What do I do when I have a 3 year old that back talks like a teenager??

Audreaunna - posted on 01/07/2010 ( 5 moms have responded )




My son Joshua is only 3 years old but he will talk to me like he is grown. He doesn't want to do the things I tell him to do unless I scream at him 20 times then he tells me I'm not his boss....what do I do?


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Kali - posted on 01/08/2010




Try to keep calm when he acts up, and yes I know it can be difficult, and instead of screaming or yelling simply use a strict tone of voice. When my cousin's son was a toddler he had a lot of anger issues and his doctor told my cousin that when he gets like that to restrain him (wrapping your arms around his upper body and sitting on the floor) until he calmed down because he refused to go in time out. Both of my children, ages 5 and 4, have also behaved like your son and its a slow process but eventually they do learn how to behave. The issues of talking back and overall attitude are fairly recent for my children and my younger daughter only acts the way she does because her big sister does. Some days are better than others and believe me I know what it's like to want to smack a child. I usually flick my daughters in the mouth when they get real bad - oooh they hate that! I would think being spanked would hurt more than a flick in the mouth but if I flick them they'll both start crying and have an emotional breakdown in the middle of floor and after they've had a couple minutes to cry it out they're feeling better and get all cuddly with me and apologize.

Alicia - posted on 01/08/2010




put him in his room and tell why you are doing it for for three mins or sometimes i say untill you can talk nicely or act nicer i use to yell but it was getting to me and cody who is 3 also wouldnt listen anyway i have found this is a good way

Michelle - posted on 01/07/2010




You are the adult not him. Don't scream at him that isn't working. Tell him 'You Do Not Talk to ME that way or anybody that way and tone of voice' 'You are disrespecting me and are being mean to me when You talk to me like that' Or something like that. Make sure he understands it inappropriate and not appreciated, his behavior, attitude. If he continues, discipline. Time outs, take away privileges, etc.

I just got out of this stage with my 4 yr old. What finally caught his attention was me asking him if he liked to talk to me like that, does it make him feel good, because it doesn't make me feel good. Etc. Basically I was guilting him and making him think about his actions and how it affects others and him. I also asked him if he wants me to talk to him like that.

When my 6 yr old twins went through that stage around that age I ended up gently popping them in the mouth when they back talked me. It wasn't hard. It was more of a 'this is serious' and to shock them and they haven't back talked to me since. My four yr old is different from my 6 yr olds and so I have to try different techniques.

Just make sure you stop it Now and some things might work better than other things.

Coleen - posted on 01/07/2010




Discipline at this age is very hard as they have discovered that they have a voice and they are going to use it!!!!..I can see that you have an older child maybe he could mimmicing him maybe...My son when he was that age use to say that to his cousins or sometimes at childcare.When I heard him say it I would ask what all the fuss was about, All you could hear was him saying "dont your not the boss of me".It was time consuming but I had to do it, I followed him for 2 days and asked him to do things like pick up his toys or clean up his messes during the day etc, he would get into things that he shouldnt as kids of that age do, and I tapped him on the hand with a firm voice and just harped on at him. He refused alot but I just tapped him again and didnt stop until he did it...You have to be cruel to be kind sometimes and although this was hard for me to do...sometimes not laugh cause of his responses at times, I did it and it worked....plus his cousins use to pull their heads in a little bit cause they did try to get away with bullying him sometimes....they dont think that aunty is a witch,but they do know if they cant play together nicely and do what I ask,they use to think that they would get the hand slap too..........My sister's use to comment on how well their kids use to behave at my house and not trash it and used their manners,when I told them they asked me go and use it at their houses.......lol.My nieces are all grown now with children of their own with these sorts of problems and we often laugh at how I got them to do as they were told in my house and I didnt even have to raise my voice or lifting a finger......hahhaaha. At end of the day I showed him I WAS THE BOSS OF HIM and there were no rewards for being naughty,especially once he sore my other children having treats for good behaviour......

September - posted on 01/07/2010




It may be helpful to not scream at him. Maybe he is leading by example....like most kids do. Just a thought....

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