Tuesday, February 19, 2008

No One Tells You About ...

the Tough Three-And-a-Halfs! When you're a new mom you hear all sorts of horror stories about the terrible twos. But now one warns you about the real age when your child starts defying all of your requests and his ears totally turn off to your voice.

My three-and-a-half year old son has been a nearly perfect child since even before he was born. I had an extremely easy pregnancy working every day at my job until the day I went into labor. I never even had morning sickness. The birth was just as wonderful - fairly short and sweet for my first child. Reagan has always had a calm and kind demeanor, and for the most part has taken mom and dad's words as the gospel. That is until now.

It's like one day my toddler went from barely sitting on the "Naughty Time Out Step" to being placed there for most the day. He suddenly has forgotten his name - at least when I call it - and his hearing has diminished to only working when the words "ice cream" or "candy" are spoken.

My once easy child now spits, kicks, screams and hits when Mommy or Daddy says something he doesn't want to hear. And the words "Love you Mommy," have been replaced with "Leave Me Alone Mommy."

Now that I'm going through this stage with my toddler friends are starting to admit that they to have been here. It seems like I have at least another year of battles, according to the few people who have walked this path before me.

At least there are some glimmers of the pre- tough three-and-a-half year old child. For now I hold onto the random "You're my best friend, Mommy," and "Great Job, Mommy." I remind myself that there are many phases that I will go through with my son and that we will make it through them all.

So now I'm asking you guys for help. I need to know that I'm not just one of the handful of women I've found so far who have found the three-and-a-halfs to be tougher than the twos. I would love for you to leave a comment with a brief story about your child's 3.5 stage. You women with older children who have been through this, please share how you made it through -a tip, trick or advice would be great!

I'll be offering a $5 gift certificate to My Little Monkey Boutique to one lucky person by using random.org to pick a winner from the comments. All you have to do is comment to be entered!

I'll also give a free Time Management for Moms Ebook to the person who comments with the best tip, trick or advice on how to make it through this tough stage without pulling all of your hair out!

The winners will be chosen Friday, Feb. 29th and announced Saturday, March 1!


Anonymous said...

Everyone warns of the "terrible twos"...but for me, it was the threes that were awful!!!!horrible!!! I've heard for girls it's the twos and for boys, threes...since I have only boys...that's all I know :0)

deko and posh said...

hey there, for us we have four under the age of 8. for us we experience the terrible fours. Twos and threes were great fun! Attitude at 4. We still have 2 more to go through this. LOL
Dina at www.dekoposh.com

Angie said...

Ah, Two's. I have one at home. He's 3 and 1/2 though. I agree with beloved mama. The 3's are tougher. They develop personalities way before, but they do show their strong willed dependent sides when they turn 3! haha Mine is the sweets little baby you'd ever meet until you want him to do it your way... I love him regardless.

My Colorful Treasures said...

Hi! I am a Mom of 5 children (aged from 12 - almost 4). At the age of 3 kids figure out that they do have some control over something's. Peeing, eating, and being nice. Some kids take that idea of control to the hilt! In my experience... that love of the control stops when the kids figure out they are not getting anywhere. Mommy's no.... is Mommy's no. It's final and there is no bartering. What you are going through right now is a power struggle for control... and what you need to do is pick your battles wisely and try to keep control over other areas... My Bradley had a tough time being nice sometimes. Kicking people. Spitting at them. Hitting. Saying mean things. What worked with my kids is if one of my kids kicked someone... I would say... would you like Mommy to let him kick you? My Bradley would say no. I said how do you think that would make you feel. It would hurt. I said... it's not nice to kick is it. He would say no and by the end of the conversation I made it clear that all people should treat others the same way they would want to be treated. What matters is that I made him think about what he did. I made him put himself in that other person's shoes. He grew out of his stage of being a big meany... and figured out that others have feelings... and it's not nice to lash out even though... he's figured out he has that control.

I hope this helps. My son Bradley has ADHD and ODD (oppositional defiance disorder). Basically if you say the sky is blue... he will argue that it's really green.. even though... he knows and sees it's blue. It took some time.... but he figured out that others feelings matter and that life did not evolve only around him. He has also learned that the smallest amount of kindness can change another person's world. Kindness is uplifting and it's enough to change the world. Bradley just turned 11 and while it's been a struggle.... he's come full circle.

Good luck... and if you ever need advice.... I am here. : )

Take care...
Lisa : )

My Colorful Treasures ~ Custom Handcrafted Fine Jewelry & Accessories
Website: http://www.MyColorfulTreasures.com
Etsy Shop: http://www.MyColorfulTreasure.etsy.com
Top 100: http://MyColorfulTreasures.gotop100.com
eBay Id: GamesComicsAndMore

Tupperware_Consultant said...

