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Stopping 3.5 yr old ds throwing strops every morning - help please

(14 Posts)
PetitFilou1 Wed 26-Sep-07 14:31:36

This is his worst time of day atm. Usually fine until he has to get dressed then he throws a wobbler. I thought ok maybe he wants to get himself dressed. He can actually do it but he will scream, rail against it, whinge etc and it is not much different from me trying to get him dressed. I am on my own with ds and dd while their dad is away all week and just cannot get into work on time. This morning he had a tantrum for 20 minutes when I asked him to put his pants and trousers on which he can do easily - in the end I went downstairs with dd, started breakfast and ignored it. Then he asks me why I am angry with him and keep shouting at him hmm He is very articulate and easy to have a conversation with but I cannot seem to make him understand and I don't seem to understand what is upsetting him either. Help?

HonoriaGlossop Wed 26-Sep-07 14:39:10

I bang on about this a bit blush but have you tried giving him challenges or making it a race? As in, I bet you can't get your trousers on before I count to ten, that sort of thing.

Also, don't know if this would work with your ds but it did for me, making the clothes part of his role play - for instance his trousers were his train driver's uniform or whatever....

Reverse psychology worked too; "DS, I have are NOT ALLOWED to wear clothes today" grin

Some boys are supremely uninterested in clothes and so seem to hate the process of dressing undressing. I found the games and stratagems worked as a distraction, really.

Meeely2 Wed 26-Sep-07 14:46:03

i go through this x 2 with 2.9yo twin boys....both love being naked, so get up, strip and then come and watch tele with us....I am all light hearted about getting dressed and concentrate on getting myself ready and don't make a big thing of them needing to put clothes on.

I might suddenly shout, "can we put pants on please while mummy brushes her teeth".....and sometimes i get a response, other times not, so basically i just get myself ready, then walk into their room and say, "right boys, chop chop, time to get ready, else you can't got to school" (they are loving pre-school so threatening them with not going is sometimes enough incentive), and if we are still testing our boundaries then i just say "right mummy will pick your clothes then" and head off to their cupboards and generally thats enough to get them moving.

Making it a race sometimes works as they love outdoing each other and giving them a goal too, "you can go downstairs and choose a biscuit if you get dressed" (ok so thats blackmail, but hey, whatever works huh!)....

casbie Wed 26-Sep-07 15:03:18

having a race between siblings (and yourself) is a great idea.

also, why not give him just a big cuddle when he gets into a strop, it works with all three of mine (2,4,7 years)

my ds got dressed super-fast this morning because it was his favourite (porridge), in his best clothes (red shirt and jeans)...

i had to tell him to get dressed again, becuase he needs to go to school today - school uniform - bless him!

Countingthegreyhairs Thu 27-Sep-07 15:05:28

casbie - I'm fascinated by the fact that you give your 3 a cuddle when they have a strop.
I'm definitely going to try it (I have a dd who can be argumentative - see mini-disputes thread). I always thought hugging them would "reward" them for their bad behaviour and reinforce it but am desperate for new ideas.

PetitF - my dd hates getting dressed too. The race technique HG describes works well and also a sticker chart helped alot but she reverted to throwing wobblies when we stopped it so it's not a permanent solution.

Also - painful as it is - and you prob have already thought of this - but I tend to get up hours ahead of my dd and make sure we have loads of time when dh is away. If I'm not stressed and rushing then dd doesn't pick up on my tension. (Easier with one child I know.)

Another suggestion (stolen from "How to talk so kid's will listen" book) - if he's articulate then you could try turning the problem over to him and say "if you had a little boy who wouldn't get dressed in the morning - and that made his mummy sad because she was late for work - what would you do?" You then write down any suggestions that he comes up with that you think will work. So you could try, for example, putting his clothes out together the night before. It's worked quite well with dd so far but it doesn't work every day to be honest.

