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Please help, my son is 3 and already I can't handle him
January 20, 2007
12:27 pm
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mamacinnamon
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Matteo:

Yes, you are right about that and if I misinterpreted what you said above I do apologize. I try to be fair, and yes I do call it wrong sometimes. So, I offer my hand and apology to you.

January 20, 2007
12:44 pm
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Zinnie
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Matteo,

Sometimes a question is just a question. Whether you or anyone else has children does not make them an expert.

It was a simple question, and if you do not want to answer it, then you don't have to reply to my post.

I offered how many were in my family and that was my choice, you do not have to make the same decision to share.

January 20, 2007
2:13 pm
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Matteo
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Thanks, mamacinnamon.

Please don’t get me wrong: I am not against discipline, although even that means different things to different people – from just explaining to taking privileges away, time out, etc. to spanking. But as Loralei pointed out, the discipline should be more about teaching for their own benefit – because we live in the society, than about control of the children, and the line is very fine between those two, because after all as a parent you are the one who should be in control of the situation, not your child. It is sometimes difficult to be a parent and have a respect, being not condescending to the child at the same time, especially if the child is tiny and obnoxious, and it’s sometimes difficult not to turn it into the power struggle. I think it is also very helpful to have some understanding of children’s development, for example the “no” phase which might start as early as 1.5 and sometimes last longer, up to more than 3 years old. It happens, and it is OK.

As I said before children should know the boundaries, they are good for them, and they are expecting that parents will provide them. Don’t forget that they are testing the parents any time they can, if those boundaries actually exist or not and how stable they are. What I am against is too much boundaries, rules and regulations. Same applies to parents who are unnecessarily often stressing out that the child doesn’t listen to them, because they cannot control them all the time, and are concerned more about what others will say if the child doesn’t behave perfectly than having the well-being of the child in mind – which again, doesn’t mean that the children can be disrespectful to others or as you’ve said trash the home or put themselves in danger.

I think that the most important is to see the big picture, that what we really want for them is to become happy, well adjusted adults, but at the same time not perfect, and accept them for who they are, not for who we would like them to be, so we will look better as parents. As Loralei said, listening and trusting your child is important as well, so you can build trust between you; explaining and trying to understand not what she /he is saying but also who is that small person in front of you. This again, is difficult, because it might turn into constant bargaining quite early on if you will allow your child to manipulate you., and if you don’t stick to your boundaries.

Someone said that all what children really need is food and love, and I agree to that. I have to add that this love have to be always present and felt by the child, and very wise. For the parents, I think it is important to remember that they do their best to their knowledge and ability and not to stress out or beat themselves up if something goes wrong, or get overly upset if the child does something wrong, even if your favorite item was stained – after all it is only a thing, and you can replace it, much easier than child’s self-esteem. Easier said than done! It is a constant challenge and learning, and we always should remember that it is an interaction between two separate personalities: the parent and the child and none of them are the same or come with the nicely designed manual. It’s a very difficult balancing act, and some will perform better, some worse, but no one will do it perfectly.

January 20, 2007
2:56 pm
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Loralei
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I totally agree with what Matteo just said. I don't believe in rigid rules and regulations either. It's a home, not the military.

When I got pregnant, my husband asked me how on earth I was going to raise our child since I had virtually no experience with children. I told him that I intended to raise him the same way I had raised my menagerie of pets. As a child I had already played "mama" to a host of abandoned kittens, birds that had fallen out of their nest, baby ground squirrels and cottontail rabbits that were orphaned after a storm, and many others. I think those experiences really developed my maternal instincts and was a great learning experience for me. Having a pet to love and care for taught me how to love unselfishly. My husband didn't get to have any pets as a child and coincidentally, he wasn't that great of a parent. He wasn't bad, but he was very lacking in so many ways. I wonder if there is a correlation.

In many ways I always treated my children as little adults. I didn't talk down to them and treated them with respect. They always rose to my expectations of them. I certainly agree about "control" being a fine line to walk. We don't want to be the oppressor/dictator yet we need to be in charge or there would be utter chaos. It is a balancing act.

January 20, 2007
3:05 pm
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Zinnie
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Loralei,

My husband and I are huge fans of the Dog Whisperer, and he too has made the comparision of raising a pack of dogs to raising children.

Both my husband and I are pet people. Had many of them since childhood and still continue to work with abused and abandoned animals. Each animal is different as is each child.

Yes, raising children is a balancing act, to say the least. My oldest son is very serious. Always has been, while the youngest son? You hear how some folks march to their own drummer? He has a full band going - and we had to learn how to deal with them. Although the same rules were in place, the tactics had to be some what different for each child as each child is an individual.

But, again, I reiterate that consistency is the key.

Z.

January 20, 2007
4:16 pm
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mamacinnamon
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Matteo:

Thanks for explaining your position. That is not at all what I was thinking you were saying, but then as I said, we all interpret differently. That is what is hard about reading and not seeing expressions.

I do agree w/ you on most everything you said. My kids were raised w/ rules, consequences, and lots of love. They had boundaries, which yes they did push, and at times there was compromise.

