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I need to be more patient with my 3 yo. Can I have some help please?

(53 Posts)
uberalice Wed 05-Sep-07 14:04:47

I'm feeling really bad just now. Several times a day I lose my temper with ds2 who's 3. He's a really lovely boy, and not really that naughty, but he's boisterous and often ignores me when I ask him to do something, so I end up asking him nicely about half a dozen times, and then exploding. He then gets upset and I apologise.

It's bothering me that these mixed messages are going to damage his self esteem in the long run as he's quite a sensitive boy. I know his behaviour is normal, and I can't expect anything better of a 3 yo, but I really need to learn to be more tolerant.

Can anybody offer any tips / advice?

cheeset Wed 05-Sep-07 14:26:55

Hi, just been discussing tantrums on another thread, similar thing. Need to get down at eye level and state your request, explain consequence or treat,if not followed thro then act if ignored-mummy means business!So hard when you have other things to do in the home to let the request kinda flounder but this is the technique I use coupled with lots of praise and cuddles if he follows thro and does what you asked him to do. Dont ask him half a dozen times thats the key-then you wont be dissapointed(sorry if I sound too full on)! just wanna helpsmile.

MilaMae Wed 05-Sep-07 17:03:28

Me too, could have written it myself, will watch with interest.

One thing I have started is sticker charts for my 3 year old twins and soon to be 3 dd but also one for me too. I get a sticker every time I tell them off without shouting when I get 30 I'm getting my hair coloured.

I just wanted to acknowledge that my shouting wasn't the right way to handle things. I also got sick of apologising for shouting as I felt it looked as if I wasn't trying hard enough thus not setting a good example for them trying to improve as I seem to be quite shouty these days when telling off.

Anyway strangely enough I seem to be shouting, exploding less- no idea why. Am thinking maybe I'm noticing more when I don't shout which is quite a boost to your confidence. It's probably not the right thing to do but seems to work for us. I wanted the kids to know that none of us are perfect and I'm trying like them to improve.

They of course love it. winkI did warn them that if they're in danger or need a good rollicking I will be shouting, it's the exploding over the drip feed of tiny things I'm working on.

law3 Wed 05-Sep-07 17:41:29

I agree with cheeselet, you should tell them once, if they dont do as you ask follow it up with a consequence.

If you ask 10 times before you actually do something to make them stop what they are doing, to a child that means mummy doesnt mean what she says the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc, etc she says it. So i can carry on until she has asked another 9 times before she means business!!!

With my 3 year old for example i tell him stop whatever he is doing or you will have to sit on the step. If he doesnt stop, he sits on the step for 3 minutes. If he does stop then its well done, thank you, good boy etc.

If you want him to do something like pick up toys, get dressed etc, i find making fun is the best way. I will count and see how long it takes you to pick up your toys or we have a race to see who can pick up the most (with him being really fast and me being really slow!!)

Othersideofthechannel Wed 05-Sep-07 18:52:45

There's a bit in 'how to talk so your kids will listen' about exactly your problem.

You could try counting ie give them until 3 to stop doing something you don't want or to do something you want. Gives them a bit of more of a chance to get it right. At first you have to warn - if you don't stop by the time I get to three then xxxx will happen but soon they get the hang of it and you just have to count.

DD has heard me do this with DS since she was a baby so sometimes when she is the one I am counting for she says 'don't count Mummy and rushes to cooperate with my request'

In the book they suggest warning when your patience is running low eg it is the size of a melon, orange, tiny pea... for a while I adapted this to show DS where the shout is by pointing to my tummy, sternum, neck, then final stop before the shout comes out is chin. Although now I am trying to avoid using this technique because I don't think threatening to shout is a great idea, but it is very effective and I still use it when too tired to do anything that requires more effort.

HonoriaGlossop Wed 05-Sep-07 19:01:44

Those are really good ideas from otherside. I think this is to do with two things:
How you talk to him and your expectations of him.

I think it's worth reading something like how to talk or Steve Biddulph's raising boys or anything to give you a reminder of children's normal development. Toddler Taming is also brilliant for making you realise that ALL kids are nut driving but that it's part and parcel of their development. if you expect less, you will remove alot of your anger I think.

And I agree, just don't ask the same thing six times; make sure that when you're talking you are right next to them and getting their eye contact.

