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So tell me about 3 year old boys and how to survive them.....

(32 Posts)
WhatFreshHellIsThis Mon 29-Jun-09 20:27:45

....DS1 just turned three a few months ago. We had the terrible twos pretty much sorted, and now suddenly all our techniques are out of the window! Added to which DS2 is 13 weeks, so we probably have some adjustment to new sibling stuff going on.

So suddenly we have:

- kicking, fighting, playing games of killing etc (this I can cope with)
- complete disobedience and naughtiness rather than just toddler waywardness
- no fear of the naughty step
- sulking and lying around
- the whinging, god, the whinging shock

Any tips? tales of survival? I can't decide if we're too soft, too strict, too inconsistent, not tough enough, not nice enough, too obsessed with DS2, not paying DS1 enough attention, etc etc

<<WFH beats herself with ritual middle class Catholic parental guilt stick>>

WhatFreshHellIsThis Mon 29-Jun-09 21:10:37


JRocks Mon 29-Jun-09 21:12:40

sorry, no advice, but lurking to see what comes up - I feel your pain!

gothicmama Mon 29-Jun-09 21:12:57

consistent boundaries help and the ability to be flexible

IwishIwasmoreorganised Mon 29-Jun-09 21:13:41

Pick your battles and be consistent.

We've got a 3 1/2 year old and a 1 year old and this seems the only way.

Also remind yourself (often) that 'tis only a phase grin

zonedout Mon 29-Jun-09 21:32:42

i could have written your post word for word (except that ds2 is 8 months and my guilt, though extreme, is not of the catholic variety grin)

in fact, after another day from hell with ds1 (3.4) i began to construct, in my head, a desperate post during bath time tonight. i am truly finding this 'phase' hellish. not helped by the fact that i recently spoke to a friend who has a 4 year old ds who told me things get even worse at 4 hmm

Perhaps a support thread for parents/carers of 3 year old boys is in order grin...

I am usually a fairly tough cookie but the little monster darling had me in tears tonight sad

poopscoop Mon 29-Jun-09 21:34:59

aaawww three year old boys are gorgeous, they are so funny with things they say and do. I would have mine back as 3 years olds without a doubt smile

DottyDot Mon 29-Jun-09 21:37:39

I tell you - with the whinging I'm surprised our ds's survived us, never mind us surviving them..! grin

All I can say is that the whinging with both did unfortunately last the whole year, but then pretty much seemed to disappear once they reached 4. Ds's are now 7 and 5 and just soooo lovely and funny that it was probably worth surviving the year they each were 3!

ImOverHere Mon 29-Jun-09 21:42:22

I'm having htis with my 3.8yr old DD so not just boys.

I've found that if I treat her naughtiness in a humerous way it brings her round (mostly), so if she starts to jump off something I've told her not to I just say 'hay you are you being a minx' and give her a big smile. It actually seems to work in that she stops doing whatever it was and we don't have a row (and she doesn't do it again later). I think its cause she wants attention and she'll be naughty to get it (we haecv 4 mth old DS so she's not getting the full 100watt attention from us that she was).

Of course it doesn't always work and sometimes I lose my temper with her and it is bloody hard work and yes, I cry too out of sheer frustration (and I find the whinging like a bloody knife going through my brain!)

WhatFreshHellIsThis Mon 29-Jun-09 21:45:41

so glad it's not just us wanting to tear our own ears off when the whinging starts! And it's good to hear that there might possibly be some light at the end of the tunnel, even if it is quite far off....

Honestly sometimes I could cheerfully run screaming down the road and never return shock

Noonki Mon 29-Jun-09 21:49:07

oh they are magic but hard work!!

My tip for whinging is pretend you don't understand unless they speak normally. or say as my friend does 'only the whales can hear you now' grin

agree with imoverheere and the humour (and distraction) for bad behaviour.

bodiddly Mon 29-Jun-09 22:04:48

as far as the whingeing in concerned .... just say once I don't listen to little boys that whinge and whine and then totally ignore him until he speaks properly. If that doesn't work then say people who whinge are tired so need to go to bed for a rest .... works a treat in my household!

