Stay at home mom with no mom for advice. 3 year old is out of control.

Sara - posted on 10/07/2015 ( 19 moms have responded )

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I am currently going through a horrible stage with my almost 3 year old daughter. She is smarter than most kids her age, she knows how to push my buttons, and I just can't get her to listen to me. When she wakes up I try being extra silly and goofy, but she just doesn't even realize that she is being so awful to me. Or does she? I love her with my entire existence, she is MY LIFE, and it hurts me so much I finally broke down in tears this morning and hoped to find a mommy group. I tell her to do something, and she just screams NO!!!!! I tell her to leave the dog alone, and she just won't stop. I have tried taking toys away, putting her in the corner, and when I do....I say "Pick up your toys please or you will go in the corner" (after already asking 20 times) And she replies "go in the corner". I say "please stop doing that or I am taking such and such toy away" And she replies "take it away". My mother passed away when I was pregnant, and it is so hard to ask anyone for advice without being labeled "a bad parent". I do everything for my child and then some. I have put my life and my needs on hold completely to help myself help my child. She stays home with me, we go places and do things together, but we have no family outside of her, myself, and my husband. We have NO ONE. And I am scared to get her involved in any activities because of her horrible behavior. Please, anyone who has kids young or old, any moms or grandmas....I just need help. As I type this and tears are rolling down my face. I am a mom with no mom to help me, and my daughter also suffers with not many people in her life. Friends are family, that's what I get, but I am not close to anyone. At least not close enough to tell them I feel like a complete failure. Oh and a side note, potty training is a nightmare. She will stand there and just go on the floor. She knows when she has to go but refuses to take a diaper off. PLEASE, ANYONE, I need some advice!

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Ev - posted on 10/07/2015

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I am sorry to hear your own mother has passed and though I do not know how it feels I am quite sympathetic to your situation. At the age of three it is very normal for a kid to start to really exhibit their want for independence and to even exert it and it seems that she is doing that. Also, "NO" is one of those words that they really learn quickly and can say it when told to do something or not to do something. But you need to stand firm with her and when you say you are going to do something if she does not do as you want her to--do not keep saying it over and over and do nothing--do it that first time you say it. Also make the consequence fit the situation like she tosses a toy then put that toy away. If she bothers the dog and won't leave it alone, then remove her from the dog and tell her se can not play ith the dog until she treats the dog better. If she refuses to eat then save that food in the fridge and give it to her later to eat when she gets hungry. If you use time out for her consequences, then it will take time to get her into the idea that is what is going to happen. You might have to put her into time out several times before she understands you will not put up with it. And every time you do have to start it over its for one minute times her age....3 minutes. And she has to stay there with no fussing about it before she can get up and this can take sometimes an hour or more before its done. Teach manners. Teach her how to respect others like you and dad, authority figures etc.

Gardensparrow - posted on 10/09/2015

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Oh friend~

Well, take a deep breath and know you're not alone. I think most parents have felt at the end of their rope with their kids from time to time. And it's especially hard when you're feeling like you don't have anyone to lean on.

So, one thing I wanted to suggest was seeing if you could find a mommy group in your area. Perhaps look into something like MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers)? But it can make a huge difference being able to talk with moms in your shoes, and get opportunities to be around them with your child.

As far as the behavior issues you've had, you sound like you're doing a good job of handling them so far. But maybe some of the suggestions from this article will be helpful to you (http://bit.ly/1VJcbLz)? In particular, I think the idea to not only address this bad behavior, but also find ways to recognize and highlight anything positive your daughter does can help her learn what is and isn't acceptable.

However, with that said, know that the toddler years aren't easy. So, don't think you're the only parent having behavior issues, and don't be afraid to share with other moms. I think you'd be surprised to learn they're probably feeling the same way you are...

