My 3 year old has been acting up a lot: Advice?

I have been struggling a little lately. My three ½-year-old has been acting up lately. He hits, pinches, smacks and kicks me. He does it more to me than my husband. I work five days a week, late afternoon until 11 at night. My husband is a stay at home dad right now. We have been hanging out with my husband’s 16-year-old daughter, and his ex-wife ( I know its a little weird, but we do the best to get along with her for his daughter and our son) and it seems that my son wants to walk with his ex or stay by her more than he does me. I sometimes can’t help but think that he doesn’t like me as much. I know that is probably crazy because he is only three, and I know he loves me. I talked to my husband, and we think maybe I leave and go to work and only spend a couple of hours with him during the day when he gets home from school until I go to work. Now, mind you that this is my 1st child. I feel like I am failing at being a mom. Don’t get me wrong he does get excited to see me every time he gets home from school and if by some strange reason he is awake when I get home from work he will run up and give me a huge hug and kiss. I just feel like I am lost and don’t know what to do. I have tried talking to my son telling him he hurts mommy’s feeling, and I really don’t think he understands. I don’t know what to do anymore. I am hoping it is just a phase that he is going through


Maybe if u could …spend more time with him one on one

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I think maybe u could try some one on one time with him. Like every two weeks or so on a off day you and him alone do something. Maybe try making storytime your thing with him as well. Its exhausting being a working mom and trying to make sure your kids know you’re there. Hang in there mama

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Maybe try and get different hours. He could be acting out because he misses you because you aren’t around enough. My son did that for a bit when I started going back to school and was working after school. I wouldn’t see him until the next morning. Once I changed some of my shifts around and was around more again his being mean habits dropped. Try some one on one with him also.

Maybe he is spending to much time with your husband’s ex


Maybe less time with the ex, and more time with mommy. Can u change the shift so it’s better for the family???


My daughter is the same way with her dad. She wont allow hom to do anything for her. Not even hamd her a cup. She makes me do it. But she is around me all day everyday and she is lucky to say hello to him everyday. Try spending more bonding time with him. On ypur days off take him to do something fun or just color and make sure to go the extra mile with it. Thays a hard situation. :sob:

I’m with my son all day and he does this to only me so I think it’s a phase. We practice nice hands but he just thinks it’s funny right now for some reason but only to mommy.

Children will act out around the parent they trust the most, because it is a safe opportunity for them to express themselves. Instead of taking it personally, try to understand he’s trying to tell you something but he doesn’t know how to communicate what it is. As far as the ex is concerned, don’t worry about it, she is a woman in his life and maybe he wants to impress her or his father by being overly affectionate. Please don’t doubt yourself, you’re doing the best you can, and that IS good enough.


Maybe he doesn’t know how to express what he’s feeling at 3 with you not being around as much but kids tend to act out more with their parents because you are his safe place. You not being around as much is just as hard for him as it is for you so if he’s trying to keep it together all day, he knows you’re gonna love him regardless and when he’s with you he let’s it all out. You have to find ways to redirect that hitting and pinching. Get on the floor and play cars or color when he starts acting up…then he knows he has your undivided attention and some of that may lessen but he doesn’t understand that he’s hurting your feelings not at his age so don’t try to explain that. It will get better but maybe change your hours if possible

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YOUR HUSBAND, his father needs to tell him it is NOT okay to ever hurt his wife, his mommy! ‘Mommy works hard and takes such good care of the family’. Alot of it is his age but he needs to learn how to treat you with respect


My God, he’s 3, wait till he’s a teen to complain.

Is there anyway you could change your hours around so you get more time with him during the day? With you working night’s you probably don’t get to spend a whole lot of time with him, and I know that’s gotta be hard on you too. It’s honestly probably a phase he’s going through. I do think if it were me I would be wanting him to spend less time with the ex wife. It’s great that you all can co parent together and get along but that would probably bother me.

I know the feeling but it I know it hurts your feelings he will out grow it maybe not so much at exes maybe the other child could spend more time at your place it’s hard but try not to make to big a deal about it just continue to show him you love him hes not old enough to know hes hurting your feelings for the kicks ,hits ,pinches And smacks smak his hands or butt and let him know it’s not ok Good luck

My 3 yr old son does this to his sister. I asked dr what I can do at his last check up and he told me to have one on one with him and keep him busy . He does it for attention honestly and when he does it we do timeout . We explain why he is timeout we set a 2 min timer and tell him if he gets up or hits anything it gets restarted and then we don’t talk to him while in timeout so he knows he is timeout for a reason and once timeout is done he hears the buzzer and he gets up and we talk to him again . It has helped a lot!
Your little boy night just be missing his mommy time and is acting out for your attention

Awwww he misses you :cry:. He can’t express it but he misses you lots.

He more than likely is acting up because he misses you and at three doesn’t know how to express it any other way than by doing what he’s doing. Try to spend some one on one time with him as often as possible.

I wouldn’t worry about the ex thing. He knows who his mommy is. That’s just how kids are. I’m home with my kids all day. They get enough of me lol. They prefer a few others over me sometimes. Hes lashing out at you because he trusts you the most. If you cant rearrange your schedule…try to arrange more one on one time with him. Hes just missing you. Try positive reinforcement. Consistency is key whatever you do. Talk to him with daddy too. Hands are for helping not hurting. Try to Express his emotions verbally. “I am angry, sad ect” it takes time. He just doesnt know how to communicate. One thing for sure, he loves you. No doubt.

I also work mid shift to 11 at night

My daughter is 3 also and does the same exact thing she has her moments where she either wants me or dad which is fine I don’t get offended their little they don’t know how to Express their feelings and acting that out is a form of it… if you can spend more time in the mornings on days off forget the cleaning that day let the house get messy and just have fun with him…when the behavior starts getting bad ignore it and walk away a little time out never hurt anyone let him know that it is not nice to hit mommy…lots of hugs and kisses momma

I would try working on naming his emotions and telling him that it’s okay to be mad, sad, frustrated, etc, and it’s not okay to react physically. Work on him using words to express his feelings versus just telling him no or that’s not nice.