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Coach Jen K.
Coach Jen K., LCSW, CPC
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1785
Experience:  Licensed Master Social Worker. Certified Coach Mom of Twins.
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Almost everytime my 3 year old does not get his way he errupts

Customer Question

Almost everytime my 3 year old does not get his way he errupts into a fit of tears that will last for a good 3 minutes. Everytime! We don't give in to him and the thing is is that it seems to be getting worse, not better. My husband and I are about at the end of our rope. Our patience is completely shot! This is our 3rd child and we did not experience anything like this with our first two. Our 3rd was born at 32 weeks with no complications but we are starting to worry that something might be wrong with him (sensory???). Please help....
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  earthsister replied 2 years ago.

earthsister :

Good morning, I would like to assist you today.

Customer:

ok

Customer:

Did you read my question/problem?

earthsister :

Your son is still young, and is only beginning to learn how to communicate his feelings as well as how to deal with rejection. This is an important time to teach him the ways to communicate his feelings. Does he talk pretty well?

Customer:

yes.

Customer:

He doesn't seem to care about anything but his own feelings. He doesn't seem to care about how his behavior effects the rest of us or the consequences of his fits.

earthsister :

Well, he's too young to understand that he should care.

Customer:

It has gotten to the point where he is intolerable.


 

earthsister :

At this stage in his development, everything is about him; he is only beginning to learn himself. What's important is that you continue to be patient and teach him the proper ways to behave.

earthsister :

When you tell him he cannot do something, or have something, don't just leave it at that. Provide him with an option of what he can do or can have

Customer:

Is that the best you've got?

earthsister :

Not at all, there is a lot to this, I am only touching the ice berg in regauds to what you have provided.

earthsister :

Have you ever tried providing him alternatives?

Customer:

I agree that sometime's options are necessary but sometimes he needs to be told no (even in the most simple of circumstances) and not have a fit. He needs to realize that he is not the boss and that he can't old the rest of the entire family hostage with his behavior.

earthsister :

And I agree with you that he does need to learn these things, however he must be taught in a way that benefits his growth and development as a 3 year old. He is honestly too young to understand the real meaning of time-outs, and ignoring him will only cause him to feel rejected. Try not to ignore him, but ignore the negative behavior.

earthsister :

If he has a fit because he can't have ice cream, explain to him, "No, you can't have ice cream now, but you can have some after dinner." OR "Ice cream cannot be eaten now, but you canm have an apple or orange, which one do you want?"

Customer:

such as?


 

earthsister :

Provide him with choices and options., It may sound like bribery, but it is truly guiding his behavior, and teaching him that there are other options and that you cannot have what you want all the time.

Customer:

Or a fit because we won't let him run in the road, or that he has to wear shoes, or that he has to eat a meal or no he can't have a snack because he chose not to eat his meal..... an option can not be given with every possible scenario. I know the whole love an logic scheme and we do provide options but I need help teaching the most basic functions.

Customer:

We do give options and choices and he gets to make those. How do you teach hime to deal with the fact that he is going to have to hear no sometimes???

earthsister :

The best method in teaching your son the basics of "no running in the road" is: "No, if you run i the street, you may get hit by a car, but you can run over here in the grass; and then run around with him a bit."

earthsister :

You have to provide children as young as he is with alternatives, they have not yet developed the self control to accept "No", just as "No", and that's it

Customer:

I'm sorry but at this point I'm sure he does feel rejected. Metally no one can stand to listen him cry another second and he has been in his room screaming for the last hour.

Customer:

You can't just keep telling me the same thing and expect that to change my response. I deal with this from my 3 year old. Give me some strategies tips alternatives!

earthsister :

Now would be a good time to join him. Give him a hug, and try to calm him down. Let him know that you want him to be happy, but he can't have his way all of the time. Give him some options of things he may enjoy (*that you don't mind him doing"; and see what he picks. You have to remain calm however, and not yell or display that you are frustrate; and trust me, as the mother of twins, I know it "ain't" easy

earthsister :

that is exactly what I am trying to do; provide you with real world actions and scenarios that you can apply.

earthsister :

If you think that you have completely no control over your sons behavior, it would be best to mention your sons behavior to his pediatrician, so that he may look into the possibility of any mental or physical disability that may be causing his behavior

earthsister :

He or she should be able to recommend a good child therapist if it is thought necessary

earthsister :

I see that you are trying to rate me, however I want to assure that you have received the help that you need. Has my answer been of any help to you?

Customer:

No. I understand you have to give your kids options. This is not my first child. What I need are strategies on how to deal with him when he doesn't like any of the options presented and loses it (which is most of the time). There are 4 other people in our family. He can not be in charge of every move we make.


