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To not have a bloody clue...

(18 Posts)
DarylDixonsJockstrap Sun 14-May-17 20:02:48

...what to do with my DS (3 and a half)!!! For the past month or so he has been a flipping nightmare behaviour wise and I'm at a loss. We've tried talking to him, time outs, restricting privileges, removal of toys, no TV and nothing seems to work. He's grouchy, rude, disrespectful, won't do as he's asked EVER and constantly does everything he knows he's not allowed to do and throws the most god almighty tantrums when told/made to stop. On the flip side of this, he switches to tearful and clingy within a blink of an eye. He only wants me all the time, DH feels useless as he can't offer me any assistance with him some days. He even told DH he didn't love him the other day which broke both our hearts.

I expected this sort of behaviour from a teenager...not a 3 year old!


Writerwannabe83 Sun 14-May-17 20:41:44

I have a 3yr 2month old son and over the last few months he's been REALLY hard work. He exasperates me everyday! Deliberately disobedient, doing things he KNOWS he shouldn't be and then really acting up when he's asked to do something. He has stubborn strips too where he throws things or hits things if he's told to do something he doesn't want to do.

He's also very, very clingy to me and can be quite dismissive of his dad at times - it's draining!!!!

He also loves turning on the waterworks at the flick of a switch if he doesn't get his own way. He goes from shouting and ranting at me because he doesn't want to do x,y or z and then bursts into tears and tells he me he "needs a cuddle" when I lose my temper.

I don't know what the answer is. I try to focus on the 75% of him that is wonderful and pray the other 25% of him is just a phase grin

DarylDixonsJockstrap Sun 14-May-17 23:46:42

Thank you. It's nice to hear from someone in the same position. Just at my wits end with it all at the moment!

Moanyoldcow Sun 14-May-17 23:49:51

I recommend the Hand in Hand parenting website. They have some excellent strategies for dealing with this type of issue.

I've been doing 'time-in' with my 4 year old and it's made a difference very quickly.

Good luck - I know how hard it all can be.

chastenedButStillSmiling Sun 14-May-17 23:57:48

OK, so the "stick" isn't working.

Try the "carrot".

Also offer a clear choice. (eg... you can carry on doing X, in which case you'll receive Y consequence, or you can stop doing X and we'll play a lovely game together instead)

The behaviour we comment on is the behaviour we're more likely to get, so STOP talking to your child about what you don't like and comment like crazy when there's something that you do. Give lots of praise.

Try distractions.

If you want to offer specific examples, I'll suggest specific responses. But good luck in any case.

ExplodedCloud Sun 14-May-17 23:58:51

We had an "I don't love you" phase. The only way to deal with that is a flat "Oh. I still love you". They've realised love is a thing and they're testing it.
Ds drove me to tears at 3. I sat on the floor and cried one day blush. We had to be firm and consistent, time ours, losing privileges etc for a very long time. It felt like we were getting nowhere until one day we realised he hadn't had a time out for a couple of months.
He's 6 now and he's actually pretty well behaved!

Harriedharriet Mon 15-May-17 00:14:44

I believe they get completely overwhelmed at this age. The emotions inside them are very strong and imagine for a minute how scary it would be to be engulfed by very powerful feelings and have no control. Keep that in mind. "It is frustrating isn't it?" and 100 variations of that phrase will help a lot. It puts you both on the same team. I have had three three year olds and remember very well the difficulties. It is a
vital stage in their young lives and it may help to remember that they have very little control. I really do not believe they manipulate. Put your science/anthropologist hat on to give you a little emotional distance from the turbulence.
Most important of all is the amazing Mumsnet truism: this too will pass.
Good luck.

Jedimum1 Mon 15-May-17 00:22:17

My DD is 4 and a half. We went through that too. It's when all of a sudden they realise that different people have different rules, that what you do on a week day might be different than what you do at the weekend, that what Mummy says might be different than what somebody else says... It's retesting the boundaries all over again and having problems to deal with emotions. Mine would be suddenly sad, feeling guilty, angry, defiant, loving, etc. Nightmare phase!

Make sure you are very strict with your rules: follow through everything you say. If you don't plan to follow through, don't make it a rule. Start like you plan to continue. Give lots of praise for good behaviour, but don't give too much attention to bad behaviour: e.g. just follow through with consequence in a calm way and act as if "that's that", no more engagement, as to not encourage the bad behaviour as a way to get attention. Make sure you explain out loud to partner / people involved in her care all the things he's done right during the day, saying how good it was that he did this and that. Mention briefly and a bit disappointed that he behaved in a silly manner at other points, if you must, but make sure you always worded as in "he was being silly for a bit" or "not like himself". Kids react to labels by assuming those labels, so if you say he's naughty (for example), they might start behaving even naughtier because they assume that's their thing.

It took a few months but my DD is now obsessed with being a good girl and is the phase is long gone! Hang in there, be consistent and it will pass.

Oh! I read somewhere that the brain processes that teenagers go through are very similar to those of children 2-4 years old, in the sense that they feel extreme emotions and don't always have the tools to deal with them, so your comparison might be spot on!

ToesInWater Mon 15-May-17 09:30:20

Known as threenagers in our house. It gets better - honest. I have two real teenagers in my house and one who is well past it and the real teenage years were so much easier!

pandapop17 Mon 15-May-17 09:34:44

You could be describing my DD , I am hoping its just a phase!

blackteasplease Mon 15-May-17 09:42:57

I was going to say threenager too!

I have one. He's very stubborn. Will be following here with interest.

SnugglySnerd Mon 15-May-17 09:47:14

The book, "How to talk so little kids will listen" is excellent and has significantly improved life with our 3 yo.

DarylDixonsJockstrap Mon 15-May-17 12:05:04

Aw thanks all for your very valuable input. Will certainly be taking a look at the suggested books/websites.
I do think a lot of it is a phase but I'm conscious that i don't want new habits formed during this turbulent period.
It's very reassuring to hear other experiences of this.
wine tonight i think!!!!

Writerwannabe83 Mon 15-May-17 12:25:31

Mine is really well behaved for other people but plays up for me and DH. Over the last few weeks I've had to put off visiting friends or toddler groups because I've been too nervous about how he may behave. He's just pushing boundaries, seeing what he can get away with, but it's the deliberate doing things he shouldn't (repeatedly) that I find the most irritating.

I'm due baby #2 in 14 weeks and I'm hoping things have settled by then....

RainbowBriteRules Mon 15-May-17 12:30:11

Stalking this. Have asked for help from
my HV with the same issues. Haven't heard of the Hand in Hand website. Will investigate.

You are not alone OP. If it helps, we have had some cautious progress over the last month or so where I have focused very much on positive attention as PPs have said. She must be testing the boundaries. My first child was never like this!

Waddlelikeapenguin Mon 15-May-17 12:34:25

Everyone tells you about 2 year olds but they forget to warn you 3 is far far harder!
Playful parenting is a great book.

DarylDixonsJockstrap Mon 15-May-17 12:47:36

3 is SO much harder than 2

Bunnyhipsdontliegrl Mon 15-May-17 12:50:01

3 years old is a vile age. Way worse than 2 years old in my experiwnce (I am not helpful, am I. Sorry!)

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