Sarah - posted on 10/08/2015

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One final suggestion I have is rather than "if you don't do this that you get time out" Or "if you hurt the dog you go to the corner" Don't give her a choice. Tell her one time her consequence for not listening is 3 minutes in the corner. Then when she doesn't listen or follow directions; you say one time "please put your toys away now" If she does not, simply take her to the corner, look in the eye and say "you did not listen so now you sit in the corner for 3 minutes" set the timer and walk away. If she leaves the corner, you silently take her back and restart the timer. the key is to not add fuel to the fire by talking to her or paying any attention what so ever, except to carry her. back. Over, over and over until she stays. Once the minutes are up, you go over and tell her "you sat here alone because you did not listen, now please go collect your toys" If she refuses, she sits there again. You may have a flare up of resistance at first, it may be really hard. I promise if you stick to your guns and keep your cool, she will learn you mean business. Praise her like crazy when she does behave obediently. Three is a tough time, and she is testing you. Also make sure you give her enough positive private attention. Sometimes when kids crave attention, they act out negatively (hurt the dog) because they know you will respond.

Dove - posted on 10/07/2015

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First thing I want to let you know... 3 year old kids are EVIL. lol But seriously, my older two are almost 14 and my baby is 7.5 and they were ALL impossible at 3. My girls started to get better at 4, but the boy got worse...lol

Hang in there. Be consistent. Don't give her 20 chances to listen... give her two or three... or one (one is better, but I'm a softy... lol). She can say 'no' all she wants, but she still needs to do what you say when you say it.

You do not have to do EVERYTHING for your child... or put your own life completely on hold. How much time away from her do you get? I know it's just the three of you, but does your husband ever take her for a few hours to give you time to yourself?

Look for a local mom's group and make some friends for both of you. Staying home w/ your child is, imo, one of the greatest gifts in the world, but it can NOT just be you guys 24/7 or you will go insane.

You aren't a failure... you're just in 'mom hell' right now. It won't last forever. ♥

Dove - posted on 10/07/2015

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Stop seeking to punish her. Everything you are doing is fine... you just have to keep doing it over and over and over again. Discipline is teaching and you ARE teaching her... she will learn that no matter how many times she tries to do something unacceptable you will not let her continue. That doesn't mean she will automatically stop trying over and over and over again.

It takes time, consistency, and maturity to get through this... not a specific type of punishment.

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Gardensparrow - posted on 10/13/2015

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You're so welcome, Sara. I'm glad it was encouraging to you. And I totally understand that just knowing you're not alone in dealing with something is huge. So, know that we're here for you! :)

Jahnavidevidasi - posted on 10/11/2015

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It's okay, the two are synonyms and often interchangeable in my books. Punish just doesn't sound as nice I guess (everything is about being politically correct these days don't you know? *eye roll*)

Sara - posted on 10/09/2015

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And I am sorry if i used the word "punish".....discipline. Sorry for one wrong word being taken the wrong way.

Sara - posted on 10/09/2015

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Gardensparrow- thank you so much for the POSITIVE post! I need that right now. I am very sensitive right now and I need happy responses and positive reinforcement. Thank you so so much. Just letting me know I am not alone.

Sarah - posted on 10/07/2015

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There often is no magic fix or one way to punish to make her listen. It is instead the reparation of being consistent over and over and over that eventually leads to learning. That is why parenting is so hard. There is no magic fix.

Jahnavidevidasi - posted on 10/07/2015

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I highly recommend reading: Setting Limits with your Strong-willed Child by Robert MacKenzie.

She's not acting out to hurt you, she's just testing her boundaries. You need to firmly set those boundaries. If you ask her to do something, ask once then follow up with a consequence - this may be taking a toy away, turning off the tv, or a time out depending on the situation. If she repeats the same action, do it all again. In the case of refusing to pick up toys I would give her a time out then let her try again, if she still refuses put her back in time out and box up the toys and put them away for the rest of the day. You're the parent, not her.

