April 10, 2010,
D.D. asks from Schaumburg, IL on July 23, 2008
Unruly 3 Year Old
I wrote a couple of weeks ago and i really need some advise. My 3 year old girl is completely out of control. She does not listen to anyone, she is horribly bratty, and has no regard for anyone else. When we are with other children, she will rip toys away from them, push them, and is ALWAYS the boss. But, she is the first to cry when someone else does something to her that she doesn't like. She has started talking baby talk all the time. It's not an attention thing, because I give her attention 24/7 and try very hard to be patient. Lately, my patients are thin and I can't take it anymore. I find myself walking away so that I don't blow up,but 9 times out of 10 that backfires, and makes her act out more and I end up yelling. Right now I am listening to her whine and cry in her room, it has been almost an hour. I am at my wits end and could really use some advise.
T.B. answers from Rochester on July 24, 2008
Your daughter needs for you to be the strong parent. She needs to have boundries, and consequences, That means that you have to be stern and follow through with punishment as well as bedtimes(naps)!! That is the hard part. I know how easy it is to ignore, because you have had it. You just do not want to hear it anymore. That means they win and have complete controll. Which is bad parneting. That just makes everything worst!! You need to have a plan (consequences) when she misbehaves. Kids also act up when they are over tired. If she acts up, first try to remove her from the situation or distract her. However, if her behaveior continues with the same siutation or if she is being mean to someone, calm her by holding her on your lap or hanging on to her, with her at your eye level(besure you have her attention by reminding her to look at your eyes),explain to her that it is unacceptable, and explain how it could hurt someones feelings (perhaps use her) ask her how she would feel. Then tell her if she does it again she will be punished and speak of the punishment(what it would be). Perhaps by taking away something she loves (blanket, toy, binky ect..) Each situation needs to be addressed ASAP!! Do not wait 15 minutes or longer. She will not remember. That is not fair to her. Do not yell you must talk calmy, with a stern voice and directly to them at eye level. To calm my daughter I would put her on my lap and try to distract her crying to calm her by telling her she must sit still and relax while hugging her. I would say do I have to tickle you silly to get you calm down. That would make her smile and I would have her attention. I would then tell her to look into my eyes and I would then explain, what she did and why mommy was upset and why she shouldn't act that way. If she wasn't looking at me I would stop to have her her focus on my eyes. Tell them exactly like it is. If they act poorly to others, no one will want to be friends with them. Kids want to have friends and play mates. If she doesn't relax and still is high strong. Put her in time out, time it and tell her how long she has before she can get down. With anything. That means no, toys blanket, and not talking to her either for the remainder of the timeout. Then try to talk to her in the same mannor as explained above. It worked for me. It got to the point with my daughter when I would say "do not make me count, and I would start and she would say, no,no,no, ok, I am sorry, do not count. She would know what was next. It got much easier. She was a very well behaved little one, After I got how to play the game. I always gave her lots of hugs and thanked her for her good behavior and also for being a good listener. My daughter also behaved better ,when we would go out, if I would tell her what we were doing and what I expected from her (behavior wise). Like if we were going to the store, I would tell her what we needed to get(often she would be my reminder, my list) and that we cannot ask for things in the store. We need to spend the money on the important things food ext.. I would however allow her to pick out fruit or veggies she liked. She to this day doesn't ask. But she knows if there is extra we will take a day and get something for ourselves. I hope this helps you out. GOod luck and do not give up.
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R.R. answers from Rochester on July 23, 2008
Some days I can really relate to that with my 3 year old. I have been really scrutinizing what causes a bad day vs. a good day...
Talking through my frustrations really helps. Whenever I do lose my temper I tell him "You are the first little boy I've ever had, and I don't always know how to be the best mommy. Sometimes I make mistakes and I would like for you to pray with me that I will learn to be just the mommy you need". This might sound silly, but it works for him because he becomes sympathetic with me instead of adversarial, and it works for me because it reminds me to be compassionate towards myself and look for spiritual guidance instead of focusing on my negative emotions.
