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3yr old running our lives!

(23 Posts)
mjp185 Sun 14-Aug-05 18:00:32

I have 2 x Ds, eldest is 6 next month and is a joy to be around, youngest is just turned 3 and although I love him to bits I find it difficult to like him atm. He is so willful, feels like he is constantly hitting, spitting, being rude and not listening to instructions when we are out, its got to the point where I won't even ask my mum to look after him unless it is really necessary. Because he so full of beans all the time people have started to comment (light-heartdly)on him being 'a monster' and 'I bet he's a handful' and I'm worried that I am starting to always see the worst in him. I let my husband deal with him most of the time as I feel like I just can't cope with him, but at the same time feel guilty for this and almost feel sorry for the lad. He is starting fulltime school nursery in Sept and although he has been fulltime at a childminders since 3 months, I am worried his behaviour will see him branded as a 'problem child' Has/Does any one else feel like this? This is the first time I have used MN.!!

Chandra Sun 14-Aug-05 18:21:01

Welcome to Mumsnet Mjp. I'm sure you are not the only one feeling like this, I have to go now buut I'm sure somebody will come with a suggestion soon.

mjp185 Sun 14-Aug-05 18:27:38

thanx x

steffee Sun 14-Aug-05 18:50:14

Does he eat a lot of smarties etc, it may be the colours in certain foods. My ds1 (age 4) has been like this but if we limit foods like orange juice, smarties, angel delight etc he is much much better.

mjp185 Mon 15-Aug-05 14:46:33

I'm pretty careful about what he eats and drinks (i'm a dental therapist so ought to really!)Squash is only ever really dilute, sweets are defo off the menu except for rare occasions, choccie comes about once a week, spends alot of time with grandparents though so perhaps I'll check with them what they're feeding him!! To be honest I think I'm alot softer with DS2 than DS1 so he gets away with more, but I feel terrible telling him off, like its gonna scar him for life!!! Dreading september and starting school Aaaaarrrggh

handlemecarefully Mon 15-Aug-05 14:50:12

How strict do you attempt to be with him?

I can be horribly strict with my 3 year old (sometimes wonder if I overdo it)

handlemecarefully Mon 15-Aug-05 14:51:45

Oh, I've just read your post below properly with him now and notice that you've said you're quite soft with him...Personally think that you may need to be tougher and set a few more boundaries.

MaloryTowers Mon 15-Aug-05 14:53:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

unicorn Mon 15-Aug-05 14:54:08

mjp185.. sympathies, I think it's known as the 'threenager' syndrome.

My ds has also reached this point, and is 'a handful' (my parents actually said this after seeing him for just an hour!)

I am living in the hope/illusion that it is a 'developmental phase' and am repeating the age old mantra... 'this will pass', many many times at the moment.

No real advice to offer I am afraid(altho I actually did consider the House of Tiny Tearaways for a brief moment),just a bit of support from another under siege!

handlemecarefully Mon 15-Aug-05 14:54:21

That's a good idea...

Legacy Mon 15-Aug-05 15:08:34


My two are almost exactly the same age as yours, and we have almost the exact same issues (if that's any help!)

DS2 just turned 3 and almost at the same time we decided we were being too soft on him, he is no longer a baby, and he will be subject to the same discipline as DS1 (who is actually fairly well-behaved, and was beginning to complain about how DS2 'got off lightly').

A 3 year old understands more than you give him credit for

In the last few weeks we have started the following:
- 'no tears wingeing/ screaming because he doesn't get his own way' - gets ingored for a few minutes; DS2 is then warned to stop within say 2 mins, and the kitchen timer is put on for 2 mins... if he's still going after 2 mins he gets put in his bedroom until he stops/ comes and says sorry...
- 'getting up from table/ not eating breakfast/ tea whatever' - gets same 1 or 2 minute warning... if he doesn't come back food is removed and binned (actually did this within sight of him the first time - his face was a picture!), then there is no pudding/ treats etc for the rest of the day.

Surprisingly (for us!) it worked! He is already better, and the threat of the 'timer' is already enough to galvanise him into action...


ninah Mon 15-Aug-05 15:11:41

Forget terrible two's as ds is approaching 3 things getting MUCH worse!

madmarchhare Mon 15-Aug-05 15:33:22

Time to put your foot down I think! Youre the adult here and your DS needs to understand that.

You and DH need to agree on a plan of action and stick to it. I would also suggest that you and your DH, where possible share this responsibility.

You could try

any time he hits/spits/is rude etc.. calmly telling him 'no hitting/whatever' and placing him away from everyone and then igoring him. Carry on on interacting with DS1 or with whatever you were doing and do not give any further attention to DS2.

