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spiderlashes5000 01-07-2008 09:41 AM

Problem w/ 3 year old
 
Prior to my getting pregnant 9 months ago, 3 year old DD and I got along great. I was probably her "favorite" parent (although she was crazy about her father, too) and we had a lot of fun together. But I was sick, tired and miserable during most of my pregnancy, and I really couldn't do much with her. I felt guilty about it but I figured she'd get over it as soon as the baby was born...

But she hasn't. Now she doesn't listen at all, and she tells me she doesn't like me, she doesn't love me, she likes daddy better than she likes me, that we're not friends, that she doesn't have to listen to me, etc. I'd love to be able to try to "win her back" by taking her places now and doing stuff with her but I'm still in a lot of pain (will need to start physical therapy soon), and the new baby demands a lot of my time and can't go out much yet.

Even though I'm home on maternity leave, I still send her to daycare parttime because she loves it and I don't want to disrupt her whole routine. But she's really acting up there, too. So I've had to become the "mean disciplinarian"...which isn't winning me any favors, either.

DD doesn't seem typically jealous of the baby. But she sure does seem mad at me.

Anyone experience this? What did you do/would you do?

Oregano (formerly babywavy) 01-07-2008 09:48 AM

Just my opinions - so take them or leave them.

First off, sounds like she's a typical 3 year old. They go through that stage of 'not liking you', or wanting daddy around instead. You don't need to 'win her back'. Your her mommy, and she will love you no matter what. It's not a popularity contest.

I've found that although I love my daughter, I don't like her as a toddler. She just happens to be a very difficult, independent one that likes to test me very often. Plus, I think we have very different personalities, which doesn't make me love her any less, but makes me feel guilty b/c we don't connect as much as I'd like.

Finally, I think you may be inadvertantly sending the wrong message by sending her to daycare even though you're home. I would think a child would subconciously feel jealous and hurt b/c you're home, and the baby is home, but she gets sent away. She may feel replaced in a way, or that you would rather spend time w/ the baby and send her away.

Which is understandable to me. I mean, sometimes I'd love to send my 3 year old away - lol - and the baby is so new, and growing so fast, plus I'm trying to get to know her. Not to mention, I have no reason to yell at the baby, but I feel like I'm always scolding my toddler. When I hear the scales being tipped that way, I try to be more understanding of her.

rainshower 01-07-2008 10:00 AM

will it make you feel better if i tell you that my then 3-year-old son would try to push his newborn sister out of my arms (no, really) so that he could have my lap?

i agree that this is typical behavior for a toddler who is adjusting to an expanding family and can't have the same kind of attention from you on demand like she used to. i think it's great that she is still going to daycare. kids need routine at this age of development. anytime the dynamics of their circle is changed, it sometimes takes a lot for them to adjust.

i will add that she needs to understand that she does have to do what you say. and i wouldn't look at you enforcing and correcting her behavior as being mean as much as it is you being unyielding in what you expect of her.

i used to read to my kids' preschool classes and it was interesting to see how a group of kids adjusted to a new student or to a student who left for kindergarten. sometimes pure anarchy would erupt! ha! i'm trying to make you laugh. but i'm really serious. :wink:

rainshower 01-07-2008 10:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by babywavy (Post 458365)
I think you may be inadvertantly sending the wrong message by sending her to daycare even though you're home. I would think a child would subconciously feel jealous and hurt b/c you're home, and the baby is home, but she gets sent away. She may feel replaced in a way, or that you would rather spend time w/ the baby and send her away.

i respect your opinions. but i disagree with this. i NEEDED our son to be in preschool after we brought our newborn home. it was a tough transition for him (see my post above about him trying to push her out of my arms). and if i was going to relax during my maternity leave and get used to a routine with an additional baby, i needed him gone half the day so that i could accomplish that. just being able to sleep for an extra hour in the morning gave me enough energy to handle both our kids' needs in the afternoon before my husband came home.

