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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just want to get some input on how common this might be...

A couple scenarios:
Dd gets out of the car at daycare and wants to run with me down the driveway to the dcp's house. She falls down on the way, scrapes both knees, gets dirty, etc. But she only starts crying and yelling after I go to pick her up. She squirms away from me and (while bleeding) insists on going back to the car, getting in her carseat and doing everything over from that point so she can run down the driveway again without falling. I manage to compromise that we'll just start running next to the car (rather than spend time buckling and unbluckling her again) and we race, and she's fine.
:

There've been other times where I go into the bathroom to get something for myself, and she happens to be in there peeing. She will yell and scream that she's THREE and she can go potty by herself, that she doesn't want me there. But then at that point I've already "ruined it". She's peed, she wasn't totally alone, she's devastated that I was in the room at the time, and she can't do everything all over because she doesn't have to pee anymore!

Sometimes she has a picture in her head of how I should greet her in the morning, and she just loses it if I don't do the "right" thing. She'll want me to pretend I'm the big bad wolf and knock on her door (without actually telling me this ahead of time). I'll go in her room to hug her and say good morning, etc, and she'll yell and cry that I "did it all wrong" and feel offended.

Now... this kind of thing may happen several times a week, with some big "blow-ups" and some minor crying spells that end quickly. But I can NEVER predict when she'll do this. There's no way to know if she's already got a picture in her head of how something should be. Most of the time she's very easy going, and able to deal with the unexpected and copes ok with her own mistakes.

Any other 3 or 4 year olds doing this kind of thing? How do you predict/console/cope?
 

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Hey there - Just wanted to sympathize about the tyranny of 3 yo's.
I haven't thought of it as perfectionism, but we have bouts of this too. I think it is about feeling IN CONTROL of the situation and being upset when it becomes clear dc isn't... I don't have great solutions, except to comment that things didn't go the way he planned and to either change the situation to be more in lined with his plans or distract him. Sounds like the same stuff you're doing!

I am adding some gentle messages about him not being in charge of everyone. Like "I know YOU really want me to play the guitar exactly like this and jump around exactly like you did, but I may want to do it my way. Show me yours and then I will choose. Maybe I'll do some of your dance moves and then some of my own too." This works sometimes and sometimes it doesn't b/c he SO desperately wants things to unfold as he'd like.

Hope we get more ideas or comments...
 

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Definitely a 3-4 year old thing - they're just figuring out 'power' and that they have some power to do things themselves, and are working out how much they can control the world (and the people) around them.

At the same time, they haven't quite figured out that we aren't telepathic
(Theory of Mind if you want the technical term) and so they sometimes don't realize that we don't know what they are thinking.

For things like the bathroom -- maybe you can get a 'do not disturb' sign that she can put up when she wants to do it herself? For the car, I would let her do it - obviously it's more important than the bleeding knees
:!

For things like the Big Bad Wolf -- I would ask my son "Oh, you had an idea that I was going to pretend to be the big bad wolf, right? Hmm.. did you tell me that? How was I supposed to know this?" Don't know if it did any good, but it did stop shortly after 4 (though we've had the same kind of behavior resurface in a slightly different way now at 5).

After that - empathy, so saying things like "It sounds like we had different ideas/plans. You sound very frustrated that I didn't do it your way." and giving a hug is about all you can do.
 

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Oh boy, how do we cope? We just cannot predict nor keep up, some days our son just flies through one blowup after another. We notice that he's much more sensitive at times when something big is happening. Right now, he has a brand new sister and next month he will start PT preschool. I just take it day by day. When he's having a particularly rough day, I try to remind myself to slow down and spend more time with him.

I mean getting down to his level, listening carefully, not speaking too much (from fear of saying the wrong thing), playing with him more, and letting him lead when we play. I do have to resist saying things like, calm down or no need to scream... We are trying to figure out how to help him express himself less dramatically and to help him realize that dropping a piece of fruit on the floor is not the end of the world.

I am interested in what others have to say on this subject. This is the hardest year for us yet! Sorry I am not more helpful...
 

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Lynn - Thanks for this info and for sharing how you alert your dc to the fact that we're not mind readers!


Love2EatMango (cute name) - ditto on the DRAMA. I am actually glad to know that the huge, over the top reactions may just be a stage. My dh is prone to them too and so I thought ds had just picked them up from him (and I wasn't too thrilled about that particular trait getting passed on
). I'm more of a low-key person... which actually helps for sympathizing rather than escalating the "scene."
 

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Off topic, I know, but I noticed Lynn is an academic and Kamilla had "Academian" nut on your profile. Does that mean you're an academic too? I am and 3 academic mammas posting on the same thread on the same day would be a wild coincidence.

E
 

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Yeah we had this x10 with our oldest. A very gifted and sensitive boy and it did peak around age 4 (it was to the point that dh and I were wondering if someone were going to report us, he'd be taken away and insitutionalized. I moved the furniture when he was 10months old and he cried everday for 6 months about it.)

We have to model flexability and because of who he is we had to really eggaderate our behavior so he'd notice. ie: look I dropped this, I didn't mean to but it's ok because life isn't perfect.

In your case, I'd suggest changing little things all the time, start with changes she can accept...then move on to larger things. It isn't functional or comfortable for her to be this controlling.

He's still (almost 9) a perfectionist, but he is also now a functioning person.

We still have a meltdown every once in a blue moon about "why-can't-life-have-do-overs!!!" (but adults feel this way too sometimes!)

He's the policeman of manners, behavior, fairness, and how to set a table. But like I said before---I have to keep changing things purposefully and model that it's ok.

But for the most part he's ok and I know he can LIVE now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by ELKMama
Off topic, I know, but I noticed Lynn is an academic and Kamilla had "Academian" nut on your profile. Does that mean you're an academic too? I am and 3 academic mammas posting on the same thread on the same day would be a wild coincidence.

E
I chose that title when I was in grad school, but I've seen graduated. I just haven't gotten around to requesting a different title.
 

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Having BTDT already once, it is a stage. My 3 year old next week was very upset at dinner last night, she had everyone's water glass lined up infront of my plate and would cry if any of them were moved, and even when they were put back (after a drink), they were not exactly right.
 
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