Help me with my three year old son's misbehavior

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Help me with my three year old son's misbehavior

    In the last few weeks my son is becoming more and more difficult. He throws things. If you ask him to stop he throws again and runs off.
    He throws tantrums when it's time to stop doing an activity - even when you give him the 5-3-1 warning about it ending.
    He just colored on the walls. I took the markers away and while I was cleaning it up he colored on the sofa - somehow I missed one when I cleaned them up.
    We were out in the sand box and he was throwing sand everywhere. I told him "sand stays in the box" and he threw some right at me.
    His twin sister does none of these things. She is a good listener and very helpful.
    I've spent the whole day gritting my teeth and trying to help him have more positive behavior.
    I feel like a total failure. And it doesn't help that he's started waking at 5;30 and yelling, "I want to go downstairs and get dressed and go out!" I love him to pieces and I just don't know what to do. I don't want to spend my whole day saying "DS - we don't...." but that's what I feel like I'm doing. I try and make sure we have lots of fun things planned and that he gets outside as much as possible. Even the teachers at EI say he is really difficult if it's something he doesn't want to do.
    Help me.....
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from bostongrl. Show bostongrl's posts

    Re: Help me with my three year old son's misbehavior

    MissLily... does he have any language delays?  If I remember correctly, no... but just a thought if he was getting frustrated trying to communicate his thoughts.  Also, do you try to give each twin "alone time" with just one or even both you and DH?   Is he maybe trying to assert some independence from his sister?  Not to get too psychological, but could there be something going on where he is starting to recognize gender roles and sees you and DD being alike and him standing out?  Would it be worth having DH do solo outings / time together doing "man" things?  (ride on his lap to mow the lawn, help "fix" stuff, or even going to the barber for a haircut) Some of your recent posts make me think he is trying to assert more control over events in his life... resisting potty training, etc.  I believe you've posted that the twins do not particularly like to be separated, even for short outings, but maybe it's time to start teaching them how to be away from each other (if you haven't already)?
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from ajuly09. Show ajuly09's posts

    Re: Help me with my three year old son's misbehavior

    Lily- Sounds like you are doing a great job with your kids. It must be so frustrating and I really feel for you. 

    I used to teach preschool and now teach K so I can give you my $.02 from what I have learned from working with children, not sure how it applies to a home setting.  But I have learned as a teacher to be PROactive vs. REActive. Kids get a thrill from misbehavior (as do we adults, we can relate, does anyone ever abide by the speedlimit ALL the time?)    It may help to go back to basics and set out the rules and expectations clearly/consisely before.  Most of your rules will have to do with safety.  Saftey of you and your DD.  If you state the rules before you head to the sandbox, then if he breaks said rule, it's time for a break. You can come back in when you are ready to play with the sand gently.(or whatever you want to say)   You should make your best effort to catch DS doing the right thing at all times and recognize this.  "I see you are putting the sand into the bucket with the shovel!!"  Name the simpliest of things.  Sometiems kids don't even know the "right way" to do things.     Sounds like you are doing a lot of this already.    He needs many opportunites to practice the right ways of doing things in order to be successful.  
           Not sure if this helps at all, I know having the authority of a teacher is very different than coming from mom!    Hang in there!!
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Help me with my three year old son's misbehavior

    He needs to be punished.  I know you don't spank, and I'd never consider suggesting otherwise, and you've said timeouts don't work.  But, those aren't your only two options to make him regret breaking the rules, and he doesn't.  Mom telling him "we don't..." isn't currency to him, but something is.  What does he love to do best?  Is there a TV show, favorite book, favorite toy, you can take away for the day?  At 3 he can cry and cry - go in and tell him that little boys who break the rules get things taken away and let him scream until he can't scream another peep.  

    Inspire regret somehow every time even if it sucks for the rest of the family, especially you, until DS gets it through his head that it's not worth it TO HIM to break the rules all day.  Gritting your teeth and being positive is a payoff to him for bad behavior.

