my 3.5 year old is crazy
Seriously, i am at the end of my rope. DS went from being the sweetest, most adorable little guy on earth to a defiant, tantrum throwing, maniac. He screams and kicks and hits when he doesn't get his way. We are all walking on eggshells (DD included - and she has so much patience with him, I feel so bad when he's mean to her) at house to try to avoid the inevitable melt downs without giving in to his every whim (candy at breakfast! stuff he totally knows is unacceptable). Everything is a battle - cleaning up toys, brushing teeth, getting out the door for school, going to bed. I am just so drained. At school we have access to an amazing child psychologist who practices positive discipline. She has given me lots of good suggestions, and really put it all in perspective for me. I am just worried that I lost my sweet, sweet boy and break down in tears (generally not in front of him, though sometimes it happens) several times a day because I just don't know how to get through this phase. :ohno:
Anyone go through something similar? Did your LO come out of this stage unscathed?
:hugs: I have been through 2 like that so far. Three is a terrible, awful age. DD1 never even had a tantrum before and at 3.5 had become violent towards DD2 (then 6M). DD2 was hooooorrrrible at 3.5-about 4.5. She cried and broke down over EVERYTHING and just like you described everyone was walking on eggshells and every.single.thing was a battle.
It is draining. I don't have any magic solution except to make sure he is getting enough sleep and keep on top of his eating times. Mine are beasts when they are hungry! I also would try to let go of any battle you can. I had HUGE battles with DD2 about wearing a coat in the winter. She insisted on wearing a light one even when it was 8 degrees out. Sometimes I just let it go and realized she would not die from one day of cold. Try to catch some of the battles before they happen by making him think he is choosing.
My older 2 are 7 and 5 and things are better. DD1 is pretty easy. DD2 has always been more difficult and likely will always be but it's not like it used to be. You will get through it but it will probably need to run it's course.
I have found this to be true with my oldest dd and now my youngest who turned 3 in jan. Complete maniac sometimes. And, yes, we are all doing anything humanely possible to avoid meltdowns. But he is so unreasonable,that some days it's futile. I am always apologizing to my older 2 for the things they have to put up with.
I agree that sleep and nutrition are crucial. Also, as much independence as you can give him. And I don't mean necessarily the old standard let him choose his cup and shirt for the day. But set up the home environment so he can do things on his own. Get his drink of water, wash his hands, put his toys away, hang his coat, help set the table, etc. I find the more I involve him in as much as I can, the easier he is to "handle". It's totally, completely emotionally and physically exhausting!
Thanks guys. He is very well fed and has a super healthy diet. But in the sleep department he is in bad shape. Wakes up around 5:00-5:30 every morning and generally won't nap unless he falls asleep in the car for a bit. He also tosses and turns and jumps and plays for an hour before falling asleep. Melatonin helps but then causes him to wake at night. The days he is well rested are leaps and bounds better than the others. But that's not most days.
I am comforted to hear it's not that unusual. My DD was challenging at 3 but in a much different, more mature way. Lots of negotiating and whining, etc. DS in contrast is a lunatic. Thanks for the advice and support.
I don't know about this one either. it started in our 4 year old about 6-9 mos ago and is getting worse. He was an angel and then boom. Total meltdowns where he'll kick, scream, hit, cry, to the point where he's clearly lost his mind. hyperventilating, etc. It's not every day, but it's often enough that I worry terribly that he'll get kicked out of summer camp or kindergarten if he doesn't learn how to channel his anger and frustration. I simply try to work through it, removing him from whatever the situation is (e.g., Target, the bubble show at the science expo, a restaurant) and telling him that we'll talk when he calms down. that I can't understand him when he's screaming at me. I try to use Dr karp's method of "fast food ordering" or whatever... "you're so mad aren't you. I understand. You're very angry with me that you're not getting your way." Eventually, he'll calm down (although it might get worse before it gets better). Distraction helps, too - sometimes: e.g., train went by or a cool truck or whatever... just so he can shortcircuit whatever got him started.
Like you, it's usually b/c we say that he cant have his way. But it's almost always because he's overtired and hungry, too.
For me, the even bigger problem is that my husband and I don't see eye to eye in how to handle this. My husband just yells at him, tells him to stop or else. That he won't put up with it so my son needs to stop... now. I try to work through it, the nurturing, positive method. I'm not sure which is more effective, but IMO, once he gets to that completely crazy stage, there's no point in lecturing him. None of that gets through til he's calm. And yelling at him only allows him to mimic, thus adding to the yelling in the long run. Fingers crossed.
