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Abuse from 3yr-old - what to do!?

(4 Posts)
twoflakesanight Tue 04-Aug-09 21:31:37

Help! My DS1 (3.7) has always been a bit prickly and prone to going quiet and stand-offish, but has recently started getting quite abusive. He's NEVER liked cuddles or kisses ("I DON'T LIIIIIKE KISSEEEES!") which is fair enough - he has a very strong sense of personal space and I wonder whether I was too casual about that when he was a baby; hefting him about and tickling him etc in the way my emotionally-stunted family shows affection. He also had a difficult birth with a half-hour rescus and a week in Special Care which makes me wonder, though who knows.

Anyway, he feels intensely frustrated by authority and I really understand that it must be so frustrating to be constantly told what to do and where to go, but recently his behaviour has become really bad and "rude". I feel I've got to show him boundaries but all I ever seem to do is tell him off for speaking to me rudely. He hits me, yells at me to get away from him and shouts 'No!' all the time (beyond the manner of other 'difficult' toddlerish behaviour.) "No I WON'T you stupid poo-poo head" - I know poo-poo head's funny, but he's going past acceptable behaviour towards his mum, and I don't want him growing up behaving uncontrollably! Any suggestions for how to handle him effectively without making him feel powerless?

zuzkah Tue 04-Aug-09 22:19:59

Oh I feel for you. You must feel like struggling all the time. I guess it's a part of his personality?
I would try to offer choices which will make him feeling more in control of his life. (Even though it's you in control of picking the choices.) As a primary school teacher, I found this to be a massive help with difficult children. 'Would you like to go/do this or that?' 'You can either do this or that.'
Maybe you can make day plans together when he'll be able to say what he wants to do. Also it's really helpful if you acknowledge his feelings. 'I can see you are really upset. I can't allow this kind of behaviour though. Maybe we can talk more about what is upsetting you.' I'm just reading a book 'How to talk so kids will learn' and there are some great ideas.
And of course praise positive behaviour at all times and try to create situations when you can pick on the good in him.
Good luck with anything you try.

twoflakesanight Tue 04-Aug-09 22:22:27

Thank you so much - some really good tips. I do praise him a lot and we don't argue all day, but sometimes he seems more like a moody teenager than a 3 yr old. Sigh. Anyway, thank you for advice!

KTNoo Tue 04-Aug-09 22:44:09

The part about hating authority sounds just like my ds (age 6), although my ds does love cuddles and kisses. The age your ds is is when it started to get really difficult for us too.

You have my sympathy, it's really hard. I can't offer any quick solutions to this. My ds is so much easier now though, so it will get better for you.

We have always reinforced over and over again the things we found really important, but we didn't see quick improvement. My ds would (and still does occasionally) absolutely lose it and get so angry I have to put him in his room to calm down.

It's just personality I think (dh is the same!) - he seems to have been born with scarily unshakable opinions on everything, and it's virtually impossible to "talk him round" to anything. I am firm about him not being rude to me, I would just keep telling him if I were you "You do NOT speak to Mummy like that. Speak nicely to me please." I try to let him have as much control as possible, over things like what he eats, wears, plays with etc. We had no luck whatsoever with rewards, punishments etc - he just won't budge for anything. He does something when HE decides to - even things like toilet training, riding a bike, swimming. However I have found that by giving him more say in things he's more compliant about doing what I ask.

I found "Playful Parenting" (good suggestions for how to avoid the stand-off!)and "The Unconditional Parent" helpful.

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