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Please help...I've lost it

My son is 3 years old. I am divorced and living with my parents with my son. I have been living here for a year now. My son was a great baby and early toddler. Never cried, was always very sweet and happy. Now he is a nightmare. He refuses to sit on the potty so here I am at 3 years old, still changing diapers with no finish line in sight. Everything is a fight. Changing his diaper is a fight, brushing his teeth...I literally have to lay on top of him and hold him down while he screams. He runs and screams when I try to brush his hair. 90% of the time I have to put him in the bath tub kicking and screaming because he doesn't want to get in. Lately though, things have gotten a lot worse. He does not respond to any forms of discipline. I have tried sitting down with him and telling him what he does is wrong, he continues. I have tried time-outs to no avail. I have even tried spanking as a last resort, it does nothing. I have lost my mind. I find no joy in being around him anymore. I used to want 4 children, now I never want to have another ever again. His dad sees him 2-3 times a week and claims to have no problems at his house except for the teeth brushing, bath and diaper issues. Any chance I get to get away from him, I take it because he is so hard to deal with. Every single thing I have to do as a mother to make sure he is healthy, he fights me on. I cant take it anymore. He is a smart boy and can be very sweet, when its something HE wants to do. But I am at my witt's end. What am I to do now that no discipline has no affect?

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Asked by Anonymous at 11:31 AM on Oct. 26, 2012 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Answers (8)
  • maybe just maybe it is what he is eating

    try the elimination diet with zero slip ups

    this is not just for kids on spectrum, SOME kids have behavior issues form certain chemicals in food
    and before you say "i feed them healthy" (i hear it all the time when i talk about this topic) even a once in a while snack with these chemicals can have bad reaction with SOME kids

    good luck, hope this helps, not easy to follow at the start, but you get used to it, and IF this is an issue for your child, it becomes VERY important to follow because you will see huge changes in his behavior

    zero slip ups on diet for a month- see if he has less SPD (sensory procesing disorder) issues= teeth brushing, hair combing, baths, clothing etc and his behavior


    Answer by fiatpax at 11:38 AM on Oct. 26, 2012

  • Not sure that holding a child down to brush their teeth is helpful or not. Have you tried a special toothbrush or does he respond to things like that? My 3 year old likes to do everything on her own so she goes to the store and picks out which toothbrush and toothpaste she wants and she gets to take it off the counter and open the paste and squeeze it herself.

    But I have a girl. Sorry not much help, I like the food idea!

    Answer by staciandababy at 11:45 AM on Oct. 26, 2012

  • These aren't discipline issues as much as behavioral issues. Talk to your pediatrician. Although if this child will do things for dad, then you need to find out what dad is doing and you are not. And start doing whatever it is that dad is doing.

    Answer by gdiamante at 11:50 AM on Oct. 26, 2012

  • and your ex saying he behaves there- you do not know, ex may be trying to one up you

    when you mentioned the issues, sounds like possible SPD look up sensory processing disorder (they have changed the label to make more politically correct- but you will know when you find it)


    Answer by fiatpax at 11:57 AM on Oct. 26, 2012

  • not just kids in spectrum can have SPD, so change in diet can help alot
    and things like making sure child has feet stable on stool when using potty and an insert with handles (although i have a girl, so all potty was sitting down)
    clothes can feel very rough, so pre laundered often, i buy used clothes so they are broken in- especially shoes
    teeth brushing and hair combing was huge issue too, find tricks that work for you

    if you know child has this, then you can think of ways to get around, to make less painful for them, and also makes you feel less alone and crazy. it gets better, mine was much worse at that age and before diet change

    Answer by fiatpax at 11:57 AM on Oct. 26, 2012

  • The terrible two's don't always start at 2. Throw the separation & visitation into the mix & what his little world is, is disrupted. You cannot change what has happened but you can change how you react to his behavior. He is getting attention by doing what he is doing with you. Not that you are ignoring him in any way but that's how kids are, they test the limits. 3 year olds are no easy task anyway. He really doesn't sound much different than the average 3 year old boy. This is a hard time. He is probably bored too (normal). Try to fill his day with some activity like playtime at the library for an hour or two. Long walks to look for rocks & bugs etc. If my son had a fit about doing something, I'd just say fine then forget it & walk away. 9 times out of 10 he'd come to me & say OK Mama. Have him help out with tasks like pushing the wash basket or filling it from the dryer for you. Give him a sense of accomplishment.

    Answer by ILovemyPaulie at 12:49 PM on Oct. 26, 2012

  • Sounds familiar--eventually with routine the battle ended. Hang in there, I used to have to give myself time outs at that age. My advise is to pick your battles and try to conquer them one at a time, and as you fix each issue it will empower you. Try to regain your strength and find the fun solution first, then resort to time outs taking a way a toy until teeth are brushed. Take one issue and try to get it resolved and then move on. For tub time I did color mixing labs with a bit of food color and some tub crayons and that sealed the deal. Maybe your son does not want to use the potty, but maybe a video of Elmo doing it borrowed from the library will make it his idea. It is really hard to enjoy them when they are like this. I used to take Saturday mornings to do fun things together--and I mean together like playdough to remind myself of the happy parts when I was tormented with temper tantrums. It will get beter!

    Answer by hotelmom123 at 3:48 PM on Oct. 26, 2012

  • Hang in there, girly. It really is tough

    Answer by lily364 at 5:08 PM on Oct. 28, 2012

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