Our best days are days when we do something together for half an hour or so, then do our own thing near each other for half an hour or so... I call it "breathe in, breathe out". I got this and many other helpful viewpoints from waldorf inspired educators, and I love the book "Beyond the Rainbow Bridge: Nurturing our Children from Birth to Age 7".
I am also finding that the less confrontational and emotional I am when dealing with him regarding disobedience, the better. Staying objective and not taking disobedience personally, but rather looking compassionately at him and saying "He needs discipline for HIS own good so he can lead a productive life" instead of "Why is he disregarding ME, why doesn't he listen to Me, why is he always getting into trouble", etc... helps me to remain calmer. I have been utilizing a meditation in which I reflect on my day as if I were a different person looking in, not judging myself but objectively watching what I did and said. When I remove the emotion from the battles I often have "aha" moments on how I can handle things better next time. And I'm reading a book called "Non Violent Communication" which is excellent.
The other thing I have been doing to help him with his emotions is taking pictures of the faces he and I make. When I notice he or I am angry or bratty, I get the camera and we look at the picture. Then we compare it to happy pictures of us. Ok, this sounds funny too- but since little children mirror us so much, I am using all of his 3 year old emotional problems to help me address my own. So we talk about how the angry or sullen faces don't look very nice at all compared to the happy faces, and we talk about what we need to do to change our faces and make them happy. It's funny, but when he or I see our nastier expressions on the digital camera it makes us laugh at ourselves and try to smile. =)
Anyways, I guess I could sum it up by trying to keep our interaction creative and lighthearted. I have had to let go of a lot of other things that would drain my energy and prevent me from having the vitality to deal with him since we are two peas in a pod and I find myself facing my own issues when I deal with his. I trust it's all for the best... hang in there.
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M.T. answers from New York on July 24, 2008
HI D., sorry that you are having a tough time with your preschooler. I would say that it's time to set a firm disciplinary plan in action. Let your daughter know what is and is not acceptable behavior, and when she behaves in a way that's not appropriate, take immediate action. If she grabs a toy away from another child, take it from her, give it back to the other kid and put her in a 3 minute time out. If she does not listen or is defiant, time out again. Don't yell, don't make an argument or a contest here, simply take action right away.
Also, I've noticed that sometimes parents just expect kids to know what the correct behavior is, and that is not always the case. You may need to discuss how to behave when playing with friends, rules about obeying adults - and not just as a reprimand when she's done something wrong, but as an ongoing discussion. Also it can help to do some role playing with dolls or stuffed animals, acting out behaviors that you'd like to see changed and what you would like to see.
Also, you mentioned that she has your attention 24/7. This can feed into her behavior as well. A 3 year old does not and should not need your attention every moment of her day. She needs to learn how to entertain herself. She will not learn that you (and others) have needs too if you always put hers first.
