Whats up with the teenager attitude of my 3 yr old!

Heather - posted on 01/29/2010 ( 58 moms have responded )

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I don't know if anyone else is dealing with this but why is it that my 3 yr old finds the need to act like a 12 yr old and think its cute! Little girls can have the worst tudes!!!

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Sarah - posted on 11/15/2013

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My daughter, now 3 years old has always been so smart, sweet and eager to please. UNTIL.... She literally turned 3. That birthday Eve was normal and when she woke up the next day on her birthday- it was like a new girl had been born. Still sweet and smart most of the time but major attitude, high and mightiness, power struggles over everything and major attitude. She's almost 3 1/2 now and we've experienced peaks and valleys with her behavior. Bedtime is difficult. She'll nap for 2-3 hours in the afternoon but then won't go to bed unless with us and regardless of how early we turn the lights off she doesn't settle down and sleep until between 10-11pm. Too late for a 3 yr old to stay up. We let her sleep with us because her fits wake up her 19 mos old and 6 mos old sisters. We've laid with her in her own bed and it takes the same amount of time if not longer and ruins our parent time. We've tried every combo of solutions. No nap, shortened naps, consequences w/ things taken away, time outs, mild spankings, etc. Nothing phases her. And now bedtime has become tolerable only because we are forced to just go to sleep all together and we're asleep by 10. Now the issues are different. They seem to roll from one instance to the next. Bossing her 19 mos sister, mothering, fighting for toys, but mostly just simply NOT LISTENING. Soooo annoying. She's an emotional roller coaster with very firm and fair boundaries to exercise her growing independence within. But we still walk on egg shells A couple times a day. Particularly at bedtime because it can go one of two ways if we push her too much. We shower her with praise on her good behavior and discipline with counting to 1, 2, 3 warnings, time outs and corner time and confiscating toys. Her not listening is consistent throughout the day even though she seems to be playing fine by herself or with sisters and into her own little world most of the time. She wants what she wants when she wants it or it takes some major creativity on my part to talk her down from it. She has teenager remarks sometimes. "Mom! Ugh! Please?! You're freakin' me out!" Or "Mom, this is so unfair! I am not going to do what you say!" It's just funny to me that I never know what to expect from her. Sometimes she's agreeable and others she's not. Sometimes my consequences work and other times they don't phase her at all. I've read read everything you can and am doing all of the things I've read to do about it so far.. Boundaries, consistency, lots of love and communication to get to the root of an issue, firm consequences. So unless anyone has some creative tricks they can share, I guess we tell our experiences as parents and wait this phase out together right? It's rewarding to see their new milestones but such a frustrating period of a million little particularities and demands. And I have two more little girls to go through yet! Sigh. :)

Patricia - posted on 07/24/2012

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my 9 year old is carrying on like a teenager but is developing early but i still nip it in the bud before it starts and her 11 year old brother says he is early puberty to but he also tries to play boss i nip that in the bud as well but let him think that he is going through early puberty to because no matter how much i have explained to him that he is not he is to over competitive to admit he is not buys huh!

Patricia - posted on 07/24/2012

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i would still see why she does not want to go to playgroup maybe something is bothering her i always say it is best to safe than sorry and usually it is a simple thing that will help the child and make the child feel safe and comfortable again if it is nothing well at least you know that you did something about it instead of wondering wether you should have or not

Meredith - posted on 05/21/2012

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i am so glad you posted this. my daughter has always been headstrong but in the last week or so she has been impossible. she has never been a great sleeper but now she wont go to bed and no matter what she is threatened with eg toys taken etc, she wont llisten. then she will say 'ok, I am exhausted now' and go to sleep!.
My daughter also suddenly doenst want to be left at playgroup that previoulsy she has been loving and will basically cut off her nose to spite her face than listen. it is very frustrtating so I am so glad we are not alone. I was a bit worried there was something wrong.

Cassandra - posted on 05/14/2012

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have to add that in our house its not cute or funny and they get in trouble for talking back. We have also had to punish the almost 5 year old for not getting in the car when it was time to leave because she was too busy doing her hair. I'm not big into makeup or doing my hair so i have no idea where she gets it! and for the comments yesterday the almost 10 year old lost her tv for a week. Ya gotta nip it in the bud but it doesn't mean its actually going to stop anything for long!

