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Question
Posted by: Makoena | 2011/08/17

3 yrs old

I have a 3 yrs old boy who behaves so terrible after we separated with his dad . It has been six months months now and he comes to visit him when he gets time but it is still not enough for him as he screams and kicks everything in the house throwing things around the house.

Sometimes he will say he is going to smack his dad when he comes home from work one day because he has been gone for a long time even though he was with him few days ago.

It is getting so difficult for me to handle him cause he no longer wants to go to day care center, he will undress himself in the morning after i forced him to take a bath and dress him...
During the day they say he is playing and eating well but as soon as we are home he start throwing tantrums.

I allow him to choose whatever he wants to eat in morning but after cooking oats he nolonger wants that he wants cornflakes or it taste horrible that whats he said to me.

And sometimes he will say if am not prepared to feed him supper or lunch he is not going to eat his food...so i had to feed him.

Am loosing it please advice

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Its not unusual for children, especially when they are too young to understand what's going on, to feel anger towards the parent who seems to have suddenly gone away for no reason the kid can understand. Presumably the boy is used to dad being around every day, and now sees it as annoying and puzzling why he isn't there every day, rather than enjoying the days when he is around. Its interesting that his tantrums seem to be so specifically aimed at his parents, who he is seeking to influence, rather than more broadly at other people.
Its also typical of distressed children, again especially the younger ones, that they may slide back for a time from existing developmental achievements. They may soil or wet themselves, or, as you describe, they may claim they need to be fed - a way of behaving like they did in the Good Old Days when dad was always around, and of making you physically take care of them.
As Caro says, dont let him rule you if he refuses to eat what he asked for, leave it acessible to him, but don't cook something diferent. He won't choose to remain hungry for long.
Usually such turbulence would settle down after around 6 months. Obviously at his age, it's hard to discus the situation with him in any detail, but have you asked him ( in a calm period ) what he feels so angry about, and why he thinks Dad isn't living with you now ? Slightly older children may also blame themselves for the departure of a parent, and at any age they may need to be explicitly re-assured by both parents that they ae still loved.

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3
Our users say:
Posted by: Makoena | 2011/08/17

Thanks for the advice much appreciated @ Caro He was there from day one he use to change his nappies, feed, bath him and take him to sleep. He was a good father to his kids and he still is but the separation really mess up our familly but life goes on.

Reply to Makoena
Posted by: Caro | 2011/08/17

Why is he so sad when separtated frrom his dad? Do they have a good relationship otherwise? Get to the bottom of it and get some books about separation anxiety for children. You can try to understand his emotions but not allow yourself to be manipulated by a child either.

Some rules for raising children:
Reward good behaviour
Comfort when sad
Turn your back on a tantrum
Smack when lives are threatened (like running across a road)

Children will not starve themselves. If he has asked for something that is what he should eat or nothing at all. He wont die but he''ll learn that he cannot order his mother around. It doesnt ever stop if you allow it - he''ll then keep doing it until he''s 30.

Reply to Caro
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/08/17

Its not unusual for children, especially when they are too young to understand what's going on, to feel anger towards the parent who seems to have suddenly gone away for no reason the kid can understand. Presumably the boy is used to dad being around every day, and now sees it as annoying and puzzling why he isn't there every day, rather than enjoying the days when he is around. Its interesting that his tantrums seem to be so specifically aimed at his parents, who he is seeking to influence, rather than more broadly at other people.
Its also typical of distressed children, again especially the younger ones, that they may slide back for a time from existing developmental achievements. They may soil or wet themselves, or, as you describe, they may claim they need to be fed - a way of behaving like they did in the Good Old Days when dad was always around, and of making you physically take care of them.
As Caro says, dont let him rule you if he refuses to eat what he asked for, leave it acessible to him, but don't cook something diferent. He won't choose to remain hungry for long.
Usually such turbulence would settle down after around 6 months. Obviously at his age, it's hard to discus the situation with him in any detail, but have you asked him ( in a calm period ) what he feels so angry about, and why he thinks Dad isn't living with you now ? Slightly older children may also blame themselves for the departure of a parent, and at any age they may need to be explicitly re-assured by both parents that they ae still loved.

Reply to cybershrink

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