Behavior - Oak Park,IL

Updated on August 24, 2011
K.H. asks from Oak Park, IL
14 answers

My son is 3 and his behavior is getting out of hand. He talks back,don't listen, and does whatever he wants. Bedtime and getting ready in the morings are very hectic. I'm at my wits end. we take things away put him his room no tv and his favorite thing Thomas the tank engine we take away. He chages for a while then things go back to the way they were. My husband say's maybe we should not buy him things and maybe he acts out because i'm gone 3 night a week and sunday with things I do at church. Please help. My husband wants to cancel christmas for him and its just october 11. HELP HELP HELP.

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S.A.

answers from Raleigh on

Your son is young and is discovering his own independence.

Decide what rules are important, what the consequences will be, and what your expectations are. Clearly explain all of the above in a manner your child will understand. Consequences do not necessarily need to be punishments -- sometimes cause and effect is consequence enough.

For example, if the rule is your child can not go outside without a coat, and he refuses -- the consequence will be cold. Bring the coat with you, but only let him have it you feel the weather is dangerous to his health/safety (a long sleeve tshirt in 50 degree weather may leave him a little chilly, but certainly will not cause frostbite!). The consequence of refusing to wear his coat will be how cold he felt. He is learning now and will continue to learn about cause and effect.

Let your punishment fit the crime. Taking away Christmas is extreme and will not make the situation any better. If he throws a fit, IGNORE HIM COMPLETELY. I used to tell my son calmly, "I don't talk to children who are screaming." and then would ignore him until he calmed down.

Give him choices. Let him have some control in his life -- maybe let him pick out his outfit (if you dont like the idea of mis-matched clothes, put clothing away as outfits and let your child pick an outfit). Let him choose his bedtime story, or what cereal he eats for breakfast. Give him choices you can live with -- obviously don't offer "do you want the carrot sticks or the candy bar for snack". Offer choices you are comfortable with "Would you like juice or milk?", "Wuold you like carrot sticks or apple slices?", etc.

It sounds as if your son is crying for attention -- and often with children, they feel that any attention is better than no attention. Turn off the TV altogether and play with him -- puzzles, games, crafts, blocks, outside play in your yard or park. Engage his mind and body -- plenty of fresh air will help the bedtime battle! Can he count? Does he know his ABC's? Colors, shapes? Does he have crayons, markers, paper, glue at home? Playdoh? Explore his world with him -- you may see much of his so-called bad behavior disappear. My son went through the same thing. He is far from perfect now, at 5, but with clear expectations, rules he understands, and consequences he can expect (if he chases the cats, he sits in time out, the punishment is consistent), his behavior is so much better. He rarely acts up anymore.

GOOD LUCK!

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P.B.

answers from Miami on

You sound so negative. Why do you want to take things away or punish him? He has reasons for his behaviour...we just don't know what they are. He is obviously unhappy about something. Give him more of your time. Stimulate his expressive side. When you correct his behaviour do so with firm, non-judgemental, loving words. make it clear that while the words or actions are unacceptible, he himself is treasured. "We're not going to talk like that because it hurst people's feelings and its not nice to do that. I know you're a really kind boy so lets think of a better way of doing that" is better than "You rude boy. You are a naughty boy" Build him up, don't knock him down. 45 yrs working with children proves that it works. The most important part is to love him and leave him in no doubt of it while teaching him to always consider the needs and feelings of others.

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R.

answers from Chicago on

Hi K.,

My son is only 20 months and he has started doing the same thing (not the talking back). But I have noticed that he only acts up when he want more attention or stimulation. My husband worked nights for a about a month and my son was out of control, I found it hard to handle him, but with a little patience on both sides we got thru. It broke my hart when the daycare teacher told me that he wanted to go home whith the daddy's that where picking up one day.

Most of the time kids act up out of frustration. He may want to do more thing on his own, or is just trying to get mommy and daddy to play with him.

Our lives get so hectic that we forget kids are just trying to learn everthing we already know. If I slow down and let my son do more on his own and praise him alot the days are better, but when we are running late and I have to help him along all [email protected]$% breaks lose.

I hope things start to settle down for your, and good luck.

