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I think I need a supernanny - need help with 3 yo behaviour

(38 Posts)
Albertatata Tue 04-Nov-14 13:04:03

DS1 turned 3 in September and for the last month his behaviour has becoming increasingly bad. He has never been the easiest child to deal with, always lots of grumpiness, screaming, always would wake up in a bad mood etc etc. but now I feel like it is really starting to impact on family life and I don't know what to do.

I have DS2 who has just turned one, he is a delight but I feel like all my attention is on this screaming, moaning rampaging 3 year old. For example today DS1 didn't want to go to Playgroup so we decided to go to the local museum for the storytelling which he was very excited about but .....

As soon as we were waiting in the line for tickets he started moaning and whinging how he wanted to go in NOW etc etc then when we were in the story telling everything was wrong - he wanted a different musical instrument, then the man wasn't't listening to his suggestions, then he wanted to dance to the music, then he didn't do a jump right etc etc. it's just not enjoyable spending time with him - whilst all the other children are having fun he sits with his bottom lip out or with his back to everyone.

Once story telling was finished he then had a major tantrum because his favourite exhibit was closed - major tantrum, so I decided we were just going home as I didn't feel like prolonging the agony anymore. It's so embarrassing - I was there with my friend and her daughter and I just had to leave.

Everyday it seems the same - he screams and shouts about everything, everything is wrong. I don't really like doing anything or going to places because of his behaviour. My mum came down last week (I have no family support other than mum coming for <24hrs every couple of months) and he was exactly the same - she recommended that when he starts screaming and shouting he should just be removed to his bedroom until he has calmed down so that he is n't getting any reinforcement for his behaviour good or bad and that if he behaves badly when we are out we should just come home straight away. It is just so draining.

I'm back in work part time so it feels like I'm either at work or battling with my 3 year old & I never get to spend quality time with my 1 yo. Life feels really crap and unenjoyable.

I really feel like I have no idea what to do next, I would love a super nanny to watch his (&mine) behaviour to try and make a difference. But I would hate to be on TV? Is there such a service?

Does anyone have a similar 3 yo? Nobody else's seem to act the way mine does. I work 2 days a week but I'm considering paying for the extra day at nursery for my eldest so I can give DS2 some attention.

Ps nursery says that he behaves extremely well there, very polite, they didn't recognise the child I was describing

Any help greatly appreciated - I'm at the end of my tether.

SuperFlyHigh Tue 04-Nov-14 13:13:44

I think reinforcing behaviour eg be patient and wait. if he carries on complaining then don't take him in at all. Also try and maybe second guess what he wants - re musical instrument, they may well have that one and not the one you want etc... say you want polite behaviour no sulking etc or you'll take him home early.

You could also speak to him quietly when he's being nasty and ask why is he like this? He may not say. You could say you want his behaviour to change. Maybe a reward chart (gold stars, treat at end) would help.

Also is he jealous of his little brother? It sounds like it, maybe you're reinforcing DS2 is an angel and DS1 isn't... in which case you need to switch that around.

My neighbour has/had this with her 3 year old DD and her 9 month old DS - DD was insanely jealous, hitting her little brother etc now her father looks after her a lot at weekends, evenings but strangely the DD likes to be daddy and talks in that way. It gets better but the DD hated her DB from the day he was born!

holeinmyheart Tue 04-Nov-14 13:31:37

Mmmm children do behave like this. I have a very demanding Grandson of three. Yours is only three and will not be plotting against you. You just need lots of patience. If you get churned up in anticipation that he is going to kick off , he will be able to sense that you feel annoyed with him. Perhaps he needs some time alone with you where you focus on him instead of your other DC. If you like DS2 better then DC1 , he will know and this is his way of getting attention.
You need to try and relax and keep calm even if you feel like throttling him.
What you are going through is a really stressful time. Children are ruthlessly focused on themselves. They are not interested in whether or not you feel tired or ill. To bring them up as well balanced adults you need to be patient. Are you quite anxious as a person anyway?
Believe me this period soon goes and in a couple of years you will not remember how he behaved. He will remember your behaviour though. He will remember shouting and lack of warmth. Just imagine when you are old and frail and need his help, that he has no patience with you and does not want to spend time with you.
Believe me, every kindness you show to your DC when they are young and vulnerable will be repaid in shed loads.

