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Is this normal for a 3 year old.

(10 Posts)
Capoeirak Fri 17-Jul-15 20:47:07

I'm having an increasingly difficult time with my 3.5 year old and I wondered if it was just part of being 3 or something else. He's a very bright but quite sensitive boy. He won't take part in most games at birthday parties, won't go down a slide unless he's holding my hand, doesn't like to play with most children at nursery, he prefers the adults. He is very clingy with me whenever I'm with him, saying I don't want to go on that trampoline as I just want to stay next to you and often cries when daddy comes home as he wants it to be just me and him. He does have a little brother who is 16 months and has frequent jealous behaviour, snatching toys, pushing him over, telling me he likes to hurt him and make him cry. This evening I told him he would only get pudding if he ate all of his dinner, he told me he would take his knife and cut me with it if I didn't give him pudding, at which point I put him to bed without pudding! I find myself increasingly getting cross and raising my voice, which isn't like me as I'm usually pretty chilled out and feel like someone who copes well with the challenges of parenting. However I'm sure my frustration is making things worse but he's just pushing all my buttons, I feel like im failing him as a mum as im trying everything to get him to improve but he seems to be getting worse. On days like today I don't like being a parent very much.

Fannyfannakerpants Fri 17-Jul-15 21:12:24

I hope it's normal. Some of it anyway. I have a 3.5 year old and 1yo and he's bloody hard work. I think its an age where they are realising that they are part of a much bigger world Full of rules that they have no idea how to follow and you are the only safe thing around. Can you either get a break from both of them or spend a day just with him. If he's craving attention then maybe a day spoiling him would help? And although a little scary,I wouldn't worry about the knife thing personally. This week I've been 'powed' several times. Again,I think it's picking up on the outside world. They just need to learn what's acceptable. I'm sure someone else will be along to give much more help but you are doing a good job.

LongDivision Fri 17-Jul-15 22:32:01

Fannyfannakerpants, I think your post is brilliant. I've been wondering why my 3.5yo does the same thing - gets clingy in certain situations, and I think you've hit the nail on the head: it's when he doesn't quite know what the rules are, or how to interact with the others, and so he's clinging on to safety. This is a huge help for me - thank you!

Capoeirak Fri 17-Jul-15 22:46:28

Thanks for responses, your "getting powed" made me laugh. When I think about it the other thing thats maybe affecting him is that I went back to work in May after 15 months at home with them both, he didn't seem too bothered at first but maybe this is a bit of a delayed reaction. I only work 3 days but I think my transition back to work has been much harder for my eldest that the younger one who's still in the relatively easy per toddler stage. I think you're right that he maybe needs some time just me and him for a day, which he hasn't had for a while.

Hellionsitem2 Fri 17-Jul-15 22:56:05

Hanging with you at the edge of a party (and other similar behaviour) is a sign that he really needs you. So try and help him feel as secure as possible, don't push him forward. Let him take strength from you.

Capoeirak Sat 18-Jul-15 10:58:22

I do try to push him forward and it never works. I can see that just sitting and being calm, observing and talking about it would work better. I think I also need to expect that he'll cling to me and not be surprised and talk about what's going to happen before we get there so he's as prepared as possible.

Hellionsitem2 Sat 18-Jul-15 23:17:19

Also arrive 5 minutes or so early when you can

Misty9 Sun 19-Jul-15 18:58:35

Well you sound like you're doing a better job than me! And we have so many parallels it's untrue; ds is 3.10, dd is 15 months, and I just started working three days a week in May too! I however have always been shouty but it's getting worse sad

I feel like I'm constantly battling ds for control and the more I try to get it, the more he digs his heels in and won't budge! He's defiant, throws things and gets frustrated at the drop of a hat. I've had enough. Luckily he's pretty good with dd, and an amazing big brother in general, but me and him have always had problems. He's a daddy's boy.

We're hoping that age four will be easier! Any magic solutions you come across, please send them my way grin

MiaowTheCat Mon 20-Jul-15 19:58:32

DD1 used to be like this - to the extent it took me over a year before she'd finally do the little toddler slide at soft play! I realised fairly early on that trying to pressure her to join in or do something really never ever worked and what did was backing off completely and just letting her innate nosy streak take effect.

Lots of talking about how you don't have to like everything but giving things a try once to see if you like it can be good - and we watched the bloody Bing episode about him getting scared of going down the slide endlessly (well, we watch Bing endlessly anyway).

It's just suddenly clicked with her - she's 3 1/2 now and while she'll still enjoy hanging around adults attention seeking at times - she's turned into the kid who runs off, promptly acquires five new "best friends ever" and is busy playing one of those bizarrely complicated games that just involves running around randomly yelling to outsiders but makes perfect sense to preschoolers... and she volunteered to go first of absolutely everyone at her sports day at preschool the other week in front of all the parents. It's literally like someone's flipped a switch in about the last month or two and she's gone from being the "I can't go down the slide" kid to the one at the top of the playframe in soft play!

I think what's also helped is, like you mention, I've also got a younger one (although with a much smaller age gap - my younger one is two, with 11 months between them) who is much more of a... um... robust personality so I think that scaffolded things a little for DD1 as well.

FlossieTreadlight Tue 21-Jul-15 15:10:12

This is really reassuring to read - was about to post similar. My 3.7yo just won't join in. Eg Won't sing happy birthday at a party or be sung to, refuses to participate in groups until about 20 mins until the end, won't join in facilitated games like hide and seek organised at a group we go to. I don't want to force her to do anything but also don't want her to miss out. If we go to playgrounds she will make buddies and she's fairly gregarious so it's always a bit of a shock.

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