Yes. . 3.5 was a big pita with DD1, exactly as you described. She was even-tempered before the phase began so it was hard to believe she was the same child, really. We are going thru the same sort of thing with my 4.5 y/o now...she saved this crazy phase up for an extra year, I guess. All I can say is to be consistent with how you handle the outbursts. Give out hugs and kisses too...they really need them. And good luck...you (both) will make it through!
Welcome to 3.5! I swear 3.5 was the most challenging age in many ways. Terrible twos? No way. It was terrible 3s for us, and 3.5 was when it all came to a head. It should get better soon.
Oh that age was hell on earth for me with my son. Once he turned 4 things eased up. He is so much easier to handle now, even though some days are still impossible.
Jude is the same age and totally insane as well. Thankfully he does nap most days but days he refuses are awful. He does okay with our usual routine stuff but if things don't go his way his idea of a tantrum is to just scream this horrible deafening ear periceing scream non stop.... I feel like parents must think I am kidnapping whenever we leave the playground (because he screams like that every time we leave). I honestly have no idea how to disciplin him... Paige understood reasoning so that's what I did... With Jude I feel like I am talking to a wall unless I tell him what he wants to hear. Also when I tell him to stop doing something he's not suppose to he completely ignores me.
It always makes me think of a trip we took with friends when Paige was two and their son was three and half and we shared a condo in Florida. Their son was awful and was constantly upsetting Paige. They clearly had no idea how to handle him and we were pretty judgemental about it... But now I totally understand and feel bad for judging them back in the day... Their son is now 7 and is a great student in school and very well behaved... He got markedly better somewhere in his fourth year.
yes. been there still there... still looking for the magic wand that fixes it all so that ds can get thru a day without a meltdown.
some things that work for one tantrum a day:1- giving him a choice 2- the 1.2.3. magic route 3- sudden change in atmosphere (dropping everything to go outside even if the weather is not nice. even if we are only out for a couple minutes.)
but like i said... each of my tactics only work once a day..
if i can get in early enough in the spiral, we try "3 + 10" Three deep breaths and counting to ten. and doing it again. That sometimes helps... but if it's too late, not only will he refuse to do it but pushing him to try to calm down makes him angrier. Hoping that he outgrows this (and soon).
My first one has different issues but the second one goes through these phases since he is 2. He is an angel and then he turns into a demon for several months and then back to being an angel for several months. He JUST got out of a demonic phase and I am truly enjoying his good side. So my experience is that he does come out of it. I have noticed that with mine it often relates to developmental spurts and becomes rather obnoxious if this coincides with illness of sorts....
To put it in a perspective though, I still consider DS2 10 times easier than DS1.... DS2 is 5 times easier on a bad day than DS1 on a good day, which is why I take his bad phases with no concerns
So what happens if he naps? Can you get him one even if you have to drive around in the car? Will he go to sleep later and perhaps wake up later???
Yesterday he was such a mess when he got home from school. I was at the office, but he napped for my nanny for 45 minutes (super rare). He had a great afternoon, but then he went to bed at 7:00 and didn't fall asleep until 8:30. He then woke up - wide awake - at 4:30. I gave him like 0.25 mg of melatonin, and he went back to sleep until 6:15.
Originally Posted by macksmom
A brief nap in the car helps his mood, but at this point he will only falls asleep after 2 or so in the car (it used to be he was done by 11 or 12 and would crash on the way home from school). Any sort of nap at that time makes bedtime a disaster. And he definitely doesn't sleep later if he goes to bed later.
I know his sleep deprivation is a big part of the issue. I just don't know how to solve it. It must be developmental, but it is going to be the end of me, I swear....
I agree with giving him choices. Boden wants to do everything himself. For example: he wants to buckle himself in his carseat. But when he gets in the car, he starts goofing around. So, we now have a "deal" ...he has to be buckled in by the time I get to the stop sign (its in my neighborhood and about 40 feet from our driveway). If its not done by that time then I "help" him do it.
He also throws huge fits (no kicking or rolling around on the floor) just yelling and constant whining. We tell him that if he has something to say (because we do want to know what the issue is) he has to say it in a normal voice. If he can't find his normal voice he needs to go down the hallway (somewhat of a time out) until he can find it. (However, everything still comes out in a whine).