I was eplaining to another on a different thread that our kids need to know that adults are human. That they are human also and all make mistakes. We all need love, we all deserve respect, and we all work together for the same goals being it a clean house, schooling, or whatever. And that there are consequences for everything we do. What we do does affect others. If you don't get to work on time you get fired. If you don't clean your room you cannot go out on Friday night. If you speed you get a ticket. If you don't drive mom's car w/ respect to the rules you lose your driving priveleges. Big differences yes, but I think you know what I am getting at.

Yes, that is not for 3 or 4 year olds, but I think on the same principle. If you trash the room, you clean it up. I remember when one of the twins was like 2 he refused to pick up. One twin was doing all the work while the other was just pretending. My sister ignored it. So in fairness when it was time to pick up I showed them what I wanted them to pick up so as to even the chore. After twin 1 was finished he was not allowed to pick up after twin 2. If twin 2 refused to pick up he got to sit there and think about it for 5 minutes, and then another 5 if he still refused. Twin 2 bein stubborn as he is still didn't pick up so I would take his hand and physically help him pick up. No, not in a mean fashion but in the manner of "this is how you pick up a toy and put it in the box". After throwing and still having to pick it up; tantrums and when calm still had to pick it up; and eventually he scowled at me and pick it up. And w/ each phase there was always an "I love you" and a hug but this is what we must do. If we play w/ toys we put toys up." It took time but soon he was picking up toys. Then praise when he finished.

I am not a perfect parent, and after raising my own and having a hand in tons more thru daycare, refuge, or whatever I do know that w/ each child is a new personality to learn about and modifications to be made.

Loralei: I totally agree that there is a difference in parenting as to how a child is raised. We were always the house on the block to be at. My kids the same way. My kids always had animals to raise.. feed, love, clean up after. My hubby had no pets and when had friends had to stay outside. I love kids and have had a hand in raising many, whereas my hubby at most times seems to care less about family interaction or playin w/ the kids. I accredit it to the difference in how we were raised.

January 22, 2007
4:36 pm
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on my way
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He may be having difficulty grasping concepts. Maybe he learns better visually. Or maybe he is just stubborn. But I remember thinking,with my 3 boys that no one knew what they were talking about when I heard about the "Terrible Two's"....they must have meant the "Terrible Three's"!!!! Age 3 is hard. They are invincible at three in their minds, as they are really feeling independent of mom. It takes alot of patience, probably more than you have. My second son was stubborn as all get out...and he is expecting his first child in about 2 weeks. I tease him about it now. But stubborn children end up to be firm in their resolve as adults. They are scary teenagers, but when they finally grow up, they are leaders and know how to set themselves back on track, and go after what they want, and do whatever is necessary to get the job done. They are usually very responsible. SO there is hope!!!

I agree with mamacinnamon...I lived in James Dobson's book, and another one he wrote that helped me is "The Difference with Boys"...or something like that.

Good luck. Don't yell, he won't listen. Other than this, I don't know what to say.

Best to you though.

January 22, 2007
5:22 pm
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taj64
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I don't have much to add but I once read not to put out ALL the toys that belong to the child and keep things simple in the house. Trade toys out of the closet periodically, that way you are not stressing yourself so much with cleaning up, as they honestly do not play with everything, or they do, if you have EVERYTHING out. Boys will play with anything around and will try to figure out all ways to play with it (like the toilet). I remember age 3 and a boy too and I can relate to your woes as my sone once put a ninja turtle right in front of me and ruined out bathroom and the neighbor below, their bathroom ceiling. Once he sprinkled baby powder all over the entire bedroom. Patience really is a virtue at this age and my advice is to take a huge deep breath and lots of them if you have to if you feel like it is building up too much. My son got into everything. My daughter was not much differenet either, just girlier about it. It will pass and short lived. Thank goodness. And before you know it, they are much older and then you wish they were 3 again.

January 22, 2007
6:50 pm
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on my way
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2bhelped,
If you are still around today, I received this from a friend in an email today. I thought it was very sweet to share with you.

"A message every adult should read, because children
are watching you and doing as you do, not as you say.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you hang my
first painting on the refrigerator, and I immediately
wanted to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you feed a
stray cat, and I learned that it was good to be kind
to animals.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you make my
favorite cake for me and I learned that the little
things can be the special things in life.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I heard you say a
prayer, and I knew there is a God I could always
talk to and I learned to trust in God.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you make a
meal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I
I learned that we all have to help take care of each
other.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you give of
your time and money to help people who had nothing
and I learned that those who have something should
give to those who don't.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw you take
care of our house and everyone in it and I learned
we have to take care of what we are given.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw how you
handled your responsibilities, even when you didn't
feel good and I learned that I would have to be
responsible when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw tears come
from your eyes and I learned that sometimes things
hurt, but it's all right to cry.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I saw that you
cared and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I learned most of
life's lessons that I need to know to be a good and
productive person when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn't looking, I looked at you
and wanted to say, "Thanks for all the things I saw
when you thought I wasn't looking."

