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Hi, I have read a lot of great advice through the answers here; however, most of these things we have tried for the past 1 1/2 years. I am at my wits end with my 3 year old daughter. She is a great kid when she is not at home. Everywhere she goes everyone is always buzzing about her manners and excellent behavior. But as soon as she comes home, we are back to WW3. She screams and yells at me, tells me "you don't tell me that, no, or what ever". Listening is just not in her vocabulary and it is causing our relationship to deteriorate as I don't want to be around my child. I feel as if I am failing her in some way and don't know how to fix it. She laughs in mine and her dads face when she is getting in trouble, be it raising our voices, spanking, timeouts, etc. What can we do? We are both at wits end and it is now putting strain on our relationship... please help!

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Asked by Brokendownmomma at 2:21 PM on Jun. 12, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (9)
  • Don't respond to her laughing, or yelling at you, just calmly follow through with her punishment, don't start the timer on her time out until she is quiet, if you have to walk away from her and let her sit there until she can be quiet then come back and set the timer. You have to be extremely consistant, even if it's every 5 minutes she is doing something, just calmly do the punishment over and over and over, after a couple of days of you doing it every 5 minutes (or whatever), she'll get it, she'll know that every single time she back talks or whatever, she gets punished, she'll slow down, but she'll still do it some but stick with it~!~

    Answer by robinann5 at 3:45 PM on Jun. 12, 2009

  • I agree with the pp but I want to add the phrase "monkey see monkey do"
    It's how I figured out what I was doing wrong around my kids. I noticed when I was "yelling" at them, they would reply with something that I say regularly. Like if I tell them "go clean your room" they say "no, don't tell me what to do" or "whatever" yeah I say those things much mroe than I had realized. Talk to your daughter the same way you want her to talk to you and when the wrong words do slip out of her mouth, calmly tell her "those are bad words, we don't say those things" and put her in timeout after your choice amount of warnings. I use two warnings and after that it's time out or a spanking depending on what it is that they aren't listening to. I also don't use minutes in time out. I tell them that I will let them know when they can get out after they apologize and tell me they wont do it again.

    Answer by saralouise at 7:14 PM on Jun. 12, 2009

  • Thank you to the two previous posters! I just want to say that we have tried these tactics with her that you have mentioned. We take her aside and we talk to her calmly and explain and explain and explain. It used to have an effect on her; however, as the days drag on she is becoming more and more defiant to those methods. These methods only work when we are out in public, at Nanny and Pawpaw or Grandma and Grandpa's homes. Then at home she just rages on and on and these methods have no effect on her. I do honestly have a good kid; however, when it comes to behaviors and discipline at home we are missing the boat. Again I appreciate your methods that you have shared, I am just wondering how we have backslid so far for these methods not to work any longer on her. ~ Brokendownmomma

    Answer by Brokendownmomma at 8:46 PM on Jun. 12, 2009

  • Giver her the warning, and then send her to timeout. When she gets out if she starts again. Give her spanking and then time out. I send them to timeout and they come back to me when time out is finished. If she doesn't stay in timeout you may need to get something that keeps her there. She needs to know that you are the boss, and she is expected to do as she is told.

    Answer by SylviaNCali at 11:13 PM on Jun. 12, 2009

  • Three year olds have learned one thing, that they can make things happen or not happen. They can do what you ask or not, they can choose. She is testing you and trying to learn what your limits are. Probably when you go out, she is entertained by what is going on and what you are doing, she is given alot of attention by you and those around her. She knows what the expectations are out in public. When you get home, you may let your guard down a little, you relax and she is not getting as much attention or doesn't know what the expectations are. She wants to have control and make choices. Also, she is probably seeing that her behavior is getting a "rise" out of you and she likes that. When you ask her to do something, state what it is and wait for a few seconds, then if she doesn't do it, you "HELP" her by taking her hands in your hands and physically making her do what you asked.

    Answer by LovetoTeach247 at 10:47 AM on Jun. 13, 2009

  • She will probably not like the "help" and want to do it on her own. Praise her very strongly for doing it on her own. When she is acting up, do not respond with alot of talking to her about it. As you put her in timeout, do not talk to her except to say, "This is timeout for ......." Don't let her pull you into a big fussing, screaming tantrum of your own. Try to stay calm and do not give her eye contact while putting her in time out.
    Most importantly, "Catch her being good" and PRAISE, PRAISE, PRAISE her when she is good. She needs to be given twice as much positive attention for her good behavior and less attention for the bad behavior. Good Luck!

    Answer by LovetoTeach247 at 10:53 AM on Jun. 13, 2009

  • Never back down. ALWAYS follow through with the punishment reguardless of wether shes laughing or not. I dont have that problem with my son thankfully but i have that problem with my nieces here in ks its legal to do 3 open handed swats on a covered butt and i make those 3 swats count then i stick her in the corner. If she doesnt stay in the corner i usually put her in the bedroom and put the baby gate up and make her stay there with no entertainment for 6 minutes (2 minutes per her age because shes so bad). Shes finally starting to learn i mean buisness but it has taken months for it to get this way. Remember when you're punishing your daughter dont necessarly get loud but get firm and stern talk as if you're in boot camp and have to get a bunch of soldiers in order.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:05 AM on Jun. 14, 2009

  • There are alot of awesome answers here. I am coming here to stress the follow through. I have made some mistakes not following through and it is a huge issue I am dealing with right now as well.

    Answer by momof4under5 at 9:20 AM on Jun. 16, 2009

  • Thank you to all of you who have taken the time to post to my question. I appreciate all the advice you have provided. We are currently still waiting for the turnaround with her. So, I really have no update on how the methods you have provided are working. Again, I do appreciate the advice, and thanks again! ~Brokendownmomma

    Answer by Brokendownmomma at 5:08 PM on Jun. 17, 2009

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