MrsMarigold Tue 04-Nov-14 13:36:47

My DS is 3 and my DD is 2, he needs time on his own with me.

SuperFlyHigh Tue 04-Nov-14 13:38:23

hole I agree with what you say to some extent but how many times can she excuse his naughty/rude/nasty behaviour and smother it in cuddles and kindness??

even Supernanny would agree that her DS1 needs a firm hand coupled with warmth.

littlesupersparks Tue 04-Nov-14 13:42:00

To answer your question - we have a local nursery nurse who specialises in behaviour and she will come into the home and observe you.

On the other hand, although you aren't seeing other children behave like this, I'm pretty sure it's quite normal. He wants attention but isn't sure how to get it positively. So difficult when you have two!! I would really focus on stuff he likes to do - big boy stuff, brio maybe? when your youngest is having a nap. Lots of positive play together if you can.

MissYamabuki Tue 04-Nov-14 13:47:24

hole makes a lot of sense. Best post I've read in a long time (am in similar situation to OP and very grateful for any advice!)

Albertatata Tue 04-Nov-14 14:00:42

I'm not sure I want to spend more time with DC1. I don't like either of my children better than the other but I do feel I am letting down DC2 by continually having to manage DS1 behaviour. I'm not sure DS1 is particularly jealous of his DC2, apart from a brief spell of pushing over his brother when he started to walk he has always seemed very happy to have him around & they enjoy playing together now.

I do think myself & DS1 seem to have this negative relationship at the moment and I wonder if how I respond to his behaviour is causing that. I do lose my temper eventually & I do get very upset that my days with him seem to be so dismal.

DS1 is absolutely gorgeous intellengent and loving boy but he is also very demanding, intense, loud, defiant & stubborn. Some days I just don't feel up to the job.

Bumpsadaisie Tue 04-Nov-14 14:05:01

Mine are 5 and just turned 3.

They have such sharp antennae for your mood, any anxiety or trepidation you radiate and they pick up on it and fulfil the prophesy.

It's so hard parenting 2 and 3 year olds. They need you to both be sensitive and to understand that they are trying to express something when they are stroppy, they need to dump all their emotions on you and let you carry them and process them, they are too young. You have to act as an old sack into which they can put all their difficult emotions.

They also need you to set boundaries for them. Its draining when they strop and insist on going into the museum NOW or having ALL OF THE PACKET OF HOOLA HOOPS or whatever it is. On the other hand, that is the nature of this age - to challenge and see what you do.

Maybe he was anxious about playgroup. But also, maybe the fact that he didn't have to go unsettled him too, in the sense that he became scared of his own power to dictate events. Perhaps after that he became more anxious and played up in the queue at the museum. It's so hard. You try to be sensitive and not force them into something they don't want to do. On the other hand sometimes they were looking for the boundary and if they find they can push the boundary over they get more anxious and more badly behaved.

It's a very difficult balancing act. My little one was nervous about going back to preschool today after the holidays Genuinely so. So I had to be sensitive and sympathetic. On the other hand he loves preschool and needs encouragement to stick with it and me to be confident for him that it would all be OK. In the end I said he could have a lollipop afterwards if he went which cheers him up and he was fine with it. I think he just needed some encouragement and incentive and to have me acknowledge his fears. OK bribery with sweets isn't great .... but hell whatever works.

Is there any chance you could have any time with JUST your eldest? It might make quite a difference.

He won't be like this forever. Hang in there! With and one and three year old you are right in the deepest part of the trenches at the mo.

