How do you discipline a stubborn toddler?

If you have any questions, please check our FAQ page

11  Answers

4 28

First of all, we have to understand that this is a toddler who is very impressionable and will pick up attitude, character and personalities from two very important people or one very important person. The parent(s). So ask yourself Why is the toddler being stubborn and where are they picking up this stubborn behavior before disciplining the toddler for his/her behavior. Because if they are picking up this behavior from the parent, then they think it's ok. So the question isn't how to discipline the toddler but how to change the parents approach and behavior at home. Toddler's are copy cats of their parents. Haven't you ever heard this line before, "You are stubborn, just like your Mother or Father"?!! What you are telling your "toddler" is that they are WRONG for trying to be just like YOU. Hmmmmm.?!

1 20

@ Celia Chiu.... I just wanted to say that this is the most down to earth view I have ever heard on this subject. I am currently dealing with a very stubborn strong-willed three year old and your advice has helped me look at her behavior through a whole new perspective. Thank you for taking the time to write this very thoughtful helpful insight.

7 58

This is sooo....true. It cracks me up when my daughter mimicks the words and body language I use when I'm getting onto her. There have actually been times when she's mimicked me, waited a few seconds and then cracked a huge smile with this look on her face like "aren't I funny Mommy?!". She is definitely a mirror for me of almost all of my personality traits...those that I love and those that I struggle to accept about myself. The great thing is that she's definitely giving me an opportunity to work on accepting the latter.

1 64

Thank you for this. I completly agree because I know I am very stubborn so I will have to work on that

0 33

Add a comment

View More
6 18

Check out the Love and Logic audio books and dvds from the local library. There's one specifically for toddlers. They're a great way to give your toddler some limited choices where whatever they choose you're ok with. My favorite piece I picked up from that series is "do you want to go to your room (or the car or anywhere else I want her to go) with your feet in the air or feet on the ground?"

0 12

My daughter also says nothing but I expain that nothing is not one of her options. She then tells me that she doesn't like her options. To which I respond, You don't have to like the options, you just have to choose one. She also has the "option" for me to choose. It didn't take her long to make a choice of her own because she never likes my choice

0 22

I need to get those audio books.I'm on my 4th child and it's harder than getting a college degree.I've been a mom for 16 years now and I'm still and also know that I'll always be learning.I just try to enjoy them and smile-even through the tantrums. Maybe they will use that attitude to be agressive in life.It's our jon though to make sure they are guided mentally to do it in a good way:)

View More
0 21

I look at it this way--stubornness is a very important trait to have in this world. Adults need to be stubborn to survive, succeed in their careers, and have a great family life. Being stubborn in something means you have determination. They say the smarter your child is, the more stubborn he/she will be, because they think in ways they can't quite express verbally yet. I give my almost 3 year old choices, and answer his questions as best I can. I think it's great for them to be somewhat stubborn in life. The problem arises with clashing heads with mom and dad, and that's where the authority card comes out, and they have to learn to obey your authority. I try to remember my son is a person, with desires and thoughts more complex than I may realize, so I try to encourage his determination, and pick what issues are really important, and which issues I don't really care about. I read a book that says as long as they approach you respectfully and patiently, you should always say yes unless you have a good reason for saying no, not just "because I said so".

7 58

Great posts ladies. I too have studied the Parenting with Love and Logic series and found it very useful. I originally studied it to help with some behavioral issues we were having with my then preteen stepdaughter (about 6 years ago), but I find the principles work just as well with my 4 year old daughter. The principle that I've found most helpful is the concept of limiting her to two choices and ensuring that both of the choices are acceptable to me. It's an easy concept that gives a child the feeling of having some level of control (independence). I don't know your child's personality but my daugther is all about being a "big girl" (aka independent). I will admit that I have spanked my daughter in the past and have found that I later regreted that form of discipline, not because I was angry when I spanked her but because it really was about having power over her instead of working with her to resolve the issue. I've found that working with her and discussing the issue usually produces a better result and she feels more secure and more empowered than the results created by spanking her. We've also found that putting her in time out and asking her afterwards if she knows why she had that consequence allows for a dialogue that leaves her feeling heard and allows an opportunity for some powerful teaching moments.

2 23

I second the Parenting with Love and Logic books. I have found great success with these tools. We were already doing many of the items they suggest in our parenting process, but there was some fantastic suggestions to help us fine tune some of our messages we were sending. I am so thankful my friend turned me onto these books.
I too have a very stubborn child, a boy of 3yrs, who is closer to the size of a 6 yr old. I know he will be much larger than myself before long and I do not want to trust in threats or spankings to keep him in line. The stubbornness comes from his Father and I. I know it is a strong characteristic of both of our personalities. As we have opened up to these learning techniques, I have also seen my son opening up these books and hoping to find something for himself in them. Even if he is just associating with the pictures and letters so far, I find myself tickled that he wants to learn with us. I think being a parent is often times a more trying education of us both than any other institution. I am far more concerned on how well I educate my child than a grade I earned from a college credit.

0 7

Standing your ground is very important. My toddler hates the naughty step, so keeping him there until he says sorry and does something to show that he is sorry is often effective. Also, find something that he really likes (for my son it is his little DVD player) and threaten to take it away if he continues bad have to follow up with the threat for it to be effective.

27 37

A parent needs to be consistent. If jumping on the couch is allowed some days and other days the children are not allowed to jump on the couch then the children do not know if the parents mean what they say.

