Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

2 Bumps

I need more advice!!!

Yes, I have needed a lot of advice lately, but I am about to rip my hair out.
You probably saw my post about my temperamental 3 year old. She has not only been having meltdowns and throwing random tantrums, she has been lashing out at her brother and lying about it (she forgets that he is now at an age when he can tell on her). Whenever I try to talk her she refuses to answer me or makes things up. I'm at a loss for what to do. When I asked her why she bit her brother at first she said she didn't do anything, then when she realized I already knew she did it, she told me she wasn't going to answer me and told me just to spank her. Wtf? Seriously? If I wasn't already pissed, that sure did it! After a long time out, losing her toys, and getting sent to her room she finally told me she bit him because he fell on her.
After that I tried to find out why she has been acting out so much recently and what suddenly has her so upset (she has been doing this crap for about 2 weeks now and I'm about to rip my hair out). She refused to talk to me again and told me to leave, when she realized I wasn't going anywhere she stated saying things like "because my pillow", "because the window", "because the tree". So I still have no idea what the issue is! I told her that I don't like seeing her upset and that I can't help if I don't know what is wrong, and it got me nowhere!
Any one have any other suggestions for getting her to open up and talk to me; and also to stop the lying. Clearly time outs, time ins, and spanking don't work.


Asked by AF4life at 7:14 AM on May. 10, 2014 in General Parenting

Level 44 (185,714 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (27)
  • At 3, she might not know, or be able to put into words, why she's doing this. She might be missing her dad, or she might be feeling distant from you, or feeling like her brother is getting more attention, but she might not know just how to put that into words, or even be able to pinpoint that that's what it is.

    I would certainly keep talking to her, because the only way she can learn to express her feelings is if she has chances to try, but I would worry more about disciplining and stopping the behavior, and leave the reasons behind it as more of a minor thing.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 8:09 AM on May. 10, 2014

  • My suggestion is time out for both you and her. When she's having a meltdown, calmly put her in her room and walk away. No yelling, no spanking, no reaction from you at all beyond calmly ignoring her. When she's seen that, a) she's not getting much of a response, and b) you're being the mom she'll eventually learn to calm herself. At that point you can maybe draw some pictures to get an idea of where her frustration is coming from.

    I also suggest that you make sure your expectations of her are not unreasonably high. She's three. She has not developed the ability to calmly discuss her feelings. Children react emotionally because that's all they have in their arsenal. Expecting her to act and communicate like a child much older is the fastest way to ramp up her frustration and anxiety.

    Things will get better and they will get more calm but that starts with you. If mom is outwardly calm, kids tend to be, as well.

    Answer by Thairaze at 9:59 AM on May. 10, 2014

  • " "I don't want to tell you why so just spank me""

    This is usually a pretty good indicator that you're over-spanking. I'm absolutely NOT telling you how to parent AF, at all, but I learned after my first that spankings are most effective if you ONLY use them for extreme situations, typically involving danger to the child. I over-spanked my first (and really regret it, even though I think a swat for major issues, like running into the street, are not unreasonable) and by my second and third I had really reexamined my discipline process. My youngest is now in her mid 20's and she was spanked once; for running into the street and nearly being hit by a car.

    I think maybe you're sort of in a cycle where her anger and disobedience lead you to feel frustrated which leads to over discipline which leads to her being angry and disobedient. So, maybe an entirely new way to look at the situation is in order.


    Answer by Thairaze at 9:55 AM on May. 10, 2014

  • I really think it is funny when parents try to reason with a child. Treat them like they really know why they did what they did.
    Don't you think she is still not liking the fact her Daddy is gone?
    I just took what they did as. that is not a right thing to do. Didn't care why. And punished them. Put them in a corner. Spanked them. What ever punishment. Is she in Daycare?

    Answer by louise2 at 7:41 AM on May. 10, 2014

  • Have you been spending enough quality one on one time with her? Cuddling, reading, etc? Just wondering if she feels left out in some way. And do the kids do something together like make cookies together or kick a ball to each other....with you in the mix, of course. It can help lead to cooperation. And maybe some sort of game....either a board game or something you make up.......where they have to share or be a team against you.. I know they are very young, but just ideas going through my head. Lots of times little ones can not articulate what is bothering them. GL hug

    Answer by silverthreads at 7:51 AM on May. 10, 2014

  • tessiedawg wrote: Unexpected cuddling is helpful as well. It sounds silly, but sometimes the best thing to do is hug it out. I did this thing with DD whenever she would start putting her hands on me in a bad way I would grab her up and say, "We don't hit, we hug!" If nothing else it breaks the tension of the moment with a positive action.

    I don't think it's silly; I think it's a good instinct & it's helpful for a reason. (It communicates to your child your unconditional love, right in the middle of a very trying, upsetting moment.)

    One parenting educator refers to this kind of thing as "the vigorous snuggle." It's a way of moving in when behavior is off-track, and affirming the child, while redirecting the energy. You stop the behavior but affirm the relationship, and you're also addressing some of the underlying issue (feeling disconnected emotionally) by bringing connection in a stressful moment. It's powerful.

    Answer by girlwithC at 1:24 PM on May. 10, 2014

  • I think it's normal for kids to lie at this age. DS(4) likes to lie like that too. I just try to drive home the fact that lying about something will make the punishment more severe, so it's better to tell the truth upfront. I've also noticed DS has a hard time explaining why he does things, so I try to make suggestions to see if one 'fits'. I think it might be a good assumption to think she's acting out because she misses her dad.

    Hopefully, some of that helps, because I'm still navigating this whole raising and disciplining toddler/preschooler thing.

    Answer by mommy_jules at 8:09 AM on May. 10, 2014

  • And by the way, I didn't mean to imply that you don't discipline or try to stop the behavior. I just meant I would stay focused on that, and leave figuring out the "why" behind it as more of a minor issue.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 8:10 AM on May. 10, 2014

  • I am trying to get her to realize that telling the truth is much easier than lying

    Okay, what I would do then, is when you know she is lying, make the punishment worse and make sure she understands it's because she lied. "I'm putting you in time out for X minutes. It would have only been Y minutes if you'd told me the truth, but because you lied, I'm adding another V minutes." Then when the punishment is over, try talking to her about why she lied, what she was feeling, etc. And if she DOES tell you the truth about why she does something bad, make sure she knows her punishment isn't as severe because she told the truth. Make it very clear that lying is punished, and maybe even more severely than anything else she could do. Something else I did with my youngest was to start acting like I didn't believe anything he said. If he said the sky was blue, I wouldn't agree without looking up at the sky myself.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 8:24 AM on May. 10, 2014

  • Not being believed got very frustrating very quickly for him, and he figured out pretty quickly that if he wanted me to believe him, he had to be honest.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 8:25 AM on May. 10, 2014