I am sending this to all the people

I know who do so much for others and think no one ever
sees.

Little eyes see a lot."

January 22, 2007
9:10 pm
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Worried_Dad
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Hi 2bhelped,

There are (really good, really cheap) parenting classes that shed light on child development and parent-child relationships. The one I took was called "STEP" for Strategic Training for Effective Parenting, or close to that.

You wrote: "He just does not listen, he acts up, makes a mess all the time, my house looks like a tornado went through it, and he just has too much energy, he drives me mad."

Lots of people forget to read the entire brochure before they order a new baby.

The fact that your 3 year old "does not listen" acts up, makes messes and has too much energy" are all signs of excellent, glowing, beautiful health for a three year old, and if it were any different you ought to be really worried.

I suggest Celebrate the vibrant health and life energy of your child. Celebrate the tornado that goes through your house several times each day. You do need to learn to set limits and communicate effectively with your child. But remember--what he knows about "listening" he has learned from YOU.

Having a baby is a time for adults to finish up maturing the aspects of our personality that aren't quite...mature. And it is important that we do that, otherwise we model immaturity to our children, and sure enough, they learn from us.

One of my favorite proverbs is "Do not pray for a lighter load;pray for a stronger back."

I understand that it gets even better when they hit their teens.

January 23, 2007
11:01 am
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Anonymous
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Worried_Dad,
I really liked this.

"Having a baby is a time for adults to finish up maturing the aspects of our personality that aren't quite...mature. And it is important that we do that, otherwise we model immaturity to our children, and sure enough, they learn from us."

Sometimes, I feel like I have received perspective and maturity from having my son.

I am sure my husband has receive some of that too, but he often times tried to avoid dealing with our son when he was a baby and would go back into this world of video game playing and gratifying himself while I took care of our son.

I wonder sometimes if this is part of the problems we are facing and why our marriage is crumbling steadily.

I became someone new with a son and he still wants to remain like a bachelor thinking mostly of his "needs" and wants to space out for 3 hours every night while I parent by myself.

Maybe, I grew up and he didn't.

January 23, 2007
1:24 pm
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StronginHim77
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I raised two sons, both of whom have ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity). Looking back over the years of their upbringing, I can vividly recall MANY MANY days & nights when I felt completely exhausted, discouraged and overwhelmed. The older was extremely willful and would deliberately do anything and everything which was forbidden or "off limits," just to push my buttons. We are talking about a child who would be making direct eye contact with me and smiling, to boot, while reaching for the cookie I told him he could not have. Time Outs never phased him. Removal of privileges or loss of special treats did not affect him. Calm, simple and direct talks did not impact him one bit. The only thing which stopped him from hurting others or even putting himself at risk (such as running into the street, reaching into the fire ant pile, etc.) was a calmly-administered spank. Period. I tried everything in the books, but only a spank on the hiney with a small, stinging switch would get him to stop his misbehavior.

By contrast, his brother responded to a simple "No" or a frown, raised eyebrow, etc. He only got one "spank" in his entire childhood. From this, I learned that some kids are -- by temperment and disposition -- simply more stubborn, resistant to discipline and disobedient than others.

Now they are adults, but continue to be the joy of my life. Both are decent, caring, compassionate and considerate men. Both have a close relationship with me and neither one considers me to be a tyrant. They do, however, have respect for others and I hear them comment occasionally on the poor parenting skills of some of their peers. They both have zero tolerance for parents who permit their children to misbehave in public and disrupt/disturb others.

I learned a great deal from raising them. Before having children, I promised myself that I would NEVER spank a child, never raise my voice, never be inconsistent, regimented, overly-strict, overly-lenient, indulgent, negligent, etc. I made SO many promises to myself. And I judged others who had children and seemed (to me) to be doing a poor job of it. Then, I became a parent myself and discovered how difficult it is and how easily we can break our early (and ignorance-based) promises and judgments. We learn as we go. Each child is different. Each requires different methods of discipline and training. But I would agree with many people on this thread that respect for authority is essential, respect for the property, persons and homes of others is mandatory and obedience is NOT a dirty word.

- Ma Strong

January 23, 2007
2:48 pm
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Honolulugal
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Well said, as usual, Ma. Couldn't agree more.

H.

January 24, 2007
6:19 pm
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katiescarlet
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My son was also very stubborn and hardheaded when he was three. I bought the discipline books for strong-willed children and they helped a bit. However, the tantrums and difficulties continued. Eventually he was diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum.

If your son's problems are what you consider outside the norm I suggest you consult your pediatrician. Behavior problems are sometimes a signal that something else is going on. Keep a record of what if anything triggers his negative behavior. You may see some patterns that can help control the situation. Tantrums and stubborness are not always the result of the way you parent your children. Loud music or an itchy shirt can trigger my son's meltdowns. That has nothing to do with limits or consistancy. I now make sure he only wears cotton and keep the music down in the car.

Good luck, and I hope it is just typical three year old behavior.

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