Dealing with a shouty, cross, bossy 3yo

(25 Posts)
KittyandTeal Sat 20-Feb-16 14:43:49

My wonderful dd1 is 3.5yo. The threenager has hit full force.

I can literally do nothing right, my dh and I get shouted at, stamped foot, constant demands for things she knows she's no allowed. I usually stay calm, repeat the same line 'no because xyz'. She is very good at trying to give reasons she should be allowed whatever it is hence just keeping to one line.

After 3 days with her full on and being shouted and whinged at I lost my shit today (I am having a very stressful time atm) shouted at her and put her in her room till I calmed down. It was not my finest moment, especially shouting 'don't shout at me' at her 😳

I apologied for shouting and explained that mummy was cross because she doesn't like being shouted at. We have spoken 2 or 3 times a day recently about speaking nicely, not shouting or talking crossly but nothing seems to make a difference.

I feel like I'm floundering. How does everyone else deal with a shouty, cross preschooler?

(We've all had a proper shit year and her life if about to be turned upside down as we will, hopefully,be telling her next week that she will be a big sister)

GreenSand Sat 20-Feb-16 15:30:51

Instead of "no because" have you tried ignoring the request, and suggesting something else? So "Mummy, I want biscuits" "not now, shall we go play a game? Shopping basket or hungry hippos?"

KittyandTeal Sat 20-Feb-16 15:35:05

Yeah I've tried that, the breezy 'not now, let's go and do xyz' it ends in her screaming 'no but I waaaaaant a biscuit'.

I can easily control 30 4/5yos with varying needs and abilities but I don't seem to be able to deal with my dd1.

I know sometimes its tiredness and sometimes hunger but it's also just because.

KittyandTeal Sat 20-Feb-16 15:35:23

Sorry I didn't say thank you for the suggestion smile

Bounced Sat 20-Feb-16 15:47:12

Is her language good enough to understand 'if you shout, the answer is no. If you shout again the answer is no, and you have to go to your room until you can use your nice voice'? Because sometimes, ime, it takes being dumped in their room a few times to really get the message through that shouting never gets them what they want.

I can say to my now 4yo 'has shouting ever worked? Well, then, stop or go to your room' but it does take a bit of work to get to that stage. But if you're a YR teacher I'm sure your good at consistency and a stern voice grin

insancerre Sat 20-Feb-16 15:54:01

I feel your pain
I work with 3 year olds and while they are mostly well behaved with us we do get the odd one we have to deal with
The first rule is to be consistent and to mean no when you say no. That way she will learn that there no point in arguing as it won't make any difference. She is testing the boundaries to see if they are always the same.
The next rule is not to get in a debate as you will just go round in circles, try distraction or just ignoring
Which brings me to the last rule, never engage when she is shouting or stamping her foot. Just say sorry I don't respond to people who shout at me and walk away.
The most important thing to remember is she absolutely needs to go through this stage as she will learn so much about re!at ion ships and self control
Its also essential that you are able to feel that you can cope with a screaming, tantruming three year because in ten years time when she's thirteen you are going to need all those coping strategies and more.

KittyandTeal Sat 20-Feb-16 16:03:31

It sounds like I'm doing the right things. I never give in once I say no, I don't get drawn into a debate or argument and I am consistent.

I guess I'm wondering if I should be removing her to her room or something similar if she carries on shouting (with warnings obviously).

The shouting is not tantrumming, we get those too but I ignore them unless it's an 'I'm very tired and can't deal with anything atm' in which case she gets a cuddle.

She's in the process of dropping her afternoon nap, she can't manage without it yet but sometimes doesn't sleep and is tired and grumpy.

She does go through phases of pushing boundaries to check they're not changing. I guess this is the same, it's just the shouting puts me on edge (I have a weird traumatic history where I find shouting really hard anyway, I know I need to separate this but it's a physical reaction to shouting puts me on edge)

She's had a lovely nap this afternoon and is now playing nicely without shouting.

Maybe I just need to carry on and remind myself it'll end at some point. I don't know.

Thanks all, I'm feeling better for just asking for advice already.

BoyGirlBoy3 Sat 20-Feb-16 16:03:37

Steve Biddulph, has a book, the secret of happy children, its very good. I remember the soft no technique, the child requests something, you simply say no in a soft quiet voice, with no explanation.

It takes less energy from you, and doesn't give them points to argue back against.

Bounced Sat 20-Feb-16 16:07:55

The reason I sent mine to their rooms for shouting was for me and my ears! Or I would be silly in some way and get them giggling rather than shouting. Or whisper. But if it's nap dropping related maybe you need a plan for that, too?

Audio CDs? TV? Long bath when she gets overtired and shouty? Agee a shouting place (her room? Back garden?)?

KittyandTeal Sat 20-Feb-16 16:12:44

Boygirl that's a really good suggestion I'll give that a go.

Bounced you're right, I need a plan for naps. She's just so inconsistent with them atm, some days she needs a good 2 hours, some days it's just 1 and some days I put her to bed but she doesn't sleep then ends up overtired and very grumpy all afternoon (leading to an early night obs)

I was planning on introducing quiet time when she does drop her nap but I'm not sure she's ready for that as she's still actually tired when she doesn't sleep iyswim. Any advice on that as well?

