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Completely wrung out and sad after showndown with 3 yo.

(14 Posts)
curlytoes Sun 20-Sep-09 16:24:57

My DS1 and I have just had a massive showdown, our first and hopefully last. I am feeling cross, sad and completely drained. It started because I took back a toy DS1 had snatched from DS2 and then said he had to come to the loo. He hadn't chosen to try and have a wee for 4 hours and he's been having lots of accidents recently. He started scremaing and saying he wanted to ride his bike so I picked him up and carried him to the loo. I had my wee which usually convinces him that actualy he'll have a go but he didn't calm down. He got worse screaming and thrashing about on the floor. Then DS2 joined in screaming and I just lost the plot. I kept trying to force DS1 on the loo, then I tried to make him go to his bed because I said he couldn't go back and until he'd tried to have a wee, then he ran off. Now he's playing and I'm ignoring him and nothing's sorted out and I just feel like giving up. What now?

IsItMeOr Sun 20-Sep-09 16:30:05

First off, take a deep breath and have a glass of water/cup of tea while you regroup.

My DS is too young for this stage yet, but this sounds fairly typical to me. I'm sure there'll be somebody with more experience along soon, but didn't want to leave you hanging. You are doing fine, you know, nobody is injured, and if he's playing sounds like he's forgotten it already (unlike poor you!).

sunshineandshowers Sun 20-Sep-09 16:31:03

Go and have a cup of tea and a biscuit and a sit down somewhere quiet. Put C Beebies on if nec.

If 1/2 hour or whatever it takes go and give him a cuddle and explain why you were angry and have a little chat.

It happens to everyone.

colditz Sun 20-Sep-09 16:31:21

Wind your neck in a bit and stop trying to force him onto the loo. What's more important, him going to the toilet when you want him to because you forced him, or him being happy>?

he's won in this situation. You acted like a child not getting her own way, and he simply waited you out until you finished your tantrum.

And I speak as someone who has done almost exactly the same thing.

next time, fine, no toilet means no bike. Lock back door, tv off, no cross mummy, no pressure - no fun either.

LadyoftheBathtub Sun 20-Sep-09 16:32:38

Well... I don't know if this will make you feel better or worse, but that sounds very normal to me! If he's got to the age of 3 without such a showdown happening before now, you've been lucky! And I suspect it won't be the last... sorry.

With my DS, who specialises in such scenarios, I've learned never to make the situation into an ultimatum - he's so stubborn that if I do that, he will always win. Instead we use bribes rewards so that he can choose whether to do something (obviously not really important things like crossing the road safely, but the everyday stuff) and I also use a lot of distraction, humour and reverse psychology (eg "DS you don't need a wee do you, the toilet just told me it doesn't want any boys sitting on it" - he will get that it's a game and sit on it at once).

And, it's very hard and I don't always succeed, but try to maintain a matter-of-fact attitude. If you show that you're riled and worked up the two of you feed off each other and it just gets worse IME.

I sympathise though because we have had some terrible strops and I really know that "wrung out" feeling.

curlytoes Sun 20-Sep-09 16:34:33

Thanks isitmeor. I used to feel like DS1 and i were such a little partnership.It really was a pleasure doing things with him. Now he makes a battle out of everything. I know it's normal but I wish I'd kept my cool and done better. I'm suppossed to be the grown up but I feel really sulky and stupid now,

LadyoftheBathtub Sun 20-Sep-09 16:36:36

Oh and at 3 he might be old enough for the famous pasta jar. Get a small jar, reward him for any good behaviour/learning something/making an effort/kindness etc with a piece of dry pasta which goes in the jar. When it's full to the top, he gets a reward like a day trip or new toy (not something massive - in this house it's a book or small lego/playmobil set).

But for bad behaviour, take out a pasta piece (or threaten to). Once he gets the concept, it's very effective - or is for my DS.

curlytoes Sun 20-Sep-09 16:39:45

Thanks ladyofthe.. I will try the pasta jar thing. It might help me remember that he does still do lots of good things. There are just so many tantrums too. He had about ten mini strops before we'd finished breakfast including one because some sugar went on his spoon handle! I do try to stay upbeat usually which is why I feel so sad a shocked that I lost it just now.

theyoungvisiter Sun 20-Sep-09 16:40:42

both colditz and ladyofthebathtub give great advice.

This is very normal behaviour (from both of you!) and I very much doubt this will be his last strop either - sorry! But just try to let it wash over you - it takes two to have a fight, if you know what I mean.

Humour is the ultimate weapon, I find, and I agree with lady's suggestions about making it a game. For eg my DS1 is usually very reluctant to put his pyjamas on - but if you say "does it go like this?" and put the trousers on his head, or his arms, or put his feet in the leg holes first, then it diffuses his sulk and makes him laugh, and eventually I say "oh I can't do it - you show me how to put them on" and he will laugh and put them on his legs properly.

If you let it get to a situation where it's a huge big deal and you've GOT to win or lose face, then you've lost already.

For today, I would just leave it for half an hour and then start afresh, pretend nothing's happened, give him a cuddle and tell him the toilet is singing a lonely song and wants a bottom to talk to - whatever will diffuse the atmosphere!

IsItMeOr Sun 20-Sep-09 16:43:45

Eek, ten mini strops by breakfast! I'm going to back away from the toddler thread now, as I'm barely scraping through the 6months and wakes 2-7 times a night stage.

Lovely to hear about your little partnership thing. Am still hoping will get that with DS more than on the occasional day!

curlytoes Sun 20-Sep-09 16:44:55

'The toilet is singing a lonely song and wants a bottom to talk to!!' I think my sense of humour might be coming back! Maybe I will make it to the end of the day. I do really miss the way DS1 was when everything I did seemed to amuse him. Maybe I just need to get funnier!

theyoungvisiter Sun 20-Sep-09 16:45:02

oh and we've all been there - I've certainly lost it on more than one occasion. Not my finest moments but hey, toddlers don't have the monopoly on feeling tired and stroppy!

curlytoes Sun 20-Sep-09 16:50:39

Thanks theyoung visitor. I really felt like one of the awful parents you see on supernanny and tut at smugly.

woodforthetrees Sun 20-Sep-09 19:32:59

curlytoes you could be me and my DS. I have a DD who is 7.5months and DS is just over 3 and tricky at times - he's fun loving cheeky non-stop chatterbox and never sits down for long but he PUSHES MY BUTTONS and a couple of times last week I absolutely lost it and we ended up screaming at each other....it's awful and we all feel bad about it. I've tried the more calm but firm voice the past couple of days and it is going slightly better but DH has been home which helps but he's obviously not there everyday so I have to find a coping mechanism.

We've started the marbles in the pot for good behaviour and taking out of the pot for bad behaviour. I've also resorted to putting him in his room for "time out" when things escalate. We had at least 6 tantrums before breakfast the other morning but I lost it when I'd pushed him right into the table to reach his weetabix and he was still complaining he wasn't "far enough in".....

You have my utmost sympathy. Who said the "2's" were hard??!

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