3 yr old's personality change — The Bump
Pre-School

3 yr old's personality change

My DD has always been a very pleasant child. She loves to snuggle and give hugs and kisses. We always get compliments about how polite and well behaved she is.

Well, that has changed in the last 2 weeks. She has become increasingly defiant and downright unpleasant to be around. She won't listen to anything anyone tells her, we can't get her to take a time out when she needs to. She's refusing to take naps, won't go to bed at night (it takes me and DH HOURS to get her down when it used to just take a lullaby and a kiss). She doesn't play well with others anymore. She's even totally regressed in her potty training to the point where I'm considering buying her diapers again.

I don't know if this has anything to do with me being pregnant. She got a little needy when I was pregnant with her other brother, but she snapped out of it pretty quickly. She tells me all the time that she loves the new baby in my belly, so I know it's on her mind, but I don't think she's unhappy about it. 

Where did my sweet little girl go? How do I get her back? I understand that children just want to test their boundaries, but this is ridiculous and I want to stop it before it becomes any more of a problem than it already is. TIA.

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Re: 3 yr old's personality change

  • I don't have an answer, but we are going through the same thing. Personally, I feel like it is because he has dropped his nap and is overtired. I have no idea what to do about it.
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  • Hmm, a lot of this sounds awfully familiar to me.  We have gone through some similar phases with my DD.  Right before her baby sister was due DD#1 started having some weird issues going to the potty (after being potty trained for well over a year).  She would say she really had to go, then when she would get to the potty she didn't have to go anymore.  I took her to the doctor but they couldn't find anything physically wrong with her.  That lasted a couple of weeks.  Then after her sister was born she has been in and out of phases.  Recently she went through a really difficult phase where she was bossy and pushy and just plain not nice.  Thankfully that phase seems to be winding down and she's being much more pleasant.  I guess I don't have any real advice except to say that sounds normal for her to go through phases like this when there are big changes going on like a new baby.  Just continue to give her lots of attention and reassurance and I'm sure this phase will pass.  Good luck!
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  • We struggled with DD at the end of the summer when we told her she was going to be a big sister.  I'd give it 2 more weeks and then take her to the pediatrician, just to be sure.  You could even use that to show her how worried you are about her, and how you know that this behavior isn't the sweet little girl you know.  Everything is a phase, and I'm sure it'll pass, but I definitely know what you're going through.  It's awful when DD gets in a funk!  
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  • My DD is doing the same thing. My mom always told me "forget the terrible two's: you were so much worse at three".... can't wait til we get past this little "milestone" ;)
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  • Welcome to 3, I hope it's a short phase for you. A lot of 3 y/o's need to feel like they're in control - choices and natural consequences work great with them. She may feel a bit out of control with another baby sibling on the way, as well.  It could also be a reaction to her current sibling who is now old enough to do some of the things she's doing.  This was really disconcerting for my DS.  He flipped when DD started walking, he was ok with her being a baby, but not with her being a toddler. 

    If she's not going to sleep at night and fighting naps, it's possible she's ready to drop naps.  I know this isn't ideal for you right now, but you can still give her rest time in her room with books or an educational toy.  Her incentive for staying there for rest time is that she will lose the book/toy if she can't stay in bed.  If she's not napping, she will probably go to sleep earlier, sleep longer and wake up in a better mood. 

    DS1 age 7, DD age 5 and DS2 born 4/3/12
  • image-auntie-:

    She's almost 4. It's what fours do.

    Is she in a preschool setting? Are they seeing this behavior as well?

    She's not in preschool yet, but her sitter did say she was showing the same behaviors. She's also been very unkind to SIL and MIL, which is completely out of character for her. 

    Oh well, it sounds like from what everyone says that she is just in a phase and it will pass. I hope. Thanks :)

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