My 3-Year-Old Is Driving Me Crazy

Danielle - posted on 03/17/2014 ( 11 moms have responded )

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My daughter will be three next month and although she has been nothing further than perfect so far she's been getting on my nerves a little lately. I just had a baby two months ago so that has added to the busyness and stress and I just feel like all I do all day long is correct her "put that down, don't be so rough, don't get in the baby's face, we don't play in the bathroom" etc. I know it's normal three year old stuff I just feel like it's all the time the same things everyday and my patience is very slim these days. I feel like we have no positive interaction anymore between me being so busy around the house and constantly correcting her. I miss the relationship we used to have and I guess I am wondering if anyone can offer any advice to get through these next few months. Oh BTW I'm a single mom so I'm on my own over here.

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Odile216 - posted on 03/19/2014

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I'd just say, be careful not to set up a lifelong relationship based on conflict and sibling rivalry. Things don't "just clear up" all by themselves. You need concrete help with housework and babysitting. Find a friend or other single mom near where you live so you can share tasks. Your 3 year old needs a loving parent, you need to be able to relax and have fun with her, the baby needs a lot of your time, and I'm sure you have NO time for yourself. Find someone on Meetup or through neighbors or friends or a local church or other reliable group. Or two or three people to help. It sounds silly to say, Can you help me clean up my kitchen twice a week? but actually I'll bet ppl would love to do that. If they've been there, they'll understand. Share meal cooking, cook healthy foods for your child (there's so much evidence that behavior is linked to our nutrient-deficient diet!) and yourself, esp as you're breastfeeding. Build yourself a support group. You'll pay it forward for another single mom someday.

Andrea - posted on 03/18/2014

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Danielle, i can completely understand where you are coming from! What happened to my handsome polite little boy who used to snuggle with me?! He has disappeared and has been replaced with "cries-over-nothing boy" and "changes-his-mind-every-two-seconds-just-to-get-a-reaction kid" he turned 3 yesterday and I already can't wait until he's 4.

I have an almost 5 year old and I positively (almost) guarantee you that it gets better as the year goes on. and 4? Well age 4 is glorious! I feel your frustration but it's a hard age for any parent or kid for that matter. Just that you are asking for help just shows what a loving mom you are! For it isn't until we ask for help do we uncover how truly strong we are.
Seriously. Way to go, Mama!

Ishani - posted on 03/19/2014

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3 is a difficult age indeed! People said Terribe twos are bad, huh? whats that?

My son is 3 and a half and yes I constantly find myself correcting him. Im not sure how you can do what I do as you're a single mom and have a new little one and a hundred other things that all moms do! I just leave the dishes, or the cleaning and get down on my hands and knees and play with him. They are certain things that they 'shouldnt' be doing, but when you physically go down and be on their level, you think, its not that bad, its fun, let him do it, I will have a hell of a lot of cleaning up to do, but I'll do it later! You will miss him, he is growing. I miss my baby too, but I find other ways for him to think I'm still cool, even though I don't like it. I noticed for a while our bond was a bit distorted, but that changed when I started playing silly games with him, getting dirty... We all do it, Im guilty of it everyday. Because we need to get dinner ready, or make sure the house is clean before our friend comes over. Don't beat yourself up. But try and make more time for him, where he has your full undivided attention. As I said, it may be harder for you than other moms. All the best!

Devlin - posted on 03/18/2014

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and props to you for doing it on your own because it is HARD work! Hang in there mama. It does get better once you both have more time to adjust.

Devlin - posted on 03/18/2014

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3 is a difficult age, especially when you have an infant to care for as well. My boys are less than 4 years apart and those early days were the most difficult. If you can set some time aside that is just hers, maybe when baby naps she will feel less displaced. She may be doing some things just for attention, up until the new baby came she had you all to herself. That's a difficult adjustment for a 3 year old. Do you know other mom's with kids her age that you can get out and interact with?

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Allison - posted on 03/21/2014

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It could be the new baby. You should show her that It's not just the baby in the house It's her also. I had the same problem with my two. Where. I showed my oldest I loved them equal she calmed down. When I had to deal with the baby I had her help me she was always "my little helper". Your little one is probably just jealous and feels like her place is being taken. Show her you still love her and it should all calm down

Jordan - posted on 03/19/2014

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I am dealing with the exact same thing right now. I am just exhausted and my 2 month old hardly sleeps during the day. Its so hard to deal with a 2 yr old and give them the attention they need. I am glad to know that I am not alone. I am not a single mother but my husband is gone a lot and I feel like one. It is so muxh more helpful to have the hubby help with baby and child. Thanks to all of u who posted helpful thoughts! I needed that too!!!!

Oonagh - posted on 03/18/2014

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Hi Danielle. I have a little boy who has just turned 3 and we were having the same issue - felt like all I was doing was correcting him from the moment we got up to the time he went to bed - which was another issue of sneaking out for hours!! We have just done a week of "reward chart" with a sticker for good behaviour and then a special treat once 10 stickers have been collected. Day 1 was only 2 stickers, day 2 he got 5 and then on day 3 he hit the magic 10 and got his reward. So far it is making a huge difference - on the weekend it felt like I had my lovely boy back after the weeks of frustration. He is loving the choosing of the sticker and placing it on the chart and counting how many he gets. We are even at the stage of when he starts to kick off all I have to say is what a shame that he won't be getting a sticker and he immediately pulls it back in. Don't know how long this will last, but the effect at the moment is great - everyone happier and more relaxed. The treat is only little - some time on the computer or the ipad or maybe a new dinosaur from the discount shop. Good luck!

Dawn - posted on 03/18/2014

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My 2 1/2 year old started acting very needy, crying and screaming over little things not long after her brother was born (he's 4 months now). She screams in his ear when I finally get him down for a nap and she gets into everything when I am feeding him and she knows I can't stop her. I started her at preschool 3 days a week last month and it has made a world of difference. I feel quilts every time I drop her off but I need that time to focus only on the baby. I was a single mom with my first one and I made her the center if my universe and as soon as there was a second she became very needy and hard to discipline. Every day it try to remember she is just looking for my attention and give her hugs every day when she is not acting naughty. It's hard to do but this time will pass and you will wonder when she grew up so I am trying to enjoy more moments before they are gone. It's really hard, I don't get much help from my husband but for you it must be really difficult. Hang in there and remember she loves you no matter what, she just wants your attention

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