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C.R. answers from Syracuse on July 23, 2008
Does she get enough sleep/still nap? Even if not everyday she should still be on a nap schedule...tired kids DON'T behave. I would also suggest a very structured daily schedule(it's hard in the summer, but things go better if you're on a schedule)...for example...only schedule playdates, dr apts, errands etc...in the morning...this is when most kids are at their best...then be home for lunch and nap/rest(play a music/lulaby CD in her room if she doesn't nap...this way you get 40mins to recoup and if she's really tired she'll pass out)after nap/snack should be the more unscheduled play like the park or backyard/bike rides...and then your dinner and evening routine....my kids know they can get up when the clock say 7:00 (3 is the perfect age to train this and with a new baby on the way it's important she's not up too early and making noise)they watch t.v. from 7-730 while I make breakfast, at 730 t.v. is off they eat and we start our day...kids are better behaved and more secure in themselves when they know what comes next...as for playing nice with others, well that takes time but when you're on your way to a playdate is when you review the rules...we are going to share their toys and play at their house and this is what 's going to happen if you don't play nicely, and if it's not going well LEAVE (once you drop everything and leave a couple of times they know you're not kidding and they straighten up)....if someone is comming to your house prepare, again with the sharing talk and put away those really special items (she shouldn't have to share everything)...last but not least, give her chores(3 and 4 are tough ages because they are too big to be little and too little to be big). Chores help, they build confidence and they want to help mommy so let them...she can make her bed(it won't look made, but it's fun to see them arrange it just so...don't "fix" it)she can sort socks, if you have a front loading washer and dryer she can help with the transfer from one to the other to the basket, all my kids put their own clothes away I fold them and put them on the beds and even my 23 month old picks them up,I open the drawer, he throws them in...again not the neatest but the pride is incredible, she can set and clear her place at the table...all these little things she can help with...in a little while when you're busy with baby you'll be glad she's so independant! One last thought, a baby is a big change for everyone...you're a grown up who knows what to expect, she's three and totally in the dark...go to bild a bear and make a bear for her to give to the baby, get lots of books and tell her baby won't come home and play right away...include her in some of the decisions(like what blanket to buy)and take lots of deep breath together. I hope this helps a little bit. Good luck, C.
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W.T. answers from New York on July 24, 2008
wow... this sounds like the intensity of what I went through with my 3-yr-old boy two months ago when our 2nd child was born. It's so hard. It seems like our guy is 6 weeks on, 6 weeks off with behavior -- like he processes new things (baby, or him gettings new abilities) by becoming a monster. But for us he has his "on" times when he's really fun to be around; still, that doesn't make the 6 weeks "off" any easier.
One thing we tried was having more structre: at this time of day we watch one video; just before dinner we do a sticker craft (the same craft each day) together; bedtime and naptime are strictly enforced (even if he isn't sleepy, he's in his room expected to be quiet). That way we built times in that I could find something positive to talk about with him, instead of saying "no,no,no" all day.
Our guy is also used to having attention all the time -- he couldn't play by himself at all! We started having him play by himself in his room for 15 minutes, and sending him to his room to "cool down" alone when he misbehaved. It weaned him from expecting attention all the time, and now he will go to his room and come out when he is ready (after hitting, throwing things, not listening, etc.) But we had to have a gate at his door to teach him to separate from us a bit.
E-mail me if you have any questions or just need some support.
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L.M. answers from New York on July 24, 2008
OOOOOhhhhhh D.! Welcome to the club. I have a 4 year old drama queen who is a handful. I keep telling her that she is lucky that she is BEAUTIFUL!
Anyway, we went through the terrible 3s (the 2s were great in comparison) and they pretty much ended on her 4th birthday (we would say stuff like, "that's what a 3 year old would do"). We were doing fine until 2 months ago when we had baby #2 and she regressed.
So, yes, we are bigger and smarter (my response to a comment below) then our little ones, but that doesn't stop the drama. The best advise I can give you is to pick your battles (some things are not worth the aggravation), follow through with the discipline (time outs in a naughty spot), rewards for good behavior and enjoy a glass of red wine (it's OK for the baby in your belly).
Your little one will drive you crazy, but we (myself included) do have to remember to enjoy them at this age because they are fantastic and creative and loving and wonderful. Lots of luck to you!!!!
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D.P. answers from New York on July 25, 2008
Hang in there! I thought I was in the clear when my son got past the terrible two's....then came the three year old tantrums. My son is now four but it was definitely a battle of the strongest wills for awhile there when he was three. I don't doubt that you give enough attention at this point it is the battle for independence. You just have to remember who is the boss (you). When you lay down your punishment (for me it is time out) you need to stick to it no matter how much they fight. (We did time out for an hour b/c he would not stay in time out-it was exhausting for me but it proved a point) Also, be aware if you are punishing too much. I found that I was saying "No" to so many things that he was tuning me out. Now, I put him in time out for hitting and back talk to me or my husband. When it was a fighting over a toy issue, I put the toy in time out or tried to distract him with something else.
