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Terrible twos were no big deal...three is a challenge
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Terrible twos were no big deal...three is a challenge

My son is quickly approaching 3 (how on earth did that happen?).  2 was really not overly difficult, he is a great kid.  And I mean that sincerely.  He is kind, well behaved and just a happy kid most of the time. His reports from preschool are excellent, and no concerns there either.  90% of the time, rewards work best and we use a reward system the vast majority of the time.  However, for that 10% where some sort of consequence is needed, I'm finding that the things we have done in the past are no longer working.  His behavior right now is totally normal behavior for his age, and I have no concerns at all.  I'm just looking for good strategies, ideas and even book suggestions that might help us with discipline at this age.  Time outs and taking toys away no longer really have any impact.  We aren't hitters or yellers, so am looking for ideas that will help him understand inappropriate behavior, but aren't scary or physical if that makes sense.  Temper tantrums when he doesn't get his way, total melt down when its teeth brushing time (that is so weird because at his first dentist appointment, he was a total angel...let them look in his mouth, brush and even floss....at home, a totally different story!) that kind of thing.  I'd love to hear what other parents have done at this age, what worked and what didn't.  Thanks so much for the input!
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Hey Amanda.  I have said for many many years that I am not sure how the term "terrible two's" got coined because 3 is almost always more challenging.  So know that you are in good company.

Finn is still 2 so I can't tell you what I have personally tried.  But I will suggest the book The No Cry Discipline Solution.  As a side note - I absolutely hate the title - it is just a marketing strategy as this is by the same woman who wrote the NO Cry Sleep Solution - trust me, a well disciplined 3 year old can and will cry -  so if you ignore the title, there are some interesting and helpful guidelines in the book.  

Good luck!
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Thanks hon, I will get the book.  Your not kidding about the term terrible twos...I remember wondering what the big deal about two was...then we started getting closer to three, and the world began to change..lol.  I admit, it's tough some days.  Right at this moment it's 10:45 and he has been in bed since 8.  He is screaming, yelling, pulling on the door handle and just losing his mind.  I have been in there 50 times - rubbing his back, just sitting there in his room, trying to reason with him, resorting to pleading and now I'm ready to beg him to go to sleep. He just say's no and the tantrum starts over again.  Eyikes!  Lots of these nights lately it seems.  And I am pretty sure we have had to pick up and leave every store in town this last month.  Our trip to the petting zoo/pumpkin patch also had to be cut short.  And I know I'm not overly hard on him...I think we pick our battles pretty well.  

Like I said, most of the time he is great, but tell him no or don't react immediately when he wants something and all heck breaks out!  He gets soooo mad!  Thanks for the tip on the book, I'll pick it up this week.
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wow- how are you staying so calm.  That is impressive. I would be begging too.

The toddler years can be really tough at times - they have almost no impulse control, poor emotion regulation, and it is their developmental job to assert their will at all times - so with this combo it makes perfect sense why some days are such a challenge.

It sounds like you are doing so many things rights, and I am sure, you will realize that after reading the book as well - you just have to be consistent and firm and wait out these more challenging moments (while of course setting appropriate, firm limits).  You may already be doing this - but one thing that can really prevent/diffuse a tantrum is choices.  For example, if Finn will not come when it is time for his bath (of course he always chooses this exact moment to get engaged in the most focused independent, pretend play - that I would have loved for him to be doing ANY other time of the evening!), I go up to him and say "I see you are having a hard time coming.  So I can help you or you can come by yourself."  I wait about 10 seconds and then I say "I see you need my help" and pick him up - he invariably shrieks out " by myself" and I put him down and runs happily to the bath.  But there have been some times that I do have to carry him unhappy to the bath - and that is fine too.  

Poor guy, I hope he gets to sleep.  And if this is happening many nights, he may be tired to boot, which definitely does not help.

I hesitate to mention this because it is not super likely.  But, I noticed your other post about Daycare and the music teacher (but I was too busy then to respond).  It may be that the increased structure/demands of preschool are stressing him out a bit (in a good, normal way) and his reserves are being used up more at school - leaving him more irritable and vulneralbe at home.  Just a thought.  And again, this would be in the realm of expected and normal at his age.

Don't you wish they came with manuals at times?  I can tell you that I can take most of the parenting stuff in stride - but it is the uncertainty of how to best handle certain situations/things that gets to me most - that second guessing - it has by far been the hardest part so far.  



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