R.J. asks from Clearwater, FL on February 03, 2009
Is There a Light at the End of the Tunnel?????????
OH MY Gosh!!!!! I do not know what my little girl is going through but I need some advice. She will be 3 in April. It started when she went back to school after Christmas Break. She was off for 15 days.
She has always been a very happy little girl (had her moments like we all do) but now she fights me on everything. When we get up in the morning to get ready for school she fights me to get dressed, then sometimes she cries on the way to school and when she walks into the classroom. Once she is inside she might cry on and off for a little bit but then she is fine. She has been through a lot these past 6 months from bing sick, to getting her adenoids out etc. Is this just a phase or more age related? I don't know why she is crying to go to school makes me wonder if she doesn't like it anymore. She is delayed in her speech so she can't tell me if she doesn't like it or if something happened to make her upset. I have gone in to check on her on and off at various times and she seems to be fine and I have never seen anything inappropriate happen at the school.
I don't know what to do but the crying on and off is starting to get to me. I don't give into her when she cries so I know it's not to just get her way. I am wondering if she is just trying to figure out how far she can push her limits or if she is just trying to push my buttons. LOL Oh and now she fights me to take a bath, she has always loved baths but now she doesn't always want to take them. Granted this is not an everyday thing but it is more than what it use to be which is why I am wondering if it is a phase?
Any advice or just to know that there is omeone else out there going through what I am going through so I know I am not alone. Somtimes you feel like your child is the only one that is behaving this way.
S.A. answers from Tampa on February 03, 2009
Wow, reading this sounds just like my daughter. They're about the same age. I read lots of parenting mags. It is just a phase. She's wanting to assert her independence. Don't worry about it. One thing I read is not to give a huge reaction when she goes through these tantrums. I know it's driving you nuts, it sure does drive me nuts. Just put her down and walk out as if her actions have no effect on you. You will gather yourself and come back with patience and usually by that time, she will settle down. My daughter these days enjoys hitting me in the face. She does it like five times in a row and I just don't react and just say no hitting, no hitting. She'll get the hint eventually. You are not the only mother going through this. They say it's good that they're doing this because she is right on track with development. Now if only they will remember it when they start dating, lol.
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M.A. answers from Tampa on February 04, 2009
Just when you thought you were heading out of the "terrible twos" .... well, you don't hear a lot about the "torturous threes" but it's a time for POWER STRUGGLES -- about everything. My friends and I were all surprised that the beginning of the 3s was a lot harder than the 2s. It is a phase, but you have to be consistent, try to not get upset, and offer choices to get her to do what you want, but in her way. Get the result you want, but let her pick an option. (Like: Bath time -- Do you want bubbles or no bubbles in your bath? School Drop Off -- Do you want to hold hands while we walk into school? Kiss, or Hug, or Both for goodbye? Pink or white socks today?) A lot of times they will make a choice, then change their mind, and start throwing a fit about that!! I always made them go with the first choice so that it didn't become a game. I learned to not get upset and calmly say, well, tomorrow you can pick the other socks. 3 minute time outs happened every day -- several times a day! I highly recommend "1,2,3 Magic" by Dr Thomas Phelan. It works and it is easy! It helps you be consistent and not emotional about discipline.
(PS Don't worry, the torturous threes don't last for a whole year. Within a few months, you're going to be thinking, "Wow! This is the BEST age!")
Good Luck and God Bless!
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J.L. answers from Tampa on February 05, 2009
Sorry you and your little one are having a tough time. This will pass. It may break your heart, but it will pass!
Keep consistant and try and carve special time after school so she has something to look forward to.
Keep your chin up!
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K.H. answers from Tampa on February 10, 2009
We are going through similar discipline issues with my two year old son. He's driving us CRAZY! Not only that, we just get really upset by his defiance and sometimes I just can't wait for bed time. We have to carefully plan our outings in public places, etc... it's a real pain.
My pediatrician recommended a book called 1-2-3 magic, I already ordered it, but haven't read it. The reviews are good, so I am hoping it gives us some resolutions because we are ready to tear our hair out too.
S.C. answers from Tampa on February 04, 2009
I just went through this same thing!!! My son turned 3 December 9th and it sounds like his stage started a little earlier than your daughters. It was horrible. I got to the point that I would cry after dropping him off at school because of seeing him cry! He was being very mean to my husband - didn't want anything to do with him (which broke my husband's heart and started making him angry after a while). He only wanted me - and in the morning getting ready for school he didn't want me to leave him so that I could get ready. I was late to work almost every day for about a month.