Cassandra - posted on 05/14/2012

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Cuz she's a girl?? LOL I have been trying to find the answer to this for years. I have three girls who will be 10,5,and 4 this year and have been dealing with teenager attitude for almost 7 years now! Just yesterday the almost 10 year old told her dad that he gets on her nerves and she wasn't acting "popular" she was acting like herself. My almost 5 year old informs me everyday that every other person in her class wears makeup/fingernail polish/dresses to school everyday and she is the only one who doesn't. Its a lie of course but (in her own words) she likes to look good. My almost 4 yr old thank god seems to be a tom boy and we only have to deal with her thinking she has 18 year old boyfriends. I wish you the best of luck, but I cannot guarantee it will ever end!

Emili - posted on 03/07/2010

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LOL...wait til she starts kindergarten!!! my kids were all like that around that age, but two of them are in elementary now and the things they say and do are crazy!!!

Jesica - posted on 03/02/2010

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lol I have a 3yo also and she has 2 lil bros and she thinks that if I am not in the same room with them then she is the boss and it drives me crazy. The other day I told her to stop acting like shes the boss and she said why do i have to ya know i am the boss and i can do what i want!!! i was speechless

Jaclyn - posted on 02/28/2010

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We are constantly on our sons case about talking nicely and not having an attitude about everything. We also give him nicer words to say, but that does not last long.

Suzanne - posted on 02/28/2010

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I totally agree with Suzanne K! The attitude must be nipped in the bud immediately or it will continue. I see so many people that think it's "cute" and/or "funny" to have a smarty pants filled with attitude. I don't know about most of you, but I don't think it's cute when children talk back to their parents or older people with so much attitude. I have 16 and 17 year olds as well. I encourage them not to speak rudely to me or anyone else, not just because my 3 year old will hear it, but it's just so disrespectful.

Jo - posted on 02/26/2010

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I got told 2 stop being mouthy the other day by Mia-in the cubicle of public loos,n it wasn't quietly either!.God help me in a few years when pmt starts,the door frames are regularly getting a battering already!!!!.Know how u feel about car journeys,my 2 always kick of 2gether in car.

Kim - posted on 02/25/2010

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LOL same here... my sons word for the week is "Shut up" the bay was crying in the car and my hubby was getting lost and tryin to find his way back and i couldnt get her to stop crying and hubby said under his breath "shut up" and from that day on its been "shut up baby" (with attitude) not funny at all...

Jo - posted on 02/25/2010

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Mia has just turned 4 (going on 14!) and can be little miss attitude at times,am dreading teenage years already.Has a 6wk old sister and i'm dreading her being the same-having screaming matches with her over what to wear since she was 15months old,heeeelllppppp!,going grey already!!!!!!!!!!!!.

Jaclyn - posted on 02/25/2010

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I think we need to start a group for parents of toddlers/preschoolers that act like teenagers. It's crazy how our kids pick up the worst behaviors and no matter what we do to correct these behaviors they don't get better. I hope that it's just a phase. I encourage his good behavior whenever he shows it, but this "teenager" keeps showing up instead.

[deleted account]

LOL... yes, I think we all know where you're coming from :) It's a way of trying out their independence, really! Gotta learn it sometime, right? Deep breaths.... we'll make it through!

Missy - posted on 02/24/2010

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My daughter will be 4 in a couple of weeks and TALK ABOUT ATTITUDE! Sometimes if I close my eyes, I swear she is a premenstrual 16 year old. Her mood swings, disrespect, and know it all attitude is driving my husband and crazy! We're struggling with how to teach her how to be sweet, confident young lady without turning into a bratty know it all bully. I just keep praying that one day she'll use her powers for good instead of evil.

One positive note though is a friend told me that she's noticed that girls with attitude this age learn to control themselves and be assertive without being overly aggressive by the time they're teenagers. I sure hope she's right.

Bridget - posted on 02/23/2010

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It is def a girl thing. My daughter is the same way. Everyone tells me my son wont be like that.(he is 4 months) She already back talks & has TONS of attitude.

Audrey - posted on 02/22/2010

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It will pass... I promise. I think its just a phase they go through. Mine is the same way right now but my 5 yr old is sucha sweetheart, but she also we nt thru that phase.