Finally, dd's school suggested that if she doesn't get dressed in the morning (they think she should be able to do this herself with a little assistance by the age of 4) then I should bring her to school partially dressed or in her pyjamas and the prob would resolve itself. Haven't had to follow through on that one yet thankfully ....

casbie Thu 27-Sep-07 16:51:27

counting - my kids have been very emotional after being at school every day since the hols...

i know what it's like your tierd, they're tierd and your running late.

my morning runs like this:

6am get dressed, pee etc, lay table, set out brekky
7am wake children up, kiss, cuddle, help them get into clothes, they pee, we all down to breakfast together
7.30 i come back up to do teeth
7.45 i leave house, hubby takes over getting shoes on, watching tv (!), gather coats, make lunches

it's very tempting to get cross when you tierd, but keeping calm and cuddly really helps pascify the situation. also, if i am in a hurry/getting upset etc, they understand it's okay because they have had their cuddle already!! and it's not them i'm cross with. not perfect, but 90% of the time it works.

Countingthegreyhairs Fri 28-Sep-07 08:12:12

That's BRILLIANT Casbie thanks

Tried it this morning and it worked!!!

Really DID NOT feel like giving her a cuddle because she was dragging her feet at every stage, wouldn't eat breakfast, wouldn't come upstairs etc etc (will do it in reverse in future btw - will follow your schedule and get her dressed before breakfast) but managed to put aside my fuming frustration and stop looking at the ticking clock long enough to give her one long kiss and hug! And she was transformed!

She immediately brightened up and started talking about her dance class tomorrow and how she was looking forward to it and the atmosphere changed in an instant. Thanks again.

Apologies PetitFilou, feel as though I am hi-jacking but hope it works for you ...

Countingthegreyhairs Fri 28-Sep-07 08:15:53

Sorry - in a rush this morning - just wanted to add that I guess one forgets how little concept they have of time at the age of 4 and how they don't understand the importance of any of the stuff we adults worry about - getting a good breakfast down them, washing, dressing in clean clothes etc and as a result I've expected too much of her.

I've learnt my lesson - she's not an automaton - need to take time out for a bit of affection in the morning and not just barking orders ....sad

casbie Fri 28-Sep-07 08:54:26

oh counting - i'm glad it works!!

: )

Lorayn Fri 28-Sep-07 09:07:00

Counting, I too hug strops away, (minute ones anyway) A quick hug, and 'come on you, mummy needs you to <insert task here>,' If I am busy and cant hug (for example, when covered in pizza dough) I always tell him he needs to do it by the time I have ............. which he normally does too.

Lorayn Fri 28-Sep-07 09:09:49

petitfilou, I am sorry you are having troubles, I suggest the hugs before tantrums start and race things that everyone else has suggested. Maybe get him to choose his clothes for the next day before he goes to bed?? Do you wake him or up or does he wake you up??
My dd is nearly 7 and ds is nearly 3, as their clothes are out when they wake up, when he sees dd getting her school uniform on he starts to get dressed himself. Then I get up and tell them how proud I am that they are already dressed, reward with hugs and kisses.

PetitFilou1 Fri 28-Sep-07 13:10:15

Thanks all - racing doesn't work with ds, he gets really upset and shouts 'it's not a race, I don't want to race'. Counting doesn't work either. He doesn't seem to give a monkeys what he wears so isn't interested in choosing his clothes unlike his little sister grin

I tried the hug the other day and that did help a bit. What worked this morning was (at his suggestion as he really wanted me to read a book to him and I wanted him to get dressed) reading it to him while he got dressed. Worked like a dream and I will be trying that again tomorrow. I guess that is him doing How to talk etc himself!

He has just started to wet the bed (last two nights) because he's so upset that his dad has been away for a week - he is a sensitive little soul although people who don't know him well wouldn't guess.

Lorayn Fri 28-Sep-07 20:47:39

if daddy is away surely you need someone to keep his side of the bed warm for you?? just for one night mind, but mummy might need looking after wink

casbie Mon 01-Oct-07 08:56:31

is it possible for him to phone daddy first thing in the morning?

my kids love talking on the phone.

this coupled with a cuddle and kiss, before getting dressed might help?

bless him!

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