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Advice/tips needed to discpline my 3 year old son

I will be straight forward. He is becoming too ill-mannered. I have been trying to cover his tantrums, hitting other kids, screaming when not having things gone his way and giggling uncontrollably at my face when i'm firmly trying to tell him to do (or not to do something) something by excuses like, "oh he's a little under the weather" or "he's a little cranky because he's teething/sleep deprived/hungry" or "he's really strong willed"
He has been kitting kids in his class. and yesterday was his 7th complain!! we have had talks with him. he'll be 3 in mid september. he says he won't do it but then a week later it's the same story all over again. he has a minor speech delay as he's bilingual but still can say words (or even 3 words) very clearly. he's a smart kid. you can tell as soon as you meet him. he notices stuff kids his age don't. a very fast learner.
i am against hitting, but at one point i did start swatting or popping his hand when he would slap on our face when we were giving him time out or trying to explain something to him. Then my husband made me realize, that's not I should be dealing the situation i.e. spanking because he's doing it. I stopped doing that eventually too. but it's not making a difference. he's the only child so i can't really blame the older sibling for this either. we encourage to "talk polite, say please, wait patiently when asked for something because mommy/daddy are busy in something but will tend to your needs as soon as possible" in our house. his tantrums are the worse! like one of those kids in supernanny!! time outs are not working either. and believe me we are consistent! taking away his favorite toys are not working also. he cries for a while, then forgets about it and moves on to something else. or worse, retaliates! does something which he is not allowed to do around the house just to tick me off.
we have been trying to distract ourselves that this is "just a phase, and will pass soon". he has been like this ever since he started crawling. his teachers are frustrated by him (ofcourse they dont say anything, but he's the only kid in his class with terrible tantrums, blowups and to mention hitting and punching other kids because he is asked to do something by them like all the other kids!)
please please please help me !!! what else can I do to discipline this child??? :(
i love him to death, and it's hurting me to see him like this. trust me it's getting worse every year!! please tell me how can i change him?


Asked by Anonymous at 9:44 AM on Jul. 19, 2013 in Preschoolers (3-4)

This question is closed.
Answers (10)
  • Those behaviors happen for a reason.
    He hits when frustrated or angry, including the times he hits/slaps you--the behavior is expressing a feeling. If you can acknowledge this fact, limiting the behavior (protecting yourself or preventing his aggression toward other children) while at the same time showing understanding for WHY it is happening, you are showing him what TO do when he's feeling X. Instead of focusing on resisting his behavior (and by default rejecting his valid feelings & ignoring the underlying causes of the behavior), you are showing understanding & offering guidance.
    The feelings aren't going to go away. What he needs is a constructive response to them that simultaneously 1)supports him in learning a better way to communicate his needs & feelings, and 2)models the very behavior you wish to see from him! Responding to problematic behavior with empathy/understanding & non-punitive guidance does this.

    Answer by girlwithC at 1:23 PM on Jul. 19, 2013

  • Have you talked to his dr to make sure there are no underlying concerns? If he were under 3 I would recommend a developmental eval done by early intervention, but they only cover kids under 3.
    Instead of using long phrases or trying to explain things to him, you should minimize the talking. "No, stop hitting" in a firm voice will go further than trying to explain things to him - he's 3 and his mind will wander. I send mine to their rooms (no toys) until they are ready to play nicely/share toys/use inside voice/etc which puts them in charge of their behavior. It can be 1 minute or 10 minutes, then they have to apologize to me or whomever they wronged by their behavior.

    Answer by missanc at 10:16 AM on Jul. 19, 2013

  • I agree with missanc above. Also, does your Husband ever talk to him about his behavior. Sometimes when the child is with you all day they become so used to the Mom telling them this & that & they stop listening all together. If someone else talks to them it can really sink in. I think your Husband should sit him down & talk to him & tell him the consequences of his actions. Then make him give time outs & take toys and privileges away. Even if he is only home at night after work then that's when he will have to deal with Daddy being upset if he acts out. Try that. It has worked for me. there was a boy in my Son's Library Toddler Play Time class when he was small that was out of control like what you described. His poor Mom was so embarrassed but just pacified him & smiled. She should have removed him from the class every time he acted out, put him in the car & went home. Instead she stayed & he ran amuck. Cont:


    Answer by ILovemyPaulie at 10:50 AM on Jul. 19, 2013

  • Cont: REMOVE him EVERY time after his bad behavior. Even if he kicks & screams. He needs a consequence immediately after his actions.


    Answer by ILovemyPaulie at 10:54 AM on Jul. 19, 2013

  • What they said. Also, if my DD starts in on bad behavior, she immediately has to go lie down in her room to calm down. I give no threats or warnings.

    Answer by BeaverHouse at 11:00 AM on Jul. 19, 2013

  • try changing diet- SOMETIMES this can help alot, sometimes, it does not help at all, but must follow exact for it to works- one blue pop and it is not going to work (if it works for your kid)

    The Feingold Program eliminates these additives:

    • Artificial (synthetic) coloring

    • Artificial (synthetic) flavoring

    • Aspartame (Nutrasweet, an artificial sweetener)

    • Artificial (synthetic) preservatives BHA, BHT, TBHQ


    Answer by fiatpax at 11:16 AM on Jul. 19, 2013

  • small bad behavior- ignore works great as any attention is attention

    as for the larger stuff like kicking hitting etc, remove him from situation the moment you see it happen- timeout, taking away good stuff- toy, outside play- whatever the childs currency is

    punishing for it later on is much less effective, as a child this young will not connect the behavoir to the punishment


    Answer by fiatpax at 11:19 AM on Jul. 19, 2013

  • Try rewarding proper behavior and ignoring bad behavior. I know it sounds easier said than done. just leaving this comment so I can find my way back to it when I have more time.

    Answer by 2autisticsmom at 11:11 AM on Jul. 19, 2013

  • thanks guys for the helpful advices. Ilovemypaulie: yes my husband talks to him too. Infact he adores him and is really close to him. by the time my husband comes home from work, it's our son's bedtime, but even them my husband changes him, brushes his teeth reads him a bedtime story. also he makes up for it by spending more time playing, watching tv, playing catch outside, coloring etc on the weekends. he does loves his daddy but when something is not going his way i.e. i call them in for dinner when they're playing catch/baseball outside. he doesn't want it to finish. i know thats a normal kid behavior. even 10-15 more mins are not enough for him. as much he loves daddy, he takes him for granted more. when i use my firm voice, he might listen to me 10% of the time (tantrum or whining is still included). but when daddy uses his firm voice like when our son is throwing stuff, he NEVER listens to daddy. i have no idea why.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 12:48 PM on Jul. 19, 2013

  • Try spanking. It worked when I was growing up.

    Answer by Ruthmom802 at 1:09 PM on Jul. 23, 2013