And keep a light approach as well, don't be straight about everything, give him challenges and games rather than just plain "can you pick that up" or whatever. Make use of his natural competitiveness and need to show his prowess. Makes life much more fun for you too.

bubblagirl Wed 05-Sep-07 19:09:28

my son is 2.4 and we have a naughty spot since using it he 99% of the time will do as i ask but he is still a 2 yr old child who will try and push the limits but i will ask once then he will get 1 more chance then it s warning then naughty spot

now all i have to say is do you want to go naughty spot and he'll do as i ask straight away and if he doesnt its naughty spot then when time is up i'll ask him to say sorry and then ask him again to do what i'd asked he'll do it then i give lots of praise it took a few times of doing this for him to realise i meant business so he knew he couldn't play me about and new if i said he'd go naughty spot he'd go no more chances now i have hardly any tantrums as he knows his bounderies

not saying it will have same reaction with all kids but boundries are impertant AND THEY NEED TO KNOW YOU MEAN WHAT YOU SAY THEY CANT HAVE LOTS OF CHANCES ONLY FEW THEN THATS IT TIME OUT NAUGHTY SPOT WHATEVER YOU FEEL WOULD WORK sorry about the capitals there my ds pushed caps without me noticing lol

bubblagirl Wed 05-Sep-07 19:14:05

whenever i put him on naughty spot i always talk calm and at his level even if he is having a tantrum then i'll leave him

lots of praise really works as they find it fun to hear you praise them my son loves it if i ask him to do something he does it then i praise him loads and he just beams it makes them want to do things consistency is the main thing and praise i ignore bad behaviour but really praise the good anfd i will say apart from the normal tantrums he doesnt try to push me that much anymore and if he does i'm confident with the naughty spot gives you them few mins to calm down also so you can be calm when they are done

law3 Wed 05-Sep-07 19:36:10

i have to agree Bubbla i never shout or get angry, as cheesy as it may sound, you really do have lead by example.

I dont have a 'naughty' anything though. I have a 'time out' step. Thank god for super nanny huh!!!

law3 Wed 05-Sep-07 19:45:39

correction i never SHOW that i am angry, as oppose to super mum and never GET angry!!!!

Othersideofthechannel Wed 05-Sep-07 19:49:00

I used not to show I was angry and then eventually ended up not keeping it in and exploding like the OP.
You are doing well to hide it completely. Uberalice has recognised she can't do this and that it is a problem going from sweet mum to furious mum with no warning. I think she is right to look at other ways of acting.

law3 Wed 05-Sep-07 19:59:06

Everyone gets angry, its normal, its just how you deal with it.

Shouting and losing your temper teaches children thats how to behave when you get angry.

finding a method that works for dealing with bad behaviour before you get to the point of shouting and getting angry has worked well for me.

Othersideofthechannel Wed 05-Sep-07 21:02:08

I thought that was precisely what the OP was asking for - tips for how to get her child to comply before she gets to the point of shouting.

I agree that shouting and losing your temper in front of children is not a good thing because of the example it sets. However, some of us have shorter fuses than others and cannot keep calm all the time.

There is also a question of what you shout. I think shouting 'Aarrrgh I feel so angry' is not going to damage my children if they are really pushing me to my limits. I don't agree with shouting insults.

I often see my DS struggle with himself not to hit his little sister and I feel quite proud when manages just to clench his fists and say 'Grrrr!' and then storm off to his room.

Of course what is quite impressive in a 4yr old is not such a big achievement in an adult but not everyone can get their children to comply before they reach the end of their tether, all the time.

law3 Wed 05-Sep-07 21:24:34

was just trying to reassure uberalice that she is not alone, we all get angry and that there is hope and im sure she will find a method that works.

Im not judging anyone, just sharing my experiences and trying to help!!

MilaMae Wed 05-Sep-07 21:30:35

Would agree with Otherside. We are not all the same. I used to beat myself up about sometimes shouting as it seems to the in thing to beat yourself up about as a mum.

Then I suddenly thought this is silly I'm a good mum but I have 3 under 4 and well let's face it I don't believe anybody could be a full time stay at home mum to 3 pre-schoolers without loosing their cool.

I would never shout insults and I don't shout continuously it's probably once a day maybe twice, actually maybe more but it's not a continuous thing. I now except I'm well-human!!!! I get fed up with all this stuff that says the minute you become a mum you need to turn into mother Teresa. Being a mum can be soooo stressful why are you suddenly going to be perfect at one of the most stressful times of your life.

I think never showing emotion is no good thing either I want my kids to feel they can get angry if they want but like me they need to say I feel angry I'm leaving the room to cool off. Seeing us try to control anger is no bad thing it teaches kids that they are human and that yes being angry is hard we just have to learn to control it better.

Law you say you never shout or get angry-spooky!!!

