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Emptied 3 yrs old room. What AM I doing???!!

(13 Posts)
PizzaEmpress Tue 23-Aug-11 09:06:12

DD (3 years old) has been a complete brat for a few days now. Spitting, hitting, shouting, refusing to cooperate with anything. Generally out of control and obnoxious.

It's already started today, so I've emptied her room of toys and books and told her that I'm going to give them to a good girl or boy.

I feel like crap. I don't know what to do!

greencolorpack Tue 23-Aug-11 09:12:02

I remember my dd being like that. I once got off a bus and walked about two miles with her because she was misbehaving on the bus and getting off was my punishment. She acted unbelievably badly for a couple of days and then settled down again so hopefully, it will be the same with your dd.

I'm thinking "Supernanny" and the naughty step? Have you tried that? And followed through on it?

I think children's rooms are choked with a surfeit of toys and books so I don't think removing them will do any harm, but don't give them away, just keep them in a black bag in a cupboard she can't get at and return them if/when she starts behaving. I wouldn't say "A good girl or boy", you don't want a child labeling themselves with "good" or "bad". They are just girls, who show good or bad behaviour. If a child thinks of themselves as bad to the bone, they will feel unloved and all kinds of terrible things will happen.

Tire her out, go for a really long walk, burn off some energy. Take her swimming. Then when she's home let her have a nap while you chill out in another room. Just my two cents. Best of luck.

Mandyville Tue 23-Aug-11 09:12:30

Oh lor! Hope you're OK - sounds horrible. No idea if any of this will help but...

First, don't panic! You're at the end of your tether and it won't do the three year old any harm to realise that.

Second... Erm... Well... Tricky... I guess you really want to give her the things back, yes? Can she earn them back for good behaviour?

Third - it sounds as though you need coping strategies to stop things getting this far. I know people on here recommend 1-2-3 Magic and 'How to talk'. I've never read the books, but my almost three year old has been trained to respond to a countdown (a la 1-2-3 Magic). I now almost never have to even make the threat - the countdown is enough. I try to keep the threats to something I want too. Messing around at bedtime is met with a threat to cut down on bedtime stories, for example.

Poor you - sounds like a nightmare day!

thebitchandherwomb Tue 23-Aug-11 09:17:15

Actually, emptying out the room (but obv don't chuck stuff) may bring a breath of fresh air. Kids these days just have so many toys they can't play with them all. Return one thing every day she is good. Do things together like walks or going to the park (whines reverberate less in the open air).

3yos are fine-tuned for maximum annoyance. I find that they get quite nice when they turn 4 (and then you have to send them off to school sad)

ChippingIn Tue 23-Aug-11 09:19:36

It's always brilliant when the day starts like this isn't it <eye roll>

What are you doing? Coping as best you can without completely losing it and doing something you regret?? Better than screaming at her or walloping her into next week!!

Have you tried:

Stern Words with her.
Walk/swim/scooter to tire her out.
DVD/Books/Cuddles when she's quiet & tired
Early nights
Healthy energising food
Not giving in to too many treats (food wise, makes them little monsters IMO)
Having boundaries and being consistent.

Wine - but possibly not at 7am!!

One little girl I know, when she was about 3, was a right little shit madam everyday until she had been told off - once she'd been told off she was adorable all day... very odd. After this was noticed (took a while) the first foot out of line - good telling off, boundary set for the day - everyone happy - very odd, but it worked. She finally grew out of it.

Lougle Tue 23-Aug-11 09:47:04

Tbh, I am pretty hard line, but I don't think taking all the toys and books is going to have any lasting impact, and I don't think that you will get anything out of it anyway.

Why don't you say 'Oh we are having a horrible day, aren't we?' Ask her to help you put the toys and books back.

Then start again. She is 3. 3 year olds don't have the sort of reasoning to link 'I was naughty so my books and toys will go.'

PizzaEmpress Tue 23-Aug-11 11:07:18

Thanks all for your replies. I'm at the end of my tether. Most of her rage seems to be directed at me. Yesterday she spat banana all down the piano as that's my hobby. She just said "Look what I've done to your piano!" She told me to shut up and called me stupid out in public yesterday (not phrases we use around her). It's really very hard-going and heartbreaking.

