Kristina

Kristina - posted on 05/18/2016 ( 1 mom has responded )

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My son is 3 1/2 and he likes to make everything a struggle. Refuses for bath,getting dressed,bedtime,brushing his teeth. Is this normal behaviour?

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Marisa - posted on 05/18/2016

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Hi Kristina,

Oh my, that was something I went, (sometimes still), go through. Same age as your child.

I also asked around too, (is this normal), and turns out more people said "yes" than not. Even though people assure me it's "normal", I still wonder.

This is WHAT HELPED me calm this behavior by 75%.

1. I give her a pre-warming that something will be changing, (as in bedtime soon, changing clothes soon, etc).

2. THEN THE BIG HELP is, I give her a sense of choice, (and control).
I don't simply say, "is time to change for bed", (with pajama's already in my hand); or even on the other end "what do you want to wear for bedtime", (then that takes too long or ends up a battle)....
.....I say, "Which one are you going to put on, this one, or that one".

When saying it this way, I already put in her head that she WILL be changing, then I also give her a choice, which then she is more focused on what she will tell me that she will wear, (some control), rather than being focused on deciding to make things difficult.

3. I say after-wards with something like, "you picked a good one, I like the (blank) design that's on this one", AS I'm dressing her, to keep her focused on something about her choice, rather than her usual difficult behavior.

For morning toothbrushing example:

I start telling her a story to keep her mind occupied, per se, as I get her to do what I need.

For example, as we are walking to the bathroom, I start a story ahead of time. "Did you know that one time I saw this giant toothbrush, and I thought to myself, why does anyone need such a big toothbrush?" AND AS I'm getting her toothbrush, I'll say something like, "see, it looked kind of like yours, (then I point to something on her toothbrush), and I start saying something like, "I wonder how big his toothpaste tube was, because I'm assuming the toothbrush belonged to a giant".... etc.

...you get the jest I know :-).

Doing things like this has worked for me many times.

Other times, I just make sure I leave leeway with my time, and tell my daughter, "you said you wanted to (blank), but we are not going to do it unless you brush your teeth. It's your choice, you decide... brush your teeth, and go to (blank), or don't brush your teeth, and don't go to (blank)".

Then depending on how stubborn she feels, I will wait a few minutes in between telling her again, I give her 3 chances, and if she doesn't brush her teeth, I follow through with cancelling the (blank). This can take 5-10min.

After a few times when she knows I don't bluff, she will decide by the second time I give her the two options, (within 2 minutes).

Well, hope some of this info helps, by it either working exactly the same for you, or give you some ideas on other creative methods.

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