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please tell me how to cope with horrible 3 year old tantrums??! help!

(6 Posts)
bumbleandbumble Thu 11-Apr-13 14:51:43

my just turned 3 year old is driving me crazy! I have enough stress on my plate with my marriage and money troubles and needy 1.5 year old...

I just cant cope. She tantrums hysterically many many times every single day, always over something unreasonable--
I dont want a bath. I don't want to get out of bath. I want to wear no sock/tights (in freezing weather). I want apple juice (we have just run out). I want to eat chocolate for lunch. etc...

So far I have been putting her in her room and just closing the door, and waiting until she calms down...but I feel so stressed and mean doing this and the screaming and kicking can go on for 20 min!!! I feel like a bad parent..I have lost my nerve a few times and used bad language.... please help.

I realise it may pass, but what can I do in the meantime??

Girlsville Thu 11-Apr-13 15:00:50

OP are you me?? Going through the exact same thing with my just turned 3 year old, and my almost 2 year old is getting scared.
Sorry no advice, just wanted you to know you are not alone.

PandaNot Thu 11-Apr-13 15:09:35

On I remember this well, you are definitely not alone! Dd was something of a shock after a ds who never had a single tantrum. She grew out of it when she went to nursery but she still occasionally has meltdowns at 5.5

I only picked the battles I absolutely had to have. I stopped worrying about what and when she ate, what she wore etc, I also used to find that she got really scared by the strength of her emotions and after 10 minutes of wailing I could hug her and sit still holding her and she would calm down much quicker than if I just left her. She had to be past the kicking stage of the tantrum before I would try this though!

You have my sympathy, it's very difficult when every day brings so many tears.

bumbleandbumble Thu 11-Apr-13 19:45:37

Yes my younger one gets scared at all the shouting and then also starts crying....the screaming was so bad one day someone off the street knocked on my door to 'see if everything was ok"...

My husband says pick your battles....yes, ok, I am trying to relax about ok no washing hair tonight, or ok you can wear that ridiculous outfit, but eating a chocolate bunny for lunch or playing with a particular friend who is simply not around today...well I cant change this!

She is so strong, stubborn, and I really struggle to keep my cool. it does help that there are a lot of these threads...seems a lot of them are girls too. Great, cant imagine her at 14

PandaNot Thu 11-Apr-13 19:51:29

I know, I'm dreading teenage years!

No there are some things you can't do anything about, like her friend and sometimes it is a battle worth having like chocolate for lunch. At those times I used to (and still do sometimes!) do my best to sympathise with her and tell her I can tell how upset she is that she can't have whatever it is and I'm sorry she's sad but I can't do anything. It does get wearing though.

CreatureRetorts Thu 11-Apr-13 20:09:24

She might be getting tired - does she have down time after lunch or a nap? Down time helps my ds - I either enforce him sitting down to read for 30 mins while his little sister naps or lie him on the sofa and we watch tv together. Or take them for a walk and he drops off in the pushchair.

Giving warnings helps - keeping my voice calm. So saying "ok ds I'm going to count to 3 and I'll do x". I'll check that he's heard me by asking a few times. Once I'm sure, I count to 3 slowly reminding him that when I get to 3, that I'll do it if he won't (eg getting him dressed).

Other tactics include making a joke. So if I want him to get dressed, I say I'll tickle him, pull him into my lap and tickle him while I dress him. He loves it, he gets dressed, sorted.

Things like wanting chocolate for lunch, I don't dwell on the requests. If he asks, I say no, he says why, I tell him. If he kicks off, I calmly say "mummy said no", then leave him to it for a bit.

If he wants something but can't have it because he's asked rudely or shouted, I tell him to ask nicely. I remind him how to ask if he wants something nicely.

We spend a lot of time reminding ds what he should do. So when he kicks off, I can say "ds, how do you get something?" and he can calm down and ask.

If he has a meltdown (tears, unable to calm down), I will give him a cuddle. Sometimes he needs it.

Other times if he won't do something, and counting hasn't worked then I tell him I'm leaving him alone until he does it. That can really work at times!

Losing your temper, swearing etc will make it worse as your dd will just feed off your stress, and it escalates. It certainly does with my DS so I try and stay calm. Sometimes I say calmly to ds that I'm getting cross and that can help me. Other days I end up raising my voice and it gets worse and worse.

Arm yourself with a few tactics, remind yourself that she's only 3, and that sometimes she wants a bit of control. Tell her and how her how to behave - again so you can remind her whatshe should do and that gives her control.

This isn't about her being a stroppy girl - its just her being 3.

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