    He won't outgrow this love of controlling you; it will only get worse as he gets more intellectually and emotionally sophisticated and physically stronger unless he learns in no uncertain terms that it's not in HIS best interest to do so.
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from RogerTaylor. Show RogerTaylor's posts

    Re: Help me with my three year old son's misbehavior

    Mislily don't beat yourself up - you're doing a great job with the kid's!

    Daughter has good behavior, son has behavior issues - I'm a firm believer that girl's mature much faster than boy's - IMHO!

    I would remove my son from the situation and put him in time out. Sitting in the corner on the floor or stool. Not long, but long enough for him to adjust his behavior.  I never reacted either i.e. scream and yell, I just grabbed him by his wrist and put him in time out, then talked about his behavior after he calmed down (you can't get through to a screaming child!)

    Relax, relax, relax - you're not alone, there are other parent's out there with the same situation as you.

    Best of luck!
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Help me with my three year old son's misbehavior

    RT, she's said before that timeouts are not working and have never worked...any suggestions other than that?
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: Help me with my three year old son's misbehavior

    Thanks everyone. I do take away toys and remove him from situations when he misbehaves.
    I also try and set expectations before so he knows what to do.
    I'm probably suffering from having a (almost) 3 year old boy behave like a boy and comparing him to his twin sister a little.
    Some of it may be stemming from being tired. He's stopped napping and can get cranky sometimes. The other day he fell asleep on the playroom floor so I just left him. His sister and I colored and did Play-Doh (quiet things) and let him nap away.
    And he does LOVE to do things with Daddy so we're trying to do more of that too. It's hard because my DH is a safety nut and germaphobe. So his first inclination is to keep the kids away from most things.
    we've got a mother's helper starting on Monday. She's coming 2 afternoons a week. So at least I'll get a little break. She can keep an eye on him and we'll see if he minds someone else a little better than me!
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Help me with my three year old son's misbehavior

    Was his behavior markedly improved after you let him nap that time on the playroom floor? If so, can a regular nap be reincorporated into his routine?  3 seems pretty young to have stopped napping.
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: Help me with my three year old son's misbehavior

    Lily - I think you are doing a great job.  It must be so hard with two.
    So, I have no idea what I'm talking about since DD is still younger, as you know.
    But I keep reading that the best punishment is the removal of your attention.  Like, "We can't play together if you throw sand.  I'll come back when you stop.  Good bye."  But I don't know if this is for the younger kids or how it will go over with a 3 year old.

    From what he says when he wakes up, it sounds like he has energy to burn!  I remember reading one of those Barbara Meltz columns where she was talking about "active, alert" kids.  I can't find the one I'm thinking about right now, but here's one about an older kid in that category, with a link to a book.
    http://www.boston.com/community/moms/blogs/child_caring/2011/01/i_have_a_7_12.html
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from KT75. Show KT75's posts

    Re: Help me with my three year old son's misbehavior

    Lily - We went through this with DD through the 2's.  One thing that worked well for us was taking things away and then getting praise for good behavior.  For example if we went to play in a sandbox and I knew that she would want to throw sand, we would go over the rules first.  I make her repeat the rules back to me, I will typically give her 1 or two warnings, at the last warning I say if you do that again you will not get a popsicle today (Just an example) and then we stop whatever the activity is that she was doing.  Typically I used something that she really would want to have, it doesn't matter if I were actually going to let her have it that day or not.  If she then did follow the rules of the sandbox I would tell her how proud I was and talk about what a big girl she was. 

