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New isn't better?! WHAT! Trying to follow 3yr old logic

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  • New isn't better?! WHAT! Trying to follow 3yr old logic

    Hi! I am a mom to a 3.5 yr old girl and am having a difficulty. I use all my AP tricks (avoidance, distraction etc.) and I can't seem to find one that fits this issue.

    She gets very upset over small things. For example, her candy (almost gone) fell to the ground. I explained that it was dirty (really gross this time or I would have let it go) and that I had a 'new' one for her to have. She didn't want it. She wanted the old one. Getting new of something or replacement does not go over well, with anything.

    Her upset number doesn't seem to match the event on the importance scale. (dropped candy=1, bleeding=9) Although I am validating her level of 'upsetness' to the situation (dropped candy is a 1 to me and a 7 to her), but I am struggling to help her understand not everything is a 10, and a new candy is an acceptable substitute. We made a big deal about releasing her sister's balloon to the sky, explained and told her what we were doing and she became hysterical. Even though she had a balloon of her own.

    I am trying to find out WHY she has this reaction to things so that I can work backwards to fulfill that need. She is very intrinsically motivated. 'Potty prizes' for example really don't do much. New toys, not much reaction. She gets very upset if I am mad or frustated.

    She is kinda a neat freak. There are moments she organizes and loves doine it(Being very honest I am a recovering type-A personality.) This means I am inconsistent with 'let's get dirty and make a mess' to 'you are making a mess, let's clean.' I think it is a healthy balance but perhaps she sees my inconsistency. (Example, our floor is okay to eat something that fell, in restaurants it is not okay.)

    Your suggestions and thoughts is appreciated.

  • #2
    Your daughter sounds like the typical 3.5 yr old! My son is that age and all his friends also have similar character traits and reactions.

    This is a wonderful trait to have---
    She is very intrinsically motivated.
    And often when it seems like they are overreacting to things, we as adults have simply misunderstood why they are upset, so it just gets worse on their end.
    Have you tried NVC with her? It works wonders on my son when I know he feels misunderstood.

    Anger because your candy has dropped is silly from our point of view, but imagine if she was counting it and separating it in her head and then when it dropped all her hard work had been lost, and then Mommy just didn't understand and how frustrating that must of been? ---Just possibly imagine that MORE is going on then what appears.


    • #3
      i think sometimes their reactions seem so disproportionate b/c sometimes their emotions are disproportionate to their little bodies. they have the same big feelings that we have, but not the same big skills to deal w/them.

      it could be that she felt like she put a lot of work into that one piece of candy, or that she was just getting to the good part, or it could be completely unrelated to the candy, maybe frustrations left over from an earlier incident. anything, really!