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How do i deal with a 3 yr old that just won't do what is asked....I'm in a state of dispair ;-(

(37 Posts)
brandnewme Mon 23-May-11 17:50:39

Its like his brain doesn't work......things have to be said 5, 10 a million times and he still ignores us.

No matter if he's been told off, 10 mins later he's the same. Tried stickers, naughty step, praise etc He just doesn't get it.

I know he's only 3 but I seriously could walk out the house and leave .....sad he's pushing me and Dh to breaking point. It's so frustrating.

DD was never like this so this is a shock - i feel like a shit, useless parent

Reality Mon 23-May-11 17:51:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

brandnewme Mon 23-May-11 17:54:51

Not to poke the baby, pick up his shoes, put the toy back in his room - simple, straight forward requests i would have thought.....he either ignores or says no.

LIZS Mon 23-May-11 17:55:40

how old is the baby ? Sounds like he's attention seeking.

brandnewme Mon 23-May-11 17:56:25

He can be amazingly lovely - i know it's not all bad. I know kids test you for a reaction and boundaries etc....but my patience has gone. I'm a shouty mum and i hate it sad and so want us all to be happier

brandnewme Mon 23-May-11 17:57:27

14 months - thanks for your swift replies - dh has taken him up for an early bath hence i'm on here, with tears....

LIZS Mon 23-May-11 17:59:02

Don't engage when he says No - repeat yourself (calmly). If he is defiant again find soemwhere safe to place him and walk away.

Reality Mon 23-May-11 18:00:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

brandnewme Mon 23-May-11 18:01:27

It's the inner calm i need to find again. I know i should pick my battles and not stress over trivial matters. Be firm and consistent and so on. But i'm loosing it at the minute.

Perhaps it's me and not him sad

I used to teach and 30 kids were a walk in the park compared to this constant crap

schobe Mon 23-May-11 18:03:23

Pick your battles. Of the things you mentioned, only 'not poking the baby' is important (to me anyway, others might disagree).

I know it's easy to say, but shouting doesn't have much effect - unless it's rare and then gives a shock for something v serious.

My DC are excellent at tuning me out, so I have to be sure I have their full attention if I ask them something, no tv on etc. Even then, DD will go running off then run back 2 mins later saying 'what did I have to do?'

He's still a baby really, whereas your DD might have been quite advanced. Boys are sometimes babies for quite a bit longer!

I guess I'm saying cut him and, importantly yourself, some slack. Keep at the time outs or stickers or treats but focus on a couple of really important rules, eg not hurting the baby.

FattyAcid Mon 23-May-11 18:03:48

Are your requests unreasonable?
Are they unreasonable from his point of view?

schobe Mon 23-May-11 18:04:24

Ha! I used to teach 11-18 as well. Piece of piss compared to having DC.

FattyAcid Mon 23-May-11 18:06:12

IF reward & punishment isn't working try reading Unconditional Parenting and Playful Parenting for an alternative approach that may suit you both

Danthe4th Mon 23-May-11 18:08:50

Youre asking a question/request that will get a no answer and most toddlers would say no,simple.
Have you tried saying it differently, ' i'll carry this if you carry that' type of thing. or instead of saying don't poke the baby, say can you tickle her feet.
Or 'where do my shoes go and where do yours go, you show me how quickly you can do it' Turn it into a game it may take the stress out of it.

Most toddlers do not hear the first word, if don't is at the beginning they hear the rest of it,iyswim.
Don't forget he is still young and will learn by example and praise for doing something well.
He wants to please so create situations where he can do that.

brandnewme Mon 23-May-11 18:15:51

Thank you all - lots to take on board and have a think about.

He's 3 and 3 months, very switched on and bright. Perhaps that's why i think this shouldn't be happening, he communicates very well but i guess not able to process everything thats going on??

Schobe - i was thinking of returning to teaching as it's easier than this smile

deaconblue Mon 23-May-11 18:16:25

AHA brandnewme - "I used to teach and 30 kids were a walk in the park compared to this". You could be me 2 years ago with my ds. I found it relatively easy to control 30 teenagers yet ds could drive me to tears in seconds. Here are my words of wisdom 2 yrs on:
1. stop comparing parenting with teaching - it is infinitely different because you don't love the kids you teach
2. boys just are a pita from 2 -3.5. Ds woke up at 3.5 and was calmer, more rational and altogether lovelier. He is now 5 and mostly fab
3. having a dd first makes it tricky too. Girls are just easier toddlers than boys imo (I have a younger dd who has been fairly easy to parent from 2 -3yrs old)
4. praise praise and praise some more. Ditch the punishments (all I did with ds was move him to another room if he was driving me insane) because they don't get them anyway. I read "How to talk so kids listen" and try to follow the advice there. It changed me from angry shouting mum and gave me useful suggestions on things to try with ds. I almost never shout now and still use the techniques most days.
5. a very wise friend of mine said to me when ds was 3 and I was fed up with similar behaviour "you just want him to be 4. He will be soon." She was dead right, I was expecting the behaviour of an older child and he just couldn't help being uncooperative, irrational etc he just wasn't mature enough to be any different.

brandnewme Mon 23-May-11 19:05:28

Thanks shopping - I want him to be 4 so he's in fulltime education grin

I'm going to try and stop the shouting. But some of the things that we ask him no to do are for his own safety, that of others or so things don't get broken. At teatime he tried to drag the baby down some stairs......how do i phrase that without saying 'don't' or in a positive happy way?? Twice i asked him to leave the baby alone and had i not been standing right next to them and grab baby, there would have been an accident. I try to back up requests with a simple explanation why so he might understand why we are asking him certain things.

