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3 year old attitude

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  • 3 year old attitude

    My 3YO DS has recently developed some really out of character and distressing behaviour. He has started demanding things in a very rude tone of voice (ex. I want some milk, get me some milk) and then screaming "right now!" if I don't get it immediately. I will ask him "what does asking sound like?" or remind him that he needs to ask for something he wants, not demand, and sometimes he will ask, but other times he will ask in an even ruder tone of voice. He has also started yelling at his toys to do things "right now" and saying things to me like "I told you I wanted another show right now" (imagine a really saucy 3 year old tone saying these things). He has also started throwing fits and screaming when he can't have what he wants, or if he is asked to do something that he doesn't want to do (brush teeth, wash hands, eat dinner before having ice cream etc.)
    I have always tried to model a calm and respectful way of speaking with him (although I am not always perfect and sometimes can have some attitude and a tendency to yell myself....) but I think I have done an okay job with this. I am not sure where this behaviour is coming from, and am finding it harder and harder to be calm when dealing with it. I have tried explaining that it hurts my feelings to be spoken (yelled at) like this, and that it is disrespectful. He seems to respond to this, saying that he is sorry, but then it happens again 10 minutes later!! any suggestions would be appreciated.

  • #2
    Hi LLMOM,
    I read your post and my initial thought was that these behaviors sounded pretty typical, but I wanted to get some more experiential input here, so I posted it on our FB page. It looks like others feel the same. I posted their responses below. As an Attached Parent, you can focus on your reactions to your son. Check out our Respond with Sensitivity and Positive Discipline Principles for more information on what this looks like.

    • Sounds like my son!

    • my daughter is 3 and just started doing this too!

    • My kiddo will be 3 in Sept and she has recently started this type of behavior too. I'm guessing/hoping it's a normal stage and she'll be out of it ASAP! LOL

    • Pretty common for 3yos. It gets better when 4.

    • I agree, sounds very age appropriate. Gentle prompting and refusing things until the child at least tries polite phrasing went a long way towards helping my daughter.

    • My 4 yr old went thru it too. We just prompted and modelled appropriately asking and refused him till he asked nicely (age appropriate). Now when he slips I will remind him that we don't speak that way to each other and can he ask nicely? He has great manners and is fantastic with please and thank u now!!


    • #3
      Thank you for posting that input. I am glad to hear that it is age appropriate, and not because of something I am doing/not doing. Very reassuring on a day when I was convinced that my AP style of parenting was not working. I guess I'll have to wait it out and hope it phases itself out soon!


      • #4
        There is one way to deal with such kids I love best. I prefer to give them alternatives. Children need some help replace such behavior with something new. You can try one or more different alternatives.
        • Stop, think, choose. Stop the current activity, reflect on what you are thinking about, and then consider consequences for yourself and others before you choose your next action.
        • Personal time-out. Leave the room and take a few minutes to calm down before you return to the situation.
        • Talk about how you feel. Tell a person you trust about how you are feeling by naming the feelings you are having and how the feelings are affecting you.
        • Deep breaths. Take several deep breaths to help you if you are overwhelmed by feelings.
        Besides, if your kid attends one of Montessori preschools in Los Angeles the supportive environment will help deal with such a behavior. This is one of important practices in Montessori approach.