Please Help!! I don't know how to get my 3yr to listen

Tonya - posted on 11/22/2011 ( 6 moms have responded )

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I have a 3yr old daughter and a 5yr old daughter. My 5yr old listens and has always been pretty easy to take care of and get her to do what she was told. My 3yr on the other hand hardly ever listens. I have tried all sorts of things to try and get her attention. It's like it completley goes in one ear and out the other. She even laughs at times when she's getting in trouble. I have tried spanking, time outs, yelling, talking, showing her what she did wrong....nothing seems to work. I don't like to get mad at her or hear her cry at times. Like last night for example she was eating dinner and kept spitting her food out of her mouth making a huge mess. I got on to her the first time and she stopped. Then a few minutes later she did it again and I told her if she didn't stop she was not going for a walk with myself, my mother, and my 5yr old. She wouldn't stop so I told her she was not going. She threw a HUGE fit and kept screaming for me not to leave her. It broke my heart not to let her go as the girls had just got a new wagon, but I fealt she needed to learn that she can't do things like this and not listen and then be rewarded. After I told her she was not going she started yelling back at me and with a bad attitude which made me more upset. My mother thinks she could be bi-polar or something. Because at other times she is just as sweet and loving as can be. It's such a quick change and extreme at times. Her father who is not in her life at all I believe to be bi-polar and am scared she may be like him. He was always angry and yelling and mean. I don't want for her to go to school and end up being the wild child that always gets in touble or hurts the other kids. Please help. I don't know what else to do with her. I love her to death, I'm just soooo lost.

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Neva - posted on 11/22/2011

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It sounds like your daughter is a normal 3 year old that knows that her mother will give in if she cries or throws a fit. When she is not listening, tell her that if she does not respond to you that she is going to sit in time out. She probably won't listen, because she is going to see if you are true to your word. So, then immediately put her in time out. Put her on a chair, a step or a spot on the floor that is the designated time out spot. If she gets up, keep putting her back. Resist the temptation of talking to her, yelling at her or engaging with her in any way while doing this. It may take quite a while, so you need to get your resolve. You need to win this first battle, because otherwise she will think that all she has to do is outlast you. When she is finally staying on her spot, set the timer for 3 minutes. When the timer goes off, go to her, tell her why she was in time out and that she will go in time out everytime she doesn't listen. If you give her a consequence and then give in when she cries, you have taught her that all she has to do is throw a fit and she'll get her way. She also will start losing respect for you, because she will see that you don't follow through. It is tough to see a 3 year old cry and throw a fit, but think of what it will be like when she's 13. If a child knows that a parent is true to their word, follows through and is consistent when they are toddlers, they will be more compliant as teens.

[deleted account]

If her father is bi-polar then that is a possibility as I believe it can be genetic, but... she's 3.



How does leaving her home equal a logical consequence to spitting food? If any of my kids ever pulled that... meal time would be over. There's no need to yell about it. Simply remove her plate and go on about your business. Throwing a fit like that.... remove her from the room.



I don't know. Those are just the first thoughts that come into my head at the moment.

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Tonya - posted on 11/22/2011

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And that's exactly what it fealt like to me... a punishment to me as well that she wasn't with us. I fealt sooo horrible. I just didn't know what else to do because everything else that we have tried doesn't ever seem to get through to her. I know no two kids are ever the same, but this is basically new to me because my oldest never acted like this. She was always much easier to deal with. But I am going to work on the time outs. I don't want to be mad at her or yell at her it breaks me heart. Thank you all very much for your input.

Barb - posted on 11/22/2011

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I agree with Teresa and Neva, immediate time out consequence after a stern warning is very appropriate for that age.. a punishment that excludes her from a fun activity with the family is not going to encourage good behavior.. 3 year olds don't think like that. They don't have that thought process of "hmm if i'm good, maybe mommy will take me.. okay, be good, be good, be good.. ahh to hell with it, i didnt' want to spend time with mommy anyway"

And really, not enjoying her on a family walk is really a punishment for yourself too.

Tonya - posted on 11/22/2011

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Teresa as far as her not being allowed to go on the walk in regards to spitting her food out... When the girls sat down for dinner I told them both that if they ate good (as they dont always eat much) that I would take them both for a walk in there new wagon. Due to my youngest not eating right and spitting her food out is why she was not allowed to go. I still am concerned with her possibly having bi-polar or something. Since day one she has always been much more difficult to do anything with.

Tonya - posted on 11/22/2011

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Neva Thank you very much for your thoughts. I am deff trying very hard to stick to what I am saying. I will take your words into play and see if I can get through to her.

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