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#1 Drat

Posted 11 June 2019 - 09:42 AM

My almost 3 year old is going through a really awful phase of just not listening at the moment. She's really been testing my patience so much. I'm trying to be really patient with her as we also have a 3 month old. However, the spotlight is still very much on her, the poor baby is definitely not getting much attention.

She's been saying really awful things to me lately and favouring her dad. Dad is much more lenient with her and I do most of the disciplining with her. However, what is upsetting me the most is that I do so much with her/for her. I buy her all her clothes and toys, I take her to the park or to various activities, I organise for her to play with friends, I involve her with everything that i'm doing... I try and do as many special little events with just the two of us to make it feel like she's still really important to me and I especially tell her how amazing she is as a big sister and how proud I am of her.

This morning she was being difficult about getting ready and she kept on saying how she wanted daddy and she wanted daddy to get her dressed and she didn't want me picking her up from school because she likes daddy more.. it just really broke me.. I know she's only 2, but it really hurts.. she talks to me so awful sometimes that it's hard to believe that she's only 2.
I know may have some unreasonable expectations of her sometimes because she has such good social skills and is so clever, it's very easy to think that she's 5 or 6.

I don't really know what to do. She's such a challenging kid to parent sometimes, she's so clever and she's filled with such empathy and sweetness, but she's also really manipulative and strong willed. I feel completely out of my depth with her because none of my friends kids (or my relatives) are anything like her.

It's not so much that she is favouring dad, but it's the mean words to me and the running off to dad when I discipline her.

Any advice would be appreciated, but please be kind to me, I know that she's two and that she's so little, but i'm feeling very upset and raw at the moment (i've been crying for the last 30 minutes).

#2 AdelTwins

Posted 11 June 2019 - 09:56 AM

Welcome to the not so nice part of parenting. You are her safe place, your DD knows she can say anything to you and you will still love her. Of course she doesn’t want to follow your rules, but she NEEDS rules and discipline.

I found school to be another level of this sort of behavior. They work so hard to be “good” all day, then melt down at home.

Just keep your parenting consistent and make sure that both of you have the same rules and discipline/rewards.

You got this!

ETA - I don’t think kids appreciate shopping, washing, cooking and cleaning until they move out and have to do it themselves!

Edited by AdelTwins, 11 June 2019 - 09:57 AM.


#3 Drat

Posted 11 June 2019 - 10:00 AM

View PostAdelTwins, on 11 June 2019 - 09:56 AM, said:

Welcome to the not so nice part of parenting. You are her safe place, your DD knows she can say anything to you and you will still love her. Of course she doesn’t want to follow your rules, but she NEEDS rules and discipline.

I found school to be another level of this sort of behavior. They work so hard to be “good” all day, then melt down at home.

Just keep your parenting consistent and make sure that both of you have the same rules and discipline/rewards.

You got this!

Thanks for the supportive comment. I know that I am her safe place, if she hurts herself or if she is upset then I am definitely the first person she wants.

She is very well behaved at school and when she spends days with my parents or when we are out in public, but at home it's another matter.

I think I need to sit down with hubby and get him more on board with the discipline side of things. We have a special reward chart to try and reward her good behaviour.

It's just so hard as I am quite sensitive with the people that I love, so it just hits me so hard when she says such awful things to me.

#4 Veritas Vinum Arte

Posted 11 June 2019 - 10:01 AM

My problem was when DD at 3yrs and favouring Dad had an absolute meltdown when he went away for 3 weeks. She thought it was 3 days and blamed me when I corrected her that it was 3wks. Let’s just say those 3 weeks were not the best of my life.

My response to the “I hate you mummy” is along the lines of not being her greatest fan at that moment either due to behaviour.

PP has it correct, at school kids keep it together and let it all loose at home, their safe place. I do use the phrases of “would you behave that way in front of Mr/Ms X, then why would you think you can do that in front of me” at home too.

Edited by Veritas Vinum Arte, 11 June 2019 - 10:02 AM.


