DD's behaviour is effecting our friendships and I'm devastated.

(27 Posts)
LeoTheLateBloomer Thu 19-Sep-13 23:44:13

A friend phoned me this evening to say she thought we should keep DD and her DS apart for a while. They're both 3.5 and it's basically down to DD and her anger sad

She gets cross and shouts, making it very clear who she's angry with. Much of the time I can see a reason for her anger, whether it's three year old 'logic' or some other reason. But it's often really hard to distract her or reason with her.

It's breaking my heart just typing this. It may not be very coherent because I'm exhausted but can't sleep for thinking about all this.

What can I do to help her? She's such an amazing little thing and so happy so much of the time. It's making me so sad sad

Bumpstarter Thu 19-Sep-13 23:52:08

Oh dear that sound like a tough moment.

She will get easier to reason with as she gets older, but it is a skill you both have to practise.

Does she go to any nursery or toddler group? What is her behaviour like there?

How do you react when she gets cross and shouts?

When is she happy, and what kind of situations provoke her?

LeoTheLateBloomer Fri 20-Sep-13 00:00:31

She goes to pre-school two days a week and has done since January. I've never been told of any problems there; in fact they're always saying what a happy thing she is.

When it happens I move her away and talk to her. Depending on where we are I'll give her the option of having some time on her own to calm down. This isn't enforced, it's just if she feels she needs space.

We talk about it a lot if we're on our way somewhere to play with others. I've given her ideas of what she could do if she's feeling cross like coming to tell me or moving away from the person she's feeling cross with. But it's like she can't help herself, she just has to let it out.

The triggers vary. Often it's to do with sharing or it might be in response to another child's actions.

TwoStepsBeyond Fri 20-Sep-13 00:05:41

My DD is nearly 7 and she still struggles with sharing when it's certain friends, others she's better with. If this friend's child is particularly tricky then perhaps you can meet up with her kid-free and let your DD spend time with people she prefers.

Don't take it to heart, it was a bit insensitive of your friend to point it out, I would have been more subtle and just tried to keep play dates short and busy if it were me, but probably best that she was honest and didn't just avoid you.

We all parent differently and it can be hard to watch someone else dealing with their DCs in a way that you don't feel is right, maybe she just feels is will be less stressful for you all to spend less time together. Your dd will grow and learn, but there are bound to be bumps along the way. She's only little yet.

Rockinhippy Fri 20-Sep-13 00:18:24

If your DD is fine at Nursery, is it only your friends DS she has a problem with ?

Especially as you mention that you can often see a reason for her outburst, at this age they are just learning about feelings & this does have me wondering if perhaps your friend is actually being a bit too precious expecting too much from a DD so young & perhaps it's actually her DS that's at fault & more so your friend for how she deals with her DS ??

Just a thought

alreadytaken Fri 20-Sep-13 00:23:29

if there are no sanctions when your daughter misbehaves then she may never learn to behave properly, unless other people teach her for you. Instead of offering her time out enforce it or remove her from the situation. If you make it clear that shouting has unpleasant consequences she will learn not to shout. If you continue to condone her behaviour then she'll only learn when she has no friends.

Greensleeves Fri 20-Sep-13 00:36:10

blimey alreadytaken, what consequences do you want for a three year old? I don't think OP is doing anything wrong necessarily, just a little girl who is developing her personality and struggling to manage her feelings. Not uncommon, not something to be worrying about and certainly not indicative of persistent bad behaviour in the future hmm

I think the friend is being precious. Kids shout. You are teaching her to use better strategies - it takes time, she's three. She's not hurting anyone. Just keep going, be consistent and she'll learn.

LeoTheLateBloomer Fri 20-Sep-13 00:41:47

alreadytaken I was a bit brief and vague about how I deal with her. I don't condone it in any way or let her get away with how she behaves.

Out of the two mothers I'm without a doubt the tougher one. My friend is incredibly gentle with her DS and I admit that I find this very difficult.

Rockin when we were on the phone earlier I was waiting for her to acknowledge that DD isn't always the cause of a problem (she often is, but definitely not always) but she didn't. She wasn't unkind about her but she clearly wasn't going to put any responsibility on her DS.

