2

I have about had it with my 3-year-old son. He has me at my wits' end with everything. He goes to daycare with his sisters and the past week or so he has acted out horribly and I can't figure out why.

The two biggest changes that dad and I have come up with is that I started a new schedule where I am not there in the mornings but there in the evenings where he was used to me being there in the morning and not at night. A teacher at school was also placed on bed rest and hasn't been there and he got along great with her. His older sister, who he is pretty much inseparable from, has also asked that he stop sleeping in her bed and he has had a hard time coping with not being able to be with his big sister.

He tells me he was bad but continues to do what he's doing. He has been sent home from the daycare 3 times this week. He will run out of class and laughs maniacally about it and thinks it's a game. When taken to the office he will scream and run around and try and unplug things. He has to be pinned down to even get him to settle down.

You take away something he screams and goes about his way. You swat him, scold him, provide a consequence he thinks it's funny and won't stop. I don't know what do do with him. He's going to get himself kicked out and I'll have to drag my girls with him, because I can't have 2 different daycares. This is all new, he has never been this bad before. He has a reward system and it's not working anymore.

What else can I do!?

  • 3
    can you take time off work? Have there been any changes at home or school? New daycare worker, new person in the home, death in the family or illness.. someone is busier at work? Has he been home sick or had a holiday? Has he had a physical lately and has he seen a dentist? I ask because any of these things can throw a wrench into the works. – WRX Mar 9 '17 at 22:08
  • It may simply be that he's tired of daycare and wants to go home. The "punishment" he is receiving is precisely the outcome he wants, therefore there is no motivation to improve. My neighbors boy acted up similarly, and we all had a good laugh when we discovered that his mom had told him that if he didn't stop acting up he'd be put in a box and sent to Iraq to stay with his father (who was deployed at the time). He thought she was being honest, and did his best to get to Iraq. – pojo-guy Sep 30 '18 at 18:45
2

Without answers to my questions, I can only make suggestions.

If you have had a life change of any kind at home or school, like a new daycare worker, or someone leaving daycare, a new person in the home, death in the family or illness.. someone is busier at work, then this is likely temporary until he adjustments. If he has been home sick or had a holiday, that can also stir things up. I'll assume he's had a physical lately and has seen a dentist and that you know he is well and not in pain.

At three he has some understanding of consequences and the behaviours you expect and that are expected at daycare. I worked in the classroom next door to a daycare in my school and though they certainly had children with behavioural difficulties -- including serious ones like those earning an 'autism spectrum' diagnosis, they never refused care to any child or family unless the parents were abusive to staff or did not pay their fees. So though the daycare might let you think your child is at risk, it is not likely unless they are not licensed. (I can only speak to North American practice.) They should have experience with naughty children and perhaps they've already made suggestions and you disagree with them. Try cooperating and coming up with a plan for both places -- that is the best possible solution.

At home, if you cannot take a day to shake things up, try sitting calmly and explaining why this is serious. He understands more than most would give him credit for, and he might have a very good reason for acting out. That is the root. You must be completely honest with him and tell him that you will be taking very serious and not very nice measures until he listens. Do not exaggerate. Do not lie. Make sure everyone is doing the same thing because consistency at home is critical to it working. Do not threaten. If you said that the next time he does 'x' you will do 'y' -- then you must do as you say. An idle threat is just a way to say "Keep fighting and we'll give into you."

If this is as serious as you say and he cannot or will not give you a reason and your usual token systems are not working, then you either see a professional or you take everything away and slow re-instate things as he earns them. This is a serious commitment on your part and on the part of other family members and I would not do it unless all other paths have been tried.

You could start off with just removing TV for a 'week' and see if that works. It is impossible for me to say how serious a problem you are having.

If it is really serious behaviour:

You empty his room of everything breakable and all breakable toys. He stays in there if he comes home having had a bad day at school and comes out for a meal. If he cooperates and obeys at mealtime, he stays out of his room -- but there is no TV/computer/tablets for anyone in a common area until this is 'fixed'. (You may well have to remove them from the area -- or at least remotes and so on.) It has to be unplugged. That TV etc. will take him that set number of days to earn with good behaviour at school and at home. You or the other parent may find that you have to stay in his room to keep him there.

Everyday he is good, something is replaced (you have to give him opportunities to prove that he understands and wants to do better) -- but not the big stuff until the set number of days have past.

In the future, if the above or any part of it has worked, then I'd also implement the following:

  • Reduce the amount of noise at home. By 'noise', I mean too many toys, clutter and TV, music and shouting all happening at once. (I know this is normal, but reducing it reduces stress.)
  • Never lie or threaten. Never pick a battle you won't see to the very end. If you need to sleep -- do not threaten something that will keep you up later. So be aware of what you say and what you do.
  • Make punishments fit the 'crime'. If he breaks a toy -- do not replace it. If he breaks a sibling's toy -- he loses his favourite toy -- permanently.
  • Make praise real. Notice when your children are being good. Show interest in their activities. Take the time to talk about worries and triumphs. Do not accept "Good" as the answer to how school was. Learn to ask questions that require a more detailed answer. Be generous with real praise. Asking your child's opinion works as well as praise.
  • Be as generous with your time as is possible. Include your children in your chores -- even if they are just sitting in the kitchen while you prepare dinner or fold laundry. Let them help if it works for you but do talk to them about what you are doing and why and how you do it.
  • Make sure that you are allowing your children to make as many choices as possible. Choices make children feel like they are a part of what is going on. You give them two or more choices from selections you have already made and that are agreeable to you. Red/blue shirt. Corn/carrots. Applesauce/banana. Blocks/stuffed animals.

Thoughtful parenting will make your life easier, but it is a huge time and effort commitment. Of course you are tired after a day at work, but your kids honestly don't see it that way. They have also had a full day away.

  • Thank you for your input and advice. Sorry about the delay in response. Unfortunately he was kicked out of the daycare due to the behavior and dad and I are trying to break down the root cause. When we sit down with him and ask him what he's doing he will tell us "I been bad, I run out of class and not listen" and when you ask him why he will say "Cause I want to" but that is all that we can get out of him. He has watched me cry in frustration cause I am lost on what to do. We have tried doing tv toys rewards playing outside. It doesn't seem to phase him – DaniJean Mar 12 '17 at 20:08
  • he has no real fear of dangerous situations. The 2 biggest changes that dad and I have come up with is that I started a new schedule where I am not there in the mornings but there in the evenings where he was used to me being there in the morning and not at night. A teacher at school was also placed on bed rest and hasn't been there and he got along great with her. His older sister, who he is pretty much inseparable from has also asked that he stop sleeping in her bed and he has had a hard time coping with not being able to be with his big sister These are the biggest changes he's had recently – DaniJean Mar 12 '17 at 20:10
  • No worry, you are not expected to answer within a specific time frame. I am so sorry that he was kicked out. Is is permanent? Is the daycare licensed? If it is permanent and are there other options? What are they? Might they seem better to him than daycare? – WRX Mar 12 '17 at 20:13
  • @DaniJean Would you like (me) to open a chatroom to talk this over? They are open to all -- but they allow a little more freedom to brainstorm than this more formal format. – WRX Mar 12 '17 at 20:15
  • That would be great. I could use all the input I can get. Unfortunately it is a Permanent situation even with Therapy and bringing him to a neutral level so we will have to pull our girls and him and put him in a new daycare and enroll his sister in a public school rather than a private kindergarten. We have no family that can take them either due to they all work full time jobs as well as dad and I. – DaniJean Mar 12 '17 at 20:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.