him forming new relationships in preschool was exactly what he needed to take his little mind off of any feelings of being cast aside or left out, even if it was just for half a day. had he been home all day with us, we would have had more conflicts with my time-management of two needy babies, me needing rest, me needing to prepare meals, clean, doctor's visits, etc.

my husband only had 2 weeks off after our daughter was born, so after that, i was flying solo. i would have returned to work a mental, emotional, twitching hot mess if my son hadn't had a structured outlet for half the day.

plus, our son had been kept by my mother for his first 3+ years. he was an only child and didn't have enough consistent interaction with other children his age. he benefited from being in preschool at just that time (almost 4 years old).

so on the contrary, i think that him being in preschool was perfect timing for us all.

Oregano (formerly babywavy) 01-07-2008 10:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rainshower (Post 458389)
Quote:

Originally Posted by babywavy (Post 458365)
I think you may be inadvertantly sending the wrong message by sending her to daycare even though you're home. I would think a child would subconciously feel jealous and hurt b/c you're home, and the baby is home, but she gets sent away. She may feel replaced in a way, or that you would rather spend time w/ the baby and send her away.

i respect your opinions. but i disagree with this. i NEEDED our son to be in preschool after we brought our newborn home. it was a tough transition for him (see my post above about him trying to push her out of my arms). and if i was going to relax during my maternity leave and get used to a routine with an additional baby, i needed him gone half the day so that i could accomplish that. just being able to sleep for an extra hour in the morning gave me enough energy to handle both our kids' needs in the afternoon before my husband came home.

him forming new relationships in preschool was exactly what he needed to take his little mind off of any feelings of being cast aside or left out, even if it was just for half a day. had he been home all day with us, we would have had more conflicts with my time-management of two needy babies, me needing rest, me needing to prepare meals, clean, doctor's visits, etc.

my husband only had 2 weeks off after our daughter was born, so after that, i was flying solo. i would have returned to work a mental, emotional, twitching hot mess if my son hadn't had a structured outlet for half the day.

plus, our son had been kept by my mother for his first 3+ years. he was an only child and didn't have enough consistent interaction with other children his age. he benefited from being in preschool at just that time (almost 4 years old).

so on the contrary, i think that him being in preschool was perfect timing for us all.


It's one of those controversial subjects that some people are either emphatically for, or against. Personally, I don't agree w/ daycare. Even though my child my do very well in it, it's just not for us.

Granted, children, situations, parents, are all different, so what works for one may not work for another.

I too am often flying solo w/ the kids, and my child is a complete maniac at time. So yes, I am sometimes a twitching, emotional and mental mess- but I don't go to work, I stay home which is why I feel like my kids should just be with me.

But again, agree or disagree, everyone has their own opinions about that subject.

spiderlashes5000 01-07-2008 10:19 AM

OK, I feel a tiny bit better since you both say this is typical 3 year old behavior. But why??? I was thinking of *her* when I decided to have the 2nd baby...so she'd always have a sibling to be close to. But the whole thing really backfired on me. Now she hates me...but loves daddy. I cook her breakfast...but she wants to eat it with daddy. I buy her bedroom furniture...but only daddy can sit on her bed. I made her pajamas...but daddy has to help her put them on. grrrrrr

What am I supposed to say when she says these things? I always hear about the strained mother/daughter reltionship dynamic. And I want to avoid that. Will she out grow this? What about all the women out there who hate their mothers. How do you know it didn't start out this way?:-?

Yeah, I'm really torn on the daycare thing. She loves daycare; all of her friends are there. I worry that she'd be really sad if she had to stop going and she'd blame the baby. But it could help her feel more connected to the baby if she stayed home with me and "helped" me with him.