She's earned one toy (her favourite comforter) and one book back so far, for eating her breakfast (which took 2 hours).

As you say, Lougle, I don't know if she understand the consequence of losing her toys etc, but I don't know what else to do. I'm so distraught. There's only so much abuse I can take. I was planning on taking her to see her friend today, but won't be doing that now. I'm just wondering if I'm going about this the wrong way and am causing damage. I just want to cry and cry and cry. sad

PizzaEmpress Tue 23-Aug-11 11:13:25

ChippingIn, thanks for your list.

I have tried stern words. Down at her level, not shouted (always!)
Walk - we have a dog so do decent-length walks twice a day.
Swim - she does weekly lessons, although we've only been a couple of times this summer holiday.
Scooter - yep and she has (well, it's now locked away!) a balance bike
DVD - yes, she loves Wallace and Gromit particularly
Books - she's book mad. She's more bothered about the books being taken away than the toys. She didn't have a bedtime story last night for the first time in her life because of her behaviour.
Cuddles - yes, always.
Early night - yes, and she still naps in the day time (she's 3 years, 2 months)
Healthy, energising food - yes, definitely. Junk only as a treat, which rarely happens at the moment!
Boundaries and consistency - yes, I think so. I think we may be a little bit more strict than a lot of parents, e.g. no getting down from the table until we've all finished eating, etc, but both DP and I are consistent in laying down the rules, I think.

I don't know what to do next.

wonderstuff Tue 23-Aug-11 11:28:51

Bless you - three is a nightmare age - don't know why people talk about terrible twos. My 3yo is the girl with a curl - just lovely or really awful - nothing in between.
I do naughty step/ time in her room - gives me some time too
also choices - either two good options or this good thing for good behaviour or bad consequence for bad.. countdowns seem to work.
I find if I give warnings and opportunities to improve the behaviour before the consequence it helps.. Also pick your battles.
And wine, definitely.

And remember - this too will pass..

vesela Tue 23-Aug-11 12:09:51

Does she go to nursery - is she on holiday at the moment? I get the idea that children this age, just at the very beginning of being able to understand "do as you would be done by" are often better at learning/remembering the rules when they encounter their effects from other children. E.g. DD (now 4) knows that it hurts to be called stupid because other children say it to her and she doesn't like it (and they're just beginning at this age to realise that words hurt as well as fists, and trying out accordingly).

So maybe do go and play with friend - it could defuse things a bit.

vesela Tue 23-Aug-11 12:33:35

and yes, it is a very difficult age. They've just started to realise that they have minds of their own - that what you want can be totally different from what they want - but they're only just beginning to understand why doing/saying XY is wrong.

I have one book that points out, though, that - much like when they're learning to talk - children can always understand one step ahead of what they can actually practise, when it comes to learning to reason about good behaviour. So never worry that your stern words are making no difference just because DD doesn't appear to respond - they are making a difference, just as talking to babies helps them learn to talk, even when they themselves can only say d-d-d.

PizzaEmpress Tue 23-Aug-11 16:51:52

Thanks again, everyone. I'll have a look for 1-2-3 Magic and How to Talk books.

DD's been asleep for an hour and a half now, so I think tiredness plays a big part. She has a good, healthy diet (best mate's a dietician and is always on hand for excellent advice smile ) but I might look at an iron supplement, just for a few days. Clutching at straws really!

She's earned a toy and a book back for eating her lunch really well.

She'll earn another for eating her tea and another getting ready for bed without argument. I've made a reward chart which is hanging on her bare walls, but I think that's over her head a bit really.

We're trying to sell the house at the moment, so I don't know what people are going to make of a child's room with nothing but a reward chart and two books on the shelf! The toys and books are all piled up in the tiny spare room. Very bijoux!

Thanks again everyone for your advice. Apologies that I haven't replied individually and properly, but my head's buzzing. I'll have a proper read through and think about things when she's (finally!) in bed tonight. Thanks again. smile

pointythings Tue 23-Aug-11 20:36:36

PIzzaEmpress,

Have you thought about a vitamin E supplement? We had big issues with emotional problems/rages/intense sadness with DD2 and found that a multivitamin containing E made a miracle difference - took about a week.

And 3 is definitely harder than 2, especially if they are very verbal.

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