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A.F.

answers from Chicago on

My strongest recommendation is that you contact Tuesday's Child, ###-###-####. They are located in Chicago on Irving Park Rd. just off of I-94. They have programs on Tuesdays, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday mornings. They work with families and their children to evaluate and assess and then work on a plan to 1) give parents techniques to use in the home to improve behavior, and improve the overall relationship. It sounds like my son was doing pretty much the same stuff as your son, and their program completely turned him and myself around. Their assessment team is amazing as well as the on staff. I now continue to volunteer there because I believe that it is such an awesome program.

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S.K.

answers from Los Angeles on

Some really neat feedback. Of course, some of this behavior is indeed testing limits. I tell parents it is the child's job to do this; it is our job to hold the line. We do this in being firm in our love and consistent with our boundaries. Being 3, his attention span should be short. Church activities will be an eternity for him at this age. He may need more rest and, of course, he may not think so (smile). Being tired though, will lead to more potential crankiness. It sounds like you have the negative consequences down. Maybe we can really focus on the positives, like with the sticker chart noted earlier. Kids need these reinforcements and the more I encourage positive behavior, the more I will indeed see it. Good luck. S. A. K., MFT
http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Chino-CA/S.-A-K...

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N.R.

answers from Chicago on

Hi K.,
I am not sure how it feels to be in your shoes. It must be overwhelming.
Have you thought of contacting Super Nanny. Many of the parents seem to have great experiences with her.

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C.T.

answers from Chicago on

K.,
My son just turned 3 in April and he is the same way. He does not want to listen to me and his favorite word is no. Sometimes he says no before I finish the question, then he realizes that he wants it. I truly believe it is just a fight for independence. I did the reward calendar and setting goals for him. Evertime he did one of his goals (making the bed, putting his own shoes/sox/clothes, etc) he would get a star (sticker) and after 10 stars he would get a suprise (ice cream, park). Has to be within 2-3 days because they have to see the goal...they are still young. Sometimes when were leaving and my son does not want to put his shoes/sox on, we go outside and within in 2 minutes he has his shoes on....

Dont take Christmas away, he is young and he is pushing his boundaries. He needs goals set for him. Try the calendar...it might work.

Good Luck!

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B.

answers from Chicago on

Hi K.,

I am in the club too. I have a new four-year old and my husband and I sometimes wonder whose house he is living in. This is what we are doing to curb the unwanted behavior. First, we are limiting tv. We think he is picking up bad traits from tv.
The second thing my husband and I are doing is getting on the same page. We are deciding what consequences should go with which undesirable act. For instance, we model, model, model the behavior we expect. If my son talks snippy to us, we ask him to say it over. If he struggles, we say the words for him and then he repeats it. This has really helped. At three and four, they sometimes don't have the vocabulary to tell us how they feel or they just don't know how to say it. Kids really need to learn how to talk politely. We always model please and thank you and we tell him if he forgets to say these phrases. We also encourage him to apologize for acts that have hurt feelings or another person. We also give him the words if he struggles saying it correctly.
We are also trying to be very consistant and timely with the consequence. If it is a punishment, we try hard to make sure it is the same, unwanted, punishment and it is delivered immediately. We also try to have it be age-appropriate. Time out is for four minutes on the stairs. No tv for the rest of the night, means no tv. We are still working on this. Dad doesn't always follow through for the agreed on time. This makes it difficult for mom. We also see our son's behavior slip when we slip up.
We also IGNORE his whiny and/or inappropriate crying behavior. It really works. I tell him that I will talk to him if he uses 4 year old words and he needs to talk to me in his voice. If I ignore him, and can wait it out, he always comes around and stops and talks to me. It takes time, but it does work. Don't try to reason with a little child.
The thing we continue to work on is positive reinforcement for the behavior we want him to continue. We still forget and take it for granted when he is acting appropriately. We need to get better about verbalizing and giving attention to him then. We also need to work on letting his choices sometimes be his lessons. If he chooses to fool around during dinner and is hungry at bedtime, we need to let that be the lesson. We are just starting to let him learn this way. It is the hardest for me. It is also probably the most effective. If he goes to bed hungry and he doesn't like it, he will probably not do that very often.
Also try waiting it out. A temper tantrum is not a bad thing as long as there is not hitting involved. Let your child work through it and then when it is over, move forward. It is so normal for this age to have temper tantrums. I just read about it. It should taper off by 41/2 when they have more words and talk about their feelings better.

