Author Topic: Is this normal behavior for a three year old...  (Read 2915 times)

slappy

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Is this normal behavior for a three year old...
« on: October 24, 2019, 06:02:20 AM »
If not, what do I do?

Sorry this is bit out of the MMM typical forum post, but I'm a bit scared of the local mom groups.

My three year old (he's a young three, birthday is end of August) tantrums like crazy. He does seem to have some speech issues, which we are having evaluated next week. At first I thought the tantruming might be related, but man this kid goes from zero to 60.  This morning it was because I tried to put a shirt on him for picture day. He screamed like I was murdering him. Last week he pitched a fit because he didn't like the song on the radio. Again, he went from zero to 60. My husband told me this morning he thinks there is something else going on besides the speech issue. 

What do I? Should I call the doctor? Some sort of therapist? His current preschool is less than helpful.  His evaluation next week is at the public preschool and if he qualifies for services, which I think he will, he can go there instead. But I don't think the school is really qualified to say anything about issues other than the speech issue, are they? I lean towards him being a normal crazy three year old, but man this morning has me drained. :(

Any advice appreciated.

reeshau

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Re: Is this normal behavior for a three year old...
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2019, 07:11:31 AM »
It's a brief description, but yes meltdowns come with young kids.  Having said that, you can have an impact on their frequency and duration, essentially by being the adult in the room (sorry for the expression, but true) and by thinking long-term.  It is true that the surface response (tantrum) may really mean something different:  frustration about communication, reaching out for attention, not enough sleep, dietary reaction, or other condition.

The trick, then, is to listen to your child and try to observe the circumstances of the meltdowns:  is it often triggered by loud noises?  The day after spaghetti dinner?  The week after you left him with your parents?  When did the tantrums start?  Has it always been this way?  Was it after he got his last tooth in?  Medical opinions can help, but they also will rely heavily on your identification and description of the context of these events.

As to what to do:  there are a ton of different approaches out there.  No one is "it."  But if you try some out, you will find one that 1) works for you and 2) you are comfortable with.  For example, many approaches suggest ignoring a tantrum, on the basis that they are often just a means to gain attention.  But not only do you have to literally turn your back on your son, (after making sure he's safe) you also may need to endure when the anger turns to sadness or fear, at least in tone.  Kind of like getting them to first fall asleep through the night, which might be viewed as the first hurdle.  I will say, many of the effective remedies to tantrums are very counter-intuitive, until you understand the root cause of the behavior.

My wife and I follow Love and Logic, as recommended to us by my school-social-worker-Mom.  Our 4-year-old son still has tantrums.  But when they happen, he is an active participant in dealing with them--getting them to end.  It does also depend on us--mostly on us--remaining calm and addressing him through the process, supportive of him but not reacting directly to his emotions.  But he usually puts in a good amount of work, too:  realizing he is having a fit; getting his breathing under control; looking at the context of the situation, and why having dinner with the family / ending a movie early / going potty before leaving the house / going to bed at bedtime is not a situation that should be so stressful.

The best thing I can say, all technique / theory / hearsay aside, is don't let his behavior drive your behavior.  Stay calm, stay alert and open enough to the situation to let yourself observe him and his environment, as you try to figure out what is triggering him.  For us, we are still napping our son, because he is a beast when he doesn't get enough sleep.  And we feed him much less sugar than I would guess is average, because sugar spikes can also facilitate a nuclear meltdown.  By this, I mean fruit is often dessert in addition to a potential component of a meal, and ice cream / cake / cookies are a rare treat, generally when we are away from the home and have some activity at which he can burn the sugar immediately.

slappy

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Re: Is this normal behavior for a three year old...
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2019, 07:22:12 AM »
It's a brief description, but yes meltdowns come with young kids.  Having said that, you can have an impact on their frequency and duration, essentially by being the adult in the room (sorry for the expression, but true) and by thinking long-term.  It is true that the surface response (tantrum) may really mean something different:  frustration about communication, reaching out for attention, not enough sleep, dietary reaction, or other condition.

