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toddler behaviour out of control and I can't handle it, neither can the nursery

(14 Posts)
pleaseno81 Wed 05-Mar-14 14:15:09

I'm at my wit's end. I obviously love and adore him but I just don't like spending time with him anymore as his behaviour is truly awful.

Everything is a problem, there's a tantrum every few minutes, he repeats demands until given exactly what he wants. Hurts his baby sister, refuses to share, I could go on.

His behaviour is at its worst with me. Nursery (he goes three days in total, the rest of the time he's with me) say that discipline won't twig with him and although he apologises repeats the same behaviour minutes after.

We do time out - consistently - and praise good behaviour.

I'm embarrassed to admit this but I've started shouting at him as I just don't know what else to do.

I just want to go back to work full time and not deal with it any longer. I have an anxiety disorder and have realised that when he's not there I'm not on edge.

He's three in April.

Please help me. Has anyone been through anything like this?

insanityscatching Wed 05-Mar-14 14:25:23

Do you have any concerns about his development besides his behaviour? How is his speech? How does he play? What does he like to do? Does he eat and sleep well?
My ds3 has autism and he was extremely challenging when he was three. What worked for us was cutting down the demands, having strict routines and rewarding (with a wotsit) every single positive no matter how small.
If you have concerns then do speak to a GP and ask for a referral to a paediatrician.

pleaseno81 Wed 05-Mar-14 14:42:01

Eats very well. Won't sleep unless someone is in bed with him which is extremely frustrating for me and his dad. Speech is fantastic - advanced even. Plays great except his problems sharing - that aside though he is an extremely social little boy. Loves playing with boys and girls, particularly older ones. Very confident - and handsome grin grin.

Nursery say he has problems understanding other's feelings based on his sharing problems - snatching etc. He's extremely loving.

Theyaremysunshine Wed 05-Mar-14 14:55:47

Will post more later but tbh sounds like a normal 3 yo with new sibling.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 05-Mar-14 15:03:29

You will work it out, don't lose heart. If he kicks off with tantrums, repeats demands or yells about "not liking" you or Daddy so be it. You're his parent not a fairy godmother. That's not your job.

First keep a cool head. Remaining calm yourself and talking to DS in a calm tone will work far better getting him to comply than shouting at him. The more you yell, the more defiant he becomes. Anger spirals out of control very quickly and easily. Not yet 3 but he will be working out what buttons to push. Don't give him control.

Easier said than done but when you breathe and keep calm and don't let him have that control, he'll calm down faster. If he consistently sees that his usual techniques have failed to work, that particular tactic will die out.

Secondly implement time outs (which do tend to help calm things down). Be consistent.

Thirdly, praise and reward good behaviour. Treats are extras, they're privileges not rights. He has to know right from wrong, it's your job to make sure he knows the difference. Unless he has a hearing problem he can readily take in the information you give him, process it and know you won't give in to bullying.

(Yes, I use that word bullying - he is not yet 3, but by the time he's bigger and stronger, you really don't want him thinking he can boss you. If he is already pushing his baby sister around, he is not going to stop by the time she is strong enough to retaliate).

Whether at home or at nursery, if he chooses not to respond effectively to choices, he gets consequences.

Whatever his behaviour during the day, read him a bedtime story at night (either you or DP). Even the tantrumming DC is sensitive and thinks you don't like him any more if he doesn't get a story each night because he misbehaved earlier.

insanityscatching Wed 05-Mar-14 15:07:46

I'd say as he is only just three having problems sharing is pretty common tbh so would bounce it back to the nursery and ask them how they are going to help him learn to share. Sometimes short bursts with an adult where he is encouraged and praised for sharing can help to learn the concept before having to share with other children who might not share well themselves.
I think understanding others' feelings is something that will come with time too and wouldn't see it as it being a problem at three. I think now there is so much recording and documenting of children in settings there is less allowances made for quite natural ranges in meeting milestones tbh and I think that causes anxiety for parents.
To me he sounds like a bright three year old who has you sussed if he knows that tantrums and demands will get him what he wants eventually. You either need to make sure he never profits from a tantrum or lower your expectations a bit so that there aren't so many triggers to set him off.
With my ds I let a lot go because otherwise life would have been miserable but the two or three things I felt important I never let him win no matter how long the tantrum.( He's 19 now and an absolute joy)

Sevensev Wed 05-Mar-14 15:12:02

That sounds exhasting for you. And exhausting for him too.
Light taps from you are needed. He needs to know which behaviour is unacceptable.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 05-Mar-14 15:12:30

( He's 19 now and an absolute joy)

That is what OP needs to hear insanityscatching smile

WillSingForCake Wed 05-Mar-14 15:15:39

How recent an addition is his baby sister? Could it just be linked to jealousy over her arrival, or was his behaviour a problem beforehand?

pleaseno81 Wed 05-Mar-14 16:55:33

Hi everyone. Thanks for your advice. It's good to know this sounds par for the course-ish.

She's 10 months now so not really 'new'. He has always been challenging.

DH home and I've come upstairs to get away. I just love being at work and feel guilty that I'd quite happily go back full time to avoid the stress of this. However they're my responsibility and I feel like I'm copping out.

Bumpsadaisie Wed 05-Mar-14 17:13:31

OP, the sibling issues between mine got worse as my youngest got to 10 mths isn - when they get mobile and more assertive, its harder for the eldest. Could be partly to blame?

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 05-Mar-14 17:26:28

You can be a good role model if you go back to work OP. Are you worried you'll be judged? Ignore any comments, like "I couldn't bear to let strangers raise my DCs" <tinkly laugh>.

Going back to work because you miss the stimulation and pay packet doesn't make you a neglectful parent.

You'll still be handling behavioural issues before and after work and at weekends though. So it's not a true escape in that sense.

Theyaremysunshine Wed 05-Mar-14 19:35:25

Sorry, didn't have time to write much earlier.

Just wanted to say that DS has recently come out of this phase. He's 3.5 and dd is 10m. Fine to begin with but jealousy set in from about 6m. We went through a few months of hell. His behaviour was horrible. Tantrums galore.

All back to normal now. Has his moments of course, he is 3 after all grin

My advice would be to let go of as much as you can. We started only disciplining the serious stuff: hitting, biting, kicking, destruction of property. Time out didn't work. Consequences as much as possible related to the offence, and otherwise it was removal of treats (tv, iPad, trips out). Masses of exaggerated praise for anything good.
Undoubtedly the most important thing though was having some 1 to 1 time doing something fun. Trip to park or similar. He was a little angel when he wasn't competing for attention, and that's all it was with us OP, attention seeking.

Ride it out. Keep as calm as you can. Ignore as much as possible. and drink wine at night

Theyaremysunshine Wed 05-Mar-14 19:39:16

Of, I forgot. We do 1,2,3 before discipline, except for major stuff of course. He got the concept from a very early age.

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