How does one deal with defiance at 3-4 yrs of age?

[deleted account] ( 8 moms have responded )

My daughter, brilliant and caring and very active, is becoming defiant since last few motnhs. She fights for everything and disagrees with everything i say....... how do you guys handle it!


Leisel - posted on 03/06/2010




Tee Hee, I have one of these. My eldest is an angel child and never pushed boundaries and if I said jump he said "how high". My 3 year old is a different kettle of fish. If I say, don't hit your brother he will look me straight in the eye and hit his brother again!! Fun and games!

I simply do not allow it. The rule is the same and does not change, and this is must always respond and follow through on your threats. Never threaten to do something that you will not do, eg. If you do not stop screaming in the car I will leave you at the side of the road...your child knows that you will not do this so already you have lost the battle.

Here is what we do for maximum harmony (but every hour of every day is a challenge)

1. Give a warning along with a consequence eg. If you hit your brother again you will go in time out.

2. If he does it again he has to go in time out (if he has hurt someone he has to apologise first). For us he sits on a little stool in the bathroom for 3 minutes (as he is 3) We do not shut him in. I also have a timer (when it works) that helps to regulate the time otherwise he keeps popping out to see if he is finished!

If we are out and I have to discipline him I simply tell him that he will go in time out when we get home.

Taking away priviledges or toys also works well with older children.

The choices idea also works well to prevent any issues, but only give 2 options, eg. would you like sausage or cheese for lunch.

She is also old enough for answers so when she disagrees with something that you have said, state your case, if nothing by the time she is 16 you will be able to become a lawyer!

Jessica - posted on 03/09/2010




Basically we are using a positive discipline system that focuses more on prevention and guidance tactics than on control tactics... works GREAT and we are all less stressed!

3 book suggestions:
Positive Discipline by Cheryl Erwin (get either the one subtitled "the first three years" or "the preschool years" or whichever age group your kids fit into)
The Discipline Book by Dr. Sears (covers all ages and is fabulous!)
Proactive Parenting: Guiding your child from 2-6

These books helped me so much with understanding how to teach and discipline my son!

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Marylou - posted on 08/01/2012




Yes..if you get angry...Cool off before you decide to discipline this way you know it's fair. Sometime when we are angry, we tend to do and say things in the heat of the moment.


Rene - posted on 08/01/2012




The 'terrible two's' and the 'BLEEP fours'. I remember being shocked when another mother said it out loud. I spent my daughters fourth year in total bliss. The kitchen chairs had splashes of paint all over and we went to the park every day. There were swimming lessons and dance classes. It was the first year I was a stay at home mum. Be your daughters friend. You only have two more years and she will be off to big school. When big school starts so will all the complaining about this one and that one and feeling left out, birthdays party's, and basically working out who is who in the zoo. So the more confidence you can instil in your child the more likeable she will feel and act. So maybe spend some time telling your daughter what good decisions are when she makes them, and if you don't like some behaviour just say I don't like it when you question mummy or whatever it was that upset you so your daughter can learn how to please people. My daughter is now very independent and capable of making many smart decisions and I attribute this to me being open and honest in my communication with her and there are boundaries but at the end of the day I am here for her. Her intelligence now is remarkable and I am glad I allowed my daughter to make some of the decisions about what we should do each day :-)

[deleted account]

loved your responses guys, especially Leisels'....... my problem is that i tend to loose my temper too easily, which i need to work on...... and implement ur ideas as well.... timeou sounds interesting...... in India, we've never experienced it as kids or as adults, so, i'm a little skeptical but its worth a try... is nothing, it will give me time to cool off!1

Medic - posted on 03/04/2010




My son is smart very caring and compassionate.....he is also a smart mouth and defiant.....all attributes of which he comes by naturally. The way we deal with it is give him a choice give him one chance to do whatever is asked remind him of the conciquinces and ask one last time. For the most part he chooses and it really doesnt bother me if he chooses not to do what I ask because he does the conciquince and comes back appoligizes then finishes what was asked. We don't argue with him everything is very matter of fact and he has lost the fun to saying no. He realizes that the rules arnt changing.

Ashley - posted on 03/04/2010




I am going through the same thing, it started when her little brother was born. I try to give her one on one time and do everything I can to make her feel just as loved as her brother but she has developed this tyrant attitude lately!!

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