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Parents of 3 year old boys please advise

(41 Posts)
Valdeeves Sun 23-Sep-12 08:32:40

I am worried about my little boy as he is different to the
other children we have played with since about 13 months.

I need to know whether I should be looking at this as a
behavioural special need or whether its normal, I do not
want to bury my head in the sand if he needs a diagnosis. I also need to add we have a premature, newborn baby so behaviour is heightened but not really different.

A typical day with my son:

Eats breakfast, then watches a little Cbeebies TV while I get our things organised. He needs firm discipline to get dressed.
We go to a playgroup with me laying down expectations in the car - he plays nicely until he has
to share - he then shouts or hits other children
with whatever is in his hand. We leave immediately, he kicking and screaming so violently the other mums frequently gasp.
The same happens on a play date - in a house or at the park he cannot share. He will having a crying tantrum for an excessive time. Sometimes he draws back and hits with his full strength and drags a child by their hair - at which obviously I am intervene immediately. His favouriate toys are then confiscated until he has played nicely again with others at preschool or on a play date.

He's either excessively grumpy or stubborn or hyper - actively happy, running in circles, shouting loudly. Sometimes on a play date he will cry if the other child leaves then other times he will shout at the other child and tell them to go away when we arrive. He reacts to everything if it is the end if the world however small the issue. I have to follow him constantly else I always find another child crying and he looking shocked by their reaction (and grumpy) as he's hit them.

His ears are fine - and he is very articulate. I am now so exhausted by him and a new born and want to help us move out of this phase. Anyone got a child like mine as I haven't met another one?

Valdeeves Sun 23-Sep-12 08:35:14

Btw - for your info - we use all the normal sanctions and rewards - time out, sticker charts, treats, calm talking and explanation.
We are not shouty (my hubbie is to make a point but its necessary sometimes) and we never use any form of aggression.

Kveta Sun 23-Sep-12 08:36:13

if you are really concerned, please speak to your HV or GP.

but tbh, he sounds like a normal stroppy toddler to me - more so given that you have a newborn.

belindarose Sun 23-Sep-12 08:39:38

Sounds like my daughter, although we don't do the reward and sanctions like you do. She's just three and we have a newborn too. I think she's totally normal, if infuriating at times!

Tee2072 Sun 23-Sep-12 08:44:15

Congratulations. He's a toddler. grin

Seriously, he sounds completely normal. But if you are concerned, do talk to your GP/HV.

nextphase Sun 23-Sep-12 08:56:38

Apart from the sharing, he sounds just like my 3.5 yr old.
Tho we had to spend a lot of time on sharing when his baby brother arrived a year ago. We also did a lot of gently, and suggesting stroking rather than hitting, tickling rather than thumping (tho tickling is a bit rough still).

We also seem to be a bit less firm with the sanctions - normally just explanations, but very occasional time outs - hitting and biting would be about the only things.

Agree with the others - talk to the HV if your worried - they should be coming out to see your new arrival? Or are you past that point? You can always hijack that meeting?

The only other thing we do is if someone is coming over to play, I ask if there is a toy he doesn't want to share (normally something he has recently been given by a grandparent), and we put it away so the other child doesn't touch it. Everything else is for sharing.

Valdeeves Sun 23-Sep-12 09:46:20

Thanks so much - I would have said the same but we literally haven't come across another playmate who hits. They are all really placid and never seem to have tantrums to his scale, I'm getting fed up of comments or reactions now and just needed my mind at rest xxx

Tee2072 Sun 23-Sep-12 10:01:29

Trust me, if their child is fine now, it won't be soon.

Mine was the 'perfect' one until he hit about 3. Now he can be a screaming banshee.

fattybum Sun 23-Sep-12 10:55:41

Sounds just like what my ds1 was like. I also thought there was something wrong with him and got seriously depressed. He was even worse at 4! But from about 4.6 onwards he's improved.

He's now 6.3 and actually a lot nicer and more reasonable than some of his friends! The turnaround is amazing, and at one point I honestly thought he might turn out to be a psycho.

Try to be as positive as you can, he will change.

lucamom Sun 23-Sep-12 23:16:51

Sorry op, this might not be what you want to hear but I disagree that this is normal toddler behaviour. I've had two three year old boys myself, and spent time with countless others and your ds's reaction to things sounds rather extreme. It might make me sound harsh, but that level of violence (if it's as you say) is something a three year old should know is unacceptable and shouldn't be that frequent.

My children knew there were always certain things which were 'zero tolerence', and the times they did something like hit others they were dealt with each & every time(that phrase makes me sound harsh, but I have never smacked them-they would have things taken off them, treats withheld etc). He sounds old enough and articulate enough to be reasoned with away from the heat of the situation (you said you discuss his behaviour beforehand). Are there any consequences other than being removed from the situation when he kicks off?

I can't offer any constructive help about what the problem might be, but I just think the 'kids will be kids' attitude some people have is rather unhelpful and a bit of a cop-out, and won't be helpful to you in addressing the problem.

humblebumble Sun 23-Sep-12 23:29:25

I have met another child who is like you describe your son to be. He is the same age as my DS1. We don't live near them now, but we did from birth until he was 3. The boy behaves the same as you described, although oddly he was always great with my DS (occasionally there were moments, but generally they played very well together).

The little boy visited us last year when he was almost 4 and his behaviour was the same and he still hasn't really grown out of it. When I speak with him mum now she tells me he has issues at school. Initially when we talked about him I used to agree with her that he was a high-spirited little boy, but now I think there is something more to it. I think there is some level of attention deficit. I'm no expert but I think my friend is finally realising there are issues above and beyond just being high spirited.