I have a 5 year old as well and I tried to get him to help me by leading by example. It didn't seem to work very well. One day prio to Christmas he snapped back into normal. I don't know what it was, but he just became the nicest boy and decided he wasn't going to cry at school any more and that he was going to be nice to his daddy.
Now, just before this "snap back to reality" I started being pretty harsh with him. If he was mean to his father (i.e., not giving hugs or kisses goodnight, or telling him to get away) I would not do what he wanted me to. For example, if he didn't give kisses goodnight to Dad then he just got taken straight to bed and laid down instead of our normal routine (book, rubbing back, & prayers). In the morning when I dropped off at school, I would walk straight in, sign him in, put his stuff up, and give him a kiss and walk out (all very quickly).
Now, I don't know if any of these things had anything to do with the "snap back," but he did come back to normal. Now I know it was a stage and possibly a result of the age. My oldest went through separation anxioty at this same age, but didn't get mean and clingy - just didn't want me to leave him at school. I did talk to my youngest about school to see if something was bothering him, but the stories I got were very contradictory (sp), so I never felt like there was really a problem. Talk to your daughter though to see if you can pinpoint something and then confirm what you are hearing with the teachers. Ask the teachers how she is acting at school after she settles down from the morning drop off.
It will pass, but I hesitate in saying that it probably wont be quick and it will be painful. I hope that for your sake she snaps out of it quicker than mine did, but know that regardless she will snap out of it. Keep to your routine as best you can. Try not to give in to everything, but pick your battles. Remember that you are the parent and while you may cry about it in the shower over how you treated her 30 minutes ago, she will be better off for it. It is okay to leave them crying in their room and step away from them for a minute - go outside so you don't hear the screaming if you have to (I had to do it a few times and cried along with him).
Good luck R. and know that you are not the only one that had dealt with this. Try to find comfort within your daughter when she is being kind and tell her how happy you are that she is being so good.
R.C. answers from Sarasota on February 04, 2009
Just a quick answer, R.--yes, I went through the same thing. My daughter got a little brother right after her third birthday and then started preschool a few months later, but she became more and more extreme that year. It peaked in the month or so before her fourth birthday, and then it was like a switch was flipped--when she turned four, everything was back to being manageable.
My mom raised four kids, and she always said that two gets a bad name--it should be the "terrible threes". So it's not just us. My cousin just had the same thing--her son turned four in January. I think every single girl in my daughter's ballet class had to be carried out at some point during the three year old year!
I know from reading that kids learn a lot about their emotions in the third year, and I always just tried to be a rock, an anchor for her--steady and calm so she could count on me. Believe me, it didn't always work, but that's what I tried for!
Good luck and you're not alone!
M.H. answers from Sarasota on February 04, 2009
Part might be frustration over not being able to communicate, but most is the age. My son will be 4 in April and we have gone through more of these than I can keep track of and he is advanced in verbal communication (now including talking back). He did it with the bath as well even though he has always loved them. When that ended, it was bedtime battles you almost thought would turn bloody! Then, him refusing to get dressed in the morning or let us put his shoes on. Then that ended and now he refuses to wash his hands after using the potty. We stand there and make him while he screams and cries. Last night dad had to do it, pick him up and put him in his PJs without a bath because my son was refusing so horribly! The two's were bad because we just couldn't get him to stay still, we never went out to dinner. Now, he is very good about that but the power struggles during the 3s have been exhausting. I really try to stop a bad situation from happening before it starts, because I know exactly when one is building. However, it just doesn't always work and you can't avoid them all or you set a very bad precedent. I also realize that you can't be overly dominate all the time, they need to win some things. So I tried letting small, unimportant things go so that he didn't feel like all he heard was "no" or "do this". I wish i could say that made things better, but I can't! Good luck and I seriously hope 4 is better!
M.S. answers from Sarasota on February 04, 2009
It may sound a little silly but after spending 15 whole days with mommy, maybe she just misses you. Maybe the routine in the morning of getting dressed and getting in the car, she knows that she isn't going to be with mommy. The only reason I say this is because my daughter just switched to day care from being at a family friends. We had the same issue. She was home with mommy and daddy the entire christmas break, I went back to work, daddy was laid off so he was with her everyday until she stated school at the end of January. Now when I drop her off she cries...momma momma momma. I know it breaks your heart to have your child cry. Everyone tells me just give it a few weeks and she will be back to her old routine.
I hope my experience gives you some insight. Good luck!