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The Wonderful Three-Year-Old (page 3)

— University of Florida IFAS Extension
Updated on Nov 12, 2009

Discipline

Parents want what is best for their children. What is best for a three-year-old is to feel secure and learn how to get along with others. You can help your child feel secure and get along with others by providing love and setting reasonable limits.

Make sure the limits are appropriate for your child's abilities. Also, make sure that he understands them.

When your child oversteps the limits, stay calm and positive, and take action. First, focus on the behavior, not the child. Tell your child his misbehavior is unacceptable and explain how it affects others. Then, tell him what behavior you expect instead. Tell him what the consequences will be if he continues to misbehave.

For example, you take your child to the park to play with a friend, and your child starts kicking and throwing sand. Use this moment to teach your child how to behave with others. In a calm voice, tell your child that kicking and throwing sand hurts others and is unacceptable. Tell him that if he is angry with her friend, he can tell her with words. Tell him that if he continues to throw sand and kick, you will remove him from the park. You are giving your child a choice and telling him the consequences of his behavior.

If your child continues to misbehave, keep your word and remove him from the park. Do not wait to remove him until after telling him to stop five or six times. If you do not follow through as you say you will, you teach your child he can get away with unacceptable behavior (such as five or six extra kicks) for a while before you will do anything.

This method of discipline is much more effective than yelling, threatening, or hitting. These tactics may temporarily stop the misbehavior, but the problem will reoccur. When parents set reasonable limits and follow through, children feel more secure. Children who do not face consequences for their actions become spoiled and confused about the world they live in.

Teach your child that he is a loved, very special, and important person, but also teach him that he is not more important than other people.

References

Allen, E. and Marotz, L. 1994. Developmental Profiles: Pre-Birth Through Eight. Albany, NY: Delmar Publishers.

Ames, L. and Ilg, F. 1976. Your Three Year Old: Friend or Enemy. NY, NY: Dell Publishing. Berk, L. (1996). Infants, Children, and Adolescents. Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

University of Maine Cooperative Extension. 2003. The Growing Years: 3 Years. Retrieved June 10, 2003, from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Web site: www.umext.maine.edu/onlinepubs/htmpubs/4243.htm pubs/4243.htm

University of Maine Cooperative Extension. 2003. The Growing Years: 3 Years 3 Months. Retrieved June 10, 2003, from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Web site: www.umext.maine.edu/onlinepubs/htmpubs/4244.htm

University of Maine Cooperative Extension. 2003. The Growing Years: 3 Years 6 Months. Retrieved June 10, 2003, from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension Web site: www.umext.maine.edu/onlinepubs/htmpubs/4245.htm

This document is FCS2149, one of a series of the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, IFAS, University of Florida, Gainesville FL 32611: First published: January 2000. Revised: July 2003. With appreciation to Keith Gouin, coordinator educational/training program, University of Florida. Please visit the EDIS Web site at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu

Millie Ferrer, Ph.D., professor; Sara M. McCrea, former graduate assistant; and Anne M. Fugate, former coordinator educational/training program Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, University of Florida, IFAS, Cooperative Extension Service, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, sex, age, handicap or national origin. For information on obtaining other extension publications, contact your county Cooperative Extension Service office. Florida Cooperative Extension Service/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences/University of Florida/Christine Taylor Waddill, Dean.

Original article: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/HE/HE35900.pdf

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