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Old 04-13-2011, 12:57 PM   #11
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Re: Discipline for 3 year old...What works?

Well, my DD turned 4 in January and soemhow I survived. (WHEW!) I thought the third year would never end.

For us, it was just consistency, consistency, consistency.

Tell them what the consequence will be and then carry that out swiftly and without argument immediately if they do the offense again.

And you just have to keep trying until you find something that they really don't like. For us, it was making DD bag up her toys, putting them away, and making her earn them back with good behavior over time.


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Old 04-13-2011, 04:25 PM   #12
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You are not alone. This 3 yo stage is hard. What works seems to change from week to week and what works for me doesn't always work for DH and vise versa. My DD biggest problem right now is not listening. I tell her to stop doing something and she either carries on doing it as if doesn't here me or argues with me "but....." or "I'm not...." sometimes I have to take a timeout so I don't throttle her. Isn't it amazing how that can be so adorable and sweet sometimes and so absolutely infuriating other times?

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Old 04-19-2011, 09:58 PM   #13
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Re: Discipline for 3 year old...What works?

We give a time frame for EVERYTHING. So when we go to the park, there is a 5 minute & a 2 minute warning before we leave. If it's time for bed - 2 minute warning before cleanup and bed. We also lay out what we are going to do - "2 minute warning - then it's vitamin, teeth, potty, jammies, stories in bed. " Seems that if she knows what to expect, there's less struggle.
This has been so beneficial for us in curtailing tantrums before they start! Also, eedw9 is right: practice the desired behavior during downtime, and generously reward the good behavior at that time with praise and (this is what we do) stickers. The Kazdin Method book I recommended before talks a lot about how to do praise without undermining yourself as a parent (which is so easy to do). I find it easy to say things like, "see? why couldn't you have done this earlier?" and I found that timeouts stopped working for us if I used them more than once or twice a week, they just accelerated rapidly in the amount that we needed to use them, and I would get more and more angry - which definitely did not make DD more willing to obey.

I would suggest just starting with one smaller thing that you can work on in private, like the fits at home. Success in a small area might help you to gain confidence. Explain what you want her to do, and explain that she will get a reward for it, then practice regularly outside of the usual circumstances.

And persevere! I was beginning to lose hope, but just this week, DD started taking herself to time-out and sitting there (quietly!) on her own. After weeks of screaming fits, I didn't think it could happen.
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Old 04-20-2011, 07:56 AM   #14
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Re: Discipline for 3 year old...What works?

Three is hard. I have one who is nearing 4 and one that is just about to turn 3. It is a challenging stage and I honestly, truly believe that this is a transition time where we go from being total providers to helpless infants to leaders of our children. Naturally, the child isn't so thrilled with this transition. It was much nicer to be able to scream and cry and get whatever they want like they used to. It was nicer to be able to get away with whatever they wanted because they were too little to know any better or control their impulses.
So they rebel. And we as parents have to help them through this rebellious stage so that they turn into nice citizens rather than little spoiled rebels.

Originally Posted by greenmama52 View Post
My older DD is turning 3 in a month, and I am at a loss as to how to discipline her. She has been pretty good until now, but lately, she just doesn't listen.
This would be the rebellion I mentioned.
There are some annoying things she does like screaming in the house and climbing on the table etc. and I tend to just ignore those because I figure she is doing it for attention.
Yup. "Are you watching me? I know you don't like this but I'm going to do it and see if I can get away with it."
But a major problem is that when we are out and I ask her to come to me, or not go any further etc. she has taken to just running off.
FWIW, I don't let go of my children when out. They must hold my hand or hold onto the cart, stroller (or ride in the cart, stroller) at all times. If they abuse the walking privilege, they lose it.
If we are at home, I bring her inside and that's that. But I don't know what else I can do. Does a three year old understand the concept of not being able to go out tomorrow, or later in the day because of something they did earlier?
Absolutely. The first time she will probably act surprised, hurt, and try to argue it, but if you do it more than once she'll get the concept pretty quickly.
I would like her to have consequences that are age appropriate. I used to send her to her room with the door shut for a minute for things like screaming in my face, or doing something in front of me when I just asked her not to, but now she just does whatever I asked her not to do and then asks if I'm going to take her to her room. So she knows what she is doing is wrong, and she knows what will happen if she does it, but she doesn't seem to care.
She is looking for you to give her boundaries and enforce them. She is also banking on only having to go to her room for a minute and then be done with her punishment. One thing I've learned recently is that if you change the consequence, it keeps them on their toes. One time I might send my kid to time out, another to their room, or another time I might take away a toy or activity. Now before you think that it's inconsistent, it's not. The offense (yelling inside) is the same. The outcome (getting a punishment of sorts) is the same-there's always a consequence. It's that the consequence itself is not always the same.
I'm hoping this is a phase, but I don't want to raise a brat, and would like to stop this behaviour now. She gets lots of good attention, and we are outside or at the Y to play for a couple hours each morning, then again in the afternoon, so she gets her energy out. What worked for you? Or is this just a stage that she will grow out of?
It is a stage. She will grow out of it with your help. I truly believe that kids go through this stage and come out of it sweet little children or little brats (and I hate that word) who rule the roost.
Melissa-Wife, mother to DS 4/02 and DD 4/07, DS 7/08 DD 7/13
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