Mom & Dad Monday

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By Rebecca Teti

Monday: Parenting

(Join each day’s Coffee Talk discussion: Mon: Parenting; Tues: Open Forum; Wed: NFP; Thu: Marriage; Fri: Education; Sat/Sun: Changing Roles)

Terrible toddlers? Trying teens? Something in between? This weekly forum is the spot to share your questions and struggles about all things related to parenthood.

Please join us!

Rebecca Teti


  • My three-year-old son has been acting HORRIBLY. Sometimes he'll be just as normal as the day is long and then we have days, like today, where he is just awful. I'm praying it's just a phase (our Terrible Twos weren't too terrible so maybe this is the Trying Threes?). He gets angry and yells "I don't like ____" (insert Santa, presents, his sister's name, whatever food we're eating, etc.). Sometimes he'll throw things (toys, nothing dangerous) and he can turn on the tears at the drop of a hat. Then, a few seconds or minutes later he'll say, "I DO like ____" (insert Santa, presents, etc.) and he'll act nice and normal. In my overactive imagination I imagine the worst--that he has some sort of mental illness, personality disorder, etc. But since he's my first child, maybe I'm just overreacting (I hope!). I know I need to change my method of reacting to his bad attitude--I have a tendency to yell which I know isn't positive. It's just that I'll generally react without thinking. Any prayers and/or suggestions and/or words of support would be greatly appreciated.

    Posted on Dec 17th, 2012 at 10:31 AM by unknown

  • Unknown- I am by no means an expert but I have 6 kids(11,9,7,4,2,6 months) and that sounds like a normal day at our house. I usually just ignore the annoying stuff, like whining, and have a consistent consequence for the dangerous behaviors, like throwing things, hitting, etc. I also have learned to pick my battles carefully. If is is not something you will enforce consistently, let it slide. Otherwise, I would spend my whole day correcting kids:) I understand how hard it is to not yell, especially when your day isn't going so smooth either. I am always praying about this. I wear a miraculous medal and clench it when I feel like losing it or I will pray a Hail Mary or sing a song. Sometimes it helps to purposefully speak in a very soft voice too. The kids get the message:) I will pray for you.

    Posted on Dec 17th, 2012 at 10:53 AM by Sarah

  • I don't have any advice, but my 4 year old boy is exactly the same as your 3 year old. I had two girls first and it seems like when they turn 5, they seem to "mature" a little, so I can reason with their irrational behavior. I know this probably doesn't help. But, you are not alone.

    Posted on Dec 17th, 2012 at 11:08 AM by Mommyto3

  • You're not alone! Thank you for posting this. I am experiencing the *exact* same things with my 3-year-old -- and I, too, have an overactive imagination that goes to the worst places. I do think some of it is "the terrible 3s." He's testing boundaries, and the holidays are filled with all sorts of emotions and excitement. But I really don't know. My 3yo is my only child, and I'd love to hear other parents' experiences. PLEASE!

    Posted on Dec 17th, 2012 at 11:08 AM by Katherine

  • I feel your frustration! My 3.5 y-o is the same. You could offer him a giant pile of candy and a trip to Disneyland and he'd still yell that he hates it - just b/c we suggested it. I found the Ames and Ilg books very helpful. The titles are easy - "Your One-year-old" etc - and they are spot on. I started reading the 3-y-o book when my oldest was 3.5 and wondered where they were getting this description of a sweet compliant child. Then the next paragraph said, "Now, your 3 and a half year old, on the other hand..." and proceeded to describe exactly how dd was acting. Excellent books for insight into how your kid's mind works (and motor development and all kinds of things) and as a check for what's normal!

    Posted on Dec 17th, 2012 at 12:08 PM by Anna

  • We've been there too. Our boy is now 4. Since he's my first, i also imagined the worst but it got better. Not getting emotionally involved with his frustrations helped. My son also "normalized" when I told him he couldn't act terrible and then I promptly put his shoes on and put him outside to play. Love and Logic presentations are also a huge help.

    Posted on Dec 17th, 2012 at 12:43 PM by AM

  • I have 7 kids and for most the terrible two's haven't happened (with one notable exception but then she is the exception for every rule LOL) but the terrible 3's have happened to all of them. I would second Sarah's advice--choose what you really can't tolerate and be consistent correcting those behaviors. I think you can use any number of "systems" that help you approach undesired behavior and probably most will work equally well as long as you are consistent. Dr Ray Guarendi says that studies show that parents who are really consistent --the best of the best--are consistent about 40% of the time (or some other ridiculously low number--I can't find the real number with a quick google search) so don't freak out if you fail here and there but keep trying. Finally, not to be discouraging, but my boys seem to take longer to get over this type of behavior then my girls and I truly think 5 is the "worst" age for boys for misbehavior so know that you are in it for the long haul. The encouraging part is that at 3 I have had a really hard time liking some of my kids but by 5 (even though they can still be bad) I really, really enjoy them!

