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3 year old and the word CAN'T........

In the last couple of weeks she says she can't to everything I ask her to do. Is this normal? If so, what can I do?

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Asked by Anonymous at 8:27 AM on May. 27, 2009 in General Parenting

Answers (9)
  • Ask her "Did you try? Then how do you know you can't?" Tell her that we always have to try our best no matter what, etc.

    Now, if she's saying it to get out of picking up her toys or whatever...that's a different story! That's when you tell her that you know she can and then discipline her for not doing as she's told.

    Answer by TiccledBlue at 8:37 AM on May. 27, 2009

  • Sounds like she's testing you to see what she can get away with....I agree with what the other poster suggested, also tell her YOU think she can do it because you think she's responsible/big enough. If she still insists that she can't (won't) do as she's told, take away some privilege as punishment. The more you stand firm when they are young and start testing the limits, the easier your life will be when they get older and it's something really big.

    Answer by napoli at 8:42 AM on May. 27, 2009

  • Yep she's testing the waters. Try a little reverse psychology on her. I have a little 3 yr old so I know what you're going through mommy.

    Answer by diamondmamma at 8:44 AM on May. 27, 2009

  • i have a 3 yr old and he does this at times... i ask him pick up your firetruck and he will hold out his hand like reaching for it and says i cant... and i say pick it up or its not coming in ( were outside ) needless to say the one time he tryed that and went inside with out it he stoped saying that. just follow threw what ever u say. and its a horrible faze! i also cant stand the NO. faze. thats what were going threw now. good luck mama. xo

    Answer by tabbys4 at 8:52 AM on May. 27, 2009

  • I would tell her one time what I wanted done. If she did not immediately start doing it, I would spank her little butt. This is not about what she can or cannot do. This is about obedience to her mom, and she must learn that you are the authority over her and that she must be found trying to obey you, no matter whether she thinks she can do it or not. She has found a way to defy your authority and she will try to find others if you take care of this one. It is up to you to discipline that disobedience right out of her stubborn little heart.

    Answer by NannyB. at 10:00 AM on May. 27, 2009

  • Yes, it is normal. There is no need to spank her because she is being a normal child. If she says she can't do something, then tell her, "I am sorry that you can't be a big girl, I will have to take all your big girl toys away." It's a matter of her being at a stage where she is confused about if she is a little girl or a big girl. If you ask her to do something and she "can't" take away her favorite toys. If she can't be a big girl then she can't do big girl things. I taught preschool for almost 20 yrs and we dealt with this all the time and we did so without hitting or spanking. Sometimes a common sense approach works best.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 11:59 AM on May. 27, 2009

  • NannyB... It is NOT 'disobedience' or 'defying authority', it's a NORMAL form of growing up and learning at this age... no child should be smacked or spanked for it!

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:02 PM on May. 27, 2009

  • Mine does that. There will be days when she will flatly state "I never do it!" to anything I ask her to do. Not in a "I'm not going to do it" way but in a "Oh no, I'm not able to do it" way.

    I agree with tyfry - young kids can't quite decide if they are babies or big kids. It's like the horrible teenage years where a kid will act like an adult one moment and throw a tantrum the next - are they responsible near-adults or little children? They don't know either. Same at this age. She is being pulled out of her comfort zone of being cared for all the time and is old enough to know it. So sometimes she wants to be a baby and be reassured that the love and care is there and other times she wants to be a big kid with all the rights a big kid has. Simply say "Oh, that's too bad. I guess you can't eat this big kid food or play with this big kid toy either." And then let her choose. Mine always chooses big kid in the end.

    Answer by kaycee14 at 12:22 PM on May. 27, 2009

  • LOL, its definitely normal and very annoying, my 3 year old is going through the same thing
    Just try to be patient

    Answer by camtri3 at 1:36 PM on May. 27, 2009

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