The trick, then, is to listen to your child and try to observe the circumstances of the meltdowns:  is it often triggered by loud noises?  The day after spaghetti dinner?  The week after you left him with your parents?  When did the tantrums start?  Has it always been this way?  Was it after he got his last tooth in?  Medical opinions can help, but they also will rely heavily on your identification and description of the context of these events.

As to what to do:  there are a ton of different approaches out there.  No one is "it."  But if you try some out, you will find one that 1) works for you and 2) you are comfortable with.  For example, many approaches suggest ignoring a tantrum, on the basis that they are often just a means to gain attention.  But not only do you have to literally turn your back on your son, (after making sure he's safe) you also may need to endure when the anger turns to sadness or fear, at least in tone.  Kind of like getting them to first fall asleep through the night, which might be viewed as the first hurdle.  I will say, many of the effective remedies to tantrums are very counter-intuitive, until you understand the root cause of the behavior.

My wife and I follow Love and Logic, as recommended to us by my school-social-worker-Mom.  Our 4-year-old son still has tantrums.  But when they happen, he is an active participant in dealing with them--getting them to end.  It does also depend on us--mostly on us--remaining calm and addressing him through the process, supportive of him but not reacting directly to his emotions.  But he usually puts in a good amount of work, too:  realizing he is having a fit; getting his breathing under control; looking at the context of the situation, and why having dinner with the family / ending a movie early / going potty before leaving the house / going to bed at bedtime is not a situation that should be so stressful.

The best thing I can say, all technique / theory / hearsay aside, is don't let his behavior drive your behavior.  Stay calm, stay alert and open enough to the situation to let yourself observe him and his environment, as you try to figure out what is triggering him.  For us, we are still napping our son, because he is a beast when he doesn't get enough sleep.  And we feed him much less sugar than I would guess is average, because sugar spikes can also facilitate a nuclear meltdown.  By this, I mean fruit is often dessert in addition to a potential component of a meal, and ice cream / cake / cookies are a rare treat, generally when we are away from the home and have some activity at which he can burn the sugar immediately.

Staying the adult is definitely the hard part! Haha

The part that is confusing/bothering me that is that they often seem triggered by nothing. He just goes straight to screaming. Like if you give him a spoon and he wanted a fork, he immediately screams. He will at some point say "I wanted a fork", but my husband feels that at his age he should be past that kind of behavior. He thinks that a "normal" three year old might get mad and complain that he wanted a fork, but not to the extent that our son does. (By "normal", I guess I mean nuero-typical.) Last week he went straight to screaming because I switched the song on the CD player. He doesn't even try to say what the issue is. Then I'm sitting there going "what the heck is going on?" Which is partly why I thought it might be related to speech. Like if he doesn't feel confident his speech request will be heard/understand, then maybe he just screams instead.

In all honesty, I think this morning's tantrum could have been avoided. I think he wasn't ready to put the shirt on, and we should have let him eat his breakfast and play a bit before we asked him to get dressed. I guess this morning just kind of put the attention on the tantrums in general.

We definitely do the nap thing still. He is absolutely out of control if he doesn't nap, but at least at that point we know why he is out of control. The not knowing is what really sucks.

Aunt Petunia

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Re: Is this normal behavior for a three year old...
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2019, 08:12:53 AM »
My son went through the same thing at age 3, and he is neurotypical but with some sensory and speech issues.. He got into the public preschool for speech and that helped a lot, they spend a lot of time on how to describe feelings.

