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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default 3yo NEVER cooperates with us

    Our 3.5yo DS has always been a painful child, highly strung, tense, defiant, tantrumy etc, but I'm starting to wonder if there's more to it than just being a difficult child. He NEVER cooperates with us - the simplest task involves so much negotiation and discipline that life with him is borderline unbearable. We are very strict and consistent with him, but he ALWAYS has to question and resist every tiny little moment of the day. Putting on shoes, coming through a doorway etc etc etc.

    In swimming lessons, all the other kids do as asked by the teacher at least most of the time, but he just questions and refuses everything. He's very capable, fairly confident, 110% understands what is being asked of him, yet pushes against everything. It's like a power struggle that he has never won, yet relentlessly tries in hope that we will give in and let him do whatever he wants at whatever pace he wants. To be honest it makes DH and I sometimes feel like we can't stand him.

    My sister has a 3yo girl and while she certainly has her challenging days, she will mostly do as asked when it's a simple task being asked of her, and she delights in being praised for doing something well. Does our DS sound extreme to you? I dread to attach a label to him, but I am really at my wits end.

  2. #2
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    Apr 2012
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    Sorry things are difficult. My 4 year old is in some ways similar so I know how frustrating it can be.

    If your DS isn't responding to your discipline then perhaps:

    1) your discipline method doesn't suit your son (even though it may suit you). In which case some tweaks may help (eg a positive tears system for good behaviour, giving him choices about things that aren't deal breakers eg the shirt he wears or which hand basin in the house he washes his hands in).


    2) your child has some underlying issues (sensory etc) hence it appears to you that he is really making a mountain out of a molehill when really it is your son that is being overwhelmed and not knowing how to handle his feelings.

    Recommend visiting your GP as a starting point - they can refer you to a paediatrician or a managing cheeky children course as appropriate.

    Best of luck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Default 3yo NEVER cooperates with us

    Have you heard of oppositional defiant disorder?


  4. #4
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    harvs is offline Winner 2014 - Spirit of BubHub Award
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    Does he feel like he has many choices /much control over his life, do you think? Is there a chance he may be gifted?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Default 3yo NEVER cooperates with us

    Your son sounds a LOT like mine was a year ago when he was 3.5years old. I know how you feel and it's not pleasant!

    There could be a tonne of reason why he is acting the way he is: age, communication problems, personality, and yes as Much as it pains us as parents to consider it, could be AS.

    I can tell you what we did and how it has helped, but that isn't saying this is what will help you and your son. As another PP suggested, a visit to GP might be the best starting point.

    We initially spoke to our childcare carers and asked them what their opinion was. They knew he was a more "difficult" child with significantly different behaviour to a lot of the other children. They arranged for their in house psychologist to observe him and put together a report with their professional opinion. The result of that report was that they believed he may be on the spectrum or have SPD. We weren't satisfied with this outcome because there was no diagnostic analysis, and it was the opinion of one person (the diagnosis generally needs to be made by a number of experts together, including a paediatrician).

    One of the recommendations that we took on board was to take him to a speech therapist and to get a diagnostic analysis done. We started with the ST. She specialised in children who were on the spectrum and she said that while he did have some behavioural issues, and a lot of communication issues, she didn't believe he was on the spectrum. She started seeing him once a week and it's has been almost a year since we started with her.

    I can't even tell you how much our son has changed. He actually listens now and he communicates beautifully. He is a lot more aware of other people's feelings and he is no longer socially awkward. I honestly didn't know speech therapy can make such a difference. You would never know he ever had behavioural issues in the past. He still acts "naughty", as young boys tend to, but it's nowhere near how bad it was a year ago.

    I'm telling you all this because I think your son and my son sound like they were in exactly the same boat. I'm not sure if your son has speech issues but a speech therapist or even a occupational therapist might be all that is required.

    It's hard to know how to deal with children sometimes in certain scenarios. There isn't a manual you can refer to because every child is so different. Someone like a ST or an OT will give you the tools and teach you how to respond to their behaviour. It will make a world of difference.

    Good luck and big hugs
    Last edited by witherwings; 18-03-2016 at 05:56.


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