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to hope this is normal toddler behaviour that will pass

(23 Posts)
mikado1 Fri 17-Jul-15 22:05:06

Our 3yo ds is usually an easy and happy little biy and I noticed some definite maturing after his 3rd birthday. Cue the last two weeks of really trying behaviour-(don't get me wrong we've had plenty of the usual toddler irrational behaviour before but it hasn't been a bother)-I hhave noticed that he is as good as gold once kept preoccupied-out on trips, watching telly, reading together etc. but if he gets bored or is expected to wait around and not have attention paid to him, he gets really stroppy. We have never given in to tantrums which he knows so he is flinging things/generally being destructive and therefore unignorable. I of course have to leave what I am doing to stop the behaviour and tell him off. He gets so much of our time so he's not in need of more attention more that he seems to think he should have it 100% of time. I am due no.2 in two weeks and find myself dreading how he is going to be. Aibu to hope it's reasonably normal and will pass? (Please say no!!!!)

Birnamwood Fri 17-Jul-15 22:53:46

Yes it's normal and will pass!

I has ds2 when ds1 was three and it is quite a difficult time for them before the baby is born - everyone is talking/getting excited about the baby, he's thinking 'what about me?!?' And doing everything he can to keep your attention. Be consistent, try and ignore (harder said than done!) the bad behaviour and reward the good. I also found asking him what he thinks will happen when baby arrives ie not telling him what will happen and how he feels about that really helped.

I talked to him about how he is now a big brother and that is a very important job and he has lots to teach the new baby - how to behave, how to talk, how to walk etc. he would get very serious and start adding in things that he could teach the baby too. I also said that I will need a lot of help when the baby is here and he is the only one grown up enough to help (fetching wipes/nappies etc). He was actually better behaved after ds1 was born and he took (and still does take) great pride in his 'work' smile

It'll pass op, I promise, just keep reassuring him and help him feel secure in what is quite a topsy turvy time for everyone. Good luck!

youareallbonkers Fri 17-Jul-15 22:57:13

No doubt someone will be along soon telling you to get him tested for autism or some other nonsense. Is there anyone on here whose children are not "on the spectrum" but it's normal behaviour, don't worry

LokiBear Fri 17-Jul-15 22:59:04

Normal. So normal. I always said that the terrible twos were a myth made up by some bitch who didn't want you to see three coming. It will pass. Most of my time spent with DD aged 3 has been delightful x

mikado1 Fri 17-Jul-15 22:59:56

Oh thanks so much for that, really appreciated. He is so great usually but this is hard going and as I say impossible to ignore things being flung etc. Great idea re asking him what he thinks will happen. He is very tuned and it is all about baby I suppose-moses basket in situ, me taking rests, lots of chat about it. Thanks again smileflowers

mikado1 Fri 17-Jul-15 23:02:13

Anything else I can do/not do until it passes appreciated. Sooo great to know it's normal. Have been feeling I have given him too much time/attention and it's all my own doing.

DoJo Fri 17-Jul-15 23:03:25

I agree that it will pass - all the toddlers I know have had a period of about 6-8 weeks shortly after their third birthday when they have really tested their abilities to get their parents to cave on any given matter! Tantrums, deliberately (and apparently randomly) doing things that they know are not allowed and refusing to apologise, refusing to be bribed, threatened or cajoled into doing anything and reserving seemingly endless supplies of energy for buggering about with things they have been asked not to touch and feigning deafness unless they hear a crisp packet opening. My son's lasted a couple of months, but he seems to have realised that no good came of it and is able to manage his emotions a bit more effectively now (for the most part - he still has his moments, as do they all!). So try not to worry, and hopefully this will pass soon enough. Good luck with number 2...

Birnamwood Fri 17-Jul-15 23:04:20

Oh, forgot to mention too, when ds1 was having one his meltdowns and I knew it wasn't pure naughty behaviour, I would just pick him up in a big bear hug because I finally worked out that that was what he wanted but with his uncontrollable emotions he didn't know he wanted one iyswim.

DisappointedOne Fri 17-Jul-15 23:06:06

Have been feeling I have given him too much time/attention and it's all my own doing.

That's a seriously slippery slope. Poor wee boy. sad

DisappointedOne Fri 17-Jul-15 23:07:42

I find this pretty insightful. if you think 3 is hard just wait for 3.5 with a new baby as well

Three-Year Old Behavior Challenges

What is life like with a three-year-old? There is something quite magical about the three-year-old year, and often something quite difficult. I have had three mothers contact me recently about life with a three-year-old – its ups and its downs..
This is how the Gesell Institute Book “Your Three-Year-Old” characterizes some of the qualities of a three and three and a half year old”

Three Years:

Conforming, decreased physical aggressiveness, happy most of the time, friendly, pleasing
Loves new words
Likes to make a choice within realm of experience
Sure of himself
Tries to meet and understand social demands
Gets along well with mother
Helpful around house
Like to relive babyhood
Beginning of interest in babies, wants family to have one
If sibling is on the way, most really do not understand baby growing inside mother
Expresses affection readily
Desires to look at and touch adults, especially mother’s breasts
Father can take over in many situations, although Mother still favored parent
Child clings less at bedtime and may go to sleep better for father
Usually enthusiastic about other children but still immature in their social reactions
Children may be more comfortable with adults other than other children – they approach adults with requests for help or information
From page 55, “ Much of a child’s conversation with any adult is still self-initiated. He may respond to what grown-ups say to him, or sometimes, he may not.”
Temper tantrums decline

