Getting so frustrated & I don't know what more to do.

[deleted account] ( 8 moms have responded )

I have a 5 year daughter & a 3 year old step-son & we have a baby boy on the way - due in August. At the end of last year - my daughter was a royal terror...and the 3 year old was such an angel. Now that I am getting further along in my 5 year old has become the sweetest, most helpful child I have ever met...she sets the table for me, she asks what she can do to help clean, she sits with me & talks to the baby in my belly :) she is just a true pleasure & a sweetheart. Our 3 year old on the other longer listens at all. We have tried everything from smacking fingers, smacking his butt, putting him on time out, taking toys - EVERYTHING. Nothing 5 months pregnant I am starting to get massively upset & frustrated with him. I get so upset that my chest & cheeks turn bright red & I end up getting pains in my lower stomach. I am so worried that me getting this upset is going to hurt the baby & I don't know what more to do. I would love any suggestions please...I just don't know what to do anymore.


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Jenn - posted on 04/21/2010




I read someone else make this statement and wonder if it isn't true for many of us stressed out mothers with those terrible two's or torturous threes LOL! If you say you have tried everything and nothing works then you haven't tried any ONE thing long enough. It takes some time and consistency when it comes to discipline "working". If you choose time-outs, then make sure you use them ALL the time for the same bad behaviour.

[deleted account]

Thank you Louise. That is great advice. I have definitely thought about sending him to his room when he acts up. I wouldn't be able to put the gate up because of him going to the potty...but otherwise it would definitely be something I could do & probably less stress for me. Only problem......with sending him to his room.....I've had instances where we sent him to his room.....& almost like an "in your face" move...he wouldn't go to the potty, he'd sit on the floor & pee in his pants or poop in his pants....My biggest fear is that he wants more attention than what we give him & we give all the kids the same attention. I always make sure they get all the attention I can give them because I don't want them to be jealous of the baby and I don't want them to dislike or resent the baby. We even make them part of everything to do with the baby. They have both helped pick out outfits & things for the baby. I have let them feel the baby moving & let them talk to the baby. Funny thing is.....the baby is how we finally got him to tell us he had to go potty again. He had stopped telling us for awhile & he would either squirm until we asked him if he had to go or until he went in his pants...I finally told him that he needed to show the baby that he is a big boy...and it worked!!! I'm definitely going to give everything a try & see what will & what won't work. Try each thing for a week or 2 & see if he responds to it. My biggest thing is...he won't listen to anyone. When my sisters watch him...if he gets in trouble.....and they try to put him on time out....he laughs at them. We actually went out for Valentine's Day...(tried to anyway). We barely got through dinner & had to skip out on the movie (which we had already bought the tickets for) because he was acting up so bad for my sister. But thank you all so much for your suggestions & I am certainly going to give every single suggestion a try & see where it goes :)

[deleted account]

He doesn't sleep all day, normally until about 2 at the latest. I am very stressed out, it is so hard to just stay calm when the kids act up. I would say maybe it is that he feels like he's not as loved as the baby...but we give the kids equal attention throughout the day. I take the kids outside to play & run around. He does different things to get my approval throughout the, we just finally got him to start telling us when he had to go potty again...thank goodness...and when he tells me, I say, "Ok, go ahead & thank you for telling me, that's a big boy" and then when he is off the potty he will tell me, "mommy, I went potty" I say, "good job" & he says "oh, thank you mommy" Things like that and if he's playing he'll just out of no where say, "mommy, I won!" I'll say, "good job" and he'll say thank you. His biological mother IS NOT in the picture. My husband has full custody of Billy & she doesn't bother seeing him. I am the only mommy he knows...when Bill & I first got together, he was in the habit of calling every woman around him mommy...didn't take long to get him to only call me mommy. We will definitely try doing more things together & hopefully that will work. It's just like today, we went to the mall, but yet again...he refused to listen to me & was acting up....I just hope that we figure out exactly what's causing it soon...It's hard being this stressed out. Thank you so much for your help Chelsea

Louise - posted on 04/20/2010




Your three year old is rebelling and this is prety normal. Unfortunately for you he knows how to wind you up and he knows he will get a reaction out of you. All this is attention and can be solved. First of all make his bedroom completely safe so you know 100% that there is nothing in there that could cause him any harm. Then fit a stair gate across his door. When he kicks off warn him that he will go to his room after the first warning remind him again of the consequences and if he continues to carry on pick him up and put him in his room. Let him scream and shout but walk away. Don't give him any eye contact at all. After a few minutes go and talk to him on his level. Get 100% eye contact and tell him what you want him to do and if he does not do it then he will stay in his room. You must stick to your warnings and the fact that you are walking away should give you enough time to calm down. He will however scream the place down the first few times you do this so be prepared but ,in the long run removing him from the family pack will be enough to make him realsie that this is not acceptable behaviour. Acting up is a childs way for asking for attention and as there is a new baby on the way this is adding to your childs fears that mummy wont have time for him anymore. When he does behave overly praise him so he learns that good behaviour is the way to your heart. Try not to smack, as a mum of two teenage boys that were smacked it acheived nothing in the end. You try smacking a 14 year old that is nearly six foot! It just does not work! I am now raising my 17 month old daughter with time out and overly praising her for good behaviour and so far it is working.