I will warn you though, just when you think you have it figured out they get into a new phase!
R.C. answers from New York on July 24, 2008
I tend to think you need to stop her at the time of any wrong doing and bad behavior....for an example, give the toy back to the child she had taken if from and hand her another toy....if she doesn't except this, take her out of the situation....and try a time out. Tell her calmly what she had done isn't nice, that she needs to be nice and share. If you give in, give up on making corrections, her behavior will only get worse....
Make sure you don't stay angry with her for to long as children also need loving hugs....
Also try to remember you are pregnant ..hormones fly, your patient level is low and I'm sure she's feeling your frustions. So maybe you need more time for yourself. Get a sitter, grandma, a friend or neighbor to stay with her...get out of the house and do something you might enjoy doing that will lift your spirits or will in fact relax you.
D.M. answers from New York on July 24, 2008
Have you read "How to talk so kids will listen, and listen so kids will talk"? it's excellent, lots of very good strategies for specific situations. Also, "raising your spirited child".
M.B. answers from New York on July 24, 2008
Hi D., I feel for you and can relate! I haven't had a chance to read the other responses, but looks like you received a lot of advice. I have a very spirited, almost 4 year old boy who has gone through his fair share of unruly behavior over the last year and I am also expecting. I don't have all the answers, but here is what worked for my husband and I. If our child misbehaves at playdates or at the playground with other children to that extent, we immediately remove him from the situation and, after he has calmed down, explain to him in simple terms why he was no longer allowed to stay with the other children and ensure he acknowledges that he understands. This has to be repeated consistently to ensure he/she knows who is in control. We warn our son that he needs to behave with other children or at preschool camp if he wants to stay and have fun.
You sound like a very giving mother and, if you are like me, the tough love comes hard. It can also be very hard, despite what people might think, to control even a small child when you are preganant - I often need my husband to carry him out of places, since I worry about our safety when I try to carry him and he is kicking and screaming. I have walked away too, to control myself (and a few times over the last year, to cry), but it sometimes seems to bother them more because they are seeking attention and being ignored.
Once we get through the bad periods, we try to reinforce good behavior by rewarding him for the good days. It is amazing how well children can respond to a reward chart for the good days and the pleasure they can find from being a good boy/girl. They need to understand that good behavior is a better way to get our attention than the bad.
Also, I find my son, although very happy about his future baby brother/sister, sometimes regresses to baby-like behavior. I think this a common reaction the older sibling has, so we talk to him in very positive ways about the new baby, involve him in the baby planning and ensure he knows how special he is to us. There are a lot of baby brother/sister books that reinforce this message. I hope this helps, even the smallest bit.
N.D. answers from New York on July 24, 2008
She's THREE!! How can you not control her? You are bigger, stronger and smarter. She needs consistant time outs. Find a spot and make her sit/stand there for at least 3 minutes. I see nothing wrong with putting a child in a corner, face to the wall for 3 minutes. But some people think its cruel so a chair away from activity will work too. The reason I like a corner is there is always one to be found. Just the threat of showing an acting up child a corner in a restaurant, store, playground will usually make them shape up. Of course this is after you have made it clear to them that they HAVE to stay in the corner for 3 minutes..(1 minute per childs age)
If she gets out or up, put her right back..let her scream..keep putting her back. The first time it may take hours. Dont give up. You are bigger & stronger. She WILL figure out you are serious. Eventually she will pay attention to your warning and behave. Always warn her first that her actions are inappropriate and she will be punished. And afterwards explain again what she did wrong. Be specific, 3 y/o dont always understand abstract concepts..sharing, insults etc.
