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am i being too harsh?

My 3 1/2 y/o ds has been ignoring/not listening to dh and me for the last month or two. We have tried timeouts but he's only getting worse. I've gotten to the point that other than telling him that foods ready or its time for bed I'm just ignoring him. I've given him a 30 min meal time because he's gotten in the bad habit of playing instead of eating (if he's been actually eating he is allowed to finish what's on his plate as long as he doesn't start playing) well this morning he ate one bowl of cereal in about 7 min. Then spent 13 min complaining he wanted sugar in his second bowl of cereal. I ignored him til he had 10 minleft then told him that he had 10 min and sugar is for boys who can listen. That was the last thing said til lunch. Is that too harsh for a 3 year old? My hope is that he will realize that he doesn't like it when we ignore him so hopefully he will stop ignoring the grownups.

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mom06and09

Asked by mom06and09 at 2:54 PM on Dec. 4, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (8)
  • What are you five? He is a child asserting his independence. You are a grown adult putting yourself at the level of a toddler. One thing is to discipline another is to be cruel. There have been studies made regarding withdrawing communication from children and adults and it is horrible because we are social people by nature. Did you ever read about the Cadette in West Point who didn't hear a single word spoken to him by his peers for 2 years and what it did to him? there are books about the dangerous effects of this practice.

    Stop this nonsense and find more productive ways to get your child to listen to you. Ask any developmental pediatrician or child psychologist of what you are doing and see what their answers will be. Seriously, withdrawing attention and/or communication from your child is cruelty and manipulative to say the least.
    bebita

    Answer by bebita at 3:31 PM on Dec. 4, 2009

  • Then please give me a solution!!! I need help! Like I've said I've tried time outs they haven't worked. I don't want to spank but will if I need to (but I try to save that for running into the street/parking lot or hurting people/animals) I don't know what to do and its not like I'm gonna do it for ever. Just a few days to see if he gets the point. But like I said if you've got suggestions please let me know.
    mom06and09

    Answer by mom06and09 at 3:37 PM on Dec. 4, 2009

  • YOU DID NOT TALK TO YOUR CHILD BETWEEN BREAKFAST AND LUNCH? I don't think I'm allowed to say the solution I would have for you...
    But seriously, what kind of relationship are you trying to build?
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:50 PM on Dec. 4, 2009

  • No, that's not okay. If he is ignoring you to watch tv, turn off the tv. If he knows how to turn it on, then remove it. If he is ignoring you to play with toys, take away the toys. Make eye contact with him. The way to teach him to communicate with you (two ways) is NOT by withdrawing communication. He's not capable of making that kind of jump and I would seriously worry for his psychological health.
    EmilySusan

    Answer by EmilySusan at 3:51 PM on Dec. 4, 2009

  • Have you consider praising him when you catch him doing something good so he will do it more often? Maybe a reward chart that when he listens to mom and dad and pays attention you will give him a token or reward, when he has x amount of tokens he will earn a treat. The treat could be baking cookies together. It doesn't have to be any material thing, it could be something that gets him motivated to behave better.

    It is hard work and it is tiring, frustrating and emotionally draining but it is rewarding because it is a phase that's all. Your son will outgrow this newly acquired attitude soon and will be back to been a sweet boy. Be consistent, be firm but above all, be loving and understanding that your child is evolving into a more sophisticated child with more options available to him, more behaviors to discover.
    bebita

    Answer by bebita at 3:52 PM on Dec. 4, 2009

  • I will suggest the chart to dh. As for WHEN he ignores, its not due to anything other than his not wanting to listen. One insident that really pissed off dh was when we were shopping and I took dd to the bathroom to nurse. Ds wanted to come but was in trouble for something so we said no you stay with dad. He started saying I hear sissy over and over again getting louder and louder. Dh asked him to use an inside voice so ds covered his ears and started screaming I hear sissy I hear sissy. Its that blatent I'm ignoring you cause I'm mad and there's nothing you can do to make me listen that makes us so mad. We try explaining what hews doing wrong before discipling and give him many chances to stop but now he's tuning out when we try to remind him.
    mom06and09

    Answer by mom06and09 at 4:23 PM on Dec. 4, 2009

  • So, if I understand correctly, there a younger sibling in the picture. So maybe is going for negative attention because he could be jealous of the new baby. If I got this part right, then you could make the reward to be time for him and hi alone. maybe husband can take care of the baby while you can spent time with him slone. that may help a little bit.
    bebita

    Answer by bebita at 1:13 PM on Dec. 5, 2009

  • Children of his age act up like that FOR ATTENTION. Even if it's negative. My kids throw a fit like that in the store, then DO ignore it, b/c he's wanting the attention for it. Or take him outside to calm down. He's 3, he's LEARNING his emotions and how to control them. And he seems very jeleous of new baby. Even if you don't think so at this point. Ask him for his help with the new baby(getting diapers, wipes, picking out an outfit for her to wear one day). Do something special with JUST him, Mommy and son time, going to the store, the park. While daddy watches baby. And have Daddy have one on one JUST the boys time while you stay home with baby. After 3 years of all your attention and having you and daddy all to himself right at the point he's trying to learn to deal with his emotions, imagine how tough that is on a little guy! Show him how much you love him, reward his good and helpful behavior! Good Luck!
    Rachell9503

    Answer by Rachell9503 at 10:49 PM on Dec. 6, 2009

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