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Preschoolers & Kindergartners What a fun time in life! Time to learn 123's and ABC's. At the same time, they're leaving that babyhood we'll miss so much!

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Old 09-07-2002, 06:53 PM
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We're pulling our hair out!!!

Hi everyone...

dh and I are at the end of our respective ropes! We just had a baby boy in July, and have an almost 3 year old daughter. Holly is SO gentle with her little brother...we were really prepared for her to be too rough with him, and thankfully she's not. HOWEVER...our sweet tempered child has turned into an absolute beast! She's always been a pretty good kid, so this rash of just horrid behavior really caught us off guard. She's become violent (towards us, not the baby), ill mannered, mean, spiteful, and rude! The other day my husband told her she couldn't have candy for dinner, so she poked him in the eye, kicked him..well, you know, bit him, and spit on him! I couldn't believe it! When sent to her room, she rips the matress off her bed, climbs on top of her bookcase, tries to swing from the curtains...you get the picture. It seems to me that if hitting is a problem with her suddenly, spanking doesn't make much sense. Taking away priveledges has only made her behavior worse. I know we're the adults and we're supposed to be the ones in charge, but how do we get control back? And how did we lose it to a 3 year old in the first place???

What do we do??? It's gotten so that my husband doesn't even like to come home after work because he knows Holly will be like this.

We'd SOOOOO appreciate any suggestions anyone might have...we're really concerned!

thanks everyone!
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Mommy to Holly 9.18.99 and Tristan 7.18.02
wah/sah mommy...can't beat that!
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Old 09-08-2002, 10:11 AM
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Ah, the terrible threes! I remember them well!

First of all, remember--this, too, will pass. Be consistent with your discipline. Have you tried time-out in the corner? Set a timer for how long she has to sit there, and then sit down and talk to her afterward about her "transgressions". That always worked better than sending them to their room.

I'm sure some of her behavior is connected with the new baby. Try to have some one-on-one time with her. Read books or play a game when the baby is sleeping. If they don't get positive attention, they will demand negative attention.

With my son, it worked best to sit down at his level and look him right in the eye. Explain to her that hitting, etc., is not allowed.

Maybe some of the meltdown when daddy comes home is hunger?? Do you give her an afternoon snack, so she can last until supper is served?

I wish you the best of luck. The situation WILL improve. I never want to have another three-year-old in my house.
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Old 09-14-2002, 11:03 AM
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Being consistant with discipline will help, as well as keeping things simple- hitting hurts, we don't hit, then timeout. With really bad tantrums (my son had them when my daughter was born. They are 18 months apart) I would put him in his room and tell him to come out when he was done. This worked because he could scream all he wanted minus the audience, so he would stop. Also, we tried to schedule "dates" with just him and one of us for ice-cream or a trip to the library. I also kept him busy while I was breastfeeding/changing the baby with snacks or a special toy. I also tried to get him to feel like the special helper with the baby.

Hang in there... mine are the best of friends now, only with the occasional tantrum.
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Old 09-14-2002, 11:44 AM
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I just remembered that it also helped us to read some of John Rosemond's books like "Parent Power" and "Raising Happy/Healthy Children". Although some of his methods are too extreme for me, they were a useful guideline for us in establishing discipline and not too long a read. It was also nice to know that our kid was not the only one going through the horrible stage.
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Old 09-14-2002, 12:32 PM
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Hi.. My son is will be 4 in November. I have been dealing with this for over a year now. He started before he was three doing exactly the same things.

I tried a lot of things. I found out its very hard to get a hitting kicking child to sit for a time out, or to go to his room, so gave that up. I tried spanking. It worked for a short while. eventually I found out that for my son. I had to make the punishment fit the crime.

If he threw a toy, he lost it. for a day, then a week. Even a few times I had to throw them in the trash to prove that mommy meant business. If he hits He loses his favorite activity that is coming up. cartoons or going for an outing. If he continues, he looses the privilage for a week. That works for awhile too. I still use that on occasion.

I have found everything works for awhile but they are like the Borg... they Adapt.. so, though I try to be consistant by being firm on my stance, what ever that may be, I rotate the punishments. When one doesnt work anymore. I try something else. As they adapt, you adapt.

He recently started calling names and swearing with what ever word he knew I didnt like hearing, like poopie.. or ugly.. or bad mommy or stinky butt. It makes you want to laugh, but its not really all that funny when they are hitting and kicking and knocking things over and throwing things because they dont want to take a nap.

Anyway, When nothing else was working anymore, I turned to an old fashioned remedy. I found that the old treatment of ivory soap in the mouth worked wonders for my son's disposition. He hates it. He is so preoccupied with the taste that he forgets he is throwing a tantrum. Once he has a drink of water, he calms down. Then we sit down and talk about how we could have dealt better with his anger. I try to give him positive suggestions like hitting his pillow, or twisting a towel. We usually hug and tell eachother we love eachother and he lays down and takes the nap.

I also have been working on trying to get him to see that he will never get what he wants by screaming and throwing fits. I tell him if he wants anything to change he will have to calm down. sometimes I have to keep repeating the world Calm over and over very softly. He has really started trying to calm down.

I try also to discuss his anger with him, if its hard to calm down. He will answer me by saying yeah, it is. or if I tell him to calm down, he says I'm trying but I can't. That when the suggestion of hitting the pillow works well. He starts hitting it, then he starts to giggle. Its like magic sometimes. I dont think they know how to handle all the new found emotions they have. They just know what they want or don't want.