#5 Caribou

Posted 11 June 2019 - 10:05 AM

Oh hun, I completely feel for you. I went through the exact same thing with DD. And as horrible as it is, it’s perfectly normal. And DH was definitely the lenient parent too.

Things that helped us was:

DH pulling her up on being mean to me, and validating that what she was saying wasn’t ok. I.e ‘I don’t want mummy to play with us’  dh will say I want mummy to play with us and I think it will be nice.
‘I want you daddy not mummy!’ DH will respond with something like ‘i have *sibling name* right now, but mummy will help’

Also. Don’t ever not acknowledge what she says doesn’t hurt. It’s important for her to know what she says to you hurts. It’s not about her masking her feelings, but recognising words can hurt like if she says something horrible about you you can say ‘I’m sorry you feel that way. It makes me sad too. I really want to do xyz with you and I think we can really have fun together and when  daddy gets home we can tell him all about it. ‘

I’m not going to say it’s 100 percent success rate. There were times where nothing I said was ever going to be good enough. She could really dig her heels in when she wanted. I have to admit even though she’s 7 now. She still very much favours dad but our relationship has improved with time. I had to take a step back a bit and in time we found activities that were just her and me stuff. Like we do puzzles together, movies, pedicures etc things that were mummy/daughter stuff with no dad.

DS very much favours me over DH and he’s facing what I went through with DD so he doesn’t have as a hard time as I did as DD was my first and I took is so personally.

And you are completely within your rights to feel hurt and upset. It is upsetting. I used to burst into tears at the end of the day from the behaviour.

It’s ok for her to know she’s upset and hurt your feelings. She needs to know, even at two, they have to learn mum and dad are not devoid of emotions.

#6 Mollycoddle

Posted 11 June 2019 - 10:09 AM

She is 3.  Children are their most selfish at that age.  If you're looking for gratitude for everything you do, you're in for a long road as you probably won't get it until adulthood or even not until your kids have kids of their own when they seem to wake up to all their own parents did for them.  You have unreasonable expectations, try not to take her behaviour personally.

Edited by Mollycoddle, 11 June 2019 - 10:11 AM.


#7 Kallie88

Posted 11 June 2019 - 10:11 AM

Just try to stay calm, let her know "that's not a nice thing to say/ we don't talk to friends/ mummy like that" etc. Kids can be dicks, but try not to let it get to you, it's 100% not personal, she's just testing out her limits and whether you'll react.

I'd encourage dad to step up more in the discipline department, it shouldn't all fall to you and he gets to be the 'fun' parent that's not fair on you. I'd also encourage him to spend more one on one time with her, absence makes the heart grow fonder after all and then you can have more time with bubs.

We have 3 under 3yo, it's tough when you want to make sure the elder child doesn't feel forgotten, but I think you can run in to problems if you overcompensate too. She's not the only one now, she will adjust to the change in attention, no doubt there will be push back and tantrums, but just remind her she's loved and safe and it's ok to feel sad or lonely but mummy and daddy are still here. Troubletops and the new baby is a great book for toddlers adjusting to a new arrival.

You're doing a great job op xx

#8 Bono25

Posted 11 June 2019 - 10:12 AM

Yep, I feel your pain.  DS is five and is still like this.  Someone once commented on here that you are the ground they walk on.  You don't notice it, but you notice when it's not there.  It really struck a cord with me, and has helped me to remember that he's not doing it to be mean, he doesn't understand that it hurts.  Even when I get the I hate you mummy.  Five minutes later its I love you.  I think they grow out of it eventually.....I hope!

#9 Caribou

Posted 11 June 2019 - 10:13 AM

View PostMollycoddle, on 11 June 2019 - 10:09 AM, said:

She is 3.  Children are their most selfish at that age.  If you're looking for gratitude for everything you do, you're in for a long road as you probably won't get it until adulthood or even not until your kids have kids of their own.  You have unreasonable expectations, try not to take her behaviour personally.