Bumpsadaisie Tue 04-Nov-14 14:06:24

PS I do think spending time with just him will help. Yes maybe he doesn't get cross with his little brother any more but he is certainly playing up and no doubt he picks up on the fact that you find him difficult.

Choose something you'd like to do and take him along. Just you and him.

Ladyofthehouse Tue 04-Nov-14 14:14:40

Oh OP I could have written your post! My dd2 is three and a half but every day involves her screaming and shouting over anything! I really don't enjoy spending time with her either and I hate saying that.

I keep thinking its a phase but I remember her like this last christmas and on holiday this year she was a nightmare. She too is an angel at nursery. I can handle the screaming mostly but she does things that are dangerous or destructive whilst glaring at me, then when I get her to stop she'll start the huffing and then screaming and shouting. So if we are out she will climb up fences or doing colouring she'll stab the pencils so hard they all snap!

What I have noticed is she is worse when tired, even if she is just slightly tired, hungry or thirsty but especially if she has had sugar.....have cut out squash and any sweets etc and she is eating better. When she has started in the house I've also put her shoes straight on and walked her round the block.... A bit of fresh air and exercise seems to snap her out of it.

Davsmum Tue 04-Nov-14 14:52:37

I do think myself & DS1 seem to have this negative relationship at the moment and I wonder if how I respond to his behaviour is causing that. I do lose my temper eventually & I do get very upset that my days with him seem to be so dismal.
---------------------------------------------------------------
Albertatata You have probably hit the nail on the head with what you say there. When a child is behaving in this way we do need to look at what WE are doing/not doing and how we have been responding.
Your DS is aware that you want to spend more time with DS2 - it will show through your frustration - He could still be a bit insecure after getting a new brother.
It is not easy when you are in the middle of it - and you have 2 small children.
Would be nice if you could get someone to observe and point out anything they think could be changed.
With young children, preparation before you do/go anywhere is vital - Also making it clear what will happen etc. If bad behaviour starts you do have to remain calm and be consistent making sure you follow through with any consequences.
I do feel for you because working, even part time and having to look after 2 children under 3 is bloody difficult.

holeinmyheart Tue 04-Nov-14 23:28:25

There is no doubt that some children are disliked by their parents and can be used as scapegoats. The whole family can focus on their bad points and then they get cast in the role of ' the bad one' It is well documented.
Passive, well behaved children are so much more attractive when we are tired and fed up, than naughty ill mannered children, who seem to wind us up.
The post's DC1 is only three. He is only at the start of his life. His DM who he is looking to for his emotional well being, is fed up with him. I believe he is too young to be truly naughty. He is reacting to what is going on around him.
I quite understand and in no way am I condemning the Post because being with children all day is boring and exhausting.
However they are our responsibility and they are vulnerable and defenceless. Go ahead and shout at them, pull them roughly about and when they are older they will remember what you did and you will feel guilty.
If you want your children to love you and be respectful, then you have to love them and be respectful towards them, end of.
The post needs to get down on all fours and show love and kindness towards this little three year old, not wish it away. If she doesn't find a way of calming down and treating her eldest son with patience and respect, he will turn the tables on her soon enough.
Sorry post if this seems harsh as you do have my sympathy as we all need a break from relentless child care. However, you are your children's only hope of surviving their childhood in emotional reasonable shape. Resolve to be patient and try to have some understanding of his distress. Please believe me that he is incapable of doing anything to you deliberately. He is far too young. I think he is exhibiting every sign of being jealous.
Can you get help from Homestart to give you a break and get the situation into perspective.
If you don't find some way to love this child in years to come he will be posting on Mumsnet about how he felt you never loved him. It will be too late then.
At least you are aware enough to think that all is not well. Well done ! as that is a start.