    Posted on Dec 17th, 2012 at 1:27 PM by Lisa

  • Thank you SO much--all of you! Your words have been such an encouragement! And our afternoon has gone a LOT better than this morning so I'll pray that this continues! And thank you also for easing my overactive imagination back into it's little closet. :-) Also, Lisa--Thank you for the comment about your difficulty in liking some of the kids at 3 but enjoying them by 5! That made me laugh!

    Posted on Dec 17th, 2012 at 1:47 PM by unknown

  • Also, I just wanted to add that I teach Sunday school to kids 3-6 years of age. One boy inparticular has been in my class since he was 3. He is now 6. I dreaded teaching class because he was such a terror-very disruptive and NEVER listened. He would talk back all the time and could not sit still. This year he started kindergarten and is a completely different child. He participates, answers questions, and sits still for the most part. I have noticed this with my own kids too when they start school. They seem to mature a lot or at least don't have PUBLIC meltdowns anymore. This boy gives me hope because now my 4 year old boy is the disruptive student in my class - so I am reassured that it may just be a phase:)

    Posted on Dec 17th, 2012 at 2:35 PM by Sarah

  • I have been frustrated with my children often also and it just seems like it gets worse, not better. Found a great book called Duct Tape Parenting by Vicki Hoefle. It is not Catholic, but it is turning out to be a wonderful resource. She has 20 years of experience helping parents like you and I have relationships with our children (and not just playing games, but RELATIONSHIPS). She is actually a consultant and provides classes in her area. I am enjoying it so far. I have tried so many Band-Aid tactics just to get through the day. I'm tired of them not working/not lasting. I just started so I don't have progress to report as she said the results are not immediate, but they are lasting. Works for me! ;)

    Posted on Dec 18th, 2012 at 5:29 AM by Karen

  • Art and Laraine Bennett have a series of books on temperament that are simply awesome (they are Catholic). They have helped me understand myself and my husband and my children. In the process of all of that, I have gained so many insights and more respect for each one of us, including myself. It might help some of you who may deal with the "difficult" child, whether it's at home or in the CCD classroom. Don't mean to inundate everyone with books, but they are my faves right now! ;)

    Posted on Dec 18th, 2012 at 5:32 AM by Karen

  • Sounds like a typical 3 year old boy. They're trying to assert their individuality and change their mind so much I was sure THEY didn't know what they wanted! Hang in there, it will pass. And I agree that usually about 5 they start to get it and you have less behavior problems.

    Posted on Dec 26th, 2012 at 7:48 PM by sarah

  • will not have another day, minute by minute will not go back, so be sure to cherish every minute. There is a pursuit, obviously disappointed, but would not go back. There is an effort, obviously fail, but do not want to stop. There is a love, obviously wrong, but would not let go; there is a beautiful, obviously fantasy, but do not want to wake upLife is sometimes not with right and wrong measured; life is not a coin that is not being anti-; life is not go, either black or white. Life, so many things in life, this is a lot of love, there is no reason, and without reason, love is love, love is love, there is no result, and without result, willingly, no regrets. Life is not really perfect, not only is the most perfect real beauty; life is not always successful, is the real success only stood up in frustration, only the flash of life is both eternal life. Do not pessimistic that he is very unfortunate, even more attitude towards life, happiness is their own thing, as long as like, you can always replace their remote controls, to adjust the window to the soul happy channel. Learn to be happy, even sad, but also smiling face. Institute of loneliness, not who will treat you as guarding treasure. Learn to be independent, can no longer blindly trouble others, their own thing their own. Institute of unsympathetic, the roll to roll, stay on the left. Learn to grow up, you can not be so capricious. Learn to forget, can not live in the past time. The mood is an emotional state, it has a good mood, it has self-confidence, and then have a young and healthy. To have a future life of longing, full of expectations, so we have a good mood, because the life is luck and happiness. Give yourself a good mood, let the world smile at you; to others a good mood, make us smile for life, good mood is the wealth of life, let us always accompanied by a good mood. People on such a life, fun is the day, is not happy day, so you must make yourself happy. People on such a life, not something wrong again, another broken heart is difficult to heal, so you will not regret it. People on such a life, after today unfortunate than you actually are still many people; not optimistic that he is very great, in fact, you just drop in the ocean. Learn to adapt, make your environment becomes bright; learn to adjust, so that you no longer feel sad; learn to be tolerant and let your life without trouble; learn dedication, make your life full of sunshine. In fact, the skies are blue, clouds the total to be scattered; in fact, the sea is not wide, the other side even to this shore; in fact, tears are sweet, when your heart to do so. With emotion to see the world is a tragedy, a comedy is a rational look. Sometimes not understand, just do not want to understand, and sometimes do not know or just do not want to say it. Sometimes he does see, but understand not do anything, so he remained silent. Some words, for keeping everything just some pain, only for silent forget some memories, only suitable for occasional out aftertaste. All the days will come, all the days, and will be the last, as if everything happened, and as if everything did not happen.Has been called back for a century,

    Posted on Sep 2nd, 2016 at 4:18 AM by wty123