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Old 04-17-2011, 08:06 AM   #1
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Commiserate with me about your 3 year old...

Mine just drives me mental all the time. She can be very sweet, and she's very bright and articulate... but she does not listen to anything I say, she constantly pushes the boundaries, and despite warnings she continues to do the same things over and over again. She winds up hurting other people like her little sister who is 1. Last week baby learned how to bite back! I have to admit I laughed because she got a taste of her own medicine, although she had teeth marks to show for it... but she is constantly in the 1yo's face and space and bugs her, and DD2 just does not know what to do, and finally she has figured out a way to get her message across! Anyway, I am pregnant again and tonight after maybe 5 warnings to calm down and stop acting aggressively she just continued to do things to me and her sister... and then all of a sudden she ran up to me and punched me right in the tummy. I absolutely lost it with her! I yelled her ear off... took her to the room, still yelling about how she could hurt the baby by doing that etc. Finally when I calmed down I talked to her about it and she was really sad, saying 'I don't want to break the baby, mama'. :-( Poor kid. Every night it's the same thing, we talk about what she did wrong and we get 'I promise I will behave, I promise I wont do XXX again', but nothing actually goes in and she does it again the next day. What can I do to get her to listen to me? I have tried the hard approach, the soft approach, the ignore approach- she's just a really strong willed child and she wants to do what she wants to do and she won't take anything seriously until I actually yell. If i try to calmly just put her in her room for time out she just refuses to stay in there, or she screams and shrieks. I can't handle it! We take away privileges already, but i am just not sure anything really goes in, she is out of control!!

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Old 04-17-2011, 08:20 AM   #2
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Re: Commiserate with me about your 3 year old...

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Originally Posted by jeebee View Post
Mine just drives me mental all the time. She can be very sweet, and she's very bright and articulate... but she does not listen to anything I say, she constantly pushes the boundaries, and despite warnings she continues to do the same things over and over again. She winds up hurting other people like her little sister who is 1. Last week baby learned how to bite back! I have to admit I laughed because she got a taste of her own medicine, although she had teeth marks to show for it... but she is constantly in the 1yo's face and space and bugs her, and DD2 just does not know what to do, and finally she has figured out a way to get her message across! Anyway, I am pregnant again and tonight after maybe 5 warnings to calm down and stop acting aggressively she just continued to do things to me and her sister... and then all of a sudden she ran up to me and punched me right in the tummy. I absolutely lost it with her! I yelled her ear off... took her to the room, still yelling about how she could hurt the baby by doing that etc. Finally when I calmed down I talked to her about it and she was really sad, saying 'I don't want to break the baby, mama'. :-( Poor kid. Every night it's the same thing, we talk about what she did wrong and we get 'I promise I will behave, I promise I wont do XXX again', but nothing actually goes in and she does it again the next day. What can I do to get her to listen to me? I have tried the hard approach, the soft approach, the ignore approach- she's just a really strong willed child and she wants to do what she wants to do and she won't take anything seriously until I actually yell. If i try to calmly just put her in her room for time out she just refuses to stay in there, or she screams and shrieks. I can't handle it! We take away privileges already, but i am just not sure anything really goes in, she is out of control!!
My 2yo is like this and our 1yo DD.

He is getting better about her, her space, and thinking that he could hurt her, but it took a lot of time outs, his play area being separate from hers, and us having to intervene and direct his behavior. Not too different from what we had to do with DS and his interactions with the dogs and the cats or the fact that he LOVES to stomp on his daddy's feet.

I recommend consistency and lots of repetition. They forget a lot at this age. They often don't realize the connection of cause and effect. Biting causes pain, pulling on a blanket might make the LO fall, pulling on a table while the DD is holding onto it for balance may make her fall, etc. Somtimes they get mad and do it on purpose for revenge or attention, but in our experience most of the time the older child is just not thinking of all of the ramifications. We intervene to remind him of the consequences of his choice.

HTH...
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Old 04-17-2011, 08:29 AM   #3
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Re: Commiserate with me about your 3 year old...

lol, mama, my guy is not quite 3 and he is pretty much the same, just flat out defiant. What I finally had to do was put him in time-out and close the door to his room. He hates it. but nothing else gets through to him, I only do it for 2 min since he's not 3 yet like I said and I stand right there and if he says he's scared I do go get him, he totally screams and shrieks and kicks the door sometimes but usually he calms down after the first min. Does she have a lovey or special toy or something that you could put in timeout instead of her, put it up somewhere that can't get it and let her know that when her behavior improves it can come out again. That works for us sometimes too. Have you tried like a behavior chart or anything? I kinda feel like my guy is still too little for that so we'll try it in the future but I feel ya' on how hard it is, you love them so much and they are so cute and sweet sometimes and then they just test your sanity the rest of the time.
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Old 04-17-2011, 08:45 AM   #4
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My son was like that with his little brother last summer. It was so bad he got kicked out of the home daycare he was in. She felt the needed to be separated. Now they are 2 and 4 and I stay home. Let's just say that ds2 is 41 lbs and ds1 is not. Ds2 kiks but several times a day. There is this natural unchangable law....you reap what you sow! The baby will straighten he out. As for not listening to you, you gotta firm up. Let her know what behavior you expect and just work on it one thing at a time. Tie something valuable to it. Here, if you hurt someone on purpuse you get a spamking, destructive behavior means no toy. What ever you do, you have to be firm and follow through.