I think this is a little harsh. When you’re in the mist of it and it’s a constant onslaught, there’s only so much telling self ‘she’s 3, she’s 3, she doesn’t get it’ is going to wear thin quick. Toddlers are incredible at making parents doubt everything and wear them down with what is said and done. It would be impossible not to feel hurt being treated like this, even if ‘she’s 3’ you’d have to have emotional of steel to wing the toddler years without feeling something from their actions.

#10 Drat

Posted 11 June 2019 - 10:31 AM

View PostCaribou, on 11 June 2019 - 10:13 AM, said:

I think this is a little harsh. When you’re in the mist of it and it’s a constant onslaught, there’s only so much telling self ‘she’s 3, she’s 3, she doesn’t get it’ is going to wear thin quick. Toddlers are incredible at making parents doubt everything and wear them down with what is said and done. It would be impossible not to feel hurt being treated like this, even if ‘she’s 3’ you’d have to have emotional of steel to wing the toddler years without feeling something from their actions.

Thank you for that. Mollycoddles comment really hurt me. I know that she's only 2 and that it shouldn't bother me what she says and that I shouldn't feel hurt.. but I can't help feeling hurt. She my whole world and it breaks my heart when she says these things. I just need to try and control my reactions to what she is saying.

Thank you to everyone who has written such supportive and helpful comments, it's so nice to feel like i'm not alone.

It did make me realise that she was actually very much like this towards her dad for about a year and I put my foot down about her talking to him badly and trying to exclude him, so I think I will chat to my husband tonight about how he can try and do the same for me (he actually does this to an extent already).

I grew up with two parents who were not remotely on the same page as each other and mum was very much bad cop and dad was good cop, I don't want hubby and I to end up like that.

View PostCaribou, on 11 June 2019 - 10:13 AM, said:

I think this is a little harsh. When you’re in the mist of it and it’s a constant onslaught, there’s only so much telling self ‘she’s 3, she’s 3, she doesn’t get it’ is going to wear thin quick.

And it very much is the onslaught. If it was a few comments here and there it would be much easier to deal with, but it's very much pouring with mummy hate at the moment.

#11 aprilrainatxmas

Posted 11 June 2019 - 10:31 AM

View PostMollycoddle, on 11 June 2019 - 10:09 AM, said:

She is 3.  Children are their most selfish at that age.  If you're looking for gratitude for everything you do, you're in for a long road as you probably won't get it until adulthood or even not until your kids have kids of their own when they seem to wake up to all their own parents did for them.  You have unreasonable expectations, try not to take her behaviour personally.

Oh, this is so true!!!  My children have flashes of gratitude.

OP it is so hurtful, I know. This attitude seemed to come and go with mine.

Somebody photographed a card their daughter made where she and Daddy were bride and groom and Mummy was no where to be seen. Developmentally perfectly normal. Lots of hugs from me.

#12 seayork2002

Posted 11 June 2019 - 10:52 AM

DS11, he goes to DH for some things and me for others, he is more of a daddy's boy and I encourage this greatly, I love him him dearly he is an a great amazing kid but the more DS & DH do together the more peace I get

#13 seayork2002

Posted 11 June 2019 - 10:54 AM

View PostDrat, on 11 June 2019 - 10:31 AM, said:

Thank you for that. Mollycoddles comment really hurt me. I know that she's only 2 and that it shouldn't bother me what she says and that I shouldn't feel hurt.. but I can't help feeling hurt. She my whole world and it breaks my heart when she says these things. I just need to try and control my reactions to what she is saying.

Thank you to everyone who has written such supportive and helpful comments, it's so nice to feel like i'm not alone.

It did make me realise that she was actually very much like this towards her dad for about a year and I put my foot down about her talking to him badly and trying to exclude him, so I think I will chat to my husband tonight about how he can try and do the same for me (he actually does this to an extent already).

I grew up with two parents who were not remotely on the same page as each other and mum was very much bad cop and dad was good cop, I don't want hubby and I to end up like that.



And it very much is the onslaught. If it was a few comments here and there it would be much easier to deal with, but it's very much pouring with mummy hate at the moment.

