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how do you deal with ludicrous pre-schooler demands?

(14 Posts)
AlphaSchmalpha Sun 28-Nov-10 09:19:53

ds is 3.5 and until recently a fairly easy child, no massive tantrums. But recently he will get very upset when his demands are not met - so from this morning alone:

- full on sobbing for 5 mins+ because he wanted to leave all the lights on upstairs when we are about to go downstairs for breakfast

- hysterical because I did not open the microwave door before the beeping sound stopped.

- very cross that his bits of ice from the water we left outside last night melted after a while indoors

- upset because I showered and dressed before breakfast rather than after - I didn't fancy greeting the builders in my PJs, ds wanted me to wear PJs for breakfast.

We're only a couple of hours into the day and already I want it to be bedtime! How do you manage / respond to these demands? He won't be distracted or deflected. I do a bit of gentle, simple explaining but he is often so worked up he can't listen, just goes on and on about what he wants.

ragged Sun 28-Nov-10 09:23:11

Big glass of wine each evening grin.
Most of it I pander to because it's not worth the battle, it's the big stuff you have to hold your ground on (staying in car seats, bed time now, not thumping other children over toys, etc.)
It is a phase, I have had it extra long with DS3 (not even 3yo yet!) so you should count your blessings, I dare say.

Try to see the funny side. They like to have as much control of their world as any adult does of theirs, so it's just a developmental thing to have their little rituals, how they come to understand how the world needs to be run.

ragged Sun 28-Nov-10 09:28:12

Oh, and (when you can find the energy) apologise and explain or make a joke of it when you do need to do things a way he doesn't like (humour is a great way to diffuse Childish control freakery):

"Sorry, but I needed my shower first this morning because the builders think my PJs are so ugly their eyes would explode out of their heads if they had to see something so funny."

"Gee how did all the lights get turned off when you weren't looking? Did the fairies sneak in to turn off our lights, do you think? I think the fairies are quite clever, do you know why, they don't want us to waste money on lights we don't need...?"

bacon Sun 28-Nov-10 14:31:13

I seem to have similar problems with my 5 year old.

Distraction and shouting is the only way I get around it. Theats work, Thats it - if you carry on I'll tell daddy and he wont let you have xyz.

I wouldnt apologise, sorry ragged, not sure if DS will think that he's in command. Ignoring is great - pretend that you havent heard or noticed his behaviour so he realises that his ridiculas demands come to nothing, hard but does work. Then distraction with gosh look over there did you see that bird fly over the garden fence? That way shows you havent sided with him or pander to his moods.

At the moment I'm on the edge with a 19m and 5yr old both are continually testing me. I'm close to crying every day, I just dream of opening the kitchen door and kicking them out and slaming the door after them.

A while ago, when DS1 was about 4 is used to show off after being picked up from nursery it was awful, specially when driving through dark lanes. I pulled into the layby slamed the breaks on, got out and went to pretend to get him out of the car, told him I was going to leave him there. It shocked him so much his behaviour in the car improved loads after that. So shock tactics also work because its totally out of the norm. Not that I do this on a regular basis but the dangers of driving with a wild child in the back of the car calls for shock tactics.

HeathcliffMoorland Sun 28-Nov-10 15:01:50

I would ignore, and have in the past.

Yes, it is a phase, but in my experience, pandering prolongs it (and increases your electricity bills!).

It's VERY frustrating! DD1 and DS are past it (but many more delights to come, I'm sure!), and DD2 coming up to it in a year or so...

With DD1, I pandered for a bit because it was easier (obviously except for when it was something really hard/physically impossible). When I started to ignore, it stopped quite quickly. I never pandered with DS, and it didn't really kick off (and he's generally the more highly strung).

If he wants the lights left on, just say that we don't need lights when there's nobody there, switch them off and pay no heed to any wailing that may follow! Similar for anything else. Hope things improve soon. It really is tough!

