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Is your three year old like this? And what to do about it?

(11 Posts)
emkana Thu 13-May-04 17:15:36

Dd1, who's very nearly three, can be lovely, but at the moment she's trying it on more and more, and is really getting on my nerves sometimes, especially as we've just had a week stuck indoors as she had chicken pox. She had a MASSIVE tantrum a few minutes ago because I wouldn't let her any more to eat as we're having dinner in an hour. This kind of thing happens all the time at the moment. Sometimes I try to compromise (eg you can't have a biscuit but you can have some raisins), and it helps, but sometimes I feel I must really put my foot down in order not to be a pushover, and then she generally REALLY loses it.
I wonder which is the way to go? And I also wonder if her time with her grandparents is anything to do with it (two afternoons a week)- they spoil her rotten, granting her every wish. So far I thought that she clearly knew that what goes there doesn't go here, but now I'm not so sure anymore. Do you think I should talk to them and ask them to tow the party line? Or limit the time dd1 goes there? Or do you think she would be like this anyway, and it's nothing to do with her grandparents?
Thanks for any advice - it really winds me up at the moment!

bundle Thu 13-May-04 17:27:34

boundaries, don't you just love em?
I found this too with dd1, the so-called terrible twos never materialised and she only started pushing things when she was 3. I think you have to be quite tough (depending on what it is you are dealing with, ie don't make every minute thing an issue but things which are important to you will soon become obvious to her eg you don't try to drown your younger sibling, but you might have your teatime/bedtime at a slightly different time if something important is happening) and the grandparent thing complicates this a lot. I'm quite strict on not leaving the table before everyone has finished eating and dd usually observes this now, although I occasionally give in if she's particularly tired & wants to chill out for a bit. oh - and she knows it winds you up, but you knew that anyway, didn't you
and I sometimes use distraction when I can't be bothered fighting but don't want to be seen to give into her demands.

katierocket Thu 13-May-04 17:31:32

I read an article about this the other day - they had a great name for this period, the *threenager*. Like a mini teenager with all the tantrums and even less sense than a real teenager. My ds is only 2.6 so not got there yet but my friends have had similar probs with their 3 yr olds.

hatter Thu 13-May-04 18:58:53

You're not alone, my nearly four year old throws some prize wobblies sometimes. For what it's worth (and I'm probably in no position to give advice tbh!) I'd say - don't give in but also try (and it's really tough) not to get cross or wound up. I'm not sure about the grandparents thing - I've always been astonished at the way in which my two adapt to different adults - from a very early age they seem to suss that there are different rules with different adults. So the grandparents might be making a rod for their own backs but not totally convinced they'll be doing it for you as well.

sar7 Thu 13-May-04 22:32:43

My nearly three year old does this too. Sometimes I am amazed at where the rage comes from. It's usually pretty short lived and I find that if I stay firm but calm it does help the situation or at least mean that it all dies down very quickly. I completely lost it the other day and was so angry (it had been a bad few days) that I went in the kitchen and just screamed. Today DS screamed in anger and later he said 'Sorry for screaming like you do, mummy'. Lesson learned, I will trying harder to keep to my firm but calm mantra from now on. Good luck!

Jane101 Fri 14-May-04 10:07:16

My 3 year old ds seems to have suddenly got a lot naughtier too. I also screamed yesterday. He'd been winding me up all day (e.g. switching off the vacuum cleaner repeatedly as I was trying to vacuum the floor). Finally, as I was drying him after his bath, he grabbed the towel, threw it in the bath and turned on the tap - and I lost it. It actually made me feel better, and didn't seem to worry him at all. He just looked surprised and said -"What happened Mummy? You went loud." I'm not really recommending regular screaming as the answer though.
I like the "threenagers" thought - it's definitely not all over after the "terrible twos".

susanmt Fri 14-May-04 10:19:49

One of my friends said the terrible twos were as nothing compared to the 'thrawn threes' - thrawn being a good old Scottish word for being totally stubborn and unreasonable. And she's right!. I'm just getting over the thrawn threes with my now much more compliant 4 year old but am dreading my 2.3 year old getting there as he is already stubborn.

The other person I know who is 'thrawn' is my 81 year old Gran. says it all really!

Azure Fri 14-May-04 10:28:17

Oh, the paddies DS (2.8) has these days. On Wednesday he was inconsolable for over 10 minutes after coming home because I had shut the garden gate, on Monday because I took his socks off before his bath. Firm but calm works for me too, as well as heaps of distraction, although to stop myself screaming I often go into another room and shut the door. Love the phrase "threenagers". Emkana, I think you're right to have established that what is acceptable at DD's grandparents' is not acceptable at your house, and that you should remain firm at your house (as appropriate), rather than limit the time DD spends at her grandparents or asking them to change their ways.

throckenholt Fri 14-May-04 14:33:42

sure - talk to them - explain she is really pushing the boundaries a bit at the moment and ask them to help you by sticking to similar limits.

However, I hate to say it - but it is her age. My DS1 is three in July and he is throwing major screaming fits at the moment over nothing very much. Today it was because I wouldn't let him stay strapped in his car seat when we got home ! Yesterday he just woke up grumpy after his afternoon sleep, and yelled for 1/2 an hour. The other day because he didn't want his nappy changed before bed. He also demands whatever he can't have, and if by some chance he gets it, then he wants something else.

Ignoring is supposed to be best, but it is not easy when they are so persistant. Distraction doesn't work at all for us. Stubborn little blighter.

Jaybee Fri 14-May-04 15:46:17

Emkana - this sounds so familiar - my mil and fil used to have dd every afternoon for me so she could go to the nursery attached to her school (which was only half a day). My dd was an absolute madam, again usually after biscuits constantly - she would scream and scream and strop because I wouldn't let her have them (I knew it was because mil and fil used to let her). I even got the 'she never does that at my house' comment from mil once when dd was mid strop and I was trying to ignore her - my response to that was 'well you obviously never say no to her requests for a biscuit then, no wonder she does this to me' (a very bad timed comment). I used to try and remain calm, ignore the screams and strops and not give in. I would tell dd that I didn't like the amount of biscuits that Grandma lets her have but she is kind enough to have her everyday but my rules are my rules and just because she has her way at Grandma's doesn't mean she can have her way at home.
Dd is 7 now - she still strops occasionally but they do realise what the rules are and that no matter how hard they push they will not change. Mil on the other hand still has alot to learn - although she did admit to me the other day that she always thought I was too strict with my two when they were little but she now admits that she can see the benefit - I think that was my first compliment from my mil on how my kids have been brought up - probably the last too.

tiredemma Fri 14-May-04 21:12:29

my ds1 (age 3.8) is a nightmare at the moment, constantly demanding things and throwing himself to the floor if i say no to anything, today i took hig im to the wacky warehouse, he was the only child in there and a good run around, then i told him that it was time to go so he refused, went to one place in the climbing frame contraption thingy that he knew i would never be able to reach him and proceeded to laugh at me, shouting "see if you can get me mommy" i was standing below him getting stressed out as ds2 was crying for food, eventually (after 20 mins) i had to ask the young girl working in there to help me out, she had to turn the lights down ,the music off and pretend they were closing to get him out, ive never seen him move so quick, the girl must of thought that i had no control at all over at him. i can laugh at it now but god, i was so stressed out!

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