Sunday, January 22, 2012

3 yr. olds behavior problems

My grandson will be 3 in about 6 weeks. He is incredibly disagreeable and defiant almost always when asked to do something. Examples are refusing to brush his teeth, get in a shopping card, change his dipper, put his pajamas on, pick up toys, hold your hand when crossing the street, etc. but lately he has developed a possession problem. Everything is his. 
Yesterday he screamed at the man across the street to stop cutting the hedge because they were his. Today my daughter took him to a store to buy him a toy he had been promised. When they reached the isle a little boy (about 1 1/2) was looking at the toys with his mother. He started screaming at the boy the leave it alone, they were his. He screamed to badly, the little boy started to cry. When my daughter told him to say was sorry, he said, "No sorry!". Eventually he agreed to say he was sorry and my daughter had to seek out the child and let my grandson apologize. It isn't hard to see that he is not really sorry. He won't even let the people scan the price of something he is holding, without screaming his head off. He always been possessive. I thought as he got older he would outgrow saying "mine", but he hasn't. It is almost impossible to get him to share anything.

In the past few weeks he has developed a new problem. If you wipe his nose he says, "I want my buggers back!!!" and screams until you pretend to give them back. The same if you change his dipper. He wants his "poopy" back.

He's a very smart little boy. He understands very well, but he reads your face to see your reaction. He loves to act cute and show off. He's very handsome and it is hard to get mad at him.

I know some of this is just growing up problems and that he wants some control of the situation, but when does it cross the line. My daughter sometimes asks me, "Is he okay?" "He acts like he not all there". I don't know what to tell her. I raised two girls and they were nothing like this.

Also, he has a new 4 month old sister. He seems to like her, but here again, if told don't wake her up, he'll get in her face and scream, "Wake Up!".

Anything you can suggest would be a great help.

Dear Claire;

You are describing patterns of extreme holding. He wants everything to be his and it is most likely all about not being the baby anymore. First of all he is almost 3 which is a transition time from baby/toddler to preschooler. Next, there is a new little one in the home and now he is the big brother when he may just still want to be the only child and have all that adoring attention still sent his way.

No matter how well parents deal with a new baby coming into the family the little ones still have their apple cart upset. There is no avoiding it and some children take the upset harder than others. He sounds like he has regressed a little bit and it will pass.

Try to ignore the bad behavior. Spend more time noticing his good behavior and telling him how he is acting like a big boy and how proud you are of him. If he does yell, tell him you will listen when he uses his big boy voice.

He is going to need lots of one on one alone time with everyone he is use to and how it was before the sister came along. Of course do not allow him to be alone with her until this passes as even almost 3 year old's are capable of hurting a sibling.

This too will pass.


M Kay Keller

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