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Caribou

I’m exhausted (3yo)

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Caribou

I can’t do this. Everything I do he rejects. I popped him into preschool. He’s good there.

 

He’s been a strong willed since well, forever. He doesn’t listen to reason and screams if I say no, if I say in a minute that results screaming too, because it’s not now. However, DH? ****ing angel.

 

I feel like a sh*t parent as it is. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. He can be the sweetest boy and then a demon the next. I’m exhausted it’s like a constant battle and it doesn’t help with DH saying I need to be tough on him. I am! I stand my ground and it results screaming! Like, I’d like him to try be in my shoes! I pick my battles, I try ensure they’re consistent battles but gosh, it like a never ending war. I don’t know what else to do. Everyone around me says he’s a sweet boy and so polite and well behaved. Well, why aren’t I seeing this?

 

Are three yr old this horrendous? DD8 seemed to missed this stage completely!

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José

Oh so hard!

I can't say I like your DHs advice either!

Sure have boundaries but I'd be focussing more on being warm than hard!

I only have 1 kid but it seems that sometimes different kids need different things from their parents. So what perhaps worked well with your older child might not be so successful with this one.

Most importantly I think be kind.to yourself. Parenting is hard! The fact that your child is great sometimes in some locations means you're doing well.

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SplashingRainbows

I had a horrendous three year old. She saved it for mum too.

 

It was a very trying and lonely year or so.

 

She’s six now. Articulate. Incredibly caring. Very empathetic. Very sensible, well behaved and easily told no.

 

I suspect she just felt things ‘so big’ back then that it just exploded. And I was her safe person. I had my moments of doubt too, especially when my husband was an insensitive wiener about it. But I’m still her favorite hahahaha.

 

OP if he is appropriately behaved in all other settings as you say, then I think it’s highly likely he’s just going through some normal development stuff that might take a while.

 

I Eventually mostly learned that her behavior was about her and not me. And if it was big behavior then she had a big message. Not she hated me. Not I did something wrong. Not she would be difficult forever.

 

Strategies that help you stay calm will definitely help calm reign in your house.

 

But I mostly wanted to empathize, validate and encourage you. It will be ok. And it will pass. And it is very very difficult while you’re in it.

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Oriental lily

The person a child feels most secure is often the one who cops the worse behaviour. You become their pressure valve. It sux .

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Kallie88

3yo's can be real dicks. Our DS1 is nearly 3yo and a right pain in the backside. Stubborn as a mule when he wants something and can get quite violent too tbh. Obviously he can be sweet and loving too, but it only takes the smallest thing to set him off. DD wasn't quite as bad, though she certainly had (and still has at 4yo) her moments. It's a key age for learning emotional regulation and you are clearly his safe space. He knows he can trust you with his big feelings (which absolutely sucks) but sounds fairly normal. I ignore screaming, much as it actually does get to me, it's usually over sooner if I don't engage other than to offer cuddles. He gets a lot of "I'm sorry this is upsetting/ frustrating for you DS, I'm here for a cuddle when you're ready".

 

Funnily, reverse psychology can be naru effective on DS because he's so stubborn lol, so instead of "ds can you put your shoes on" "ds i bet you can't put your shoes on" so he has to prove he can. Or not making it a question can often work for us eg. "Ok ds it's time to put your shoes on" sometimes he'll still kick up with no, but less often than when you're asking him to do it.

 

You're not a sh*t mum, it's a hard age and some kids are definitely more challenging than others xx

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lizzzard

I'm sorry you're having a tough time OP. I cried in frustration at how hard it is with DS11 today too. He's been difficult since forever as well :(

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CallMeFeral

Mine were terrible threenagers. Terrible twos weren't an issue, but three omg.

 

You aren't doing anything wrong. But if you would like to I guess have a bit more certainty around what do to, and whether you are doing it right even if it's not working, then I recommend the Circle of Security parenting course, and Tuning in to Kids. You may learn something, or you may just learn how to do what you're already doing with confidence that it's ok.

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Hands Up

Yep DS2 was a horrendous three year old. Much better at four. While DS1 was terrible at two but much easier by three. I think most kids have a bad period....

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Sharalanda

You are not a sh*t mum. Both my boys were very difficult 3 year olds in very different ways. My second son was just like how you describe yours. I didn’t find any particular strategies that worked for him, we just had to ride it out. It’s exhausting.

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Gruffalo's Child
Posted (edited)

3 yr olds are hard work and so exhausting and the fact you are the only one he’s acting like this with would suggest he feels very safe with you, and because of this he can both let off steam and push his boundaries. Which in turn suggests you are actually an amazing mum.

Edited by Gruffalo's Child
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PrincessPeach

Sending sympathy. My jut turned 4 year old is similar.

 

Consistency is what seems to be helping, although not sure if its also age.

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alchetta

Yeah. I feel like the worst parent in the world and I have a three year old. It's constant and exhausting. I definitely struggle to stay calm.

