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problem children, ultimate punishment

Im a sngl mom of a 2 & 3 yr old on a tight budget. They r having behavioral problems. My punishments are time out for a few minutes and a spanking when that doesn't work. I explain why and take time to talk and do activities. I think I'm a good mom but the problems persist. They bite and are violent to each other and often me and my sister who watches them and their 1 yr old cousin. They snatch away toys (always) and break toys that aren't their own. They get into the fridge (esp in the morn) and steal food and snacks. When this happens they dont get breakfast. I don't know why they do these things (occasional visits to a father who doesn't care?) and nothing I do works. They don't care if I take away movie time or activities, deny them snacks, spank them, put them in time out or even use positive reinforcement. What is an age appropriate punishment that isn't abusive that will convince them to desist the bad behavior? Help!

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Asked by Anonymous at 10:10 AM on Feb. 21, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Answers (8)
  • my son is 3 and tends to push the limits and will push harder if i allow so i try to stop him in his tracks. but he knows my face and knows when im just annoyed or really had it. so i get to his eye leval with seriouse face and strnly and deeply say no. when he trys to walk away i pull him back and say i said no he useally listens cause he knows he will get spanked, not enough to hurt but he will be sore for a min and he dosent like that. my son also didnt like sharing and he learned quick because when he took a toy away from the lil boy i babysit i would take the toy back tell him no u share and give it back to the lil one. ( hes 17 months ) i also make him sit on the couch and he has to stay there he trys to get up and i will tell him no sit on the couch after a few times getting put back on the couch he will sit till i say ok get down. you just have to be strern and mean it. its hard good luck mama. i wish u the best

    Answer by tabbys4 at 10:42 AM on Feb. 21, 2009

  • I did a positive parenting class. Timeouts and spanking were not working in our house and our son was lashing out more. In our case it turned out that he was stuck in revenge. He was hurt for so many reasons and we were on a downward spiral at 4.5. For the first few weeks I didn't lecture and if he had a tantrum and said hurtful things to his sister I would take him into another room and acknowledge his feelings and just hug and rock him. It didn't take long to reconnect with him.
    Here are some things I would recommend. I they are fighting over a toy take it away and let them know they can have it back when they can share or take turns.
    I have taken all their toys away before and allowed them to earn them back with good behaviour. They have to know who is boss but they also need to feel like they are being heard.

    Answer by AussieMum2 at 3:26 PM on Feb. 21, 2009

  • I think you need to figure out the underlying issues with your children. Changing the behavior will only be a temporary fix unless you get to the root of the problem. Are they eating too much sugar, or artificial colors or preservatives? Do they have an allergy to milk, wheat, gluten? Is their life unpredictable? Has their been big changes in their lives recently? Are they getting enough sleep? Too much sleep? Not enough exercise?

    Usually major behavioral problems are a cry for help. They are new to this world. They don't know how to problem solve, express their emotions, communicate well, deal with disapointment, and so on. It is frustrating being a young child!!

    Take away the punishments. Don't worry about doing things TO them. Worry about working WITH them. Helping them to see how their actions effect others. Don't withdraw your love or yourself when they misbehave.

    Answer by mamalinzie at 6:48 PM on Feb. 21, 2009

  • My son was throwing his toys when he was mad and i told him i was going to throw it in the trash if he threw it, well of course he threw it and i took it away, and he thought it was the end of the world. I got him to stop in one day. However, my son is pretty easy going and sounds like you have some tough babies so i don't know if this would work or not. I also take toys from him if he is not sharing or fighting over a toy. Always explain reasons and consequences and i would definitely talk to them about their feelings. Try to help them understand the best way to express them. And make sure they know that you'll support them when they attempt a knew approach of handling things.

    Answer by heartfrommyson at 11:32 PM on Feb. 21, 2009

  • CONSISTANCY, My daughter turned 3 in January....If i ask/tell her to do something...and she doesn't start moving i start counting. She ALWAYS starts running for whatever i wanted her to do when i say 2 because she KNOWS that i will pop her butt if i say 3, NO MATTER WHAT. Its going to take a few times for it to work. If it doesn't deserve a spanking don't count. For the biting, pop him/her in mouth not very hard, just a tap will do, lol a friend of mine had this problem...within two days she stopped biting people.

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:49 AM on Feb. 22, 2009

  • First of all, you have two children who are close in age and both are at difficult ages. You are also a single mom and may not have much support other than your sister to help you. With that in mind, I am sure that it is difficult and you get tired of it all. Are you able to be consistent? That is #1 when dealing with behaviors. Keep piling on the praise for both of them! Catch them being good! That means every time you see good behavior from them you give a hug or tell them specifically what they are doing that you like. Don't just say, "You are being a good boy, or good job!" Tell them exactly what is good. Children will behavior badly just to get your attention. Your praise and positive attention needs to occur MANY MORE TIMES than then your correction or comments about their bad behavior. Use positive statements of what you want them to do. (continued on next post)

    Answer by LovetoTeach247 at 9:21 AM on Feb. 22, 2009

  • Say to them,"Mommy wants you to use nice hands or easy touches" instead of just saying,"Stop hitting" Children need to hear what is it you want them to do. Then praise them by saying,"I love the way you were using nice hands when playing with your brother." If they do bite then us a short time out with little talking to them. Just say,"This is time out for biting" and put them on a chair or couch. Be consistent! Be positive! Best Wishes!

    Answer by LovetoTeach247 at 9:24 AM on Feb. 22, 2009

  • Okay... I know you are not going to like the answer but here it is... The one thing no parent can handle but really must do...

    STOP GIVING THEM ATTENTION... Not easy when they are spitting and bitting and throwing... Put them in time out and each and every last time. Period. Stay there until the timer goes off. When you sit them there say, "That was naughty." Walk away... NO ATTENTION... If you and your sister have to do this a 1000 times a day never stop. After the bad behavior starts to go down and they are more willing to listen, then you can start talking to them and explaine why that was naughty. BUT NOT UNTIL THEN!

    I promise it will work. Attention getting is kids best skill, and earliest learned one! Don't give in! IF they want attention so bad they can be good to get it.

    Answer by motherabc at 10:14 AM on Feb. 26, 2009

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