3-4 YEARS OLD What’s with your three-nager? To manage your difﬁcult youngster, these are what you should know ﬁrst.
He throws tantrums, lashes out at you, and gets into fights with his siblings. To manage your furious youngster, it is important to understand him, says DR RICHARD C. WOOLFSON.
He is egocentric
To your three-year-old, the whole world should revolve around him. He expects and demands everything to go his way. So, don’t be surprised when he assumes you’ll do exactly what he wants. Explain that others have feelings too. He’ll slowly understand that other people are important, as well.
He hates the word “no”
Your child expects to get everything he wants, whenever he wants it. He doesn’t like it when you say “no”. But stand your ground anyway, no matter how much he rages against you. He’ll learn he can’t always get his way.
He wants to be loved
No matter how much he rages at you or ﬁghts with his older sibling, he’s just a boy who wants to be loved. Of course, you shouldn’t accept his outbursts and should reprimand him for his temper. However, he should always know that you love him.
His condence is fragile
A three-year-old can be terrifying when he is in full rage. He seems so strong and powerful. Remember, though, it takes little to dent his self-esteem. All it takes is a throwaway remark about how he looks or a jigsaw that he can’t complete, and this bad-tempered mischief-maker becomes a crumbling heap.
His tantrums are normal
Junior has meltdowns like other children his age – you just see his more often. So, keep things in perspective and stop worrying there is something wrong with him. He loses his temper because he hasn’t learnt to control it. Tantrums are normal in this age group.
He responds to praise
You can sometimes transform his rage into happiness by praising him unexpectedly. For instance, when he is in a mood, you might be able to distract him by pointing out his painting is delightful or express admiration for the way he created a tower with wooden bricks.
He enjoys any attention
Try to ignore his outbursts. He enjoys your attention even when you reprimand him – to him, negative attention is better than no attention at all. Sometimes it pays to let his angry behaviour pass without comment, although that might be hard for you to do.
He will calm down
Although his tantrums can last for what seems like a very long time, his temper gradually dissipates, and he calms down. Be patient. When he stops raging, take time to talk to him about his outburst and explain how his behaviour upset you.
He has another side to him
Parenting a three-year-old who has difﬁculty keeping his temper in check can be draining. He always appears grumpy and ready to explode. Stop focusing only on his negative behaviour; remind yourself of the positive aspects of his behaviour, such as kindness and humour.
Stop worrying there is something wrong with your child. He loses his temper because he hasn’t learnt to control it.
He learns from you
Your child watches everything that goes on around him, and he may imitate what he sees (especially the things you don’t want him to copy). If he seems especially prone to losing his temper, consider how you and your spouse deal with conﬂict. Perhaps he has seen you screaming at each other and he simply copies you.