn't obvious to her. She's probably thinking, "what's the problem? We're at the beach, there's water, the sand is wet, so why do I have to stop just because there's a little more water?" She may have been in the middle of "her work" and wanted to finish and the rain wasn't a concern for her. In that situation, I probably would have stayed with her (or my partner) while the other person packed up. I would have given her warning that she needed to finish up soon and I would have continued to give her updates about how much time she had left (2 more minutes, now 1 more minute, 10 seconds until it's time to go). Three year olds aren't known for their ability to change direction without warning, you know?<br><br>
Good luck. Try to find yourself a mantra that helps you remember to look at the situation through her eyes.
 

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I'm having similar issues with my 3yo and its even harder to deal with when you have the needs of a baby to take care...<br><br>
After hearing myself no no no him and tell him how naughty he is all day long, I get tired of hearing myself. The hard love/Supernanny/naughty step stuff wasn't working. Recently I made a big effort and made a big chart with pictures of all stuff he likes- little stuff from a bagel at Starbucks to bigger stuff like a trip to a museum. And then I printed out all different kinds of reward charts. Some are easy 4 steps and some are 10 steps (I pick depending on the rewards). It's been helping. It helps in that I am looking for good behavior instead of just bad. The naughty step threat is so empty but now its naughty step AND you go back one on your chart- longer til you get your reward. It's been working so far. I mean, its no miracle, there are still fits. But if you are sick of hearing yourself being negative like I was, this is kind of a nice change...
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>mackysmama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11582369"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I agree with Angela. I think 3 is kind of an age that you just have to ride out. <b>I have found that the less I fight, the less fight I get. The more emapthy and understanding I give, the more cooperation I get.</b> For example, my almost 3 yo wants to change her clothes a million times a day and is always looking for something "more fancy" and is not easily satisfied. For me, this is a PITA and when I fight it I end up with tantrums and fights. But, if I just take a minute and find a nice pink feather boa for her (if you knew me, you would understand just how funny that is!) we both move on happily. So, my investment is one minute rather than the next 20 minutes dealing with a tantrum.<br><br>
For the beach example, it might have seemed obvious to you that you leave when it rains but it probably wasn't obvious to her. She's probably thinking, "what's the problem? We're at the beach, there's water, the sand is wet, so why do I have to stop just because there's a little more water?" She may have been in the middle of "her work" and wanted to finish and the rain wasn't a concern for her. In that situation, I probably would have stayed with her (or my partner) while the other person packed up. I would have given her warning that she needed to finish up soon and I would have continued to give her updates about how much time she had left (2 more minutes, now 1 more minute, 10 seconds until it's time to go). Three year olds aren't known for their ability to change direction without warning, you know?<br><br>
Good luck. Try to find yourself a mantra that helps you remember to look at the situation through her eyes.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/nod.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="nod"> Especially to the bolded. And boy- that is easier said than done many times. But yeah, when they're totally over the top melting down about the stupidest little thing ever, it really DOES help if you can muster up some empathy (yeah, it takes a little bit of dramatic skill, 'cause really, what adult really *understands* how it's the end of the world that the pink shirt is dirty?)<br><br>
And <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> at the pink boa....<br><br>
AVOIDING and if need be moving through and ending the tantrums have been my key to sanity.<br><br>
-Angela
 

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<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>LuluMama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11582404"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I'm having similar issues with my 3yo and its even harder to deal with when you have the needs of a baby to take care...<br><br>
After hearing myself no no no him and tell him how naughty he is all day long, I get tired of hearing myself. The hard love/Supernanny/naughty step stuff wasn't working. Recently I made a big effort and made a big chart with pictures of all stuff he likes- little stuff from a bagel at Starbucks to bigger stuff like a trip to a museum. And then I printed out all different kinds of reward charts. Some are easy 4 steps and some are 10 steps (I pick depending on the rewards). It's been helping. It helps in that I am looking for good behavior instead of just bad. The naughty step threat is so empty but now its naughty step AND you go back one on your chart- longer til you get your reward. It's been working so far. I mean, its no miracle, there are still fits. But if you are sick of hearing yourself being negative like I was, this is kind of a nice change...</div>
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I totally disagree with anything like the naughty step- especially at this age. They are SO emotionally fragile at this age and they really internalize every little thing. They really don't understand the difference between a naughty ACTION and a naughty child. And I don't ever want my child to identify as naughty or bad.<br><br>
-Angela
 