But in general, I love the idea of daycare/preschool.

rainshower 01-07-2008 10:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by babywavy (Post 458395)
Quote:

Originally Posted by rainshower (Post 458389)
Quote:

Originally Posted by babywavy (Post 458365)
I think you may be inadvertantly sending the wrong message by sending her to daycare even though you're home. I would think a child would subconciously feel jealous and hurt b/c you're home, and the baby is home, but she gets sent away. She may feel replaced in a way, or that you would rather spend time w/ the baby and send her away.

i respect your opinions. but i disagree with this. i NEEDED our son to be in preschool after we brought our newborn home. it was a tough transition for him (see my post above about him trying to push her out of my arms). and if i was going to relax during my maternity leave and get used to a routine with an additional baby, i needed him gone half the day so that i could accomplish that. just being able to sleep for an extra hour in the morning gave me enough energy to handle both our kids' needs in the afternoon before my husband came home.

him forming new relationships in preschool was exactly what he needed to take his little mind off of any feelings of being cast aside or left out, even if it was just for half a day. had he been home all day with us, we would have had more conflicts with my time-management of two needy babies, me needing rest, me needing to prepare meals, clean, doctor's visits, etc.

my husband only had 2 weeks off after our daughter was born, so after that, i was flying solo. i would have returned to work a mental, emotional, twitching hot mess if my son hadn't had a structured outlet for half the day.

plus, our son had been kept by my mother for his first 3+ years. he was an only child and didn't have enough consistent interaction with other children his age. he benefited from being in preschool at just that time (almost 4 years old).

so on the contrary, i think that him being in preschool was perfect timing for us all.


It's one of those controversial subjects that some people are either emphatically for, or against. Personally, I don't agree w/ daycare. Even though my child my do very well in it, it's just not for us.

Granted, children, situations, parents, are all different, so what works for one may not work for another.

I too am often flying solo w/ the kids, and my child is a complete maniac at time. So yes, I am sometimes a twitching, emotional and mental mess- but I don't go to work, I stay home which is why I feel like my kids should just be with me.

But again, agree or disagree, everyone has their own opinions about that subject.

i actually don't look at daycare and preschool as controversial subjects at all. to me, they are simply resources that are available for people to use. nothing more, nothing less.

rainshower 01-07-2008 10:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000 (Post 458397)
OK, I feel a tiny bit better since you both say this is typical 3 year old behavior. But why??? I was thinking of *her* when I decided to have the 2nd baby...so she'd always have a sibling to be close to. But the whole thing really backfired on me. Now she hates me...but loves daddy. I cook her breakfast...but she wants to eat it with daddy. I buy her bedroom furniture...but only daddy can sit on her bed. I made her pajamas...but daddy has to help her put them on. grrrrrr

What am I supposed to say when she says these things? I always hear about the strained mother/daughter reltionship dynamic. And I want to avoid that. Will she out grow this? What about all the women out there who hate their mothers. How do you know it didn't start out this way?:-?

Yeah, I'm really torn on the daycare thing. She loves daycare; all of her friends are there. I worry that she'd be really sad if she had to stop going and she'd blame the baby. But it could help her feel more connected to the baby if she stayed home with me and "helped" me with him.

But in general, I love the idea of daycare/preschool.

your toddler is smart. she is picking up on your insecurities and worries over her behavior now. you are giving her the upper hand when you try to cater to her and be her buddy. this is short-lived behavior until she gets adjusted to her sibling. as our daughter got older and more animated and fun to play with, our son softened and enjoyed being around her. he actually taught her to walk by holding her up by her hands all the time as she took steps.

your daughter will come around and her brassness will diminish. i wouldn't try to buy her affection by doing stuff for her just so she'll toss you a bone here or there. i think that could be more detrimental to your bond than if you ignored her "i like daddy best" remarks, reassured your love for her, and reinforced your expectation of respectful conduct from her.

i imagine that all kids who aren't only children should grow up to hate their mothers because they had to share their mothers' attention. there really is enough love to go around. you know this, and she'll eventually know it too. she is still a baby.

the only thing you can predict about a toddler's behavior is that it is unpredictable. in a week, you may be writing a topic about how you are now her best friend and how she doesn't like her father! toddlers are crazy!

geeky 01-07-2008 10:59 AM

I have just one three year old, and I can echo that they can just be not very likeable and can get on your last nerve, baby or not. The not listening, the attitude, the drama, the "I don't like you" is just part of the three year old landscape. Add a new baby into the mix and it gets more intense.