    As for dropping naps, does he like movies?  I know this sounds terrible but I do let DD watch a movie here and there if I can tell she is totally exhausted but won't sleep.  It gives her some rest time and helps avoid meltdowns the rest of the day.
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from RogerTaylor. Show RogerTaylor's posts

    Re: Help me with my three year old son's misbehavior

    In Response to Re: Help me with my three year old son's misbehavior:
    RT, she's said before that timeouts are not working and have never worked...any suggestions other than that?
    Posted by kargiver


    It depends on your approach to time outs....Do you cave? Do you show your anger? Do you lecture him while he's in time out? Time outs DO work it just depends on your approach.  I took the time to talk to my son when he was calm and HADN'T misbehaved - he realised it was a lot more fun to behave then to sit in time out....the approach to the time out is almost more important than the time out itself! Been there done that...
     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: Help me with my three year old son's misbehavior

    Kar - I've tried everything with the non-napping. They went from sleeping 1-3pm to nothing in a week. I tried separating them and I tried "quiet time".It was a total joke with them stripping their beds and causing mayhem in their room. So now we just forge through our day and if someone falls asleep on the sofa or on the floor I let them sleep there.
    We've moved bedtime up so they get enough rest.

    And RT - I know some of the problem with the timeouts is my poor execution. He won't stay and I keep trying to place him back in the corner. He runs and I catch him and put him back and reset the timer. "Lather, rinse, repeat". Add in twin sister offering to stand in the corner in his place! I don't lecture or hover and I try not to get angry. I know when I give up it send the wrong message so I've been trying other things that I'm better able to execute, including removal of toy or activity, setting up the rules beforehand, praising the good behavior.
    I think DH is going to try and help more too. For a while he's been saying "he's a boy...blah, blah, blah." But now he's finally seeing some of the behavior I've been describing. He's better and playing bad cop than I am, so maybe he'll be a little more effective in curbing the naughtiness.

    Again - thanks everyone. Hearing all the ideas really helps. Even if I'm already doing some, it reminds me to try and be more consistant. And having an online cheering squad doesn't hurt either!
     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Help me with my three year old son's misbehavior

    I can definitely understand why naps are out, but maybe getting all his sleep in 24 hours in one shot overnight isn't working for him.  He sounds beside himself.  It's not like he doesn't get enough positive attention every day from both of you. 

    I've essentially got nothin' but a hug, I guess. :(
     
  14. You have chosen to ignore posts from lissafro. Show lissafro's posts

    Re: Help me with my three year old son's misbehavior

    In Response to Re: Help me with my three year old son's misbehavior:
    Kar - It was a total joke with them stripping their beds and causing mayhem in their room.
    Posted by misslily


    I know all of this is compounded by the fact there are two of them and they can tag-team you.
    But -- my 2 cents. 
    You are doing a great job.  You are doing the best you can, doing everything right.  Unfortunately, a huge part of this is probably that he is 3 years old and every mom of older kids I know (multiple generations, for that matter), say the 3s are worse than the 2s.

    OK - my first guess at something you haven't really tried that MIGHT work a LITTLE is something we've done with our DD now that she doesn't nap.  We renamed the naptime "quiet time."  We gated/childproofed the room completely so she's stuck in there.  We made a big deal about allowing her to choose which toys she got to move upstairs to her room for quiet time.  We don't really care if she's quiet or not, we just call it quiet time.  At first we had trouble with her screaming for us to come get her but then we started putting a timer in her room and telling her she had to play alone until the timer went off.  Now we just let her self-moderate.  Some days she'll spend 1.5 hours in her room, playing.  Some days it'll be more like 45 minutes.  A couple of times she even fell asleep. 
    We made a big deal about her being a "big girl" who doesn't need naptime anymore, so now we're going to set up the room for quiet time.  If you think calling quiet time is going to make you feel like enforcing some sort of quiet rule, maybe you could call it "alone time" and give them their own places (is there a way to have them in separate rooms so they really feel like they're getting alone time--or perhaps you could have them spend "alone time" in their room individually, giving the other twin "alone time" with you to do some activity.  In that case, you could make the times shorter but it might be doubly-effective because they're getting combined solo attention time and quiet time.

