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How to handle 3.5 yr old maniac DD? I desperately need advice <<wails>>;

(25 Posts)
BoredyHouse Wed 03-Sep-08 13:30:29

I am just despairing at the moment. I really can't handle my 3.5 year old DD. She is constantly hyper. Never stops fidgeting and wriggling around. Mealtimes are a constant struggle to keep her from falling out of her chair because she just won;t stay still.

She plays aggressively with other children. e.g. she'll bounce as hard as she can on the opposite end of the seesaw to try to dislodge her partner. She plays 'spitting' games all the time (blowing massive raspberries in other children's faces). All playground activities are conducted at full pelt and as dangerously as possible (to herself and others).

She is SO loud. She talks constantly (which I know I should be pleased about, in some ways), and she shrieks and shouts far more than other 3.5 yr old girls.

She WILL NOT do a fecking thing I say. I'm trying v hard to stick to the How to Talk advice, but it's not making a blind bit of difference yet.

I can pretty much guarantee that a trip out will result in her getting lost at some point (unless I literally tie her reins to the buggy, which isn't always possible). She has NO FEAR when it comes to losing sight of me. In fact she thinks it's really funny.

I feel totally and utterly defeated at the end of every day. I feel like I'm constantly snapping at her at the moment. I don't know where I'm going wrong, and I'm genuinely worried that DD is going to end up as some sort of delinquent.

I was really hoping that she'd improve with the start of term (she's just started at a lovely pre-school), but she's more intense than ever. In fact, I'm feeling even worse, because she seems so different to her contemporaries. The other new kids were clinging to their Mums at the beginning and seemed so gentle and obedient. DD settled in immediately (which, again, I do realise is a blessing in some ways), but extracting her at the end of the session is Mission Impossible. She runs away shrieking and refuses to come with me. Every day I end up having to physically hoik her away while the other parents look on aghast.

I am a shit parent. Please help me.

BoredyHouse Wed 03-Sep-08 13:32:40

I;m also worried that it's because I've let her watch too much telly in the past. Have cut it down to about 30 mins (or less) a day, but it doesn't seem to be making any difference. Could I have permanently damaged her?? sad

Dragonbutter Wed 03-Sep-08 13:37:59

i have no advice, just sympathy.
ds1 is the same, he's nearly 4 and totally exhausting. the spitting thing is mortifying. i know how you feel.

mistlethrush Wed 03-Sep-08 13:43:03

Sounds as though you've got a boy not a girl there!grin Most of what you're describing can be also applied to ds (3.5), although we do have discussions about pushing ('you didn't like it when x pushed you did you? - well, if you don't push them they are less likely to push you' etc). Sitting still for meals - not likely. He gets warned sometimes that if he gets off his chair once more we will assume that he has finished and give the rest to the dog. And he wants to talk so much that meal times are a pain because he keeps on talking rather than eating.

He isn't as bad at running off etc.

Sometimes have to extracate him from nursery kicking and screaming as he wants to stay there rather than come home...

Work on the problematical things - like the running off - we say that he has to stay where we can see him, but then give him quite a free rein within that distance - don't worry that you've got an extrovert, non-shy girl though! Probably, because you are comparing her to other girls you are worrying - compare her instead to the age range in its entiriety - I am sure that there are some boys that are even worse! (I hope that this is encouraging!)

Good luck

BoredyHouse Wed 03-Sep-08 13:45:05

Wish I knew more people with nightmare DCs. We could have a big party and let them have a gay old time covering each other in flob.

Perhaps we could have St John's Ambulance on stand-by for the inevitable injuries.

Is there anyone out there who has had a child like this, and they've ended up...y'know...normal...ish????

Dragonbutter Wed 03-Sep-08 13:46:58

i live in hope.

BoredyHouse Wed 03-Sep-08 13:48:35

Thanks mistlethrush

We also try to do the "stay where you can see us" rule, but she deliberately goes off and hides. It's infuriating. In fact, I'm generally more pissed off about it than worried nowadays.

orangina Wed 03-Sep-08 13:51:57

My dd is similar to yours I think... (also 3.5). Loves the raspberry blowing thing, testing me by saying whatever "bad" words she can think of (at the moment, she thinks "bother" is bad, and she keeps looking at me defiantly and saying "bother, bother, bother....", not realising she sounds like a junior member of the famous five... haha!), etc, etc. Totally full on, can't wait to go back to nursery, tests me at (almost) every given opportunity.

When I am tired and lacking in patience, I start shouting and feeling totally exasperated. BUT, if I manage to somehow keep a lid on it, ignore the not too bad behaviour, encourage the good and find as much as I can quite funny, it magically becomes a positive thing and not a negative, if that makes sense. She starts to ENJOY rather than DEFY, and we can have some fun. When I have to, I lay down the law (if you get down off your chair once more, I will clear away dinner and there will be nothing more until breakfast, for instance), and follow through, (trying to) stay calm if she throws a complete hissy fit. "You're sounding tired, I think it must be time for bed" also works quite well.

