3 Going on 16 - Shamokin,PA

Updated on January 19, 2011
J.F. asks from Shamokin, PA
8 answers

I have a 3 yr old daughter. I have been having issues for the past 6 months or so with her behavior. She is so defient. She refuses to listen to me unless its something that interest her. So picking up her toys is impossible i have tried everything to get her to help me. I have taken them from her put her on time out talked to her about it.. Nothing worked. She is also very cocky. Tells me no all the time tells me she is not doing this or doing that. She yells and screams. Throws fits when she dont get her way. I'm at a breaking point here i have not the slightest idea on what to do anymore. Also she is very smart like crazy smart. She can count to 25. Spell about 4 words including her name kaydence. She knows about 40 sign language movements. Knows all the shapes and colors. So i know that she understands what i ask of her. And she understands that behaving badly is not acceptable and you lose privileges. So does anyone have advice or a similar behaving child that could offer some ideas please

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So What Happened?

So i will just state somethings that others mentioned but not in order because my cellphone is how i am on the internet and its not to easy to use. As for kaydence she is in daycare. There is no father in her life.
As for how i speak to my daughter. I talk to her calmly almost 100 percent of the time i rarely raised my voice. I do change the tone that i talk to her in tho. So in the cases she acts out more she knows that i mean business tho that does not seem to faze her. And the descriptions that i used to describe her behavior do not affect how i look and or treat her. But i will try some of the advice given to me. I always try to be positive with her and with the things we do. But i will try harder with the advice given.

More Answers



answers from Portland on

It's great that your little one is so bright! I would wholeheartedly suggest looking into Positive Discipline techniques. Much of this involves giving children two positive choices and engaging them intellectually to help them come round to why a certain action may not be helpful/appropriate. An example of 2 positive choices might look like this: when my son was 2 years old and climbing on the table, I'd tell him 'You may keep your feet on the floor, or you may play in the living room" --no table there!-- instead of "Get off the table or you have time out". An example of intellectual engagement: when my son doesn't want to wear a coat, I can ask him to look out the window. "What is happening?" I ask. He notices it's raining. "Oh, yes, it is raining. What will happen if we go outside in the rain?" He says 'he'll get wet". "Yes, that's right, you will get wet. What do you think we should do to keep ourselves dry?" Bingo! He puts on the coat, because he's now on board with the idea.

This also works for picking up toys. Two things I've learned: one, the organizational aspect of this task often requires side-by-side work with the child. We are modeling this task for them, teaching them where things go, and they need a lot of repetition for this. I also explain to my son that his toys need to 'go night night', the importance of picking up things so "the vacuum cleaner won't suck them up", and I limit the amount of toys he has available... over half of them are stored elsewhere, and we rotate them in and out of his room. This is especially helpful, because he can be more independent in finding where they belong.

The biggest thing I have learned in my nearly 20 years of working with kids is that no matter what age, we can't punish them into developing good habits. We can help them (in example of the cleanup--being present to help and guide, not command; limiting the sheer volume of the potential mess, etc.) and there are sometimes natural consequences that present themselves from time to time. More often than not, however, we need to try to meet them on their level. So give the Positive Discipline a try. I don't think you'll regret it!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

She is not 'defiant' in the sense of an adult who understands the concept. She is 3 and her job is to explore her world and test limits. Your job is to make that safe for her and teach her boundaries while allowing her to learn and do her job.

If you want her to do something, you need to show and help her. For example, you want her to pick up her toys. You do it with her and you give her two positive choices - do you want to pick up the blocks first or the crayons first? And do it together. It will make your life a lot easier for the two of you to be on the same team instead of always trying to make her do something.

She is too young to recognize unrelated consequences. For example - clean up your room or you will not get dessert makes no sense to her. Let's clean up your room together so we can read a book after will likely work better.

Other things that can help a lot are making sure she is getting enough sleep and making sure she is not hungry. Giving time warnings before transitions is also very helpful. Example - we need to eat dinner in 10 minutes. In 5 minutes we will need to clean up your toys so we can do that. Then give her a 1 minute warning - and then clean up with her.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

She is 3.

Pick your battles.
Teach her manners.
Get her out and about so she gets her physical runaround time out of her system.
NAP. Or kids get fussy and when fussy, they get more 'naughty' and full of attitude.
When/if she tantrums, let her. A child WILL deflate on their own. They cannot be reasoned with, while in the MIDST of a tantrum. So after they calm down.... (ie: in their room), then talk to her....

Don't let her manipulate you.
YOU are the Mom.
All kids this age are 'smart' and can debate like an Attorney. Don't let it get to you.

Get her into preschool... for interaction with her age group.
Or sign her up for fun classes....

The book "Your Three Year Old" from Amazon, is good.

Put down your foot, with her. They need boundaries.... or they will manipulate you.

3... is a hard age, developmentally..... so teach her COPING-skills.... to handle herself. Kids this age and older, do not automatically have this skill. It is TAUGHT.
Not even some adults, have that skill.

all the best,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I never spanked for disobedience. Never yelled – in fact, I would speak to my daughter (and now my 5yo grandson) in a softer voice when I needed them to pay attention.

Kids grow into a strong need for autonomy, self-control, at around two or three, and it works to parents' advantage in the long run to work with that. It's a positive characteristic when life is arranged in a way that the child can have as much choice as possible (within safe bounds, of course). Then the child can learn how to make good choices, by making mistakes or having good outcomes. It's a much better way to really learn the meaning of right and wrong, because it teaches the "whys" of successful behavior, instead of simply how to avoid getting punished.