Albertatata Wed 05-Nov-14 07:22:52

Hole I love my son unconditionally

TwentyTinyToes Wed 05-Nov-14 07:53:21

Of course you do. That is obvious from your posting. 3 and 1 is really hard work, mine are almost 4 and 2 and it us becoming easier.

What you need is strategies to help you cope, but also an expectation that sometimes it will be hell but that it will pass. So this helps me;
-Keep everyone as well rested and well fed as possible.
-Go out a lot, I find my life is much easier when out plus we don't make a mess in the house.
-Lots of physical activity to tire them out.
-Imagine you are being watched or filmed when dealing with challenging behaviour, if I feel myself losing it I try to walk away and distance myself for a few moments.
-When faced with moaning and general misery from either I sometimes scoop them up and kiss them, tell them I love them or do something outrageous like put music on and dance or suddenly start singing. Sometimes this will snap them out of it.
-Try to spend quality 1.1 time with DS1, this will help immensely. Also look up love bombing.
-Build treats into the day for yourself, whether it be biscuits, bath at the end of the day or a coffee in a cafe whilst they eat biscuits.

TwentyTinyToes Wed 05-Nov-14 08:04:57

Also, I think the point mentioned up thread about how they feed off your mood is very true. I try really hard to be aware of this and I know when DS1 is being particularly difficult often by changing my response I can alter his behaviour radically. This is thoroughly exhausting especially when you are tired but it really can make a difference. Just ignoring much of the bad whilst being relentlessly upbeat and praising any good behaviour (however fleeting) can help.

HSMMaCM Wed 05-Nov-14 08:21:38

I agree with what the poster said about pushing boundaries. When children push boundaries, they want to know they will stay there, because they feel insecure if they move.

Focus on every little thing he does right and give him ridiculous amounts of praise for it.

If you don't want to give him thinking time / time out, then give yourself some. Just leave the room for a couple of minutes and breathe.

Remember children are supposed to explore their emotions and anger is one of them.

You are doing a fab job continuing to take both children out to explore their world. Well done.

Bumpsadaisie Wed 05-Nov-14 11:36:48

I have been thinking a lot about how hard mothering children is.

I work three days a week and since school went back in September to half term just gone, I realise I was, emotionally, focussing a lot on my job, and sort of "fitting in" the mothering around it, "on the days I wasn't working". Of course I still did everything I normally do but I wasn't trying to consciously step up and do a good job of mothering the kids, I felt my job was my professional job that I do three days a week and which is challenging in itself. It wasn't a conscious decision but just that work was busy and I was tired and drifting, plus DH had a lot of problems with his work that were very stressful.

We were getting later and later for school, tempers were frayed and the kids started playing up. We went on holiday at half term and my three year old was difficult and I found myself being really impatient with him and having unreasonable expectations (of course he was nervous about sleeping in a strange house. He is just turned three!). I was grumpy for the whole holiday and in the end DH and I had a big row about my moodiness.

He had a point and since we got back I have spent 10 days trying to mother the children in a more conscious and mindful way, trying to keep calm, to get up early enough that they have enough time to get ready without me losing it, trying to remember at all times that the kids are 5 and 3 and to see myself as the commander of a little army of troops, for whose moral and welfare I am responsible.

Can't quite describe it but the last ten days have been different and we have turned a corner. I have to work bloody hard but I feel on the ball and adult and in control, and the kids are easier now they can feel I am the leader.

Its hard though. No doubt things will slide again as we all get tireder towards xmas but it has been a real lesson to me to remember to treat mothering the children as a role and job I have to live up to rather than just letting it drift into a spiral.

It might not be relevant to the OP but I wonder whether your three year old needs you to kind of put on the platoon commanders uniform a bit and take charge. I might be misreading it but in your post I got a sense of you being ground down by him (and no wonder, you have got a lot on with the baby too), him starting to be able dictate what happens and expressing his anxieties in bad behaviour which then makes you anxious and on the back foot. I know the feeling very well from my own boy.

