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Naughty behaviour in 3year old

(36 Posts)
Greciangirl Thu 08-Nov-18 14:31:16

My 3year old Dgs has started behaving badly.eg. Throwing things at his mother and myself.
Also, biting her, refusing to get dressed, in fact not cooperating with just about everything.
My poor Dd has health problems and his behaviour is not helping one little bit.
He also wakes up every morning at around 5.30 and won’t go back to sleep. She has tried cutting out his daytime naps, but it doesn’t seem to have made any difference. He attends nursery three days a week, so he is generally tired out.
My Dd and partner are separated and dgs stays with his dad twice a week.
I’m wondering if that has anything to do with his behaviour.
Both parents are very loving towards him and I know Dd tries to do her best. In fact, sometimes I think she tries too hard.
Any advice on how to handle dgs would be very much appreciated by others who have experienced a similar situation.

M0nica Thu 08-Nov-18 15:38:16

It sound like the terrible twos, but a year later. Small children do go through phases like this, but I would not discount the possibility of having to split his life between his parents as a contributory factor.

Mabel2 Thu 08-Nov-18 15:59:57

I would check what his behaviour is like at his dad's and at nursery. Is nursery a new thing in his life? He sounds like he's upset about something but is unable to articulate it so is acting out. Look for changes that he may be reacting to, but don't make a big issue of his behaviour. I found with my dd and others I've had dealings with that firm but calm correction usually works best

paddyann Thu 08-Nov-18 16:31:24

its probably his parents split thats the root of this.My GD had a really awful few months after her parents split ,she was moody and refused to do anything that was asked of her .She settled down eventually until Daddy announced he was getting married and then we had a real meltdown,she didn't want her dads partner ,who she got on well with,to have the same surname as her dad and her as it was THEIR name and mummies ,she broke her wee heart on the wedding day and her Grandpa and I had to go rescue her and bring her home with us.People underestimate the result of a breakup on small children and I would give your GS all the love and support you can ,he has no idea why his world has changed and he doesn't like it .

nanaK54 Thu 08-Nov-18 16:51:09

How is his behaviour at nursery?

Coolgran65 Thu 08-Nov-18 16:56:04

My lovely DIL has always said that the terrible threes were worse that the terrible twos....

sodapop Thu 08-Nov-18 17:34:24

Maybe your daughter needs to talk to the child's father and see how things are when he stays there. They need to be consistent and firm when dealing with this behaviour. The little boy is insecure and worried about the family separation, if the parents work together they can reduce his anxiety. You can help Greciangirl with love and support. Toddlers can be a nightmare all on their own without adding a family split to the mix.

Jalima1108 Thu 08-Nov-18 18:59:23

The Thunderous Threes
Often worse than the Terrible Twos

You have to be firm, consistent and let him know he is still loved by everyone.

MissAdventure Thu 08-Nov-18 19:02:41

I expect the routine at his dads may be different than at home. bed times may be much later, discipline may be lax..
I've lost count of the number I've times I've heard mums say "he/she is always like this when he/she comes back from their dad".

Jalima1108 Thu 08-Nov-18 19:04:04

5.40 am is really 6.30 am - he won't know about the clocks going back.

Jalima1108 Thu 08-Nov-18 19:04:40

That was a typo blush
I am not that bad at maths grin

lemongrove Thu 08-Nov-18 19:07:01

Of course it’s the parents splitting up that has caused his upset and consequent behaviour, as surely as night follows day.
He needs to be told that Mummy and Daddy love him and the adults have to be civil with one another in front of him, and not only that, to be sure not to have conversations criticising either M or D in front of him.His little world has changed, he doesn’t feel safe and he needs extra love not punishments.

Mabel2 Thu 08-Nov-18 19:20:08

Lemongrove, there's no of course about it. It could be his parents split, it could be nursery, it could be a combination of both. A three year old can't tell you, but they still need to know that bad behaviour won't be tolerated in a calm but firm way, along with praising their good behaviour. Setting boundaries help children feel loved and secure.

Jalima1108 Thu 08-Nov-18 19:22:27

It will have exacerbated his behaviour and he needs to feel secure.
If he has just started nursery that could mean that he is wondering what mummy is doing while he's there - and why he is there in fact. He may be behaving at nursery but is feeling uncertain as his little world has changed.

