My son 3.5 yo thinks all need to be his way or no way!

Viola - posted on 09/24/2013 ( 11 moms have responded )

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I need to get advice how to deal with my son 3.5 yo with his assertive,demanding stubborn behaviour.
I think i am spoiling him to give him what he wants,and he become more needy and challenging,
Can not take him to the shops as he wants everything,and chucking tantrums,and screams the shop together.
What way of punishment can i apply to teach him the right way?please Help

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Ev - posted on 09/24/2013

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If you gave him what he wanted when he wanted it, that is your problem. You should have been setting limits as young as an infant. And it is limits you need to set now. Do not give in on anything when he demands it even at home. He is old enough to learn manners and teach him those manners. I work with two year olds and they know how to say please and thank you. If he starts to cry about something he does not get, tell him he won't get it until he stops crying and says please. And make him say thank you. As for punishment, take away a favorite toy, do not give him what he wants. But do not take that as keeping away his needs. If he is thirsty but demands it tell him he can have it once he asks nicely. He can be taught. Just do not let this go until he is a teen and then he will run you over.

Ariana - posted on 09/24/2013

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Yes, I would ignore his tantrums. Sometimes talking to them ends up getting them even more upset. If I were you I would provide him with something he can eat whenever he wants (like apples or w/e something healthy) and it's either go get it or not.

Ignore it, be consistent.

My son went through a phase of refusing to eat any vegetables or new foods, so I would tell him if you take 1 bite you get more of this (generally veggie dogs because he LOVES them but pick a food you know your son absolutely adores). Then it wasn't me forcing him. I would give him one veggie dog (or w/e) and then I would say he could have more if he took 1 bite of said thing (peas or w/e). Either he would say nooo and I would say ok, no worries, you don't have to, and leave it at that, and if he asked for a veggie dog I'd say sure take one bite of this and you can have another one!

That way he's not being starved, he's had opportunities to eat something he likes, and if he eats just a taste of w/e food you've made or want him to try he gets more of the wonderful good food he likes (whatever that is).

Just a tactic I used for a while, he tried to use screaming fit on me the first few times but I just got rid of the power struggle, it was up to him to decide what he wanted to do, not up to me to try and force something he didn't want down his throat.

Ariana - posted on 09/24/2013

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I find for food it's the worst thing to battle. I agree that for food/drink you make what you make and he either likes it or not, but I wouldn't make it into a control issue. So don't MAKE him eat the food, just don't make a big deal of it. Now acting out or crying about not getting the food he wants you might tell him he needs to go sit in his room until he's ready to sit properly or whatever else, but it shouldn't have anything to do with whether he's eating the food or not.

My son also started constantly trying to get me to fetch him snacks/drinks and finally I taught him how to go get his own water and made available apples that he could decide to go grab himself whenever he felt like it. Then when he came to me 'I'm hungry, I'm hungry' it's, okay, go grab yourself an apple. Don't want it? Then don't eat it.

He either eats it or not, now it's not my problem, it's his.

My son has also thrown tantrums, used to be restaurants. Your husband and you should make a plan of what to do if this happens (try to agree). The most effective thing for my child was taking him away to a washroom until he calmed down. Leaving is not always an option, so I would go to the washroom, wait until he stopped screaming (also don't look at them and give him minimal contact in any way as my son always tried to talk to me but every response I gave resulted in more screaming). Just say, we can leave once you calm down, and wait. Eventually my child always calmed down (although sometimes he talked to me and then restarted the tantrum and I'd have to wait again) and I would tell him that is not how we act and he would apologize.

Also try to make a few trips where you explain some simple rules/expectations, and then get in and out as fast as possible (to prevent possibility of tantrum). Then you tell him how absolutely wonderful he was and oh my goodness what a great helper.

I say this with experience, my son specifically had said to me, "I don't scream or yell in stores, no way". So it's a progressive thing.

And I agree with Michelle's advice, pick your battles. That way when you do put your foot down he'll know it's serious business.

Anyway I understand where you're coming from, my son is almost 4 and I have had to learn to pick my battles but also to stay firm and give consequences when necessary. It always helps me to remind myself that every time he has a proper consequence I am helping to mold him into a cooperative human being. I try to be as flexible and accommodating as possible, but sometimes you just have to learn to listen.

