Loving him anyway

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m personally battling some crazy three-year-old behavior these days! Never did I realize the “terrible twos” would turn into something worse; something for which this mama was not prepared.

Looking back, I (lovingly) blame my mother for my gross unpreparedness. She would often comment that of our youth, her favorite age was “3”. She would describe our emerging personalities and how fun it was to interact with us as little people and hear the funny expressions coming from our mouths. I’ll agree with her on a certain level–M’s (our oldest) verbal skills have done a 180 in the last couple months. Being a later talker, he now expresses himself freely (part of the problem) and has some pretty entertaining things to say. Just the other day we were chuckling at his comments about wanting to see the circus–“elephants and clowns and ducks” (ducks?) Not sure where that last one came from, but funny anyway! I also love how affectionate he’s become in his 3-year-old ways. He is quick to offer his mommy hugs and kisses and can be quite loving, which is unusual for this independent kiddo.

All that aside, I’m dealing with many of his 3-year-old extremes. Whines are prevalent as are “NO!”s in response to our requests. We are also dealing with extreme obstinance when we offer a “no” to one of his requests. Add to all of this his extreme sensitivity–he bursts into tears at the slightest hint of anger. Oh Lord, help!

I need advice. I need wisdom. I need anything. Please!

To give you an idea of what we are doing to cope, here’s a list of discipline/everday “tools” that we vary throughout the day:
1. “I don’t understand you when you whine”; he has to repeat without whine
2. time-outs in corner followed by face-to-face discussion of problem
3. time-outs in room (this used especially when emotion/tears are prevalent and won’t stop)
4. toy time-outs
5. reward removal
6. time countdowns (for activity change)

I would love any suggestions and encouragement! Please tell me this is a phase and that I just have a very strong-willed, passionate three-year-old?! Blessings to you.
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