Can anyone give me suggestions on how to have more patience with my 3 year old?

Ccc_200576 - posted on 07/18/2012 ( 1 mom has responded )




I am struggling with my patience and my 3 year old son. He is very disrespectful and doesn't listen at all. I find myself not wanting to deal with him and when I do I have no patience. My partner and I are not on the same page with a lot of issues and she always makes me feel as if it's my fault his behavior is the way it is. When he disrespects me, hits me etc and I correct him I get dirty looks and it some how always ends up my fault. I am at the point I want to walk away from them both. Does any one have any suggestions?


Rebekah - posted on 07/18/2012




Age 3 was the toughest around here, so know that you are not alone struggling with this age! They test and test and test. The tantrums! The emotions! Its intense. Its important to set clear expectations for behavior and be consistent with discipline (both you and partner)... if there's any inconsistency, the testing behavior will last longer.

You probably already know this, but it would be best if you and your partner can get on the same page about the most important things. Can you talk it through when your son is in bed and come to agreement about what is most important? I know this can be tough husband and I still go back and forth a bit about which battles to pick when it comes to our son's behavior (he's 6 now). We just see things differently. But keep communicating with your partner so that you can understand each other better and hopefully find that common ground. Do you know what she is most bothered by? Is it HOW your discipline, or WHAT you discipline for? Can she explain the dynamic that she sees between you and your boy? I only ask this because here at my house, from my perspective, I see how my husband's moods and tone of voice affect our son; my son is very sensitive to that and I see a ricochet of events and behaviors and they completely set each other off at times. I don't want to blame my husband, but I do want him to be aware of how this dynamic occurs so it can be avoided. I'm not sure he can see it the way I see it b/c he's in the heat of the moment. Not saying this is happening at your house, but just tossing that out there for what its worth.

The other suggestion is explore techniques in addressing your son's behavior. I like "1-2-3 Magic," by Thomas Phelan. Its been around for a long time, but I find it works well. You essentially start counting when your son is doing something he knows he shouldn't. Till you get to three, if he hasn't stopped the behavior, then he goes in time-out (or in my son's case now that he's older, he loses a priveledge). Of course, you must explain to your son ahead of time what the counting is all about. But it involves no arguing on your part...he gets the warning of the numbers, and if you get to 3, he knows what is going to happen. After a few times in time-out, the child learns to stop the behavior before that happens. 3 year olds are still stubborn, so you may have to endure a few time-outs to get the message across that you mean business and wont tolerate his behavior. But if you stay consistent, the message will go through and the time-outs should decrease. Anyway, read the book or watch the DVD for a more thorough explanation, but for us it worked well. I still use it on rare occasion now (after not having to use it for a couple of years!) and my son still remembers what the numbers mean and will rein in his behavior.

If not that technique, there are others out there. I mention the techniques because they can really help with the patience thing. Having some kind of a structure to your discipline strategy can help you to feel more control. But which ever technique you use, you and your partner have to work at it as a united front so the rules/expectations are consistent. Otherwise he'll learn to split you, or play one against another.

Besides all that, take deep breaths, step out of the room if you have to, say a mantra that helps you ("this too shall pass", etc), whatever you need to do in the heat of the moment. Being mom can be really tough. It is also perfectly OK for YOU to take a time-out (or "cool off", whatever you want to call it), and model that in front of your son. Use it as a coping skill for yourself, and by doing so, it shows your son one healthy way he can also use to control his temper instead of hitting, etc. Verbally articulate it while you are doing it-- "I need to take a break now so that I can cool off/calm down. I will be back in 5 minutes and we'll see if we can talk then." Or something like that.

Hope this was helpful. Hang in there!

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