Angela - posted on 02/21/2010

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Yes i know what you mean_my 3yr old is acting the same way. How do you deal with it? I mean discipline wise how?

Suzanne - posted on 02/20/2010

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Remember our 3 year olds are still grasping the concept of language and its meaning. They don't understand exactly what their words mean. They just don't have the capacity to understand the full concept of what they are saying at this age. If you do not correct the behavior or the words, explaining that we don't talk to people that way, it will turn into bigger problems. I have a three year old and she is corrected on the spot that this is not the way we talk to be people and it is definitly no way to get what you want. I explain that you can't be yelling at someone cause your mad and get what you want. I explain that it is important to be nice or kind even if you are mad, I explain that you must be polite if you want something, or people will not want to be around you or talk to you. i.e., respectful. I give her different words to use that are nicer so that she can express herself in a more respectful way. I don't criticize her. Instead, I give her a chance to use those words and it works great, even when she is mad and upset. This is the most crucial time, because this is when they have the hardest time keeping in control. I try not to make a big deal about it, as she is learning how to speak to others and express herself when she is mad, upset or aggravated and she doesn't know any better. Take note, that a lot of what you hear, you have either said to them or someone else and they have heard you saying it, that is why they are repeating it. They have no idea it isn't appropriate or the tone isn't appropriate and why should they think it is, since they have probably heard you say it to someone else or maybe you have even talked to them like that. Or they have heard it at school from other kids or other adults. Eitherway, they are hearing it and they just don't understand that there is actually a proper way to talk to people at this age. They just repeat what they hear in the tone they hear it, based on their mood and how they feel and don't have a filter. It is our job to teach them what is appropriate behavior/language and what is not. So remember to be mindful of what you say around your kids, as they are sponges and smart as whips, but I truly believe that the way they talk to you and the tone that they use is based a great deal the way they have been talked to. Good Luck!!

Lisa - posted on 02/20/2010

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I have a son and my son does the same thing. I keep saying that he is three going on teen.

Jennifer - posted on 02/19/2010

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I am so pleased to read that so many 3 yr olds are going thru the same experience as we are. I am very much fearing the teenage years as I am getting complete attitude now. I must say that Madeleine can be very cute, kind and loving.

Dana - posted on 02/19/2010

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So glad to know my daughter has not completly lost her mind acting like she is queen bee. The attitude, the screaming telling me I am supposed to do what she wants all the time. Past few weeks have been out of control and she has spent alot of time in time out which seems to have taken it down a notch. Love her more than life itself attitude and all.

Maritza - posted on 02/19/2010

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enjoy these tiny attitudes for now because before you know it they are real teenagers that will give attitude and egnore you for a week at least our 3 year olds give attitude and scream but dont stay mad at you for even 5 minutes

and besides it is sometimes too cute when they act up like teenagers

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It's good to hear all the 3 year olds are doing this but what can we do to make it better? Will they grow out of it? I even heard, "Whatever" the other day and a tut and look away. It's infuriating!

Nancy - posted on 02/15/2010

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I've got one who turns four this week and she is a bossy and very demanding little tyke, but the flip side is that she can also be very gentle, sweet, soft spoken and shows care for other little ones. The attitude must come from partly from watching tv, listening to other kids her age and her brother's age (near 6 in Kindergarten) and really enjoying the reaction she gets when she tries the "tude" on grownups. It is probably just a stage...I hope!!

Tricia - posted on 02/13/2010

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my daughter too...shes a true teenage diva stuck in a 4yr olds body!! she has been like this since she was 3yrs, she hasn't changed since she turned 4yrs in January, she walks around the room moving her hips as she walks, she always wants to wear makeup, do her nails, then she cops an attitude when i choose her outfit and she doesn't like it. she told me the other day that i'm ruining her life, as i wouldn't let her do something. im very strict with the whole respect thing.

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WOW....I can't believe that I am not alone! My daughter acts like her 6 year old brother, who gets his attitude from Kindergarten. It is rough, but I keep telling myself that it will pass. I think that my son went through this too, just not quiet as bad. I think that it also has a lot to do with the ages of kids that they are in contact with a lot. My kids live across the street from their two cousins that are 13 & 15, so I think that they get some of it from their cousins too. Hang in there!!