M.B. answers from Albany on July 24, 2008
I am right there with you. My son is 3 and is driving me crazy. He wants things his way or no way at all and when I give him an answer he doesn't like, he yells "don't tell me that" at the top of his lungs. To add to the problem, he's very stubborn. While we are still working on things, we have had some success with rewards. Every weekend we do something fun. In the beginning I had to figure it out in advance and remind him of what it was, but now I just tell him we are going to do something fun. We do some things that cost money and some things that are free. If he acts up, we don't go. He has to be good all week to go. I don't expect him to be perfect and I will remind him if he's doing something I don't like that if he wants to do the fun thing, he needs to listen, share etc. I also have a little reward chart and after 5 stickers, he gets a "prize" (which is something I bought, food, or extra time with my husband or myself). We also had to take the negative out of what we tell him. So instead of telling him to take a nap or he can't play outside, we tell him that if he's good and stays in his bed until we tell him he can get up then he can go outside. If I tell him to take a nap or he can't go outside, he will tell me that's fine bec. he doesn't want to go outside (or something along those lines). We have also stopped arguing with him. I tell him no, he yells and tells me he can do whatever it is and I will tell him no one more time and that's it. If he tries to do it, I will correct him again, possibly give him a time out, but not argue with him. He has gotten the picture and stops arguing back as much. For the most part, all of this works, but there are days... I am always taking the little parts that work and changing thing up a bit when he gets use to things and they seem to not work anymore. For example, we were just doing the weekend rewards and small rewards for really good behaviors during the day but then he started to slip so we started with the rewards chart and that seems to help keep him on track during the day. We still do the bigger fun thing on the weekend and now that my daughter is older and wants to do the fun things too (she's 1) we still do the fun things as a family but he may not be able to do everything if he wasn't good. For example, we might go to the fair but he can't ride the pony. If he's really bad, he stays home with someone but his sister gets to go. (luckily we haven't had to do that but we have had to take away pony rides). Good luck.
S.D. answers from Syracuse on July 24, 2008
The hardest thing for a parent to do is to just walk away and listen to your child cry. It is obvious that your little one needs to be disciplined, and follow through. My daughter, when she was this age, was a wholey terror. Everyone warned me about the terrible twos, but three was pure chaos. What you need to do is start with small punishments, time out, apologies,etc. When your daughter takes things away from other children, you as the parent should step in and give the other child back whatever toy they were playing with. Then, you should speak with your daughter and let her know that this hurts her friends feelings and the importance of sharing. All this time you should be calm and no yelling. If she becomes disrespectful you let her know that you do not tolerate this kind of behavior and place her in time out. Sometimes this is hard for parents, especially when they are doing it in front of other parents. But, you need to follow through. If you tell her that if she continues to be "bratty" that you are going to put her in time out, do it. They say that your child should sit for as many minutes as their age. So your daughter should sit for 3 minutes. In this time out time, if she carries on with the yelling and screaming, calmly go into the area and let her know that her time will start when she is quiet. Stay in a close enough area if you think she will do something to herself. For your sanity, you have to do some planned ingnoring. Let her scream her head off. She knows now that if she continues that eventually you are going to let her have her way. So, what you need to do is let the yelling and crying go on until she tires herself out. SHE WILL!!!!!!!!! After a couple times of you following through and letting her know that you are the boss and that you are in charge, not her, she will be more workable.
With her reacting when others do it to her, you should use this as a tool to show her how she makes others feel when they do it to her. Start teaching your child empathy now. I used to work in a residential treatment facility for troubled young men. If you don't teach it to them when they are young, they will never know it when they mature. The last thing you want is a teenage daughter who has no regard for you, herself and others. Because if you think you have problems now, it is sure to be worse when she is a teenager.
Please take the advice with the upmost respect. Being parents is difficult and the only way to make it through semi-unscathed is to have supports. Good luck.
M.L. answers from New York on July 24, 2008
I think what you're doing right now is perfect. You can try to explain to her that she is free to take toys, back talk, talk like a baby, push, shove, etc...but she has to do it in her room, alone. She can comeout when she is ready to play nice. (My parents used that last line on all five of their kids. It puts the pressure on the kids, instead of having a time limit. A lot of times, all we needed was to run into our room screaming, bounce off the bed, and come back out happy.)