Agree w mistlethrush, don't compare her to other girls, (try to) enjoy her for who she is.. a vibrant, exhuberant, fun loving lively little girl. As soon as I manage to turn my own attitude around from negative to positive, it makes a massive difference and we all have a lot more fun.

(Though agree at the end of the day it can feel almost impossible...!)

orangina Wed 03-Sep-08 13:53:51

If behaviour has been too "silly" (still trying to avoid the word "naughty", gawd knows why...) or she is too tired at the end of the day, I say no tv, only books, and then only if she can be calm etc.

orangina Wed 03-Sep-08 13:57:25

Also, I find it is quite easy to fall into the habit of assuming that just because she KNOWS she it is taking (over) an hour to eat her breakfast (!!!!!!), that she must therefore be doing it deliberately. I know she isn't, and by offering her some help, she feels more that I am on her side, rather than us constantly being at odds with each other. She is another one who chatters too much to actually get around to the business of eating...

BoredyHouse Wed 03-Sep-08 14:01:20

orangina - I know you talk sense. I really really want to improve my attitude to her, but I feel like I'm in a vicious circle at the moment. She's generally being so infuriating that I just want to get away from her. Then she becomes more attention seeking and obnoxious.

Seeing it written down, I realise I just need to grow up and get a grip blush

siblingrivalry Wed 03-Sep-08 14:02:46

Hi. Are you writing about my dd - the similarities are uncanny!

No real advice for you, just loads of sympathy - it can be hell!smile

I knew things had come to a head when my MIL (who has always been a bit of a 'soft touch' with dds) said that dh and I would have to make a stand with dd2 before we totally lost control of her.
So we have taken a kind of zero tolerance approach with the screaming, shouting and temper outbursts - one warning, then time out in the hall.

Also, we try to follow through with every warning we give her eg she was so badly behaved yesterday morning, I took dd1 to a playdate and left dd2 with dh. TBH, I felt really awful but it's got to the stage where we can't take dd2 anywhere without her causing a scene.

Also, we give her loads of praise and attention when she does do as she is asked. It's early days yet;only been a week -but fingers crossed.
Do you have anyone to help out? Sometimes, I just need a complete break from her because she has drained me!
Good luck. If you need a rant, give me a wave!

siblingrivalry Wed 03-Sep-08 14:08:37

I also end up getting frustrated and I have days when I feel as though I have been nagging dd all day. She also runs away -I've tried 'trusting' her to walk a little bit ahead when it's safe but she usually escapes.
Sometimes, I could give Paula Radcliffe a run for her money!grin

Lazycow Wed 03-Sep-08 14:09:34

This sounds like ds (3.8 years) to a tee.

For me the most upsetting bit has always been his behaviour when I collect him from childcare. He has been the same since he started at chidcare (10 months old with CM) up til now nearly 4 at nursery.

Whatever childcare he has been in his behaviour on being picked up by upsetting and annoying.

I have to say though he has improved in the last few months. Whether this is because he is getting older or because of something we have done I don't know.

We have done the following

- Cut out all artifical food colourings from his diet (We avoided them in the past but weren't too fussed IYSWIM)

- Accepted that with ds a consistent long-term approach is required. We never expect results quickly but if you are consistent enough and you ignore the humdinger tantrums he has if he doesn't get his way then eventually he does start to behave better.

He now is MUCH better at playing with other children and is less aggressive than he was. He almost never hits anyone anymore (was doing this all the time) and the loud constant screeeching if he feels in any way thwarted has reduced.

Orangina's advice is also spot on. On many occasion I removed Ds and took him home if his behavour around other children got too bad. He would regualrly scrream and tantrum and is by far the nosiest most in-your face child of all my friends.

We still haven't cracked the constant fidgeting and incessant talking though grin

siblingrivalry Wed 03-Sep-08 14:15:48

We also have constant questions (probably for attention) which is like a form of torture to me - I really struggle to stay calm at times.

orangina Wed 03-Sep-08 14:23:48

boredyhouse, you don't need to get a grip, it's incredibly frustrating! I obviously love my dd to bits, but there have been times that I just don't want to be with her, which is awful to feel. I knew I had to get out of what was becoming an awful sort of downward spiral of bad behaviour/negative feelings. I had to make a superhuman effort to try and turn it around. It wasn't easy. I also poured quite a few bach flower remedies down her throat, which I felt helped her, but god knows if it did... (will find link in a minute and tell you which ones have helped me/dd).

I think a lot of the negative behaviour was a reaction to the arrival of her little brother, but basically her character is just totally full on. My mother says I was the same as a child (blush).