I love my son but if you make your kids your whole life they will never live up to your expectations, they are their own person not an extension of you.

I am not saying to to be nasty but maybe you need to rethink how you think of things?

#14 Kreme

Posted 11 June 2019 - 10:55 AM

The first thing to do is to get your husband on your page. He needs to back you up when you discipline her.

Most of the things that you are doing for her are invisible for a 2-3 year old. She has no idea of the sacrifices you’re making. And even if she did, she would think that it was entirely justified because 3 year olds are completely self centred LOL! So you might need to accept that she’s not going to be saying thank you right now. She will, one day, trust me.

My final suggestion might be controversial but it is backed up by research. Don’t praise her for just existing. Is she a good big sister? Or are you just trying to ensure she doesn’t resent the baby? Instead of heaping praise on her, try talking to her about her actions “I saw you showing baby a toy very gently. Do you think she liked it? Did you see her smile? That’s how she tells you when she’s happy.” Encourage her to reflect on her own behaviour instead of relying on you to tell her she’s a good girl.

Good luck, I have 17 months between my kids so I do understand how tough it can be!

#15 Caribou

Posted 11 June 2019 - 10:57 AM

I don’t want to ever discourage my DHandDDs relationship I think it’s just as important they have a good bond, but I also would like to share that good bond too. I don’t want to be the parent they dump all the bad stuff on too. I want to enjoy my DD. Its easy to fall into resenting your Child when they do nothing but pour hate on to you. I remember dreading getting up in morning and facing another day of just angst from DD bc I wasn’t daddy.

#16 Drat

Posted 11 June 2019 - 11:14 AM

View Postseayork2002, on 11 June 2019 - 10:54 AM, said:

I love my son but if you make your kids your whole life they will never live up to your expectations, they are their own person not an extension of you.


I don't literally mean that there is nothing else in my life other than her. I have a career that I enjoy, friends, hobbies etc. but she really is the light of my life and brings me so much happiness.

View PostKreme, on 11 June 2019 - 10:55 AM, said:

My final suggestion might be controversial but it is backed up by research. Don’t praise her for just existing. Is she a good big sister? Or are you just trying to ensure she doesn’t resent the baby? Instead of heaping praise on her, try talking to her about her actions “I saw you showing baby a toy very gently. Do you think she liked it? Did you see her smile? That’s how she tells you when she’s happy.” Encourage her to reflect on her own behaviour instead of relying on you to tell her she’s a good girl.

She actually is a wonderful, sweet and kind big sister. I regularly find her sitting with the baby and stroking her face and saying "my beautiful girl" and "I love you so much, your my baby girl". If she cries she will rush to her and pat her or give her dummy etc. She has never been rough or mean to her.

I tell her that I love seeing how gentle and sweet and loving she is with the baby. The baby is obsessed with her and will always be looking at her and smiling. I tell her how much you can see her sister loves her because of how gentle and kind she is etc. and we talk about all the special things that she will be able to show the baby how to do etc. (she loves this as she is very helpful and likes 'teaching' others things)
(I also don't ever use 'good girl' anymore as I realised that it was inferring that there were times when she was 'bad' even though I have never told her she was bad or naughty. I use good listener, good helper, kind friend etc.)

#17 Kreme

Posted 11 June 2019 - 11:32 AM

View PostDrat, on 11 June 2019 - 11:14 AM, said:


She actually is a wonderful, sweet and kind big sister. I regularly find her sitting with the baby and stroking her face and saying "my beautiful girl" and "I love you so much, your my baby girl". If she cries she will rush to her and pat her or give her dummy etc. She has never been rough or mean to her.

I tell her that I love seeing how gentle and sweet and loving she is with the baby. The baby is obsessed with her and will always be looking at her and smiling. I tell her how much you can see her sister loves her because of how gentle and kind she is etc. and we talk about all the special things that she will be able to show the baby how to do etc. (she loves this as she is very helpful and likes 'teaching' others things)
(I also don't ever use 'good girl' anymore as I realised that it was inferring that there were times when she was 'bad' even though I have never told her she was bad or naughty. I use good listener, good helper, kind friend etc.)