Rockinhippy Fri 20-Sep-13 14:33:10

In which case Leo even though I'm sure it stings right now, but your friend does sound like she is in for a shock as your DD sounds to be a perfectly normal 3 yr old, one which you are handling pretty well by the sounds if it - if you weren't, she would have problems elsewhere, especially nursery too -she on the other hand is being ridiculous.

IMHO your overly precious, unrealistic " friend" has actually done you a favour, it will be very frustrating & undermining for your own DDs confidence to be constantly painted as the "naughty DC" when out with this woman & her DS

So take a deep breathe, smile sweetly in the knowledge that she is being very silly - & move on to better friends for you & DD wink

Goldmandra Fri 20-Sep-13 16:30:03

What Rockinhippy said.

alreadytaken Fri 20-Sep-13 16:51:06

not its not uncommon - and if you watch any of the programmes about problem children (supernanny or equivalent) you can see how it should be dealt with and the consequences of being too lax now. 3.5 is not a baby, she's old enough to start learning that if she doesn't control her behaviour she has time out (3 minutes, one for each year of age) or is taken home. The OP isn't enforcing time out and it doesn't make any difference that the other child may need it too.

Rockinhippy Fri 20-Sep-13 16:58:14

^ The OP isn't enforcing time out and it doesn't make any difference that the other child may need it too^

I think we are reading a different thread already

I don't see that the OP has written that is her typical response anywhere confused - she does however say that her DDs behaviour is fine in nursery & that I am without doubt the tougher one

Which suggest the opposite IMHO

Bumpstarter Fri 20-Sep-13 17:18:41

I am in the 'precious friend' camp.

Hitting another child or snatching or aggressive behaviour in a 3 year old could be disciplined using timeout. Expressing feelings and Disciplining a child to learn controlling feelings is different. It is important not to stifle expression of feelings or you could end up with a very ill child a few years down the line.

Perhaps your friend is scared of expressing her own feelings, and seeing children free to do so.

Or perhaps when you say you are tougher, you mean that you get cross and shout a lot too.

(disclaimer I also get cross and shout quite a lot so I am in no way criticising here)

Only you can decide which one of those, if any, rings truer.

I'm so glad to hear your dd is happy in nursery. If she had major anger management problems, I doubt she would be.

Goldmandra Fri 20-Sep-13 18:03:24

Time out shouldn't be used as a punishment. It should be used as an opportunity to take a moment out of the situation, calm down and regain perspective. It is a positive strategy which the child will hopefully eventually learn to use independently not a sanction.

The OP's DD gets angry with other children, as do they all, and she shouts in response. The OP intervenes, removes her child, has a calm conversation, explaining the impact of her behaviour on the other child and offering her an additional strategy to calm down.

She also talks through with her DD how she could manage her feelings without shouting beforehand.

This is a learning process and the OP is providing her DD with all the strategies she will need to learn to manage her own anger without shouting.

I have worked in childcare for many years, studied child development at degree level and been trained in behaviour management. I wouldn't recommend using many of Supernanny's strategies in this situation or for any other everyday parenting situations.

If the other child needs time out too it is down to their parent to offer that.

Greensleeves Fri 20-Sep-13 21:05:36

Oh, I see where I have been going wrong - clearly I don't watch enough shit telly hmm

OP is doing the right things, she doesn' t have a 'problem child' and she doesn't need to watch Supernanny. Children get cross and shout. Punishing won't help. Patience, guidance and modelling appropriate behaviour will.

Greensleeves Fri 20-Sep-13 21:08:31

I'm an early years teacher btw, not that that makes me an epert but not totally clueless either. Most professionals I know - and indeed anyone who knows one end of a small child from the other - take a pretty dim view of Supernanny et al.

My ds is quite angry - he actually gets it from me on reflection blush so I'm quite hard on him, I do get cross etc and he copies.

We've been working on two things 1) me being less shouty and 2) telling him how to react immediately after the event. This is when "time out" works. I try not to do time out in anger, but as a chance to calm down and reflect on what ds should/shouldn't do.

gastrognome Sat 21-Sep-13 06:58:47

My DD used to be like this (she is 5 now). We used to go and play with a little boy of the same age (who has since moved away) who was very gentle and placid and would just stand there as my DD stropped around. His mum and I actually had fairly similar parenting styles, but the two kids just have different personalities.

