My three year old daughter's violent tantrums are killing me.

Ruth - posted on 01/12/2013 ( 4 moms have responded )

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My three year old daughter has started having violent tantrums, she seems to have a real problem with being told what to do. Tonight she flew into an hysterical fit because we asked her to get into her chair because her dinner was ready. She wanted to watch telly and her Father had turned it off because it was time for tea. She just kept running away and we probably foolishly pursued her. Then I said she had to go on the naughty step which prompted the full blown kicking and screaming. I saw that there was no way she was going to sit on the naughty step so instead tried to get her into her bedroom for a time out. This resulted in her nearly hurting herself and me. At this point my husband jumped in to have a go at me telling me I was doing it all wrong. I didn't take this well. I'm sure that her tantrums are caused largely by tiredness, but I have no control, and am two months away from the birth of my second child. I'm tired and feeling very low. I've never tried pinning her down and perhaps I should but I have always struggled with her sheer strength and fear to hurt her. She had a whole day of tantrums recently at nursery and I felt so ashamed. She had just started her fifteen hours so at the present I think it is a bit overwhelming and exhausting for her. For the past two weeks her tantrums have been a daily occurrence, about nothing, and they can last thirty minutes and up. I feel like a terrible mum because if I was handling this better it wouldn't be happening. I don't know how to get it to stop and am feeling extremely desperate, and unsure of how I am going to cope when the new baby arrives. My husband blames me for her tantrums. He thinks I shout at her too much, I think he's a push over. When I tell her she can't do something she runs to him screaming daddy daddy. He usually gives in where I have stood firm. I hate this! I find it increasingly hard to talk to people about anything, and my Mother passed away a year and a half ago which only increased my isolation, so that's why I'm on here! If anyone can help me find a little perspective or some coping strategies I would be grateful.

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S. - posted on 01/12/2013

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She's probably acting up because the new baby is on its way! Also I think they sense weakness my daughter was 2&10 months when my youngest was born and god did she try and run circles round me towards my late pregnancy I remember clearly once she had a paddy down the street after fighting with her to get her in the house a nerve in my leg trapped and I was stuck, couldn't move, crying I managed to get to the phone and ring my hb to come home then my waters broke.
Keep with the naughty step, to her bed room for a cool off time if she's been that bad and try rewarding the good as much as you can, maybe a chart so she can see how good she's being. Sit down with your hb "the blame games" not good for anyone! And her running between the two of you is making it all worse and giving her what she wants.

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Christina - posted on 01/16/2013

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I have a very strong willed 3 year old! She has thrown tatrums about nothing since she was 18 months! What has worked for us is this:
1. Because I know she likes to be in control, I let her have the control as often as I can. Example: giving her choices on everything. Like "do you want to butter your toast or should I do it?" Sometime me just doing something for her would set off a huge fit! It's not bad for them to be that independent. It just requires you to have more patience :)

2. Know what times to discipline and what times to walk away! From the time my daughter was little and started throwing bad fits, if she started screaming for any reason, i would calmly tell that i would not acknowledge her unless she quit crying. I then would go on with doing something else and would ignore her. When we first started this, she was throwing tantrums for hrs and she would throw 3-4 tantrums a day. Now, at 3, she maybe throws 1 tantrum a week. She knows that they don't work!

3. Definitely always stay calm! Do time-outs when she does something wrong but maybe not when she is already in freak-out mode! lol :) Also, we also tried the whole "putting her in her room" thing. It only seemed to escalate things.

Remember that because she is three, things will be alot worse because she is older and will be a bit shocked in the way you are changing this up! Stay consistent and things will get better! consistency is key!

S. - posted on 01/12/2013

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My daughter took to her little sister really well I remember being really worried she may harm the baby because her behaviour was so terrible at times but she calmed down after she was born. They know what's happening but they don't really understand it.
I have 3 kids if I was ever poorly my oldest would be extra good and helpful were as my middle daughter (the one in the story I told) if I was ever poorly or slightly down she would play me up, like she acted up on my weakness.

Ruth - posted on 01/12/2013

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Thank you for your post, I was wondering whether she was a bit nervous about the new baby even though she seems outwardly excited. We've been talking about it a lot more lately. Your post is really helpful, thank you

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