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What should I do with my 3 year old?

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What should I do with my 3 year old?

Postby JenB on Tue Jan 25, 2005 4:57 pm

Well, I'm having a dilemma regarding my almost 3 year old daughter's behavior. Just in the last week or so, some unusual behaviors have started to emerge: (Note: she has been potty trained for at least 8 months now)

1. she has started wetting her bed during the night even though we wake her every 3-4 hours to go pee
2. 1-2 times per day she takes her pants off in the bathroom and stands and pees all over the floor - she has absolutely no reaction, as though it's just the perfectly natural thing to do
3. she has started being quite nasty to her little brother (1 year old in two days) pinching, hitting, and pushing him for no apparent reason
4. she whines all of the time, and blatantly ignores me when I ask her not to do something
5. she wants to snuggle with me (not her dad) all of the time!
6. several times I've found her trying to put a diaper on herself

Now, I've thought that maybe she is feeling like her brother is getting all of the attention, so she is regressing so that she will get some of the same attention that he gets. I have focused on ensuring that she gets extra attention - snuggles, playing, etc. But now I'm worried about what the best response really is. Should I give her extra attention like I have been, or will this just reinforce the negative behavior? Should I maybe just ignore her when she does these things? Or should I discipline her ie. time-outs? I am at a loss. So if any one has any suggestions based on their own experiences, I would love to hear them.

Thankyou in advance!

Jen
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Postby WCM on Tue Jan 25, 2005 6:36 pm

First off, kudos honey. Having a second child is a change, and not knowing what the heck is up with your first is very familiar territory to me. You're doing great.


I definitly vote no discipline, as far as punishing her or trying to correct her behaviour through 'negative' means. i'm not saying you ignore her, nor reinforce negative stuff, but she is jst growing, doing the wierd stuff kids do.


my son was the same at three. And angel until then. Then EXACTLY what you state, peeing the bed, peeing his pants, hurting his baby sister, running away from me when I tried to 'correct' his behaviour. Sounds like they're cosmically linked, I swear. and I know that growing just in general is full of changes, whether you have a new sibling or not. And I do not think it helps to discipline them for stuff they really aren't doing to entirely on 'purpose'. I mean, it's a gray area, but I just feel wierd thinking of kids as THAT mean and manipulative. There's always another reason.

So, when this happened to me, I yelled, I screamed, I said but you know better, I begged him Why do you make her cry, why do you pee your pants? And it didn't help one bit. It made things possibly worse.


I posted my troubles on here last year, and Mookie's mom had lots of thoughtful ideas, from the nice viewpoint of not being my child's parent, so can see his behaviour from a less 'biased' or irritated angle. :) I do not remember all she said, but for me it boiled down to this.

The peeing thing, I accepted it and just worked around it. Did lots of laundry, tried to give less drinks before bed, woke up at the slightest peep to get him to the bathroom. And at some point, it just stopped. Sure he still 'leaks' his pants moist when he's having a fun time with his friends and doesn't want to miss anything by going pee. But this to me is normal.

The hurting his sister, from what Joanne (Mookie) told me I somehow came to this. when he hurts his sister, i tend to her, not yell at him. she is my primary concern. after it's calm, I talk to him. I picked one sentence, now I forget it, I think it was "we don't hurt people, or it's not okay to hurt your sister', and just said it calmly, every time. And I looked at when he hurt her, where was I, what were they doing? I was always, always, out of the room, and always at a time when I was 'needing' them to leave me alone. I looked at how we spend our time, do I hang out with them very much, or do I only tend to them when they have trouble, ie; he hurts her. yes, to that last part. So I changed my habits, was online less, went to playgroups more, and accepted the hurting parts as partly growth, his new wierd emotions, and just kept up my calm, I repeat, calm mantra, it's not okay to hurt people.


