MommyLynn asks:

I want to know what to do about a 3 1/2 yr old who doesnt listen at all runs from me laughs at me I am beginning to get a little scared of behavior.

My family said I am not consistent with my discipline.  That I don't follow thru.  I do not always follow thru because his behavior can be out of control from daylight till dawn.  I feel if i follow thru I would be constantly putting him in time out or spanking him.  I refuse to do this all day longt so I let him push me alot.  I do however at the end of the day after any and all disciplines remind him of all his bad behavior and then I will punish him then as promised.  I am sick of my family telling me to punish him constantly.  I feel there is a deeper rooted problem and think I should seek help from a Doctor but I guess I dont want to get the all wonderful ADHD diagnosis and have him on medicine that may be unnecessary. Please help I don't want to be correcting him all the tme it breaks my heart. I sometimes feel he just doesnt process the behavior or the punishment and forgets within minutes what he did and does it again and again and again.  Does he have deeper behavior issues or am I an inadequate mother.
In Topics: Preschool, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago



Aug 31, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

I'm in the same boat as you, in fact I feel as though you are describing my exact life at the moment. Family input can be so frustrating; it's easy for others to give advice, but they don't live w/your child nor do they understand his issues as well as you do. I'm lucky that I'm a parenting expert and know what young children need to best develop. However, it doesn't mean that my 3.5 year old will be perfect or behave because I have all the knowledge about children his age. Children have different temperaments so we have to discipline according to how they individually operate. For example my first son was a good listener, but cried a lot. So my strategies and approach were mild and verbal. With my second son who is 3.5 it's very different -- He's hyper, doesn't listen, yells at everyone and will take down a 1000 lb bull if he had to. You get the picture I'm sure!

My strategies with my 3.5 yr old are directive, firm, but respectful. I set limits w/him all day long. I prepare him in advance of 'everything' we do. I have to put the extra time in for him, he deserves it. If I don't prep him, he looses control, and it's not fair to him or me. Sometimes, certain children need that extra 10 minutes of guidance. My approach is via emotion coaching. I deal with his emotions first, then set firm limits and follow through w/consequences. I never hit, ever. I do yell, when I'm at my wits end --  But Know that's now good either.

My new book outlines all the steps to emotion coaching. I suggest you get a copy, it will make your life easier and you'll understand your son better. If you deal w/a child's social emotional world, they feel understood and are less likely to act out. I coach my son 75% of the time and his behavior gets better each time. Getting a eval isn't a bad idea either, at least you'll have all the information to understand what your son really needs.

My book highlights why time outs don't work and how rewards can backfire. But I give concrete examples of how to deal with annoying and poor early childhood behavior.

I look forward to hearing back from you.


Kimberley Clayton Blaine, MA, MFT
Executive Producer, www.TheGoToMom.TV
Author of books, &
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