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Contrariness in 3yo daughter

(18 Posts)
Lollipop1326 Sun 10-Feb-13 15:41:17

Hi, hope someone can help out here. My 3yo dd is fussy, contrary and is driving me crazy (well, more than usual). I try to give some element of choice (this top or that top), which beaker do you want, etc, but it feels like recently nothing is going right. We have fussing at almost every stage in the day.

Sometimes I think all is going well, then out of the blue she throws a wobbler because she doesn't want to come home after dance, doesn't want the Dora biscuit after swimming (wants Pooh which we didn't pack), won't come through the door when we get home from daycare, etc etc.

I'm fed up with shouting (it's all I seem to do these days), fed up with how I see our family life ripped apart, I hate smacking her and I hate that she won't listen or learn. Sometimes however she is super sweet and I can see she's developing and growing, so is it just another annoying phase??

Any tips would be much appreciated!

MsFlippingHeck Sun 10-Feb-13 18:53:40

Watching with interest.

Dd is 3.4 and identical. She cries numerous times a day over the smallest thing. (Putting her coat on, going in the bath, putting toys away) I've been sympathetic Ive been angry and now I ignore her. She's no better but it's saving a little of my sanity.

chocolatespiders Sun 10-Feb-13 18:57:36

Had she chosen the biscuit for after swimming if so hard luck if not ask her to chose one before you leave.

DD can be a bit like this, In the morning I cant say lets get dressed now I have to say dd here is your school uniform when you are ready please can you put it on. 9 times out of 9 she does it straight away. She seems to hate being told what to do and likes to make the decisions!!! Frustrating though.

Believeitornot Sun 10-Feb-13 19:02:23

She's 3!

A lot of it is tirednessor hunger I bet.

Also the smacking and shouting means that she will behave worse because she reflects your feelings.

Several things work with my ds when he's like that (he's 3.4):

Ignore him. He's very grumpy when he wakes from a nap and demands x/y/z for a snack. If I get him the wrong snack he goes mad. So I put down the snack and walk away calmly. He'll eat it happily enough!

If he won't get dressed, I lay his clothes out and walk away. As soon as he puts one thing on, I give massive cuddles and praise - specific praise "good dressing DS". He loves it!

Don't bother with choices - that works when younger. Now I ask ds what he wants and he can tell me.

In fact ignoring the bad and really specially praising the good works so well with ds.

Also diffuse the situation by mirroring them a bit. So today ds was cross because he couldn't watch tv. So I copied his face and said "I know you're cross" (in a cross voice), "you're cross because you can't watch". He agrees. He repeats "I'm cross". Then we pull silly faces at each other which diffuses things and then we mess around for a bit.

Ds is a lot worse when hungry or tired. So I take small steps - if I know he's hungry and he won't eat his dinner because he doesn't like it, we negotiate. So I ask him to just have one mouthful. Which he will - I give him specific praise then ignore him or do something else and he'll eat the rest no problem.

No idea if that garbled post made any sense grin

cory Mon 11-Feb-13 08:39:46

I found 3 the hardest age because of the combination of contrariness and whining. What made things easier for me was trying to adopt a headmistress-ish approach, very brisk and firm but pretending to be imperturbable. So as little shouting as possible and no smacking. Imagine yourself a very experienced teacher or headteacher; how do they get results? When I felt near to breaking point I used to put some music on or just sing to myself.

KenDoddsDadsDog Mon 11-Feb-13 08:40:41

As someone who just had a 3 year old insist on dry weetabix, watching with interest!

Fishandjam Mon 11-Feb-13 08:43:55

Ooh gawd, I am in sympathy with you all. I have DS aged 3 who is very, very hard work at present. Watching for helpful hints!

doughnut44 Tue 12-Feb-13 00:32:05

It is an annoying little phase but don't pander to it. Biscuit wise - she gets what she is given or doesn't get! Is there a difference in taste between dora and pooh?
won't come through the door - pick her up and put her on the couch.
Don't shout if you can help it, don't smack she will react negatively to that. Be firm but fair.
I always tried a bit of kidology where I could too, for instance if my daughter refused to eat her tea i would just say ok but you are not having anything later then I would rave on about how lovely my dinner was and I was so glad she wasn't eating cos then I could have hers too - she generally came back and ate.

Fishandjam Tue 12-Feb-13 09:22:27

One of the things I just can't do (or really, really shouldn't do) is physically force DS to do something - I have a problem with my back and am forbidden heavy lifting. Can anyone suggest something to help when he won't do things like get dressed, have his nappy changed, get into the car etc? At the moment I'm relying on bribes but I know that will eventually become ineffective.