 It sounds like he is getting frustrated because he can't communicate what he wants, and/or it is a sensory issue (the new song might have had a pitch that was irritating to him, he didn't like how the shirt felt, and he had no way to tell you). Either way it will improve once he gets better at telling you what is going on. I have sensory issues too and I have to test how the fabric feels before buying clothes, and I also hate high pitched sounds.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2019, 08:16:47 AM by Aunt Petunia »

Dee18

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Re: Is this normal behavior for a three year old...
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2019, 08:14:13 AM »
I would go ahead and have him evaluated.  In my city there is an Early Intervention program. A letter from your pediatrician would get you a free evaluation from this non-profit center.  The reason I would err on the side of early evaluation is because so many problems can be best ameliorated with the right response.  In my daughterís case, I paid to have her speech and hearing evaluated (after the school system did an incredibly poor job of it when she was 3). It turned out that her limited vocabulary was solely due to hearing problems, but had I learned that earlier I could have done more to promote vocabulary learning. The professionalís calm assessment and thoughtful suggestions really made me feel better and enabled me to handle the situation more effectively.  Hopefully a professional could provide you with similar help.

elliha

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Re: Is this normal behavior for a three year old...
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2019, 08:17:20 AM »
It does seem like he tantrums easily but it does not seem he is out of what one could expect for that age. My own experience with tantrums is to increase one area of choice and then truly butt out of that area. Like if they often happen about clothes, let the child pick clothes on their own even if they look like a tiny hobo when the visit grandma or wears glitter from top to toe everyday. Make it easy to do so and if certain clothes cannot be used for school, make a "weekend drawer" and be firm that these are weekend only. Try to react as little as possible to the tantrum itself, either ignore or just go on acting like he is not screaming. If a tantrum is a very over the top reaction, have a little talk afterwards and explain what a normal reaction is. "Next time if you want a spoon, say that you want a spoon. If you feel sad you do not need to scream so loudly, you can say you are sad instead, that will be nicer for you and for me." It won't work right away but it often does work. Sometimes kids tantrum because they know no other reaction.

Laura33

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Re: Is this normal behavior for a three year old...
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2019, 08:29:24 AM »
my husband feels that at his age he should be past that kind of behavior. He thinks that a "normal" three year old might get mad and complain that he wanted a fork, but not to the extent that our son does.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Seriously, your husband needs to read some child development books or talk to a parenting expert about age-appropriate expectations.

First, it could be completely normal.  Some kids are more intense than others, three is a time of burgeoning independence, and many kids regress right before a big developmental stage.

It could also be a frustration reaction.  Could be the speech thing (my DD was particularly frustrated during those periods when her circle of wants exceeded her ability to express them) -- and, no, if a kid is struggling to express himself, he's not going to give it the old college try and do his best before breaking down when he fails; he's going to want it, instantly feel frustration, and completely lose his shit before you can blink.  Could also be a sign that you need to adjust your parenting in some ways -- e.g., if he's objecting to all the times you tell him what to do or do something for him, then he needs to feel more independent, and so maybe you need to figure out how to "tell" less and let him take the lead more.  (Easier said than done, of course)

But there also could be other stuff going on.  I agree with everything reeshau said about looking for connections.  My own DD is very ADHD, but what that meant when she was young was that she had no filter, no way to shut out the lights that were too bright or the sounds that were too loud, or to ignore the tag or the sock seam that was too itchy.  We would have meltdowns post-daycare, because the lights were way too bright and she got way too overstimulated and used up all her energy trying to behave there.  We would have meltdowns at the beach, because the sound of the waves was overwhelming (turns out she has super-acute hearing, as in she can hear me scratching my leg through my jeans, in a running car with the radio on).  If you think there may be something like this going on, read "Your Spirited Child" -- that's what saved me, after about 3.5 years of thinking I was the worst parent in the world.  Or take him to get evaluated by an expert.

tl;dr:  Could be normal, could be something else.  So get it checked out.  There is absolutely no harm in taking your kid for an evaluation and being told he's normal.  OTOH, if you avoid it and hope things will go away, and you find out several years down the road that there is an issue, you will kick yourself for not acting earlier (ask me how I know).

slappy

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Re: Is this normal behavior for a three year old...
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2019, 08:52:29 AM »
my husband feels that at his age he should be past that kind of behavior. He thinks that a "normal" three year old might get mad and complain that he wanted a fork, but not to the extent that our son does.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

Seriously, your husband needs to read some child development books or talk to a parenting expert about age-appropriate expectations.