Before I had kids I had a MS in child development. After the kids were born that research based learning went out the window. My BS in education was pretty pointless once I me my first sixteen kinders. The books and the research don't know your child. Be encourage. It will get better.

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Old 04-17-2011, 09:35 AM   #5
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Re: Commiserate with me about your 3 year old...

Yeah - we are there as well. o will be 3 in May and Quinn is 20 months. We have hit the horrible 3s and terrible 2s at the same time! The 3 yr old is on the Autism spectrum, too - that makes things REALLY fun!

You have my sympathy. Just be consistent and follow through with everything you say. They do stop eventually.
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Old 04-17-2011, 09:44 AM   #6
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Ugh, I know! DS is 2 1/2 and he sounds a lot like your dd-cute, loving, smart, and defiant! Last night he kept getting out of bed for 2 hours! I can't take it for one more night! We've also tried rewards, taking toys, taking privileges, being extra loving, etc. And he still will come out of his room most nights. Arg!

All the parenting things say to just calmly walk them back to bed... But how long can you really do that? He'll start popping back out before I reach his door! Anyway, I totally sympathize with you!
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Old 04-17-2011, 11:08 AM   #7
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Re: Commiserate with me about your 3 year old...

My middle dd is like that, and she just turned 4 in January. She is finallly getting better now that she is older, and she understand consequences a little more, but it has been a rough road with her. She is very smart, but also incredibly bull-headed and strong-willed, and wants everything to be done her way. She's also very sweet and loving, so I know she doesn't do the things that hurt her siblings just to be mean.
Anyway, I just wanted you to know you aren't alone, and there is a light at the end of this tunnel. My dd still pushes my buttons plenty, but things really are so much better now that she's older. There are days I actually get through to her and her bahavior is changing, even though we still do have some rough days/moments. Just keep being consistent and you'll get there.
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Old 04-17-2011, 11:18 AM   #8
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Re: Commiserate with me about your 3 year old...

commiserating with you! My ODS is 2.5 and he's VERY MUCH like this! Everyday!!!! He pushes his brother, who is 16mo, around all day. He throws things, feeds his lunch to the dogs, dumps the toy box over... on and on...

he gets warnings, mostly time outs, he got a spanking yesterday for pushing his little brother (who was minding his own business on his little tonka trunk) into the street!
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Old 04-17-2011, 02:56 PM   #9
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Re: Commiserate with me about your 3 year old...

DS1 just turned 3 in March and it was like a switch flipped. He is testing the waters so much right now and honestly I haven't been doing a great job of handling it. DH and I both got made and really raised our voices which we have hardly ever done so it scared him pretty bad. He is kind of ADHD at times and then can be the most sensitive loving kid you've ever met. Bedtime and naps have been a challenge lately. It occurred to me that he responds better to loving him through it rather than freaking out on him. He was battling me last night and wouldn't go to bed. We had gone through the bedtime routine and he kept getting out of bed and asking for another story. After a long battle, I gave in and read him the story and he calmed right down. I think in the future if he asks with respect I'm going to try and let his voice be heard a bit more. I also plan to avoid having verbal back and forth about if he is going to obey. If I say go wash your hands and he doesn't go...I'll take his hand and walk him back there to make him do it. We did this when he hit a rough patch at 2 and it worked. He will go back and forth forever if you let him discussing it. I think it is a difficult age but I'm going to try and turn down the frustration and turn up the love...we'll see how it works!
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Old 04-17-2011, 06:22 PM   #10
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Re: Commiserate with me about your 3 year old...

After reading all the responses I'm feeling like my just turned 3 year old might just be normal. She sounds exactly like that. In fact she just punched my 1 year old because she was trying to get by her. She is not aggressive with anyone else though so I'm sure she is still just trying to figure out the dynamics.
If she is physical with my 1 year old I try to ignore older DD's behavior and focus my attention on the baby. I hope she will see that baby gets the attention when she hits, not her. I don't know what else to do though. She is really defiant and super strong willed. She doesn't care what anyone else says she does what she wants. 9 times out of 10 if I don't physically guide her to do something she just won't do it. It is a good thing she is so freaking cute when she is good or I would be going totally crazy.
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