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Old 04-12-2011, 08:29 AM   #1
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Discipline for 3 year old...What works?

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. 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. 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. 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? 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. 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?

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Old 04-12-2011, 09:15 AM   #2
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Re: Discipline for 3 year old...What works?

I recently read the Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child. It is mainly aimed at changing behavior in kids 3 and up, but we have applied some of the methods for our 2 yo DD and they have worked. The book is focused on positive reinforcement instead of punishment. I really recommend it!
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Old 04-12-2011, 09:19 AM   #3
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Re: Discipline for 3 year old...What works?

[QUOTE=greenmama52;12714387]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. QUOTE]

For this, you might try going outside and "practicing", but make it a game. You tell her to go and then maybe use the word "freeze" when she's supposed to stop.

ETA: This book is great also - "Love and Logic Magic for Early Childhood: Practical Parenting from Birth to Six Years" by Jim Fay
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Old 04-12-2011, 11:40 AM   #4
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Re: Discipline for 3 year old...What works?

No advice really, just We're going through similar challenges.
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Old 04-12-2011, 12:04 PM   #5
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Re: Discipline for 3 year old...What works?

Everyone says terrible two's but with all of our kids I think its more terrible threes! I also have an almost 3 year old that was a great listener up until a couple of months ago.
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Old 04-12-2011, 01:06 PM   #6
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Re: Discipline for 3 year old...What works?

I'm with Aimee. My dd wasn't so bad as a 2-year-old but a couple months before she turned 3, she turned into a little demon. It was horrible. Now that we're nearing 4, things are actually getting a little better in the discipline department (whining is another story...).

For us, the problem was that we would find something that worked for like a week, and then she would change on us. We were constantly in a state of wondering what the heck to do with the kid. I guess I would say that

1) I really think it's an age thing. Watch this board for the threads where people cry out for discipline help and you'll find that upwards of 90% of them involve 3-year-olds. Knowing that obviously doesn't fix anything right now, but it does help you to be a little easier on yourself and your parenting skills, AND it helps you just walk away from some things.

2) I think you just have to keep trying to figure things out every time she changes on you. If she doesn't care about going to her room, come up with another consequence. My dd *hates* timeout. She also *loves* any kind of treat, because she rarely gets any. Seriously, something as simple as a single chocolate chip can elicit good behavior. Just keep changing with her.

3) Remember that the age of 3 can't last forever.
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Old 04-12-2011, 01:15 PM   #7
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Re: Discipline for 3 year old...What works?

I too, am dealing with a three year old. It is not an easy job.
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Old 04-12-2011, 04:58 PM   #8
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Re: Discipline for 3 year old...What works?

I agree, 3 is usually harder than 2. They do stop caring about certain things and some things are just not as effective as they used to be. An immediate consequence is the best way to go. Everyone would prefer to do positive reinforcement (or so I would think) but there comes a point that no needs to mean no and you shouldn't have to have some drawn out, creative method to get your point across. Especially the case with climbing because that can certainly be a safety hazard.
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Old 04-13-2011, 11:38 AM   #9
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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.

We also will take away distractions if possible - turn off tv, radio and change the topic or situation. If she's whining or yelling, we walk away. If she does something particularly defiant, time out.
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Old 04-13-2011, 12:28 PM   #10
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Re: Discipline for 3 year old...What works?

My DS is almost 3 (on May 1st) and up until very, very recently he would just bolt from me, no matter where we were. I took to making him ride in the stroller or cart wherever we were. I don't know if this impacted his behavior and don't have any specific suggestions for you (sorry), but now I have started giving DS opportunities to just walk with me in a store (or wherever we have to go) and he is doing much better. I think it is just a phase, not to say that it's not frustrating or doesn't require some measure of discipline since it could potentially be very dangerous. I hope you can figure something out.
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