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Anyone else finding nearly/around 3 REALLY hard work?

(19 Posts)
QTPie Sat 01-Dec-12 08:32:28

Maybe I have had it fairly easy so far? Maybe it is just the way that I have brought him up (have delayed the "Terrible Twos"?)? Maybe it is because now is a time of accelerating change for him (learning a lot more words, potty training etc) and he is suddenly experiencing more independence? Maybe the Winter/Weathers doesn't help (we do still get out a lot, but not as much as the Summer - when we were often out morning and afternoon, most days)? DS was ill last week (and just coming out of it): so that really didn't help either.

But, at the moment, it feels like he is 34 month going on 14 years. His answer to just about everything is "no". He doesn't listen to a word I say (even when I get down to his level and try and get him to look in my eyes). He is pushing every boundary that he can find and when he finds a boundary, he stretches it (ok, so I can't throw this. Can I throw that instead? What if I throw it lightly instead? How about if I drop it? How about if I pretend fall and drop it? 5000 permutations more...). He also wants to do EVERYTHING himself: which in many ways I want to encourage, but. But even worse is if he doesn't want to do something (like leave the crowded changing room at the toddler gym to go home for lunch - no, leaving without him doesn't work). On top of this, he is a very physical toddler - climbing over and through everything.

I think that I need to quickly adjust boundaries (suitable to his age and development), but I do need to be very firm and consistent. It is sometimes difficult to know where to sensibly draw those boundaries: what is important and what isn't. This does my head in 500 times a day.

Tips, advice, support and book suggestions appreciated. Last read Supernanny's Confident Toddler Book (which was excellent and has helped a lot), but I think that DS is "beyond" that now (age and developmentally).

Love DS to bits (and proud of him - his boundary pushing shows how his mind is working - very sharp), but finding this a challenging time... Wouldn't be so bad if the weather wasn't so awful and the afternoons so dark.

MrsJamin Sat 01-Dec-12 14:03:08

His behaviour is totally classic toddler behaviour. You just need to be really consistent, give him lots of time so he can try to do things himself (otherwise you will get frustrated at him taking ages). The desire to be independent is an essential one so make the most of it and teach him along the way. For all the "no's" you're getting, can you give him a choice between two things rather than ask a closed question that can result in a no?

lolalotta Sat 01-Dec-12 17:39:00

My favourite parenting book dealing with this type of thing is cry discipline solution" by Elizabeth Pantley. It is full of solutions fir this tupe of thing that just make a lot of sense. grin

lolalotta Sat 01-Dec-12 17:39:37

That was meant to read "the no cry discipline solution"!!!!

Girlsville Sat 01-Dec-12 18:15:51

Yes! My dd1 is exactly same age and the same! I also have headstrong 18 month old toddler who copies everything dd1 does eg crying because she doesn't want to leave and it's tiring I think it's just anime of huge development for them.
Dd1 does not want any help getting dressed, inevitably end sin tears because she has not quite mastered it all!
Anyway no tips ( apart from a star chart which I have just started and to which dd1 is really responding so well) but u r not alone!

CatL Sat 01-Dec-12 20:36:40

Yes. DD is 2.11 and finding her very hard work alot of the time - lots of 'nos', saying neither if I giave her a choice, calling my bluff on discipline tactics, refusing to go anywhere near potty or toilet......Aaaagh,

No solutions, but lots of sympathy.

MoleyMick Sat 01-Dec-12 21:39:36

Sympathy here, too - DS is 2.9 and very much the same. Add in a 9 month old and I really am at the end of my tether and can see myself turning into a very shouty mum soon. Patience wearing very thin and often at a complete loss as to what to do sad

BadRoly Sat 01-Dec-12 21:44:10

My dc4 was 3 in June and to be honest, it will be a miracle if he makes 4. EVERYTHING is a battle. And it is the same battles daily. Like walking to school. Putting shoes on. Eating sat at the table. And I am consistent with these things because I HAVE to be. But he will be the death of me!

QTPie Sun 02-Dec-12 19:42:08

Thank you all so much smile

AM so glad that this is "classic" (and not just him - why is it when it is your toddler, that all the other toddlers that you see seem like angels?) and that I am not alone smile

Sounds like I am lucky to only have one at the moment (although, madly, starting IVF in the new year...). BagRoly - definitely hat off to you!

Lolalotta, thank you so much for the book suggestion, will buy and read: I need some ideas...

I do encourage him to do a lot for himself and I always try and give choices. The problem often occurs when you have to do something: leave somewhere (going to leave without him doesn't work, so it is coming down to "you walk or I carry you (in a very undignified way, so that he doesn't prefer being carried)") and changing him from pants to nappy for his nap (at the moment "either we put your nappy on or no story and cuddles" just about works with quite a lot of tears...). Often two choices is STILL met with "No!" and lots of tears and floppy tantrum.

