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Lovely 3yo becomes PITA - normal, or am I a really rubbish mother?

(14 Posts)
stillfrazzled Thu 07-Jul-11 18:49:56

Because today it def feels like the latter. DS1 turns 4 this month. We missed the terrible twos, which God help me I actually felt a bit smug about, and up to now he's been sweet, charming, funny and (mostly) well-disciplined.

In the last month or so I don't think I've told him to do one thing which he hasn't either ignored the first four times, whined 'I don't WANT to' about or run away. Or made a spitting noise at me. Or done what he's asked while carrying on a hateful passive aggressive whisper that makes me want to SCREAM.

Nursery run has become a nightmare. The last two mornings we've shot out of the house late after a battle royal over everything from teeth cleaning to fucking sock choice. I tried SO hard to be patient and calm and just keep repeating myself this morning (the one thing that does seem to work is confiscating his beloved toy trains or threatening to) but ended up flipping and yelling at him.

This afternoon I took him to a nice seaside cafe and we had an ice cream. After he'd eaten it he suddenly flipped, was randomly rude to me and then screamed and totally humiliated me while all the old ladies tutted. Then screamed all the way home because I enforced the promised consequence of taking his scooter and making him walk.

Then calmed down and apologised, but ten minutes later was ignoring me when I asked him to do something again.

I actually really dislike him this afternoon. Counting the minutes till I can pack him off to bed.

I am getting this wrong and being rubbish and I don't know what to do.

Jacksmania Thu 07-Jul-11 18:54:33

You're not rubbish. We skipped the Terrible Two's too, and I counted myself seriously lucky. Then DS turned three and found his own little personality, and most of the time he's his normal sweet self and then at other times he makes me want to bang my head against the wall.
Last week it was my turn to be "that mum". The one who was pushing a child through the supermarket who was bellowing at the top of his lungs. I caught a lot of sympathetic smiles, and some outright grins when DS started screaming, tears still pouring down his face "I'm done spazzin' out, can I have candy??" - that seriously was funny, don't know where he got that phrase from... but it was exhausting and I was seriously pissed off with him.

Jacksmania Thu 07-Jul-11 18:56:17

What I don't like is when he's over it, and being his sweet self again (DH calls him the bipolar child when he does that) but I'm still pissed off. But the thing is, he has to learn the consequences of his choices and behaviour...
Gah. Let me see if I can find the link for the "There should be a bloody support group for parents of 3-year-olds" thread.

stillfrazzled Thu 07-Jul-11 19:30:12

I hate being That Mum, too.

And you're so right about the recovery - we got home and he announced that he was sorry, and ready to be good now, and wanted me to stop being cross, but I just didn't want to be anywhere near him. I shouldn't feel like that about my own child sad.

wearymum200 Thu 07-Jul-11 19:42:06

Testosterone! Surges in little boys suggested but not proven. Think teenage lout.... DS1 also had phases exactly like this (still does, he's 5.5). Most of the time he's delightful, but....
Consistency, time out and reassuring yourself it's a passing phase and not your parenting.
Good luck.

pinkytheshrinky Thu 07-Jul-11 19:42:36

I am that Mum too - four dc's in Tesco (for my sins) with 2.7 year old wailing at the top of his lungs nearly all the way round and then me saying various versions of 'just wait until i get you home....' and then him wailing for the rest of the trip and through the checkout 'please mummy please don't punish me pleeeaase'. Yes agreed I hate it that I am cross for longer than him.

He sounds normal and you sound normal but that doesn't make it any easier.

stillfrazzled Thu 07-Jul-11 19:43:19

He has developed a distinct swagger so it had crossed my mind...

xBeingTheBestMummyICanx Thu 07-Jul-11 19:48:13

You are not a bad Mum or there would be a lot of us labelled with that title. My DD is 4 years and 1 month and we have been through very similar. Like you we missed, the terrible twos but instead got the “terrible threes”.

I think the problem with most 3 year olds is they are at an age where they know their own mind to a certain extent and know what they like and dislike. They also want to test us and see how far they can push us so it’s very important to be consistent with your choice of discipline, threats etc.

This is the things I do and they have helped

With my DD, she is always worse when tired so I give her a little lea-way if tired. However, at other times, if she was being naughty, stroppy etc, she is given a warning and then another two and if the behaviour continues, I use the naughty step. Never threaten unless you are prepared to carry out the threat.

I try to create opportunities for DD to make choices as it gives her a sense of control. I.e. Do you want to wear this dress or the trousers? Do you want cornflakes or rice crispies for breakfast?

Give praise when being good.

Be consistent

Stick to a routine as much as possible as children love routine.

Prepare for what is going to happen as springing news on a child will often invoke a tantrum so saying three more goes on the chute then we must go home, 5 more minutes then it’s bath time etc can help.

No matter how hard it is once the tantrum/bad behaviour is over forget about it as otherwise, you will spend the rest of the day annoyed and angry and your child will pick up on it. Focus on the good times not the bad.

My DD still has days when she can be a bit of a nightmare but they are nowhere near as often as they were. smile


Bumperlicioso Thu 07-Jul-11 20:02:21

They don't call it Threenager for nothing! A friend also mentioned a testosterone surge too, even in girls. We didn't have the Terrible Twos either. I think this behaviour is completely normal, though really hard to manage.

p99gmb Thu 07-Jul-11 20:05:37

I think its such a shame that we teach kids how to bear a grudge..

we can't 'move on' as quickly as they do after the tantrum..

such a shame.. kids have things to teach us too...

Bumperlicioso Thu 07-Jul-11 20:12:49

Young kids don't bear grudges because their frontal lobes and memory functions aren't as developed as an adult. We don't teach them to bear grudges they just develop the capacity.

Bumperlicioso Thu 07-Jul-11 20:13:35

As an adult's

FairyArmadillo Thu 07-Jul-11 20:16:04

I've never heard the term Threenager. It's very appropriate!

sleepingsatellite Thu 07-Jul-11 20:19:31

DS is like this now, and he's only 22m...its going to be a long couple of years until he's 4...!

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