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3 year old son is aggressive and obnoxious - help!?

(12 Posts)
jetpack75 Tue 30-Aug-16 09:38:44

As I wrote that subject line I thought it sounded so standard and my fears were allayed - slightly. My son who has been at home with me his whole life has become so rude, aggressive and frankly obnoxious over the past few months that to be honest I just don't like being in his company some of the time. So far this morning he has told me repeatedly to "Go away, I don't like you" and has hit and kicked me because I wouldn't let him leave the bathroom until he washed his hands after doing a poo and wiping his bum. I realise this is relatively standard behaviour after reading a number of previous posts but I feel wrung out and I worry that I am being a crap mum as a result. So I guess what I am after is some tips to boost me to enable me to cope better with his behaviour. For example, I have left him watching TV so that I can take a breather and come on here.

I feel so tired of dealing with this day in day out, constantly managing his rude and aggressive behaviour, constantly having to rise above it and not be upset and react to being treated like a servant who is also beaten.

Any help much appreciated!

Thanks x

TeaBelle Tue 30-Aug-16 09:43:21

What consequences does he have at the moment for his behaviour?

I would firstly advise you to pick a couple of things and focus on them - pick your battles or you will be worn out. For me hitting and kicking would be the no no so would tackle them first. Then just be consistent with whatever consequence you choose - I prefer natural consequences to planned punishment. Also be clear with him why the consequence is in place.

Also offer Huge praise for desired behaviour - any tiny thing. If dd does something on the first time of asking she gets praise as it's a good reminder for me to get more praise into the day.

Bumpsadaisie Tue 30-Aug-16 10:44:30

If he is three and at home with you I wonder if these are signs he is ready for a bit of preschool? Three is a good age to start I think.

DollyBarton Tue 30-Aug-16 10:51:05

Could you start to build in some independence for him like a couple of afternoons at playschool? But do sit down and think about what you want to control and what you can let go of. I'd probably spend a week moving him from my company every time he says something so nasty and certainly any violence. He'd be warned at the start of the day that 'I love you and love spending time with you but if you speak badly or hurt mummy you will be put out of the room until you can be kind again'. Then lift and put out over and over till he gets the message. Soon just a warning of being put out when he starts nasty speaking should work.

I think it's just a normal phase. Mine did this a bit for a while but more targeted the nanny than me. He did say things like 'I want to hit you' and a lot of negative speak but it was just a phase as I showed him it wouldn't be tolerated while also chatting with him about it when he was calm and in a normal mood.

LuchiMangsho Tue 30-Aug-16 11:32:40

He might be a bit bored. But that's no excuse for hitting and kicking. It's 'normal' for his age but also something that needs nipping in the bud. I would let him know when he is calm what the consequences are for this kind of behaviour- some kind of 'house rules', and when he breaks them, there are immediate consequences. There are a few days of hell usually but it usually soon settles down.

If he says, 'go away, I don't like you.' You just say 'fine' and walk away and ignore him. Then when he is clambering over you point out that he said 'go away' and saying 'go away I don't like you' might hurt someone's feelings.

Around this age I also find the attention seeking behaviour ramps up. So one point they are lovely and the next minute they go bonkers if your attention is distracted and they have learned how to push which button. After saying a 'no' or a 'we do not do that/speak like that', I have often just ignored. Made myself a cup of tea and found a book and ignored for half an hour. Then when he drapes himself over me, I will say, 'remember the rules?' Mummy does not play with you when you behave like that.
And the reverse is true, so when they are being lovely, tons and tons of praise and extra maternal enthusiasm.

jetpack75 Wed 31-Aug-16 09:51:03

Thanks for all the feedback. He is actually starting nursery next week which we are both very ready for.

I believe I am consistent with him and he has consequences like I take away toys he throws for the rest of the day, he has to sit on a chair in the kitchen for 3 minutes when he is getting too out of control/violent. To be honest I am not a fan of withdrawing myself from him when he gets upset, whatever his behaviour, because I feel this activates his separation anxiety and he will (potentially) cooperate simply out of fear of me not being there. I would rather talk it through with him. I have been thinking about implementing some house rules and will get on this. I think he is old enough now to understand the concept. The praise thing is also a great idea, I do try to do this but probably not enough and if I get tired of hearing myself bark at him he must be drowning under it!

Thanks again x

Mrscog Wed 31-Aug-16 12:13:05

My 3year old DS was awful but is now a delightful 4.5 year old. The real turning point was when I learnt to acknowledge his feelings better and show him I understood. So in your situation I'd have said 'I know, it's annoying having to wash our hands after the loo, I wish I could go and play straight away too but we can't, so let's do it'. I also labelled the emotions for him - I know you're frustrated you have to wash, but hitting mummy won't help, if you hit again I will have to go as it hurts and makes me sad.

