Testing… Testing… Is this thing on or does my 3 year old just choose to ignore me

My 3 year old is the sweetest most lovable, caring, energetic and adorable little boy in the world… most of the time.  Some days or often weeks, while he is still cute and lovable, he tests every single thing all day and it is SO DRAINING!  I love him to death but sometimes I just don’t understand and succumb to the idea that this is another phase that we will love to endure and rejoice and laugh when it is complete.  

Any of these sound familiar?

Refusing to put his shoes on and then I try to put them on and then he wants to do it by himself but he doesn’t.

Demanding for things to be on his terms and when there is push back from myself or my husband chaos ensues and sometimes even stomping out of the room… is it me or did he just turn into a teenager with raging hormones?

Fighting bed time with everything he has… it is amazing what comes up as reasons for not going to sleep…. scared, have to pee, have to drink, hungry, monsters, sick, itchy, hot, cold, sweaty….

Exerting independence every step of the way, except when requested to do it… WHAT?  So, I have learned to phrase things I want him to do in such a way that it sounds like it is his idea… this takes work!

Not to mention I have given up on trying to put a coat on him… he will take it with him but he will not wear it unless he actually feels cold – which is amazing to me.  He does not feel cold.  Now he wears shorts all the time… sometimes under pants but shorts and a t-shirt – sometimes with a long sleeve over top but not usually.  I do, however, get him to at least wear soccer socks pulled up so his legs are somewhat covered in the chilly weather.

I could go on, but I won’t.

I will say that I am at a loss for what to do about what he learns from other kids at school and such.  I cannot control what other kids say but he has a hard time understanding why he cannot do or say those things when his friends do.  This is concerning… he also has learned things such as saying I don’t like or love you when he doesn’t get his way… I don’t take it personally but it is still concerning that he would say this.  We are a very loving family, lots of hugs and kisses and we say we love each other often and ensure that our children know we love them even when we are putting them in time out or expressing frustrations with a certain action… so I can only imagine he learned this at school???!!

Anyway, we are working our way through these issues but would love to hear any comments or suggestions.  Our way of parenting is to let them be kids and guide them through, allow them to express emotion and teach them what that means and how to express emotion in healthy ways, be kind, give them space to learn on their own, etc… but some days  I just want to pull my hair out…



2 responses to “Testing… Testing… Is this thing on or does my 3 year old just choose to ignore me

  1. It helps to give the illusion of choice. “Would you like to put on your coat first or your shoes first?” If there is a refusal to do something like take a bath, “Do you want to take a bath, or have a timeout and then a bath? I hope you pick just a bath because I want to play with your bath toys with you” If she expresses negative emotions that are genuine, I respond by listening, even if what she said was hurtful. I say, “I am sorry you feel that way” However, if in a moment of anger she says something like “I don’t like you” I tell her we don’t talk like that to other people and she goes to timeout. After she has cooled off, we discuss why she is in timeout. I explain how saying things just because we aren’t getting what we want makes people sad. How would she feel if I said I didn’t like her? Sometimes, there is just nothing to be done. She is a stubborn, independent little thing. I pick my battles. Eating dessert before dinner isn’t an option, but does it really matter if she wants to get in the other car door than I picked to get to her car seat? I see her watch me for a reaction when she does these things. I don’t say anything. She has come to the understanding that when I say, “I’m sorry, but it isn’t up to you”, I mean business! Also, she doesn’t get out of timeout until she tells me why she was sent to time out and apologizes. I try and set an example by apologizing to her when I am wrong. Good luck! It’s a tough age. Whoever said terrible twos never met a three year old!

    • Thanks for your comment and suggestions!! I need to use the choices that typically works but I always forget to do it!! I wish timeout worked for my little man… it doesn’t so we do a reward jar where we fill up a jar with rocks and marbles – rewards for good manners, good behavior, sleeping through the night, etc and take rocks away with negative behaviors and this seems to really work for him. Once he fills up the jar he gets something special… special time with mommy or daddy, a toy or book, to watch a movie or tv show, etc. We pick our battles too.. sometimes it just isn’t worth the fight… I couldn’t agree with you more about terrible twos… we didn’t have any problems in the twos but the threes is a whole new world… It is a tough age but it is also a sweet age – in those stubborn moments I take a deep breath, and try to think this too will pass and he will be snuggling in my lap with a book in an hour… ;0)

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