Could you try drawing a line under this period, scheduling in time alone with your eldest, and faking it till you make it a bit?

Albertatata Wed 05-Nov-14 13:49:40

Thanks everyone. Things got much better by the end of the day yesterday. In fact I think DS1 was majorly tired as he slept 3hrs + at naptime and I had to wake him up after 4pm in the end. He was much better in the afternoon and today he has been the lovely little boy I know and adore - maybe the full days of nursery are taking more of a roll than I appreciated.

Hole - i did find your comments a bit harsh and OTT, at no point did i say i didn't love DS just that i was struggling with his behaviour. the last thing i needed was to be guilt tripped further. On the otherhand there were some great tips and it was nice to hear i'm not the only one. I am going to make sure we have some special time together, be firmer on boundaries & I really liked the idea of when in the thick of dealing with tantrums and losing my temper imagining I'm being filmed so I'm able to take a step back from the situation.

I do feel that my stressors (starting work again, getting then to nursery on time, getting to work on time) can so easily be passed to my DS so I will try & focus on being really organised and try and keep things in check. Thanks folks

Davsmum Wed 05-Nov-14 15:04:52

I don't think holeinmy heart said or suggested you do not love your DS. I think she made some good points.
We may love our children unconditionally - but we do not always show it when we get irritated or impatient of them - THEY will not feel loved when we do this even though WE know we do.
Sometimes, it is those who give us,what we feel are harsh comments, are giving the best advice.
If yu feel guilty - that is not her fault - it is something you should be taking notice of.
Hope you do not think I am being too harsh!

Mollyweasley Wed 05-Nov-14 16:41:46

The fact that he behaves very well at nursery is a very good sign and probably means that he will behave well at school too. DS2 was a very difficult toddler who was also well behave at pre-school and I know that it can be very difficult and disheartening. The trick is 1) not to blame yourself. 2) Keep calm and carry on. Everytime he behaves well or does something nice, write it down. When the going gets tough read your notes, to remind yourself of the nice times.DS2 actually was diagnosed with ASD age 7 (I am not suggesting that yours have) and we are often in a situation that he gets more attention than his siblings but there are often pockets of opportunity to give DS3 attention: we grab them when we can!
I hope things get better for you soon,

TwentyTinyToes Wed 05-Nov-14 17:18:27

I do think hole's comments were harsh. I can read nothing in the OP or later comments that suggest that Albertatata does not love her DC. Nothing whatsoever. She is having a tough time (don't we all sometimes) and wanted some support and ideas.

Glad he is doing better and some calm is restored. I found 3yo much harder than 2yo, everything you mentioned sounds consistent with plenty of 3yo's I know so maybe as much to do with his age as everything else. Good luck!

EssexMummy123 Wed 05-Nov-14 20:35:43

Me to, nothing in the OP posts suggested that she didn't love her DC or that she has anxiety issues.

DC is well-behaved at nursery because nursery have consistent boundaries, i bet there would be an improvement if it was the same at home - easier said than done i know.

ExsqueezeMe Wed 05-Nov-14 21:33:47

I disagree essexmummy it's a temperament issue not a discipline issue. Even if you have extremely consistent boundaries at home highly strung children may still act up. This because they can express their emotions in 'safe' environment amongst people who love them unconditionally. They can't do this an nursery so are better behaved.

Davsmum Thu 06-Nov-14 08:36:51

I do think hole's comments were harsh. I can read nothing in the OP or later comments that suggest that Albertatata does not love her DC.
---------------------------------------------------

holeinmyheart never suggested OP does not love her DS!
She said some children are 'disliked' by their parents - That is not the same as not loving them- Perhaps she should have said dislikes their behaviour - but either way it is not unusual to go through phases where you can dislike your child. Also - she ASKED Op if she was an anxious person - which is understandable if you are trying to work out what may be going on.
I thought her post was helpful - not harsh.

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