I think it's fine that your daughter continues day care. If this is something that she is used to then I personally think it is good for her to continue her routine and her friends and her other stuff. She may feel jealous that baby gets to stay home, but I don't think her staying home with you would make the situation any better. She'd get less stimulation and less attention and you would be stretched even thinner.

I know it hurts to hear things like "I don't like you". In our experience (and this was my son saying that to my husband), the more you try to push yourself on them, the more they resist. What I try to say when my son says that to me is "It makes me sad to hear that, because I like you a lot and love you very much" and then just walk away and not force the issue. If daddy is available to put on pajamas, let him do it. If daddy is not available or able to do it, I say "I know you want daddy but he is busy (or whatever) now so I will help you". Kids change their "favorite" parent, and after a period of aversion to my husband they are now best buds, so it will pass.

I think even though you say she doesn't seem jealous, I am sure she is. It's a huge transition for her. You don't need to win her by doing happy fun outings. It would probably help for your husband to take over baby duty for a while and you spend a little time with your daughter. It can be something simple like reading her favorite book to her. Little every day things on a pretty consistent basis.

Quote:

But why??? I was thinking of *her* when I decided to have the 2nd baby...so she'd always have a sibling to be close to. But the whole thing really backfired on me.
Their relationship will change over time too. Right now the baby is not a great playmate. Does not DO anything except lie there, poop, cry and suck all of mommy's time and attention. As baby grows more interactive, they will actually be able to play together.
Also, you really can't guarantee that sibs will be close. Even if you do everything right as a parent (if there is such a thing) they may be best friends, or they may not. They may be great friends as kids and then grow distant, or they may not get along all through childhood and grow super-close as adults. You don't have control over that part. You can demand that they treat each other with respect and consideration and empathy while they reside in your home, but the rest is up to them.

Good luck. I'm gonna be facing similar things in a few months.

spiderlashes5000 01-07-2008 11:10 AM

What a dork I am, allowing a 3 y/o to manipulate me like this! LOL

She's never said she didn't like either of us or deliberately tried to be mean to either of us before now. I always thought she was the best, cutest, funniest little kid; before now I never considered her a brat or unpleasant to be around. So this is all new to me. I'd been loving the toddler years...

Thanks, everyone! Good luck, geeky.

geeky 01-07-2008 11:25 AM

Just remember, developmentally she has no perspective. So when she says "I hate you, you are the meanest mommy in the world" or whatever, at that moment, likely she really is feeling it. Though, at 3 is when they do start to develop some abilities for manipulation too. Just remember it is not malicious - she is trying to make sense of her world and how she can exert control over it.

marielle448 01-07-2008 11:26 AM

nah you're not allowing her to manipulate you, you are just having very normal guilt and overwhelming feelings while adjusting to parenting more than one child. I wish I could say it goes away at some point but honestly the guilt just changes.

As far as her behavior, 3 was tough. Very tough. We hardly left the house tough. Three and a half, ummm not much better. Four has been a very welcome change. Two year olds with their behavior ask the question, "how can I control me?", three year olds ask the question, "how can I control others?" and it's very normal for them to go through this stage. It's just your job as a parent to guide them on what is an appropriate way to channel their new found independence. I know right now with that teeny newborn in your arms she suddenly looks SOOOO big and grown but she's still so young and needs you & daddy for tons of help still.

If you have any time to read (honestly I know it's tough to find the time to pee right now) get a copy of Your Three Year Old by Ames & Ilg. You'll laugh and their hilarious accuracy in listing common behaviors for this age and you'll rest assured that she is quite well on the path of development for a three year old.