MilaMae Wed 05-Sep-07 21:31:13

Would agree with Otherside. We are not all the same. I used to beat myself up about sometimes shouting as it seems to the in thing to beat yourself up about as a mum.

Then I suddenly thought this is silly I'm a good mum but I have 3 under 4 and well let's face it I don't believe anybody could be a full time stay at home mum to 3 pre-schoolers without loosing their cool.

I would never shout insults and I don't shout continuously it's probably once a day maybe twice, actually maybe more but it's not a continuous thing. I now except I'm well-human!!!! I get fed up with all this stuff that says the minute you become a mum you need to turn into mother Teresa. Being a mum can be soooo stressful why are you suddenly going to be perfect at one of the most stressful times of your life.

I think never showing emotion is no good thing either I want my kids to feel they can get angry if they want but like me they need to say I feel angry I'm leaving the room to cool off. Seeing us try to control anger is no bad thing it teaches kids that they are human and that yes being angry is hard we just have to learn to control it better.

Law you say you never shout or get angry-spooky!!!

uberalice Wed 05-Sep-07 21:38:29

Thanks to all for your useful replies. Reading through all these tips, I recognise so many things that I actually do from day to day, and they work really well. In particular, sitting on the step, counting, and giving lots of praise - I do all of those things. But sometimes, if I'm a bit stressed (I have a younger ds2 too) all of these strategies just seem to be forgotten and I resort to shouting.

I've got the How to Talk ... book and have learned quite a few tricks there. I'll look up some of the other books that have been mentioned.

Thinking about this a bit more, I'm realising that part of the problem is that I'm not very tolerant of general boisterousness - he has a tendency to get a bit hyper sometimes (within totally normal limits), and it drives me mad. I think it's when he's bored and I do try and distract him with books / activities but looking after a baby at the same time makes this all the more difficult. Must try harder. smile

MilaMae Wed 05-Sep-07 21:45:45

I'm exactly the seem-find my sons very boistrous too and just realised I'm not that tolerant in that area. Read recently they have a testosterone surge at 4 praying that is what my 2 are having and that it's not to come. They're lovely boys just very boistrous and we live in a small house.

Recently I've tried not to put tv on until the afternoon, I start them off with an activity before breakfast instead. Seems to help. I've then started putting some quiet activities out on the kitchen table which stay there all day. I've got rid of the buggy board and I'm walking their socks off!!!! grinAlso turfing them out into the garden more. Hoping to move to a bigger house next year so their natural exuberance won't need to be squashed so much!!!!!

Othersideofthechannel Wed 05-Sep-07 21:55:36

Yes, finding a way to channel their energy is a great one to avoid the kind of boisterousness that gets on your nerves.

biglips Wed 05-Sep-07 21:58:38

my very soon to be 3 yrs old DD is very boistorious and strong willed person, etc.... Ive noticed that if i count to 3 for her to stop it works everytime!!...ive been using this since she was about 18m old.

mummymagic Wed 05-Sep-07 22:14:38

Would just add 'countdowns' - its basically the counting technique in that it gives kids a chance to comply and there is a time limit in which to do it, and there's a definite 'stop'.

I learnt the approach from a hypnotist teacher hmm and saw it in action with another teacher and do it with the kids I teach:

eg 'I am going to count from 10 to 1 [classful of teenagers] and when I get to 1, I want you to be in a circle with your hands by your side, 10-9-8- hurry up Jordan-7-6 etc etc'.

Its miraculous, really. And obviously if they haven't done it by 1, it's easy to see and give a consequence.

(PS the hypnotist teacher told me that you count down rather than up, as it's to do with calming down not winding up iykwim)

law3 Wed 05-Sep-07 22:23:54

milamae - i said i dont SHOW that i am angry and that i agree with Bubbla that i also never shout or SHOW anger *when i put my ds on the step*.

Didnt say that i never GET angry.

uberalice Wed 05-Sep-07 22:38:33

I understood what you meant, law3.

MilaMae Wed 05-Sep-07 23:12:28

Sorry quick reading.

Still think you need to show you're angry too at times though within reason. Is it really good for kids to never see the consequences of their actions-when you play up mummy gets cross as opposed to when you play up mummy is as calm as ever????

madamez Wed 05-Sep-07 23:24:10

Good hint about not to keep telling DC what to do, but how about when you have to keep reminding them to go on with whatever they are doing? My DS fannies around with his meals though he's hungry - I have to keep saying, sit still and eat. Also, getting him to go up or downstairs sometimes involves reminding him on every step. And that's very annoying.

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