I don't know if it will work for you. All kids are different. You have to experiment till you find what combinations work for your child. I have heard that when they get older and we will get a repreave for a time. They supposedly mellow out from about 5yrs to 10 yrs old. I am crossing my fingers. I hope this helps some. Good luck.
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Old 09-14-2002, 12:35 PM
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Hi JennieInSeattle; you've already got the answer to your 3 yo tantrums from the previous posts and I just want to reinforce what they said. Your child is reacting to the 'intruder', your new baby that has taken her place in your attentions. With her behavior, she's trying to get your full attention back and she is by using bad behavior. My 3 yo daughter started wetting the bed every night and sometimes more than once a night after my son was born. The doctor did the usual tests to see if there was a medical problem and there wasn't so he suggested I set aside some time just for her. I did and in a few days the problem was solved. I still kept giving her that individual attention after I realized her feelings. Poor thing; I felt so sorry for her feeling like that. As for punishment; the reason anybody is punished for anything is to make them change. If they don't change, the punishment isn't working. Try some TLC and see if that works. Good luck & best wishes.
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Old 09-14-2002, 12:50 PM
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I have a suggestion for Middleagedmommy. When your son loses a toy because he has thrown it, or whatever, make him do a chore to get that toy back. Even a three-year-old can take out recycling, clean up toys, etc.

Good luck to all of us moms dealing with these daily nuisances.
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Old 09-15-2002, 03:55 PM
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A few months after my daughter was born, my almost 4 year old son did the same thing your daughter is doing. I feel there is no way to rationalize with them during these tantrums - they're in another world. I also feel these fits were his way to react to having a new baby in the house - I'm glad that they were directed at me rather than the baby. I must say that I was scared a few times by the hitting. I remember locking myself in the bathroom with the baby and he was doing everything he could to knock the door down. I remember these fits being between 4 and 6 o'clock - I think they might have been triggered by me trying to wake him up after a nap - who knows? When my son "snapped" out of it - it was like that: totally nuts then boom back to normal- he'd be limp and cry in my arms. As for consequences for these particular tantrums, I personally feel the child does not know why he/she has them and that negative consequences will not stop the tantrums from happening.

Anyway my son is now almost 7 and he is a great kid - not violent at all. I do not remember how long these particular tantrums went on for but it seemed like months. It seems like forever when it's your child but I'm quite confident this will pass with your daughter.

There might not be much comfort in this for you while the tantrums last but I hope it helps to know that other kids and parents have been through this and turned out fine.

.
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Old 09-16-2002, 02:26 PM
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Hi there- Jenny I know exactly what your going thru. I'm in the same boat right now with my DS. He's 3 yrs old and his little brother is 16 months. Didn't really have a problem when his little brother came into the picture. Our problem started when he started going to pre-school last week. He attends school 2 days aweek. And dropping him off is devistating for the both of us. I know that once I'm not in sight he's fine. It's just getting there.

He's started with the tantrums, but I beleave it's because of the age. I also beleave that this is the age that fear sets in. I come to that conclusion after bringing my DS to the county fair. Last year @ 2 went thru one of the walk thru rides without looking back. This year he went on the same 'ride' and was scared to cross the rope bridge. I don't know. I guess this to will pass and we will be trying to figure them out when they turn 4,5,6,7,8,9,10,etc..

Anyway, I too take away toys. Also tried the time outs, but failed. Use the old 1,2,3 this sometimes works, but not always. Have tried talking to him to see what's wrong. No success. He too has these moments that he'll start whinning. I tell him that I can't understand little boy's that whine, so when he's done he can tell me what he wants. This too works sometimes.

I guess it's a learning process for all of us!
Good luck, I'll be looking for more suggestions.
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Old 01-23-2003, 07:11 PM
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chuckle Ignore it!

:mad: While this may sound tough to do, ignore the behavior. What your child is wanting is attention. For example, when your child began hitting and spitting after not getting her way when she wanted candy, walk away from her and don't acknowledge the behavior. This will be difficult since the child is using physical means to act out. So first make a point of letting your child know that what she is doing is not appropriate behavior and that you do not approve of this, and that you will be more than happy to talk to her when she has calmed down. I have used this method time and time again with the toddlers in my class (I work in a montessori school) and they HATE to be ignored. I have been kicked, hit, pulled my hair, spit on, pushed, but I have found that ignoring it works best. I remember just a week ago that a little girl in my class pushed me because I told her to clean up her work before snack. I simply told her that I do not like it when she pushes me, and that it's not appropriate and walked away from her. She threw herself down on the rug and cried. When she saw that I was not going to acknowledge her she came and threw herself down at my feet and yelling at me. I stepped over her and continued what I was doing. This behavior continued for 5 minutes. I sat the rest of the class down for snack and served all of them with her throwing a tantrum in the background. She sat down with the rest of the group, and was still yelling, and I did not serve her snack. Once she saw that I was not going to serve her, she got up from her seat and cleaned up her work and came to me and asked nicely if she could have her snack now. She knew what was appropriate without me having to tell her, and she knew what she had to do to get my attention, and she finally did it once she realized she would not get her way.

I would say take away privileges or desired events but you said that isn't working so maybe ignoring it will work for you. Of course, do not ignore the behavior if she is putting herself at any kind of risk or anyone else such as the baby.
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