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Prancer is coming

It’s exhausting isn’t it? Personally I found 2 horrendous. No common sense. At least by 3 they seem to have some rational , though not like I understood or agreed with what they were doing anyway.

 

i really beat myself up with my first child, thinking it was all my doing. Different kids behave in different ways. You spend the most time with your child I assume, you know them the best. Sometimes different parenting styles work. Other times you just need to ride it out. Or there might be something going on for your child. For us, we got some ADHD diagnoses! Consistent parenting really helped but there was no fixing the issues at play in our case.

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JasperAliBenji

I have a terrible two year old daughter who is so so loud and terrible lol a not very well verbal threenager who cracks it if I open his biscuits past 1cm. He loves doing everything himself. And a 3 month old who HATES being put down at any stage of the day and is still waking 2-3hrs overnight.

 

To say parenting is exhausting is an understatement but it will get easier and as a pp said, they tend to take it out on the ones they love the most. You've got this!!!!

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Mrs Twit

My second was a shocker from about 18 months through until he started school - with me and DH. Everyone else got the sweet loving side of him.

 

1-2-3 Magic really worked for us. It gave us a process to work through when he was being difficult which helped us to stay calm and because we were consistent with it he realised he couldn't get away with it all the time. Plus I think half the fun was the joy of winding us up. Once we stopped getting so wound up that made him less inclined to act out.

 

Also keeping him busy - lots of physical and mental stimulation. Too much screen time only made it worse - even now as a 12yo it makes him grumpy.

 

Good luck. And be proud that he is so good around other people. He obviously feels very safe at home around you to act like that.

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Lallalla

What you have there is a threenager. All 3 of my girls and my nephew were horrendous threenagers, especially for their mothers.

 

I definitely recommend picking your battles and repeating to yourself “this is just a phase” over and over. All of ours turned into nice normal 4 year olds (if with a side of backchat)

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Mose

Every day I think of the thread last year "I have a three year old"....and think to myself "I have a three year old...in lockdown".

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Lallalla

Wait, was that my thread? I was just coming back to say I am fairly sure this time last year I posted a nearly identical post about one of my three year old twins who did the threenagers with a vengeance (the other was no walk in the park but not inthe same level)

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Dustyblue

I could've written your post OP. DS is 4 this week and is a nightmare. I'm in tears daily over his crap. I feel like I'm raising a spoilt brat but I can't seem to change anything.

 

I give in to him b/c I can't take his carry on, which obviously doesn't help.

 

No advice here, I'm terrible at this. Big hug though.

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Caribou

Thanks for everyone who chimed in. DH means well, I think, but is giving me the impression our son is destined to be a delinquent.

 

I keep repeating he's three. Just ride it out, but you know how it is, the doubt creeps in, what is he really is destined to be a delinquent?

 

I won't deny the 3yo in lockdown has been HARD, coupled with trying to homeschool DD8 on year 3 school work.

 

We had the nicest day in well, forever, no one was home but him and me, which was like I said, first time since the lockdown started, and no one yelled, no one got p*ssed. We were just happy and we played nicely. None of his sister butting in, none of DH walking into the room and he starts being silly, just none of it. We were just the two of us and it was nice. My mental batteries have been temporarily recharged!

 

But he's still a challenging one. It's only 1.5 more years and he's in Kinder. I keep repeating this. 1.5 more years!

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mandelbrot

Wait, was that my thread? I was just coming back to say I am fairly sure this time last year I posted a nearly identical post about one of my three year old twins who did the threenagers with a vengeance (the other was no walk in the park but not inthe same level)

 

I also had a 'I have a three year old' thread, and it was by far the longest and most long-lived thread I've ever posted here!

 

I can attest that now he's five, he's still stubborn but he made the most delightful four and now five year old, and all his friends' parents comment on how lovely he is to have around. I still find he saves his 'best' moments for me/DH but it's settled down so much.

 

I really don't get being 'hard' on kids. How is it supposed to work? They do what you want because they're scared of you? How does that work when they're 15 and bigger and stronger than you? The thing that gets kids to behave long term is the depth of their relationship with you - they want to do the right thing, because they know that it makes you happy and they want you to be happy because they love you. Sure, firm boundaries are very important, but they can be firm, loving, warm boundaries, not grumpy yelling boundaries.

 

There are a number of gentle parenting FB groups I'm part of, and while I'm not active at all, I play a little game: read the first paragraph and skim the rest to find out if my guess at the child's age is right. BY FAR most of the posts are about 3- 3.5 year olds. They are hard work.

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iwanttosleepin

I've done the boy 3 year old stage 3 times now.  3 year olds are hard word.  I had lovely 2 year olds.

My oldest became a lovely 4 year old.  He was a hideous 13 year old.  He's turned in a fairly reasonable almost 15 year old now.

Second took a bit longer, was a wild 4 -5 year old but by 6 was so lovely.  He's still lovely at 11.

My youngest is a full on, never stopping 6 year old who is currently obsessed with sounding out every single word.  And also is in a power struggle with the 11 year old.  Thats relentless.

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