First, it could be completely normal.  Some kids are more intense than others, three is a time of burgeoning independence, and many kids regress right before a big developmental stage.

It could also be a frustration reaction.  Could be the speech thing (my DD was particularly frustrated during those periods when her circle of wants exceeded her ability to express them) -- and, no, if a kid is struggling to express himself, he's not going to give it the old college try and do his best before breaking down when he fails; he's going to want it, instantly feel frustration, and completely lose his shit before you can blink.  Could also be a sign that you need to adjust your parenting in some ways -- e.g., if he's objecting to all the times you tell him what to do or do something for him, then he needs to feel more independent, and so maybe you need to figure out how to "tell" less and let him take the lead more.  (Easier said than done, of course)

But there also could be other stuff going on.  I agree with everything reeshau said about looking for connections.  My own DD is very ADHD, but what that meant when she was young was that she had no filter, no way to shut out the lights that were too bright or the sounds that were too loud, or to ignore the tag or the sock seam that was too itchy.  We would have meltdowns post-daycare, because the lights were way too bright and she got way too overstimulated and used up all her energy trying to behave there.  We would have meltdowns at the beach, because the sound of the waves was overwhelming (turns out she has super-acute hearing, as in she can hear me scratching my leg through my jeans, in a running car with the radio on).  If you think there may be something like this going on, read "Your Spirited Child" -- that's what saved me, after about 3.5 years of thinking I was the worst parent in the world.  Or take him to get evaluated by an expert.

tl;dr:  Could be normal, could be something else.  So get it checked out.  There is absolutely no harm in taking your kid for an evaluation and being told he's normal.  OTOH, if you avoid it and hope things will go away, and you find out several years down the road that there is an issue, you will kick yourself for not acting earlier (ask me how I know).

When I saw that the last reply was from you, I got excited! You always have such good advice. How many times have you been quoted in the best of MMM thread now? ;)

I do actually think we could benefit from some different parenting strategies. But I'm not sure where to look for us to work on that together. Is that a family therapist or some sort of child therapist? To your point about having him evaluated, that's part of my question. Who does that evaluation?

Not sure if it's worth noting, but he is also super clingy. He has been literally from birth. In the hospital room after he was born, I could barely put him down. He nursed every 5 minutes (literally, I could time it) for the first three weeks of his life. Nursed every hour at night from 4 months-a year old. His first 18 months, he was not happy in any group bigger than our nuclear family and he would only be happy if he was with me or DH. Mostly me, but he would settle for DH. He's been exceptionally clingy since he started preschool this year (three hours a day, two days a week). At school, he's happy and he talks all the time (the teachers can't understand most of what he says).

Also, I totally agree with your tl;dr.  In my experience (I have three kids, 5 and under), everything is normal and nothing is normal.

trollwithamustache

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Re: Is this normal behavior for a three year old...
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2019, 09:40:54 AM »
hehe, yeah some kids go zero to 60 because it works. Or something is frustrating them. Also note, the books tell you about the terrible twos and all these nice linear progressions of learning... except, no on told the kid the order and they go off and do it their way.

FWIW, my children were designed specially for maximum frustration. 

Laura33

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Re: Is this normal behavior for a three year old...
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2019, 10:02:05 AM »
@slappy:  awww, thanks [blushes].  Start with your pediatrician, and ask for a referral to a family therapist.  A good one will both be able to evaluate your child and help with parenting strategies (I got DH to listen to my ideas largely by having them come out of the mouth of the therapist we hired for help with DD's ADHD!). 