If the naughty step isnt working then try something different. Reward charts work a treat but largely for one particular aspect of behaviour that he is struggling with. Positive reinforcement making him feel proud of his good behaviour. I am quite strict and when ds played up I used to take him to the chart and make him watch me take the sticker off etc which was sooooo much more effective than time out - he used to get very upset by it - there are some free charts on the supernanny web site! I always talk about it later as well to make sure he understands why I have either given him a reward or taken one away.

Complete disobedience ... take away something he LOVES ... sit him down when he is behaving himself and tell him that there is to be a new rule - from now on if he doesn't do as you ask, you will count to 5 and if he hasn't done it then you will take away "said toy/tv/whatever it is that he loves". I think it is important to speak about it calmly and explain the situation ... say it makes you sad when he doesn't behave himself and that it is not acceptable to you. I always reinforce it when he comes home from nursery and says that one of his friends did something wrong ... I remind him that it wasnt nice when Tom did that and that we don't do things like that etc.

Sounds like I am horrible but if you have guidelines in place then you will find that after doing it a few times you probably wont need it again. Ds is now 4 and is by no means is an angel but he knows that there are serious consequences if he doesn't behave reasonably. I cannot remember the last time I got as far as counting to 5 or had to really punish him. It is a phase and your ds will soon move on to new things! My ds has hit a 4 year old glitch now with stroppiness but usually backs down when he realises he isn't going to get anywhere! Good luck!

Sunshinemummy Mon 29-Jun-09 22:05:12

Another one who could have written OP. DS is 3.3 and I've turned into a horrible shouty mum as it's the only thing he'll listen to.

Like the whale thing though Noonki grin

monkeypinkmonkey Mon 29-Jun-09 22:05:36

WFH I know how you feel DS is 3.4 and my oh my how hard it feels. I'ts the not talking thing that gets me... 'uh uh uh' when he wants something.

I know it's a phase but still... Bitting... running away... then two minutes later the most adorable creature ever... then back to but wwwwhhhhhyyyyy?!!!!!

JRocks Tue 30-Jun-09 09:00:30

It seems it's just a case of ride it out then smile

I have to say, I totally adore DS and find him largely hysterical and sweet. But it's this sudden shift in attitude that has left me bewildered when I just can't get through to him at all. Glad it's not just me!

I'm just wondering what on earth is going to happen after the arrival of dc2 in september...

cockles Tue 30-Jun-09 09:45:53

Mine is hideous too - hitting scratching won't go to bed says he hates me etc. I actually look forward to his nursery days. I gather it's developmental - as ever. I have found relaxing rules helps, keeping some firm boundaries of course, always reacting exactly the same way, and never shouting (ha ha) as then he ends up mimicking me. He has a fine line in swearing at the moment which is utterly shaming. Lots of it is attention though. What they like best at this age is often pottering about - not doing too much, not being chivvied to hurry up etc - so I am trying not to tell him what to do more than absolutely necessary.

WhatFreshHellIsThis Tue 30-Jun-09 10:24:20

Lots of good advice here - I think we have partly been too strict, expecting more of him than he's capable of, and partly not consistent enough.

Poor lamb isn't well today so is on the sofa watching CBeebies (yet another stick for me to beat myself with - why do I feel guilty about letting him watch telly when he's ill? FFS.... Probably because I enjoy the break and feel I shouldn't sad)

You're right about the pottering about Cockles - mine seems happiest when allowed to do very little at home, but I constantly feel he ought to be outside running around and that I'm not doing enough. When he's well we go out at least once a day, playground or library or playgroup, but I sort of feel I ought to be making him do a million and one activities, when actually he'd probably rather not! I figure he does LOTS at nursery three days a week, so home days can be a bit more relaxing.

On Saturday he played with a sun tent in the garden for ages - first it was a rocket to the moon, then it was a shark and ate him, etc etc. It was fab grin

oh dear god the not talking thing monkeypinkmonkey - I find myself bellowing 'USE WORDS' in frustration! Thought it was just mine that did that....

bodiddley I think we need to get more consistent and structured about punishment as you suggest - at the moment we dither between sending him to his room, putting him on the naughty step, taking away his evening tv etc etc but haven't really been firm and consistent with any of them. Will do better.

