How to discipline my child

Andrea - posted on 06/17/2013 ( 10 moms have responded )

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My 3 year old daughter is starting to mimic her 7 year old cousin with DS to the point where she is getting out of control. Any advice on how to handle this situation?

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Andrea - posted on 06/17/2013

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Wow! All of you have given me great advise. All of you have given me much to think about. I feel much more at peace now. Thank you all so much. You have no idea how much I appreciate it.

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I agree with Amy in that you do not need to worry about how the father or the grandparents are parenting. She will learn the rules for the different people in her life, and when she starts school, she will learn the rules there as well. You will never be able to control what your parents or her father do with her while watching her--you can make suggestions, lay out guidelines, and hope they are kind enough to follow, but trying to force them to do something they don't agree with it a losing battle that will just cause drama and more upset for your daughter.

With J, I never used time out in the traditional sense where you stick the kid in a corner and set a timer for an arbitrary time. I don't feel that teaches them anything about why a behavior is wrong, or what they should do instead when they feel the need to act out in anger or frustration. When J was rude to us or uncooperative, he was sent to his room to "cool off". I didn't care what he did in there, or when he chose to come out. The only rule was that if he came out of his room to rejoin our family, he needed to be in a kinder, more cooperative mindset.
When he was young, I introduced him to different methods for handling frustration and anger (most of our issues stemmed from him throwing tantrums because we told him he couldn't do or have something he wanted.) We all know it is frustrating for kids when we tell them "no", and a child's first inclination is to cry, scream, or yell--that is human nature, but it does not mean it is acceptable. Show her more acceptable ways to get her frustration out--tearing up some paper, scribbling on paper, drawing a picture of her doing what she has asked to do (this is one of my favorites because it takes time to draw the picture and it forces them to focus on the consequences of a particular action--they can learn WHY you said no, all on their own, and this will empower them in a good way). If she wants a toy you've refused to buy, help her come up with a plan for earning enough money to buy the toy. At 3, she is old enough to start learning the concept of economics--buying, earning, and exchanging goods and services.

Amy - posted on 06/17/2013

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Like I said I'm a firm believer in choosing your battles. I don't do time out for everything since I feel it would lose its effectiveness. By enforcing the stuff that's really important it makes the little stuff easier to get them to go along with.

Jerilyn - posted on 06/17/2013

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Never. There has to be boundaries. Until they learn and understand. It will get easier. I don't believe so. Better to start now. Because when they are older they has no respect or anything.

Andrea - posted on 06/17/2013

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I've been doing the time outs with the timer. But I have a feeling that with both grandparents it is not happening enough. I feel like I have to be a parent to the parents as well as my daughter. Now, is there a such thing as too much time out?

Amy - posted on 06/17/2013

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She will learn that there are certain rules with certain people, at first she may test her boundaries but she'll figure it out soon enough. My kids are 7 and 3 and I'm recently divorced, even with daycare and grandparents my kids still know the rules with everyone. They know that they can get away with certain things with certain people but not with others. My son is in first grade and other than one time having to change his color chart he has never been in trouble at school, you'll find that she's going to have more trouble if at least one of you isn't giving her any rules or consequences for her actions.

Jerilyn - posted on 06/17/2013

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Time out, nose in corner. Start a timer 2-3 min. She gets out start timer over. I do that to my 2 year old for pinching my 5 yr old. It works!! But you must be bold. Don't talk to her while in time out. When time is over go over there and ask her why you put her in time out. And then remind her if she does it again. It's corner time. But she will run out of corner a few times but be firm. When she gets out say stay here and time is starting over.do not talk to her or look at her. If my two yr old does it. Then urs can! Good luck :)

Andrea - posted on 06/17/2013

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Hi Amy,

Thank you so much for your advice. What makes this even harder is that her father and I share her. half the week with me and half the week with him. On top of that his parents and my parents are her daycare. There is no type of consistency. I am afraid that if she continues to act this way and it is not controlled that it will affect her with school.

Amy - posted on 06/17/2013

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Be consistent with the consequences and follow through on them. At most my children get 3 warnings and then they are removed from the situation, I usually never have to get to 3 because at that point we're leaving if we are not home, or they are sent to time out, or lose something that they really want.

I always thought 3 was way worse than the terrible 2's, as a matter of fact my daughter is 3 now. I have learned to pick my battles and don't enforce too many rules at once. There are certain things that are expected, for example when we are in the store, it's expected that you stay with me and you aren't running around. By choosing my battles it makes it easier for me because I'm not fighting with her all day long, and she learned what's really important.

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