Tantrums at age 3

Michelle - posted on 07/08/2011 ( 9 moms have responded )

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My little one skipped the terrible 2s, but is experiencing the terrible 3s (some of it stemming from a bad influence that is no longer in her life). Screams in my face when she doesn't get her way, attempts to fight her way out of time out (which I don't actually let her out), and fights me at nap time. Our daily routine is about the same everyday, just various activities, but the same time slot. I reward and complement when she does good, and reminds her of time out when she does bad. I also like to explain why the behavior is bad, but it doesn't matter. I find myself getting so frustrated and angry at times that my blood boils. Any suggestions?

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Keri - posted on 07/11/2011

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Kids are prone to tantrums at any age. Just because your daughter isn't 2 anymore doesn't mean she won't get upset about things. If you know all of it stems from this bad influence that is no longer around, remind her of that and that the rules have changed. Also, don't be afraid of a little smack on the butt - as long as it doesn't hurt. A smack on the butt, stern words and stern face usually set our son right and even make him pennant.

Nicole - posted on 07/11/2011

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My daughter is 3 1/2 and had sworn off naps completely now, so what we do instead since her little brother still naps is have a quiet time where she can rest and read or do other quiet activities. Its funny people say terrible 2s over and over but 2 has nothing on 3 IMO.

Michelle - posted on 07/09/2011

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Hi Michelle, this is what I used to do with my little guy as he stopped napping before he was two we just couldn't get him to sleep without literally pinning him down to the bed so he couldn't do anything except fall asleep. I implemented quiet time where it didn't matter if he was tired or not he went into his room at the same time every day but he could have books to look at or listen to music or watch a quiet movie on his tv for one hour, 50% of the time he actually fell asleep but the other 50% he had down time to regroup. As for the tantrums just stay strong you are doing the right things and Kiley's suggestions are great be firm and don't waver she will soon out grow them.

Kiley - posted on 07/08/2011

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Good luck! Tantrums are hard for every parent-we ALL have had those blood boiling moments (we just try not to let them see this).
I have friends that try the reward trick. I have mixed feelings on it and choose not to do it with my kiddos bc when I want them to do something, I want them to listen-not to try and finagle an m&m ;)
Also-remember that children 1-4 can infrequently control anything save 3things 1. Where they potty 2. What they will eat 3. When they go to bed. So it's normal and natural for your little one to be asserting herself in this way.
My daughter kept getting out of bed over and over-it was super fun ;) I put her back in bad the first time and told her I loved her and was proud of her for sleeping in her rm. The second time I put her back I just said goodnight. Any subsequent times I didnt say a word. I would always hang out in our living rm, close by, until she fell asleep. We discussed this every night before I turned off the lights.

Michelle - posted on 07/08/2011

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All wonderful advice! I do have a solid bedtime routine, nap time as well. I don't offer special privileges at nap time as I do at bed time. I have tried hugging her when she's upset, and she lashes out and gets madder, but I haven't tried the official "bear hug". I've heard from a lot of parents that it works, and it makes sense because when I'm mad or upset at someone I love, that usually does the trick as well. I suppose it does make sense to "put myself in her shoes" and ask what would make me feel better in that situation. She cries at nap time, gets out of bed, climbs on everything, almost knocking her dresser over. She kept getting out of her room and getting into stuff, so my husband switched the lock around to lock from the outside so she can't get out. When we know she's asleep we make sure the door is unlocked, but I'm not a fan of this. God forbid she NEEDS to get out and she can't!!!
I bribe her with treats to get her to behave, and that works for the most part. I just can't deal with the tantrum itself. I will try your advice of the bear hug, and acknowledging her feelings. That's a great idea! Thank you!

Kiley - posted on 07/08/2011

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Oh one last thing ;) if you're an actress you can react when she screams at you etc by making yourself seem really hurt/sad and he'll her, "That hurts me! It really hurt my ears and hurts my feelings when children scream at me. (And ham it up a little, as long as it's believable and not going too far)

Kiley - posted on 07/08/2011

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Ps. Remember that 3yr olds aren't yet capable
of completely controlling their emotions. Helping them dentist their feelings is a great tool, ie when she's frowning you respond, " I can see that you are frustrated/angry etc I know this because your face looks like this (model) you're frowning.

I predominately use Positive Discipline with my children and students and it works wonders when properly implemented. And studdies more than back up it's results :)

Kiley - posted on 07/08/2011

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I am a preschool teacher and have plenty of experience around 3 year olds, that being said, you are SO not alone ;) It can be common for three year olds to throw tantrums. My advice would be to try and reflect on where/what the behavior is coming from, all tantrums and emotional responses are different. As far as the "bad influence," that may take time to filter out, just provide stability. As far as nap time, is she crying incessantly, getting out of bed..? Make sure you have a solid bedtime routine, ie washing up, brushing teeth, reading for 15min as then lights out with soothing music. When she screams at you, stay calm but say firmly, "Stop. We don't scream in people's faces, that hurts my ears." If the screaming persists (& she is not in danger) one of two things typically work, ignore it (you can even tell her, " I am going to ignore your screaming because I don't like it) but you really have to stick with this and she'll come to see that screaming at you isn't going to make you do what she wants. Otherwise, you can try the gentle bear hug strategy where you repeat over and over, "You're upset, I can tell because ___ but I am going to help you calm down..."

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