Harvs honey, you're not alone. My 3.8months old is DRIVNG ME NUTS. Again.
From maybe 18 months - about 3 was rough - she would hit, bite, scream etc. I had bruises all over me. She was also an uber clingon. I could never do anything without her getting upset. Even going to the loo would result in a breakdown.
Some days I barely made it through. Her sleep was also crap, so I was exhausted and struggled. A lot. She nearly broke me. If it wasn't for my friends, I wouldn't have made it through.
Anyway, different things worked for her at different times ages. When she was in her clingy phase, we did cuddles and she was fine. Then she got less clingy and the biting got worse. Trying to cuddle her made it worse. She would just scream at me and hit and bite. So after trying to parent gently, diverting her etc etc and getting nowhere, I put her in her room. I tried not to get worked up, would just put her in there and say "we don't hit, when you can calm down, you can come out and we will have cuddles". It took doing it multiple times for about a week (she's a tough nut) before she realised her strategy wasn't working.
So we finally got her out of all the hitting/biting and things were nice for a few months. But now? She has the attitude of a teenager. Yelling at me, stomping her foot, sulking and back to tantruming if she doesn't get her way. Cuddles are working again, but it takes a good 15 minutes to calm her down, and 2 minutes later she will cry again. Repeat, repeat, repeat. I don't mind the cuddles, but an hour over one incident is exhausting for both of us. And it can happen 6 times a day. And I don't always do so well towards the end of a long day.
Anyway, after all the novel, my picking battles is always to challenge if she is being violent/mean to anyone. I don't fight if she won't eat, I just put a timer on and if she won't come, it goes to the chickens. I don't fight if I am trying to get her out the door or get my DS to school, and I rarely fight at bedtime. So for me it's more about timing and the severity of the battle. I will give in if it means being late to school, or having a later bedtime because I then have to settle her down.
With the hitting, I tell her her friends won't like her if she hits. That it hurts Mummy and hitting is not nice to do. I have also given her a light tap on the hand to show her it's not nice (and I admit I smacked her when she kicked me hard in the stomach which I'm not proud of). I find giving her more independence has made things a little better - she chooses her own clothes, dresses herself etc etc. I'm sure the majority of her behaviour is frustration.
I also take favourite things away - toys, iPad etc if she is being really naughty and it does help for a day or two. She is slowly getting better, but it's hard. Yesterday I gave her her lunch, which was a plate of all the things she had asked for and helped me make, said "here you go" and she screamed at me "mummy just stop it". 5 minutes later she said sorry and gave me a cuddle, but I am sick of being screamed at because I've done things for her 😪 At the moment, I'm just trying not to engage her and just say "I love you" when she does it. Not sure if it's working, but one can hope!
This parenting gig is hard. And I have support. Be gentle with yourself. None of us is perfect all the time, we just do the best we can.
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22-11-2015 14:33 #21
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22-11-2015 14:54 #22
No advice just sympathy, my three year old is also going through a pretty nasty stage too, her ego seems to be out of control, I'm just choosing my battles too and walking away when I feel overcome with red hot anger, it's so frustrating as we had had a fairly good few months of pretty good behaviour, this bad patch seems to be linked to the recent stint we are going through with sleep issues. She has always been hideous when she is tired.
The other day she announced she was finished her toast and wanted more by throwing her plate at my head. Just one example of her unacceptable behaviour. I feel like I'm in survival mode and hoping turning four will even things out again.
Hugs to us all!
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Little Miss Sunshine (22-11-2015)
22-11-2015 14:54 #23
I haven't read the entire thread ....
Though have you read 1,2,3 magic?
It worked wonders for me because I lost my shiz all the time. It's pretty much ask for the behaviour to stop and start counting ... Once you hit 3 its removal from the area and time out for every minute of their age so 3 = 3 minutes. Do this every time there is an undesired behaviour. It does click eventually but will take persistence! You can do it!! Good luck with whatever avenue you choose!!
22-11-2015 16:25 #24
big hugs @harvs
At 3, I would expect him to know that "no means no."
DSS went through an opposition phase around 3.5 and we decided that we would use certain phrases like "If you ignore me, I will ignore you", or "no means no", or "I am not listening to your no, because you don't listen to my no", etc.
BUT with choosing battles, we also decided that if it wasn't going to hurt anyone, or seemed short-term, we would only say the phrase and walk away. At other times we would say the phrase, and follow up with a consequence if needed.
ETA: we also used "logic". 3 year olds are a heck of a lot smarter than most give them credit for.
So if DSS pulled stuff off the tree, I would say stop, if he ignored me I would say "Oh you want to pack away the tree? Okay I will get the box. No more Christmas tree"... It may work, it may not. You may have to follow through.
Last edited by DT75; 22-11-2015 at 16:31.
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22-11-2015 16:49 #25
I only have an 18 month old so have no input on the behaviour and discipline side for a 3 year old, but similar to what Uniquey said, for picking battles I just think (in decreasing importance):
Is he being a danger to himself or others?
Is he going to break something irreplaceable (or hard/costly to replace)?
Is he going to make a mess that can't be easily cleaned up?
If the answer to all of those is no then it's probably not worth the fight.
22-11-2015 16:59 #26
Honestly I'm pretty lax and it works for us. I only follow through on things that are life threatening or serious injury. He's pretty good most of the time. Now with dh home he picks a lot of battles and my 4.5 year old is just a sh1t for daddy and they just butt heads and it's not worth the effort. I don't think they are better behaved overall if you call them out on everything.
22-11-2015 17:21 #27
Thanks all for your thoughts and support. Lots to think about here, but to be honest mostly things/attitudes I've tried already. I know that I have to find ways to back off though for both of our sakes.
Honestly I'm feeling so despondent this weekend. I have tried so hard to keep him happy. I did the Christmas tree thing (nightmare at the shops), I took him out to play, we went and played in the sandpit and put more sand in there, we did cooking, we did gardening, I didn't get upset when he broke my favourite necklace and every single thing just turned to ****. I have shocked myself with the anger I've felt and the way I've responded to him at times. I have tried to use logic, I've tried to talk to him, I've tried to use the 123 Magic techniques and it's probably too much and too many different things but I literally don't know what else to do.
The only thing that works is bribing him with the promise of chocolate and I never wanted to use food as a reward.
I honestly feel like just dropping him off at the hospital and saying 'take him'. Sorry everyone. I really am grateful, I promise.
22-11-2015 17:31 #28
Have you tried a star chart Harvs? I used one for DS and he responded really well to it. Just another thought. He had to get a weeks worth of stars (he got stars and crosses each day as he was good or not) and a big one if he was good most of the day. Then he got a treat. It was also great for TT but hasn't worked for my very stubborn DD 😪
22-11-2015 17:40 #29
Harvs. It will get better.
22-11-2015 17:42 #30Senior Member
- Join Date
- Mar 2015
Lots of hugs. My DS is 3 in March. He has attitude.
He hits DH and I when he does not get his way - I am out of ideas - I just say no quietly and ignore at the time. And cry later. I know its not helpful.
With 'time out' I have to sit near him. And talk while he howls and hits and screams. He settles down - have a short talk and let him go.
Will bribery with toys work as well?
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