AlphaSchmalpha Sun 28-Nov-10 17:41:37

Thanks everyone, lots of great advice here - have been out for the day with ups and downs in behaviour. Massive tears and hysterics because his friend wanted to go to the loo, so instantly ds wanted to go too, and wanted to go first (he didn't actually need to go of course). More hysterics because he wanted to be given his lunch first. Further wailing because he didn't want his friend to have the same food he was having. Hard to ignore when out in public, but will do my best next time, think you are right to just blank it so he gets nil attention.

I guess at the moment he gets attention even if it's me getting cross / shouting / shushing / explaining. It is so hard! I lost it with him sad yesterday when he was in pieces about having to keep his coat on in the car - it takes ages to persuade him to wear it, we were getting back in, driving for 5 mins then getting out again and it was 0C outside so I really didn't want him to be out without it on or to have to repeat that battle. Wine is my only solace! How long until bedtime?!

trixie123 Tue 30-Nov-10 18:29:51

just general (((hugs))). DS is only 1 months so have all this to come but reading the advice with interest!

Dawnybabe Tue 30-Nov-10 18:55:49

My dd1 can be like this. I usually try and explain whatever's started off the tantrum but if she's not listening to me I usually end up explaining very loudly that this rude behaviour will Stop Now or it's the Naughty Step. They are magic words and they work wonders.

SkyBluePearl Tue 30-Nov-10 21:25:54

yes i agree humour, distraction and staying calm. I hope everything works out. x

SkyBluePearl Tue 30-Nov-10 21:26:53

ps- I also do alot of explaining too but keep it quite short

AlphaSchmalpha Tue 30-Nov-10 21:48:44

thanks for your help, everyone it is great to have a bit of support and ideas.

ds is either brilliant, just funny and sweet and helpful and lovely. or a snivelling whining mess. sad

he spent a lot of yesterday in tears that would not stop because things didn't go his way. some irrational, some understandable (eg having to leave the playground before he wanted to). But he starts crying and just won't stop, works himself up to a big paddy over nothing and will not listen, calm down, be distracted, soothed ... It's very wearing! I look forward to nursery days more than I should I think!

ilikemrclooney Wed 01-Dec-10 20:55:37

This sounds very like my ds. He is a year older than your ds and in the last year things have improved dramaticaly in terms of melt downs about ridiculous things. I found that ignoring him when he was tantruming didn't really work cos he would keep it up for hours and would lurch from one crisis to the next without calming down in between. What i did was give him one chance to calm down, acknowledged his anger however idiotic and offered a cuddle and a distracting activity. Then if he wouldn't stop the crying etc i told him that i couldn't listen to it cos it hurt my head and he had to start calming down. If no improvement after about 20 seconds, i didn't count as this made him worse, i put him in his bedroom with the door shut for two mins. He hated this and very often managed to calm down and avoid it but if he did end up in there it stopped me losing it with him and also always drew a line under the tantrum and he would calm down after a cuddle and go on his merry way until the next time. Its very hard though. You end up dragged into their crazy world of rules if you aren't carefull just to avoid the stress but even if you wanted to pander to them you would never get it all right when the land is ruled by a fickle, power crazed three year old!

whomovedmychocolate Wed 01-Dec-10 21:14:50

Hahahahhaah - DD had a full on screaming fit today because she bought a snowball to show DS and it dared to melt. Then she cried for twenty minutes because we laughed (couldn't help it, was crying with laughter at her indignance). grin

Lucy88 Wed 01-Dec-10 21:20:27

It does get better. I think all toddlers have OCD to a point. My DS used to go mad if his dish wasn't in the right place on the table or the picture on his cup wasn't facing him. He is not as bad as he used to be, but still has his moments.

I used to ignore him and just walk away or do the opposite of what he wanted and then walk away. Every now and again he will have a slight melt down - if his cousin gets to have his tea put on the table first or its his cousins turn to choose which end of the bath to sit in. Now he is 5, I will explain things to him and he does understand and listen rather than going off on one.

Still happens now and again, like the 30 minutes of wailing and crying last Saturday when he found out that Man Utd had gone top of the league. lol.

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