Are a lot of three-year-olds psycho or are we just lucky?

Two years old was a breeze compared with now. Our oldest is 3 years and a few months- born in January- and in the last couple of months he’s gained this sudden Screamy Weirdo personality, where he contradicts almost everything, throws tantrums over strange things (and at the drop of a hat. Today it was because I didn’t push the stroller, his Grandpa did), and is generally just really horrible.

He’s quite frequently sweet, too, but we’ve got this Jekyll-and-Hyde thing going. He’s also developed a fierce materialism and after being allowed to buy a toy with a Christmas gift card spent the whole rest of the day whining about how he wants a different toy.

We are not awesome and amazing parents, but whining doesn’t get him what he wants, and neither does throwing tantrums. They earn him timeouts and being taken forcibly out of the situations (carried him out of the grocery store a couple of weeks ago while wearing the twenty-pound baby in the Ergo and pushing the stroller. Whew), and consequences (e.g. “We didn’t go out to the park because you threw a fit about the colour of your mittens and we ran out of time”).

We just had a great attempt to get out of bedtime via hysterics and stalling. Also didn’t work. He’s in bed asleep now.

Some of his behavior is directly related to his diabetes- when he’s got high or low blood sugar it throws him really badly, and I know he can’t control himself very well. We sometimes test him to find out if there’s something wrong with his blood sugar or if he’s just being irritating.

I’m not really asking for advice- as I said, we’re coping, we know this will pass (or we’ll sell him for medical research), I was just wondering whether this is normal and whether other people’s kids also went through psycho stages at three.

I guess he’s too young for an insulin pump? Those are supposed to be for people who have trouble regulating their blood sugar.

Neither of my kids were big problems at any age, guess we were lucky.

Absolutely 100% normal.

My daughter actually kept it up when she was with my ex til she was almost 6 but he would give in everytime she threw a tantrum and ignored her when she was being good so I do believe he asked for it.

With me she outgrew it in about 6 months but they were 6 hellish terrible months. I had to walk away from her in a park one day because every time I picked her up she would arch back out of my arms so she could throw herself on the ground again. She wouldn’t stop until I started walking to the car when she got up and followed me. Everytime I tried to wait for her she’d start again. Not one of my favorite kid memories.

A friend of mine had a kid that age 12 was still lying down on the ground, kicking and screaming his tantrums.

I avoided the heck out of that bunch till he went in to the military. (His idea btw, he realized the army had everything his parents had withheld from him, ie, discipline and responsibility)
I wouldn’t be too worried at age 3, but I am looking forward to other responses here.

Yeah, I don’t know why everyone calls it the “Terrible Twos.” Age 3 has been way worse for all of my kids. It’s when they start to grok that they can actually have feelings and opinions that are separate from yours, and start to test the limits of where that line is. This seems to usually involve a lot of screaming and flailing on the floor, and/or scribbling on the walls with crayon.

I’m not a fan.

Lissla, he sounds like virtually every three-year-old I ever worked with. Have you spent much one-on-one time with other kids his age, or are you just guessing based on vague childhood memories of yourself/siblings/cousins that he’s especially difficult?

That’s about the age at which a child starts asserting his independence. It doesn’t always manifest as tantrums, but that’s certainly one way it can go. As long as you don’t encourage him, he’ll probably grow out of it.

Oh, also, I have a parenting trick.

Try this: Sympathize with him briefly. Like, “Oh, you are sad because you wanted the other toy.” Child agrees. “You wish you could have got another toy.” Child agrees more. “I know you are sad.” Etc. I mean, sometimes the tantrum will continue unabated, but I’ve had a surprising amount of success with this tactic. Sometimes just recognizing and agreeing with the kid that, yo, they are feeling sad/angry/whatever right now, will help defuse it a little bit.

That whole “I said I wanted one thing but now I want a different thing,” btw, is epically common in this age group. Some kids have a really hard time dealing with the consequence of making a choice. It’s frustrating as a parent because you’re like, “Look, you CHOSE this. You wanted it! why are you freaking out now?!” but it’s because they can’t focus on the thing they have; they can only focus on the fact that the choice has been made and now they have lost the opportunity to have the thing they didn’t choose.

Whatsit Jr. was really bad with this. I learned that sometimes I needed to just make a choice for him, even though your classic parenting advice is to present the child with a couple of easy choices (i.e. “do you want to go to the park, or the library?”) He would melt down so quickly and easily with certain things that I just stopped giving him the choice for a while. He did eventually grow out of this behavior. (Although at age 9 he is still quite deliberate and slow with making decisions; but he is capable of doing it now without resorting to tantrums and freaking out!)

And, if he’s anything like one of my kids, he might just need more sleep. I’ve got a very opinionated princess that turns into Satan Spawn if she’s tired and cranky.

Just to prepare you for the future in the next stage you will hear the word why at least 300 times a day.

Yeah, I don’t have personal experience with this, but my sister-in-law says that it was “terrible threes” instead of “terrible twos” with all three of her boys. My other sister-in-law’s daughter went through the tantrum stage at age 2 and at almost-3 seems to have calmed down quite a bit.

I’d be interested to know how many people had “terrible twos” kids as opposed to “terrible threes.”

With both my kids it was definitely the terrible threes. My son is three now, and is just impossible. He wants the tiniest things to be his way, and if they aren’t, he’ll throw a fit. Just a bit ago, when I was trying to take him up to bed, he was melting down because I got halfway up the stairs without him. He couldn’t come up to meet me while I waited for him, either. I had to go back down to the bottom so we could go up together. It’s all about control, which I know he is trying to feel out right now, but man oh man it can drive you crazy.

My youngest had easily sufficient terribleness to get through his twos and sustain it through his threes. He is currently coasting along in his fours with plenty of terribleness in the tank. I think he may run out by the time he gets to his fives. I think. Maybe.

Reading this thread makes me wonder… Between this, the fact that when they are really small you can’t sleep because they are always crying, and the fact that when they are teenagers you can’t sleep because they are out at 3AM and you worry… In one word, given the insanity that is parenting… How the HELL hasn’t the human species become extinct?

Yup, sounds normal to me. My Three year old will throw a fit when told to do anything he doesn’t want to do (eat vegetables, pick up toys, etc). He’ll even throw a fit when he forgets where he put his favorite toys and yell at me like I lost them. We’ve had some success by just rewarding good (praise, little treats, more playtime) and punishing bad (time outs, put up toys, etc). He still has days where he just wakes up a rabid, whining, wolverine-boy. The biggest thing is consistency, if he thinks there is even a snowballs chance of us giving in to his high pitched demands; he digs in his heels and doubles the fit throwing.

Threes are little shitheads. Two year olds are too, but at least they’re small enough and slow enough to catch up with.

But three year olds are a class unto themselves. I had four of them, and they were all little scrogs at three. By the age of 24, they do grow out of it apparently. :smiley:

Advice? Got none…just survive it as best you can.


Stay consistent is all I will advise. My daughter had her moments at that age, but we stayed firm in never giving in to bad behavior and always praising good behavior. Now, at age 4 1/2, she is currently a little angel.

It’s normal. 3 is not so good.

Ahh, you’ve only got one kid then OneAOW? That’s not exactly a good sample to draw a statistical analysis from…but good onya for raising an angel all the same.


number 2 due in approx 6 months. Will be interesting to see how the (currently) angelic one handles the change.