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At breaking point with DS (Three, nearly four)

(12 Posts)
DuchessofNorks Tue 09-Jun-15 19:50:52

I am in desperate need of help.

My DS is pushing me and DH to the limit with his behaviour. I will try not to drip feed but want to summarise the problem without adding unnecessary info.

Whenever we ask DS to do something he refuses flat out. We have to ask him repeatedly and the usual result is he either continues to do something we have asked him to stop doing (e.g. jumping on the sofas) or refuses to do the thing we have asked him to (e.g. putting away his toys and going to bed).

Everything is a fight. He tantrums, cries, screams, stomps and just generally loses his shit. We have tried everything including reward charts, the naughty step, gentle and positive discipline, punishments, you name it we have probably killed ourselves trying.

He goes to school this September. I don't want to dread what little time with him we will have with him when he starts, and the couple of months we have left with him or resent having him here.

I'm desperate. I will literally try anything. I don't believe this goes any further than our bad parenting so I don't think it is down to 'clinical' behavioural issues, but some things got to give and at the moment it's my mental health sad]

NormHonal Tue 09-Jun-15 19:52:32

Does he go to nursery or pre-school?

What do they say?

DuchessofNorks Tue 09-Jun-15 20:02:00

He is fine at nursery. He does as he is told, he is funny, helpful, kind to the other children. Home seems to be the catalyst. He has a sister but took to her really well. He plays with her nicely and seems to like her being around (as much as siblings do).

Jaffakake Tue 09-Jun-15 21:17:00

We had this problem. Mainly due to a new baby. It got so bad a request like "come & get cake from the kitchen " was met with a no!
So I instigated the marble game. He has a pot & if I ask him to do something he gets a marble if he says yes straight away. If he says no we take a marble away. When he fills the pot he earns something, a toy, a magazine, a trip to a cafe. It takes about 2 weeks to fill the pot.
It's totally worked and made it a much happier household.

startwig1982 Wed 10-Jun-15 04:15:18

We had a bit of this with ds. We employed the counting to 3 technique and then taking away a toy. It really works but you must be consistent.

ThumbWitchesAbroad Wed 10-Jun-15 04:42:00

I doubt it's down to "bad parenting", so please stop beating yourselves up sad

You've said you don't think it's anything clinical, but have you heard of PDA? (Pathological Demand Avoidance) It's a stress-based reaction to being asked to do anything, even something they want to do. www.pdasociety.org.uk/resources/extreme-demand-avoidance-questionnaire Here is a link that might help you decide whether or not he fits the bill.

It's worth noting that children with anxiety type disorders can frequently behave very well outside the home, but have put so much effort into doing so, that they've no energy left for it when they get home to a safe environment, where they can just "be" again and unleash all the pent up frustrations.

If it doesn't fit for your DS, then he's pushing boundaries as hard as he can to see what you'll do and you need to be consistent in your responses. Try the marble or toy suggestions, if you haven't already; hope they achieve something for you. thanks wine

DuchessofNorks Wed 10-Jun-15 10:15:47

Thank you all, and thank you Thumbwitch for your kind words. I am beating myself up a little less over it today. I will take a look at the link later and see if he fits.

I will give the marble jar a try and then if it doesn't work toy removal might be the way to go. I have a feeling he might respond if he can see a bit more physically how full his "reward"" glass is depending on his behaviour. He appears to be a very visual learner so it might just nip it in the bud.

Thank you all again for your advice. I think I will very much require wine, patience and consistency in the next couple of weeks!

lazyleo Thu 11-Jun-15 10:09:54

If trying the marble jar, I'd use a small container and decent sized balls / marbles / cotton wool, or whatever it is you will use to fill it. I can be difficult to attain something if it seems unachievable.
For me, when it comes to tidying up the toys the threat of a black bag to put all the toys in gets my two moving sharpish, even just bringing the hoover out of the cupboard works. They know if its not off the floor and away its going to be gone! Harsh but it works here for that particular problem. We have a general rule of no feet on the furniture and physically rmove the child if they are standing on etc - my daughter never does but my son loves to test me!