Fishandjam Tue 12-Feb-13 09:33:06

PS should have said that I don't agree with physically forcing a child to do something - I don't think it's right to get a child to comply through superior physical strength. But when we're running late for the thousandth time because DS is not cooperating, there's often no choice! (And yes, I leave plenty of time to get ready, I tell him what's happening and give him a countdown to the time we need to leave etc - it doesn't work sad).

Lollipop1326 Tue 12-Feb-13 10:36:32

Thanks for all the replies! I also don't like shouting or smacking and hate to think of myself as someone who does that. But there is a point which she treads over almost every day which just f's me off!

Last night she threw a strop leaving daycare, I had to manhandle her into the car seat and she howled all the way home and didn't want to come into the house again. I managed to get from her that she liked playing at daycare (I always let her have a quick go on the scooter in the hallway before leaving) - but then her first words in the morning are usually "no daycare". So I'm blowed if I do and blowed if I don't, it seems.

And this morning she didn't want to come out of her cot to get dressed - so I left her in whilst I went and had a shower, after telling her that I don't have time in the morning to mess around. Then we had a quick fuss on socks and knickers but I didn't give a choice.

Yes - big difference between Dora and Pooh biscuit!! I wouldn't mind but she helped choose the snacks (water, biscuit, satsuma and raisins) and knew we didn't have the Pooh biscuit available.

We also try bribing - no sweets (don't start, I know...) if she doesn't eat her dinner, no tv if she's not a good girl...

I'm also trying to do the assertive no-nonsense headmistress approach (my mum has that down to a fine art) and it's saving my sanity a bit. That and copious amounts of wine.

Thanks for your help!

grants1000 Tue 12-Feb-13 10:40:26

I never had to the "terrible twos'" but with both mine I had the what I like to call the 'throttling threes" ie: I'd like to throttle them with their insane unfathamable behavior!

Ignore the tantrums and only give two options and a limited time to decide, keep it up and they soon get the message. I once sat in my coat in the car for 45 mns whilst DS1 now 10 went mental about getting his car seat, I just ignored him and told him repeatededly calmy to please get in his seat, which he did eventually with a smile - little bugger!

doughnut44 Tue 12-Feb-13 20:42:14

Fishandjam - can you turn it into a game? Lets see how quickly we can get dressed today. I bet you can't climb into your car seat by yourself. Can't think of a nappy one - leave it with me x x

Goldmandra Tue 12-Feb-13 20:58:20

Try a slightly different approach.

You sat beautifully at the table today so you can have some sweets (although a non food reward would be better).

You are being a good girl. If this carries on you can watch xxxx on tv later.

Make it positive.

bunsOFsteele Wed 13-Feb-13 00:21:21

With the physical limitation of being heavily pregnant recently, I had real battles with my dd (younger at 2 1/2 but similar attitude)... When it got really bad I found that walking away from her, leaving her with the clothes and going into another room - the bathroom - with door closed, would get things moving. Basically minimising the attention given with her negative behaviour. I'd open the door after I'd brushed my teeth, she'd be screaming just outside smile and ask her if ready to get dressed? No... Close door again for a minute, open to ask if she's ready... And then pile on the praise and hugs when she does dress. God it's hard work sometimes!!!

vicsterlou Wed 13-Feb-13 21:40:35

It's quite reassuring to read all these. My twins are 3 1/4 and they are both awful at the moment, but especially daughter. It really feels like they gang up on me! I've just started reading 'How to to talk so kids will listen..' which a friend recommended and trying to implement some of that. But it does sometimes feel like I've turned into the mother I never wanted to be, snarling and stomping around.

BlackSwan Wed 13-Feb-13 22:25:12

You got the wrong biscuits? Well, i choose the wrong forks, spoons, cups, everything for my 3 year old. I get told off for doing almost everything wrong. We should meet up and swap notes.

NaturalBlondeYeahRight Wed 13-Feb-13 22:34:17

Oh so many memories of my bloody awkward three yr old grin. Having to put socks on for the 4th time because the 'line wasn't straight', tipping the crisps on grass rather than share at a picnic, refusing dinner unless on one particular plate......
She's lovely now, still awkward but has the power of reason...mostly.
I picked my battles (wellies and green tutu's anyone?) and walked away. She used to drive me to distraction.

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