Shouting is just me loosing control. Dh is more along the stern parenting line and I'm not - I do try and think how he must feel about situations, and say stuff like 'i know you're having fun playing but it's time to go home/to the supermarket/pick your sister up etc now' and so on. DH is very much 'nip it in the bud' attitude whereas i realise there's alot going on in his head and the world is a crazy place for kids.

Perhaps I'll make a new sticker chart tonight - it will at least help us focus on trying to help him rather than shout and punish....

schobe Mon 23-May-11 20:14:43

I second the suggestion of reading 'how to talk'. One of the strategies is to explore the fantasy, eg 'wouldn't it be great if we could stay at the soft play place for ever? Where would you sleep?' etc etc.

I find that allows us to branch into surreal absurdity and/or humour. Either because of the distraction or just being allowed to express fully what they want, they do seem to be more willing just to get up and leave the place (while still discussing the fantasy).

Read the book, I'm describing it very badly!

Rosebud05 Mon 23-May-11 21:41:23

I'd second the book suggestion and also the 'pick your battles'. It's irritating when they won't pick up their shoes/tidy up/put things away and other things they're completely capable of but my strategy is to just accept that most of the time asking these things of dd (4.2) is setting the stage for a yes\no type confrontation so I either make it into a jolly old game or 95% of the time do it myself because then there's no conflict to be had over a pair of shoes or whatever.

\maybe that's lazy of me but I suppose it feels that it means that the majority of my interactions with dc are friendly and co-operative which does mine and I'm sure their sanity the world of good.

cottonreels Mon 23-May-11 23:09:35

Am also a teacher who finds it hard to parent my own dd 19 months grin
With regard to the baby, maybe try to model how to stroke the babys feet or some such whilst repeating the mantra 'gentle hands'. Maybe thats too young for your ds. What about a doll so he can practise what you do with the real baby?
Can he count? Could you ask him to put 5 toys in the toy box (showing off his counting skills as he counts to 5). Maybe put some toys away and rotate them every so often so that there is less to clear away...

brandnewme Tue 24-May-11 06:50:42

Thanks for the tips. He's not always unkind to the baby, just somethings are getting dangerous now the baby is more active around the house. Tickling him or stroking him I don't think would help when he's trying to drag him down some stairs.

Also re the toys, it's really only me asking to put 1 thing back in the playroom, that's he's dumped in the middle of the floor in the hall/kitchen or whatever, not tidy up lots. This is what is frustrating, that he can't/won't do really simple, reasonable, quick and easy tasks. Yet I know he understands and isn't daft. He also smirks alot when told off so that says to mean he's trying to wind us up and test us. i find it very hard to be chirpy and positive when he's being like that.

camdancer Tue 24-May-11 08:17:26

The only thing that would work with my DS at that age was making stuff into a game. So taking toys back to the playroom would be "I can take my toy into the playroom quicker than you. Ready, steady, go" And usually by "ready" he was already off. Picking up shoes, I'd do something like pick up DD's shoes and say "are these your shoes? Where are your shoes?" Just anything to make it into a game preferably one where he could win easily. It is very tiring though and I did resort to shouting - sadly that just didn't help.

Be careful about the smirking though - that you aren't projecting older feelings to someone who is very little and might not understand fully. Easier said than done though when it looks like someone is being rude to you.

Reality Tue 24-May-11 08:23:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

brandnewme Tue 24-May-11 12:27:04

Thank you - will ignore the smirking then!

Having a better day today and he's a nursery now. Lets hope teatime/bedtime passes calmly.

petisa Wed 25-May-11 00:50:25

Hello, my dd's 3.1 years and I hear where you're coming from OP, and I can be shouty too, and feel terrible about it. I've ditched the naughty step and am no longer shouting as much after having read a few books - Playful Parenting, Raising our children, raising ourselves and Unconditional Parenting. I don't follow these parenting styles to the letter by any means, but they have really helped me be kinder and gentler with my frustrating threenager!

The main tactics I employ are:
- distraction
- ignoring attention seeking
- explaining clearly and concisely and gently rather than ranting
- validating her feelings rather than denying them - yes you really want to stay here at the park don't you because it's fun, etc
- role playing, so getting her dolls to hit each other and cry and be hurt and hug and say sorry, or kick each other and laugh about it, etc, as a release
- tickling her when I feel myself getting angry
- visualise myself ranting at her and being really angry in my head and taking a breath before trying my best to be sweetness and light - this really works for me as a release!
- leave the room for a minute
- apologise for being shouty and start again
- not getting trapped into situations where you get your toddler doing exactly what you've just told them not to do while "smirking" at you - mine does that a lot at the moment, by doing some of the above instead of saying "DON'T pull my hair again /STOP hitting your sister"

Good luck, I know how frustrating it can be sometimes having a just turned 3 year old, but they really can't control themselves and their impulses and feelings and can't follow your orders to "be good" at this age. Best to keep them distracted, amused doing activites, running around etc to stop them from getting up to no good IMO. HTH!

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