Baies Thu 11-Jun-15 10:30:42

I think at this age I'd be looking to positively reinforcement good behaviour and completely play down or ignore ( in as far as you can that is! ) bad behaviour. I probably wouldn't go down the road of removing his possessions as it can start off a cycle of complete negativity

I had a lot of this with my now 8 year old. He was really bad and defiant. He also wouldn't behave in other settings either to the point where he was about to be assessed for some sort of additional needs. He used to upend tables in his nursery and refuse to come out from behind cupboards. He was defiant and wouldn't do as he was told.

And now? He's a perfectly behaved 'normal' little boy who does as he's asked. He behaves well at school and is a pleasure to have around. I have absolutely no problems with him whatsoever .

I wish I could tell you exactly how I achieved this but it was a combination of things. After one particularly terrible morning when he refused to brush his teeth before school and was screaming and spitting on the floor I decided to take action. The next morning I put paste on his brush and mildly said ' your toothbrush is there for you if you want to brush your teeth this morning. Just leave it if you don't. ' and I left it at that. Of course he didn't brush his teeth. But by day three of the same routine he just brushed his teeth. It was almost like he didn't have anything to rebel against anymore if that makes any sense? So I started applying the same technique to other stuff... I'd sit in his room and engage him in chat about his favourite subject... Minecraft! Once he was in full flow with me I'd start picking up stuff in his room and in between talk I'd say ' just pop this away ' and ' put these socks over there ' etc and he just did it along with me tidying also,

These sound like very stupid and simple things I know. I did loads of stuff along the same lines and didn't do punishments or rewards or anything like that. I suppose I just took a different approach to parenting him - and admittedly , not one that sits very well with me! I'm very much of the ' do as I say ' school of parenting but it didn't work with him.

It took a while and he matured and like I said, he's brilliant now. Of course I no longer need to employ these techniques and he's just told ' uniform on please and teeth! ' in the mornings( for example ) - but the difference is he now just says ' yes mum ' and goes and does it.

Sorry for the load of waffle but hopefully you'll be able to glean something from it

MrsSheRa Thu 11-Jun-15 10:52:28

Op it is in no way down to bad parenting so please stop telling yourself this even though I have told myself that on occasion , his behaviour at school clearly shows your good parenting

I have a dd the same age as yours and am going through the exact same thing, exact same behaviour troubles.

I don't know how popular or even helpful my advice is but the best way I deal with it is to turn a blind eye or make a joke/take the mick out of them.
I have lost my temper hundreds of times and shouted but really this just makes everyone upset. I'm just firm and non negotiable about things like getting ready for bed on time, tv or ipad usage, the amount of sweets or juice she has and I let her get away with a certain amount of "cheek".

Everything else I just ignore. I used to tell her off about climbing on the sofas too but when you're 3 it's just too much fun I suppose. Dd also never tidies up her toys so I say "come on we'll do it together" and sort of divide the pile and get her to chuck it in the box and make it fun somehow.

The taking away of toys as a punishment method never worked for us. Just made her more defiant really, and she never cared how many stickers she could earn for doing well!

Generally I try to imagine how I would feel about these situations if I was a small child, and sort of "compromise" with them.

deliverdaniel Sun 14-Jun-15 04:08:35

sympathies OP- this was/ (still is a bit) our DS but we are about 9 months ahead of you. It was awful and I felt like the worst mum in the world. One thing that helped us was a book called 123 Magic. It's one of those things though that you really have to do the exact thing it says, not just improvise your own version, or else it doesn't really work. Good luck. It got better for us- he's still like this sometimes but much less frequently and mainly when he's tired or there's an actual reason. It's hard though.

MiaowTheCat Sun 14-Jun-15 19:23:48

I think it's an age thing - not really a bad parenting thing (although we always assume it's something we're doing "wrong" don't we)... DD1 is there at the moment and she's being bloody awful - but she's just a very intelligent girl working out where the boundaries lie and making sure they're consistent (in the most soul-crushing, relentless manner possible for me and DH!)

I've found we'll get a couple of really shitty weeks and then she'll be back to the delightful little girl she can be, and the cycle seems to repeat - made much worse when she's tired, and after her first year of preschool nearing the end - she's shattered at the moment. I'm doing a LOT of picking my battles, tactical ignoring and praising the slightest bit of positivity at the moment... and a lot of wine drinking when bedtime's come!

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