And FWIW, the clinginess was exactly the same with my kid.  And if you only recently started preschool, some of what you are seeing could just be exhaustion/overstimulation/adjustment to a new routine.  My DD adored her daycare (total extrovert, loved the schedule and the activities and all. the. friends.), but she still just flat-out lost it every night, because she had just used up all her energy.  Didn't help that that's when I was rushing to get dinner on the table.  I had to change my own schedule/approach to give her that quiet/bonding time she needed with me.  Plus a snack.  Immediately.  Basically, shove something in her mouth (often through the screams) and sit down and snuggle and play and attentionattentionattention, deal with dinner later.

Misstachian

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Re: Is this normal behavior for a three year old...
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2019, 07:47:14 PM »
I also have an August three. He is highly verbal and usually pretty reasonable. But today he had two completely hysterical, kicking on the floor, screaming-until-gagging meltdowns. (Both after hearing a 'no' for something he wanted.)

I canít tell from your description if your version of tantrums is normal, and others' advice has been good on that, so Iím just sending some solidarity. I read a lot of Janet Lansbury (I follow on fb) and I really like her advice. It helps me stay calm and unruffled, which I feel is the best help I can offer him. We let him feel the feelings, and accept them, and then try to help him through (in ways that sound a lot like reeshau's). Today he eventually got to the point where he was screaming, "I donít want to be upset! I want to calm down!" The world is often overwhelming and hard for them, even as itís so glorious and magical, so I have heaps of compassion for the meltdowns.

Also, they usually escalate much faster if thereís time pressure, so we try to arrange life as much as possible so that we can take an extra five minutes if needed - and always try to start ten minutes earlier than we think. (Sometimes it even works.)

gatortator

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Re: Is this normal behavior for a three year old...
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2019, 12:10:42 PM »
If not, what do I do?

My three year old (he's a young three, birthday is end of August) tantrums like crazy.

Any advice appreciated.

it is just so frustrating, isn't it?   age 3 was a tricky age in our house.  it was no fun.  I was very happy when the kids reached age 4.

When did this type of tantrum begin?  Look back at the last 6 months-- was there a period in recent memory, where your child was calmer and easier to parent?  Now, think back one year ago-- was the behavior also a little crazy back then?

I am not an expert and there are definitely posters on this forum who have much more knowledge on spirited behavior.  But,  if you think back and notice a cyclical pattern in the tantrums,  it may be normal.

https://centerforparentingeducation.org/library-of-articles/child-development/developmental-stages-the-roller-coaster-of-equilibrium-and-disequilibrium/
« Last Edit: November 01, 2019, 12:22:50 PM by gatortator »

slappy

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Re: Is this normal behavior for a three year old...
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2019, 01:56:02 PM »
If not, what do I do?

My three year old (he's a young three, birthday is end of August) tantrums like crazy.

Any advice appreciated.

it is just so frustrating, isn't it?   age 3 was a tricky age in our house.  it was no fun.  I was very happy when the kids reached age 4.

When did this type of tantrum begin?  Look back at the last 6 months-- was there a period in recent memory, where your child was calmer and easier to parent?  Now, think back one year ago-- was the behavior also a little crazy back then?

I am not an expert and there are definitely posters on this forum who have much more knowledge on spirited behavior.  But,  if you think back and notice a cyclical pattern in the tantrums,  it may be normal.

https://centerforparentingeducation.org/library-of-articles/child-development/developmental-stages-the-roller-coaster-of-equilibrium-and-disequilibrium/

Haha, so far 4 has been the worst age for us. We have a 5.5 year old and his 4th year was challenging. I've heard it's called the terrible twos, terrible threes and fucking fours.

Update on my three year old: His evaluation at the public preschool was today and he scored a 68. Normal score is over 80. They want him to start immediately and they suggested that it will take awhile to see progress. They also suggested a hearing exam at the pediatricians. I really had no idea it was this bad.  He talks so much and some of it is so clear that it just caught me off guard I guess. He will now receive Special Education services for at least three years, or until he no longer qualifies.  I guess that doesn't answer the tantrum thing but at this point, I have to imagine they are related.

