3yo behaviour - professional help?(6 Posts)
Has anyone had / can recommend some professional help for 2.9 DS behaviour? We're really struggling and just feel like we can't do it anymore, we feel like we're failing him.
Our biggest issues at the moment are hysterical bedtimes every night where we all end up shouting / acting aggressively, DS deliberately hitting his new baby brother, complete defiance over everything, pinching / hitting us (parents). He has no respect for us at all and everything we've tried doesn't help. I feel like I need a 'super nanny' type person to help! Any ideas?
I actually think his behaviour stems from his sleep issues. Hysterical bedtimes mean he's usually not asleep until gone 9pm, and then wakes between 6/7am. It's just not enough. He does have a short nap at nursery but not at home (we actively avoid it as it means he might go to sleep by 8 if he doesn't). So maybe a sleep consultant might be better? I feel like he's overtired but just can't get himself to sleep earlier in a relaxed peaceful way - it has to be a battle and he eventually sobs / passes out.
He is delightful a lot of the time and great a nursery or with grandparents but the bad behaviour with us is impossible & exhausting (especially with a 4 week old baby). I just don't know what's normal and what's not.
Any advise / recommendations? Thank you
DS was 3 when DD arrived. I suspect it's wanting your attention that is behind the behaviour so some things we did were:
Had 'special time' before bed. I'd put the baby to bed and DH would spend that time with DS doing anything he wanted (not tv or chocolate though ) then we had a calm bedtime with DS.
Also if DS and the baby both needed me at the same time I prioritised DS - obviously not if the baby was hungry or in pain. I figured DS would remember but the baby wouldn't and I wanted DS to remember it as a happy time.
Finally DS was an early riser do we worked on him being in bed by 7 so even when he was up at 5 he'd still had a good sleep.
It's a tough time so take it easy
Oh and it's a good thing if he only behaves badly with you. It means he feels safe enough to let his feelings show.
I've heard with children who are awful to put down to bed the answer is to bring bed time forward an hour. So if you start bedtime at 7.30, start it tomorrow at 8. Once or twice my DH and I went for a long drive with my DD at bwdtime when we had our newborn because we just couldn't put up with more shit from her as well. A long drive, quiet radio, slightly warm fan blasting out.
The book 123 Magic is really good for behaviour
Difficult times with big change in the family, take it easy - and give lots of treats and special time but keep up with expecting good behaviour and walk the line between treating and spoiling. Such a difficult time, think it took my DD 3 months to truly settle after DS came along.
A sleep consultant requires quite a big investment (in terms of time and energy) from you which may be tricky with a four week old baby. On the other hand the alternative of continuing as you are may be more difficult.
We had a good experience with a sleep consultant for DD who is 3 (DS is 2 and very easy at bedtime). She sorted out bedtime for us and also advised us that DD was not getting enough sleep and therefore some of her behaviour, particularly at bedtime, was due to being overtired / running on adrenaline.
Behaviour certainly has improved now that she gets more sleep. Bedtimes will never be 100% straightforward with DD I think but at least we now have a plan which we stick to consistently and most evenings it goes ok.
Thank you for all of your replies and sorry for my delay - it's been another whirlwind of a day DS1 behaviour was actually a lot better today. Bedtime was still stressful, but he was asleep by 8:30 (although he was exhausted after an afternoon at a party).
I think the arrival of ds2 is certainly a factor. He's asking for me to do everything, right down to bring the one to open the stair gate for him and goes into meltdown if DH does it. We've really tried to give him special time and calm bedtimes but it's hard with new baby cluster feeding all evening. I just can't get baby to bed yet, he's still so young and just wants boob! I'm sure things will get easier once baby is going to sleep at 7.
I'm going to get 123 magic as the reviews look like what we need - clear instructions on what to do rather than loads of background info on toddler behaviour. Will see how it goes but not ruling out sleep consultant as I really think sleep is the root cause of everything! His sleep has always been our nemesis!
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