How to Handle 3 Year Old

Updated on November 14, 2006
A.D. asks from Macomb, MI
7 answers

I have been having issues with my 3 year old. He is a great kid! Happy, energenic, great big brother. But, he doesn't listen. I relize he is only 3, but, I feel there is something I could do. I try time outs, taking things away. And sometimes he has this terrible attitude, where he talks so mean to me. He is a little better with my husband. I think because he is firmer than I am. I just don't know what to do. He is in preschool 2 days a week with no problems. I was just wondering if anyone had any advice on how to disipline or ideas on how to handle this. Thank you!

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answers from Fort Wayne on

I am having hte same problem with my 2 1/2 year old son. If you get any good advice please pass it my way.



answers from Kalamazoo on

First of all, you need to be firm and consistent. Kids are so smart and they know what they can get away with and how far they can push you. As for the listening issues, make him stop what he is doing and look you in the eye while you talk to him. Get down on his level if you have to close to him and even use your hands to make him look at you. Then make him respond to what you've said with "yes, mommy" or "yes, mommy, I will or won't..." or some appropriate response. You have to be consistent though. It takes effort. When a child hears himself respond it helps the follow through. If it's the follow through that is the problem, then you need to find where it "hurts" the most. Some privilege taken away, a spanking, etc. If the punishment doesn't mean anything to the child, it won't correct the behavior. Good luck!!



answers from Detroit on


Discipline is so hard when they are that young. I am going through something like that with my 2 year old . I highly reccomend a book Dare to Discipline by James Dobson. Im half way through it and WOW its already helping.

Many Blessings



answers from Detroit on

I can relate! My 3 yr old boy is wonderful - engergetic, fun, and caring. But when it comes to listening, we run into problems. He has responded better when it's only me, but when both my husband and myself are involved, it gets more chaotic. What I've found that works is consistency (same reward/punishments for the same rules every time), making sure that you follow-through, being firm, and reward him when he's doing something good. The rewards should come just as often, if not more, as the punishments, so that he'll see that it's better to "be a good boy". Sure, he throws some hurtful words at me every now and then, but if you're firm and consistent, he'll know that the next time, that behavior is unacceptable, and he won't do it again.



answers from Detroit on


Your posting makes me think two things. One, your son wants attention and two as hard as it is you need to chose some consequences and stick to them. I realize this may be hard, and both you and your husband need to follow through. I would set aside time that the two of you do something really special once a week and something small every night. Maybe once the baby goes down you read a book or watch 20 minutes of a movie that the baby doesn't get to watch, or do a puzzle. Whatever, just something that the two of you do. As for disciple I would tell him that when he does certain thing there will be consequences (I don't like the word punishment) and let him know what they are. If he has a favorite toy, take it away and don't give in when he wants it back. If time outs don't work, find something that he likes and take it away.



answers from Saginaw on

My mom had a hard time disciplining us too, and her fall back was "wait until your father gets home..." it terrified us, because when daddy got home she would pull us away from whatever we were doing and we had to sit down on his lap and tell him the bad thing/things we did that day. It was mortifying and terrifying because he was by far the "bad cop" compared to my mom. Usually we were crying so hard he couldn't understand us and we just had a time out punishment, but as we got older we got grounded etc. I know he's kind of young, but time out chairs might work, when my 2 year old acts up I make her sit with me in the chair and while I'm not really punishing her, I'm distracting her and calming her down~ just try not to scream at him, because he'll just learn to scream back at you (same goes for spanking...if you hit, he'll learn to hit too)



answers from Lansing on

i have been having the same issues with disciplining my normally very sweet and hilarious and great daughter, who a little before her 3rd birthday began talking back very meanly, just not listening, etc.,... there are some days that are no problem, and other days where she spends quite a bit of time in the corner. my new tactic has been NOT REACTING. Of course, I am disciplining, but I am not acting angry or upset or anything, and I'm not attempting to bargain away anything with her. Before, I would not have admitted to bargaining with a 3yrold, trying to reason with her, but as soon as I started noticing it, it was very obvious. Even subtle things like "one more time, and...." (how many times do a lot of us say that?) and "you need to listen and understand! blahblahblah...." when a three year old needs firmness and set rules and guidelines, and no negative attatched emotions coming from us. now, we go over the "rules" a couple times a day. and as soon as a rule is broken, i very calmly turn off the television if it is on, or bring her into a quiet space away from the fun and excitement she was having. sometimes, she's gone straight to bed. (only a couple times) for just not listening and not listening. i have to say that things are getting better and better. also, something i've just learned in a class is that psychologically, kids go through a "rapprochment phase" between the ages of 2-4, where it is essential for them to see that we will hug and kiss and love them even right after a punishment or something, or to hear right afterwards "i love you very much", and not trying to "explain" the whole complicated situation to them because they just don't work like that yet.
anyways, this is the odyssey of what i have been going through. i'm sure you are already doing all of these things, but i thought it couldn't hurt to respond.
good luck!

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