Donna - posted on 04/20/2010




Hi Michele. I don't want to sound all Pollyanna-like with this or anything... it seems that the negative reinforcement (punishment like smacking) isn't having the effect you want, and clearly is stressing you which is the last thing you need whilst so busy and pregnant. I am guessing that what your 5 year old loves about helping you is all of the praise and positive comments that she gets, and your three year old may be reacting to this because he wants similar praise. I have a book called 'Four weeks to a better behaved child' and in it they recommend ignoring the poor behaviour for a little while (unless it is dangerous) and focus on positively reinforcing the good behaviour.

I wish you all the best - I'm sure you are doing great.


Chelsea - posted on 04/20/2010




Well, I don't know everything, but it seems that your under a lot of stress. Does your husband sleep during the day since he works the night shift? Has anything changed in the household, that may have triggered your son to act out?

There can be so much going on in a childs mind. My thought is to spend more time together. As a whole family if possible. He may need to be reassured, that his place in the family isn't going to change. He is still important, and loved. The family is growing but not without him. You mentioned he was your step-son, is his biological mother apart of his life at all? I am asking questions just for you to maybe find the deeper cause. I wish I was super nanny sometimes..she works wonders! It sounds like he needs mommy, sister, and daddy especially to show him all about how being in a family works. We love each other. We stick together. We help each other. And, that he will be a GREAT big brother!

Try not to worry about the "the baby on board," everything will be alright. Find as much joy as you can in everything. Even, though your son is acting a mess. Consider it like a puzzle into his little head. It will keep your mind sharp if nothing else. I hope this helps. Stick in there, you can do it.

[deleted account]

Thanks Rose :) I really appreciate the suggestions. I definitely appreciate her help, she is getting so excited for the baby :) I'm extremely worried that we are going to have problems with him once baby is here. We have definitely tried the if you are good, I'll get you something. I even did it one time that he wasn't good & she was...I bought her something & explained to him that he didn't get anything because he wasn't listening to mommy. It's almost like it goes in one ear & out the other. I've massively cut back on smacking as wasn't accomplishing anything, the only time I do that now is if it is something massive. Most times it's a time toys...I was so calm, for so long about it...and now it's starting to really push me over the edge again. Your suggestion about a shower & relaxing is a great idea...there are only 2 nights a week I can do it tho. My husband works 3rd shift. 6:30 pm to 3 normally after he leaves it's just me & the kids. It's like he will be so good one minute & then just completely do a total turn around. I was getting all the clothes we have for baby out of bags & putting them in the baby's hamper...he was watching me & giving me all kinds of dirty looks. It's just really weird for me because I never had these problems with my daughter when she was younger. Knowing that all kids are different definitely helps though. Believe me...sugar is a definite no most of the time for my kids. My daughter loves tomatoes, carrots, strawberries, most times a rewarding snack for her is healthy :) He is our junk food eater...which came courtesy of his great-grandmother...But it's like nothing, no matter how big the reward, he just wants nothing to do with listening. I'll definitely put into affect some of the ideas you gave & see how they work. Thank you so much :)

Rose - posted on 04/20/2010




ok, im glad the daughter is helping and im sure you praise her for that right? well she found a way to be the favorite im guessing, brothers and sisters are alife time battle for affection and respect. please, i know its a type of disapline but spanking is never the answer, i know my parents whoped me all my life, but thats not the reason im a good person, the reason is because the drilled disipline in me, hes seeing how much she is doing and is jelous because he doesnt know how yet, he wants to help his mommy and also he wants attention, and misbehaving is the way he has fiqured to obtain it, with me? so, what you do is for disipline, grounding and taking away toys is definitly the way to go, when you notice hes done something worth praising, make a big deal of it, like he just saved the world. he will come around. if not then its time to drill it, CHORES. i dont care how old they are, do it for both of them even if he cant do much now he needs to relize that just because momys prego, mommy is still mommy, and mommy can turn into sargent mommy real quick. my parents had me scrubbing baseboard at 6 years old but it sure came in handy when i had to clean bathrooms at pizza hut, or clean houses for money to feed myself. make it look like shes not helping because she wants to but because she has to, that will show him that you are instructing her as well. instead have him help out with something she normally does. as for rewards, at the end of the day, trade off each day, who gets to choose the movie of the night, or take them to the park, but please..DO NOT GIVE THEM SUGAR. if hes acting this way already, sugar or candy isnt going to help but sugar free ice cream is very good for a reward. help him out too, hes young and cant do much, like rearrange his room to where he wants things, or buy him something, the best way to win a kid over is negotiation and bribary, im sorry, its true for exaple "help mommy do this, and ill get you, or buy you, or take you here as soon as your done" tell her to let him help her so he doesnt feel left out. as for YOU, you need to chill, dont let these kids get to you, you control them remember? not the other way around, dont feel their emotions and dont let them get the best of you, they are just kids, your alot smarter hun. the best way to relax is right after a shower, get out, have the hubby watch them or put them in front of a movie. dont even get dressed,just dry off and put up your hair, put a towel down on the bed, and LAY DOWN in complete silence and darkness and BREATH. lay there for about 30 minutes to an hour and let your stress just melt away with relief. when you get up you will feel refreshed and ready to take anything. one thing i was told after having my son that really helped me, --laugh when they laugh and laugh when you want to cry. hope this helps good luck hun

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