HeyMicky Sat 20-Feb-16 16:18:25

DD1 is 3.5 and we've seen a real improvement when we greet shouting, demands, rudeness etc with, "I'm sorry, I can't hear when you speak like that. Try again"

I also try to avoid saying "no", just because I don't like to hear myself saying it all the time. So a response might be more like, "I understand that you'd like a biscuit. Biscuits are a treat. Would you like some fruit/to read a story (as appropriate)?" I avoid "but" and "instead" as well.

KittyandTeal Sat 20-Feb-16 16:23:00

Yes, I can't hear you when you talk like that. I use that at school, why I didn't think of using it at home!?

I usually offer her an alternative if it's something like 'I want chocolate' but when it's 'no you can't jump from the 6th stair up and yes you bloody well will hurt yourself however much you argue that you won't and that you can fly!' It's hard to find an alternative (apart from you can jump from the second step which is met with shouting of no)

Bounced Sat 20-Feb-16 16:31:11

I converted nap into quiet time in her room, lying in bed with toys / books / CDs. Both of mine went seamlessly from mostly sleeping but occasionally not, to never (for the 7yo) or rarely (for the 4yo, unless she's ill) sleeping. It had the bonus effect of encouraging them to do lots of independent reading, too grin

Bounced Sat 20-Feb-16 16:33:06

Oh, on the stairs thing, I find 'I'll give you a cuddle when you hurt yourself doing that' and walking away works on my kids. Not on all kids, though, some are less worried about getting hurt.

KittyandTeal Sat 20-Feb-16 16:38:23

I'll try that bounced.

Do you think audio books work well for a 3yo? She loves stories and books and will happily spend half an hour or so looking at books on her own

BoyGirlBoy3 Sat 20-Feb-16 17:05:18

Positive parenting is also a concept i found useful. So you say 'hold on tight', when they are climbing up the steps of a slide, for instance. Instead of saying be careful you don't fall.

So maybe 'jump from the 3rd step, so you land firmly on the floor'

I wish I was doing it now smile

KittyandTeal Sat 20-Feb-16 17:14:59

You're right. I used to be good at the positive parenting thing.

I think life and stress has taken over and I find myself saying lots of 'don't do that' rather than 'hold tight' etc. I also find myself slipping into saying 'no' automatically before actually thinking if I mean it.

I need to get out of the negativity.

Bounced Sat 20-Feb-16 17:21:27

Audio books worked well for mine from about 2yo - short stories to start off with (The Book People do some good ones with the relevant book eg Tabby McTat) working up to unabridged versions of the classic children's books for my 7yo.

My 4yo is enjoying Thomas stories, some abridged Roald Dahl and some Enid Blyton CDs at the moment.

BoyGirlBoy3 Sat 20-Feb-16 17:26:01

Life and stress do keep getting in the way, but if you keep taking time, to think how can I do things differently, your a caring parent, the best kind.

KittyandTeal Sat 20-Feb-16 19:42:09

Thanks all. I'm feeling much more positive now. I'm going to make a big effort to focus on choosing my battles, positive parenting and keeping calm myself (easier said than done sometimes)

I'm definitely going to look into a cheap CD player and some audio books then, even when she stops napping she can lie in bed and listen, just for some down time.

minipie Sat 20-Feb-16 20:14:30

Reading with interest, my 3.3yo DD sounds very similar. We are also in a stage of mostly napping but not always and it is tricky.

Bounced I love the idea that she always spends time in her room but up to her if she sleeps or not, thank you, will try that. Audio books are a good idea. Can I ask, how did it work practically when they were sometimes napping sometimes not - for example did you leave the light on or not? PJs or not?

FlumePlume Sat 20-Feb-16 20:51:34

minipie Initially I did the same as for naps (curtains closed and lights off) but said it was fine to listen to a CD or play quietly if she couldn't sleep. After a while she would ask for the lamp on or curtains open and I would say yes. If she's really tired she'll fall asleep anyway. Her room is dim but not pitch black, though, as she likes the door wide open and the landing light on, so enough light to play.

I'd recommend the £19.99 Argos CD player - still going strong and she learnt how to work it pretty fast. I did not want a kiddy one as they mostly have microphones and loud singing is not part of the plan grin

KittyandTeal Tue 23-Feb-16 08:49:28

Just to update everyone a little bit.

Naps are pretty much the same. However, I've been focusing much more on positive parenting, not saying 'no' but more a 'if you do that hold on/be careful' etc. I've also been saying 'I can't understand you when you shout/talk in a cross voice'.

It has all worked really well, she is much cheerier as are we. The shouting and stamping has reduced considerably and I feel luch calmer and in control.

I'd got into a real negative rut with her behaviour and just needed some reminders of how to be a bit more positive so thank you everyone for your suggestions, they've really helped.

I'm def doing quiet time too once naps are out smile

Bounced Tue 23-Feb-16 13:43:48

That's good to hear, OP.

On naps, I started off with PJs and curtains drawn and then agreed to staying in normal clothes / light on / curtains open when she asked. She often chooses PJs and curtains drawn even now, says its cosy grin

BoyGirlBoy3 Wed 24-Feb-16 17:24:37

That's lovely update op, me and my sister always encourage each other, we get tired and make mistakes, but i think if you keep trying to do the right thing, the bigger picture is better for it. smile

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