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    Hello, I am wondering how to handle this situation. Yesterday my 3 year old daughter was using her easile with dry erase markers (Not for the first time). I reminded her that the markers are permanent and will not come out of clothes. She was doing great (and has always) until she decided to come over to me and say "mommy look" as she colors the front of her shirt with marker. My response was very quick and I took the marker away along with the whole box that has other types and pencils and crayons. I put them up and she has not asked for them since. I went on about her ruining her shirt...
    Today she was using stamps and decided to place her hand in the stamp pad. I explained to her that the pad was for the stamps. she got a bit upset and began wiping the ink onto her shirt. This ink is supposed to be washable but we will see. Again my reaction was so quick, I took all the stuff put it up high and went up stairs and told her that I needed some time to myself and I went into the bathroom as she stood at the door crying. I came out after a few minutes and we hung out on my bed and chatted like it had never happened.
    I feel like I do not know how to react to situations. I seem to yell and to react so quick that I do not even have time to think about what I am doing.
    Any suggestions?

  • #2
    The examples you gave surround keeping clean, are there other trigger points for you?

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    • #3
      Hi Lovebug,

      It sounds like you've made the first step, which is realizing that you are reacting!

      I have been really trying to learn how to not be reactive in a variety of situations. I find the best tool right now is to focus on my breath for a few minutes.

      Regarding the specific situation you mentioned, our daughter will do stuff like this too that dh and I just think is crazy! But of course, it's not crazy to her. She's just playing and learning.

      Today, she drank some water and then spit it all over the floor. She's done this before, and, usually, my husband or I has reacted and yelled or taken things away from her. But we talked about it when we weren't feeling mad anymore and were able to feel some empathy for her. I am very happy to share that today, neither of us reacted! I just got a towel and said we needed to clean it up and she said "Let I do it." and cleaned it up herself. And she didn't do it again, like she has done before when we've reacted.

      So, when you recognize that you've reacted, maybe you can think about it later and clarify for yourself whether it's really as big of a deal as what your mind told you during the event. Then, next time, you can come from a more thoughtful and less reactive place.

      Hope this helps!

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      • #4
        I have been trying to think of other trigger points. I thought about times when my daughter will not let me help her pick clothes or do her hair (most days). However sometimes this bothers me and other I am fine with it. Also when she refuses to go to bed and I feel I have lots to do. I am probably forgetting other points.
        I find it interesting you said "Keeping clean" because I do like a clean home although I have let that go as best that I can.
        Thanks for your posts!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Lovebug View Post
          I have been trying to think of other trigger points. I thought about times when my daughter will not let me help her pick clothes or do her hair (most days). However sometimes this bothers me and other I am fine with it.
          For me, I notice that when things upset me only some times and not others, it is because I am rushing to do something or feel I have a million things to worry about, or whatever. So, it is just a reminder to me that it's about my mindset about the whole thing and not really the situation. I think I tend to have unrealistic expectations when I'm trying to do too many things at once.

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          • #6
            Hi. Agree with what the others have said. You have taken the first step by realizing that this is happening. The why is always so much harder of course! I find that in the heat of the moment it helps me to recount what I have just witnessed. For eg "you have just drawn on your shirt. When you draw on your shirt it makes it dirty and I will need to put it in the wash now. Lets get your shirt off and put it in the wash. We only draw on paper." Just by stating what I have seen gives me the time I need to refocus on the situation as opposed to the 'deed' that was done. Of course there are times that this doesnt work and I react anyway. Just as AwakenedMama said, for me a lot has to do with the timing.

            For me, I notice that when things upset me only some times and not others, it is because I am rushing to do something or feel I have a million things to worry about, or whatever. So, it is just a reminder to me that it's about my mindset about the whole thing and not really the situation. I think I tend to have unrealistic expectations when I'm trying to do too many things at once.
            ITA! Its all about being in the moment not thinking about what needs to be done next. Sure there are things that need to be done and usually a time frame to adhere to. BUT I find that if you focus on WHAT you are doing rather than what NEEDS to be done it helps. I think that they can tell when you are not present with them and even though they may not know why they will also be feeling the pressure which can make them act in ways that they perhaps wouldnt if you are totally present for them.

            Of course there are times when you have no choice but to be in a rush, the trick is to acknowledge that its YOU that is creating the tense situation not your LO. Even just saying "I know Mum is in a hurry, we need to get to the store/clean before we leave (whatever) how about if we sing a song while we get ready?" Its not always going to make a difference to how your LO reacts, but can put you in a different frame of mind and sometimes thats all that it takes.

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            • #7
              I had to share something about the mention of trigger points -- Messes are a huge trigger point for me! Markers and stamp ink on a shirt would totally make me crazy. My suggestion is to find ways to head it off. Just as was mentioned, remember that though what your daughter is doing drives you crazy, it's how she's playing and learning about the world. She just doesn't yet know how frustrating it can be to get stains on clean shirts -- she probably thinks doing laundry is fun.

              Look into washable markers and other art supplies. Consider having a "paint" shirt -- perhaps an old shirt of yours. I use my husband's stained T-shirts for my toddlers. I also designate good clothes and old clothes -- old clothes being those that are not so nice and perhaps a little stained, ones I wouldn't want them to wear out in public but that I don't mind if they get spills on at home.

              As far as when you tell your child not to do something, try to explain to her why. You may be surprised at how well she can comprehend things. And tell her what she can do if she can't do something. Rather than say, "Don't draw on your shirt with markers," try saying something like, "I don't want you drawing on your shirt because it can get dirty and it's such a pretty shirt and if it gets dirty, you won't be able to wear it. Draw on the board/paper instead." You know what motivates your child better than any of us. Does she like to stay clean? Does she like to wear a particular color of shirt and that is it? Does it bother her if things are broken?

              3 years old can be frustrating at times, but it's easier if we can think from our child's perspective on life and not expect her to act older than she is -- remembering that she's still exploring her world and that she's looking for increasing independence (that "I want to do it myself!"). Try to let her do it herself, unless it's dangerous. Just be prepared to prevent messes and other situations that stress you out.

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              • #8
                Thank You! That sounds great

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