Do Not Know How to Make My Daughter Obey

Updated on January 15, 2008
G.C. asks from Provo, UT
9 answers

I have a three year old daughter. She is very smart and knows how to get away with what she does. I am having trouble making her follow rules and simply listening to me. Sometimes she drives me crazy when I ask her to do something like not jumping on the couch, and she responds with a "shut up" or "whatever". This is not the kind of language we use with her but she picked it up somewhere else. Most times I get frustrated and I find myself yelling at her, and then I regret it.Honestly I know that children this young are hard to control, but this one is just a little harder.

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answers from Provo on

I don't have tons of experience with my own children yet (my little boy is 18 months) but I worked full time in a preschool for children with Autism....and we taught parents a behavioral technique that worked well for ANY child with negative behaviors. The first thing to do is praise, praise, praise the positive. Anytime she listens to you, no matter how small the act is, praise her a LOT. It takes 10 positive comments to undo 1 negative comment. So lay it on! :) Also, we taught parents (and used this with the children in our classroom) how to cut back on 'nagging'. If we want the child to pick up a toy we say "Sara, please pick up the toy." Give about 5-10 seconds for them to respond, if she doesn't listen say "Sara, you need to pick up the toy" again, give 5-10 seconds, still no response "Sara, this is picking up the toy." And YOU hand over hand, help her pick up the toy. If during any of the first two requests she picked up the toy on her own, then praise her a LOT for listening and following directions. If you had to help her put it away, don't give praise, but just use simple statements. "This is putting away the toy, thank you for putting away the toy." etc.
This technique allows the child two chances to follow the directions before they know you are going to make them do it. Eventually the kiddos learn that they are going to have to do it and doing it right away is easier AND they get a lot of praise for it.
Consistency is the most important tool here. It only takes one time of letting her get away with it, and then you are back to square one. So be consistent in following through with the action. Good luck!!!
I hope that helps. I have a lot of experience putting together more detailed behavior modification if you need more help let me know. :)



answers from Bismarck on

Your 3-year-old may be looking for some one-on-one time since I see a baby in your paragraph, too. Does she redirect, such as suggesting a coloring time, sitting together on the couch and reading a book? She might not be ready to be asked to be a good example for her little sister and the little sister probably isn't very much fun to play with yet! so you are her best entertainment. I'm a grandma now and my children and grandchildren both also responded and respond to losing priveledges for bad behavior. That might help. I'll pray for you! God bless!
J. J.



answers from Salt Lake City on

What about giving her something else to jump on, like one of those mini trampolines. Then at least she has a choice (if you want to jump you may jump on the trampoline, but not the furniture). And if she doesn't respect the furniture, she looses a privilege (Watching her favorite show).


answers from Kalamazoo on

Use levers that get her where it hurts. Ex. If my daughter, also 3, jumps on the couch, then she can't be on the furniture for the rest of the day and has to sit on the floor. If she hurts the cat, then I take away her most favorite stuffed animal. Timeouts work well too. I make mine stand in the corner for time out because the sitting on a stool didn't seem to bother them enough! If the back talk seems to be the main problem, then take away her favorite toy for that. You can sit down with her all nice and ask her what her most favorite toy in the whole wide world is (if you don't already know) then, once she tells you with her little face all lit up, explain the harsh realty of what will happen to her prized possesion if she does not behave!!! I hope I'm not coming across as mean, but I have an almost 3 1/2 yr old girl and have been dealing with this stuff for the last year. I only use the toughest punishments for the really bad behavior, back talking, hitting, hurting the cat, etc and then timeouts for everything else. Good Luck!!!!!



answers from Milwaukee on

I agree with Lea. That's a good start. I think your child is also old enough and smart enough to understand consequences. You could give her warnings to stop or she will lose something (TV time, toy, etc) for a certain amount of time. Use something called 1-2-3 Magic. Give 2 warnings (1 & 2), then on 3, she gets the punishment. Example...
Please don't jump on the couch.
That's 1. Stop jumping on the couch. On 3 the TV is off.
That's 2. Stop jumping on the couch. On 3 the TV is off.
That's 3. TV is off. Then unplug it if you have to and let her scream. Just ignore it.



answers from Grand Rapids on

my son has autisum and we had alot of the same problems when he was about 2 1/2. this may sound strange but aleast she responds verbally, our son would just ingore us. i read the response from the mom that worked at the preschool for kids with autisum and that combined with time outs worked great for us. our son does not always like following directions but he will do them usually the first time we ask. and timeouts work well for parents too!


answers from Grand Rapids on

I just wanted to add that my son has trouble with jumping on the couch also. I tend to tell him to stop. If he doesn't, I calmly remove him from the couch, and sit him on the floor. (It may be that she & my son need more time bouncing outside, at a playgroup, etc.) It's hard, especially during the winter. Anyway, intervention to help a child do as told, by doing it with them, does seem to help. In fact, the more you keep telling them, the more time they think you will wait for it to mean something. Also, if he takes toys into the kitchen, as he knows he's not supposed to, that toy just simply goes in time out, after the first warning, for the rest of the day. I don't have to get upset, or frustrated, because it's not the 3rd or 4th time for me to address it either. Just once, and we're done. Then I simply ignore any crying about it, and go back to whatever I was doing. He quickly stops pestering me, because he realizes it doesn't get anywhere. Towards the end of the day is harder, simply because they are more tired, and move more slowly sometimes. But, the more you love your child with the tough love here, the more happy she will be. Good luck!



answers from Boise on

I think tonite they are showing another episode of The Nanny. Have her watch it with you. The kids are really terrible and the nanny get them under control

She uses a naughty step, chair, corner what ever and i know you will think your daughter won't sit for the 3 minuts in the naughty location, but watch how the nanny does it and it might take an hour the first time but after that it works,

Much easier than anything else i have ever seen done. Check your local listings. It isn't a cable channelit is either abc nbc or cbs.

Good luck. M. b



answers from Sioux Falls on

At her age, sitting down and talking to her about her behavior really helps alot. Sometimes you might find out if there is possibly a problem that has lead to this behavior. (not necessarily though, it could just be a phase) My 3 yr old did this alot, especially after starting preschool, which took her away from me for the first time on a regular basis. We told her point blank that we do not use that language here and everytime she talked like that to us, we took away a favorite toy, or she wasnt allowed to have the special evening treat or the night movie that the other kids would get to do in front of her or at least she would know they got to do it and not her. She isnt perfect yet lol, but things are getting better and she really doesnt want her special toys or special treats taken away from her, so she tries very hard. I hope this helps. Good Luck!

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