Advanced search

Is it normal for 3 yo to get very upset when told off by an adult (other than parent or nursery teacher)

(8 Posts)
Anothercuppatea Thu 07-Mar-13 13:14:56

My 3 yo ds is generally very good. I would say he is full of energy and needs a lot of attention. His behaviour is good with me. Nursery teachers say hes good. I have in the past done a lot of praise good behaviour, ignore the bad. Although I wonder if I have done this too much. I do a lot of thanking him for being my chum to come to the shops and helping me choose things etc. It does work well. He also gets praise for being good big brother and he plays up to this enjoying the big brother role. He likes to think he is a good boy. Although he does have his moments as any 3 yo. In which case I do tell off sternly - running off in supermarket, playing with little brother not gently enough etc. He doesn't mind too much when I tell him off.

But there have been a couple of instances recently where another adult told him off. Today he got told off in shoe shop for stepping onto machine for measuring feet. It was overreaction by shop assistant - i think she didn't know how to speak to 3 yo. But also overreaction by him. He got very upset, sobbed a bit. He will also stomp around and 'pat' at things like he feels the urge to thrash out. And generally act like the whole world is against him. Everything I suggest he says no to etc. It can last for 20 mins to a few hours before he cheers up.

Is this entirely normal? I am not sure how to deal with it. As its kind of sparked off by something I can't stop or control. Should I make light of the situation? Ignore him? Tell him he has to listen to adults? Reassure him?

Sorry this has been a bit long. Hope I have explained my question well enough and Hoping someone will be kind enough to read through.

moosiemoo Thu 07-Mar-13 13:25:19

I think that's normal.
Its usually more effective when strangers or people they don't know that well tell my kids off, as they take it more seriously than silly mummy nagging again. I rely on the school caretaker to evict my 2yo from the school playground every morning after dropoff. (he's actually a lovely man and I'm sad he has to pretend to be mean and scary!)
I guess its something new for your son and that is why he is getting quite so upset. My son usually just stops what he's doing when he gets told off but sometimes he does get superupset like your son, in which case I try and explain what he did wrong and if he won't calm down I just leg it with him! Perhaps not the most mature thing to do, but once I've explained why he got told off its then easier to distract him if we're somewhere new than if we're in the same place.
I'm sure it'll get better, and then you can use it to your advantage

Anothercuppatea Thu 07-Mar-13 13:30:05

Thanks. I wondered if he had some sort of problem with being oversensitive. And needing reassurance constantly.

candr Thu 07-Mar-13 21:07:30

Completly normal behviour. Most children will be upset being told off by someone especially by someone they do not know. You need to make sure you back them up though if it was for a genuine reason. She may have over reacted but he could have been doing something that would have hurt him and have a quiet word with her letting her know he is only 3 not 10 so a less harsh tone would have done the job. It sounds liek he doesn't get told off much which is geat but a shock to the system when it does happen.

LiegeAndLief Thu 07-Mar-13 22:59:33

My 3yo would be devastated to be told off by another adult. A few months ago she put her fingers near the mouth of a toddler going through a biting phase and his mum said "No, x!" quite loudly but because she was worried her ds was going to bite rather than because my dd was doing something wrong. Dd sobbed for about half an hour. She was utterly inconsolable. Other mum felt awful!

Pretty normal I reckon.

mummy2benji Thu 07-Mar-13 23:26:26

Yes very normal - my ds (now 4) went through a phase about a year ago where he became quite emotional and upset when told off and disciplined by me or dh. There wasn't generally a situation where he would be told off by anyone other than the two of us. It made it a little harder to discipline him, as we then had to explain afterwards that we love him even if we are cross at his bad behaviour. That phase seems to have passed now thankfully.

colditz Thu 07-Mar-13 23:36:01

It's relatively normal for a three year old to get upset because you can't make it stop raining, so I wouldn't fret.

Anothercuppatea Fri 08-Mar-13 07:06:03

Thanks! Probably me overthinking things then! Colditz, he has in the past asked me to switch the rain or sun off!

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: