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My DS will be three in June. Here are some things he has done just this last week:<br><br>
Taken a whole bag of shredded cheese from the refrigerator and dumped it out all over the floor<br><br>
Taken his brother's birthday cake out of the fridge and ate it<br><br>
dumped the carton of OJ on the floor<br><br>
pulled out and took apart a key from daddy's laptop<br><br>
dumped all of the baby wash onto the changing table<br><br>
twice stuffed a full roll of TP in the potty<br><br>
dumped potty water with a bath toy into his room<br><br>
took apart the window shade<br><br>
dipping a diaper in the toilet and sucking on it<br><br>
dipping toilet paper in the toilet and eating it<br><br>
That was just this week<br><br><br>
It seems every time I turn my back, he is getting into mischief and doing "naughty" things. I don't know if he is bored, just curious, seeking attention, or testing limits. Time outs don't seem to have much of an impact. My husband thinks I coddle him, but honestly I have a 12 mth old and a five yr old too, and sometimes I don't have the time or energy to discipline him the way I should, so I end up shrugging my shoulders, telling him that that was a "no-no thing" and cleaning up the mess.<br><br>
We do gate the kitchen, but it seems my DH or DD is always leaving the gate open. Help me before I go insane: do I need more child-proofing, orr is MY DH right that ds is old enough to know better and I need stricter consequences? HELP!!
 

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My three year old would do many of those things if we did not have the child proofing in place that we do have. It also sounds like he may be bored or needs attention. You may want to read Kids, Parents and Power Struggles by <a href="http://www.parentchildhelp.com/" target="_blank">Mary Sheedy Kurcinka</a>. I found it to be very helpful with my 3 yo.
 

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I vote for curious & hungry <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Eat">: I can see eating the cake, but the toilet paper, ick.<br><br>
Anyway, my kids have done lots of stuff just like that and I am tempted to tell you about my really crappy week.<br><br>
OK I can't resist. One week, Logan pooped in the bath tub on Sunday. Monday he pooped on the floor and rolled his cars through it. Tuesday he pooped on the floor and rolled cars through it. Wednesday, he pooped on the floor, but I caught him before he could roll his cars through it. Thursday, we took a day off from pooping, and drew crayon all over every wall in his bedroom. Friday, pooped on the floor again, but I found him right after it happened. He was 3 at the time.<br><br>
It just feels like you can't leave them alone for a minute. I promise, he will grow out of it.
 

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Seems like more child proofing will prevent some of these conflicts and provide more safety for your son too.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>ktmama</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11432129"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Seems like more child proofing will prevent some of these conflicts and provide more safety for your son too.</div>
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<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:<br>
He's 3, he's bored, curious and at that age they have little impulse control. It will pass. Hopefully. LOL
 

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Childlocks on the bathroom door (out of reach) or on the loo seat. SHUT gate on the kitchen door and a fridge lock on the fridge. Do you have a gate on your stairs? I find it easy to shut gates because the first gate i got was for the stairs and she has once fallen down the last 8 and it was terrifying for us both (i saw her fall but wasn't able to get to her in time to grab her <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">) i NEVER forget to lock it, even though she can now handle the stairs safely. Lesson learned!<br><br>
I wouldn't count most of those things as "naughty". Curious, bored, lookng for more input, but not really naughty. To me naughty is doing something he KNOWS is not acceptable, but kids are complex creatures. My DD drew on the floor with a red crayon the other day. I reprimanded her "DD! Don't make a messy mess on the floor please!", redirected her "we draw on <i>paper</i>!" and made sure she had plenty of materials and 2 minutes later came back to find her drawing on the floor with a blue crayon. "What did i JUST say!?" i demanded. "Blue crayon mama! No red crayon!" she replied...
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>kacymoose</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11431062"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">OK I can't resist. One week, Logan pooped in the bath tub on Sunday. Monday he pooped on the floor and rolled his cars through it. Tuesday he pooped on the floor and rolled cars through it. Wednesday, he pooped on the floor, but I caught him before he could roll his cars through it. Thursday, we took a day off from pooping, and drew crayon all over every wall in his bedroom. Friday, pooped on the floor again, but I found him right after it happened. He was 3 at the time.<br></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"> This makes me feel better about my week!<br><br>
OP I hear where you are at, so frustrating. Nearly 3 is tough, we are there right now. Sometimes it feels like all the progress we've made is going backwards! My ds seems a lot more amoral (wrong word but I can't think of the right one!) than he did as a two year old, he is genuinely less concerned with rules, expectations or consequences. He seems to be on a mission! I have to admit to it driving me crazy a bit but I do find that 1-1 time is really helping us build back some connections. It also helps me to feel less of a meany when I do have to place restrictions on things.<br><br>
This all sounds really normal but also normally frustrating to a normal mama <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/hug2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Hug2">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Mindy70</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11430766"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">do I need more child-proofing, orr is MY DH right that ds is old enough to know better and I need stricter consequences? HELP!!</div>
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Just re-reading your post and wanted to address this. Sorry but old enough to know better? Nope. Not even a bit. I can see with my ds that sometimes he is knowingly pushing boundaries but a lot of the time he has no idea what the problem is. Before enforcing stricter consequences I would want to address is your ds getting what he needs to be successful? The attention/playtime/outsidetime/time with other kids etc. If you allow situations where he can get into bother (such as something not being proofed, free access when he can't control his impulses) then you are setting him and you up for failure. It is pretty easy to child proof and saves a lot of shouting and frustration.<br><br>
It also sounds like he is seeking sensory play (likes water and lotion) and that he is exploring what he enjoys (cake!) but children are fully ego-centric until 5 (according to Piaget) so expecting him to see someone else's perspective is not realistic.<br><br>
HTH's - you are not alone in the camp of 3yr old frustration!
 

