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at wits end with 3 year old horrible behaviour

(15 Posts)
makemineaginandtonic Tue 22-Jul-08 09:36:57

My three year old daughter's behaviour is driving me insane. She doesn't talk in a normal voice, she either whines or shouts. If she doesn't get her own way she screams and shouts. When I ask her to do ANYTHING she ignores me. Despite going to nursery and some other activities, and having a garden with toys she is still bordering on hyperactive come bedtime and it is a battle to get her in the bath/pyjamas/bed. I have another daughter who is 1. I feel like I am reaching my wits end. My parents live in Australia and my mother in law is an hour away, but despite being asked, is not available to help very often. I have told the doctor that I am not coping very well (eg. losing temper) and she said to look on the super nanny website. I have also told the health visitor who said she would investigate parenting courses but has never got back to me. Anyone got any tips on how they have coped?

HonoriaGlossop Tue 22-Jul-08 09:56:03

Talking in whiny or shouty voice: gently explain that you can't understand her and will talk to her when she can use her normal voice.
If not getting her own way and screaming: Ignore. You don't need to do anything else. You have already 'won' - because she is NOT getting her own way. She is a frustrated, powerless being who is venting her feelings in one of the only ways she has; don't try to deny her this. just ignore it.
Bordering on hyperactive etc: Lower your expectations! She is three, many (most?) three year olds are unbelievably active and can't stay on one activity for long at all. They are exhausting and draining, it's so normal...while it's hard work, if you just accept it as normal and don't think of it as an 'issue' it can really help you feel calmer

and the main, main thing that gets you through: remain calm

YOU being calm will help matters so much. You don't even have to FEEL calm, just act it smile

Don't allow yourself to shout and lose your temper. Remember you are the adult and are cleverer than she is and you CAN think your way round every situation

Remaining calm gives your brain the chance to think what to do. It makes your life easier. Don't give her the power to make you shout; you are stronger because you can think more clearly!

I hope this helps...oh and we ALL have bad days where we just can't cope. Don't expect to have a magical approach that will make EVERY day perfect, allow yourself to be stressed at times: you have two children at home under five, there is nothing harder and at times they will create chaos. Be kind to yourself and don't expect too much of yourself, or them.

HonoriaGlossop Tue 22-Jul-08 09:58:42

oh and I should have said that asking things of her in a different way can really help

Not 'DD put your shoes on please' but any other way you think she'd be 'grabbed' by; race her to put shoes on? Challenge her to be first to the front door all ready?

Also reverse psychology worked an absolute treat with ds. "I don't think you're a big enough boy to put that plate out in the kitchen, are you?" of course he wants to show me he IS so goes and takes his plate out! They end up doing the stuff you need them to do but without the opportunity to make a power struggle out of it.

claudiaschiffer Tue 22-Jul-08 10:04:34

Gosh you poor thing, I do feel for you I have 2 dds of the same age and it can be very hard at times. I'm not sure that I have much advice that isn't completely obvious but this is what I do . . .

I refuse to answer my dd if she talks in a whiney or shouty voice - I calmly (ha!) ask her to stop speaking like that and ask her to talk in a 'normal' voice. I then IGNORE the shouts and screams. If she goes into a full-blown tantrum (not so often now) I mostly keep ignoring her, so long as she is safe etc etc.

re Bedtime, not sure i can help so much as my dd isn't too bad at this time. If she does refuse to have a bath I often just pick her up and carry her in, tickling/make it fun.

I agree with Honoria - 3 yr olds are difficult, don't expect too much. Also be prepared to get down and have a laugh with your kids in the day - are you very busy? Can you spend a good hour a day focusing on her?? I find that a lot of my 3 yr olds poor/demanding behaviour occurs when I am very busy ironing/cleaning/cooking etc so if I can spare 5 mins to focus on her then it helps.

I like this book. It has lots of funny calm advice for us stressed out parents!

Also a large glass of wine at 7pm helps enormously. wink

Good luck

desperatehousewifetoo Tue 22-Jul-08 11:41:01

Something that is working to get my whiney dd (3yrs) to do things at the moment is to pretend to hide/close my eyes and say 'now I'm sure, when I look again, you will have done x'. Lots of pantomiming and hamming it up.