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Have you read "How to Talk So Your Children Will Listen?" it's a good, practical book for dealing with some of the things you're dealing with. Look too at the sticky at the top of this board -- the article on tantrums might help you think differently about them.<br><br>
I agree with the other posters that these are all VERY typical 3 year old behaviors.<br><br>
My kids have always needed pretty long transition times - so I've done a 5-3-1 system where they get a 5 minute warning, a 3 minute warning and a 1 minute warning before we go. That doesn't eliminate the tantrums, but it does make them less frequent.<br><br>
Here's my take on tantrums:<br>
People (grown ups too!) have tantrums when they feel out of control. Once the tantrum has started, it's NOT possible to reason with the person. It might (or might not) be possible to comfort them. Ds is a "don't touch me or talk to me" kind of kid when he was out of control. Dd is more of a "I need a hug" kind of kid. I'm more of a "I need a hug" kind of person, so it took me a while to understand that ds needed us to sit back and not try to interact with him.<br><br>
Tantrums are not a willful act of defiance - they're a failure of control. (Trust me on this one, I was a major tantrum thrower.) Thus, your goal is not to "fix" the tantrum, or even to suppress it. Instead, it's to show your child that it's OK to be angry, and that they can regain control. Obviously, that's hard to do if you're having a hard time being in control yourself. I have put dd in the car and stood outside doing deep breathing after yelling at her when she was having a tantrum. Keeping my cool is one of the hardest things for me to do as a parent.<br><br>
Backtalk - this one doesn't push my buttons so much, so it's pretty easy for me to ignore. 9 times out of 10, dd will do what we ask, despite the 'backtalk', so I don't get to riled up about it.<br><br>
I view backtalk at age 3 as 'developmental' and assume that they just don't yet quite have the language skills to phrase things more politely. Therefore, my job is to model the language I'd like to hear, point out when something sounds rude and provide an alternative. Our ds is 7, and he's at the point where I can say "That was rude. Can you try again?" and he can do it.<br><br>
Ignoring:<br>
Yeah, dd does this and it can be maddening. For her, it's nearly always that she's in the middle of something that doesn't want to interrupt it. So, for her, I'll say "did you hear me?" and if I get some sort of acknowledgment (eye contact, a shrug), I'll say "If you need a minute, say "Hang on, mom" or "Just a minute." Then I'll know you heard me and I can wait."<br><br>
If it's something she doesn't want to do (like help clean up during chore time), I will gently but firmly direct her.<br><br>
A lot of these behaviors DO get better with time. 3 1/2 was the hardest for us. Dd just turned 4 and a lot of these behaviors are visibly better.
 