Good luck. My 22 month old is heading down that path, and the above is what we're doing with her. It seems to help. When she takes toys, she is required to give them back AND give the other kid a hug. (She can't say "sorry" yet.)
K.H. answers from Utica on July 24, 2008
You sound at your wits end and I am so sorry for that. Is it possible that she has allergies? Are there allergies in your family? Look into the book "Is this your Child?" can't remember author, but may think of it. It is excellent, and was a real help to me. Out of control doesn't always mean you were not disciplining or too easy, although I know it can. Following through--doing what you say and not threatening is important with all children.
This is my story
Our first child was an angel. So when the second came along I thought he would just listen. Yeah right? He was wild man. Slept 2 hours in 24 from the time he was about 10 months. He was so ill as a newborn the Ped told me to make preparations for death as he was having apnea spells. By 5 months, he was better using a different formula for the 100th time, not literally, but with any symptom they changed formula. He seemed to come alive with this Cho-Free formula, and began to shimmy up one side of the crib and down the other, climbing into bed with our older son, then 4. We of course blamed him for getting him out of the crib. He honestly told us he did not, but it was hard to believe. We finally sat at the door of the bedroom and saw him shimmy, then crawl over and climb into older son's twin bed.
He walked at 7 months, climbing by a year, yes I mean climbing, to the top of the refrigerator and jumping off. Well, I think you probably get the idea. Things were not quiet at our house and at that age there is really no reasoning with them.
OK, so I take him for appt. with ped, that was scheduled for PM, not that I wanted it that way because I knew he would be more and more active as the day progressed so I planned everything for early am. I bring him because it had to be. He ran, up and down the office hallway for 1/2 hour. Hey he was being good, not climbing the files, opening drawers or whatever. Just running. Ped. pops in saying "how long will he do that?" I just said "what?" You have to realize that I thought he was being good, but I knew what he could be doing. Well, he offered me drugs that day for hyperactivity. He was a year old. I refused those and set out to calm my child naturally.
At 3 they asked me not to bring him to library for story hour. But at 4 he could read anything in sight. I thought he just enjoyed the pictures but the preschool teacher, found him reading. She asked how long he had been reading because she knew he could read the newspaper then. I was stunned. Guess I was too busy trying to keep his feet on the floor.
As soon as we were able I signed him up for whatever sport was available for the age. I stayed because I knew he was a handful. The activity ran off some energy as did running around the house three times which was my punishment for everything including my own frustration.
Well, I am sure you get the idea. I never had to put him on meds, although the Ped, and the public school system (don't get me started with that) wanted him on drugs. We opted for private school and when he would have been in first grade he tested for entry there at the 5th grade level, finishing through 8th grade that year. OK so he is a genius, but would he have been had we done drugs.
Today he is a lawyer, writing contracts for the US government. He and his wife Kathryn will present us with our first grandchild soon. Is a grand adult!! Today I am so glad we did not get drugs, but there were days, at that time, I thought I was nuts.
God bless you
K.--SAHM married 38 years, and certainly old enough to be your mom. What does your mom say? They are a wealth of information. You might be surprised!! 4 children --37, 32 & set of twins 18 years.
Willing to visit via email ____@____.com
I.R. answers from Utica on July 24, 2008
obviously you have told your daughter that she is going to have a new sibling or she has overheard this and doesn't know what to expect. She is old enough to understand 'time out" and that is what i would do every time her behavior is out of line. Her social skills must be improved if you are planning to send her to nursery school or all public events. perhaps you can also tell her that a friend is having a party but she can't go because of her conduct. however, once you put this program in place, do not stop. putting her in her own room and retreating to an area where you don't hear her for a few minutes gives you both a break. you are also tired and more sensitive at this time and feel you are "bad mommy". you are not. This stance that you are a strong parent this early in her life may help resolve problems as she matures.
