11 answers

Acting like a Brat

I need some advice, My 3 and a half year old son just started getting smart with us. Saying NO in that little brat voice after we told him not to do something and then he does not listen when we tell him to stop. He is doing the whine thing in the car when he wants a snack or his seatbelt off and he does not stop. How do you handle that before it gets out of control? He has always been pretty disiplined but I am not sure the best way to handle this, do I yell, ignore, timeout?? HELP D.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I wish I had some advice but I don't. Just wanted to let you know that my daughter is the same age and has started to act the same way. I am hopefully it is a phase and will pass very soon!! I also have tried time outs, yelling, etc with no luck.

More Answers

I found that when I ignore the bad behavior is upsets them very much so at first, I then explain that how they are behaving is not the way we like. Talking back will not be tolerated, At the begining, this would make things worse. She would start yelling more or being very demanding. At this point she got sent to her room. After a few times of being sent up stairs she knocked off the smart mouth. IN the car, I turn up the radio and tell her that until she talks to me like she is suppose to I will be singing. He is just testing how far he can go and what you will do. You will have a good solid year or two of nice tests from him !!!

make sure he's getting enough sleep. i also try to keep my tone in check because when i get frustrated than the whole interaction escalates. i, like many of the other responders, tell my daughter that i can't understand her words when she's whining. because i have been consistent with that it usually stops with one reminder but it took a few times to get to that point. if she's being unsafe like walking into a street and not paying attention to me than i speak very firmly and make sure i have her attention. i hope that if i don't bring out the urgent voice often that it will be more effective. other than that, i haven't been dealing with this long so i'll check back for more replies and thank you for asking!

I actually just use a very friendly voice and say "Mommy can't hear a whiny voice, if that's something you want you have to ask in your regular, big boy voice."

Good luck!

Hi D.,
I thought there were some good ideas, and I agree with all of them, but I think the most important thing to remember is BE CONSISTENT. Keep doing the same things (telling him nicely to stop, rewarding good behavior, etc) and it will pass. I also think it's really important as one poster mentioned to have their attention; I get down on their level and make them look at me, and sometimes I ask them to explain in their own words what I just said. I have a six year old who did all the things my three year old is now trying, and she turned out great (so far--now she has six year old issues!). Keep it up...the results won't happen overnight, but he will figure it out, I promise!

I wish I had some advice but I don't. Just wanted to let you know that my daughter is the same age and has started to act the same way. I am hopefully it is a phase and will pass very soon!! I also have tried time outs, yelling, etc with no luck.


Be consistent in your discipline of his actions and in how you handle him. Reassure him that you love him and try to work in a little extra time with him where you can sit down and do something together. My daughter is 4 and my son is 2. At times they still act like brats and it is a task to keep them disciplined. My uncle gave me some advice that really made sense and I apologize up front if this offends anyone with the wording. He said "As a parent your job is to draw the line and when your child crosses it to push them back across." That really encouraged me to be consistent with being a parent. Hope this helps. Remember, be calm and to give an extra hug or two when you can.

Just ignore him, my tutor called me a brat and I got disappointed, You also should tell him not to do it, or you will take all his toys away and he has to live outside.......

Be persistant in how he should be acting, and be consistent in how you handle is behavior. How you handle it is up to you....ignore it, take things away, make him stand in the corner. For my girls when they act this way when I tell them something they need to do, I send them up to their rooms to "get control of yourself" and when they are ready, they can come back down and do what I had asked. That way, they go up to their bedroom...get out of the sassiness they want- not in front of me. Once they have control, they return behaved, and do what I asked without question. Worth giving it a try!

Ahhh, the joys of a child trying to manipulate mom. LOL! It's born in them so don't think that you are alone. Some just go through this earlier and some later. My 2 and half yr old is going through some of it now. I have a book to suggest, Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours. It is incredible! He has 4 children himself so he really does get it. And he uses reality disciple with children not reward and punishment. It is such a loving way to raise up our children. And what a HUGE difference it has made in our family! All of our boys are so much better all around and I feel so lucky to have found this book. Now we are equiping them with what they need to go our into the real world. It's never to early or late to start.

You can email me directly if you want me to give you some of the details in the book. I love to share what I have learned and what works for us. EMAIL: ____@____.com

Take Care,
N. :) SAHM homeschooling 3 boys 12, 8 & 2 yrs old and married to my Mr. Wonderful for almost 15yrs. I love to help other moms, who want to become SAHMs, reach that goal!

Welcome to the terrible 3's. I have always said that 3 year olds are pre-preteens. Your son is showing you how grown-up and intelligent he is. By this age, children start testing their boundaries and need new rules set by their parents. You have to start re-thinking how you talk to him and discipline him. The sassy, bratty talking is a tough one. You may need to try a few different things to get that to stop. We used a star (reward) chart when my oldest daughter turned 3. When your son shows favorable behavior, he earns stars, when he is bratty, sassy, etc... he loses stars on his chart. If he is sophisticated enough, he may be ready for you to reward him with something at the end of the week for having stars on his chart. You can customize this to work for you and your child. This doesn't work for every child. He may be like my 2nd child, and not give a hoot about the stars. Time-outs may work better or losing priviledges...having toys taken away...you have to figure out what makes him tick.
For whining, we would tell our daughter that we couldn't understand what she was saying. We would tell her she had to talk in a normal, big person way or we couldn't understand what she was saying. This doesn't mean that you give into him everytime he says it normally, like wanting to unbuckle his seatbelt. Obviously, that is out of the question, but don't even discuss it with him until he asks in a normal voice so you can explain to him in a normal voice why he can not. Keep it simple and keep calm....this is the hardest part, but I promise, if you can do this, he will stop whining. Your husband will have to be in agreement with you on this. If he gives in and you don't, then all the hard work is for nothing. It takes a lot of patience and can take a couple of weeks, but once you get past it, he probably won't whine again.
And, yes, sometimes you have to ignore him.
Good luck!

Tell him calmly that he cannot speak that way to you and put him in timeout. If that doesn't work i'm sure he understands consequences like "no TV". Also, pay attention to when it is, could he be hungry, tired, overstimulated. While you are at it watch what he is watching on TV, my son started after watching some cartoon in which the characters were very rude! My husband let him watch it while I was gone...needless to say I was furious! With the whining, tell him he is whining and he needs to ask in a nice voice and then ignore the request until he asks nicely. For the seatbelt, just let him know the car does NOT MOVE unless his seatbelt is on. Good luck.

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.