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A serious question about my 3 year old's sudden rotten behaviour.

I have raved about my little girl her whole life. She has always been a sweet angel. Caring, loving, obedient, fun! Everyone has always commented on what sunshine she is to everyone she meets. They still do, she's still a great kid- a lot of the time!

Her tantrums are getting out of control. Her growing independence is killing me. She wants to do everything herself and that's great- BUT there are things that a 3 year old girl just can't do! Like for example, cut things with knives, wash her own hair without getting soap in her eyes, unbutton certain buttons on her or her sister, lay down on the floor of a store with a blanket and pretend to sleep. If I interfere I get raging screams, kicking, she throws things.

Same thing happens when she doesn't get what she wants, sometimes I don't even know what she wants and she's already throwing a tantrum because I didn't get it for her.

Then her dad is such a pushover and wants to give her what she wants to just make her stop, and I think that is counter productive.

TV and treats are her worst points, even when she is being good and I say let's watch a show for you now because you've been SO good, when the show is over- a tantrum comes because there isn't another show.

They are starting to scare me, she's screaming at the top of her lungs- throwing things and kicking. It's hard to pick up a kid like that. She did this at Ross when it was time to leave the store last night but the kicker was when I picked her up she bit me.

I am humiliated and my self esteem is really taking a toll. I'm a stay at home mom and I get ridiculed by a 3 year old ALL day. ALL day she fights me on everything. By the end of the day I just cry myself to sleep.

I have a 7 week old. She loves the baby, LOVES her. She always comes when baby cries and helps with everything. People say her behavior is jealousy from the new kid but I'm in denial about it because she doesn't show any distaste for this baby. She is always saying they are best friends and when the baby gets bigger they can share toys and eat candy and wear tinkerbell dresses together.

This is becoming long, sorry. I really am so at the end. I have always known what to do with my kids- always. Now I don't.

Answer Question

Asked by staciandababy at 12:49 PM on Jan. 19, 2013 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 38 (102,010 Credits)
Answers (18)
  • Some children start the "terribles" at two, others at three. The behavior is normal. You just have to start giving her options or say things like: "Can you take care of this, while mommy cuts the vegetables" or "can you wash your body for mommy, while I wash your hair".  But, sometimes you just have to stand your ground & let them have the tantrum. 


    Answer by 3libras at 1:00 PM on Jan. 19, 2013

  • I can relate to the tantrum & being out in public. I used to take my Son to the Library all the time when he was that age. It became harder & harder to leave & he'd throw a fit. I would actually see other Mom's have the same problem. One Dad who has a Son the same age actually had to throw his son over his shoulder to leave. Then one afternoon we went to another Library just to see it & they were closing early. My Son had such a fit that I had to pick him up to leave & when I was putting him in the car, he bit me! So that was the END! I explained to him that he can no longer go out until he acts appropriately. I left him home from that point when I grocery shopped or did other shopping at night & he stayed with my DH. No dinners out, NO library. It took about two months until he wised up. Now he knows it's a privilege not a right to go out with us. Leave her home from now on with your SO to shop. Hang in there!

    Answer by ILovemyPaulie at 1:01 PM on Jan. 19, 2013

  • Aww, it's okay. You're not alone in this at ALL.

    First, you're applying logic to a three year old. Although she loves the baby and is loving toward her, that doesn't mean she isn't struggling with the difference in schedules, the difference in the amount of time she spends with you, etc. It takes such a tiny little change to throw kids off and a new baby is a big change. I don't know if it's jealousy, per se; more just reacting poorly to change. So, they aren't mutually exclusive.

    Second, the way you deal with tantrum is ignore, ignore, ignore. Were it my little girl, there wouldn't be any good shows.....for a couple of weeks at least. No candy, no treats, no nothing. She is going for reaction and she's getting it from you. Negative reaction is okay, in her little world, because she's aiming for some level of control. She doesn't feel like she has a lot of control over the changes that happened (con't)

    Answer by Mrs_Prissy at 1:02 PM on Jan. 19, 2013

  • so, she'll take it to where she can get it. So, don't give her a reaction. Reassert your "boss" ness. No trips with you until she can prove she can be a good girl. Expect to have to leave the store the first couple of times and then leave her behind a time or two until she connects the dots.

    This will pass, I promise. You'll be okay and she'll be okay

    Answer by Mrs_Prissy at 1:04 PM on Jan. 19, 2013

  • Mrs_Prissy hit the nail on the head. I don't think anyone could have said it better.

    Answer by layh41407 at 1:06 PM on Jan. 19, 2013

  • I too have an independent minded three yo and all I can say is that this too shall pass. She does need to do somethings on her own and I've been trying to meet her in the middle whenever possible. Sometimes if she wants to chop stuff, I will ask her to wash the potatoes instead or something like that. I don't always find a compromise, but when I do it tends to replace the request that I couldn't accommodate.

    She does need some independence though, it's important to figure out ways she can have it, and if it's not a safety thing, you can let her fail. Let her try rinsing soap out of her hair, just be there with the towel when she gets it in her eye!

    The tantrums will get less so when she ends up not getting what she wants. The calmer I am the less long they last. I take an attitude of "Scream all you want dear, it's not going to happen," and walk away.


    Answer by tessiedawg at 1:19 PM on Jan. 19, 2013

  • I wouldn't say it's jealousy about the baby in that she doesn't like the baby, but more because now she has to share attention. At first it might have seemed okay to her, especially since she likes the baby. However, when you spend the first few years of your life getting all the attention, and then you realize you no longer get all the attention... well kids are going to act out due to confusion brought on by all the change she's had to deal with.

    With my kids I did what 3libras and Mrs_Prissy suggested. First, I gave them an alternative thing to do to be helpful instead of cutting veggies, they could help with some other safer, age appropriate task. Or "you wash your body and then I'll do your hair" kind of thing at bath time. They want to be grown up, and so you have to give them some options where they feel grown up and independent.

    Answer by anime_mom619 at 1:27 PM on Jan. 19, 2013

  • Also... tantrums have to be ignored. And if they are in public, you just leave and tell her she can't go with you anymore unless she learns how to be nice. If she does it at home you ignore it and don't let her see it bothers you. Right now she knows it gets to you, so she's going to keep pushing you to see how far she can get. That's just what kids do.

    The biggest thing for kids is that mom and dad have to be on the exact same page as far as discipline. If dad is a softie, then kiddos will learn to go to dad and get what they want, and the tantrums will continue. This was the best advice both my mom and mil gave to me.

    Answer by anime_mom619 at 1:35 PM on Jan. 19, 2013

  • She is THREE
    Mine were both HELL when they were 3. I think it's pretty normal honestly.
    if she throws a fit- tell her she gets nothing until she stops, if you are at a store, give her options for things she can't really do- like was suggested
    tantrums at the store S U C K all you can really do is leave, or bribe them
    hang in there...eventually, this will pass

    Answer by charlotsomtimes at 2:00 PM on Jan. 19, 2013

  • ugh- that second part is all jacked up- *take out the if you are at the store part- it will make more sense (didn't delete that sentence all the way apparently- oops!)

    Answer by charlotsomtimes at 2:04 PM on Jan. 19, 2013

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