If you’re interested in trying something different you could experiment with just observing those situations rather than praising her and see what happens. Or if you must comment you just describe what you saw without the praise component.  The theory behind it is encouraging kids to trust their own judgment rather than relying on parents and other adults for constant positive feedback. I find it really fascinating!

#18 lizzzard

Posted 11 June 2019 - 12:00 PM

View PostKreme, on 11 June 2019 - 11:32 AM, said:

If you’re interested in trying something different you could experiment with just observing those situations rather than praising her and see what happens. Or if you must comment you just describe what you saw without the praise component.  The theory behind it is encouraging kids to trust their own judgment rather than relying on parents and other adults for constant positive feedback. I find it really fascinating!
How interesting! I think this relates to intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation, a distinction I also find enormously important - and so relevant in todays world.

#19 Drat

Posted 11 June 2019 - 12:13 PM

View PostKreme, on 11 June 2019 - 11:32 AM, said:

If you’re interested in trying something different you could experiment with just observing those situations rather than praising her and see what happens. Or if you must comment you just describe what you saw without the praise component.  The theory behind it is encouraging kids to trust their own judgment rather than relying on parents and other adults for constant positive feedback. I find it really fascinating!

Thanks for that, maybe that is a good approach.

I guess i've been really hunting for things to praise her for since she's been so defiant and rude lately. I thought trying to catch her when she's "good" (I don't like using that word) would encourage more of that behaviour.

I think I might try your approach and see how that goes.

#20 Drat

Posted 11 June 2019 - 12:14 PM

View Postlizzzard, on 11 June 2019 - 12:00 PM, said:

How interesting! I think this relates to intrinsic vs extrinsic motivation, a distinction I also find enormously important - and so relevant in todays world.

Yes, I do worry about too many rewards etc. for good behaviour and that i'm setting her up for relying on extrinsic motivation.

Parenting is so ridiculously hard in so many ways that I never thought!

#21 JoanJett

Posted 11 June 2019 - 12:24 PM

View PostKreme, on 11 June 2019 - 11:32 AM, said:

If you’re interested in trying something different you could experiment with just observing those situations rather than praising her and see what happens. Or if you must comment you just describe what you saw without the praise component.  The theory behind it is encouraging kids to trust their own judgment rather than relying on parents and other adults for constant positive feedback. I find it really fascinating!

I think this is important with a new sibling for other reasons.  Sometimes she might actually only be demonstrating those behaviours to the baby to "earn" your praise and attention OP.

I think that some of the behaviour you describe is also pretty typical for a toddler with a new sibling.  Whether she appears to like/tolerate/love the baby or not, it's a big change to her world that she is still processing.  No matter how much time and attention you give her, she's no longer the one and only.

If you're the one she spends more time with and you're the one who is more firm with her, she's "telling" you a lot with her behaviour and words.  And what she's "telling" you is not the literal meaning of the words, but that she's obviously dealing with some big emotions and feelings.  

It can help to start mirroring how to appropriately express big feelings, like "when I'm angry/upset/frustrated/jealous/whatever, I sometimes feel like yelling/saying mean things/whatever.  But it doesn't usually make me feel better.  I find it helpful to take a big breath/have some quiet time/listen to music/ask for help".  It gives her permission to have "bad" feelings but also to understand how to react to them and deal with them appropriately.  It also demonstrates understanding that you know she doesn't really mean what she says.

When it comes to rewards or motivations, I think it's best to decide what you're trying to achieve with them.  They're usually most helpful in shaping behaviour in an immediate way (which is really important for some kids eg ADHD).  You might find it more helpful to reward her in a different unexpected way for her behaviour.  Thank her, acknowledge her or offer her some special time together in appreciation of her efforts.

#22 Kreme

Posted 11 June 2019 - 12:52 PM

View PostDrat, on 11 June 2019 - 12:13 PM, said:



Thanks for that, maybe that is a good approach.

