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for the love of pete, how do I stop the following behaviours in my 3 year old...

(21 Posts)
jimijack Tue 08-Mar-16 09:27:55

Raspberry blowing, to me, it's spitting, but it's constant. It's all the fecking time, worse if told that he is aggressive with it.

Hitting, doing alot of this at the moment.

Screaming, high pitched screaming, loud screaming, ears bleeding screaming.

Won't eat ANYTHING, plate after bowl of food/meals go untouched. Unless it's crisps/biscuits/chocolate he will not eat. (Doesn't get any of these obv)

Sleep, he is in and out of my room/ bed up to 5 times a night. I am shattered.

I am struggling to cope with all of this, I find it difficult to keep my cool, have before now walked out of the room & gone upstairs shut myself away from him because I am so angry I need to get away.

FrumpleMum Tue 08-Mar-16 10:27:51

My DS is 3. He has done all of the above behaviours at times, except the getting up out of bed at night (luckily for us). I usually just ignore raspberry blowing and screaming. He's only 3, he's just being silly, it doesn't really bother me that much. It's just a phase, they grow out of it. He sometimes hits too. Again, I don't really make a big deal out of it, just firmly say "no, no hitting", then carry on with whatever we were doing, maybe change the subject or distract him with something else. I don't get angry with him. I feel that if you don't make a big deal out of it, it doesn't become a big deal IYSWIM. I'm quite tolerant about messing around/silliness, they are still young after all. That's not to say that I would allow nastiness/bad behaviour, or dangerous things, just that I have quite relaxed expectations about the kinds of behaviours are normal for a 3 year old boy.

Don't worry, you are doing great! I think its something that all children go through at some point.

flumpybear Tue 08-Mar-16 13:20:32

My nearly four year old sounds similar - I am hoping it's a stage. I have a seven year old girl who grew out of similar behaviours but can't recall exactly when - I think about three and a half as that was when her baby brother was born and she grew up suddenly over a few months

Cuttheraisins Tue 08-Mar-16 13:26:11

I disagree with other posters. Hitting is completely unacceptable even from a three year old. What do you do now when he hits? Who does he hit?

jimijack Tue 08-Mar-16 13:32:45

He hits me. I tell him that we don't hit because we don't.

Any other suggestions?

flumpybear Tue 08-Mar-16 13:35:58

Have you tried telling him that makes mummy sad, do you want mummy to feel sad? Or trying thumbs up and thumbs down for his behaviour?!

jimijack Tue 08-Mar-16 13:45:37

Yes to the sad thing, ignored, shouted, naughty step, walking away, .....

It is all a phase I know but it's SO challenging.

WhirlwindHugs Tue 08-Mar-16 13:48:01

Does he go to nursery/preschool? How is his behaviour there?

ScarlettOHaraHamilton Tue 08-Mar-16 13:49:49

Can I ask if you have chosen one thing - ignoring, walking away etc - and followed it through consistently for a week or so?

It's hard working out what your child will understand. Some children will accept the naughty step, others will hate to be walked away from.

ProfGrammaticus Tue 08-Mar-16 13:55:14

In no particular order,

Pick one behaviour at a time that you want to change, and stick to that. Be slacker on the others.

Sticker charts/ pasta jars work at this age

Stay calm yourself. Outwardly if not inwardly.

Bunny clock?

Repeat instructions. Give whatever consequence you have threatened on Three, where One is instruction, Two is repeat of instruction and statement of consequence.


Millionprammiles Tue 08-Mar-16 14:28:21

If I were you I'd tackle the hitting first. In a 3 yr old this isn't 'silly'. Its old enough to understand hitting can hurt.

For hitting/biting/pushing/spitting type behaviour we would say a firm 'No, that is not a nice thing to do, that hurt mummy etc', making eye contact at his level. Then send on 'thinking time' for 2 mins. With our dd this would be in her room, by herself with the door shut. If she came out before the 2 mins was up, she was sent back in. This worked much better for us than her being sat on a step within sight of us.
After the 2 mins another chat about why it wasn't nice behaviour and how it made mummy feel etc and a hug and a sorry.
For really persistent behaviour I've confiscated favourite toys.

Dd's nursery follow a similar strategy (though the kids are never out of sight and always with a staff member).

Re eating, if a meal doesn't get eaten don't offer an alternative. If he's hungry later, offer the same meal again. Maybe works better with something cold/re-heatable!
Dd sometimes kicks off at dinner time, she's given the option of either eating her dinner or being put to bed (at 5.30pm). I've never actually had to follow that through but I would if I had to.

A 3 yr old of a healthy weight can miss a meal or two and the amount they eat varies from day to day anyway.
Obv if you've concerns about your ds being underweight then you might have to think of other strategies (eg using tv or chocolate as rewards etc).

There's a leap in understanding between a 2 and a 3 yr old. Ignoring/distraction I think suit a 2 yr old but by 3 most kids are starting to deliberately push boundaries even though they understand the rules (all very normal). We focus on 'this type of behaviour produces this type of consequence for this reason'. Reinforced, again and again.

Hang in there, it can be really tough. We've all walked away to silently scream in frustration at some point.

