3 Ways to Cope with a "Threenager" by Slowing Down
"Look Dad, I'm sharing and I'm not even stomping my feet!" Nick reported this latest Breccanism this weekend when a kid at play gym took his toy. He is fast learning to manage his anger. He has had several instances like this, where he is able to articulate his feelings and process them appropriately. It makes me think we are on the easy side of the behavior troubles from moving, and perhaps of the "threenager" stage as well (one can hope!). I have found a few things have really made the world of difference.
TV, while not bad on its own(you'll notice I don't say "no TV"!), became a bit of a behavior crutch. It is a cycle: it calms B down, we need it to calm him down, and other things don't work to calm him down. I still use TV. But I make a point of trying all other measures first. Our new crutch is books and sometimes puzzles.
It is very easy for me to attend to Olin and leave Breccan to play on his own. He likes independent play, whereas Olin needs a little more entertaining. I find Breccan is much more my happy boy when I take extra time to read, play firetrucks, or teach him rhymes. It really helps that his verbal skills are developed enough to hold a conversation.
I've found that using too much negativity with Breccan ("don't do that", "stop", etc) causes him to lash out more. I have been trying to be more positive ("do it this way instead") and to invoke silliness and absurdity ("food doesn't go on the floor, that's not right!") to push him to do the right thing. It's a challenge, it wasn't modeled as much in my home growing up. My parents didn't need to do that as much - as children, my sister and I were much more mild than Breccan!