A.F. answers from New York on July 24, 2008
put her in her room with no toys, blankets, fun things etc and let her scream and cry and tell her she can not come out until she has calmed down and STICK to it! she is testing the limits and looks like she is winning. you have to be firm and consistent. i have a 3 yr old and sharing is hard, but i try to talk to him and give him the words to express himself-i know you are angry that so and so is playing with the toy you want, but we all have to take turns etc etc. i have a friend that swears but punishment by removal. does she have a favorite toy? if so, when she is bad take it away and only give it back to her when she is good. i haven't had t o do this, just threaten it. but for your daughter, you might have to actually take it away a couple of times before she knows you are serious.
W.O. answers from New York on July 24, 2008
This sounds like a job for Supernanny, but you can do it, I'm sure. You seem strong and encouraged. First of all, understand that when children are babies, they know only of their own needs. As they get to be 2 to 3 years old, they need to learn to be considerate of others. If you are giving your 3-year old your attention 24/7, she has learned to expect that of others also. We all want to give our children the best, but often our "best" means letting go of constant care and attention. First, let her know that you need time to yourself - a few minutes for a shower or phone call. Both of you need the independence. She needs that validation too. Secondly, when another child does something that she does not like(take a toy or push), remind her that she did the same thing to a child yesterday or last week. Ask her how she feels, and remind her that the other child felt the same way.
Let me ask you this. Since you are expecting another child, how do you plan to split your time between two? Especially since the newborn will need most of your time and attention.
I don't mean to scare you but 3 years old is only the first part of their mission through life. Then you send them to school where you lose all control and put them in the hands of others. Next, they become responsible for themselves in choosing their own friends. And all of this is up to YOU as a parent. So I beg you, think what you're doing now, and consider her future.
I wish you the best, W.
S.S. answers from Syracuse on July 24, 2008
Do you ever watch the show on ABC Supernanny? She gives some great advice and shows how hard, especially with young children who already think they are in control. But you have to stop the inappropriate behavior now. The web site, is abc.go.com/primetime/supenanny. There are loads of books about raising and disciplining children, but this show, in some respects, shows it isn't going to be easy, but the key is consistency. And consistency isn't easy. You have to take the time and do nothing but be at home with her (I know a lot of young moms are on the go with errands and play groups and shopping, etc). Show her at home what is acceptable and what isn't. On your first venture out, she'll test you and the response must be we will leave if you don't behave. I used to get groceries with a friend and occasionally she'd bring her 4 year old who would whine and ask for things. It wasn't that she was expected to know how to behave all the time, but when mom told her no or she was warned about touching things, etc. and would start to have a fit, her mom counted to 3 if she continued, we left everything and removed her from the store, because that was the deal. But as I said. she first needs to know what is appropriate and what you are expecting from her. They really don't understand everything we think they should understand. I had my 2 grandsons over July 4th. They are very good, but occasionally the older one (4 years) would argue with me about something and I told him not to talk back to me. I said Mommy & Daddy don't let you talk back to them do they? He said yes they do. He said they talk to me and I talk back to them. When I told his parents, they looked at each other and told me they were having a hard time trying to explain to him what they meant. I had 4 children and I THINK they all understood, but who knows - Logan is very smart, but he didn't ge it.
Also, you say you spend 24/7 with your daughter, doing what? It can't all be about her, when you have your next child, she's going to have to understand that baby needs your time and attention, too.But then it can't be all tv watching either. Have you told her about the new baby? Maybe that's why she's gone back to baby talk - did you ask her? Talking to children and not at them can make a difference. I understand you came to this website for help, but I really think Supernanny gives some great tips. Like the fact that it has to be both mom and dad together or she'll start putting you against each other. My youngest daughter, I had 3 girls in 4 years, was 4 when my only son was born and she still remembers me telling her that he is the baby in the family, a place she had held proudly for 4 years, but she would always be my baby girl.
