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3yo - tantrums, defiance and whining GAAAH!

(6 Posts)
anxietyaunt Mon 29-Jun-20 00:34:26

I’ve got a long tether but between the tantrums, defiance and whining I’m about to reach the end of it.

I know he’s 3 so it’s to be expected, but to be honest he’s always been hard work. So wonderful and lovely, but so very emotional and feisty. He’s next level.

I know a lot of boys’ problems stem from an inability to communicate their feelings so I’ve worked hard from birth to develop his language. As a result he’s very advanced for his age in that respect, but it doesn’t seem to have made a difference to his behaviour. It doesn’t seem to matter whether I get down to his level, how much I try to talk him through things, how much positive reinforcement I give him, how much I distract him, how much power he has to direct play and make decisions, how much one-on-one time we have... He loves cuddles but once he goes off he’s not interested and pushes me away. sad

It’s relentless. He hits and kicks me and the dog at times too. I’ve had to resort to counting to three and giving him time in his room a couple of times a week, which I’d prefer not to do, and he often goes nuts kicking the door or throwing things at it. Or being cheeky and sneaking out to goad me.

Need. Help.

OP’s posts: |
Firstawake Mon 29-Jun-20 08:06:46

More time out, don't engage with him during this time no matter how much he goads you.
If he hits remove treats and let him the the consequences of his actions.
Lots of positives when his behaviour is good.
Don't expect it to happen overnight but if you a serious about getting out of this cycle do it and stick to your guns.

Sailingblue Mon 29-Jun-20 08:26:09

Mt eldest is 4 now but she was a proper threenager. We found 3 much harder than 2 even though she was much more capable and independent but her lockdown behaviour was very challenging. Getting her back to nursery made a world of difference. The emotional outbursts have largely stopped and she’s much easier again.

BocolateChiscuits Mon 29-Jun-20 14:05:33

I'm a fairly mediocre parent, so take what I say with a pinch of salt, but here's my take on things:

- look after yourself and get some time to refill your cup, if at all practical. If you're happier, you'll be a better parent and your kid will be happier
- toddlers are still learning how to deal with negative emotions, (anger, sadness, jealousy, impatience, fear, frustration) most adults struggle with this, so I have a lot of sympathy. I try to help with the learning process
- I offer consolation, but not capitulation
- when they're in the middle of their emotions I keep things simple, cos I think their brains have got too much going on at that time, so no complex negotiatons, just a couple of simple sentences setting out the situation
- helping them to see where the emotion comes from, e.g. they're kicking off cos they want a toy their sister has, so "you're sad because you really want that toy and she has it".
- using books, or observed situations to talk about emotions in general. If they understand that anger is often just sadness at its root that makes life easier (they want cuddles instead of fights)
- I take their concerns and emotions
seriously even if they sound utterly day to me (without capitulating).
- if they try to negotiate or problem solve nicely, without throwing a paddy, I reward them by letting the boundaries soften a bit. I think it's good they're learning to get what they want in a more sophisticated way (not sure if I'm being stupid on this one!)
- I seldom attempt to distract them from an emotion (unless we're at a wedding or something, where I shove crap food at them to shut them up!)
I think distracting is minimising their feelings and avoiding them having to learn about how to deal with them head on
- I don't allow them to deal with anger by being physically violent with anyone (including me). It's a massive red line for me, and I'm generally a bit of a hippy in other ways - I just hate violence and don't want them to see it as an option to cope with negative emotions. I remove them or leave the room, or strap them in a buggy (appreciate you might not have one, I have a younger DC too, so usually do). This can involve some ungainly wrestling and a bit of a scene. But such is life with a pre-schooler
- I never ask them to apologise for their feelings, just actions. I let them talk out their feelings without censorship. E.g. having long conversations with DS about how annoying he thinks younger DD, and how he wants to put her in the bin. Cos he's talked about it, and hasn't been made to feel guilty about it, I think it helps him to deal more positively with it (not being horrible to her, nicely asking for more attention when he feels extra jealous)

Sorry for the essay. Hope something in that night help. Hope your tether holds x

anxietyaunt Wed 01-Jul-20 11:16:31

So sorry not to come back to this post. No one replied for ages so I thought it had gone under the radar!

Really appreciate the comments though. smile

OP’s posts: |
anxietyaunt Wed 01-Jul-20 11:25:10

BocolateChiscuits

I'm a fairly mediocre parent, so take what I say with a pinch of salt, but here's my take on things:

- look after yourself and get some time to refill your cup, if at all practical. If you're happier, you'll be a better parent and your kid will be happier
- toddlers are still learning how to deal with negative emotions, (anger, sadness, jealousy, impatience, fear, frustration) most adults struggle with this, so I have a lot of sympathy. I try to help with the learning process
- I offer consolation, but not capitulation
- when they're in the middle of their emotions I keep things simple, cos I think their brains have got too much going on at that time, so no complex negotiatons, just a couple of simple sentences setting out the situation
- helping them to see where the emotion comes from, e.g. they're kicking off cos they want a toy their sister has, so "you're sad because you really want that toy and she has it".
- using books, or observed situations to talk about emotions in general. If they understand that anger is often just sadness at its root that makes life easier (they want cuddles instead of fights)
- I take their concerns and emotions
seriously even if they sound utterly day to me (without capitulating).
- if they try to negotiate or problem solve nicely, without throwing a paddy, I reward them by letting the boundaries soften a bit. I think it's good they're learning to get what they want in a more sophisticated way (not sure if I'm being stupid on this one!)
- I seldom attempt to distract them from an emotion (unless we're at a wedding or something, where I shove crap food at them to shut them up!)
I think distracting is minimising their feelings and avoiding them having to learn about how to deal with them head on
- I don't allow them to deal with anger by being physically violent with anyone (including me). It's a massive red line for me, and I'm generally a bit of a hippy in other ways - I just hate violence and don't want them to see it as an option to cope with negative emotions. I remove them or leave the room, or strap them in a buggy (appreciate you might not have one, I have a younger DC too, so usually do). This can involve some ungainly wrestling and a bit of a scene. But such is life with a pre-schooler
- I never ask them to apologise for their feelings, just actions. I let them talk out their feelings without censorship. E.g. having long conversations with DS about how annoying he thinks younger DD, and how he wants to put her in the bin. Cos he's talked about it, and hasn't been made to feel guilty about it, I think it helps him to deal more positively with it (not being horrible to her, nicely asking for more attention when he feels extra jealous)

Sorry for the essay. Hope something in that night help. Hope your tether holds x

Why do you say you’re a mediocre parent? You sound fantastic!

The second point is interesting timing as I was just thinking about this today. My husband has a short fuse and mine has been tested a lot lately, so I was considering how hard it must be for my son if it’s so hard for us.

This morning he threw a tantrum over a packet of snacks he wrestled out of my hands. It was a long morning of tantrums so by that stage I was done. I had to go outside for a bit to collect myself. When I came in he was trying to do the same and when he finally calmed down he explained he was just trying to tell me to put the snacks in the cupboard because that’s where they belonged. It was a lightbulb moment where he was able to explain what he wanted and that I had misunderstood, and I realised he was just trying to communicate something reasonable (albeit in an unreasonable way - screaming and tears).

Just hope we can both come to understand each other better given time so we can head these scenarios off at the pass and be happier all around.

OP’s posts: |

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