3 Yr Old Livid - Undermining at Play?
Hi All. I am the aunt in this situation and may be completely ignorant to normal 3 year old behavior - feel free to tell me if that is the case.
My sister recently went on a week long business trip out of the country. Because it was a 3rd world country, her contact with her son/husband was very limited over the course of the week. It is the first and only time she has left her 3 yr old son alone with only her husband for a prolonged period of time. Upon returning back home, she's found her 3 year old doesn't trust her and is acting out (fighting/screaming) against everything she does. For example, something as simple as her opening a granola bar for him makes him so angry he starts screaming and shaking. I understand him struggling with her being gone so long, but his trust issues and new-found deviance seem extreme to me.
Now a little background. My sister can be a pushover. From my view point, she may not be in charge of her son, he may be in charge of her. This also extends to her marriage. Her husband has been emotionally abusive their entire relationship. I've witnessed him undermining her parenting/authority in front of their 3 year old before, and the results are obvious...the 3 year old doesn't respect mommy. He loves mommy, but doesn't listen to her. But in all fairness, I am not there often enough to know this is always the case. My sister also does everything. She is the bread winner and works full days while her husband works a partial day and then goes and "plays." He helps out a little bit with their son, but more of the fun stuff - like playing and buying him toys. She is in charge of getting him up and ready in the morning, feeding and bathing.
My instincts tell me her husband may have been saying stuff to their son while she was out of town. Something like, "mommy abandoned us." The reaction seems so severe for just one trip out of town. And knowing my brother-in-law's emotionally abusive past, I wouldn't put it past him to do something of this sort. Again, maybe I'm just ignorant to normal 3 yr old behavior. Thoughts?