Attitude / Trantrums

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RebeccaA'07's picture
Joined: 11/19/07
Posts: 1628
Attitude / Trantrums

With the age of 3, came a ridiculous amount of attitude. And since bringing Abram home, it has peaked to an all-time high. It is war with Kaylin most of the time. I have honestly never seen tantrums like this out of any other child and the smallest things will set her off. Like last night I asked her to brush her teeth which turned into a screaming at the top of her lungs, throwing things, hitting herself kind of fit. She likes to mouth and will totally ignore us at times. I've tried everything that I can think, we don't spank, and nothing is working. Last night I decided that I would just ignore the tantrum and quietly told her that when she was ready to apologize and brush her teeth I would come back. When she finally stopped she told me, "I'm sorry mama, I had an attitude but now I'm better" she knows she is totally being bad!

This is the thing: she is only like this with me. Not Wes, not my parents, not the sitter. Only me. I know some of it, or probably the majority, is because of Abram. She is pretty sweet to him but you can tell she is annoyed that I am always nursing him or trying to get him to sleep. I have had a tremendous amount of guilt over it all, as if I've somehow ruined her childhood (I know it will get better and I tell myself that daily).

And here I thought I might want a third...pffft. This transition has been difficult if you can't tell.

Can anyone provide any tips on the tantrums/attitude?

tink9702's picture
Joined: 09/28/08
Posts: 2977


My DS turned 3 at the end of June. All I can say is that this appears to be a variation of normal. Meaning tantrums and attitude are common with 3 year olds and maybe Kaylin is a little more headstrong than most, but it's not out of the ordinary from what I've seen with my son and our friends kids who are the same age.

Huge *hugs* for the fact that she's only doing this with you. I know what that's like too! I personally think it's probably three fold - 1. new baby change 2. she's with mommy more than anyone else so more time for fits to happen 3. she thinks she can either get away with more with you OR she's more comfortable with you and knows you will love her no matter what.

Hang in there! They do turn 4, then 5 which I've heard is a great age! LOL!

As far as tips - It sounds like you are doing what I've recently started, ignoring. I also try to nip it in the bud before it happens, like if you know there is a trigger I approach it cautiously, offer a reward if they do it quickly and without protest etc. That does seem to help sometimes. I think a big issue with us is when he's overtired things are much worse! So i try to get him naps and sleep as much as I can though that doesn't always work.

You can also try to get her more involved as Mommy's Helper. Try phrasing that carefully though - not "can you help mommy get this", instead "Kaylin, Do you want to be Mommy's big helper? Mommy needs that over there and it would be so helpful if you brought it to me."

Good luck!

kjames106's picture
Joined: 09/16/06
Posts: 678

Lily is our high maintenance child too. My DH and I finally had to do something. We are reading parenting with love and logic. It really makes them feel like they're in control when really the choices you are giving them benefit the way you want something done. I highly recommend it for strong willed kids like lily and That's my advice. Sorry you are dealing with a difficult transition!

lauriem822's picture
Joined: 11/06/07
Posts: 360

Big hugs, Rebecca! You are not alone. Ev knows how to work my buttons like I could have never imagined. He is like Kaylin I'm that he only does it with me. And sometimes I feel like he intentionally does or say things to hurt me. A few weeks ago in the middle of a fit, he started hitting my belly. I told him we dont want to hurt baby and his reply was, "yes hurt baby". I cried because normally he is loving by always hugging and kissing my belly. He has come to most of my appts and gets so excited when we see the u/s. Also like Kay, the littlest thing can set him off. Two weekends ago, DH was going to take him on a train ride at the park. I asked him to try to go potty before they left. The kid flipped out and was out of control for about a half hour. We just let him have time and he wore himself out. At his 3 yr appt, I asked the pedi about it and he said a lot of these behaviors result from wanting to gain independence and they are testing their limits with us.

You know eventually she and Abram will be best buddies and wonderful playmates!

sarahsunshine's picture
Joined: 11/29/06
Posts: 1462

Ivy’s tough too, but we’ve worked out a good system. Generally she has a fit if she doesn’t get what she wants. However, we tell her that she has to go sit on the stairs if she is screaming and crying (and if she doesn’t then she gets taken to her room), and that she needs to use her pretty words. Also, most times we can divert her attention by asking if she can be helpful and put the forks/cups/ plates etc… on the table, stir the pancake mix/scrambled eggs, or make up something that may seem useful (put that stool over there). When she feels like she is being helpful and part of the process, she doesn’t usually have tantrums.

But when she does it’s very much like you describe complete with the “Sorry, Mommy I wasn’t listening to you. I know I should and I will listen next time.” And then gives a huge hug and kiss. Not that she listens next time either, though!

Also, making sure that she gets enough sleep, goes to the bathroom frequently enough, and that she isn’t hungry is HUGE. For example, if she doesn’t get up on her own (i.e someone gets in her face before she is ready – usually DSS), then she is simply a miserable wreck until you can get her to eat something and go to the bathroom. Strategies like opening her curtains and closing her bedroom door let her know that it’s time to get up, and that she can come down when she is ready. However, if you try to talk to her to tell her she needs to get up, she’s just a pill.

Now does anyone have a cure for verbal diarrhea? I swear, Ivy doesn’t have a moment of silence all day, she’s just talking, talking, talking, talking…. Most of the time it’s fine, but sometimes it drives me batty!

zoe08's picture
Joined: 09/09/08
Posts: 665

Mason's tantrums have gotten way worse since about a month or so before he turned 3! Now he throws fits over everything, but he does usually get over them very quick. We tell him he has to go to his room until he is done crying because we don't want to listen to it. So he will say "I done crying now" often before he even goes back to his room. It is no fun for him to throw a fit if we won't listen to it.

But this age is TOUGH! He has starting giving me orders, so anytime he tells me "get up" or "I want some water" I ignore him until he says, "please can you get me some water" or whatever.

sarahsunshine's picture
Joined: 11/29/06
Posts: 1462

Actually, I use the same thing on DSS (13yo). "I don't listen to screaming and crying. Go to your room until you can speak reasonably."

Unfortunately I think that Ivy is more verbal and better at appologising that he is at times! ("Mommy, I'm done crying and screaming. Can I get off the stairs now?" as opposed to accusations like "You never let me do anything that I want and you aren't listeninng to me!" (Well, why would I if you are just yelling at me and demanding things you know aren't OK like playing Mature rated games that you aren't supposed to be playing to begin with AND in front of the little kids?)