After a short time, return and explain why you have done whay you have done and ask for an apology.

If you feel too mean you could give a warning first. Continued bad behaviour could maybe result in removal of a toy?

Good behaviour should be praised and rewarded so he sees there is a benefit to behaving well.

You could try a sticker book, adding and removing stickers as necessary and at the end he could have a treat for being such a 'big/clever/good boy'

Gizmo Mon 15-Aug-05 15:40:20

Oooh, yes, I'm finding 3 a real challenge too. We've had (mercifully brief) periods of constant physical aggression (hitting, poking, pinching etc), outrageous tantrums and real silly b*ggery over eating.

We went on holiday about a month ago when it dawned on me that DS is much better with his dad (who sets very firm boundaries) than me. Since then I have really cracked down on the aggression and the results are already very good. I'm also expecting much more of him with respect to managing his own emotions (less whinging, temper explosions etc) and actually getting it.

I've no older children and I think this age is difficult: you've no idea what they're capable of in terms of self management and it's easy to carry on as though they were still toddlers, when really they're getting closer to school age kids. Consequently I have much sympathy for your position . There will be progress, honest, just hang on in there!

Gizmo Mon 15-Aug-05 15:46:00

Tactics that seem to work with DS are all the classics: 'do x or y will result' (where 'y' often equals naughty step), followed by 'I'm going to count to three' - that's a powerful combination in our house.

The violence thing doesn't even get a warning: DS knows kicking/hitting/pinching is unacceptable and he goes straight to the naughty step now. He is much improved as a result, and in fact has not been on the naughty step for 10 days.

Also ignoring bossy demands (say please is a constant mantra in our household atm ) and whinging.

This all sounds terribly draconian, but what is nice about this age is that they really get it, and provided you're being clear about what you want, you can change their behaviour quite quickly.

Still finding it b*dy hard work, though

mumto2boys Mon 15-Aug-05 19:27:07

I am going through very similar problems with my 3 year old ds and it is so stressful - you are not alone I assure you! I was having a text convo with a friend today for support as ds was being so awful and I felt so upset about it all.

Can I ask a question to the experienced mum's here please? We have a naughty step but it can be such a fight to get ds to the step (though sometimes he will take himself) but it then becomes a fight to get him to stay there - I will stand and hold the door shut with my foot so he can't get into the sitting room and then I talk to ds2 or dh to try and not show ds any attention. Ds then lies down outside the door and proceeds to kick it hard with his feet. How would you deal with this? any advice gratefully accepted!

unicorn Mon 15-Aug-05 19:54:59

naughty steps have never worked for either of my 2.. once they realised there was nothing to make them stay on the step they would get off it immediately - and did so.
Rather than spend half the day chasing after ds and putting him back, I now resort to strapping him in the buggy - if he aint restrained- he's off.
It sort of works.

mumto2boys Mon 15-Aug-05 20:11:46

Unicorn - I hadn't thought of that but then he hasn't been in a buggy since he was 2 1/2 (he's 3 1/2 now)... Guess I could leave it set up in the hall 'just in case'. Might give it ago next time - thanks!!

bythesouthsea Mon 15-Aug-05 20:29:32

I do feel for you mums of boys, they do seem more of a handful. I agree with Gizmo, the old art of negotiation seems to work with my dd (jst turned 4) and the naughty step - although she did tell me the other day I was giving her a headache having asked her 3 times not to do something then threatened the naughty step!

mjp185 Tue 16-Aug-05 08:52:10

thankyou all for the helpful advice,like some of you have mentioned I have tried the naughty step to no avail, short of actually pinning him down he won't stay there. I did watch the supernanny series and might well invest in the book(thnx MTowers!)DS2 was actually very loveley last night, but that might be because DS1 stayed at GP house! Am going to try the timer thing I think that sounds good tact(thnx Legacy), also I recall seeing a thing with a jar and sml balls/marbles that get taken away and replaced for bad/good behaviour. Its very reassuring to know that this is common and its not just us, I have thought its 'just a phase', but hey just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.........

handlemecarefully Tue 16-Aug-05 08:59:13

Use time out rather than the naught step - we use downstairs loo and shut the door.

gingerbear Tue 16-Aug-05 09:07:14

Is your DS2 jealous of DS1 at all? Could this be the root cause? If DS1 gets attention more because he is better behaved, is DS2 reacting by behaving badly just to get your attention? (just a thought, and have been watching Little Angels)

madmarchhare Tue 16-Aug-05 10:43:30

Snap!, interesting to see him behaving better without other DS around.

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