Kristina - posted on 05/18/2016 ( 2 moms have responded )




My son is 3 1/2 and he likes to make everything a struggle. Refuses for bath,getting dressed,bedtime,brushing his teeth. Is this normal behaviour?
Also has alot of aggressive behaviour and doesn't like to listen, does anyone have any advice ?


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Kara - posted on 05/19/2016




Sounds like you could be talking about my daughter, who is also 3.5! For us, the threes have been more challenging than the twos. Some things we have tried that usually work-letting her have a say in choosing certain things, such as what she wants to wear (within reason). Kids this age seen to crave independence, and the more you can give them the "illusion" of independence, the better. For example, "Would you like to go potty now, or after we read a story?" Again, it gives them limited choices, but they feel like they are more in control. I can relate as well to the failure to listen part. For us, we have had to make a conscious decision to follow through with a consequence the FIRST time she fails to listen-not the third, fourth, or fifth time. We are trying to convey to her that it is very important to listen and obey the first time, as it could be a matter of safety. I feel your pain, though.

Sarah - posted on 05/18/2016




Regarding the refusing to cooperate; this is very common. He can't control much but he will try to control what he can. If you approach him with the question; "are you ready for your bath?" of course, he will say no. If you say; "should we play with boats or sea animals in the bath?" you let him have some control over part of the issue, but still are telling him he is taking a bath. Same for brushing teeth; ask him what song you should sing while he scrubs, or does he want to you to time him? The more you can offer a choice; jeans or sweatpants, which bedtime story, the more in control he will feel and hopefully the more cooperative he will be. For aggression, if he is hitting you or others be firm and tell him to be gentle, practice soft touches and praise his good efforts. Not listening is typical too. if you say something and he ignores you; say his name "Ben, look at me, I asked you to get your jacket" use a serious face and serious tone. You can start using time out for not listening and aggressive behavior. Give him one firm warning, and then take him to the step, corner, wherever and tell you "you did not listen" or "you may not hit" now you sit here for 3 minutes. Step away and set the timer got 3 minutes. Now, at first this may seem like it is just not possible. Like he will just not stay put. When he gets up, and he will, you silently take him back and set him down and restart the timer. It may take you hours to get him to stay, but if you remain calm and stick to your resolve he will eventually stay. If you decide to yell, or give up after the 50th time you took him back, what did you just teach him? That you will give in if he keeps at it. No attention to him is the key; even if he is in the corner, stripping nude and screaming; ignore him. When the timer goes off you tell him "you had to sit in time out because you (hit or did not listen) please apologize. Then on with the day and it is forgotten. This age is all about finding his independence, testing your boundaries and seeking attention. Even if it is negative attention. Good luck!

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