Three and a Half Years:

Turbulent, troubled period of disequilibrium, the simples event or occasion can elicit total rebellion
Strong and secure gross motor abilities may turn more into stumbling, falling, at this age
New- found verbal ability “I’ll cut you in pieces!” and lots of whining
Loves silly rhymes and rhyming words, sentence length is increasing, acquiring a large vocabulary
May refuse to do things a lot, or howl and scream, or say a lot of “I can’t” I won’t” kinds of things
Three and a half to four may be the height for the most “WHY?” “WHERE?” “WHAT?” kinds of questions
Demanding, bossy, turbulent, troubled but mainly due to emotional insecurity
Mother-child relationship difficult but may also cling to mother
May refuse to take part in daily routine – may do better with almost anyone than Mother
Inwardized, insecure, anxious
Determined and self willed; emotional extremes predominate
Emotional and physical insecurity
Anxious; lots of tensional outlets such as nose-picking, nail-biting, boys may be pulling almost constantly at their penises, etc; can see stuttering and tremors of muscles at times, visual strain
May not eat well, may still have problems with bed-wetting, may wake up in the middle of the night and walk around
Afraid of almost anything and everything
Beginning of prolonged play with dolls, house building, tricycle riding
Girls may propose to Daddy at this age
If your child tells you stories, they may have violent elements in them (page 102)


Wonder at things!
Play a lot
Invent stories to tell
Talk a lot and ask a lot of questions
Love their mommies and daddies and pets!
Get all those new words and new skills!


Frequent changing of mind
Wanting to play games constantly with mother and wanting her attention all the time
The difficulty that comes with dressing, eating, going to bed, taking a nap
The asking of “Why?” over and over and over

DoJo Fri 17-Jul-15 23:09:25

If you want to tackle the bad behaviour (ignoring it is always best if possible) but I think the asking what will happen thing can work there too. When my son does something abominable, I sometimes say 'What do you think I'm going to say about that?' or 'Do you think that was a good idea?' and he will usually tell me what he has done wrong or apologise relatively happily. If I tell him off, he gets stroppy and defensive, but if he is the one who describes his bad behaviour then he is a lot happier to accept responsibility for it, and we can move on much quicker.

My second is due towards the end of the year, and one of the things my son is most excited about is being in charge of teaching him how to smile! I've told him it's the most important job so I'm hoping he will take that on board and avoid doing things that will make his little brother cry. Optimism rules!

mikado1 Sat 18-Jul-15 07:29:21

Great advice dojo re not overreacting, thank you.

Thanks disappointedone, find that gesell institute stuff great. I don't understand you're slippery slope comment? ?

mikado1 Sat 18-Jul-15 07:30:03


mikado1 Sat 18-Jul-15 07:34:44

I think he might be ahead of himself-a lot of that 3.5 is spot on! Is that info online? I have seen a much briefer version previously.

rosierainbows Sat 18-Jul-15 07:40:13

It is because people with autistic children can't really go to many places. If I had nt children I wouldn't be on mn as would be out having a life!

CigarsofthePharoahs Sat 18-Jul-15 07:51:01

I had a lovely baby, then a lovely toddler - I would wonder why people went on about the Terrible Twos!
Then he became a threenager and everything disappointedone has written came to pass. Oh boy...
He's four and a half now, will be at school soon. I confess I have not always handled him well. I have got too cross at times, I have come down too hard.
But when I can keep my cool it's better. Oddly enough, I can manage it through the tantrums and fighting and really bad stuff, but when the whining starts.... There's something about that sound that seems to grate right through my patience!

CigarsofthePharoahs Sat 18-Jul-15 07:54:02

Sorry, forgot to add - I had no 2 when he was 3 1/2 and he was well aware that life was going to change and I think he reacted to that. When his brother actually arrived he was much better. I think he found the idea of a baby quite scary, but liked the reality!

lanbro Sat 18-Jul-15 07:56:00

We are dealing with this at the moment but the main problem is our youngest 2 in September is now copying our eldest, 3.4. I am finding it really difficult because they both behave worse for me than for anyone else! Both awake before 6 but were both sleeping til after 7 until very recently so I'm extra tired on top of the draining behaviour every day!

I try to ignore but it is so hard being lovely and patient all the time, this morning I just feel like crying. They're both off to grandma's overnight tonight so I know I'm lucky in that respect, no doubt they'll be angels!

mikado1 Sat 18-Jul-15 19:08:25

Oh enjoy it lanbro! Cigarsofthepharaohs, good to be able to look back on it now. I am overall extremely patient but I was just getting worried myself that the behaviour was pretty atrocious, even for just a small part of day when it wasn't all about him. We had a great day today-he must have been reading this threadgrin

MiaowTheCat Sat 18-Jul-15 22:39:30

Three is much worse than two in at least dd1s case. Threenager fits her to a tee- but when she hasn't got one on her she is also an utter delight and bloody hilarious with it.

DisappointedOne Sat 18-Jul-15 22:56:13

mikado I don't think there is such a thing as "too much time/attention" for a young child. I think it's unhelpful (to you and the child) to think in that way.

mikado1 Sun 19-Jul-15 07:05:58

Thank you disappointedone, that's exactly how I feel myself but you can see I'm sure why I started to doubt it, when I couldn't look away/talk to someone else for a second without something going wrong! ! Feel much happier now having read replies smile

cleanmyhouse Sun 19-Jul-15 09:06:18

My absolutely adorable 2 year old turned into a horror at 3. So normal.

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