Anyway his mum never made any kind of negative comment about my DD and when I apologised for her getting cross she would just say its normal for little ones to need to express themselves in their own way.

So it sounds like your friend is being rather over sensitive and possibly has unrealistic expectations about toddler friendships.

Dilidali Sat 21-Sep-13 07:27:56

I had to do this for a while, I didn't say anything, we 'ignored' the children, but when it became too much for my DD I almost stopped the visits.
However, we continued to be best friends and out view was:this too shall pass. We saw each other without the children. Big gatherings we would bring the kids, of course, and told them to get on with it (3-4-5 times a year) and any taleteller would be admonished harshly: you either get on with it or you're going home!
They soon had to find a new dynamic, it was obvious we're not interested (we were, very, just not telling them) and eventually they managed to stop winding eachother up.
We chose to lead by example, seeing us adults getting on just fine, helping each other out and having chats and hugs and fun, they soon copied us. To the point where few years later they are extremely protective towards each other and know full well what annoys the other and not do it.

ICameOnTheJitney Sat 21-Sep-13 19:13:44

I agree that your friend sounds very sensitive and she;ll need to toughen up! Don't worry...you sound like you deal with DD well and she will be fine! Once she begins school she will make loads more friends.

Kiwiinkits Mon 23-Sep-13 06:58:45

Can I add a reflection on what you said?
You said *"When it happens I move her away and talk to her. Depending on where we are I'll give her the option of having some time on her own to calm down. This isn't enforced, it's just if she feels she needs space.

We talk about it a lot if we're on our way somewhere to play with others. I've given her ideas of what she could do if she's feeling cross like coming to tell me or moving away from the person she's feeling cross with. But it's like she can't help herself, she just has to let it out.*"

I think you could possibly be using 'talk' too much for a 3 year old. I read in a helpful parenting book (can't remember which one) that kids hear the first 4-5 words that you say to them and then the rest is blah blah blah blah. So while you feel like you're giving amazing and detailed life skills to them, they're not really hearing any of it. Your response to behaviour therefore needs to be short, practical and immediately after the behaviour (not before it, not a long time after it).

Another tip is to give them helpful and constructive words to deal with their frustration. So, for example, your DD gets angry and shouts and screams when another kid takes her toy. You walk over and say 5 words, maximum. "DD, we don't scream." Stop. Wait. Then give her the action you expect of her "You can say, "I'm still using that toy, Billy".

Timeouts etc are useless if you're not teaching them positive ways of dealing with their emotions. Always tell them what you expect of them.

Kiwiinkits Mon 23-Sep-13 07:02:07

BTW I wouldn't take much stock of what the nursery says, particularly if they're relying on your fees. There's lots of kids at my DD's nursery that I think "jeez, you're a little shit and you could do with some decent boundaries" and I'm 100% sure that that sort of honest feedback never gets fed back to the parents. They will always sugar coat it.

SoupDragon Mon 23-Sep-13 07:05:04

Or perhaps when you say you are tougher, you mean that you get cross and shout a lot too.

I wondered this too.

And I say this as a cross and shouty mother.

Editededition Mon 23-Sep-13 07:12:49

I would add in a star chart, too.
On the way to the play date, remind her that if she doesn't shout or 'strop' then she can have a star when she gets home.....and obviously the negotiated treat after a week of collecting stars.

The 'carrot' matters more than the 'stick' grin

Also, wanted to agree with the person who mentioned reviewing your own responses. If you are a shouter, then children will copy that behaviour.

SatinSandals Mon 23-Sep-13 07:18:52

Maybe the two children simply don't get on, sadly just because you get on with the mother doesn't mean the children like each other.
I have a very good friend of more than 20 years standing. We have sons only a month apart in age but they simply didn't get on. We gave up meeting in each other's houses and tried neutral territory like the park, but eventually we just saw each other without the children.
I agree with kiwiinkits that you are probably talking too much and she is more likely to take it in if you keep it short and immediate.

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