To be at the end of my tether with 3year old ds

(20 Posts)
RayanneGraff Tue 11-Dec-12 22:42:11

I have a three year old boy too. Useful thread!

I'm sure you know/have tried all this, but just in case...

I find picking my battles (but sticking to 'no' once I have said it), staying calm (not always easy I know), lots of positive attention and distraction to work best. Making sure I give him plenty of warning if we are going/leaving somewhere... The option A and B thing works a treat too - giving him a restricted choice about something he is not wanting to do. Gives him a sense of control I think, but only within my boundaries. Playful parenting stuff as pp said- racing to get tidied up etc. If I could sum it up in one word though I would say distraction. Unless he's done something naughty (rather than just being difficult/stubborn/whiney) I try my best to distract distract distract! Rather than getting into a battle with him. But of course it doesn't always work...

MixedClassBaby Tue 11-Dec-12 22:36:43

No advice but just to reassure you that it's really fucking hard sometimes and you're not alone.

DewDr0p Tue 11-Dec-12 22:19:10

Some great advice already. I do find sometimes it's easy to get into a negative rut when they are behaving badly and it really helps to stop, take stock and regroup.

What does your mum do with him? Does she take him out much? I find my 3 really need to get out and let off steam.

Totally agree with pp who said look for triggers patterns etc - with ds2 I had a real lightbulb moment when I realised that hunger was a big trigger. Simple things like giving him a quick drink of milk before getting dressed in the morning made a huge difference.

Make things fun - turn chores into a game, make requests positive, try and ignore as much bad behaviour as you can and pile on the praise when he's good. Actually just follow Jamie's advice as I am basically repeating it but not wording it as well. grin

Oh and we had a family "kind and helpful behaviour" chart once which worked a treat - everyone earned stickers on the chart for being kind and helpful, even grownups - with a family treat at the end.

Loie159 Tue 11-Dec-12 22:09:59

Not sure why my a keeps turning into s! Bloody phone

Loie159 Tue 11-Dec-12 22:09:14

Tbh my DD is 3.75 and has only just come out of this phase. It is a phase snd will pass I promise!! Both DD and DS get food rage and DD gets very shouty and hits when she is tired. Health snacks little snd often, praise the good snd don't get involved in battling over bad behaviour. Otherwise it's just another form of attention. I found that with DS when he acted up , I would say no and then literally take DD and walk its the room and ignore, it worked a million times better than naughty step

Rudolphstolemycarrots Tue 11-Dec-12 21:40:44

He can possibly sense that you don't really like him at the moment? Can you start highlighting what you like about him and give him lots of positive cuddles and attention? Go over the top a bit. Make life fun. Also use time out in a boring room rather then on step.

My 1st was keen to please but my number 2 is less level headed, brighter, more emotional and independent. He was such hard work aged 2 but now aged 4 he just amazes me with his thoughtfulness about the world and his consideration for others. He also really responds well to structure/routine at home and school. He is still tricky when exhausted but the positives far out weight the negatives.

JamieandtheMagiTorch Tue 11-Dec-12 21:17:57

It gets ..... different grin

Actually, although toddlers are very cute, and very funny, and they are learning so much, I found that bit really hard, physically and emotionally. The lder mine I have got, the more I've enjoyed it. Talk to me again when the 12 year old gets to 14

milkymocha Tue 11-Dec-12 21:16:05

Thank you, i will remember that smile
He is a very intelligent child, to the point i want to stick cotton wool in his mouth to stop him arguing with me grin (i wont!)

It gets easier right? please say yes!

JamieandtheMagiTorch Tue 11-Dec-12 21:13:36

try and ignore backchat. Disengage. You don't need to win - you are the adult

<hahaha tries to remember this in relation to smartarse 10 year old>

milkymocha Tue 11-Dec-12 21:08:33

That was a very helpful post Jamie ! My son is 2.8 and is terrible for answering back. Back-chatting is driving me mad!

JamieandtheMagiTorch Tue 11-Dec-12 21:02:35

3 is very hard. An entirely normal, but trying butting against parents - exercising a bit of verbal control - halfway between baby and child. Bit like a teenager really, IMO.

I think you are probably very right that he is bored. Some of it will just pass but I'd say that if what you are doing isn't working, the only one who can adapt is you (he can't). So I'd say, try:

- telling him what to do, not what not to do (eg "Up the steps, down the slide" NOT "Don't go up the slide")
- Making instructions into songs or games eg one I've used for a child that runs off, is to chant "we're walking, we're walking, etc STOP", repeat ad nauseum. IME songs work really well and they enable you to expend a bit of nervous energy so you don't get stressed
- lower your voice and look him in the eye
- leave the room if you are getting angry with him
- make things into a competition - DS2 would race me anywhere, and if I said "I bet you can't .." it was a red rag to a bull
- A book I found useful when mine were 3 was "Playful Parenting". It's not great on coping with 2 DCs (the author only has one child), But it's good for thinking around how to avoid confrontations about simple things like putting their coats on.
- Stickers on the coat for things like walking nicely - DS2 used to play up on the way to picking DS1 up from school, and he'd get a sticker of he was good. I found charts and all that rather irksome, but stickers on the coat worked.
- DS2 was awful when hungry - a different child really. It took me a while to pinpoint this.

