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3 year old DS tantrums...help!

(24 Posts)
Angiebabes Mon 02-Nov-09 17:30:39

I really don't know where to start, and right now I can hardly see screen for crying, I am at the point of breaking.

DS who is 3.8 yrs is pushing DH and I to the limit.

He is the perfect child at nursery and has NEVER been on the time out, unlike other kids who are on it on a regular basis, was told he is very well behaved.

He treats his Daddy and i like rubbish, and today he was at my Mums, he has had her in tears, and my nephew, who is almost 1 is terrified from him today due to the screaming, shouting, stamping of feet and nasty behaviour!
My DH has had to come out of work early to go and collect him, my Mum says she has never seen a 3 yr old be so nasty, which makes me feel great.

I know he is bang out of order, but to hear my own Mum rip him to bits and tell me I have to do something about him has destroyed me.

We had gone through a period of him being up through the night but that is sorted now, so it is not due to tiredness.

We were at friends last weekend and he started blowing raspberries and letting saliva run down his face dripping everywhere, he stood and laughed, and when told not to do it he stood and laughed and did it again!!!!

He has told my Mum he doesn't like her, in a nasty tone, and took great delight in smiling when told Daddy was coming for him...he has got his own way, but I couldn't leave him with my Mum to terrorise her or my nephew.

Please help cos I am at my wits end right now and feel a total failure and worthless as a parent, where have we gone wrong?

Sorry for rant.

Angie

carocaro Mon 02-Nov-09 17:42:32

You have to do time out and ignore the little blighter, any attention, even telling him off off for bad behavior gives him the attention he needs. EG: he blew raspberries you told him off he got attention he did it again.

When he is being well behaved lavish the attention with praise, playing with him,lots of cuddles and kisses.

If he misbehaves with people, family friends, warn him once that he will be taken home if he continues and if he does, you pick him up and tkae him home, no matter where you, who you are with and what you are doing. Just a simple 'we are going home now and you have not been nice' say it once, get him in the car or pram and you ignore his cries until he calms down. He will soon get the message that his behavior his not on.

I also think you have to pick your battles, blowing raspberried with saliva is hardly a crime and normal toddler behavior, but hitting stamping, kicking etc needs to be addressed.

Tantrums are like fire and attention from you and DH is like pouring petrol on them, you have to take the wind out of his sails by ignoring him.

My DS just did this at dinner, he screamed for 10 mins as he did not want the soup, I read Hello at the table and ignored him til he was calm and then I got him the cheese he wanted for the soup.

YOu are in charge, not your mother, just put it down to a bad day at the office, we all have them!

carocaro Mon 02-Nov-09 17:45:11

I also meant to say, I not sure your 'perfect child' tag is going to do you any favours, you are making a rod for your won back if you are always trying to get to this supposed image of what a child should be, iykwim.

My DS1 is 7 and over the weekend I went from being the worst mummy in the world to the a brilliant one in the space of three hours, it's so hard not to take it personally, but you always lash out at the ones you love the most.

carocaro Mon 02-Nov-09 17:46:26

It was my DS2 with the soup and he's 2.5! Just to be clear!

Angiebabes Mon 02-Nov-09 17:52:28

Carocaro, I hear what you are saying, he is well behaved outside if we are in town on a train and at nursery, but in the house....Damian!!

I just want him to stop being nasty and controlling....no child is perfect and I know mine is far from it, I don't seek perfection from him, but to have done what he did today I despair!

The saliva issue was a big deal as he was letting it fall on our friends furniture, suite etc....on purpose!!!! And took great delight in it!

He wanted to come home that is why he was causing mayhem at my Mums, he got his own way!!!But only because i could not have him upsetting his wee cousin, and my Mum.

Angiebabes Mon 02-Nov-09 17:54:20

LOL I thought that!

rebl Mon 02-Nov-09 18:58:26

You have just described my 3.5yr ds to a t. Exactly the same as your ds, an angel apparently at nursery, no worse than any other child, at home he's terrible. He hits his twin sister all the time, hit us, is rude to us, laughs in our face when we discipline. Time out isn't working. He's apparently protective of his twin sister in nursery which I can't believe because at home all he does is find toys that can be used as weapons to cause a lot of pain.

My dh had enough this weekend and today called the hv shock. The hv has been out to talk to us and can't believe the bruises he's inflicted on us. He is in shock at his behaviour and is putting in a referal to the primary CAHMS team. He agrees with us that its attention seeking but he also says we're doing all the right things and he can't understand why he's just getting worse and why he's fine out of the house.

