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RJOHNSONR
RJOHNSONR asks:
Q:

My 3 yr old daughter is out of control.

Nothing we do is working.  She gets excellent behavior marks at school and is very well  behaved for other people.  It is only for me, and sometimes her step-dad, that she is wild.  She doesn't listen, throws tamtrums, yells and when she is at her worst she absolutely shuts down mentally.  Any input or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!  I am losing my patience and my mind.  
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges, Motherhood, Blended families
> 60 days ago

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Expert

ShirleyCressDudley
May 21, 2013
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What the Expert Says:

I'm sorry you are having so much trouble with your daughter. Since she gets good behavior marks at school, the problem really isn't with your daughter- it's what you are allowing her behavior to be at home.

Blended families are tough, and sometimes as parents, we believe our kids have been through so much that we think they deserve a break in the discipline. This is not accurate and not best for your child.

Boundaries and discipline show love for your child.  Your daughter is running the house right now, and as a 3 year old, I'm sure she isn't doing a very good job.
Read some of the resources listed below and get control back of your home.

It's going to be tough at first, but you can do it.

I hope that helps.

Kindest Regards,

Shirley Cress Dudley
Founder and Executive Director of The Blended and Step Family Resource Center.
Author of the book, Blended Family Advice
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Additional Answers (4)

VWMomma
VWMomma , Parent writes:
See if your library or book store has Love and Logic: For Early Child Development.

It has great advice and ways to keep your sanity.
> 60 days ago

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meghan81
meghan81 writes:
I am a big fan of the good old time out (which does not start until the child is sitting calm and quiet). If that doesn't work, there is always ignoring. It may sound simple but sometimes the best thing to do is ignore the behavior. This may take some time, and escalate the tantrums in the beginning. But reacting to outbursts and tantrums is only going to fuel her to continue. I work with children with autism and you would be amazed by the difference ignoring outbursts makes. Last week one of my children did not want to eat his breakfast and so he hid. I did not look for him and after a few mins he came out, he proceeded to throw things at me. I never once looked at him, I just picked up the things he threw and placed them on the counter. In a matter of minutes he was sitting eating his breakfast. It takes a lot of patience, but once they know they aren't going to get what they want, they give up. And never give in, if a tantrum is over a toy for instance, never give in and give the toy to her or she will definitely continue the behavior. Good luck!
> 60 days ago

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Bamadad
Bamadad writes:
Meghan81 is right.  I often see these behaviors and I have to inform parents to be more patient than his/her child.  It is not easy BUT you do have to learn how to appropriately ignore the behavior (age of growth and development taken into consideration).

Speaking frankly, your daughter knows how to push your buttons and she does it well.  I will make the assumption that you get frustrated and your nonverbal body language shows that.  At her age, children are highly receptive to the nonverbal cues.  SO....

You need to gather your composure.  CALMLY state an expectation and give a time frame.  If she begins to lash out or act up, say CALMLY, "(NAME) yelling, screaming, or hitting is not "OK".  I am placing you in a timeout." (DO NOT say anything more---I will explain in a little bit).

Take her by the hand (or pick her up if you need to).  DO NOT make eye contact.  Set her in a chair (where you can see her) facing AWAY from you. At this time, make eye contact and say, "You need to stay in this chair for 3 minutes.  You cannot get up and you cannot talk.  After your 3 minutes is done, I will come and get you."  (DO NOT have anger in your voice, be matter of fact but still loving.)

Set the timer in front of her.  If she disobeys any of your instructions, reset the timer (DO NOT SAY A WORD).  You may have to reset that timer for an entire hour however you are teaching her to respect your authority.  The reason you do not say a word if she misbehaves is because she will have attained the attention and subsequently your reaction (which is what she wants anyway).

Do not make eye contact because you are teaching her that you only need to instruct her once. Additionally, you speak in a clear and concise manner which indicates to her that you do not need to explain yourself.  Do not let this become emotional to you and hang in there with patience (which will pay off).

I hope this helps.  There are many excellent resources that help in age appropriate growth/developmental discipline and behaviors.  This is one tool that I have instructed many parents and they have reported success.  It takes work and patience on your part though.  Good luck.
> 60 days ago

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jjones
jjones , School Administrator, Parent, Teacher writes:
Don't rule out other issues. At early ages a child could have sensory issues. There are screening tools that can help identify if this might be an area to address. Talk with your child's doctor.

Hang in there!
> 60 days ago

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