    Now, this has worked for us but it has led to what you've already described--the destroyed room.  At this point, we don't care.  She is really into making a "nest" int he middle of the room, as well as pretending she's camping in a tent.  This involves stripping the bed.  We just incorporate remaking the bed into the bedtime routine and start the routine earlier.  I pretend the fact that her bedding is lumpy with dollhouse furniture and I'm 9 months pregnant and attempting to get a fitted sheet onto a low toddler bed every night isn't putting me at my wits' end for the sake of not starting a battle with her.  Because seriously, the battle I was losing and now she quietly plays in her crazy nest for almost 2 hours and I get a chance to nap on the weekends or grade papers or eat or whatever else I need to do.

    Also, everything you and other commenters said about getting DH on board is key.  Whatever you decide to do is going to have to be consistent.  
     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from Daisy75. Show Daisy75's posts

    Re: Help me with my three year old son's misbehavior

    MissLily,

    Try "Raising Your Spirited Child" by Mary(?) Kurcincka.  It has lots of good information about kids for whom the typical stuff just doesn't work.  (I actually need to re-read it to refresh some of my techniques.)  My son definitely is in the "spirited" category and my daughter is borderline "spunky/spirited."  It really gave me quite a bit of insight into my kids' behaviors as well as my own and things I can do to avert difficult situations. 

    I know the point of the mother's helper is to give you a break and time to do other stuff, but if you can swing an hour a week to spend with just one of the kids alone--alternating weeks--even if it's just bringing that kid on an errand with you out of the house, I highly recommend it.  My kids' behavior is SO MUCH better after they've had one-on-one time with DH or I.  It really does make a huge difference even if it's just a short amount of time.  They may not like to be separated, but they don't know they need a break from each other.  I think it's essential for you/DH and them so you can all start recognizing each other's individual strengths and weaknesses and focus on building relationships that involve the kids being individuals rather than a single unit.  When we split up, we all come back refreshed and recharged and everything is just less-intense for a few days afterwards.

    Right now, he know when he misbehaves he gets your undivided attention--which he is craving--so he does what he knows will get your attention.  Praising/rewarding/"catch him doing it right" rather than punishing (which I don't think works this young--they still can't really predict consequences) is going to be key.  If he knows he can get your attention for "being good," he won't "need" to misbehave.

    I also recommend 1-2-3 Magic.  It's a very quick read and the technique is simple.  I hardly ever get past "1" these days, but it requires consistency.

     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from dz76. Show dz76's posts

    Re: Help me with my three year old son's misbehavior

    Lily - I was never tempted to spank my daughter until she turned 3 and I still have the temptation everyday I am with her.  I am continually telling people it will be a miracle if she survives until 4.  So I feel your pain. 

    My sister recommended finding her "thing" the one thing she loves more that anything else and using that as the bribe.  For my sister's son that is the iPad.  If he is good he gets to use it, if not no iPad.  I haven't got a clue what DD1's "thing" is but maybe you'll have better luck.  In my MOM's group at out last meeting we were all commiserating about the behavior issues out 3-4 year olds were sending out way.  One recommendation was a a more auditory sticker chartesque reward system.  Get glass container and some marbles.  Good behavior get a marble dropped in and bad behavior gets one removed.  There was some sort of explanation that it can work better than stickers due to the noise the marble makes.  Of course this still involves knowing what that "thing" is that your DS wants more than anything.  Maybe is could be something as simple as going with DH on errands? 

    I probably shouldn't be giving advice on this topic since I'm feeling like an epic failure about dealing with behavior issues.  I know DD1 and DS are running circles around me but I can't seem to really handle it while they are doing it.

     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: Help me with my three year old son's misbehavior

    lissa, my brother and his wife had success with "quiet time," too.  They had to stay on their beds, not use anything electronic (games, etc), and not communicate with each other.  It made sleeping/napping a non-issue; they had the power to choose if that's how they wanted to spend quiet time.
     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from bostongrl. Show bostongrl's posts

    Re: Help me with my three year old son's misbehavior

    I know TV time has a different connotation now then when we were growing up, but I distinctly remember that about the time I gave up afternoon nap, we started having movie time mid-day.  Maybe everyone just needs 30-40 mins to chill out? 