Races also became very useful from 3 onwards - 'ok ready steady go, who can wash hands first'?

In fact it's probably some of my old posts you've read!

LuchiMangsho Fri 02-Sep-16 02:43:52

I think you know your child best and you have to use a mix of methods. I don't think 'ignoring' is necessarily withdrawing. You are in the room, you are literally a few feet away, but you say 'calm down and listen', and then I will listen. I find all the talking/explaining works well when they are calm. When they are kicking, screaming, shouting, trying to explain WHY, sends you into a spiral of arguing when they can't process what you are saying. I always say, 'you calm down, if you want a hug, have a hug, but unless you calm down and listen, I am not listening to you.' When they are calm and cuddly, you can say, I want you to do X because of this. And lots of praise when they do listen. Sometimes, there isn't time to explain and sometimes (not all the time, mind), kids just need to learn that a 'no is a no', and if Mummy asks you to do something, you do it.

I remember at a play date, we were leaving, and the kids didn't want to go. One Mum got into this, 45 min battle with her son. She coaxed him, she threatened him (do you want to be left behind?), she tried to reason with him. I was dropping her off, so I couldn't just leave as well. He was hitting, kicking and screaming. The kid was massively tired and hungry. No amount of reasoning at that stage would work. He just literally needed his mum to scoop him up, put on his shoes and into the car seat. I just sat there watching this go on and on and on in circles.

I also agree with the labelling of emotions. If they are disappointed, I always sympathise and say, 'oh you are disappointed because you wanted X didn't you? That's a bit sad, isn't it? Let's have a hug.' And often, what works best is me telling childhood stories of similar things (even made up ones!). So me going, 'you know once upon a time when Mummy was small, she wanted to do X...but then...' and spin a long yarn etc.' And they are so caught up in that they forget. But it also tells them that emotions are normal, and it happened to Mummy too, that Mummy cried, Mummy felt bad, but hey, we all survived!

DecoratingDivvy Fri 02-Sep-16 13:11:26

Hanks for this thread - my 2 year old has started hitting me and the following methods
No!
Withdrawing myself,
sympathy from DH to me and ignoring toddler all ends up in

Toddler hitting me again
It's really tiring

LuchiMangsho Fri 02-Sep-16 13:24:26

You have to keep at it. You really really have to keep at it. The terrible twos are there for a reason. My son woke up, quite literally, on his third birthday much calmer than he was all year. If he is hitting repeatedly, I would say 'no' and remove him somewhere. And then say 'we do NOT hit.'

AperolSpitz Sat 03-Sep-16 07:02:05

Nursery sounds like a great idea - it also might be why he's being negative towards you if you've started mentioning it in a similar timeframe? I am in no way suggesting he doesn't go but maybe there are some feelings of rejection he's battling?

It could of course just be a development phase and I don't think understanding it or pinning it on something changes what you do (lots of good tactics above) but often I've looked back at my DC's odd patches of behaviour and thought "oh, that's when we moved house/changed nanny/grandad got ill/I worked a lot more" in hindsight which helped me understand more and like both of us more as a result (me as a parent, them as a child).

Mrscog Sat 03-Sep-16 08:57:57

I remember at a play date, we were leaving, and the kids didn't want to go. One Mum got into this, 45 min battle with her son. She coaxed him, she threatened him (do you want to be left behind?), she tried to reason with him. I was dropping her off, so I couldn't just leave as well. He was hitting, kicking and screaming. The kid was massively tired and hungry. No amount of reasoning at that stage would work. He just literally needed his mum to scoop him up, put on his shoes and into the car seat. I just sat there watching this go on and on and on in circles.

This is exactly the kind of thing that was happening to me with my 2.5 year old, and then I posted on here and got some really good advice about being 'tougher'. The reality was I hadn't been setting out the boundaries - I'd done lots of strict shouting/threats/punishments more suitable for a 3.5 year old but I hadn't been age appropriate and I'd over complicated.

I started reminding myself that 'Mummy was in charge' and I started a more gentle and forceful approach so 'DS it's time to get in the car now' - if he ignored me/said no etc I'd say ' No we are definitely going, you can walk or I can carry you' If this didn't work I would just scoop him up and put him in. I didn't bother with shoes/coat or anything - it just added more battles and once we were in the car it was very easy then to pop his shoes on.

I can't remember what I did for hitting but it would have been along the same lines, although I soon realised that DS only hit when something was wrong - too tired, hungry, not enough quality attention, disappointment. Acknowledging the feeling (and solving hunger/tiredness where possible) and then holding his arms firmly so he couldn't hit really helped. So 'DS no hitting, it hurts and makes me sad' He'd normally hit again 'DS no, I can't let you hit me - held him firmly but not aggressively, then say 'I know your sad you can't have TV, I wish I could watch TV too but sometimes we need to do other things' all really helped.

He's 4.5 now and a delight 96% of the time.

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