Need Help-

Rachel - posted on 01/09/2011 ( 3 moms have responded )




My 3 year-old son will not obey. He refuses to use his words, too--which makes things incredibly frustrating. He'll say things occasionally, but all he wants to do is run around and get into things he's not supposed to. We've tried time-outs, taking away things, hand swats, spankings, you name it--we've tried it. He'll even do something as we're in the middle of telling him not to! He'll scream bloody murder if we say no, no matter how gently. He wants instant gratification and his way all the time. He's extremely strong and high energy. He'll literally run for long periods of time in circles around the house. Since he won't sit still--Bible class is a challenge, and pre-school isn't an option. He won't calm down and pay attention. Things have to be his idea or he'll refuse. (For example: potty training--he won't even remotely consider it). What do I do with a toddler who is huge and strong, defiant, and is willing to pay the consequences just to do the action? (He's touched the hot stove more times than I'd like to admit). EVERY DAY I have to fight the SAME battles OVER and OVER. I am so tired and frustrated. Today I lost it. Help me please.


JuLeah - posted on 01/09/2011




Children at the pre-school stage are developing a whole host of new skills, including: wanting
more independence (for example, "No, I want to do it by myself!"); asserting their wants ("I want that!"); and learning about friendship ("Give that back!"). One of the best things you can do when parenting a three-year-old is to support your child in attaining these new skills without allowing them to become demanding or spoiled. To ensure you don't fall into unhealthy habits that promote power struggles, choose to use a firm--but kind--approach and look for
ways that your child can learn from each situation.
The more you can allow your son to do things on his own (and they won't be perfect), the less likely he will be to fight you on everything. Look for household tasks that he can do at his age and find ways that he can help you out. Have him fill the dog bowl, hold the door open for you when you are bringing groceries into the house, set the table, etc. The busier you can keep him doing positive behaviors, the less chance he will move towards negative ones.
Be warned: even if you take this approach, your son is still going to test you. Below are six simple steps for dealing with three-year-olds when they just won't listen:
1. Let Go of Timeouts - Timeouts can work for some children (but there are far better techniques). Ultimately, the only person we can control is ourselves. If timeouts are not working (that is, your child refuses to go to the "naughty bench", stay on the "naughty bench", or tells you they make their own rules and have moved the "naughty bench"), look for other ways to inspire them to want to be well-behaved (as suggested in the following five steps).
2. Fire Yourself as Boss of the Household! - Many parents buy into the belief that mom should be the boss of the household and be in control. Yet, we must remember that we are modeling for our children how to act every single minute of the day. Our kids learn more from what we do than from what we say. If they see us pulling rank as "boss", they will attempt to be "boss" too.
Unfortunately, when this happens, they may outrank us and the real power struggles will begin!
3. Provide Flexibility with Boundaries - Instead of boss, see yourself as your child's coach or guide, responsible for providing them with experiences to learn from and allowing them to experience the consequences of their actions. Give clear guidelines, but also give them flexibility too. For example, "Your toys need to be cleaned up before we go to Grandma's. Do you want to clean them up now, or in 5 minutes from now?" If they still don't clean up, then you might
not go to Grandma's that day. Children need to know what the rules are and, more importantly, they need to know you will follow-through with the rules. Once you become consistent with your behavior, your children will learn to trust what you say and will improve their behavior accordingly.
4. Stay Firm (but Kind) - If they fight, you follow-through. Do this without yelling, scolding or punishing. Don't buy into their tears, and definitely don't get into a debate. Stay firm, but stay kind. Tell them that when they want a hug, to come find you. I know keeping your cool is easier said than done. For more on this, check out the "Mom's Time-Out" section (page 111-114) of When You're About To Go Off The Deep End, Don't Take Your Kids With You.
5. Use Consequences That Relate to Their Behavior - Punishment teaches our kids to feel bad, but rarely teaches them how to "do good". If you are encountering the same misbehaviors over and over again, your child is clearly not learning from their mistakes. To facilitate learning, make certain any consequences used are directly related to the misbehavior. For example, when your child is rough with the computer, computer time is over; when your child is splashing water out of the tub, bath time is over; or when your child is goofing off with their food, dinner is over. Again, do these quickly, but kindly.
6. Thank and Appreciate Your Child for What They Do - Children want to please and they want to know that their contributions make a difference. Remember to tell them so--and often.
Learning how to motivate our children to want to be well-behaved takes time and practice. Yet, taking the time now to learn these tools can save you years of heartache and frustration. Keep reading, keep practicing, and keep empowering that three-year-old of yours: then watch their behavior change for the better!
Kelly Nault, MA author of When You’re About To Go Off The Deep End, Don’t Take Your Kids With You


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[deleted account]

Just stick with the time outs and if YOU need a break then put him in his room. He is old enough to know better. My 3 yr old did the same thing but we started treating her like she was 3 and not 2. She has stopped for the most part. She also uses her words because we won't help her or give her anything she wants unless she does. It worked for my 3 yr old. maybe yours?

good luck.

Rosie - posted on 01/11/2011




You poor thing, I am still going through this with my 7 year old daughter, she is so strong willed that I just get so mad and frustrated with her that I don't know what to do either.

At 3-4 I did a reward chart with stickers that I made her put on herself everytime she did the right thing. Unfortunately due to my family circumstances I was not able to follow this through still to this day.

I will say that it worked, what I did was sat her down and said what do you want to put on the chart and she told me. I added those and then a few of my own. She only got a sticker when she completed those things, if she refused to complete my jobs as well, then she didn't get the sticker.

The reward at the end was a trip to the park, it was never monetry, it was something that I knew she enjoyed and she couldn't do that unless she completed all her jobs. Don't get me wrong there wasn't like 10 things on the list but it made her reliese that unless she did something she didn't get the positive return she wanted.

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