As you say, it's hard when what worked with DS1 doesn't work with DS2.

ZenNudist Tue 11-Dec-12 20:54:56

Sympathy. I could have written some of your post about my 2y3mo ds. I'm sick of the shouting NO all the time and refusing to do what he's told . I'm luckier than you, I have him in nursery 4 days a week and work. On my days off I get out and about with him a lot and give him as much attention as I can but being honest washing and housework still have to be done and I refuse to finish a hard days work/childcare by doing housework! I try and talk to him in a calm voice, get down to his level of plain ignore tantrums, but it slowly shreds your nerves. There should be a mn support group for mum's driven demented by boisterous stroppy toddlers.

butterflyexperience Tue 11-Dec-12 20:52:43

Tis the age I tell ya!
I have a 2.5 dd2 and she's a little Sid at the min

Independent, stubborn, hits dd1 and is a law unto herself

Ignore the little things and be persistent with the bigger things

Also is your ds2 getting enough fresh air and run around time? He may have bottled up energy?

Nornironmum Tue 11-Dec-12 20:45:42

Thanks everyone. I keep repeating this too shall pass. It's all part of parenting I suppose. I used to be so smug when ds1 was that age I thought I had all the answers. Maybe this is my payback lol

tulipgrower Tue 11-Dec-12 20:28:06

A friend has a 2.4yr old that has similar behavioural issues. She has found ensuring that he's out and about for at least 1h a day, to run off his excess energy has helped. If he doesn't get out he is very destructive and terrorizes his older sister.

She's hoping it's just a phase, as she's had to change her whole afternoon/evening around to incorporate this -> has to do all the housework once the DC are in bed, dinners are prepared the night before, ... It does have an up side -> she's significantly fitter now.

DonkeysInTheStableAtMidnight Tue 11-Dec-12 18:28:08

It does sound like he's occupied on Thursdays at the crèche, not saying your mum doesn't know how to handle him (having creche sized space, helpers dancing attendance and 101 toys help, lol) but he might like the company of the other children too. Tbh if crèche say he's an angel that's a compliment to you, (clutching straws) and he'll be fine at pre-school, just 9 months to go...And your DC3 could be more like DC1, who knows!

Must be another MNer along with ideas, beyond magicking money for more crèche sessions smile.

CailinDana Tue 11-Dec-12 18:21:42

I think part of the problem is probably that you're judging him against DS1, which is totally understandable, but won't help. You have to remember that DS2 is his own person and do things at his own pace. At the moment he is not handling social situations well so you have to scale it all back to the bare minimum and build up very slowly towards what he can handle. That means a lot of planning and pre-empting which is hard work but which will help in the long run. Think of it this way - if you gave a child a book that they clearly couldn't read, you wouldn't keep giving them the same book and expect them to suddenly get it would you? You'd go back to basics, see what they are capable of and work from there.

Spend a week or so working out the hotspots across the day - when do things get really bad, and what are his triggers? The aim then is to try to rearrange the day as best you can to take these triggers into account and defuse them before they become a problem.

Does that sound like it might help?

Nornironmum Tue 11-Dec-12 17:12:19

Thanks donkey, he really starts from he wakes up, I think he is bored he is in crèche a full day on Thursdays and they say he is an angel. I can't afford any more days in crèche and in Northern Ireland they don't start pre school until the year before primary which is September. I think he needs something. I work school hours so pick up ds1 at 2 them pick up ds2 at mums get home after 3, do homework tidy up sort washing and dinner so it leaves little time for proper play with him and I'm thinking he is bored.
I'm finding it so hard at the minute I would love another dc but this gas really put me off, it's just a constant battle

DonkeysInTheStableAtMidnight Tue 11-Dec-12 16:33:21

Bumping for you.

Will just say, I agree, if sitting on the naughty step has lost its power, (ie he cuts short time there and isn't put back by adult in charge and left, or it's just water off a duck's back), time for a rethink.

I see you've tried the 'toy gets time out' method and stickers don't work.

Do you give praise for good behaviour not just tellings off for naughty behaviour? Positive reinforcement?

Activity and fresh air can be useful distractions. Does he act up from the moment he gets up or does it build up over the day?

I'm sure others will have suggestions your DS isn't the only one, so often siblings are like chalk and cheese.

Nornironmum Tue 11-Dec-12 15:51:25

I know I should be posting somewhere else but am posting here for traffic.
Ds2 was 3 last week and I'm really having a terrible time with him. Also have ds1 almost 6. Ds2 is always hitting him, breaking stuff throwing horrible tantrums, shouting NO all the time and he just will not listen.
Dh and I both work, me part time, my mum takes ds2 and she just cannot cope with him. He does not start nursery to September.
He is extremely defiant. Spends so much time on the naughty step, he does not seem to mind it at all. If I say don't touch the tree he will look at my right in the eye and touch it. Ds 1 was not like this at all so not sure what to do here. I am very consistent have tried time out naughty step, stickers, taking toys away. Nothing seems to work if any thing his behavior had got worse. I love him so much but I'm finding it so difficult to like him right now and I feel awful for saying that. Just not sure what I can do, it's really getting me down. Thanks in advance for any advice.

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