the ignoring you, well, they're kids. My child did it too. it drove me batty. I literally lost it often due to this. he's not like that much, and when he is, there's a reason. i say part of this is behaviour related to their age and stage of development. and part again is that it gets your attention, right? maybe Joanne has a tip for this one. for me, a lot of the time it was helpful for me to look at the situation, and see did he really need to be listening to me then, or was it a control thing between us and he needed to assert himself (we were in a restaurant once, ready to go on a very long drive home. I asked him to go pee, he argued, we ended up with me CHASING him around the restaurant. after wards. my husband asked was that realy necessary? Why did I HAVE to have him go pee? I listed al my reasons, long ride, etc, but in the end I realised you know, he's a seperate person from me, if he doesn't want/need to pee, I need to accept that. and if he has to pee five minutes later on the highway, I am doing no one a favour by saying I told you so!!).


the whining, I teold him I couldn't understand what he was saying, sorry. and he'd have to talk normally to get his words 'heard'.


the snuggling with only you is just normal kid-stuff. I mean, a) your love is now shared by sibling, but b) it's normal for kids to swutch allegiances from one parent to the other over time, and back and forth. don't push her to change this, she'll just push back harder.

Overall, you need to wait it out. I swear it gets beter. my son is now like his old self, and our disagreements are fewerr and easily resolved, when I remember who he is, and that unless it's life or death, maybe my position is flexible, or totally wrong, and borne out of habit.

And they need the snuggles too. can you two girls go do something once a weekend or month just you two? swimming, or to the park, or something special? that's helped a lot. both for him knowing I love him, and for me being able to 'see' again why he's so fabulous and special, and appreciate him for who he is ( a 4 yo boy) not who he's not (his sweet baby sister).

good luck!!!
For a minute there, I was myself.
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Postby JenB on Tue Jan 25, 2005 7:21 pm

Thanks Caelen! I appreciate the time it took you to type all that out for me. Thanks for your point on being available for the kids more. I've been noticing that most of the problems between the kids occurs when I am in another room, maybe her way of saying "come and play with me mommy". I will focus on spending more of their awake hours playing and "hanging out" with them.
I have been making sure that my daughter and I have "girltime" regularly. We go swimming, go on bus rides (it's a novelty for her), etc. I will keep doing this, as I agree it is important to have that one on one time, especially during rough times.
Thanks for your support regarding the no discipline approach. That's kind of the approach I wanted to take, but I didn't want it to backfire on me. It's nice to know that it worked for someone else.
Well, guess I'd better go play with my kids!

Jen
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Postby Amanda on Tue Jan 25, 2005 7:36 pm

I went through the same behaivour with my first, I also believe tending the the injured first then make a one sentence statement works great. Over phrase the good behaivour say things like "your wanting mommy right now" when she does "good" things that need your attention.,teach her how to ask for your attention in a good way.

With the peeing thing, and her wanting to wear diapers, let her, why not, I let min at alsost three after being trained for a year. I didn't make a big deal over it. But after a while she realized she wanted to be "big again" It will make it easier for you and it will end a power struggle, let her decide when she wants to go on the potty again. It is one thing she has total control over. My daughter would sit on the couch a pee or pull her pants down and pee in the middle of the carpet! They will do it because the can, and when they pee, you will have to help them get changed or end up talking to them about it. Another thing I would do is ignore the fact she peeed somewhere and not even say something about the pee just about "ow I am busy cleaning up a mess and I cannot play with you for a while now" It seemd to work


Good luck give her lots of love and remember she is only 3 it is hard to remember how to be good all the time.

Have a great day tommorrow,
Amanda
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Postby Tamji on Wed Jan 26, 2005 12:07 am

I'd rather be hated for who I am
Than loved for who I am not.
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Postby JenB on Wed Jan 26, 2005 11:15 am

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Postby Amanda on Wed Jan 26, 2005 1:11 pm

Yes it is such an easy thing to do is to expect too much out of our children, especially the first born.

I was just going through all out pics and it is so funny to look back and see how little they look even 6 months ago. When you are looking at them every day it is easy to think "I know you know better!" We moved here 2 years ago and we were looking at pics from that time when my dds were 3.5 and 8 months, and thinking back I really felt my three year old had a lot of expectatins put on her.

Another something I remind myself is how hard it is for me to control myself and listen, and I have had a lot more time to practice!

I find somedays I want them to be so big and other days I don't want to let them go all day!

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