It's aggravating! I understand your situation all too well! I started using MacKenzie's method with my 10 year old because he was unmanageable and although he still has a way to go I can see results. I've also started using the methods with my 2 1/2 year old who's going through her terrible twos at the moment. She's much easier to deal with in general than her brother, she's an 'eager to please' type, but I still find the methods just as effective with her.

You may well be the bad guy for a while, but you're saving yourself trouble in the long term and setting her up for success as she gets older - she'll learn respect for people and rules which is something our society seriously lacks.

Hope this helps. Feel free to message me if you like. As a mom in the same situation I'd be happy to bounce ideas back and forth or just let you vent.

Sara - posted on 10/07/2015

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She is waking up right now from her nap....hopefully I will get my sweet baby girl!! Wish me luck. And any ways to punish her please feel free to share!! Thank you all.

Sara - posted on 10/07/2015

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Thank you Dove. I have been trying so hard to just get her to listen to anything I say. So I guess what I am looking for are alternate methods to discipline her. I have had to grab her away from the dog many times. It is kind of hard to separate them though without putting the dog in another room and the dog thinking she did something wrong. She is a rescue that we have only had for a few months, so I am doing everything I can for the dog and now my little monster....I have gone all the routes everyone has mentioned, trust me, so I guess it is not working and I need a new way to show her she can't get away with anything I say is wrong.

Dove - posted on 10/07/2015

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You don't need to (reply to just one person). The way you responded is fine.

Instead of telling her 'don't hit the dog'... try telling her 'we need to be gentle w/ the dog.' If she is NOT gentle w/ the dog... keep her away from the dog and remind her that since she was not gentle she can not be near the dog.

Don't expect her to just listen on her own... you are going to need to make her listen. Even if that means going to her and physcially stopping her from doing something.

Don't tell her not to spill... just give her the food or drink in her seat and if she dumps it... take it away and have her clean it up. Making messes is a part of life, but so is taking responsibility for those messes and fixing them the best we can.

Sara - posted on 10/07/2015

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Ok how do I reply to just one persons post? I don't want to make a mess of communication.

Sara - posted on 10/07/2015

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Sarah Hofland.....I do follow through with the consequences. And I was using "20 times" as an example. What am I supposed to do to discipline her if the methods I am using right now are not working?? I know she is a 3 year old, I know she is my daughter, and know my role as a mother. I understand she is only 3, I just don't know other ways of disciplining her and I refuse to yell and scream or to hit my child. Guess I was just looking for ways to punish her. I praise her up and down when she listens. I am listening to everything she says, she is just not listening to anything I say. Like when I say, don't hit the dog, and she will continue to do it anyways. Or I will give her something and say "make sure you don't spill it" and she will dump it on purpose. When I tell to not to do something that she is not doing as a precautionary, she does it anyways.

Dove - posted on 10/07/2015

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As for the potty training... let that one go for now. Keep her in a diaper until you either get everything else under control or SHE wants to use the toilet. Bodily functions are one of the few things that a young child does (and should) have completely in their control... so if she is fighting you on everything else... this is a 'battle' you will never win. And using the toilet shouldn't be a battle.

Sarah - posted on 10/07/2015

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You need to follow through with the consequences. Right now you have given her all the control. You should be the one that is in control. Don't give her 20 times to listen. Give her one chance and then follow through with the consequence. She is telling you she wants the limits by saying "time out" or "take the toy" or by her behavior but YOU are not listening. You need to set the boudaries and follow through with the consequences or nothing will change and it will only get worse as she gets older.

She is a 3 yr old. She is not your friend. She is your daughter. You can't treat her like a friend. You need to be the parent. She will have many friends in her life, but she will only have one mom. You have to be mom which means following through on the limits. You are the only one that will teach her about life (boundaries and limits and how to act). Do not take her behavior personally. It is not about you! Her behavior is about you not following through with the limits. A 3 yr old needs those limits to learn and be taught how to act. A 3 yr old does not think about,others or their feelings....they are 3. Mentally they are not there and that is also something you need to teach.

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