Amneris 01-07-2008 11:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by babywavy (Post 458395)
Quote:

Originally Posted by rainshower (Post 458389)
Quote:

Originally Posted by babywavy (Post 458365)
I think you may be inadvertantly sending the wrong message by sending her to daycare even though you're home. I would think a child would subconciously feel jealous and hurt b/c you're home, and the baby is home, but she gets sent away. She may feel replaced in a way, or that you would rather spend time w/ the baby and send her away.

i respect your opinions. but i disagree with this. i NEEDED our son to be in preschool after we brought our newborn home. it was a tough transition for him (see my post above about him trying to push her out of my arms). and if i was going to relax during my maternity leave and get used to a routine with an additional baby, i needed him gone half the day so that i could accomplish that. just being able to sleep for an extra hour in the morning gave me enough energy to handle both our kids' needs in the afternoon before my husband came home.

him forming new relationships in preschool was exactly what he needed to take his little mind off of any feelings of being cast aside or left out, even if it was just for half a day. had he been home all day with us, we would have had more conflicts with my time-management of two needy babies, me needing rest, me needing to prepare meals, clean, doctor's visits, etc.

my husband only had 2 weeks off after our daughter was born, so after that, i was flying solo. i would have returned to work a mental, emotional, twitching hot mess if my son hadn't had a structured outlet for half the day.

plus, our son had been kept by my mother for his first 3+ years. he was an only child and didn't have enough consistent interaction with other children his age. he benefited from being in preschool at just that time (almost 4 years old).

so on the contrary, i think that him being in preschool was perfect timing for us all.


It's one of those controversial subjects that some people are either emphatically for, or against. Personally, I don't agree w/ daycare. Even though my child my do very well in it, it's just not for us.

Granted, children, situations, parents, are all different, so what works for one may not work for another.

I too am often flying solo w/ the kids, and my child is a complete maniac at time. So yes, I am sometimes a twitching, emotional and mental mess- but I don't go to work, I stay home which is why I feel like my kids should just be with me.

But again, agree or disagree, everyone has their own opinions about that subject.

Yeah, but spidey works and is going back to work, and her child has been in daycare in the past and will need to be there in the future since both parents work.

From what I have read, it is best to get children on the long-term routine they will be in before a major change like a new baby, and to maintain that routine no matter what, which is what spidey is doing by sending her daughter to day care. Many experts think it is good for children to have their own life and peer group so they do not completely rely on their parents for validation and attention.

I think it sounds like typical 3-year-old behaviour as well (no 3-year-olds myself but I know and have known plenty!) My mama said we all went through mama stages and dada stages. The changes of pregnancy and a new baby may have increased it a bit. I would do what you can to show Q she is loved - try to have a bedtime routine with her (bath, story etc.) - get hubby to watch the baby for that half hour or whatever. Find something for her to do with you while you nurse the baby - Mama used to read to one child and nurse another at the same time, or let the other children snuggle beside her while she nursed, or we would all sleep/rest together. You can get her involved with you and the baby by "letting" her help you with little things and make little decisions (like what the baby should wear.)

marielle448 01-07-2008 11:44 AM

also forgot to mention two random things:

1. don't discount her adjusting to baby. It will take a loooong time to get adjusted to a sibling. They may not even end up friends (I know *gasp* every parent's nightmare but read Siblings Without Rivalry to understand what I mean and get great tools for parenting siblings).

She will go through an adjustment period now and then again when her little sis becomes mobile right before the first year and starts to get into her stuff/zone/toys. Prepare for it as separation, time spent alone with a parent and proactive parenting will be your friends during this time.

Also it's okay to let her fall in love with daddy at this stage. Right around when I had #2 is when my husband became the guy that hung the moon for my oldest. He still loves me and really likes spending time with me now but he also loves to see daddy come home and get to spend time with him on the weekends.

2. Don't do the "big girl thing". As in, "your too much of a big girl for X or you're too big for Y or you can't do blah, blah because you're a big girl". Seriously, if she wants to regress in certain areas and play baby, do not resist it. It's totally normal for older siblings to test the waters of being a baby or acting younger to see if you still love them. The less you resist that bit the more quickly she'll move through it.

susancnw 01-07-2008 12:07 PM

When my kids were toddlers and would pull the 'you are the meanest mommy", I'd just agree with them. Usually surprises them and cuts off what they were going to continue with.