NorCal

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Re: Is this normal behavior for a three year old...
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2019, 02:56:09 PM »
I have a six year old and an almost three year old.  My older child went through this at three, and I'm starting to see signs of this in my younger child.

What you describe is completely normal.  Some items that have caused tantrums in our house:

1. A fork instead of a spoon
2. A [insert color here] cup instead of the color she wanted yesterday
3. I wouldn't let her grab a sharp knife
4. She had to wear pajamas to bed
5. She couldn't run around in a busy parking lot
6. Her shirt wasn't sparkly enough
7. I couldn't put a broken cracker back together.

I'm sure I'm forgetting a few.  Here's some fun ones from the internet:

https://imgur.com/gallery/egUb226?fbclid=IwAR2KbQz35lMkeyjqjEu-a9fbhlZ-4jTABWnUIXJ583ZURSB6_FdYrP84ui4

Good luck.  It does start getting better around age 4.

bognish

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Re: Is this normal behavior for a three year old...
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2019, 10:00:50 PM »
At 3 our kids wanted to start making decisions and feeling like they were in control. So instead of asking them open questions "what do you want to eat?" I would give them 2 choices. They were still 3 year old suckers, so the choices could be " do you want mac n cheese or live octopus?" Somehow what I had just made was always the more appealing choice.
They also had a hard time with 'no' or stopping one thing to do another. So instead offer the next thing as a better game or alternative to what is going on. My son was a sucker for races and never figured it out. Never wanted to go to bed, but every night he would beat me upstairs, then beat me putting his pajamas on faster.
If they were screwing up or it was important they got a solid NO or told what to do, but lots of day to day battles can be avoided by reframing the question. It to me a lot of meltdowns to figure that out and change my habits.

reeshau

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Re: Is this normal behavior for a three year old...
« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2019, 02:35:20 AM »
At 3 our kids wanted to start making decisions and feeling like they were in control. So instead of asking them open questions "what do you want to eat?" I would give them 2 choices. They were still 3 year old suckers, so the choices could be " do you want mac n cheese or live octopus?" Somehow what I had just made was always the more appealing choice.
They also had a hard time with 'no' or stopping one thing to do another. So instead offer the next thing as a better game or alternative to what is going on. My son was a sucker for races and never figured it out. Never wanted to go to bed, but every night he would beat me upstairs, then beat me putting his pajamas on faster.
If they were screwing up or it was important they got a solid NO or told what to do, but lots of day to day battles can be avoided by reframing the question. It to me a lot of meltdowns to figure that out and change my habits.

I first have to say, beware the day when they do choose live octopus, and then blow up because you don't have it.

That said, I totally agree with giving choices / limited control.  This is a common tactic and a lot of approaches incorporate it.

"racing" is a good idea; what we do for bed is give two choices, similar to what you do for meals:  "do you want to go to bed in 5 minutes, or 10 minutes?"  Of course, asked 10 minutes before bedtime.  They successfully "negotiated" for 5 more minutes--at times, an *eternity* in their minds--and you get a (mostly) peaceful transition.

Hula Hoop

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Re: Is this normal behavior for a three year old...
« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2019, 02:46:08 AM »
My second daughter is "spirited" (ie. she has a will of steel) and this describes what she was like at 3.  My first kid wasn't quite this bad and she is still way more laid back at 11.  My 'spirited' daughter is neurotypical but had a 40% hearing deficit at age 3.  She has since had three surgeries and hears perfectly now.  I noticed that right after her first surgery at age 3 when she was suddenly able to hear, her behavior become much better - fewer tantrums.  Then her hearing got worse again and the tantrums started up again. 