For now he suggests positive attention, ignoring bad behaviour, just like we are. He feels consistancy in dealing with the behaviour is the key to getting through this.

TBH I'm so glad to have read your post iykwim. I've been tears this weekend over my ds behaviour. I can't work out what I've done wrong and I felt so alone. I even came on here earlier and searched the posts for something like my ds and didn't find anything and now to hear I'm not alone helps. I hope that you can find a way to get through this. I know how hard it is. I want to walk out right now I don't know what else to do.

displayuntilbestbefore Mon 02-Nov-09 19:08:45

my ds2 went through a stage of this behaviour and I found myself constantly telling him off and then I read somewhere that even negative attention can sometimes compound the behavour so I decided to ignore some of it and as long as he wasn't hurting anyone or doing something REALLY bad (like sticking fingers in plugholes etc or pushing his baby brother) I'd let it slide and at the same time make extra effort to praise the nice stuff he did. To my amazement (and relief) it worked and I found that almost overnight he stopped the bad behaviour and was enjoyable to be around again. Led me to thinking that a lot of it was purely for the attention.
Think dcs are often fine out of the house because it's more of an uknown to them whereas in the home they feel comfrotable in their own familiar surroundings and then try it on more. Hope you find a solution to this. I certainly think that consistency in whatever approach you take is vital.

twoflakesanight Mon 02-Nov-09 22:12:06

Hey - getting similar at mo from DS1 same age as yours - totally sympathise. Vile with me, lovely with others. A lot of the time I feel like telling him to eff off and walking away. It's so hard not to take it personally and remember they're just expressing their frustration or whatever and you're the grown-up.

I was similar as a teenager (can't remember what i was like when I was 3) sometimes I try to remember what I wanted form my parents when I behaved badly - mostly them to tell me they loved me no matter what and would always stick by me. Sort of helps to put yourself in an (albeit overgrown) child's shoes... I think sometimes kids frighten themselves by their own behaviour, and the more they see dislike and fear in the eyes of those who are supposed to love them unconditionally, the more they push it.

If you can just be calm but firm (I am saying this to myself as much as you), eventually the message will get through. Have you ever been surprised to notice that something you've decided to put into practice with him (like sleep, or eating) then paid off much later? Just have faith it will reap results eventually...

IneedacleanerIamalazyslattern Mon 02-Nov-09 22:28:10

Reading this thread I have been nodding away empathising with it all. You are all describing ds also 3.
I also did realise though that actually I haven't used his time out all weekend as well.
We have still had incidents but reminding him he will end up in time out has been enough.

I was at the end of my rope and time out was a last resort for me but I had to do something. I picked the big stuff first of all otherwise he would never be out of it and he would run after me but he was returned instantly.
I bigged up the good behaviour telling him in my best ds you are brilliant sing song voice how good doing this was etc.

And you know what for the first time this moment I realised it was working.
One thing I did also change was something in my own behaviour, although ds and I are at home together all day while dd is at school I am often busy or rshing here and there so have made a conscious effor to spend a period of every day totally with him no phone not laptop nothing just doing something he wanted to do and that alone did make a big difference as well.

Not saying you all don't spend time with your dc's blush but I just realised that a lot of the time that real life was taking over and I needed to step back and make a point of some actual time being focussed on just ds.

Angiebabes Tue 03-Nov-09 13:33:40

Well, DS went to nursery today and thre a hissy fit when I dropped him off, screaming his head off, face bright red and crying "mummy" at the top of his voice!

He loves nursery and never behaves like this, I really don't know why he is behaving like this, the only thing I can think of that could have caused his behaviour is his routine has changed, Daddy always took him to nursery and Grans, but now he has new job and further to travel, so is unable to, so Mummy now takes him.

Do you think a change in routine could be behind this????? or testosterone boost they go through at 3.5 - 4 yrs????

Thanks to you all for your replies, glad to know I am not alone.

IneedacleanerIamalazyslattern Tue 03-Nov-09 14:18:57

Could be change of routine or it could be (sorry) that mummy is an easiest target.
I know ds is worse with me becuase he knows how to push my buttons beter than anyones.
I also did notice a huge increase in the bad behaviour for a little while when I started coming down harder on him as a reaction to it.

twoflakesanight Tue 03-Nov-09 21:18:43

V. proud of myself this morning; managed to deal with a huge tantrum v. calmly.

'No - you don't hit mummy and if that happens again, you're having time out on the stairs'. Thump. 'Right, come on please'. tantrum lasted about ten mins; washing all piled neatly on stairs in a heap at the bottom, and I got a lash every time I went past (v. small flat - didn't have much choice), but I stayed PLEASANT, firm and calm (usually I think I have an angry face) and just time and again lifted him gently and put him back on, and it worked! he spent himself out and finally cuddled me (unheard of) and became calm and keen to be friends.

