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REALLY struggling with 3 yr old ds's new found 'independence9; and defiance...

(5 Posts)
americantrish Mon 25-Jun-07 12:25:53

i'm not the most patient of people on a good day (my worst character flaw and i try to work on this daily), coupled with the marriage problems between me and dh...

ds turned three. yesterday actually. and today he's got me wound into such a tight knot, screaming, tantrumming, throwing food, climbing on chairs. (he's been starting what i've been told is 'typical' 3 year old behaviour for about the last 6 weeks.)

it doesn't help that i lost my temper and shouted at him horribly loud
and he just looked at me and cried. so then i cried and hugged him.
i know there must be some trick to dealing with this and everything else that's going on in your life, i just don't know what it is ...

its one of those days when i feel like i'm failing at this whole parenting thing.

reikizen Mon 25-Jun-07 12:34:45

I'm becoming boring on this subject but my dd1 responded really well to a behaviour/reward chart at a point when I was just losing it and shouting every day. (She had also just turned 3)It was water off a duck's back to her but I was ashamed of myself. She gets to draw a smiley face when she is good (and to start off with I praised almost everything) and a sad face if she is naughty. At the end of a 'smiley' day she got a (small) present and a really big fuss from me and her dad. It worked instantly and we are now back on track. I think it saved my sanity!

americantrish Mon 25-Jun-07 13:43:15

can i ask where you got your star/reward chart from? its something i've thought a lot about doing.
i feel a bit ignorant about everything parenting related today and i dont know why!

blueshoes Mon 25-Jun-07 15:08:09

trish, if this is the first time you've shouted at your ds, you are doing great! Not that shouting is acceptable, but we have all been there, and our little ones just know how to push those buttons, again and again.

I don't think there is any "trick" to parenting that you need to know. I have to admit that stickers, charts, rewards never really worked for my dd. Once she went off on one, there is very little you can do to retrieve her.

All I can say is hang in there. It IS typical of this age - both you and ds need to work through it. Phrase your requests as simply and as calmly as you can (lol). For tantrums, sometimes I put dd in a separate room to cool down (and check frequently), sometimes I cuddle her when she can't calm herself down. I choose my battles, which means that unless it is dangerous or anti-social, I might close one eye (eg climbing on furniture at home) and let dd feel a bit more independent.

Make sure your ds is well watered, fed and slept, otherwise crankiness escalates things.

For books, I try Faber & Mazlisch's How to Talk so Kids will Listen ... Your ds might be a bit young but I like their general approach of empathising as a philosophy.

As for the world's worst parent, that title belongs to me! For shouting too much, whining at dd, stalking off in a strop. We all try our hardest, that is why we screech so much when we think we have failed. You made up with your ds (dd and I make up every day, especially when I am putting her to bed and we chat about how mummy made her sad ). you sound like a kind and caring person. Your ds knows that and (I hope) that is ultimately what our los take away with them. hth

reikizen Mon 25-Jun-07 20:26:25

We made our own chart and I wrote the 'behaviours' that were driving me crazy down one side of a big sheet of paper, and wrote the days of the week across the top making is a box for the (red)smileys to go in. DD1 can't read yet but it gave us some focus so she knew what she had done wrong.I decided to have her draw the smileys rather than put stickers there and she really enjoys it so I'm glad I did. It gives her a sense of control I think. On the rare occasions I have to do a (green) sad face she is really contrite in a way that shouting has never achieved and in fact all I have to say now is 'Shall I get the green pen?' and she is an angel again! I can wholeheartedly recommend it but I think the key is to keep using it for as long as it takes and be really positive when you first start it. Good luck!

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