I like 'Only the whales can hear you now' - that one's going to see some use today, I can feel it.....grin

tothesea Tue 30-Jun-09 10:36:03

Oooh yes I feel all your pain, DS 3.5 said this to me on Saturday 'I am not your son and I don't love you' large knife..heart... twist..
His behaviour has been appalling and I have started to think 'oh no I have got one of those really unpleasant children'
it all give me a bit of kick up the backside, DP and I sat down and had a proper talk about it so we could agree on discipline techniques and be on same page IYKWIM.
New rules laid down yesterday and DS was so much better - I think he really needs strict boundaries and I have been too laid back and anything for an easy life type of parent.
I just wish I had another child I could just magic up for him to play with while I make the tea!

blissa Tue 30-Jun-09 11:04:47

Just the thread I needed! Ds is 3.5 and we have had the morning from hell.

He has always been challenging, but his behaviour has really become worse recently, to the point where I feel I can't control him. He is even refusing to go to bed atm, something we have never had a problem with. He hits, kicks, spits, occasionally swears, ignores everything I/dp says and his new thing is to say "ha ha" when he done something he knows he shouldn't have. And the whinging and screaming!

I to have been more laid back and any thing for an easy life, tothesea. He is the youngest of 3 and sometimes I just want some peace! I need to be firmer and more consistent with him.

The frustrating thing is he is so good when he is at pre-school 3 times a week, so I know he knows how to behave.

Last night I was wondering how my little baby, who was so good has turned into this 3ft monster!

tothesea Tue 30-Jun-09 13:49:30

We have banned telly until after tea - as a reward for eating his tea and also so he is watching less.
It is weekends that is really the problem, he acts up more when we are all in the house together so we are going to get up and out in the a.m instead of lazing about watching tv and reading papers in jammies (sob)
It has made me feel better to know it is just not my boy who is going through this, I feel it is vital we get a handle on it now..

jammietart Tue 30-Jun-09 14:26:55

DS 4 and a bit now and he's much easier than this time last year. All good advice on here about being consistent etc. Lots of physical activity. My best days are busy ones - if we have activities in the morning and afternoon then its home for lunch and 30 mins telly or play by himself.

My greatest skill as a parent is letting things go over my head and you just have to learn to switch off to the whinging. 'reward good behaviour, ignore bad' is a handy little mantra. I don't mean give him a sweet everytime he does something you like but acknowledging he's done something, he's happy, you're happy and when his behaviour is a bit challenging either ignore or distract.

NanaJo Tue 30-Jun-09 15:36:23

My younger Ds is 3.2 and seems to have the biggest meltdowns when he can't do everything that the older Ds who is 5.9 does.
I find my greatest asset is a sense of humour and a "this too shall pass" attitude. I also try not to reward bad behavior with a lot of attention. I am good at being consistent but sometimes it goes by the wayside when I'm at a particularly low ebb due to tiredness. I LOVE the "only the whales can hear you now" thing! I predict I'll be using it before bedtime.

ThePhantomPlopper Tue 30-Jun-09 18:59:40

Actually quite relieved that the rest of you are going through this too. I thought I had raised one of those horrible children. He's 3.4yrs

The whining is driving me up the wall, I can feel the anger knotting in my stomach when he starts, I have started hoovering when he whines now, drowns out the noise. If I don't ignore him I'd end up shouting.

Oh and he has started spitting. Delightful.

nickytwotimes Tue 30-Jun-09 19:03:57

Great thread.
My ds is 3 next month and the whining drives me and dh batty. I can cope with the other issues, but jesus, the whining is infuriating.
Must say though that the wee girls I know are just as bad!

nickytwotimes Tue 30-Jun-09 19:04:00

Great thread.
My ds is 3 next month and the whining drives me and dh batty. I can cope with the other issues, but jesus, the whining is infuriating.
Must say though that the wee girls I know are just as bad!

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