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Anti-social 3 year old. Should I be concerned?

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#1 Kay1

Posted 21 December 2008 - 08:10 PM

DS1 turned 3 in September. We had quite a lot of awful tantrumy behaviour since before his birthday until recently. He had seemed to settle in the last couple of weeks though and I was no longer having any trouble with him at home. I could even venture out of the house with him again.

Anyway just recently with family christmas get togethers I have noticed that he will not talk to his grandparents or uncles and aunts. He ignores them completely and won't be talked into giving them hugs etc (he was previously enthusiastic about these people and would hug, kiss, talk to them). He will play with his cousins a bit. At home he has been really chatty and sweet lately with lots of interacting with DH and I but just will not acknowledge other family members.

He goes to daycare two days a week and although he's been there for a year he can't or won't tell me the name of one child there :xmas_unsure: . He does however know all the carer's names and always makes a point of saying goodbye to each of them when I pick him up. When picking him up at daycare I've noticed that he is never playing with other kids although sometimes he is watching them. The carers say this is pretty normal although they have all remarked on how stubborn he is and how hard it is to get him to do something if he doesn't want to.

Today was a perfect example of what I have noticed. It was lunch time and we all sat down at the table including my niece and nephew whom DS1 loves. He refused to stop playing and join us so I said he could choose, sit at the table or go to bed. He chose to go to bed. sad.gif He lay there til lunch was finished and then said he was finished sleeping. He didn't eat anything although I am completely used to that by now.

So, do you think this is normal 3 year old behaviour or should I be concerned? :xmas_unsure:

#2 lucky 2

Posted 21 December 2008 - 08:31 PM

Hi there, I don't really know, I have a just 4 year old girl, she did some of these things some of the time, certainly at three did not play much with the kids at occasional care (once a week), loved to help the teachers, refused to do things with the other kids, watched them. And she was and is very clear what she wants and doesn't want/stubborn. It is an annoying trait some times but I also admire her strength of character. Now at 4 she is running up to one of them when she arrives, talks about some of them (with names!). She is just more confident now, and skilled.
He is very young, and they don't 'play' together at this age, just parallel play. If you are worried perhaps talk to the child carers some more to fill you in on age appropriate behavior, or consider your local community health centre, re seeing a paediatric psychologist if you want, or privately.
Who knows with the adult relatives, ? feeling pressured, I suppose just encourage him to be polite at least, hello, goodbye etc so he will at least do that, ie good manners!
Good luck, try not to worry, but I know I did at that age, I think I expected too much of her, she is growing up more obviously now since turning 4.

#3 GrannyLang

Posted 21 December 2008 - 08:36 PM

Just ask him.  Children understand a lot more than we give them credit for.  

Perhaps because more of your attention is focused on the family he feels a little left out?

#4 Kay1

Posted 21 December 2008 - 08:49 PM

GrannyLang - I did ask him. He said "I don't want to say hello" :xmas_mellow: If I ask why he says "I still don't want to". Or once that he was "scared of Nan" (which was fair enough as he wasn't expecting her and she walked into his room after a nap.)

I don't think he feels left out, everyone makes a fuss of him (far more than they do of me LOL) but he just ignores them and pushes them away. I think that he is actually just really engrossed in what he is doing, toys etc and just isn't interested in people at all. I can understand him wanting to play etc but he used to love seeing his Gran and Pa and his Nan and would be excited to see them. He is also completely oblivious to his baby brother most of the time, even when he's crying. If I draw his attention to him he will look surprised to see him there even if he's on the floor right next to him. :xmas_unsure:

luckytwo - Thanks. I'm glad that your daughter is growing out of it. He had a routine check at 2.5 years at the local clinic and was seen at almost 3 by a speech pathologist. They both thought he was interacting really well. He can and does at times. He is also very affectionate to me and wants me to do everything for him.

I guess its also his overall negativity and grumpiness that is getting to me. He is so resistant to everything....even trying to get him to do something fun can be hard. Needless to say we are getting nowhere on the TT front. :xmas_glare:

#5 catnat

Posted 21 December 2008 - 09:25 PM

remarked on how stubborn he is and how hard it is to get him to do something if he doesn't want to

Is it also possible that he knows you want him to talk to/hug the relatives and therefore doesn't want to do it for that reason? I have one that will do that: refuse just because I want him to do something and for no other reason.

As for the not noticing his sibling, some days I question whether mine even know Hunter is there! I was reading a thread one day with people saying their toddlers entertain their baby in the car and mine pay no attention to him at all (unless he is stealing their toys.)

TBH I think him and my Chase sound really similar in a lot of ways. Very frustrating though. We have actually done 'failsafe' and eliminated additives/preservatives etc and that has helped heaps with his overall grumpiness, tantrums etc but he has the most stubborn personality in the world. TT'ing here is not happening either with him.

