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Anyone else have a three year old that suddenly refuses to cooperate?

I have two really sweet kids, and we've always raised them to be kind and helpful to us and each other. All of a sudden, my 3-year-old is experimenting with being anything but helpful. I ask her to open her mouth to brush teeth and she clamps it shut. I ask her to put on her shirt and she throws it down. We put her to bed and she hops back out. I suspect this is a normal developmental stage and I want to walk the line between molding appropriate behavior and over-disciplining. Any thoughts?

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Asked by jillsh at 12:54 PM on May. 5, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (5)
  • I am experiencing the same thing with my 3yo - she use to be so sweet and now she refuses to follow even the simplest direction


    Answer by tmcewen at 1:03 PM on May. 5, 2009

  • My daughter will be 3 on June 7th, and she's already gone from listening quite well to not listening AT ALL! lol.... I suppose it's the age, cuz I slightly remember my older daughter doing that as well. They are just testing their boundaries... and yours.

    Answer by amyd4581 at 1:18 PM on May. 5, 2009

  • Three is the worst age. How you handle this will determine your child's behavior for the next several years. You need to be firm and consistent with discipline, and give lots of praise for good behavior. Reward charts can be a great help at this age. Remember, there is a very good reason why they look like angels when they sleep (it's so you don't kill them when they are awake).

    Answer by rkoloms at 3:52 PM on May. 5, 2009

  • Positive Discipline for Preschoolers is my Bible at this age. It has very good ideas and food for thought. My son is a willful child and this book really helped a lot.


    Answer by salexander at 12:00 PM on May. 6, 2009

  • I totally feel your pain. My normally sweet and good daughter who used to be a great listener and helper has suddenly become full of attitude and defiance. I think I want to read the book listed above because she is driving me insane!!! But, in talking to my friends, it seems to be pretty normal for the age. I now know why you sometimes see moms just losing it at their kids in the store. They spent the day with a 3 year old who went from sweet to brat in one day! We should all just wish each other luck!

    Answer by Greenbeans422 at 3:33 PM on May. 6, 2009

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