Will find bach info...

orangina Wed 03-Sep-08 14:31:51

ok, this is the webpage I was looking for. You need to scroll down to the bottom of the page to get the chart which I have actually printed out and stuck to the inside of one of the kitchen cupboard doors at home!

Chestnut Bud is our most useful remedy (symptom, "incorrigible behaviour")

Also, Chickory ("need for constant attention, selfishness, possessiveness")

Holly ("anger and jealousy, good for sibling rivalry") (I take quite a bit of this when the going gets tough!)

Impatiens ("hyperactive behaviour")

I give 2 drops by mouth, up to 4 times a day. Known as "magic drops" in our household, they are quite popular!

I'm quite fond of (for myself)

Olive ("exhaustion")

Beech ("Impatience and intolerance")

Good luck. Rant on here whenever you need. There was another thread similar to this about 6 months ago that was excellent. Will try and find it and link....


orangina Wed 03-Sep-08 14:37:38

Useful thread here

PinkTulips Wed 03-Sep-08 14:44:35

my god, my dd has a twin?! shock

you might find that once she settles into playschool a bit she does actually wear herself out a bit there and might come home a bit calmer. i reiterate might as some days dd comes home worse than ever and some days she comes home quiet as a mouse.

i have no advice, will be lurking with interest grin

BoredyHouse Wed 03-Sep-08 14:50:38

rofl at "incorrigible behaviour" grin

I'm sold on 'em.

Have read RedMist's splendid thread a while ago, and found it v helpful. I need to get back into the 'film-crew' habit. It helped a lot before. I suppose I hoped that DD's behaviour was going to be a phase, or "the terrible twos". I think I've just got a bit of a livewire.

On the plus side, I am often so proud of her boldness, and I can see that her fearlessness makes some things much easier for me (she has never ever been clingy, which I'm sure I'd find heart-rending). She's also very very bright, which is a double-edged sword really. I'm so amazed by her and proud of her, but at the same time feel that I let her down by not challenging her enough iykwim.

orangina Wed 03-Sep-08 15:12:04

Yes, "incorrigible behaviour" rang true immediately with us, and she does get rather a lot of the stuff when things get tricky!

Your dd sounds just lovely and its great that you are so proud of her. I guess that's what you have to try to keep in the front of your mind when you feel like giving her away (or is that just me?!)... I'm sure you are not letting her down by not challenging her enough. She won't need challenging, it sounds as though she can do that all by herself...

For what its worth, my dd just LOVES nursery (she was going 2-3 afternoons a week last year, and is now going for 4 mornings...). It was so good for her, all the structure, the attention, the learning. She can't get enough of it. Interestingly, I think her worst behaviour coincides with the long-ish holidays, where she probably does get a bit bored. Rock on nursery next week.....

mistlethrush Wed 03-Sep-08 16:04:45

I think that we have managed a 2.5 hour breakfast recently - despite ds waking me up at 5.50am with 'I'm hungry'. Doesn't make a good start to the weekend! Just too interested in other things to concentrate on breakfast - rather boring really!

I do find that if 'I can't hear whingeing / whining/ shouting' gets put into the mix, it sometimes helps - ! don't mind constant questions as long as they are in a more normal voice/register/volume grin (although I have been known to say 'that's the third time you have asked that - what did I give you as an answer?' - show's whether he's been listening 'well, that's the answer then, isn't it' or not 'well, you should have listened when I told you all the other times'!!!)

orangina Wed 03-Sep-08 16:16:25

augh mistlethrush, yes, that's it. I had a 6:30am wake up call from dd this morning, fully dressed, who, when I told her it was still a bit early, declared herself to be reallllllllllllly hungry.

Fast (ha!) forward to 8:15, when she was STILL eating her single piece of toast....


mistlethrush Wed 03-Sep-08 16:30:49

6.30! Chance would be a fine thing. grin

For ds is as if, because he's been asleep for 10/11 hours, he has that much conversation to 'make up'. I find myself saying that I'm not going to have a conversation with him until he has eaten his breakfast - but he comes up with such interesting and unusual subjects that you can't help but get drawn in.

One in the car the other day was 'We don't kick cats'... response 'No, we don't kick cats. Who has been kicking cats?' Apparently it was a witch in a story at nursery - I think that she tripped over the cat...

AccidentalMum Thu 04-Sep-08 21:06:49

Another one dad once took me to one side to have a serious chat about whether I though DD1 had a hearing problem because she was/ is soooo noisy. Mum says I was the same though, and I'm OK I think. We have no telly at all as she became obsessed with it so quickly. It means no respite for me in the day, bt she sleeps an hour longer. I try never to be in a hurry and to be out of the house for an engergetic outing by 9:30 every day. Lots of unnessecary baths too. DD2 is the total opposite BTW.

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