So while your child is probably perfectly fine, parents often have a good instinct if something is 'off'.  This behaviour is perfectly normal but, that said, get your child assesed for everything (including hearing loss) just to make sure.

familyandfarming

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Re: Is this normal behavior for a three year old...
« Reply #17 on: November 04, 2019, 06:41:45 AM »
My grandchild failed his hearing tests from birth to 3.5 years. He's now 4. He had tubes from nine months until last month, when they fell out. His first 2 years were constant ear, nose and throat problems. My daughter had him tested at 2 years. At age 2 his vocabulary was 25 words, a full year behind his peers in speech development.

After dealing with special ed at the public school, where they are overwhelmed, she decided to go through her ear, nose and throat speech therapist. Her insurance covers 52 therapy sessions for one family member a year, with a $30 co-payment per session. After two years of weekly therapy he is now less than 3 months behind. The speech therapist told my daughter that he is her greatest achievement. My daughter takes him in and sits with him during the session, and then they practice the skills every day. If your insurance doesn't cover weekly sessions, a session costs around $100. You could go once a month and pick up those skill sheets to work on at home and get skills from the therapist. NOW is the time to help your child in speech development. I've worked at the high school level with students who didn't get the help they needed at the early ages and were very behind in reading and everything else that goes with school.

Another thing my daughter does is read to my grandson A LOT! I previously thought that Usborne Books were a MLM scheme, but quality books for boys are hard to find. Scholastic is fine, but the Usborne books have a very wide variety of books to choose from.

About the tantrums. Have you tried "Flower/Candle method"? Google it. My grandson's preschool has flowers with candles taped (completely taped candles) on the end of the flower. Breathe in (flower) Blow out (candle). My grandson has done this so much, now when he has a tantrum, he now breathes on his own, and calms himself in 3-4 breaths.

Raising children is tough stuff. I hope I helped.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Is this normal behavior for a three year old...
« Reply #18 on: November 04, 2019, 12:27:07 PM »
Update on my three year old: His evaluation at the public preschool was today and he scored a 68. Normal score is over 80. They want him to start immediately and they suggested that it will take awhile to see progress. They also suggested a hearing exam at the pediatricians. I really had no idea it was this bad.  He talks so much and some of it is so clear that it just caught me off guard I guess. He will now receive Special Education services for at least three years, or until he no longer qualifies.  I guess that doesn't answer the tantrum thing but at this point, I have to imagine they are related.
That is so great that they caught it so early! 

My son had chronic ear infections as a toddler and I didn't realize how much his hearing was affected until the school evaluated him in first grade.  (He has since had tubes twice and several other ear surgeries and his hearing is finally normal, but I think he'll always have trouble with spelling because he never heard the sounds properly when he was little.)

I have two EXTREMELY stubborn children who could throw olympic-caliber tantrums.   I learned to pick my battles carefully.  My son eats PB&J two meals a day, 6 days a week and I'm okay with that.  We pared our rules down to the non-negotiables so there were fewer opportunities for butting heads.   

I learned one of my kids is overly sensitive to being hungry and the other is overly sensitive to being tired.   Lots of meltdowns avoided with a banana or a nap.

We also worked a lot on validating the kids and helping them to identify their emotions.   Then we had to figure out what we were doing to make the tantrums worse and stop doing that [the kid with the bad ears also has an anxiety disorder, and when he hits overwhelmed  I have to leave him completely alone so he can calm down to a level where I can help him.  If I try to soothe him while he's at peak overwhelmed he gets worse.]

Toddlers are haaaaaaaard.

Omy

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Re: Is this normal behavior for a three year old...
« Reply #19 on: November 04, 2019, 12:59:25 PM »
My niece noticed that when she banned all screen time (her phone was "broken" and the TV was disconnected), her spirited child calmed down significantly. It's a tough addiction to break, but it might be worth a try.

SimpleCycle

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Re: Is this normal behavior for a three year old...
« Reply #20 on: November 05, 2019, 10:04:34 AM »
I'm glad you got some answers from the public preschool.  I'm guessing they may have some insights on his behavior after he starts there too.

