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Pregnant, tired and hormonal, nearly 3 year old playing up badly - I NEED HELP!

(16 Posts)
FedUpWithRainyDevon Fri 09-Oct-09 14:25:14

Can I start off by saying I am very fragile so please be gentle with me, thanks.

I am 7 months pregnant, very tired, still working in the afternoons and don't get any time to myself at all. My DS is a beautiful boy, really funny and bright, with the language skills of a 4 year old I think, but is 3 in 2 months time so is still a baby really.

My DH has just gone back to work after 6 months without a job, so that coupled with the baby arriving in 2 months is the catalyst in this I suppose.

90% of the time DS is great and we have fun, and he is a sensitive, fun-loving, intelligent boy, who loves books, cars, can play on his own for a few minutes at a time, and is perfectly reasonable.

But then something will set him off, such as me asking him to put his shoes on or come upstairs to get dressed, and he turns into a total nightmare, screaming, shouting, hitting me (round the head and stomach), running around the house like a nutter etc etc.

We have been using a naughty box to put his favourite toys in if he is naughty, which has worked but doesn't have much effect now, and if we try the naughty step he quite likes that. My mum thinks cajoling him and making him laugh is the way to go but I disagree as I think its rewarding him for bad behaviour, but I am running out of ideas. The trouble is I am so tired and these battles are just starting to rule my life now which is stupid. I keep telling myself he is just a little baby really, and after it's all blown over he's back to himself and beautiful and I feel awful because I have shouted at him a lot especially this last week. Shouting at him upsets us both but I can't seem to stop myself.

Please help with any advice or tricks that have worked for you, but like I said please be delicate with me x Any similar stories would be gratefully appreciated too, thanks.

piscesmoon Fri 09-Oct-09 14:37:15

Obviously you aren't feeling at your best to deal with a contrary DC. I would focus on the 90% of the time he is lovely and try and ignore the rest. Making him laugh is a good way but I appreciate that it takes energy.
The things that you have highlighted are the things that are pretty boring for a almost 3 yr old-from his point of view you can see that he doesn't see the need to do them!
Try to avoid situations of confrontation. For example -putting on shoes-give him plenty of warning to get used to the idea as in 'when I have done such and such we will need shoes on'. When you do want it done be very matter of fact and say 'when you have your shoes on we can....' rather than the negative. You could try making getting dressed fun, have a race and see if you can beat a timer. Make a little list of things that you know will set him off and see if you can find a way around it.

FedUpWithRainyDevon Fri 09-Oct-09 15:48:37

Yes you're right Pisces. He's out at the moment with his GPs and I feel so awful now as I miss him so much whenever he's not around, and it's obvious what I need to do really. I need to keep a cool head, but my emotions are so close to the surface at the moment. You're right about focusing on the 90% part, and I'll give him even more praise and cuddles when he's like that, and try and make it creep up towards 100%

Thanks x

skinsl Fri 09-Oct-09 16:15:41

I find it exhausting and I'm not pregnant! don't be too hard on yourself.
it's just really hard trying to pre-empt all the battles. For 2 nights he screamed and kicked getting in the bath, then the next 2 nights, he couldn't wait to get up there and play! tbh sometimes I do take the easy route and just don't bother, eg, if he is playing really nicely why should I disrupt him for bedtime, I'll start telling him it's bedtime soon and give him another 10 minutes.
I do try and see it from his point of view, I know you shouldn't let them rule you, but if he is having great fun running around the garden its not fair that mummy insists he comes in cos its dinner time. eg.
I think it's tough when you have to be somewhere at a certain time. that's when I start to lose patience.
I have started giving him choices, eg, showing him 2 boxes of cereal, or the choice between stripey top and dinosaur top, and then maybe he feels a bit more in control. not sure whether that is opening another can of worms!
Give yourself a break x

FedUpWithRainyDevon Mon 12-Oct-09 19:47:21

Thanks Skins, you talk a lot of sense!