I guess i've been really hunting for things to praise her for since she's been so defiant and rude lately. I thought trying to catch her when she's "good" (I don't like using that word) would encourage more of that behaviour.

I think I might try your approach and see how that goes.

Our preschool was hugely into this approach. They recommended reading Dr Louise Porter’s research into parenting without praise.

Of course then you send your kids to school and the teachers are stamping reward cards and handing out merit certificates for everything and it becomes a bit harder to control. But I still think doing it at home is beneficial.

#23 AdelTwins

Posted 11 June 2019 - 03:32 PM

View Postseayork2002, on 11 June 2019 - 10:54 AM, said:

I love my son but if you make your kids your whole life they will never live up to your expectations, they are their own person not an extension of you.

I am not saying to to be nasty but maybe you need to rethink how you think of things?
I think this is a bit harsh. I’d love to meet a mum/dad with a 2 year old and a newborn that has ANY time for themselves!

Heck, mine are 7,7 & 1 and I’m still struggling to etch out some me time. I’m grateful if I can watch some Netflix in bed at the end of a very long day.

#24 imme

Posted 11 June 2019 - 03:41 PM

Some really wonderful advice from people here!  :)

Just as another thought... when I had my last baby my then 3 year old became very, very difficult.  She was defiant, rude and would push and push and push on everything.  She was particularly bad towards me and I think that was because I was the one who had to spend so much time with our new baby... all the feeding, changing, settling etc. I think she found it difficult to not have my attention whenever she wanted it anymore and was taking it out on me.  She was awful to her dad as well, but towards me it was noticeably worse.  I was dreading getting up in the mornings to deal with another day of constant battles.

My husband and I actually started an online parenting course she was THAT bad, we were desperate and there was no parenting courses happening anywhere near us in the near future... there were a lot of other things as well that genuinely made us concerned about the kind of child she was turning into!

Part of the online course talks about "special time" which is just 10 minutes a day at the same time every day (if you can) where it's just you and your child, complete undivided attention.  You name it (we use special time) and say that it's time for special time, and thank you for special time when it's over.  During the time you do something that your child chooses to do.  This definitely made a big difference and if I get slack on doing special time with her I really notice her behaviour decline rapidly.

I know you've said you spend so much time with her, but I have seen that naming that time and the activity being of the child's choice and the child knowing that time is going to be spent with them at that time every day really reassuring to them and surprisingly powerful.  It's really important to make sure you're not interrupted or distracted by anything, it's ALL about them during that time.

My daughter is so much better now (my baby is now 11 months old).  She knows she gets her "special time" and she has favourite things she likes to do during that and she plans it and gets it ready.  She's much nicer to be around when I have been doing her special time regularly.

Edited by imme, 11 June 2019 - 03:42 PM.


#25 Drat

Posted 11 June 2019 - 05:21 PM

View Postimme, on 11 June 2019 - 03:41 PM, said:

Some really wonderful advice from people here!  :)

Part of the online course talks about "special time" which is just 10 minutes a day at the same time every day (if you can) where it's just you and your child, complete undivided attention.  You name it (we use special time) and say that it's time for special time, and thank you for special time when it's over.  During the time you do something that your child chooses to do.  This definitely made a big difference and if I get slack on doing special time with her I really notice her behaviour decline rapidly.

I know you've said you spend so much time with her, but I have seen that naming that time and the activity being of the child's choice and the child knowing that time is going to be spent with them at that time every day really reassuring to them and surprisingly powerful.  It's really important to make sure you're not interrupted or distracted by anything, it's ALL about them during that time.


She does really get a lot of one on one time. The baby is very content by herself (and sleeps quite well), so the 2 year old gets a lot of time one on one. I come up with different nice activities that I know she will like (and ask her if she would like it). Like drawing together, craft together, cooking together.
I actually think that maybe i'm giving her too much attention and not spending enough time with the baby (because she's the easy one).
My parents also take the 2 year old for special days quite frequently, so she gets both of their attention for the whole day etc.
We also haven't stopped any of the activities that she was doing before baby, so I still take her to swimming and get in the pool with her etc.




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