Danielle - posted on 02/13/2010

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My 3yr. old thinks she's full grown and you can't tell her differently. The first "I don't care" shocked me but if I don't respond to her little 'attitude' it quickly subsides.

Sally-Ann - posted on 02/12/2010

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like Julia Carr (posted Jan 31st) I also have a boy 13 (14 in April) & a 3yr old girl (4 in May) & I don't know which 1 is worse, both have terrible attitudes. My daughter thinks she is a teenager like her brother & he just thinks he is an adult.....sometimes I wonder why I had children!!!!

Michelle - posted on 02/12/2010

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I know it's been said by most of you, but I'm so glad I'm not alone. Everything I've read above rings true for my daughter who was 3 gone august. Thing is though, has anybody with an older child noticed a differance between their children? I only ask because I'm starting to wonder it it's something weird about children born in 2006. I have an 11 year old son and he was nothing like my daughter in attitude or temper - don't get me wrong he had his moments (still does) but I could always reason with him or change his mind for him without the full on attutde and screaming tantrums my daughter gives out at the drop of a hat.
Friends who already had girls when I just had my son always told me girls were worse, but really THIS much worse??!!!

Jessica - posted on 02/11/2010

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WOW... I thought I was alone with my now 4 year old with the attitude. She rolls her eyes and talks back...I don't know what else to do, I have tried spanking her, tried taking her toys away, putting her in time out...Any suggestions?

Connie - posted on 02/10/2010

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I'm SO glad I'm not the only one! My daughter has the worst attitude some days!

Cindy - posted on 02/08/2010

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I had a good laugh while reading all of these posts. My 'teenager' is turning 4 in April. And she is exactly the same. She does this head swinging thing like the teens on tv, and always has the hand on the hip wagging her finger when shes cross. Let's hope against hope that they will outgrow this, and become model teenagers!



:)

Lisa - posted on 02/08/2010

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Omg i have a 3 yr old son not really into the whole attutide thing but nmy daughter shocks me lol..she has auntys that are 14 and 15 that she admires lol but yer it is crazy i tell ya

Hardeep - posted on 02/05/2010

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My 3 almost 4 has loads of attitude. Gosh, I hate to think what her teenage would be like.

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I have a 3 yr old son who has an bad tude! He talks like he is a teenager. He talks back and all. I really hate it!

Earline - posted on 02/05/2010

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i 2 have a 3year old and she's a diva but a tomboy type. she love's cloths and shoes but likes to wrestle. and on occasion she will get flip with the lip but i put her right back into her place . a child only dose what they see you do so they replay whatever they see us as parents doing and give us the tude they see us give someone else. just let them know that mommy isn't a child and that you dont play. because in the long run they'll respect you more

Jennifer - posted on 02/05/2010

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My 3 yr old has the hand on hip eye roll down pat. Im already afraid of puberty! She is all sass and attiude lately especially with her older brother!But as soon as he give it back to her the pitch of her whine can break glass, sometimes I drather have the tude than the whine.....sometimes.

Carolina - posted on 02/04/2010

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my daughter too...shes a true teenage diva stuck in a 3yr olds body!! 4real she walks around the room moving her hips as she walks, she always wants to wear makeup, do her nails, then she cops an attitude wen i choose her outfit and she doesn't like it. except that she usually wont scream at me. im very strict with the whole respect thing.

Michelle - posted on 02/04/2010

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i have a boy and he just turned 3 in december and he deff has the worst attitude he yells at me and tells me no if i tell him to do something .. he ignores me when i am talking to him .. and the whole nine yards .. i know it sounds bad but my bf yells at him and makes him walk himself to his bed he lays in bed for about 15 minutes then we go down there with him to eye level and ask him what he did wrong and tell him that if he talks back again or is bad again hes going back to bed and it honestly works and helps ,, it helps with discipline and teaching him right from wrong!

Trish - posted on 02/03/2010

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LOL, I can so sympathise with all of you. My 3YO is just the same. She thinks she's at least as big as her 6YO sister, and I swear most days is going on 30!

Michelle - posted on 01/30/2010

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Oh I am hearing you loud and clear. My 3 year old thinks that she is my 19 month old's mother! She thinks it's ok to tell him off and send him to the naughty corner. I don't have a bar of it!

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