    As for setting up "quiet time" ... maybe make a big deal out of putting some soothing music on, picking out a book for each to "read", etc?  I know that just a little bit of background music can really help me relax, and might be good signal to differentiate that part of the day.
     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from misslily. Show misslily's posts

    Re: Help me with my three year old son's misbehavior

    Wow - thanks to everyone for all the great suggestions. And for taking the time to write right before a holiday weekend!
    I have been putting in a DVD when nap time used to occur and sometimes one or the other (and ONCE both) have actually fallen asleep, but at least they are having a little down time while they are watching - Curious George is the current favorite.
    He doesn't misbehave all the time - I certainly don't want to imply that he does.
    And while I'm sure some of it is to get attention  - I think some of it is simply wanting to do what he wants to do. I think most of you know he's a climber. I sent a quick email to my mother this morning and when I came around the corner of the kitchen to see what they were doing he was climbing their toy kitchen. He looked at me and said, "Mama go back to your (com)puter." 
     
  20. You have chosen to ignore posts from CT-DC. Show CT-DC's posts

    Re: Help me with my three year old son's misbehavior

    Can't add much to these ideas, they are all really good and on point. 

    I will heartily SECOND getting The Spirited Child by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka.  It's an enjoyable read, really interesting, and I recognized myself as a spunky child, I can even remember how I FELT things SO MUCH as an elementary schooler.

    But really, there's another book called The Difficult Child by some guy or other - do NOT get that - he's really punitive - while he didn't actually come right out and say 'spank the brat' that was definitely my impression of what he was saying.  I read it first (I had the MOST DIFFICULT child in my preschool at the time, and I think he's still my most difficult I've every worked with) and then read The Spirited Child and remember reallly loving how she approached these children - not as 'they are problems and difficult' but rather as 'this is who they are, understand them, and then you can work with them instead of against them.'

    And I think it is definitely time for your husband to get over many of those germaphobe tendencies - he's just going to have to lighten up for his children to be successful when they try to help - things get spilled, fingers go in the batter, etc. and it's all good. 
     
  21. You have chosen to ignore posts from marriedmom. Show marriedmom's posts

    Re: Help me with my three year old son's misbehavior

    You have already gotten great suggestions, but I just wanted to add my two cents. My sister also has twins who are three, and I told her I feel terrible for her b/c three-year-olds are, like, the worst people in the whole world. ;) of course, I am kidding, but I really thing it is an age thing. They are smart enough to know how to push your buttons and so interested in seeing your reactions. I really agree with what someone else wrote about being proactive vs reactive with him. Time-outs also never, ever worked with my son at that age - he knew he could make me invest a ton of effort in getting him to do the time-out... It was a totally self-defeating exercise. And often the consequence of losing whatever toy or privilege was involved in the infraction just was t a significant enough consequence to deter him. It doesn't help that kids that age are really just beginning to have the kind of impulse control that consequences affect, you know? So, all that is to say that I feel your pain. The two things I found that did really help we're giving choices (have to be exactly two options and both must be thing you really are ok with) - like "do you want to use the bathroom before or after you put on your shoes?" if he didn't answer in a reasonable time, then Mommy would choose for him. The second thig that worked was being silly whenever I felt myself getting frustrated with him. Like if he would cooperate when it was time get leave the house, I would start to hang my shoes from my ears and tell him Mommy has her shoes on, why don't you? It sounds dumb, but truthfully "going silly" was often the best response to his misbehavior b/c 1) it showed him I was still in charge of our time and 2) it somehow relaxed me when I started to feel that tension building because I was getting frustrated. Of course, these things weren't foolproof, but they were often my best chances to maintain sanity in the house. And the good news is that it really is a stage he will grow out of. Good luck!
     
  22. You have chosen to ignore posts from marriedmom. Show marriedmom's posts

    Re: Help me with my three year old son's misbehavior

    Ugh, my phone isn't letting me edit typos! I meant to say above that if he would NOT cooperate, I would go silly. I think it usually surprised him enough that it worked!
     
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