And and about is the worst... LOVE taking him out and so good for him to do things (swimming, toddler gym classes, open softplay, walks, park, lunch out) - keep him active and not up to mischief - but it is often harder to get him to do things. When he doesn't want to leave a rammed changing room at toddler gym....?

I think that quite a bit of the problem may be with me too: I am quite stressed about having an operation a week on Wednesday. I have lots to cram in before then (need to be pretty much ready for Christmas - because of recovery time afterwards - and need to have everything set-up for DS), as well as the worry of the operation itself (only keyhole abdominal surgery, but I have never had a General Anaesthetic before). Combine with anxiety afterwards - goodness knows how long before I will be able to pick him up again...

AnAirOfHopeForSnow Sun 02-Dec-12 19:50:43

My son will be 4 in Feb and still like this hmm

emoo777 Sun 02-Dec-12 20:45:12

Yep, 33 month old, exactly the same. I read somewhere about exacting more patience and making time for her to let her try to do things herself. Since I have been doing this there has been WAY less conflict and she actually seems a lot better behaved in general - not easy when you are rushing / late though..

QTPie Sun 02-Dec-12 20:54:12

All these people saying that their child is still like it at nearly 4 really worries me... Eeeek! Could be a long haul!

Thanks emoo.... Well work on extra time and patience. I think that all developmental steps are difficult (and the are some big ones at the moment) - for oth child and parents... sad

QTPie Sun 02-Dec-12 21:11:37

And probably the worst thing at the moment is the "roughness": really rough play (jumping on me, "falling" on me etc - although not maliciously), rowing things, breaking toys, making a mess just to make a mess etc etc sad

lolalotta Mon 03-Dec-12 06:47:23

Oh QTPie, good luck with the operation on Wednesday!!! I think it probably is having more of an impact than you realise. We nearly bought a house back in August and parenting seemed to get doubly difficult with all the stress!!!! sad

Back2Two Mon 03-Dec-12 06:50:49

Three-nager we like to call it. Both mine harder at 3 than 2. But, like everything else, it does pass!

MrsJamin Mon 03-Dec-12 07:22:00

Qtpie, solution is to keep going out whatever the weather, to the park, to post a letter, take the glass to be recycled. You have to wear them out when they have too much energy to be inside!

Iggly Mon 03-Dec-12 07:35:54

Yes my ds is like this (he's 3.2) but it's not necessarily a "typical toddler" thing - it could be, like DS, that he needs a physical outlet. We had a chat with his preschool, who said he's very advanced physically, so needs a way to channel it. Thy suggested a sport or getting out every single day. Hard as its getting dark at 4 soon, but hey ho.

DS isn't like some of his peers - some are quiet, some are a bit bouncy, but DS is very full on at times.

I find giving a countdown really helps. So I say "I'm goin to count to three and mummy will pick you up". I have to check he's heard me - the preschool said that generally boys brains develop differently so they can't take complicated instruction until a bit later. So keep it simple and make sure he's listening.

If he does something he shouldn't, they use time out whch we have been too. No naughty step - just sit him by himself for three minutes then when he's done, ask what he did to put him there and what he could do next time instead.

It's going to be a challenge with DS, but hoping this will work for us.

MrsJamin Mon 03-Dec-12 08:16:18

Iggly that sounds like how my DS1 was at that age. He's still really physical but now he's in reception at school he's calmed down and clearly listens well to the teachers from how he is learning. Boys brains aren't as well connected between the left and right brain so they need lots of activities to work on to make their brains catch up with the girls.

fairylightsandtinsel Mon 03-Dec-12 09:08:52

CatL if your DC doesn';t want to go near the potty, don't push it yet. Just have it available and if at some pint they go to it then fine - we decidied to train DS at about 2.10 because it fitted in with an extended holiday for us so we thought we could crack it. 8 months on and he still poos in his pants every day and is only about 90% reliable with wees. Don't do it cos you feel you "should". OP, yes, fairly typical and unbelievably frustrating. DS is doing one of these "do it myself" things with doors, some of which he CAN'T open and if you do it he goes mad. I have learnt to just let him frankly, I let him try for a minute, then offer to help and try and do it with him but if he says no, I just do it, tell him to stop being silly and carry him over thr threshold / into the car etc. I have a younger DD who copies him so I am very wary of letting anything develop too far. When needed we do the naughty step (or corridor in our case) and he does get it. Sticker charts haven't really worked but at his preschool they have done a lot of work with him to help him cope with timings and routines - a wall chart showing what happens when and he puts velcro labels on it for different activites. That seesm to have really helped.

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