'x' can be anything from putting on clothes, eating something from her plate, tidying something.

Of course, when you look and they have (hopefully!) done it, queue lots of 'oh wow, that must have been magic, is there a fairy in here?' and of course, mega praise when they own up to having done it.

Still working on the whining. It's soooo annoying.

HonoriaGlossop Tue 22-Jul-08 12:52:17

sounds like a really good strategy, desperate smile

good luck with the whining!

makemineaginandtonic Tue 22-Jul-08 13:39:46

Wow everyone, I feel so much better just reading those ideas. I know I need to "walk the walk" a bit more and it shouldn't be my 3 year old telling me to "calm down mummy". Am off to put it all into practise (especially the large wine at 7pm bit).

Thanks everyone

cory Tue 22-Jul-08 16:37:29

Just wanted to mention that I found 3 a particularly whingey age with both of mine. It can only get better! grin

osborne Tue 22-Jul-08 16:43:48

Poor you. My three your olde has jsut come out of this and it was a nightmare.

Sometimes try stage manage something you will be able to praise her for. I found i spent the whole time saying no and being grumpy with her. She responded much better after something positive, however minor. I think she became a bit demoralised too.

desperatehousewifetoo Tue 22-Jul-08 17:33:41

I also think that mine get more whingey if they are hungry. Sometimes a snack helps (for me too, if too early for the wine!).

savoycabbage Tue 22-Jul-08 17:46:13

I could have written that OP! I think we must have parallel lives.....

I tell my dd that I can't understand what she says when she speaks in a 'moany' voice and I pull puzzled type faces and ask her to speak in her normal voice. It does upset me that I seem to be doing so much for her and yet she can be so negative. It is so wearing and hard to be cheerful when they are whining on - but you have to or they just get worse.

onwardandupward Tue 22-Jul-08 19:33:07

I think modelling behaviour might be the way to go. So when your daughter talks, REALLY listen, engage with the content rather than the tone or whether there was a please or thank you in it, repeat back in a friendly tone of voice just to check you've got it right, and to model friendly tones of voice, and then act on the request/information as far as possible.

Helps a child get used to the idea that when you talk to people, they listen and respond and are keen to help. And then they start picking up on the idea that they also can listen and be keen to help and it makes life ever so rosy. Much easier to teach that lesson if, as a parent, you have the good-listener moral high ground.

It's a lesson you can teach through modelling or through being frustrated and cross at non-compliance. Me, I tend to choose the modelling. Shall I say "horses for courses" now?

"Horses for courses".

makemineaginandtonic Tue 22-Jul-08 20:36:12

Savoycabbage I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that it is upsetting when you do so much for them and they are still negative. I try really hard to make sure there are things to do and that I pay positive attention and sometimes nothing seems to work which I really find difficult. This afternoon I tried to be calm though, and we had a much more pleasant time....on the 2nd wine now though so rose coloured glasses taking effect!

filthymindedvixen Tue 22-Jul-08 20:40:28

and it will be replaced with some other horrible phase grin

my 7-yr-old started terrible twos at 9 months and they continued hntil he was 4 and a half....but he is lovely now.

WinkyWinkola Tue 22-Jul-08 20:48:18

So hard. My DCs are the same age and DS can be really trying. He's been kicking me recently which is particularly painful! For the past two months, I've been trying different things because I was at the brink of despair every day!

I take away his LazyTown poster every time he misbehaves - with an explanation. Is there anything you could take away from your DD and that she can earn back with good behaviour.

If he howls, shouts and screams, I tell him I won't talk to him until he talks normally.

I agree with others who say keep calm. I feel like I could blow up sometimes but I really really try to keep calm because otherwise it escalates and he gets even more upset/defiant/angry (whatever mood he's in).

Plus I always feel a whole lot better about myself if I've managed to stay calm. I force myself to ruffle his hair and say, "When you feel better and can talk normally, then come and see me and we'll have a hug," Then it's not me versus him anymore. It's him versus him and that can't last for too long.

One other thing I think of that seems to help me is that I imagine he's a child who is being fostered. Now, that sounds really weird I know but it takes me away from the, "You're so ungrateful when you have so much and we do so much for you." Instead, I just think, "Poor lad. He'll come round,"

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