With the daycare, if she starts to balk, you could try explaining to her that the baby is too little to do stuff like that, but you can since you are bigger.

I agree with the help where they can rule. My older son would bring me burp clothes for the baby, give him back his pacifier. They were 22 months apart. The 2nd and 3rd are 3 years apart...and man, has that been tough at times. The youngest is 8 years younger, so she has a houseful of people telling her what to do;) But she is very well-adjusted and she doesn't respond to things that the older one would...she still believes in Santa, but it's tough to pull anything over on her.

Hang in there...you always have her teens to look forward to :)

Oregano (formerly babywavy) 01-07-2008 12:27 PM

SL and Geeky, your recent posts really hit home to me right now. In fact, I almost cried over it! The two comments were very simple, but SL mentioned about the 'strained mother daughter relationship' and Geeky mentioned how 3 year olds can be not likeable.

I found 2 to be harder than 3 b/c of the temper tantrums and frustrated meltdowns, but i can see how if your child wasn't prone to these kinds of tantrums, 3 could be more difficult. Bailey is so DEMANDING of me. Not a second goes by where she isn't asking me for something, or taking up my time. I really do not have a moments peace. I have to lock the door when going to the bathroom, and even then she's outside banging on the door (and yes, I know thats normal).

I just feel so exhausted and overwhelmed. She does NOT listen to me, she thinks she can do whatever she wants to do, and it's just physically demanding. Between the terrible 2's AND 3's, it's hard to remember when she WAS likeable.

Plus, she just knows how to push my buttons. I'm very worried that we'll have a strained relationship, but there's just nothing I can do about that. I just let her know that no matter what I will always love her - and that's the truth. The best I can do is love and support her, so i do.

SL, and Geeky, about the new baby thing, Bailey has never been one to play w/ baby dolls, so she really wasn't interested in the baby. Now Bella is 7 months, and her and Bailey are just starting to play with eachother. Yesterday while driving home I could hear Bella talking, and I looked in the mirror, and Bailey was looking right at her and playing w/ her - and that totally made me tear up. It was nice to have the two of them being sweet kids, and not terrors for a minute.

these must be the reasons why we instinctively love our children. I wouldn't put up with this crap from anyone else. :toothy7:

Munchy 01-07-2008 12:51 PM

The same thing happened between me and Stepdaughter (3) when I got visibly pregnant. In the spring we were fine, but by the summer, we definitely had a strained relationship. Even now the baby is almost 4 months old and our relationship is still strained somewhat.

wavezncurlz 01-11-2008 11:51 AM

I think this is normal. My daughter is 27 months. She told me yesterday that WE HAVE TO TAKE CASSIDY BACK TO HER MOMMY (Since she never picked her up from the hospital). She hasn't been visibly mean to the baby but she has declared her daddy her "Favorite Daddy" and wants to spend every hour with him.

Also, we've been sending Kennedy to daycare. She actually started going to a more structured setting (was with my aunt until new year) and loves going to "school". I, like others who've posted, needed her to have this routine down before I return to work. Also, she enjoys going and her friends are there. I pick her up earlier than when I will when I return to work. She is a handful and would be so bored at home with me and the baby.

I understand that this adjustment to new baby takes time. I vividly recall my brother coming home with my mom (I was also 27 months). Mom said I picked him up and tried to drop him. I do think the 2-3 year difference is ideal in the end. My brother and I are very very close and somewhere during my elementary school years became one of my best friends.

PhDCow 01-14-2008 12:50 PM

Just to chime in and say that I am counting the days until Colin turns 4. 3 has been horrible for him and us and every night when he's in bed, I do a little happy dance that we've both survived another day.

medussa 01-14-2008 01:04 PM

Umm, I don't understand the documented "terrible twos." Every mom I know (myself included) noticed a surge of independence and challenging behavior when their kid hit 3. The twos were a piece of cake, IMO. :lol:


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