uscmedina asks:

My 2.5yr is daughter is very independent & becomes very rude when she does not want to follow directions, eat or any kind of activity. What can I do?

She is in a Montessori school/Daycare. Her teacher says she is a darling and they do not have problems with her attitude. At home when she decides she does not want to do something she acts very rude. Ex Last evening when we got home from school & her brother exited the car 1st she got really upset as she wants to be the 1st one in the house. When I got her out she just stood by the car & wouldn't walk with me to the house. I talked to her I explained to her that her brother forgot to wait and that I would race her to the house. She loves to race as long as she wins, which we let her win. She looked away as I spoke to her and would not move. I told her I would leave her there alone & she answered good. I walked toward the house and she was just standing in the same spot. I did not want to leave her out in the cold by the curbside so I walked back & tried to make her laugh & kissed her. She raised her hand and swung her hand. I told her she was not to do that again and I must've given her a mean look because she finally walked in, after 9 mins. I sometimes raise my voice and then she cries & then wants me to hug her and I excuse myself for raising my voice. She then does what we need her to do partly crying through it. I want to find a method so that I do not have to raise my voice to her it kills me but I know that this is behavior that will have bad repercussions for her in the future. What can I do?
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago



Boys Town National Hotline
Feb 10, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Thank you for writing to with your parenting dilemma. It is great that you are reaching out and looking for help for yourself and your daughter.

It must be nice to hear that your daughter is doing well at school/daycare. This helps you to know that she is certainly capable of responding appropriately to instruction, structure and rules.

The examples you offer regarding your daughter's inappropriate behavior all seem to point to a power struggle. Unfortunately, it sounds as if your little one is learning to control others through her behavior.

It is important to teach your daughter the skills of following directions, asking permission and getting along with others by taking turns and sharing. For more information on how to teach your daughter these skills, check out the Boys Town website of

Children need clear and consistent adult responses especially when behavior needs correction. Anticipate the situations that trigger your child to dig in her heels so that you are prepared to intervene and teach.

If you ask your daughter to follow a direction and she choices not to, make sure to keep a positive but firm stance. Do not argue or debate or bargain with your daughter. If her behavior starts to escalate into a tantrum or a battle of wills, simply restate your expectation and say, "I know you can follow this direction."

If your daughter still chooses to not respond to your instruction, step back, stay close, but don't talk to her until she is ready to comply. Once she is compliant be sure to enforce a consequence of some kind.

Try practicing the skills listed on the website until she has mastered the steps. Just as you reinforced other behaviors as your daughter was learning (such as walking and talking) be sure to be her cheerleader as she masters social skills. Praise her efforts with verbal encouragement, hugs and kisses and even small tokens such as stickers or stars on a chart.

You can learn more about the Boys Town model of parenting at In addition, to the website, trained parenting counselors are available at the Boys Town National Hotline 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you feel that it would help to talk or if you have any questions about what you read on our site, please don't hesitate to contact a parenting counselor at our toll free number of 1-800-448-3000.

Linda, Counselor
Boys Town National Hotline


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