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Unmanageable 3 year old(6 Posts)
I'm at my wits end with my 3 yo DS. So much so I sometimes feel that I don't like him anymore a lot of the time. He is defiant, dangerously so. If we are walking near a road and I ask him to stop he would grin and run into it, if I ask him not to touch something, he'd grab it and run off, he grabs onto other children and pulls them round, grinning all the time. He's not violent or angry, he just loves getting a rise and it's dangerous. I try to explain simply why he mustn't do these things and he parrots it back but that doesn't stop the impulsive defiance. I want him to have the freedom without me helicoptering but he's a liability. I try to build up little by little but it's one step forward and two back.
I know defiance and impulsiveness is normal but how can I work through it? Any games we could play? Advise on what to say? How can I help teach him empathy? Patience? Books to read? I've decided to stop him watching television in the day as he's not learning how to behave and interact by watching CBBC.
I need the child equivalent of a dog trainer ☹️
How close to 4 is he?
My son hated reins so running away would have resulted in reins being put on. I kept them in my handbag until he was 5 or so and they were effective deterrent.
Do you find saying "no" or "don't" a lot?. It helped me to feel less crap when I started to rephrase things in a positive way. Instead of "Don't run out" it would be "Stay next to me" etc I can imagine that "Don't run out" could inadvertently encourage him to run because you've given him that idea.
3 year olds can be tough (have you noticed how many threads there are on here about them?)
For what it's worth, my advice would be:
1.Take him outside as much as you can (ideally somewhere with no busy roads if possible - a massive park, or a football pitch or a beach..) and get him to run/kick a ball/ride a balance bike/throw sticks for a dog/run with other children whatever, just to be very,very active somewhere safe enough that you don't have to control or supervise his every move.
2. Try to avoid having him with you in situations you know are likely to be challenging for both of you as much as you possibly can for a while. For example, no shopping (if that's something that drives him bonkers) or walking close to busy roads wherever possible - and if you can't avoid it, like PP says, insist on using reins til you feel confident.
3. Choose your battles. Don't be afraid to say no if safety or respect for other people's safety, rights or property are being compromised but if it's a relatively minor thing doesn't hurt anyone try not to sweat it even if it's not ideal. If you have to say no, like PP says, give him a reason. Nomatter what they would have you believe, 3 year olds are plenty able to understand all sorts of things. Just accept that you're going to have to say it about 3 million times over the next couple of years.
For tips and ideas, check out Jo Frost (Supernanny) on Youtube. I don't agree with her on absolutely everything, although I have used a few of her techniques and found them to be a good way of moving through a tricky stage sometimes.
And believe that it won't always be like this! Good luck.
I think for now I'd accept the need to helicopter with the aim to model the way you want him to behave before it gets to a face-off. I agree with the PP about giving the instruction for what you want him to do, rather than not. You'll have to take into account the possibility for doing the opposite. Something like hands down! may work as he might just put his hands up rather than grab something/someone IYKWIM. Roads would be a non-negotiable hand hold/reins etc. I have found with my DS3 (who can be very defiant) that it's sometimes possible to break the upping of the ante with silly humour/distraction and then he'll be more biddable as that battle has ended.
You could look into social stories if you are after some resources. Although they were designed for children with ASD (I have 2 with ASD) they can be good for any child who is struggling with certain behaviour.
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