#6 lucky 2

Posted 21 December 2008 - 09:37 PM

With the tt, it went nowhere for me too, until I got serious at about 3 3/4, she just would counter all my advances, suggestions, requests, in the end I got some help from a paediatric psychologist to help me help her to take that step in growing up. It worked well with rewards and charts and I think in the end it was quite easy in that she was more mature, I had to learn how to get her interested and feeling positive about things, then she does really well.
I hope you don't mind the tangent.

#7 Guest_Yes*I*am*busy_*

Posted 22 December 2008 - 09:08 AM

I've got one like that too... we also are failsafe here and it has made a huge difference (we have been since 2 yrs old really) and letting him have "crazy food" (we call it!) at parties etc will bring it on (not necessarily straight away but still)... so we don't do it any more.

Our Shelby is very happy to cuddle me or DH but often won't even let his brother near him (gets cranky and pushes him away) but then he also will happily play by himself and often doesn't want Finn to play with him etc. It can be exhausting, but I think it is just a personality thing. My family, luckily, are not ones to force them to kiss/cuddle if they don't want to... and often with him if we then make a fuss of Finn (very sociable!) he might go and do it because he doesn't want to be left out - although sometimes it is with a grumpy face and stamping feet, at which point we just ask him (like you did with bed or table) to go somewhere else as we are not interested in his cranky pants behaviour...

Eventually he comes around.

I do think that they call three year olds "three-nagers" for a reason. They are starting to 'get their own mind' and realise what they do and don't like to do and also try to assert their independence (like Cat said, he might just be NOT doing because you are telling him TO do it - just 'because he can').

Our Finn, also, answers most questions with "because I want to", "because I love it" etc... and has done since 3-ish. This includes when we catch him out on bully behaviour like taking his brothers hat and throwing it on the roof... and we go out and in frustration shout "WHY? Why would you do that Finn?". The answer with a pout and head tucked into shoulder is "because I like to" etc... VERY frustrating.

Finn also does not tell us anything about Day care other than carers, and even goes as far as telling us that noone plays with him, they push him over etc. Talking with the carers, this is not true... and also when we arrive they (including him) are mobbed by their little group of friends... so...

I think sometimes its just a personality thing. I did have a big talk to Finn recently about his behaviour (bully!) and asked him why he does it... it eventually - after a good 10mins of probing - came down to that he doesn't like it when Shelby tells him to go away or whatever when they are playing outside at daycare... they are in two different rooms and Shelby has a little mate in his room... I think that they might exclude Finn a little when they are playing outside. I tried to give him a few strategies to deal with that etc and spoke to the carers and it seems to be a bit better now... so...

Maybe its worth doing as pp's have suggested and really probing him/talking to him, and also to the carers at daycare and see if you can work on a solution. I think he will grow out of it, but you should 'keep on him' IYKWIM... We have found Shelby is getting much better, but it has been a long year of us telling him that his behaviour is not nice etc and that he upsets people... or that his behaviour is unacceptable and he must go to his room if he can't be friendly etc. I understand that sometimes they might be in a bad mood and not want to see everyone, but EVERY time they visit or we visit them is not on.

Anyway, you are not alone, I think he's probably quite normal, and will eventually grow out of it.

Good luck.

Jen original.gif

#8 bahalee

Posted 22 December 2008 - 10:45 AM

My DS went through the same thing at that age. Went from being happy to refusing to say hello to people he knew and strangers. He would even snarl at them.

We tried ignoring but he just kept getting worse. In his case he was very shy and did not like people talking to him. Eventually after a lot of role playing with his toys to show how to say hello and explaining it was rude. Rewarding when he would say hello, the behaviour eventually stopped. But it did go on for an extremely long time.

In my DS he is socially/emotionally behind others his age and as a result he is doing a 2nd yr of kinder next year.

So maybe normal 3yo behaviour but also maybe he is having difficuly with his social/emotional development. Hopefully he will move past this phase soon

#9 Kay1

Posted 22 December 2008 - 09:27 PM

Thanks everyone. DS is usually actually really outgoing. For example he will happily chat to strangers at the shops, in the lifts etc so I don't think its shyness.

Anyway we had long chats with him about it last night and today he has been sweetness and light itself! He even asked to ring his Granny (who he completely ignored yesterday) and had a good old chat with her on the phone which she was thrilled about and so were we! We have also started removing a toy when he is being naughty and putting it on the mantelpiece until after his sleep the next day. This is only working at the moment because he has two new trucks which he loves. Previously he has just shrugged and said he doesn't want that toy anyway! :xmas_happy:

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