Although my children are 22, 12 and 10, it seems like just yesterday...
Let me tell you what I did that saved my sanity. First of all, it is best to understand "why" he is going through this stage so that you can help him through it as quickly as possible. Put yourself in his shoes just for a moment.
At three and a half you have been relying on your parents to do almost everything for you for most of your life, totaly trusting in them for your own comfort and well being, then suddenly you realize--"WOW" I can pick up my own toys, I can feed myself and I could fluff my own pillow if I wanted to! Then a couple of days later as you are coming out of the bathroom you see Grandma and she says to you, "Look at you, your such a BIG BOY going potty all by yourself!" "You are growing up SO FAST!" Suddenly you realize-- She's right! I did pick out my own clothes and put my pants on by myself this morning and I fastened the seat belt until it actually clicked yesterday. I poured my own cereal and I bet I could have put the milk on if Mommy would have just let me! So, you wait until the time is right, Mommy is busy running the sweeper and she'll never know. You go to the kitchen, pull the chair up to the counter and climb up to get your own glass. Hmmm... I'm a big boy, I'll use the big glass! You get down and go over to the refridgerator and get out the big gallon of milk. It's heavy, but I can cary it! Everything is going good until you realize that the glass is so tall and it is hard to get that milk up to the top of it and WOW is the milk heavy! Still determined, you tip the milk and the glass falls over and milk spills everywhere! As luck would have it in your determination to pour the milk, you didn't realize that the sweeper has shut off and the next thing that you hear is Mommy yelling "OH NO!" All of the sudden it starts - the roller coaster of emotions that would fill your life for weeks to come. (fear, joy, anxiety, determination, excitement, disappointment, confusion and a host of other emotions that you don't understand)
So you see, he is suddenly going through so many emotions as he is trying to see just how independant that he really is and he is not really sure what is going on or if he even likes it. He is mad at you because you can't read his mind like he thought that you could, but he is excited about it at the same time because he is becoming a big boy. Scary things seem more scary and no one seems to understand, not even him. This change can really be quite frightening. He sees babies on T.V. and realizes that he is not a baby any more. He sees childern not much older than he is doing things like tying their shoes and writing their name. Should he be able to do that? It looks like fun and he wants to do it but at the same time he is yearning to still be a baby but he is fighting that emotion because he so wants to be a big boy.
All children deal with realizing independance in their own way and some have a harder time than others.
My best advice to you right now is when things start to seem a little out of control, change the surroundings by turning off the TV at home or calmly taking him to the restroom while at a restaurant and sit beside him with a genuine concern in your voice and tell him "Sweetheart, I understand what you're feeling and it's normal to feel this way." "Becoming a BIG BOY can make you feel a lot of new feelings." "You don't know why, but sometimes you want to hit, scream or cry and it is normal right now to feel like this, but one thing to learn about becoming a big boy is how to control these feelings." "It won't last long and soon you will understand all of the new changes." Let him know that it is O.K. to still be a baby sometimes and a big boy other times. You may have to do this a couple of times, but you will be surprised at how changing the surroundings so that there are no other distractions and his attention is soly on you and what you are about to say and by telling him that you understand and that what he is going through is normal will change his attitude and rebuild his trust in you!
I have been through this 3 times and through the teenage years with one. (just wait until you get to experience that!)
I would love to know how this works for you as it has been a God Send for me!

Lorie Wilkos
Tupperware Manager
Free consultant online parties

SBH said...

And was hoping that it would get better... (My daighter is a "terrible" 2) Oh well.. I have heard that 5 is good age LOL.

Sarah Harrold
Tastefully Simple
Independant Consultant

WAHM Tara said...

I had the terrible threes with my girls! At two they were amazing and we never experienced the terrible twos!

I am waiting now to see what my 5 month old son will experience!

Candace said...

I personally have found with my 3 1/2 year old son that when he acts up is when he's needing attention.

He sees his younger two siblings getting more attention than he (since I have to help them more) and will do whatever necessary to get attention of his own - even if it's not good.

I do better to have some one on one time with him doing something he enjoys, and that I can praise him on.

I've heard it said - give 10 praises to each negative comment to a child.

I don't believe in spoiling a child, but there's nothing wrong with praising them for their good behaviors!

Find things he can help you with - real things like sweeping or cleaning the table - and go on and on about how much of a help he is.

With mine, I've found I need to get on his level - eye to eye. Don't hover over them scolding - but kneel down in front. Hold their shoulders as you explain what's wrong behavior, looking directly in their eyes.

Be firm, but loving. Back to my first point, if you keep them busy with praise worthy activities - they won't have time to think about looking for trouble (most of the time!) =P

Hope this helps!

(I'm not just a mommy speaking from mommy experience - I used to be a babysitter and nanny - keeping them busy truly works!)


redron said...

I am a grandmother. I remember the 3's. They thought that they were so smart.

mverno said...

i'm totally impressed with my grandson at 3 he learns so much each day

bison61 said...

we never experienced the terrible twos either - it was the 3-4 years that was the worst (boys)
tiramisu392 (at) yahoo.com

Mitch said...

We have two. A three and a half year old and almost two. The one that is almost two is going to be big trouble.

Anonymous said...

Mine hides under the table and sulks whenever he gets upset. I just ignore him and he comes back out eventually.

ladypawnbroker said...

For my son it was hard to be good at all from 3-5 years old. He was so angry that he had sisters and let me and them know it every single day. He's older now and has kind'a gotten over that (Thank Goodness!)

Bakersdozen said...

Our 3 year old, though darling, also likes to control things. For example, when her favorite shows end, she demands for me to turn them back on. We go through this often. Another thing that she likes to do is say no to me when I offer her something like juice or a snack and then wait until my hands are full or I answer the phone to ask for the thing she refused before.

Heather said...

I was having a tough time with my daughter around that age, and my own mom suggested 1-2-3 Magic. It really gave me a tool (yes, counting to three) to use when she became a real handful...but I have to say, you can't use it one day and not the next. Like all behaviorial change systems, the key is consistency. Even to this day, five years later, I just need to start counting and the attitude disappears and cooperation begins.

Mommie said...

I can't comment on the twos yet (10 mo old son), but enter me for the $5 gift cert!