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zenfather
zenfather asks:
Q:

Is it normal for a 3 year old to have strange mood swings?

My 3 years old son have some strange mood swings.
He'll usually wake up pretty grumpy, then after a bit he'll be fine, then might drop back into moodiness.
I feel like I'm raising a teenager. He's a great kid and lot's of fun to be around  but sometime he's moods just make me depressed myself. Is this normal for this age?
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Feb 20, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

At 3 years old, children are beginning to test the waters around them.  They are always experiencing something new and can quickly become excited or frustrated by these new experiences.  It's normal for a small child to wake up grumpy in the morning.  Sometimes it helps to use the time after they wake up to comfort and cuddle them so they feel secure.  It's a great way to start the day.  If they don't allow you to do that, it's best to give them some time space and time to wake up and they'll eventually come around.  As a precaution, you may want to make a visit to your pediatrician just to make sure nothing is physically causing the moodiness.  If you get the all clear from the doctor, just ride the waves for now.  

You mentioned you are feeling depressed.  Have you talked to anyone about what's going on?  What are you doing to take care of yourself?  I'm guessing you spend a large amount of time with your 3 year old.  This can be exhausting, so don't forget to take even a few minutes to yourself every day.  Remember, it's ok to ask for help too!!

Take Care,
Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000

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Additional Answers (1)

Redwood_City_Mom
Redwood_Cit... writes:
Hi Zenmeer,

My three year old little guy is exactly the same!  One thing I figured out is that his mood is much more likely to be grumpy if he's hungry or tired so I try to keep him level through the day by giving him healthy snacks every couple of hours.

Sometimes though, he's just grumpy and there's no good explanation!  (He sounds like your son that he's a bit of a bear first thing in the morning :-)  ).  It seems like just giving him some space in those times works best.  I know what you mean about it affecting your mood too.  Sometimes I tell him that if he can't get himself happier he needs to go spend some time in his bedroom until he's ready to be with our family.  Sometimes that works and he'll go upstairs for a few minutes and come down fine.  But sometimes that sets off a full body tantrum!  Either way it gives me a break from him so I can get my own mood in a better place.

I think it is pretty normal since most of my friends with 3s have the same experience.  Let's just hold on together until 4 comes! ;-)

Please keep in touch, I'd love to hear any good ideas you have and maybe other parents will share their thoughts.
> 60 days ago

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