I would say your DS is still quite young. There is no harm in talking to your HV or Dr about your concerns.

noblegiraffe Sun 23-Sep-12 23:48:22

My DS hits and is rubbish at sharing too. However he understands taking turns if it is flagged up in advance.

So if he is playing with a toy and another kid comes over and tries to play with it too then he might scream and hit them. He is very protective of his personal space and of toys that he sees as 'his' (whether they are his or he is merely in possession) However, if I said 'Billy wants to play with that toy too, you've got another minute with it then it's Billy's turn' then after a minute he will normally give it up - sometimes unprompted.

When you talk about sharing, are you talking about taking turns or of giving up toys to another child?

Valdeeves Mon 24-Sep-12 14:39:18

It varies - he will take turns and give up toys but
will then just sit there wailing at the top of his voice.
We use time out when we get home and then confiscate his favouriate toys for two to three days or longer and then
give them back one at a time depending on the success of each day.
I have stood back and re-accessed ( have spent months on patience
and turn taking). I'm now working on how he brings his temper down independantly to stop him him hitting the rage element.
I've also started mimicking him a bit to "laugh" him out of the whining and
complaining and it seems to work.
We survived two children's parties without any problems recently but I think it's going to be an on off problem. At this moment my gut feeling is that it's just plain terrible behaviour that needs firm and tough consequences. I'll let you know how I get on and thanks for the feedback.
Btw - interestingly enough he is helpful and lovely with the baby.

Valdeeves Mon 24-Sep-12 14:40:40

Tiredness is an issue too as he does not nap and gets up at 6am every day

Kveta Mon 24-Sep-12 15:09:37

discipline has to be connected to the incident - confiscating his toy when you get home will just confuse him! my childminder has great success with The Pushchair of Shame at playgroup - they go in it for 3 minutes for a transgression, after a warning. I find distraction excellent at the moment - with food quite often, or 'ooh look! a digger!' (followed by 'oh no, you missed it because you weren't sharing nicely' oh well')

have you read toddler taming? some good ideas in there smile

fattybum Mon 24-Sep-12 15:28:03

My attitude was never "boys will be boys" lucamom, in fact I was horrified by ds1s behavior, but having a terribly behaved, aggressive 3 year old does not equal bad parent or child with long term problems and I resent that implication.

Parents who say "oh, my dc would never get away with that behavior, they knew the limits" have just never had that type of child. I speak as a parent of one "nightmare" dc and one "angel".

Believe me, I didn't stand by whilst ds1 whacked another child saying "oh, it's ok, he'll grow out of it!" But he did.

Valdeeves Mon 24-Sep-12 16:56:39

Kveta - trust me he knows and is able to articulate why his toys have gone away. He's very bright and is well aware of what we find unacceptable and why.
I've never tolerated him hitting others ever. I don't think he will grow out of it until he's four to be honest - he's just a toddler after all. He needs responsive peers as well as responsive parents I think.

Valdeeves Mon 24-Sep-12 16:59:40

Lucamum - he is and has always been dealt with every time.

Valdeeves Mon 24-Sep-12 17:02:37

Myself and my husband do not let him get away with it - infact we do what you do. But let's assume your children - cut from the same DNA might both be naturally one way?

Kveta Mon 24-Sep-12 17:16:01

being able to tell you why and actually understanding why are 2 separate things though IYSWIM? also, immediate dealing with a situation allows you to put it behind you rapidly too - so no dwelling on it, which will be weighing on both of you.

I do totally understand how wearing tantrums are, but we have seen such an improvement in DS since starting a consistent time out immediately approach smile he is still ghastly a lot of the time but in far easier to deal with chunks of time!!

Valdeeves Mon 24-Sep-12 17:50:16

But we do that? I'm not really sure I'm making myself clear?

Valdeeves Mon 24-Sep-12 17:55:10

Thanks for the comments anyway. Not sure I feel any closer to the answer.

Chandon Mon 24-Sep-12 18:02:42

3 is hard work.

My DSs needed a lot of routine and predictability at that age. Eg 9-12 plaqygroup, 12-12:30 lunch. After lunch some quiet time (reading a book, watching telly). Around 2 or 3 go outside, bring snack, come rain or shine, and let off steam in the park/playground, somewhere he can run and scream as much as he likes. At 5 o' clock tea time, then bath time, some quiet play and bed at 7.

I found that my boys really needed an iron routine to feel secure and calm(er), plus I needed to manage the amount of down time and active time.

and playdates with tods are always hard work! I have erased a lot of that age from my memory, my oldest especially was very "intense" for want of a better word.

Kveta Mon 24-Sep-12 18:28:38

oh, ok, I thought you meant you get home from playgroup or wherever and THEN remove toy as punishment - obviously sleep deprivation has done little for my reading ability grin

lucamom Mon 24-Sep-12 19:09:34

Apologies if I've offended anyone, it wasn't my intention, so i'm sorry if what I've said has caused offence.

I wasn't suggesting the little one's behaviour isn't being addressed or that anyone on this thread is a bad parent/has a bad child. The op asked whether it was normal behaviour and in my opinion it doesn't sound 'normal' (based only on my limited experience of course). I'm hopefully completely wrong, but if there is even a small chance that there might be other things the op could explore if might help to not just put it down to a typical phase (as not all toddlers go through it, although there are obviously tendencies in all three year olds to have meltdowns), and maybe seek help/advice from those better qualified in child behaviour than me.

Hope everything works out well for you x

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