SerenityReynolds Tue 08-Mar-16 20:51:52

Marking place. My DD1 (3.1) is driving us a bit crazy at the moment with boundary pushing. Yy to the above (admittedly half hearted but still intentional) semi-spitting and hitting out when frustrated, not listening to instructions to stop when walking/scooting ahead, tipping out toys all over the place and then stopping when asked to help with tidying, giggling/ignoring when being reprimanded. Just drives me bananas and totally unsure how to best deal with it.

jimijack Thu 10-Mar-16 22:43:43

Oh the tipping of toys and my favourite...20 piece jigsaw all over the floor, and if he removes the cushions from my sofa and throws them round the room one more time I'm going to fucking scream.

Puddles of piss all over my house, turns on my bedroom carpet are all doing my head in, I'm just fed up and down about it all.
It's just hard.

minipie Thu 10-Mar-16 22:47:16

I would tackle the sleep because tiredness makes all bad behaviour more likely.

Why do you think he is up so often? Is something disturbing him or is it a habit? What happens if you let him stay in your bed (not suggesting this as a solution just wondered if it improves his sleep or not)? Oh and does he nap?

howiloveanicecupoftea Thu 10-Mar-16 22:54:11

I'm sorry but thumbs up and thumbs down to behaviour?! No you tell them what's acceptable and what's not and hitting is not. Don't be fannying about with silly signs.

IAmAHologram Thu 10-Mar-16 22:59:28

I have a three year old.

The sleep thing, a night light helped a lot. And if he comes through to us, he gets sent straight back. Minimal engagement.

Toys, I totally ignore during day time. Before bedtime we ask him to tidy them up. Tbh, it'd be easier if we did it ourselves, but we do at least try to get him to do it. (Jigsaws are kept in special 'must be asked for' cupboard.)

Hitting, thinking time. 'We don't hit in this family, it's not kind' plus three minutes sitting down quietly in whatever room we're in. Hitting whilst we're out means we come home. (I only had to do that once, now he believes.)

Food, you eat it or you don't. We have three meals and two snacks and everyone knows that, so if you don't eat your lunch at lunchtime you don't get to ask for it later. But I do make sure it's food that he likes, I'm not trying to get him to eat anything I know he hates.

Hope that's maybe useful...

jimijack Thu 10-Mar-16 23:06:34

No idea why he is up so often. He gets in our bed and takes over, I end up in a tiny ball on the edge of the bed, freezing with no sleep. It's from midnight onwards.

Last night I watched the documentary on Dunblain. Wtf am I moaning about. I have absolutely no fucking right moaning.
None of this actually matters in the greater picture.
It's all a phase, it's not forever and oh my God I am SO lucky to have my children.

So ignore me, I see things differently. Yes it's hard but so will the next phase be, really, it's about taking things as they come and teaching them a different way isn't it. And yes, I agree, one thing at a time.

In other words, shut the fuck up Jimi, and just crack on...

IAmAHologram Thu 10-Mar-16 23:15:02

You don't have to feel bad because something awful happened!

Kids can be annoying. They're exhausting, moreso when they don't even let you sleep. Don't feel guilty about being tired, grumpy and irritated!

You can't fix him being 3, but you can fix a lot of the undesirable behaviours, you really can.

You sound exhausted. flowers

Xmasbaby11 Thu 10-Mar-16 23:19:14

I think it does matter. It has quite a damaging effect on your life and happiness when you're exhausted and worn down with bad behaviour. Certainly for me, I don't feel happy when dd is persistently naughty, and when I hear about or see other children behaving well, it's like a knife in the heart. So you are absolutely entitled to be fed up and want to change things.

I agree with pp that it's best to tackle one thing at a time. 3 yo have annoying behaviour but hitting is worse so I'd deal with that first, or sleep, if that is bothering you most.

Dd is 4 (just) now but had some of the problems your ds does. You really have to pick a strategy that suits him. I couldn't have put dd in her room for example as she hated being alone and would get more upset - I sat with her on the stairs and wouldn't let her play again. I tried reward charts but she didn't get them and there was no improvement. I found it worked best if I stayed calm and gentle. .though it was difficult!

minipie Fri 11-Mar-16 10:00:13

A sense of perspective is always good but you don't have to put up with DC poor behaviour just because you're glad they're alive!

Ok, on the sleep, first try talking to him about why he wakes/comes to you (realise he may not be able to explain but worth a try). Does he have a night light, special toy, things that might make him more secure in his own room. Is he warm enough? - I realised DD's room was freezing and layered her up. Then once you think all the practicalities are sorted, you can tell him at bedtime he is going to sleep all night in his bed, and you will be so proud of him if he does etc. Then if he gets up be tough about returning him to his room - no discussion just straight back and night night, night time is for sleeping morning is for cuddles. A reward chart might help too.

I really think if the sleep improves then everything else will too (including the hitting, DD lashes out if she is tired).

LoisGriffinIsMyHero Fri 11-Mar-16 14:24:29

I'm going through the exact same thing with my 3 yo and was just about to write a post. It seems ds actually wants me to lose it and make him cry and only then does he comply. Definitely challenging. But I don't really want to rely on me scaring him and making him cry to behave but I've tried depriving him of toys, time out, time in but it's like he's trying out every naughty behaviour he can muster. He hits his sister, had a phase of it at nursery too. He's refusing food, throws toys, spits and screams and shouts a lot too. I think I'm starting to understand he needs to grow out of it and a lot of repetition of the same consistent response from me along with lots of positive reinforcement for any good behaviour is my only, very long term way out. Best of luck to anyone with a three year old. They're way worse than the supposed terrible twos!

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