We had another showdown at bathtime that didn't go so well, but just letting you know it can work, sistas! I know I've seen supernanny loads of times, but sometimes you need reminding, andd it has inspired me to be more consistent.

IneedacleanerIamalazyslattern Tue 03-Nov-09 21:26:31

Well we had one this morning getting dd out the door to school he was just no way going to listen to me and he started kicking off and tried to throw the cardboard tube from a toilet roll at me hmm he was getting a good head of steam, put him in time out and got on with getting dd into her coat etc and he thought ne was missing out so came to me with his shoes and said sorry could he get ready now?
Took him shopping to supermarket later and that is normally horrendous but he was sooooo good and I made a big fuss of telling dh when he got in how good he ahd been and we was really chuffed with himself.

So progress is a bit up and down at times but finally feeling we are getting somewhere even if it is baby steps.

Angiebabes Thu 05-Nov-09 13:30:19

Well, ds has been removed from nursery as mummy has been diagnosed with swine flu!

It just doesn't rain here.....it pours!

IneedacleanerIamalazyslattern Fri 06-Nov-09 11:54:41

Oh no are you ok?
Will yo manage with him at home while you're poorly?

Angiebabes Fri 06-Nov-09 14:09:40

Thankfully Daddy is here to look after him, otherwise I don't know what I would do!

I feel awful, this swine flu is horrible.

Struggling to breathe, ache all over, no appetite, sore head, sleepy, cough, fever and generally feel awful.

All I want is lemonade....and my tamiflu to kick in!!

IneedacleanerIamalazyslattern Fri 06-Nov-09 14:30:20

Oh thank goodness.
The thought of getting that poorly really scares me.

Hope you have some Lemonade and feel better soon.

DS been good so far today not had any major issues ....god I have just tempted fate or what?

rebl Fri 06-Nov-09 15:09:31

Sorry Angiebabes that you've got swine flu. Hope the tamiflu kicks in quickly.

My ds went to nursery with no clothes on today. I spent 45 mins getting his pants on and by that point I was going to be really late to work and I was getting know where with getting him dressed.

Yesterday at nursery he flooded their bathroom, pinched children during circle time, pushed children over out in the yard. He was horrible there. The staff say that he seemed to find time out as a time for mucking around.

And he's just been a cats wisker away from flooding my bathroom about an hour ago. The phone rang, ds goes upstairs whilst I'm on the phone and I finish the call and think I can hear water running. He's only put the plug in and running the tap and he's putting toilet paper into the sink full of water. Horrible.

Anonmother Fri 06-Nov-09 16:02:41

Ugh. Where to start. SORRY THIS IS A LENGTHY ONE!!!
My DS (3.3 years) is an absolute horror and this has been getting worse for months (and months, and months...) Am at the end of my tether - again, probably for about the 100th time! He is also apparently pretty good at nursery, never really any worse behaviour than any other child there, but at home and with me and DH.........another story entirely.

We've been through it all - blaming ourselves for being too hard, so we try being less strict about things. Blaming ourselves for not having enough time to spend with him, so we go on family outings, setting aside any other issues/things we have to deal with. "Maybe we don't praise enough?", so we praise as much as we can and try to ignore the little bits of bad behaviour as much as we feel is right - we often tell him that we love him and always will, but his bad behaviour must stop, we really do not like it at all. He's not really a very tactile boy, so cuddles and kisses are kept to a minimum and are on his terms! He just doesn't seem to react well to any of it. We feel stumped and heartbroken.

Just to clarify the behaviour, if he can't have something (ie. a toy / some juice / anything) and he is inclined to react badly - which seems to be almost all of the time now - he will growl until his throat is sore, scream, shout, be utterly rude to us and bash his head on the floor/wall/toys/hard books, etc. Even if something tiny happens, like a toy doesn't quite do exactly what he is trying to make it do, he will react in this way and often smash it on the floor or throw it / rip it up. It's like having a wild animal in the house. He is also having trouble at bedtime (ie. getting him into bed / to stay in bed / to sleep and not wake in the night in another foul mood) and to top it all, he is now regularly having toilet problems - which sometimes also happens at nursery, however not quite as much.