Michelle - posted on 09/24/2013

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You have to make sure you don't give in to his tantrums.
Cook 1 meal and if he won't eat it then he can go to bed. It's a matter of who has the stronger will and at this point he knows you will eventually cave in to what he wants. If you stand strong and don't give in then he will learn that YOU are the parent and he has to follow your rules.
As a punishment take away something he loves. Don't give it back until he shows you that he will listen to you. It could take a few days but you need to know his "currency" and use it. If you don't do this now he is going to walk all over you when he is a teen.

Ev - posted on 09/24/2013

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You do not make a second type of meal for him or if he has a certain snack he needs to know that is the food available or he can just not eat it. Same with drinks. If he does not want what is offered at the moment then he can go without. Thing is when a kid gets hungry enough and there is only certain things out he will eat them. As for stores and wanting everything in sight, tell him before you go what you expect of his behavior that he follow what you say or you will leave. Also be sure he understands you are not there for what he wants.

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Successalignedmarketing - posted on 09/26/2013

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Our son wasn't this way, but I have friends who swear by the http://LoveandLogic.com program. It's designed specifically for this by an M.D. and Ph.D. The earlier you start the easier life will be - but it does take commitment. From what I understand it takes an average of one month per year old, so in your case it might take 2-3 months for him to "get it".

I love their approach. No yelling, so physical punishment. It's truly unique and effective!

Good luck!
Warmly,
Kate

Michelle - posted on 09/25/2013

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When my kids ask me what I'm cooking for dinner, my reply is "food". It shuts them up pretty quickly and they have learned to eat what I cook. I make sure I cook things they will like though. If it's something new then they have to at least have a couple of bites to try it. They also know that they don't get dessert if they don't eat everything on their plates. My 3yo gets a bit frustrated with that but the older ones know and don't even ask.
I will say it does get better if you make sure you stand your ground now. Set the rules and stick by them. Maybe even write up a rule chart and let him know what is expected. If he has a tantrum then he loses stars (or whatever you want to use as rewards) but if he's good and eats his dinner, asks for things nicely or waits without a tantrum then he gains stars. Give him a goal and when he reaches it he can choose a small toy or something that he wants to eat as a treat.
That way you are letting him think he has control but he doesn't really. You are also teaching him that actions have consequences and sometimes they are good and sometimes they are bad.

Viola - posted on 09/24/2013

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Thank you
Thats exactly the same thing my son tell me i am hungry i am hungry but just for this or this and i tell him dinner will beready soon i am coocking he say i dont like this i want this and throw him self on the floor and cryes.
He is very smart boy and know what is going on and with calm voice me talking to him he is listen and try to understand but it not always is working out

Michelle - posted on 09/24/2013

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Does he have toys or anything fun in his room? If he does then a time out in his room isn't suitable. He'll just get distracted and start playing.
I personally have never had to use time outs but I have taught my children very young that they will lose items they like if the battle with me. My 12yo respects me and knows that if he doesn't tow the line he will lose his technology. My 3yo also knows that I mean business, we had a couple of tantrums while shopping around 2 but she knows to ask and if I say no I mean it.
You do also need to pick your battles, don't put your foot down over every little thing, sometimes they need to be given a choice so they can learn about making decisions.

Viola - posted on 09/24/2013

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Thank you Evelyn
My husband told me to let him if he does not want to eat this particular food untill he is hungry and will eat it but i was thinking that we not always like everything as well but i see i was wrong:-(
Now when he is naughty we tell him Time out untill you come down so he goes crying to his room and keep crying and screaming .
I think i need to be stronger as all this is new for us he have been very good child no issues at all untill 2 month ago when its started.

Viola - posted on 09/24/2013

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Thank you Evelyn,he is very polite say always thank you and please to get attention from people in the shop he always says Excuse me ! People think that he is great child but i think he is manipulating us me and my husband he always comes to me with any needs as drink or food never to my husband but also he wants always something 100 times a day he ask me for something i feel very tiered,and my son become more and more demanding with choice of food and drink he will not eat this but wants this and then it starts i dont know how to do the right thing:-(

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