Lastly, why is your 3 year old in her room for an hour, is it bedtime? Is it punishment? I hope not, you lost the battle 55 minutes ago, she has no idea why she's there, time out for a 3 year old should be 3 minutes. Also, bedroom should never be used for punishment because then they associate bedtime with punishment. You need a time out chair or step. Yes, you have to stand over her the first time to get her to know you mean business. This is why consistency is so important - next time she may try to get off the seat, but if you don't give in, it doesn't take long for these little ones to figure out being bad doesn't work - not anymore!
C.Z. answers from New York on July 25, 2008
There are some wise and experienced moms on this site, but I hate to have you trying to go through this alone.
She might benefit from play therapy and behavioral therapy. This should be available through the special education department of your local school district.
N.Y. answers from San Francisco on April 10, 2010
Is she getting enough sleep? My son was having a really difficult time as well (pushing, hitting, not listening, etc.). I completely changed his schedule and put him on a very strict routine. His behavior changed dramatically. He gets up between 7:00 and 7:30, breakfast at 8:00, school at 9:00, pick up at 1:00 (nap if necessary, however, my son outgrew the need to nap), playtime and snack until 4:30 (alternate between books, a little age appropriate t.v. time, etc), bath at 5:00, dinner at 6:00, bed and books at 7:00, lights out, NO EXCEPTIONS, at 7:30. Dramatic change in behavior. DRAMATIC. I'm also a huge fan of timeouts. Three minutes for a three year old and so on. Keep in mind a time out is not a punishment, it is an act of discipline and an act of discipline is an act of love. You want to ensure that your daughter knows how to "BE" in the world so that when she moves forward in her life she is a compassionate, disciplined woman with a strong sense of self. I also try to avoid the word "NO". I redirect the behavior and tell my son what it is I want rather than what I don't want. Example, Instead of, "Son, NO! Do NOT stand in the chair", I say, "I want you to put your butt in the chair." or "I want you to put your feet on the ground". If need be, I physically show him what it is that I want him to do. It's hard to adjust to speaking or acting in this manner but, it's much more effective. I highly recommend How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk. It doesn't nor should it ever be a power struggle. You are the parent. Period. Good luck.
J.P. answers from Albany on July 24, 2008
It will be tough for a while, but have you tried recognizing and praising good behaviour when it happens and ignoring the bad behaviour as long as no one is hurt or in danger? I heard this from a children's psychologist and tried it on my kids. Works like a charm. The key is the kids just want attention, so any attention is good whether it's when you tell her to stop or when you say great job and give her a smile. Initially she will act out more but if you can be tough and stick to your guns you will see results.
N.C. answers from New York on July 24, 2008
maybe that is why she's acting out, because she's not going to be the only one in your life anymore.
when she rips toys out of other kids hands, do you see and say anything to her? do the other parents? if you catch her, just ask her if she'd like it if someone did that to her. it might work.
i have a niece whose 4 (only child) and is also very bratty at times. my sister will just walk away or even sometimes send her to her room until she's ready to behave nicely to her and to others. the brattiness usually doesn't last long since she does want to play.
try not to "blow up" at her, but be firm. again tell her that she wouldn't like it if someone did those things to her and see how she reacts. she might just be doing this b/c of your expectant 2nd child.
keep me posted.
M.K. answers from New York on July 24, 2008
i basically agree with everyone's advice but here are two of my suggestions. borrow the 1-2-3 magic video from the library and watch it. some moms disagree with the 1-2-3 theory but i took some good advice from watching it. you'll have to try a few disciple techniques before you find one that works. i found the corner timeout very hard with my daughter when i was pregnant with #2. she's 2 1/2 years older. it took so much energy to get her to stay in the corner that i was not only upset with her behavior but completely exhusted. the other advice is, start now. it will only be harder when the baby comes. my daughter is now 4 and we still have some bad days. comes with the territory but she know that if she doesn't shape up "she won't be able to do fun things." once in a while if you are supposed to go or do a fun thing and she misbehaves, don't go. she'll get the idea very quickly you mean business. she will me mad as you know what but you'll both live through it. also, try not to say to much to her when she acts out. i find this very hard myself, but it does work.