I am fully aware that children of this kind of age often have 'relapses' or 'accidents' and this I think is completely normal, but he will have days when he will be dancing around crossing his legs and I will do everything in my power to try to coax him to go, but he absolutely refuses. I have even tried just asking once or twice then ignoring it, but the outcome is the same. Sometimes he just refuses (like today at the park) to go because he doesn't want to leave play equipment as he doesn't want to share it. I eventually got him to come to the loo with me there, but he had another angry fit when we got back outside and another child was on 'his' aparatus. I kept very calm and explained very matter-of-factly that he could go there and ask to please play next, but he just carried on ranting til they got out - he noticed and I said 'you'd better be quick then if you'd like to have a go' and he ran off to get in. However, was beaten to it by a smaller boy, who's parent ended up 'helping' him to share with my DS and let him use the steering wheel - which my DS then refused to give up until we left, despite my coaxing and calm explanations.

I have to say, and I've always been very apprehensive of doing so until now (but after about 8 months of this ramping up to a point I just cannot deal with anymore...!) he seems to me to be a very intelligent little boy in many ways and I think he needs some kind of help in order to keep his mind/body 'fed' in a specific and more positive way, so I am now considering having him assessed. I do NOT want him to be branded as some 'ADHD' kid, nor would I want the 'MENSA' tag actually, as I think a boy such as my DS would not necessarily benefit by being given a label. But I do think that myself and my DH are obviously not barking up the right tree in terms of what he needs - he is certainly not getting something, if only I knew what it was hmm

Sorry for the epic listing, it's been going on for sooooo long now and has thrown up so many issues over time that I feel lost in all this mess sad

Anonmother Fri 06-Nov-09 16:09:26

Sorry, I should also probably mention that I am nearly 30 weeks pregnant, so 'time-outs' are also a bit of a nightmare as he will not go to the area, so I have to take him there (we don't have carpet, so I can fairly easily slide him there(!!), but it's obviously not good for me to be doing that... I really don't think the pregnancy/baby thing is the cause of all this, as it started before he knew anything about the baby.

oneofakind Fri 06-Nov-09 21:38:35

I recognise my ds (3.10) behaviour patterns in most of these posts - unable to share, raspberry blowing, deliberate dribbling everywhere, etc etc. particulary horrendous in the summer holidays and every single day was a bit of a battle. we adopted a consistent, firm approach and did the 1-2-3 method - for eg; if he did not want other kids on the apparatus at the park, he often screamed at the other children so asked him calmly to stop, then gave a warning he would be taken off and if continued would be physically taken off. mostly resulted in almighty public tantrums which I was mortified and drained by but my dh (rightly) didnt care what others thought and we followed through.
after a few weeks there was an almighty 'sea' change and we only have to threaten the 1-2 and he does as we ask. also lots of praise for the good behaviours (look in their eyes when saying this and say you are proud of them) and we bought 'how to talk so kids listen' - useful strategies even at this age.
good luck everyone and hang on in there - we felt exactly the same and it can change but it is hard work and relentlessly exhausting. just a phase hopefully .........

Anonmother Mon 09-Nov-09 10:53:02

Grateful to know we are not the only ones. My DS doesn't seem to respond to praise though, very odd me thinks??! hmm He just won't have eye contact / runs off / starts talking in made up language and noises. I would say this was normal sometimes, but he does it almost every time we praise him...

I have found that sometimes a very gentle approach and showing him that he makes me sad when he acts out can sometimes help, but not always. And I think there's possibly a fine line between showing him I am upset and sad at his behaviour and empowering him to be the adult (I don't want to come across too submissive, or he can tend to start thinking - and saying - he's in charge!) He's such a strong-willed little boy - good in some respects, but the head to heads are really wearing us down now. Such a minefield...

Hopefully it is just a usual phase of many kids this age - am sure we'll get through this sometime (soon I hope, it's lasted long enough sad )

It'll probably be something else soon enough - aren't we lucky as modern mothers to have this facility!? Is always a little comforting to hear from others going through the same.

X

Angiebabes Tue 10-Nov-09 16:54:22

Hi All

Sorry for lack of involvement in my post, but this swine flu has really taken feet from me, finished tamiflu last night, but have now started on a weeks course of antibiotics as I have a chest infection on top of the swine flu!

My DS is full of cold, and so therefore has been grumpy, but his behaviour has been a bit better, cos he can clearly see Mummy is really not well.

I have been reading everyone's posts, and I'm so glad to read I am not alone!!!

No doubt I will be ranting on here again soon, once he see's I'm back to normal, although right now I don't know when that will be as I feel God damn awful.

Angie x

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