Terrible Three's!!

Shae - posted on 11/18/2008 ( 1 mom has responded )

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My son is 3.5, and he's my oldest of 3 kids. I've got a 20 month old girl, and a 2.5 month old girl. The transition of having a new baby, has been really great, and he loves his new sister so much! I've been really impressed. Although, he's at the stage where he doesn't want to help me with diapers, etc...but my 20 month old does, so we're good there.



The one thing I have noticed with my son, though, is that he is starving for attention, and my husband and I are really trying hard to give him some one on one time. Either he or I will just take him when we go somewhere, or we will do a special activity with just him, but he's starting to be impossible. My 20 month old is quickly learning how to talk, but still has much "baby" talk going on. So, when she asks for something, my son will ask the same way, because he knows that she gets it by asking that way. (She doesn't whine, she just asks in her baby talk as good as she can). I have tried explaining to him that she talks that way because she's still a baby, and that she doesn't know how to say certain words yet. On the other hand, I tell him that he knows the words, and I want him to use his words because he's my "big boy".



Other things that are really stressing me out about my son is that he 1.) Yells at his sister all the time as if he's the parent. 2.) He won't eat ANYTHING that we are eating, unless it's Macaroni and Cheese or a Quesadilla, 3.) He is totally fighting us on bedtime, so lately, we've been letting him stay up until we go to bed, or let him watch a movie, and hope he falls asleep (he doesn't take naps anymore, and he used to go to bed at 8, but now it's closer to 10), 4.) He will not listen to anything I say 90% of the time.



What can I do! Is this normal for his age, and what can I do to help keep my sanity with him?!?

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Codie - posted on 11/18/2008

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HI there Shae, I only have a 14 month old girl, but I have done a lot of babysitting with kids doing much the same as your son. I think what you and your husband are doing with making special time just for your son is great! But when it comes to dinner time, try taking him to the store, ask him to help you buy the items needed for say a pizza, then when you get home have him help you out in the kitchen to prepare the pizza. Have him safely peek through the glass as it is cooking to 'check' on it. that way when it is time for dinner he may be more willing to eat it because he helped make it. You also have to remember that a 3 year old does not comprehend the idea of starvation. So if push comes to shove, put dinner in front of him, if he doesnt eat it say ok, but do not offer him anything else. If you show no reaction one way or the other then he has no need to act out because he will see he no longer has any control over dinner time. It may take a few nights, but eventually he will see that everyone is eating and it is good, and he will eat too. Negative reactions will only inforce his position, and so will giving in.



Does he have a bedtime routine? like dinner, bath, story, cup of water then bed? A lot of kids will find that a constant routine like that with just you or dad will help as well. I don't want to encourage laying with him til he falls alseep, because then you'll really be stuck, but maybe when you put him to bed sit with him for a story, or to talk about his day, what he liked and what he didn't, then make a compromise that if he goes to bed on time, then he can have a special breakfast the next morning, or that you will take him to the park. I know it sounds like a bribe, but it is more of a reward to him for being ' a big boy' and being good for mommy and daddy.



A lot of kids respond well to being talked to like an 'adult'. Meaning, instead of being told what to do, they like to be asked and compromised with. If there is a mess in the livingroom, say ' ok now that baby is alseep let all clean the livingroom up' then he sees you doing it, and will hopefully take the cue when your 20 month old starts to help, he will too.



I hope this was of some help, like i said, the experience I am offering is only from being a babysitter, and I am fully aware that when you are the mom there are a whole different set of rules, and my daughter hasn't gotten to that stage yet, so there is a good chance I am way out in left feild, or that you have done all of that and more. I wish you luck! And remember that in some cases it is better to ignore than to indulge.



Best regards!

Codie

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