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2 Bumps

My sweet sweet child turned 3 and then turned insane :( I don't understand what her deal is but I'm worried.

My daughter has been a crazy little person ever since she turned 3. She has been throwing the biggest fits and giving me hell. She was such a sweet kid and I'm about at my wits end.


Right now she is in her room screaming her head off because 20 minutes ago I told her that she couldn't watch a cartoon because she needed a bath and she started SCREAMING and grabbed a CD and chucked it across the room. I told her "That wasn't very nice, you need to go to your room and cool down" well it just escalated from there....she comes over shrieking at me and hitting me and I picked her up and took her to her room and she proceeded to scream louder and refused to sit on her bed.

So irritated me at this point closes her door. She was so angry she couldn't get the door open and was screaming like a demon child at this point and trying to open the door.

Well after 5 minutes she starts yelling "I'M GOING TO CUT YOUR FACE OFF" "OPEN THE DOOOOOOR" and I'm just standing there calmly saying "you cannot act like that, you need to cool off...come out when you are calm" and she's still struggling with the door so I open it for her...

She pushes the door shut as hard as she can and gets my finger caught in the door...I get it out and she keeps screaming and then repeatedly opens and slams the door for I'm not joking TEN MINUTES.

Then she came out screaming "I HATE YOU" which I have NEVER said in front of her so I have no clue how she picked that up. Went back to her room and slammed the door. Then came back out and pointed her little fingers at me like a gun and said "BAM BAM BAM" and then went back to her room again screaming.

It's going on 30 minutes now and she's still screaming.

What on Earth has gotten into her? What am I supposed to do?

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 7:23 PM on Nov. 25, 2012 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Answers (14)
  • WOW! That's crazy!!

    What does she watch on TV? Is there anyone in the house who might have watched something on TV that would have shown her this (
    "The Exorcist" maybe? lol)? A babysitter or something, even? What about who she plays with? Does she play with anyone who might play violent games, or see violence on TV or in video games or something?

    As for what to do about best advice would be that she needs to stay in her room until she is calm. Once she is calm, sit her down and explain that this behavior is absolutely, positively unacceptable and you will not, ever, in any way, tolerate it from her. Explain why it's unacceptable and then tell her that every time she behaves this way, she will be sent to her room, where she will stay until she calms down and then for X minutes after she calms down (so she won't instantly calm down to get out of her room). Then follow through.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 7:36 PM on Nov. 25, 2012

  • She goes to daycare and there are 4 boys in her room that have extreme behavioral issues and two actually see behavioral specialists so I believe she's picking it up there but it's getting scary. I've NEVER had problems with her before...she was as good as gold up until her third birthday and it's like she's making up for lost time.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 7:41 PM on Nov. 25, 2012

  • If she is in fact modeling their behavior it's time to switch daycare!

    Answer by Crafty26 at 7:45 PM on Nov. 25, 2012

  • welcome to the terrifying threes!
    hope your finger is ok

    Both my kids were WAY worse at 3 than at 2. Still trying to figure out why they call it "terrible 2s"

    take a breath, hang in there-eventually, this will pass

    Answer by charlotsomtimes at 9:06 PM on Nov. 25, 2012

  • New daycare NOW.

    Answer by tessiedawg at 10:40 PM on Nov. 25, 2012

  • Some time ago I heard the phrase "whoever called it the terrible 2s never had a 3 year old". I really have no advice, sorry, but all of my kids were naughtier at 3 than at 2.

    Answer by idareyou at 12:53 AM on Nov. 26, 2012

  • Goodness! Sorry, this sounds really hard for a mama to deal with. I agree you need to do something about whatever is influencing her (daycare?). But I also think there is a lot of truth to the idea that 3 years old is just a rough age. Whatever method you choose to deal with this behavior, I'd suggest keeping certain things in mind. Be careful not to accidentally "reward" unacceptable behavior. If you engage her in a conversation of any kind while she's behaving this way, she might see that as a win. Remain calm and quiet but firm until the bad behavior stops. Whenever things calm down, have a loving talk with her. Reinforce your relationship with her, but show her that there are consequences for bad behavior. Try to have the consequences be consistent so she knows at the start what will happen. And try some preventive stuff like reward charts or maybe find a way to head off the tantrum. (cont).

    Answer by Sebbiemama at 1:39 PM on Nov. 26, 2012

  • Like time outs just send my 3 yo over the edge, so I handle these situations in smaller bits. First, I give him a clear warning that we'll have to go upstairs after the show, and if I sense he's edgy to begin with, I might let him have a false win (half-way through the show I'll ask him if he wants to take a bath now or after the show... he thinks he wins). Afterwards, if he screams and throws something, I'll break it down to little steps 1) remind him that there are immediate consequences for bad behavior 2) get him to speak calmly, 3) empathize but reinforce that we have to do certain things 4) give him small wins that distract him (choices on PJs to wear or how much bubbles to use in the bath) 5) gently get him to clean up the mess he made before we go. And if we never get past step 2... well, I do what I can to calm him down then lovingly reinforce the consequences to show him I mean it.

    Answer by Sebbiemama at 1:59 PM on Nov. 26, 2012

  • My thought is that the specific behaviors & words ("I'm going to cut your face off," "I hate you," pointing her finger, "bam bam bam") are learned but the feelings are hers. She has picked up those ways of expressing frustration & anger, but her feelings are behind them (and are inevitable parts of the human experience!)

    There probably are 2 parts.
    First, children will act out what is troubling them (either through playing about things that scare/upset/confuse them & thereby mastering them emotionally, or through "trying out" or mimicking behaviors/words that troubled them so they are on the powerful end of the words & don't feel so vulnerable.) You're getting a glimpse of something she's witnessed that has left her (understandably) confused or troubled and that is "stuck" inside, unresolved. Your response to HER acting out of the same behavior can help her to make sense of the experience & feel internal resolution around it.

    Answer by girlwithC at 6:24 PM on Nov. 26, 2012

  • You can help in that way if your response to her contextualizes the words/behavior for her by conveying understanding for what they express. So you would recognize the emotional content rather than focusing on the form of the emotional expression. (Or "translate" the very primitive & upsetting language.) Of course it's jarring & upsetting, probably distressing, to hear her speaking that way! The words are similarly distressing for her to have heard (and to say), not because she literally grasps the concepts but because the "heat" beneath them was clear the first time she heard it.
    If you can accept the feelings & contextualize the edgy words, she will better be able to "translate" those things internally (understanding that the boys are upset & trying to make things go their way when they use threats.) Your translation also will model more appropriate expressions of the SAME feelings. This connects you during conflict, which

    Answer by girlwithC at 6:31 PM on Nov. 26, 2012

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