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leti1
leti1 asks:
Q:

My three year old daughter is out of control!

My three year daughter is out of control. I mean she won't listen to me. We use to live at my parents' house but we moved out about 7 months ago and just now she is acting up. She is the youngest and I am literally going crazy. I need advice! I have tried time out and she doesn't care about it. She just cries and leaves the corner right away, I have tried taking things away and she was careless. When we are going out, as soon as I open the door she runs not caring about me calling her or anything, she goes to daycare and seems to be the perfect child there but as soon as I pick her up she starts acting up. She sticks her tongue out at me whenever I call her attention she does things on purpose knowing that they are wrong and when asked she will say she did it and admit that it is wrong to do. I really don't know what to do about her behavior. She also bothers her only brother constantly and hits him careless about his feelings or mine for all that matters. When we go out in public she misbehaves she won't listen to me and she will throw tantrums and scream as loud as she can, not caring if people stare at her or not she doesn't care about anything and I mean anything...I need help and advice. I really hope I get it! Thank you!
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Dr.Monika
Jan 24, 2013
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What the Expert Says:

Dealing with misbehaving kids is tough... Let's talk about discipline...  A 3-year-old will test her limits, it's a given, but there need to be clear boundaries.  She needs to know what is exactly expected of her and what is not.  She needs to know what consequences will be applied when she misbehaves and that needs to be done consistently.

Time out is very effective for most kids.  The rule of thumb in determining its length is to give 1 minute per year of life.  

You said that your daughter "leaves" time out crying.  She does it because she hates it.  Good!  She is supposed to hate it, because it is her punishment for behaving badly.  You need to implement a change in time out application though, so that she sits through it.  It's easy: you sit in a time out with her!  Set the timer for 3 minutes, sit on a chair in the middle of a room, place her in your lap, and tell her that you will not let her go until the timer goes off.  She probably will scream and try to escape.  Give her a bear hug: wrap your arms around her upper body, your legs over her legs so that she does not kick you, and tell her that you will not let her go until the timer goes off whether she fights or not.  Then, don't say anything.  Time out is not the time to negotiate or have a conversation.

If this techniques fails, consult with a pediatric therapist.  Your daughter's regular health care provider will be able to recommend one in your area.

Best regards.
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Additional Answers (3)

kristinnh
kristinnh writes:
Leti,

Difficult children are difficult to deal with. Taking things away, if she has plenty more to play with, unfortunately won't matter much to her. Taking everything away will just make her more upset and she will continue to lash out. You can try this: buy an egg timer and set the timer for a certain amount of time (i.e. five minutes). If you set it for any longer than five or six minutes, it will be too long. Tell her that she has to sit there until the timer goes off, if she doesn't sit until the alarm, add one minute for each time she gets up or agree on a consequence (no dessert after dinner [you can even have her sit at the table and watch all of you enjoy it but her, this usually nips the problem right in the bud] or something else she enjoys, but you must make sure she really enjoys it). If the egg timer does not work, you may have to avoid any negative attention to her behavior all together. Set up a behavior chart at home, you can buy them at any teaching supplies store, using stickers (maybe even try her favorite character stickers or something so she can become excited about it). Set up a rewards system, and start out small; it will take some time to build up her appreciation for it. Reward one behavior the first week and make a big deal about it. For instance, you can focus on her listening to your directions or sitting in time-out for the five minutes. Give her a small reward for her first gold star or whatever you choose, it could be a cookie for snack instead of the usual snack or a special treat no one else gets after dinner. If everyone has cookies for dessert, you can give her a cupcake so she will feel extra special and know you are proud of her good behavior. Make sure though that you praise, praise, praise her good behavior. If she says please, tell her how much that made you happy etc. Do not, I repeat DO NOT acknowledge poor behavior if you are at home unless she is harming your other children or herself. If she is throwing a tantrum, DO NOT acknowledge it. You must ignore it and not bring any attention to it. You could even leave the room with your other children and allow her to just have her fit if it really begins to get ugly. When she doesn't have an audience, I am pretty sure it will subside. You also cannot give in to her negative behavior by giving her what she wants. You must show her who is in charge and that you will not give in. She will only get what she wants when she shows you the appropriate behavior. I know I may have rambled a bit and it may be a bit much to read but I am hoping this will help you!! I know this works because I am a Kindergarten teacher who has students with behavior problems. I truly hope this helps as it helps me! :)
> 60 days ago

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kristimartinez
kristimarti... writes:
Hello, I have a 3 and 5 year old at home and about trowing tantrums in public if you're not afraid to embarrass yourself in public you can try doing a tantrum with her in public. I thought this was a very crazy thing to do when suggested to me with my 5 year old now but she was 3 at the time and I guess what the heck I am embarrassed by her behavior anyway so why not and she started in our local grocery store one day and I as well sit down in the floor beside her and started kicking and screaming as people watched she stopped and told me to stop and thankfully that is the last public tantrum she has pitched. At first she would start and I would act as if i was going to and she would say no and so maybe that will work for public tantrums. Good luck and also including a website that has helpful tips.
> 60 days ago

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WickedElphi
WickedElphi writes:
She needs to understand there are direct consequences to her actions. I have a 3 year and 2 year old as well as an 8 month old. When my 3 or 2 year old spills something I hand them a rag and have them clean it up. If they draw on the walls I give them a rag to wipe it off. We use a calm down chair for our 3 year old when she throws fits. We put her in a designated spot and if she gets up we calmly place her back. We keep putting her back until she finally sits down for the full 3 minutes (one minute for each year of age). By the end of her calm down she says what she did wrong, we prompt if she needs it, and apologizes. When she does undesirable behavior that doesn't affect her safety or others, sticking her tongue out, we just ignore it. She does this for attention and after a while she realizes that none will be given if she continues to act this way. The biggest thing is to praise the good behavior and ignore the bad, children love attention so this is very effective.
> 60 days ago

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