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Terribly behaved 3 year old

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#1 Myamum

Posted 16 February 2013 - 08:30 PM

I am almost tearing my hair out with my 3 year old. Some days I just do not know how to deal with her.

I was hoping some mums on EB would possibly have some advice, having maybe been through something similar.

I can't seem to get her to do anything without an argument and a tantrum and she has an answer for everything. She has also started biting and pushing her younger sibling all the time. This is new behaviour and she has always been angel. We keep her really busy with activities and she also attends child care 2 days a week. I'm not sure what is causing this behaviour or what I have done wrong.

If anyone has any suggestions on how to deal with this behaviour, it would be greatly appreciated.

#2 Redgumhoney

Posted 16 February 2013 - 09:34 PM

After a very trying day with my 3yr old at shops today, tantrums, refusal to move, me running out of shops while she tried to scratch my face...yes I went on line for answers. My friend has recommended triple P parenting course and I just downloaded the 123 magic parenting book. The book from a read tonight has some great ideas, I will start tomorrow! I find age 3 harder than 2, and all kids are different, my 5 yr old sometimes behaving much worse...fingers crossed for us all!

#3 KT1978

Posted 16 February 2013 - 09:42 PM

Is she ok at school?

Could going to school be causing it (more tired, clingy/jealous)?

How old is her sibling? Is there a cause for her to start being jealous? Ie sibling just stated walking or getting attention

#4 Johnno01

Posted 16 February 2013 - 10:07 PM

Well, I'm a dad and not a mum but I do have a 3 year old who can be a real handful at times, but he's getting better.  He's got two older siblings, 5 and 7 who were also stroppy at age 3, but not quite like the youngest.  

I don't think you have done anything wrong, but kids at that age just start to test boundaries... and it seems to me that the older they are before they reach this phase, the more extreme it is.

What worked for us is liberal use of time out.  They get put in their room and told to sit on the floor, no toys.  Apparently the recommended time is 1 minute per year of age.

At the end of the time out I would sit down in front of them and calmly tell them that what they did is NOT ok, and if they did it again, they would go back to time out.  They really hate time out, and catch on very quickly and before long just the threat of time out would generally be enough for to make them settle down and do what they are told.

When they were young it was not uncommon for them to scream the whole time while they were in time out.  Then at the end they would say they wouldn't do it again, you let them leave their room and they do whatever it was again straight away.  Pick them up, straight back into their room for time out.  As I said, they really hate it and they soon learn to control their behaviour.

#5 FeralFerretOfDoom

Posted 16 February 2013 - 10:22 PM

NO idea but I'll be watching this thread with interest - my 3YO DD is a nightmare too - no biting thankfully but stubborn, argumentative, defiant, and no form of discipline seems to work. I'm at my wits end, DS was always such an easy-going child, DD's behaviour has taken me completely by surprise!

I feel like I spend a huge part of every day fighting with her, it's exhausting and I feel guilty about not being able to be the mother I want to be to her - but she is just so good at pushing my buttons...

#6 SemiRuralGirl

Posted 16 February 2013 - 10:37 PM

As bad as it is to hear parents going through this, it has actually made me feel a bit better.

My 3.5 yo DS is driving me absolutely batty! Major, major scream down the place for an hour tantrums are the flavour of the month for my little cherub.

Add to that the waking at 4:00 am and refusing to go back to bed - or even do ANYTHING except wake me up and I'm just having a whole barrel of fun here. Trying to deal with anything at 4:00am and the resultant screaming down of the house until all other family members are awake is particularly fun...  cry1.gif

I honestly do not know what to do. I am consistent in my discipline with him, do lots of activities/crafts/tactile things/energy using games etc and we still have these massive blow outs daily.

I am exhausted and at my wits end. I feel like he is pushing me past my point of coping - plus with the wakeful nights I am also sleep deprived.

So... Needless to say I will be watching this thread intently!

PS The little crapper will then look at me with his cute little cheeky face and say "But I love you Mummy" and I can't help but smile. I guess that is pure grace in life.

#7 Magenta Ambrosia

Posted 16 February 2013 - 10:50 PM

Threeteen is a fun age - it's all about asserting independence. And yes it is a window to the teen years.
Listen to them actively and be consistent in discipline and rules and remember most of it is over around 4 :-)

Threeteen is a fun age - it's all about asserting independence. And yes it is a window to the teen years.
Listen to them actively and be consistent in discipline and rules and remember most of it is over around 4 :-)

#8 Feral-Lausii

Posted 16 February 2013 - 11:21 PM

Threeteen is a
fun age - it's all about
asserting independence. And yes it is a window to the teen years.
Listen to them actively and be consistent in discipline and rules and remember most of it is over around 4 :-)

I'm sorry, but what a teenager can put you through is nothing compared to a 3 year old.

My three year old has her moments, I find ignoring her tantrums works best.

#9 *Finn*

Posted 16 February 2013 - 11:34 PM

God I'm struggling at 3 years old, god help me when he's 13.

He's hard work every damn day. And we are at work/school 4 days per week.

