going crazy with my 3 year old

Deborah - posted on 10/14/2014 ( 1 mom has responded )




My daughter is 3, about to turn 4 in December. I have searched the internet with no luck. Here is the problem. She is a great child when she wants to be, but lately she had been horrid! I recently became disabled so I'm limited in things I can do, husband is in the military and my oldest is 8. My 3 year old defies me any chance she can. I ask her "Can you pick up your room?" I go and check on her and she will have her bed of the frame, toys scattered, and clothes out of the dressers. She intentionally does this because I request her to do a specific thing. I never dealt with this and don't know how to handle this. A year in a half ago she had a terrible problem with playing in her poop. She will go hide in her room, pip in her diaper, and smear it on everything. For months we tried talking to her, rrasoninh and rationalizing to a 2 year old, duct tape the diaper, nothing worked. So I looked online to see other patents who had the same problem and came across a couple who were in the same boat with us. They have their child a cold shower. I thought this was cruel, but living in the south, the child water isn't really all that cold. We have it a try, and it worked. She never did it again! A miracle. But this behavior doesn't warrant a cold shower. I do follow through, I do try talking to her and starting open, I use several different types of punishments that fit the "crime". Just today, we were watching a movie together that she wanted to watch. My phone was running so I got up to get it. Within less then a minute u come back and there and behold-a big steaming pile of poop in the middle of the living room!!!! When did she have the time to do this. The quickness of her removing bowels are impressive, but it's gross.. But any ways, it's rare that I use corporal punishment. Like with my 8 year old, I threaten her with wedding sweat pants to school.. Then I have no issues. But with my 3 year olds.... I have no vice on her. I have nothing to use against her, nothing is working. Please share some advice!


Chet - posted on 10/21/2014




Can you pick up your room is way too broad for a three year old. You need to go into the room with her, and coach her through specific tasks - put all the books on the shelf, take all the clothes to the laundry, put all the stuffed toys in the basket. With enough coaching she will eventually be able to do it on her own.

You may also need to assess her room to make certain that it is a space that can be easily maintained by a small child. Things in the room should be easy to put away (lots of bins, baskets and hooks). And you should limit the amount of stuff in the room so she physically can't mess it up to an extreme.

I would try to get away from looking for the right punishment, and instead work to figure why your daughter the things she shouldn't do. A lot of children, when watching a movie, will try to hold it too long and not be able to get to the bathroom. Some children will develop control issues around potty training, and not go to the bathroom specifically to illustrate that you can't force them to go to the bathroom. To address a difficult behaviour properly you need to figure out why your child is doing it.

Did you stop the movie to answer the phone, or did you leave it on?

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