It is a phase, but it will only get better if you are proactive and set the boundaries of what is exceptable. Good luck to all of us that are in this club. God Speed!

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A.S.

answers from Chicago on

Good advice so far.
In addition, your son needs more time with you and your husband. Ask yourself if you really need to spend so much time at your church, when you have these problems at home. Also, maybe you can do some of the work for your church from your home.
Make sure your son understands the rules of the house and that you are consistent. This is the hardest part for me.
I hope that was a joke about cancelling Christmas. Otherwise, if you think you have problems now...
Amy

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M.C.

answers from Phoenix on

He needs a time out spot... a small rug or chair off to the side of 'the action.'
If he leaves and cries, just keep taking him back there until he gives in to your request. You should not get angry, because that just gives him more power over you, and he can tell that. Just persist, for as long as it takes.
After he stays there, even if he's still pitching a fit, ignore what he says and does... as long as he stays there for 10 minutes or so. Then go to him, and have a talk with him: Ask him if he understands why he was asked to take a time out. Tell him if he doesn't tell you. Tell him what he did or said was not acceptable to you, and he cannot continue to say and do that. Once he understands you, ask him to say he's sorry for doing or saying that, and give him a nice long hug, and tell him you love him and forgive him. Repeating this process should lead to different behavior.

You may want to ask him why he said or did what he did... where he heard or saw it... and express how unacceptable it is for your family.

Remember, his actions and words are not only unacceptable in real time, but they are unacceptable for the future, and need to be patiently extinguished from his options.

He could get something for Christmas, but don't over do it. Each person in the family could get 2 things this year, and he could be involved in getting each person something. Time to even things out, and scale it down. As Cesar Millan, the dog whisperer says, Exercise, Discipline, and THEN affection! So, perhaps re-evaluate the amount of Exc., and
persist until you succeed on the Disc., and then add the sincere Affection!

I know he's not a dog, but I think there is something applicable there. Drain more energy, win with patience and persistence with the time out and apology, and only then, add the affection.

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M.E.

answers from Los Angeles on

Those are very helpful tips.... But I too have a 3 yr old lil boy who has sertain special needs such as assistance with eating , speech ( his vocab. is very limited ) but he DOES understand what I am saying to him... alot of the time. On top of that I have a 8 months old lil boy as well who is ... thank god... very very patient and other than eating and changing himself is very self sufficiant , the managment of my older son is getting way out of control, he only plays me up by doing the exact opposite of eveything I say or do, I figure that it's a phase cuz of his age, but when he is around my mom or dad or when dada gets home from work he lstens to them and has a great time with them and does exactley what he is told ... but the second I show my face he gets all drama king on me drops to the floor and starts moaning for me to pick him up... I know he is a great lil boy and smart and absolutly handsome, but he is so darn difficult . I have tried everything from timeouts to fine go aheads to diverting his attention to something else to yelling ( I didn't likethat one) to talking so soft and calm he would have to stop what he was doing just to hear me..... and he puts up a total fight with my mom about everything she does or doesnt do conserning him, but the second they are alone together he is another child all together . please help me!!!!!!!!!!!!!

P.S. this is my husbands account thingy My name is sarah... :)

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M.B.

answers from Chicago on

Hi K.,

Lots of good advice is already given, even good advice for me to know once my 2,5 year old gets around that age.

There is one thing I'd like to say and that is that I wouldn't pick his bedroom as a place of punishment. I've seen this on the tv programma Supernanny a couple of times and its counterproductive. The bedroom should be a happy and safe place and not be associated with punishment. In this program they advised to take another room or certain place that has no toys, where he can't harm himself and that is a boaring place for him.

good luck with your son, you're not the only one out there!
M.

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H.V.

answers from New York on

And definitely forget the "things you do at church," and spend more time with your family. Priorities!

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M.R.

answers from Hickory on

i know going thru this is hard my 8 yr old is like this and always has i finally took him to therapist to help him and me to control the issue b/f he hurts you or someone else. good luck

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