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So sad... I feel like I spend the whole night being tested and upset lately..

OK so I hear 3's are harder than 2's ( Or CAN be ). I work outside the home so I get time with our son from 530 to 930 everynight and I swear he will do everything he's not supposed to.. Besides making dinner, I'm trying to play memory with him, playing Zingo, he helps with household things, his choice but its fun for me also - but things like hanging off the fridge, Ok, he knows he isn't supposed to, will go in time out then walk back over to the handle and just holds it.. this time not hanging on it but still "close " to the limit.. same with 'almost" hitting the walls with toys, "almost" throwing his toys,just getting to that ALMOST point all night long.. its so frustrating... so do I punish him for the "almost" times too?? If I do, I swear I'm yelling or upset all night. If I don't, he'll take "almost" to the actual point of doing it.. I totally KNOW he's testing but what do I do? This has been going on for months now..( he's 3-1/2 )


Asked by maxsmom11807 at 12:10 PM on May. 19, 2011 in General Parenting

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Answers (11)
  • Ohhhhh, that is a hard stage! I have a really hard time with the testing, too. Especially, when I am tired.

    I have noticed that when my limit-setting has stopped working, if I just go and pick him up, give him a big hug and hold him for a few minutes, I can redirect him to a self-play activity and get on with my business.

    Sometimes, they just need a hug, and don't know how to get it.


    This is when a full-time nanny would be great, huh?

    Answer by ImaginationMama at 12:16 PM on May. 19, 2011

  • It sounds like he is wanting you to yell because it gets him attention. Maybe he feels that he isn't getting enough time with you at night.

    as soon as I come home, for the 1st hour, I play with DD. Then I can do other things and have her help. But, I find if I do something else in that 1st hour, she acts out like your son.

    Answer by Jademom07 at 12:14 PM on May. 19, 2011

  • Oh my G-d! My son is only 1 and he does this. We have the same rule about touching the TV. We have a huge old analog TV, very heavy, and we don't want him to touch it. He NEVER touches it when we are not in the same room as him, but as soon as I sit down in the living room he goes right up to the TV and touches it on purpose. After a whole day of getting up, moving him across the room, and repeating over and over "no touch the TV" he finally stops....until Daddy comes home. Then he has to test HIM by doing it all over again. It is MADDENING !!!! I'd talk to him about all the "almost" times and be quick to punish the actual offenses. You are obviously doing a great job, Mom!! Hang in there, it really is an age thing with mostly boys at 3. Both my nephews were the same way, and my nieces were like this at 2. Good luck!!!

    Answer by alphamom26 at 12:16 PM on May. 19, 2011

  • Its so hard being a working mama. I've done both working mom and sahm. It does seem he's doing it for attention and I see that you are trying to give him attention in the afternoon when you get home. Maybe catch him at doing something good and try to pile on the attention during those moments(even if you have to set him up to do something good) and when he does what he's not suppose to do the time out thing and try not to elicit any extra emotion or attention than walking him to his time out. When I was working I spent time with them for the first half hour I was home and also at night at bedtime we sat together at bedtime and read a story followed with cuddling. Sometimes I would make up my own stories just to be able to cuddle them while I was telling the story. Its also a good time to hear about something they did during there day and also to talk about good behavior verses bad and which behaviors will.....

    Answer by christina259 at 12:22 PM on May. 19, 2011

  • ......continued.....get them good attention verses bad attention. During these calmer times you would be surprised the influence a good mama/child conversation can have on them . You can even make the bed time stories have a moral to the story. I find these to be great teaching moments for a lot of things in life and I love to cuddle up next to them. Its the one time of day we both can slow down. I know bedtime can be a chore for some. There are techniques out there to ease your child into bed time. We have a routine every night which helps. I read lots of parenting books. Theres lots of techniques out there to help your child and help you keep your sanity. I believe in mommy breaks to. Its what helps me keep my patience. It will get better. I remember being so tired when my child was this age but it does get better.

    Answer by christina259 at 12:27 PM on May. 19, 2011

  • I feel for you. I wouldn't punish him for the almost times. But if he's going to throw a toy or pull the fridge or what ever give him a calm warning, take toy away (in our house if the toy goes in the closet it's a big deal because we forget it's there but they don't) without even looking at him (eye's in the back of the head kind of thing). Sure he's looking for attention, most of the time that's what the deal is no matter how much time you give them. So by addressing the "almost" without looking at him he's not getting the attention he wants from poor behaviour. If he makes the proper choice then tell him, hug him and tell him why you're so happy. It will eventually happen but will constantly be a work in progress.
    My son almost 7 is still needing warnings, dh can't quite understand why they need so many warnings, lol

    Answer by AmandaH321 at 12:28 PM on May. 19, 2011

  • They don't NEED so many warnings. God in heaven. Sounds like it might be a good time to redefine the boundaries. Put masking tape on the floor. If they pass the line, they are too close. If you are sincerely concerned about injury, there should not even be the potential for a child to pull something over on themselves. If he has his hand in the handle to the refrigerator door, what happens when he's startled and pulls by accident? My son wasn't permitted to get within two feet of the stove, whether I was using it or not. Stuff happens, and it can be very, very bad. If he wants to stand with his toes on the line for two hours fine. I'd think he'd get bored with that fairly quickly. No attention, and no potential for harm.

    Answer by swizzleday at 12:49 PM on May. 19, 2011

  • I apologize. I'm crabby. Time-out always worked with my little one. He hated being in his room where he couldn't be in the middle of everything. I can honestly say, I wouldn't know what I would have done if it hadn't. Again, I apologize.

    Answer by swizzleday at 5:01 PM on May. 19, 2011

  • Christina: I actually love story/bedtime but I feel lately that's been a chore since I feel all night being tested it just sets a bad tone.. he's also EXTREMELY active so he doesn't just lay and cuddle at bedtime- he "wiggle worms" which is what I call it - the whole time. He's only 3-1/2 but I wouldn't be surprised if he has Adhd ( dad and I both have it so his chances are really 90% ) I know that is over diagnosed but he's like this all day, even his daycare and teacher say he has a very hard time focusing even for a 3 year old :( I have actually taken Parenting classes 2 seperate times, once with my DH - we have about 8 book on raising strong willed children/ raising boys/ general parenting books - we are really trying.!! I hope this is just an age/phase thing. I just feel terrible some nights I feel like I only yell or get upset. He was diagnosed through ECI with anxiety so he gets really upset when I am upset too :(

    Comment by maxsmom11807 (original poster) at 12:34 PM on May. 19, 2011

  • Swizzlady: That's what I am asking, he gets ONE warning and then I am yelling all night - being strong willed, he doesn't really "get" that time out = STOP IT lol!~ One night of Firm strong time out / direct consistent punishment sets up for further testing for months ahead which is what I realize and what we do - I just feel sometimes it gets no where and only adds to bad behavior or attention seeking behavior since it leads to US being frustrated. We have a rewards marble jar in which he earns prizes and really really DO try to pick out Positive and good behavior but it seems to be far and few between lately.

    Comment by maxsmom11807 (original poster) at 1:41 PM on May. 19, 2011