I am feeling a lot better today and the whole day has gone a lot better so maybe we've rounded a corner. He's been helping me a lot today and has enjoyed it (handing me pegs to put the washing out, clearing off the table with me etc) and also I've let up a bit and the battles haven't reared their heads.

Keep your fingers crossed for me xx smile

facebookaddict Mon 12-Oct-09 19:58:52

Wow, sounds like me a few months ago.

If he's intelligent then he's probably reacting quite normally to 1. being 2!, 2. a baby on its way (how they process this magic trick of nature goodness only knows, it still baffles me that a baby comes from there!), and 3. feeling out of control of his environment.

Mine was the same. Take strength in the fact that it will improve even if you do nothing but survive, but in the meantime some little tricks would be
1) to give him choices so he has control over some things. Give into the small whims of inappropriate clothing or feeding crises and just focus on behaviour that is either socially unacceptable (hitting) or dangerous (not listening to you about safety in house or when out in buggy etc);
and 2) make him feel purposeful and grown up - I can see this is working already by your comment re pegs, and clearing table. By the way my almost 3yr old is great at washing up standing on a chair which seems silly when we have a dishwasher but makes him feel so proud.

Use the TV as a reward incentive- you'll need it when number2 comes along believe me, even if you are against the idea overall!

Good luck!

facebookaddict Mon 12-Oct-09 20:01:02

One other thing, you mention a naughty box and naughty step. we've never used anything that refers to 'naughty' but are ridiculously over the top about anything we regard as 'good behaviour' and this might work better for you as it suggests your expectation is for him to be a 'good boy' rather than a naughty one. Just a thought.

FedUpWithRainyDevon Tue 13-Oct-09 13:08:12

Thankyou Facebookaddict - you are totally making sense. He is still a bit up and down and wobbly but on the whole this week is going a lot better. I just had my 31 week checkup and my iron levels are really low so that could explain the tired, washed out feeling I've had for the past couple of weeks, so I've got some iron boost packs and I'm getting them down me as we speak!

I think you've hit on something there with the naughty box/step - time to focus on the positive I think...

Thanks xxxxxxxxxxx

facebookaddict Tue 13-Oct-09 15:37:23

Oh and by the way, when DC2 arrives you will feel like DS1 is the naughtiest, hardest work child in the world and may feel quite distant from him, particularly as it will be DS1 and dad most of the time while you deal with the baby. I had this and more than the workload of a newborn, it was the hardest thing about having two kids. But... DD is now 3mths and am in love with DS all over again (even the tantrums) so don't worry if you feel a divide - it is temporary!

FedUpWithRainyDevon Wed 14-Oct-09 13:00:19

Thanks for the warning - I'll try and remember that advice when the madness starts!

linspins Wed 14-Oct-09 20:30:40

Oh my, I started looking at this area on the talk board because my Dd is a complete demon at the moment - and I saw your thread - that could be written by me! I'm 6 months pregnant and exhausted. My dd's behaviour is a nightmare at the moment, tantrums, screaming, meltdowns, hitting and kicking me etc. She's 3 and a month, and a bright, lovely little girl...usually. But suddenly everything is a control battle, even when she really doesn't know what she wants.
So it's been useful to read advice above, and although I don't have anything to add for you, you are not alone, and I'll keep watching this thread too! xxx

FedUpWithRainyDevon Thu 15-Oct-09 14:56:38

Ah Linspins, I feel your pain! We are a bit better here this week - I have definitely taken on board the advice and I'm not rising to the bait so much, but it's exhausting isn't it.

I'd definitely agree with others that giving a few choices to my DS (even if they aren't real choices, ie 2 things to choose between that I don't mind either answer), avoiding the flash points (I've been bringing his clothes and toothbrush downstairs in the morning to avoid the fight to get him to the bathroom) and just generally chanting a mantra "It's a phase, it will pass" have all worked!

It's very hard not to lose my rag though when he's deliberately playing up - but walking away and getting a magazine to read for 2 minutes while he shouts in another room helps!