Labels like "cocky" or "defiant" are unfortunate, because they become reflected in the way we talk to our children, and the way they respond to us, so they are self-reinforcing ideas. If you think of your child as "XYZ," you'll end up butting heads all the time, and your daughter will assert her autonomy in her own childish little ways. But the sometimes alarming truth is, she's showing you a pint-sized version of how adults treat her. Toddlers are little mirrors, and their behaviors don't magically emerge out of a vacuum.

Some children will do this much more intensely than others. Since your daughter is so bright and spirited, she may be more aware than most whether she's being treated with respect and fairness. That does NOT mean you should be passive or lenient and let her get away with things – it means she will need to know WHY you want certain behaviors from her. It means YOU will need to stay on top of your own behavior and attitudes, and hopefully, her dad will, too.

"Discipline," as originally used, meant guidance and teaching, rather than punishment. And time-outs, if used, are ideally a calm retreat in which a child (and even a parent) can regain control of emotions, instead of not a means of deprivation or punishment, which only tends to provoke even further outrage in spirited children when they believe they are being punished unfairly.

While there's a range of opinion, many parenting experts doubt that time-outs are as useful as other forms of teaching, and for some little personalities, they do not work at all. Particularly if the time-out itself becomes the battle, and the original misbehavior is lost in a drawn-out struggle to make the child "do his time." This can begin an antagonistic relationship between parent and child, which is sad and unnecessary.

It's helpful to realize that the average toddler leads a VERY frustrated life – being controlled and bossed and scheduled and managed constantly, and denied so much of what he desires. It's helpful to recall that a frustrated child who's barely more than a baby has very little emotional capacity to be patient, consider alternatives, and make the wisest choice. Impulse control is learned only gradually over the next several years – even grownups haven't mastered it under all circumstances.

Check out this video to see Dr. Harvey Karp "reach" young children and get them on his team, emotionally. Very effective: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJ1428uYs2g&NR.... .

I hope you'll also google Emotion Coaching and get a glimpse of what great results you can get using non-confrontational parenting. It's still very authoritative parenting, it is just more polite and respectful than some of the traditional authoritarian approaches. And since kids learn and imitate what they see by example much more effectively than through verbal instruction, they become civil and polite without being scolded into it.

Another superb source of advice is the book How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Faber and Mazlish. As your child develops an ability to listen and communicate, the wisdom in this book will make it a resource you reach for again and again. It's my current favorite with my 5yo grandson. The techniques and ideas are mutually respectful, and they work brilliantly.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

Don't allow the tantrums. Never let her yell and scream at you. If you get rid of the fits, you'll have won a billion different battles and you can enable her to act well and feel happier. You can zone in on not letting her talk back after the fits are nipped. You have to nip it at the first signs of rudeness (she's already in the habit so be ready for a battle when she sees you trying to take charge-do not back down). She is smart, she understands, she's simply getting a way with it. The only way to show you mean business is with a consequence, not words, until she learns your words are a warning she needs to believe. Then your calm warning and serious tone will be enough. You're getting a late start at 3, but it's not too late go to this site and buy this book. My five year old tried to be rude a few time around 3 and never succeeded, she had no choice. I am always respectful in tone and virtually never yell and hardly ever need discipline, but I don't shirk when I do!



answers from Chicago on

regular stage. do NOT respond to her screaming unless you are calm. otherwise that is exactly why she is doing it. I just don't allow my daughter to play with another toy until she picks up the others. I praise her like crazy. and yes, she screams her head off and i say "why are you acting crazy? just use your words?" I count to 3 and if i get to 3 its a time out. if any toy makes either of my kids scream or hit the toy goes away. use a pack and play if you need to keep her in time out. i'm so sorry. i'm in it too!



answers from Fort Wayne on

Do we have the same daughter? You could be writing about my kid. I always say that she's 3 going on 13. Some of it's a stage. Some of it's the discipline. It's sort of hard to figure out which one it is, at least for me.
We have set up a schedule for picking up, getting ready for dinner, getting ready for bed, etc. I give her a warning something like "Ok, after XYZ is done, it's time to pick up the toys." I sometimes will set a timer and tell her "In 15 minutes, it's time to clean up." If she's being overly obstinate, we play a clean up game. I'll say in a VERY OVER excited voice "Who can pick up the most toys? Me or you? Winner get special prize!" Luckily, my daughter loves stickers, so if she picks up the most toys, she gets a sticker. It doesn't always work, but when it does it's great!
If my daughter gets sassy, she gets a warning. If she does it again, she stands in the corner. If she does it again, she goes back in the corner. After that she gets a swat. It only took a time or two of a swat before she learned that Mommy meant business. We now rarely get to the point where she stands in the corner the second time. It took us awhile and I had to really stick with it. You can't let her slide even once.
For awhile we were doing chore charts. I made one up and had 4 things she was responsible for. If she accomplished the task, she got to put a sticker on her chart. After two totally full charts, she could trade them in for a prize. It was usually something small like a new coloring book or a pack of stickers.
In my personal experience, nothing works 100% of the time. There are times when no matter what you do, she's going to act out. It's just the age. However, with consistent discipline, the times that she acts out will get fewer and farther between.
Good luck!


answers from Allentown on

Hi, J.:

Stop, Stop, Stop, what you are doing.
Take a break.
Just because she is so smart academically doesn't mean that
she is understands the discipline techniques that you are using with her.

It sounds like she has so many high standards placed on her because she is so smart.

It sounds like their are alot of control issues going on between the 2 of you.

She has to have some control over her life and her behavior is an expression of that.
Just a thought.

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