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Please I need help with my 3 year old!

My daughter has turned into a monster, and it seems like it truly has been overnight. She turns three on the 21st of this month. Ever since last month we have seen SIGNIFICANT changes in her behavior. From being mouthy, lying, screaming, throwing fits that last for hours and are over nothing really at all- to making HORRIBLE messes everywhere and acting as though a tornado has come thorugh our house. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother to clean. I mean she makes huge messes, to putting stuff in her hair (we've had just about everything in her hair). I watch her but I also work at home and I feel like i can't leave her alone for two seconds. I'm really frustrated and starting not to like being a mom at all. I love her, but I am SO frustrated with this behavior. Please, can anyone give me some suggestions?

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Asked by lovetoteachec at 3:08 PM on Mar. 9, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (6)
  • It is normal she is showing her independence and trying to find her way, yes even at the age of almost three. My DD turned 3 in Jan and we are dealing with back talking and messes also. I get down on her level so I look in her eyes and tell her she needs to be a big girl and help me pick up if she does she gets a star on her board if not no star. As for the back talking I warn her once and then ignore her and it works because she is not getting a reaction. Good Luck, PM if you would like!

    Answer by lapcounter at 3:24 PM on Mar. 9, 2009

  • OMG! I'm so going through that with my 3 1/2 year old. She makes the hugest messes and then of course, Mommy gets stuck cleaning them up. More than twice this past week she's peed and pooped on my carpets. I don't know what to tell you, except, you're sooooooooooooo not alone. Also, she cries at the drop of a hat. She was always sensitive, but now I'm wondering if it's because of my divorce, but I've been a divorcee for 2 years now.

    Answer by lilangel2505 at 6:03 PM on Mar. 9, 2009

  • My daughters all seemed to go through the "terrible twos" when they were 3. Yours is really testing her limits.
    Something that worked with 1 of my girls is that every time she got in trouble she lost a toy (or movie, stuffed animal, etc.) just one thing. Eventually I got to something that she REALLY didn't want me to take away and started acting better (for that day anyway). We had to do this every day for quite a while but eventually she figured out that bad behavior made her lose things.
    I also would promise treats of some kind for good behavior. "You can help mommy do _____, if you stop _________"
    Granted - none of these things worked for all of my girls or worked all the time. You've got to do trial and error. What works for one might not work for another, what works today might not work tomorrow. That's why I llke to have lots of options.
    I know a lot of people say consistency - but I say have lots of options.

    Answer by mommyonetheedge at 10:13 AM on Mar. 10, 2009

  • Each child is deffinetely different. My oldest DD is in kindergarten, my second is 4, my third is 3, and I have a little boy who is 2, and each of them have extremely different personalities. I went to the Dollar Tree a few days ago and got a bunch of little toys and I keep them in a "prize box". Each time I catch one of my kids being good I let them pick something out of the prize box. This has made such an amazing difference to how nice they are to each other and how much respect they have for me and my husband, even with our 3 year old.
    Another thing you could try is find out which toy, like a teddy bear or something she cares for the most, and every time she starts acting up you could put it on top of the refridgerator or somewhere she can see it but can't reach it, and make sure she knows that when she calms down she can have it back. This worked really well when my 5 year old was 3.

    Answer by 1983momof4 at 1:44 PM on Mar. 10, 2009

  • Although I agree with 1983momof4, I also think addressing the issue with her will prevent this from happening again...Set clear boundaries and stick to them. Your child needs to know the exact behavior expected of her.

    Answer by mom2mybabes at 3:51 PM on Mar. 11, 2009

  • So I was going through the same thing, and I just made a sticker chart. If she gets 6 stickers in any particular area, she gets a big prize she wouldn't normally get, like a trip to get ice cream, or go to the 'fun' park, or stay up late at bedtime.
    If she has no incentive, she'll then have no want to be a better person. There has to be something in it for her. This has worked for my little one who will be 3 in August. (28 months.) I try to keep her fed and slept (kids need so much at this point!!) so I know it's not those two things. In turn, she's been sleeping more!
    Oh, and if she's bad, like she was this morning she spilled her milk all over the table, actually poured it... I take her stickers away under that particular column, and tell her she'll have to earn them back. Also, I never give her stickers when it's her idea, only when I notice she's being good when she's not paying attention. That way it's a true reward.

    Answer by averillholistix at 2:08 AM on Apr. 15, 2009

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