Sunday, November 7, 2010

Three Year Olds

Anyone else have a hard-to-handle three year old?  Julia is a pretty intense kid, and has been particularly challenging lately.  Here are a few of the things we are trying and some books I am reading.  I'd love any ideas you have to share as well!

Kid Cooperation - This is a great book that I picked up from our LLL library.  I love that Elizabeth Pantley doesn't try to push a rigid "method" but gives lots of tips, support, and things to keep in mind.  She comes from an attachment parenting perspective and is easy to read.  The book has plenty of examples and real life situations, which I find really helps me.  I'm actually not finished reading this book yet, but Ross and I are reading it together and discussing it as we go.  It really helps to talk things through with him and come up with a game plan.

(Elizabeth Pantley also has a newer book called The No-Cry Discipline Solution.  It contains much of the same information, and I will probably read through that one as well.  I do find that I like the layout of Kid Cooperation much better though.)

Adventures In Gentle Discipline - I am still in the middle of reading this one as well.  It is a larger volume, but easy to read.  It contains lots of quotes from mothers and real life stories.

Sensory Parenting - I actually received this book from the author for review.  It is interesting to read and think about all of the sensory input that might be affecting a child.  This is a comprehensive book with information on all aspects of parenting as relates to a child with a sensory disorder.  I thought the book had a lot of extraneous advice and could have been narrowed down.  Chapters 7 and 8 on evaluating your child's senses and therapies for the senses were the most interesting.  In the author's defense, sensory parenting is a huge topic - kudos to them for trying to tackle it!  Sensory Parenting is an interesting read.

We recently took Julia to the chiropractor/ kinesiologist that our family sees.  He did a very gentle adjustment on her and suggested some specific vitamins.  We discussed nutrition, focusing on feeding Julia food other than carbohydrates and working on keeping her blood sugar stable.  She has actually been somewhat better since our visit.  I am doing my best to keep our family's nutrition top notch right now and hoping that will help ...along with plenty of patience.  ;)

Do you have a challenging little one?  Any tips to share?


  1. Hmmm. You haven't met my oldest.;) He's always been challenging - super-high energy levels. As I'm typing this I just realized that he's always been the most picky eater and he's been our most challenging - I think there's a correlation between his behavior and a lack of nutrients here. Anyway, is she getting a lot of healthy fats? I need to start doing that with Isaac to help level his blood sugar and to help his brain. Since brains are mostly fat and he doesn't eat as well as I'd like, he could probably use a lot more. Oops, gotta go take care of Eva - she's having another meltdown.

  2. Oh my goodness. My soon to be three year old is giving me a run for my money! I am afraid to say that three is indeed more terrible than two.

    I really enjoyed Playful Parenting and Free Range Kids and other positive parenting/discipline type books but it is sometimes hard to remember the strategies and ideas when he's screaming at me and throwing a fit!

  3. Thank you for this list of books. Several I have heard of, several I have not. I have a spirited three year old who is a challenge to me many times.

  4. I think three year olds in general are challenging. Its an age when they are part toddler, part child. Every age has its challenges, the best discipline you can ever give your child no matter the age is consistency.

    My son wasn't particularly hard at three but he did have his moments where I didn't know what to do or where to go. I DO anticipate my two year old daughter being quite a handful, as she has been at every step :)

  5. Three is sooo hard, much more so than two!

    I have heard good things about the book "Raising Godly Tomatoes". I have not yet read it myself, but really ought to. From what I've heard from others, the premise of it is to stake your little tomatoes(children) to yourself and engage them in everything that you do as your little apprentice so that you are able to see where something is going to go wrong and avoid it before it actually manifests itself as bad behavior. I like that idea as it really encompasses our Biblical mandate to train up our children.

    I think any scripture based parenting/discipline method is the best. Quoting scripture to your kiddos that applies to their behavior has been very effective for us. Three is quite young, but we often have our 9yr old write out verses to discipline poor choices. Not only are the words being written on paper, but they are being engraved on his heart (and he's practicing his penmanship ;)).

  6. Although it may be difficult in the home (especially a home like mine that is much too unstructured. I'm trying!) Montessori talks about "sensitive periods" (I think that is what she called them) When the kids are hungry for stimulation and learning. Montessori believed that we as parents simply do not know how to respond to what seem to be behavioral issues. I just returned "A Montessori Mother" to the library, but just found the whole book online! here is the link...

    She focuses more on teaching your child self discipline through the activities and daily routines.

    The disconnect I find with Montessori is what to do when my child simply protests (throwing himself on the floor when it is time to leave and I've given him plenty of warning regarding the transition from home to car.)

    I do agree with Montessori that the busyness of life is just too much for little ones. I've learned as a mother to keep my commitments outside the home to a low as much as possible and to give him the freedom of discovery within the home with the proper learning tools. When we go somewhere, anywhere, it is a huge event for him. I am looking forward to creating some Montessori didactic materials such as the buttoning/zipper apparatuses.

  7. 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 by Thomas W. Phelan....I read it cover to cover, even bought this books and I LOATHE the self-help genre of books!

  8. I'm enjoying the discussion here, lots of great comments.

    Nina - hm, healthy fats... makes sense. We've been focusing on protein, fruits and veggies, avoiding carbs a bit. Just being regular about when she eats and what she eats helps. Lucy has some dry skin issues, so I do try to push the healthy fats with her but hadnt thought of it with Julia. Both the girls take a fish oil supplement.

    Vanessa and Rebekah - thanks for chiming in.

    Zaira- I'll have to check out those books. And I agree, I just go blank in the moment and totally don't know what to do when I'm faced with a horrible fit sometimes.

    Courtney - I've read Raising Godly Tomatoes. You can read the whole book right on her website, I was reading it on my iPod all day for a couple of days. Its ok... I like the principal that you talked about, but otherwise she's pretty harsh. The punishments for any and all misbehaviour is spanking. We do/ have spanked in the past, but I prefer other discipline when I can. She doesn't offer much alternative. Its interesting because in some things she's really AP, nurses, cosleeps I think.

    KLW - Interesting! I haven't read much montessori, I should!

    Renee - Ok, I'll have to check out that book too, I've heard it recommended several times.

    Thanks for the input and conversation ladies! Love ya!