#10 wenchwitch

Posted 16 February 2013 - 11:44 PM

The best advice I was given when I had a fuuuuullll on 3 year old was "it's not what you say but how you say it" sometimes easier said than done especially when you are at the end of your tether. I don't want this to sound preachy but if I had my time again I would constantly be the calm voice of reason, always ask politely and use manners and never have a meltdown. I know the times where I have lost the plot and basically had a tantrum then this reinforces for them that if you are annoyed, stressed etc it is ok to behave that way. I have tried that approach with number 2 ( although I have failed on a few occasions) but the long run does pay off I am convinced. There was a time I just faked it until I could make it but now as long as I ask in a pleasant respectful voice number 2 will happily do anything I ask. Stick with it and show them and tell them by you behaviour. I often say " I am feeling so angry, upset disappointed etc that I need to go away and think about "this" so that I don't say or do something mean or hurtful that I don't really mean". Number 2 now when she gets angry or frustrated will say the same back to whoever original.gif   Once it gets through and you can see results it's soooo much easier not to fake it original.gif

#11 Princess.cranky.pants

Posted 17 February 2013 - 12:02 AM

Age 3 was hell with DD1. It's a very hard and a lot of my friends say the same. My 2 year old is already head strong, scared of what 3 is going to bring!

You are doing nothing wrong. It's a developmental phase. They really try to test the boundaries. We find time in helpful- removing the child from the situation and stay with them helping them to calm down. Tantrums result because they cannot control and deal with their feelings. Taking the child to a quite place gives them the space to calm down and get their feelings under control again. I am doing this with my 2 year old who could win a gold medal in tantrums and it works well.

Other than that just hang in there.. it did get better. Maybe 3s are preparation for teenage years! lol

#12 SemiRuralGirl

Posted 17 February 2013 - 12:16 AM

We use time ins also, but the big problem I have is he just wants to run off and be destructive. Then I am faced with "do I restrain him?" I try to hold him on my lap and calmly repeat "I can see how upset you are" "I understand (insert whatever he is tantruming about)" "it's hard when you don't get your own way" etc etc then wait til he stops fighting. Then he generally falls in a heap sobbing.
Princess cranky - did you ever have your LO run off / lash out at you in time in? What did you do?
Sorry to crash your thread OP wink.gif

#13 Princess.cranky.pants

Posted 17 February 2013 - 10:41 AM

Princess cranky - did you ever have your LO run off / lash out at you in time in? What did you do?

Yes. If DD dose that I ether hold her or let her go.. depends on how upset she is. Sometimes she is so out of control she is in danger of hurting herself and then I won't let her go. But other times she calms down faster if I let her go.

Edited by Princess.cranky.pants, 17 February 2013 - 10:44 AM.

#14 sedawson

Posted 17 February 2013 - 10:54 AM

I have a few ideas that worked really well with my son at that age so I thought I'd jot a few down and hopefully some might have some benefit for you too.

1. Keep your instructions simple. We tend to use chain instructions - go over there, sit down, start cleaning up your toys and keep quiet, then we'll go out to the park. Too complex. Keep it simpler - Please go over there and pack up at least three toys.
2. Differentiate between instructions and suggestions. Most things will be suggestions - kids can argue, debate, whatever, but if you tell your child clearly that 'this is an instruction and you must do this now' that helps them understand that it must be done.
3. Explain consequences first. Eg. before you go shopping, kneel down to face level outside the shops and say, 'If you throw a tantrum in the shop, we will leave the trolley and all the things there and we will go home instantly without buying anything'. Then follow through very calmly. Might mean you have soup and toast for tea but it does work.
4. Remember your household is not a democracy. You are the boss, no-one else. Kids cannot handle a feeling of being in control through bad behaviour and they rely on you to remain calm, even if angry.
5. You can be angry and express your anger without being frightening or losing control. This helps model responsible control of your feelings.

#15 Natttmumm

Posted 23 February 2013 - 08:51 AM

All I have is sympathy. DD2 is 3.5 and a total nightmare.
We have just had a baby and its not easy with her behaviour. Mum is blaming it on bringing baby home but she's been a nightmare for 12 months so I think she'd be like this either way.
Nothing works for us

#16 Filulah

Posted 23 February 2013 - 09:12 AM

I agree with wenchwitch, we had a vast improvement in my now 4 year old's behaviour when he was 3 when I changed the way I spoke to him. I was still frustrated, I just didn't show it (as often). Getting angry with him didn't solve any problems, it just ended up escalating the situation into tears and recriminations. Speaking politely and with love and communicating clearly was harder, because I had to keep my anger in check, but it made a very definite change in his behaviour, and my peace of mind.

Four is so much easier, so far. He still tests the boundaries sometimes, but so much better company. :-)

#17 gabbigirl

Posted 23 February 2013 - 09:20 AM

Good advice from wench witch.  If you had a look a my post history, you would see the frustrations I have had with my now 4.5 yo.  I would end the day crying with frustration.

She is now 4.5 and whilst still a kid, I can't believe the change!  I can drag her around to the shops and my errands without a tantrum.  Impossible a little while back.

My tips....always always make sure they get enough sleep.  Good food. Lots of outside exercise, lots of time with mum.
  And my favourite parenting website...www.ahaparenting.com.  The daily emails are a nice reminder to try and keep  me level headed.  

Good luck.

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