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What kinds of activities are you doing together now? How much structure is there to the day? What would a typical day look like?<br><br>
My suggestions are: routine and predictability, daily outdoor exercise, sensory play - sand, water, beans, intellectual stimulation and plenty of childproofing and supervision.
 

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I think the other post-ers are right. He's exploring, he may be a bit bored, he may be trying to get your attention. He may or may not "know better" but he is too young to have the impulse control to not do something that looks like fun, even if he does "know better".<br>
So, you need to take several pro-active steps:<br>
* More child-proofing and/or enforcing consequences for those who dismantle what you have. E.g. if DH leaves gate to kitchen open HE gets to clean up the mess :)<br>
* More supervision/attention - as hard as it is, he couldn't have done any of these things if he were right with you or someone else, right?<br>
* More exercise/playtime/out-of-the-house time. Again, I know its hard with more than one, but it will probably help all of you to get out more each day. Maybe even enroll him in some classes or activities, especially messy ones. Let someone else clean it up!<br>
* More sensory play at home -- bubbles, water, sand, soap, clay...<br><br>
At his age, he can also help clean up messes so he understands that it does require clean up. That's definitely a better connected consequence than a time out. Timeout will probably only give him a chance to sit and think of the next thing he wants to do!<br><br>
And if he's facinated with the toilet, maybe its potty training time?
 

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I sympathize completely. My DD is almost 4 and can really tear the house apart (her favorite thing is to get sprinkles (or whatever) out of the cupboard and pour them out on the floor to lick up!). I would lock everything that you possibly can. This might be hard because it sounds like you don't have much help keeping stuff locked.<br><br>
Maybe explain to your DH that your almost 3yo is acting like a 3yo. No impulse control, very little judgement. Your 3yo will grow out of it but punishment won't really work.<br><br>
It might be harder for your DH to understand if your 5yo didn't go through this stage as distructively but it is normal, just a major pain. I would lock down the house and make sure that everyone knows that if they help keep it locked down it makes your life much easier.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for all the input. My DH creates much of the problem- leaves the gate to the kitchen open OVER and over again, then gets mad when DS makes a mess, leaves his laptop out, leaves other stuff out where DS can get it. It drives me crazy! But those were really helpful suggestions...
 

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<i>Thanks for all the input. My DH creates much of the problem- leaves the gate to the kitchen open OVER and over again, then gets mad when DS makes a mess, leaves his laptop out, leaves other stuff out where DS can get it. It drives me crazy! But those were really helpful suggestions...</i><br><br>
That's kinda like getting mad at the dog cuz you leave your shoes out and they get chewed up. And then you do it again! <span style="font-size:xx-small;">(No actual kids were compared to dogs in the making of this point).</span>
 

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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>Mindy70</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11439757"><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 input. My DH creates much of the problem- leaves the gate to the kitchen open OVER and over again, then gets mad when DS makes a mess, leaves his laptop out, leaves other stuff out where DS can get it. It drives me crazy! But those were really helpful suggestions...</div>
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I feel your frustration. My DH just wants our daughter to act like a grownup with no effort required on his part. We need a husband training forum on this board!
 

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But I really have found with all my little ones the the time between 18 months and 3.5 years are the hardest...they are strong, and nimble enough to really damage and make messes, curious enough to try almost anything and just don't know any bettter. I remember deciding that the only time I could be online or otherwise unattentive was when they were asleep, and longing for the day I could take a shower by myself or use the bathroom with the door shut. It will get better - honest.
 
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