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I have a strong-willed 3 yr old ds (almost 4) and boy do I hear you !We are finding that the more we approach his behavior as something we need to control, the worse off we are.<br><br>
Today, DS dropped a bunch of game pieces on the floor, on purpose. DH says "pick those up" - a command - and ds says NO and runs off. As soon as we say "go" he says NO! It has to be his own way, his idea, his concern, not ours. So, ds comes running back through and I say something about how we are about to put the game away, I am concerned that if the pieces don't get back in the box they might get lost. Could he help me out." He says "I'm holding my Ruffy the dog". I say, well maybe ruffy would like to help? he says, very serious with big blue eyes, "He's not real". <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"><br>
So I say something about how ruffy might like to be a bulldozer and scoop the pieces into the box. Oh!, he loves the idea and rushes off and does it.<br><br>
I'm not saying this works all the time. Really, I'm pulling my hair out most days. But I do find that when I keep my wits and empathize with his very natural and appropriate Feelings in any given situation, state my own feelings or concerns, and try to find a solution we can both live with, it usually works our better.<br>
For leaving situations/transitions, I start out by saying "oh you really love the beach. You like the sand, the water...", on and on, naming all the fun things we did and how we love it. this was so much fun. It is so hard to leave one thing and go do another. It's a good thing we get to wash up in the bath when we get home. I wonder if I still have any bubbles for the water. Or maybe you need to wash up those trucks in the tub with you.... Until I find something he can engage in. Something he can own as his own idea. Even though it was my idea, that doesn't seem to matter. then he catches the fever of the new idea and we move on.<br><br>
I'm going on.... It is so hard. This age is really really harder than 2. They have so much emotion and so much they want to do and so little control over their worlds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all of your advice. I know I just need to take it in stride, but some days it's harder than others. I just needed to vent.<br>
But just to comment on what LynnS6 said "<i>I view backtalk at age 3 as 'developmental' and assume that they just don't yet quite have the language skills to phrase things more politely.</i>"<br>
I don't completely agree. My DD is FRESH and she knows just how to push our buttons. Of course, it's probably because when DH and I get frustrated, we "model" fresh behavior, ourselves, now that I'm thinking about it. Like, one day, she was especially feisty and DH said to here "What is the matter with you today?" and she yelled, matter-of-factly "You the matter with me!!" So, there you have it. What it really boils down to is that DH and I need to behave in the way we want her to behave.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>dfunk98</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11587616"><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 of your advice. I know I just need to take it in stride, but some days it's harder than others. I just needed to vent.<br>
But just to comment on what LynnS6 said "<i>I view backtalk at age 3 as 'developmental' and assume that they just don't yet quite have the language skills to phrase things more politely.</i>"<br>
I don't completely agree. My DD is FRESH and she knows just how to push our buttons. Of course, it's probably because when DH and I get frustrated, we "model" fresh behavior, ourselves, now that I'm thinking about it. Like, one day, she was especially feisty and DH said to here "What is the matter with you today?" and she yelled, matter-of-factly "You the matter with me!!" So, there you have it. What it really boils down to is that DH and I need to behave in the way we want her to behave.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
Yeah. Been there, done that. Makes you listen to what you say in a whole new light, doesn't it?<br><br>
-Angela
 

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<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>dfunk98</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11587616"><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 of your advice. I know I just need to take it in stride, but some days it's harder than others. I just needed to vent.<br>
But just to comment on what LynnS6 said "<i>I view backtalk at age 3 as 'developmental' and assume that they just don't yet quite have the language skills to phrase things more politely.</i>"<br>
I don't completely agree. My DD is FRESH and she knows just how to push our buttons. Of course, it's probably because when DH and I get frustrated, we "model" fresh behavior, ourselves, now that I'm thinking about it. Like, one day, she was especially feisty and DH said to here "What is the matter with you today?" and she yelled, matter-of-factly "You the matter with me!!" So, there you have it. What it really boils down to is that DH and I need to behave in the way we want her to behave.</div>
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Sigh, that's what comes with short-handing things. I view it as developmental in that they have this great new tool: language. And they are going to wield it at every opportunity. Some of those are fine opportunities, some are not. And they learn which language is appropriate by people's responses. They also have a harder time controlling things like tone of voice when they're upset. PLUS they don't yet have self-control NOT to say things that they "know" will get them into trouble.<br><br>
So, yes, she is "fresh", but not in the way say a 14 year old is "fresh". it's NOT as deliberate.<br><br>
And you're right, they learn both the polite and the 'fresh' from us. You haven't lived until you've heard your children declare, in the same tone of voice you've used "For G*d's sake....." or "I was right in the <i>middle</i> of a sentence..." upon being interrupted by a sibling.
 
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