 

earthsister :

If all of your attempts at getting your son to accept "no" have failed, including providing him choices and alternatives (which you have said you've tried); ignoring the behavior (which few child professionals recommend, and you have mentioned that your son has been crying in his room for an hour), continuing to be patient, and teach him the reasons that he can't do certain things with verbal explanations (which takes time, and I think doesn't do the best at the moment to stop the problem); It would be best that you get your son evaluated by his pediatrician to diagnose any possible disability that may be encouraging his behavior. Again, as I have mentioned; tantrums are very common for children your son's age, especially when it comes to not getting what they want. Think of yourself as an adult, when you are told "no.", and that's it; it doesn't feel too good. Well it feels even worse for a 3 year old.

earthsister :

I am sorry that you do not like the advice that I have given, however most any parenting professional would echo my recommendations in telling you that this is the way to go, but it takes patience and persistence on your part.

Customer:

I would like to do my rating now.


 

Expert:  Coach Jen K. replied 2 years ago.

Hi. Welcome. I am a Licensed Master Social Worker with more than 20 years experience working with individuals and families. I am stepping in to offer some support as the above expert has opted out. I am hoping that we can do some work together so that you can get the help you need. It is completely frustrating to experience what you are with your child especially since your others did not have this issue. That does not mean there is something wrong with him, just his frustration tolerance is different than the others.He is also doing his job as a 3 year old...testing the limits and seeing what he can and cannot control. Sometimes giving some little "wins" during the day on things that don't have big consequences for you can help him see that there are times when he gets choices and has some control over things.

 

I hear all that you say that he can't control the house and all that goes on around him and I agree with you wholeheartedly. And right now, believe it or not, the attention that is being given to this behavior is the exact thing that is allowing him to feel in control of all of it. So there are two very practical things you can do to begin to get this behavior to calm down. the reason why it has gotten worse is that he knows the more he protests, the more attention, even negative, is being given to him. I would minimize the explanations as he is just too young to get it all. short sentences with what you want from him and a very clear consequence. Such as, it is time to put your shoes on and if you don't put your shoes on then you will lose your (insert favorite toy here) if he continues to protest, you do not respond verbally but you let him see you take the favorite toy and place it for safe keeping. He is guaranteed to go nuts and up the ante with louder and longer protests. Say nothing and walk away just making sure he is safe as are your other children. Go do another project with your other kids and let him see that he gets NO attention for any of it. It will be hard as your blood is boiling not to react but in time he will learn that he gets nothing by this behavior. if he walks over to the activity you are doing with your other kids do not scold him or explain what he did wrong, just gently begin to include him in the activity. He learns, I get nothing when I am tantruming but get everything when I am calm. This takes some time but if you are consistent with every aspect of what I am suggesting then in a few weeks things will get better. you and your husband must be on the same page about it all so neither of you react. I don't blame you as it is so very hard and you just want to scream...but that is attention and energy and it continues to feed the behavior. you no longer want to feed the behavior. You want to feed his calm behavior by acknowledging him in that way such as the above example. Let him scream in his room and send the other kids outside so they can get some break from it. you put some headsets on and listen to some calming music while also paying attention that he is not injuring himself. if you see behavior that needs attention so that he doesnt hurt himself then walk in, remove the danger but don't say anything at all. So to sum it up...no energy to it at all. Short sentence without explanations only if you don't do this then this will happen. Then silence and leave the room.

 

There are a few resources I would also like to include for you to look at when you have a moment. http://drrandycale.com/ He has some incredible work in this area. the other is a book on tantrums. http://www.amazon.com/dp/0738211672/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=5754926545&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=11694125011208675982&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&ref=pd_sl_1s0lq18pu_e

 

Touch base and let me know your thoughts on the above stuff and we can continue the dialog. It is also crucial that you take time for yourself when possible as this is a very tough time and nobody tells you how hard it can be with a 3 year old. They all talk about the terrible twos, but in my experience 3 can be more difficult. I look forward to your thoughts. Jen

Coach Jen K., LCSW, CPC
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1785
Experience: Licensed Master Social Worker. Certified Coach Mom of Twins.
Coach Jen K. and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  earthsister replied 2 years ago.
It is unfortunate that in my attempt to help you with the most effective options that exist for dealing with the tantrums of your son, you have rated me poorly, and I am sorry that you feel that way. I do hope that at least the other professional (whom I sent your question to because it appeared you did not approve of my answer) is better able to help with the answer you want. Outside of your own patience in dealing with your son's tantrums, as well as evaluation by his pediatrician, maybe you could benefit from classes on parenting, which you should be able to find information for from your state website. This is not at all to say that you do not know how to parent, only that an actual course in dealing with these kinds of issues as a parent may be of benefit to you. Again, sorry I couldn't help. I wish you the best!

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Coach Jen K.
Coach Jen K.
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Licensed Master Social Worker. Certified Coach Mom of Twins.