However, three-year-olds can be much worse behaviourally than two-year-olds in our experience and can have quite astonishing meltdowns.
With loving consistency they can become delightful and generally well-behaved four year olds.

lemongrove Thu 08-Nov-18 19:32:23

Am amazed Mabel that anyone would think it only ‘could’
Be the reason ( marriage break up) three year olds are old enough to feel upset and it will come out in their aggressive behaviour as they cannot have a reasonable conversation about it to their Mother!
The OP doesn’t say that the child is badly behaved at nursery, but at home with his Mummy.
Marriage break up is impossibly hard on a small child.

Bridgeit Thu 08-Nov-18 19:43:23

Firstly sorry to read what your family is dealing with at the moment. however it always amazes me that we tend to be a bit taken aback when young children have to deal with changes & complexity that we as adults find so distressing.
Lots of love & lots of extra , cuddles & reassurance that he is loved & everything is ok. Best wishes

Bridgeit Thu 08-Nov-18 19:44:24

Should read give him extra love& cuddles etc

Jobey68 Thu 08-Nov-18 20:02:03

Providing he's not subject to seeing his parents tear strips off each other I would be surprised if at 3 he's got much of a grasp about his parents having separated. Children that age just take things at face value, daddy living in an different house really wouldn't mean that much to him I'm sure.

Providing he's loved and cared for between both parents it will just become the norm for him very quickly.
My nieces little girl is 2.5 and regularly has sleep overs with us, her nana, and her grandad, none of this unsettles her, she is adored by us all and happy to be with each of us, never asks for her parents and is quite content , she loves it!

Having bought up two boys this all sounds pretty normal to me, consistent discipline and boundaries will do the trick , he's testing right now and just needs to learn what behaviour is and isn't acceptable.

EllanVannin Thu 08-Nov-18 20:06:19

Separation of any sort upsets a child and when they're too young to tell you it comes out in their behaviour. You'll just have to let it run its course and ignore the behaviour and throwing things or he'll do it all the more. When children don't have an audience they won't perform. Three is probably worse than two as I take no notice of my 3 year old GGD when she has a meltdown I just pretend she isn't there, she's a little imp and swears too.
I suppose we all make allowances as she spent a couple of weeks in SCBU when she was born and was covered in tubes and wires so her mum couldn't bond with her properly. Her smile is something else----so is her behaviour !
As long as they're loved they're happy and feel secure.

Harris27 Fri 09-Nov-18 10:11:06

I'm a qualified nursery nurse and first port of call would be his key worker at nursery all in confidence and they would appreciate you informing them of any change in behaviour. It could be some transition difference between rooms or home area. Please have a word and it will help I'm sure.

Greciangirl Fri 09-Nov-18 10:47:28

Thank you all grans for your invaluable advice regarding my dgs.
Apparently he is well behaved at nursery but thus term he was moved up a class, so that was a bit unsettling for him.

His dad says he doesn’t play him up.
I will definitely try to ignore his bad behaviour, but a bit difficult for Dd when she is trying to get him ready to go out etc.

,

marionk Fri 09-Nov-18 10:56:53

They may have separated ages ago so it may not be a contributing factor

EthelJ Fri 09-Nov-18 11:04:01

I think three year olds are generally more difficult than two year olds. They want to be independent, but are not yet old enough to do everything for themselves. So they get frustrated and that can come out as angry and trying to exert as much control as they can. Also in the case of my DGS at the same time they like the security of familial things. My DD moved countries when my DGS was almost three and he had many many tantrums. I think all you can do is be patient, give him as much reassurance as possible and try and be consistent in your approach. I know this is much easier said than done in the middle of a full scale tantrum though! Good luck I am sure it will pass soon.

quizqueen Fri 09-Nov-18 11:49:02

Just because his dad says 'he doesn't play him up' doesn't mean the child doesn't. His dad may have different standards so he gets away with more or he could be very strict. He may be bribing him to behave or putting him to bed too late or perhaps the dad just doesn't notice his bad behaviour! His mum is probably the one the child feels most secure with so he shows the worse behaviour to her, unfortunately. All the factors mentioned already by gransnetters will contribute to his change in behaviour. The answer is consistency and 'ignore the bad and praise the good' wherever possible and hope the phase will soon pass!

fluttERBY123 Fri 09-Nov-18 11:50:42

The best option is to ignore bad behaviour and exaggeratedly praise anything good the child does. As for getting dressed, I usually used to tell them a story and when they were fully absorbed in it dress them when they weren't looking as it were. Distraction is the best thing. Telling story "So what did the lion do? Roared - Oh well done (as you put second arm in coat) .This way child does not lose face and before he knows it is out of the door/in bed etc.

Worth a try. (Just noticed this has been said already, but still...)