He's definitely not through it yet though - he decided to lie down in a road in our town centre this morning and wouldn't get up (admittedly a very quiet road, but still...) so I ended up shouting loudly and dragging him out - not a good idea with pelvic girdle pain!

A woman at our toddlers group was telling me about her experience when her oldest was 19months, and her 2nd was born. The oldest started biting when the health visitor was there and the HV wrote down that there were "behavioural problems within the family" and I said straight away that I thought it was a bit harsh, it sounds pretty normal. She said "HA! See - you just responded exactly the way you should - that it's normal behaviour. When you're in the middle of it it doesn't feel like it, but everyone else thinks it's normal". I thought this illustrated the point well that the children have a lot to adjust to with a new baby coming etc, and are just exhibiting bad behaviour as a way of dealing with it. It made me feel a lot better.

Does that make sense?

Hope things ease up there a bit xxxxx

(Sorry for long post)

ten10 Thu 15-Oct-09 15:54:42

I have just read your original post and feel like I could have written it.

I am 8months pregnant and am very tired most of the time.
My DP has just started back at work after being made redundant (and therefore out of work) nearly six months ago
My ds is 2.8 and is in the thick of the terrible twos.
After being a perfect little boy he is now a little monster alot of the time
he hits, kicks, pushes and bites, me, his dad and other children, (although is perfect when with granny and grandad hmm)

he laughs when I try and tell him off, which makes my blood boil. I do my best to remain calm especially as I did get very angry after he had hit me in the face with a very hard toy, that I hit him - which I swore I would never do,
and I never will again, mainly because it didn't work, he just laughed at me.

I repeat our rules alot! which are
No Kicking
No Hitting
No Pushing and
No Biting

the only thing which seems to work is that i now pick him up without speaking and put him in his cot, then I quietly say why I have put him there, remind him of the rules and then shut the door of his bedroom and leave him there for a few minutes then I ask him if he is sorry, and what he did wrong, if he won't say sorry he is left for another couple of minutes.
(I only use the cot as he then can't get out - but he doesn't actually sllep in his cot anymore he now sleeps in a proper bed.)

however going to toddler groups has become a bit of a nightmare, and I have not found a solution to this yet other than leaving. I do repeat the rules before we go out (alot) to try and let him know that there will be consequences if he breaks them but inevitably he still does.

I am also dreading when the baby arrives incase he is really violent with it.

sorry a bit long, but I feel your tiredness, and your frustration. I just hang on to the thought that he may not be like this forever, it is the only thought which keeps me going

FedUpWithRainyDevon Thu 15-Oct-09 17:51:00

Oh wow ten10 that is so weird, we are in totally the same position! We have had problems with one playgroup in particular, on Friday mornings, so tomorrow is really my last chance (in my own mind) and if it's bad then I won't be going back!

Keep repeating the mantras and I'm sure we'll all come through it. My DS SEEMS to be looking forward to the baby actually coming, and I've been reading loads of books about it with him and he's been really good with friends' babies lately, it's just me he seems to have a problem with!

I like your cot idea although ours is put away at the moment - plus due to bad back I can't even pick him up any more! He knows he's stronger than me at the moment which gives him an advantage!

Let's all stick together and we'll get through this stage xxxxxxxx

Mybox Mon 02-Nov-09 22:36:22

Would say give him lots of praise & cuddles. Surprise him by saying you'll play his favourite game, make his favourite meal/snack. Keep telling him just how lovely he is and how he can do so many things now he is big. When he has a tantrum just carry on as normal & ignore it by letting him see you are busy and his out burst just doesn't affect you.

naomi83 Wed 04-Nov-09 17:08:40

We've found time limits very helpful with our 2 year old. Before each activity ends we give a 10min warning, a 5min warning, a 2 minute warning, and then let DS know he has to end the activty, by himself, like a big boy. 9/10 this avoids an argument, and he goes in the bath, turns off the TV without a fight.

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