In terms of "is this normal", it could be, it could not be, or it could be somewhere in the middle.  We fall somewhere in the middle with our four year old's behavior - not clearly abnormal, but definitely higher intensity than normal.  That has been really frustrating for us, as a lot of the interventions are very time consuming and seem to be targeted for more "extreme" cases than DD.  We deal with different behaviors (mostly aggression towards us and her younger brother and defiance beyond normal limit challenging) but we were lucky to find a program aimed at the more middle group of behavior concerns.  It's a class taught in a group format for the parents and a therapeutic play environment for the kids.

I have to say our pediatrician was not very helpful on "is this normal" until she was four - basically being totally crazy is "normal" at 3 and it's all a matter of parent-reported intensity of behavior.  My friend is a child therapist and her standard is "does this work for your family" or not.  Basically, if it's causing major disruption to your family, it's time to do something about it.

Good luck - kids can be so challenging.

gatortator

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Re: Is this normal behavior for a three year old...
« Reply #21 on: November 05, 2019, 10:49:56 AM »

Update on my three year old: His evaluation at the public preschool was today and he scored a 68. Normal score is over 80. They want him to start immediately and they suggested that it will take awhile to see progress. They also suggested a hearing exam at the pediatricians. I really had no idea it was this bad.

Yeah on getting through the testing (on the first try!) and getting an answer, even it came somewhat as a surprise.  And yeah to you for trusting your instincts to knowing something was wrong.  Even if the answer is a surprise, you now have a path forward and actions you can do to help your son.  I hope it brings some relief to you.

My son tested in the bottom 10th percentile for speech at the age of 3, but it took us 3 tries before he was willing to go through the entire testing that our district required.  It was a relief to me to get an answer, even if I didn't realize quite how delayed his speech was.  The path forward was clear but long.   It ended up being a good thing for him as it taught patience and persistence as we watched his week to week, month to month and year to year progress.  He graduated out of his IEP 1/2 through Kindergarten and now tests 98th percentile for his vocabulary.  I fully credit this to his weekly speech lessons where he had one on one practice with many, many words.

slappy

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Re: Is this normal behavior for a three year old...
« Reply #22 on: November 05, 2019, 01:18:07 PM »

Update on my three year old: His evaluation at the public preschool was today and he scored a 68. Normal score is over 80. They want him to start immediately and they suggested that it will take awhile to see progress. They also suggested a hearing exam at the pediatricians. I really had no idea it was this bad.

Yeah on getting through the testing (on the first try!) and getting an answer, even it came somewhat as a surprise.  And yeah to you for trusting your instincts to knowing something was wrong.  Even if the answer is a surprise, you now have a path forward and actions you can do to help your son.  I hope it brings some relief to you.

My son tested in the bottom 10th percentile for speech at the age of 3, but it took us 3 tries before he was willing to go through the entire testing that our district required.  It was a relief to me to get an answer, even if I didn't realize quite how delayed his speech was.  The path forward was clear but long.   It ended up being a good thing for him as it taught patience and persistence as we watched his week to week, month to month and year to year progress.  He graduated out of his IEP 1/2 through Kindergarten and now tests 98th percentile for his vocabulary.  I fully credit this to his weekly speech lessons where he had one on one practice with many, many words.

Wow that's great! We are starting 2x weekly speech therapy next week. I think we are going to keep him in his current preschool for now, and then transition to the public school next year. He really likes his current school, we have already paid tuition for the year and the public school is willing to provide services so I guess it's win-win-win.

jpdx

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Re: Is this normal behavior for a three year old...
« Reply #23 on: November 08, 2019, 11:03:14 PM »
I am currently reading this book on the topic and finding it very helpful:

No-drama Discipline (The Whole-brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture your Child's Developing Mind)

I'd go as far as to say it should be required reading for new parents.