4 31

I am big fan of positive Discipline. I worked in the education field for several years and went through many trainings.on this topic. I also have recently found a book called, Positive Discipline for Preschoolers, which covers ages 3-5yrs. This has helped me tremendously with my daughter. She just turned 3yrs old and is very strong willed. Once you can figure out child's personalty type, there are many resources that aide in figuring out what method works best for that child. My daughter is considered a "Spirited" personality. (Which really is a nicer way to say stubborn and determined! lol) I have researched this type and learned different techniques that have helped me!! Lord knows time out and even spankings DO NOT work for her!! Our lives are much happier now that I am "in training" to be a better mom to her.

0 22

Very True.Unfortuantely It's even harder when they mimick someone that gets on your nerve already.If your husband drives you crazy and your son mimics-you have two mule headed people to deal with.My husband has picked up some really head strong ideas that makes everyday life really hard.Everythings is always someone elses fault and finds it acceptable to think only of immediate gratification and is very self serving.Its very negative and I would hate to see my son behave the same way and be as miserable as his father.He loves his father so much and I totally agree with what you are saying about correcting him about acting like his dad that he loves more than anyone.I have had to move to my mothers for a while to try to give a different environment and another person to support positive manners.I have 4 kids so this is really hard,but seems to be working a little.He knew he could get away with anything as long as he had his dad to let him off the hook.He would run to him and I couldn't put him in time out for cursing,throwing tantrums in stores,name calling-the works.It helps to have support.Thank God for my mom.Consistancy is the only way and it's exhausting.Genes really are amazing how these little ones can be so much like their parents,even aunts and uncles.

4 27

Another good read is How to Behave So Your Kids Will Too...sorry don't know the author

0 20

I am struggling with my 3year old. Her general behaviour at home is great although I do get the odd tantrum but taking her out anywhere is a complete nightmare.
90% of the shops I go in she has a tantrum. Just the other week I took her into my local coop and because there was no baskets with wheels she screamed the place down. She refused to leave the shop. I had to pick her up an carry her to the car, which made her worse.
The following day I went into my nearest main town and again she kicked off because she didn't want to do what I wanted to. Since then I have taken to doing as much of my shopping and bits an pieces while she is in nursery because I get embarrassed when people stare.

0 10

this may sound weird but you need a naughty spot when you go out it may take a while to get the right behavior. I would suggest that:while you are still in the car, you tell her if she doesn't behave then you will leave the shops. when she acts up take her straight to the car put her in and then you stay outside the car till she apologizes and is ready to try again. it may be embarrassing for the first few times but after that there shouldn't be any more problems. Say what you mean and do what you say. good luck

0 5

I'm a grandmom of an almost 2 yr old who is quite active and mischevious, but I wouldn't say bad-he has his moments but not too bad at this time - however, I believe when you tell a child not to do something and then they do it just to test you, that you need to show them that what they did was wrong-at that point I believe in "smacking" actually patting, his hand as I say no so that he knows what he is doing is unacceptable and I explain why-it's the same you would do for a puppy-you tell them no (as in wetting the floor) but they don't grasp the "no" until you show them why you're saying no-so they equate the "no" with the act. My girls are now 30 and 34 and I don't believe that I hit/struck/spanked them a total of 5 times between the two of them in their entire life-I did however perfect the "look" of don't even think it - which, to this day still works-yes this is partly humorous-but it is the way I raised my girls and believe it works-to each his own, what works for one parent may not work for another-you have to find your nitch and enforce it lovingly and subtly-good luck moms-I just get to spoil my grandson and send him home (but when he's with me, if needed, he is disicplined) There's absolutely nothing better in this world than a child!!! enjoy every minute, yes even when they misbehave, because they grow so fast, you miss the best parts!!

0 12

I talk to my 3 year old before we go into any store and explain that if she has a fit we will leave and she will not get to go back with me next time. If she does have a fit I talk to her in a calm voice and remind her ONCE that we had an agreement. If it happens I continue to talk in a calm voice as I carry her to the car and we leave. I find that people stare less when you are calm and they see that you are dealing with the problem. Going places with mom is a reward not a right

0 16

Shell I just wanted to say, when other mothers and fathers are looking at you in the shops when this happens and you see a very small smile on their faces it's because they are thinking "I know exactly how you feel, my kids were / are the same" I had a lady approach me when my little kicked off in the supermarket one day because when she through the tantrum so did I and I won... I was louder and she didn't like that and when she finished her's I finished mine.. my daughter didn't know what to do. This lady appeared out of nowhere and I thought she was going to give out to me for my way of dealing with the situation but she congradulated me how I handled it and said it was good to see a parent dealing with an unruly child instead of letting her have what she wanted, that so many children are spoiled. I was shocked and several people around us that were smiling at me commented, saying they knew exactly how I felt and that they wished they had done that with there kids at that age...... So every time we go the shops I tell her I will through a better tantrum than her so not to bother trying and it works (well it does for me).

57 0

I really need help with my 3 y/o. Time outs used to work well when he was 2, he would always apologize and hug me with a new attitude afterwards but now when I put him in time out he screams the whole time, I go back to get him and he REFUSES to be sorry and claims he is a BAD BOY! He chooses to stay in time out over and over. I have tried telling him he is a good boy that does bad things at times but he refuses. His temper is bigger than this family knows what to do with at times and I can only pray it is a phase. I know his strong will will serve him well one day but will I survive it?

View More

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms