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How can I manage my 3 year old's behavior?

My son is a wild man. I get comments all the time about his energy level from family to complete strangers. He wants to do his own thing, he wants to be independant.... he breaks all the rules and this positive reinforcement stuff does not work. He is currently in preschool and has had some rough days there. I started offering him a sticker after school (it's only 2.5 hrs) for having a good day. It works... but the moment he gets his sticker he is a heathen. I praise him up and down when he shows good behavior... he gets warnings and time out for bad behavior. It doesn't phase him. It's like he doesn't believe me when i tell him why he can't do certain things. His preschool teacher told me today that he is very smart and could do Kindegarten - 1st grade type work.... but his behavior is hard to manage. I realize he is only 3.... but he really is hard to handle.

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Asked by Kerfuffle at 6:38 PM on Oct. 8, 2008 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 4 (42 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • he also goes to a gym class once a week. His gym teachers say he has the dexterity and strength of a 6-7 year old.... and he has zero fear. He is very gentle with other kids though. He isn't mean to his sister... so gentle with our cat... he is even very gentle with bugs. When he is mad at me for telling him no, he will hit me. It hurts. Mostly he runs around... jumps off furniture.... talks nonsense... ignores me.... tries to do it all himself.... doesn't listen.... fights me on everything.... I tried loosening up the rules a bit.... but he still fights everything

    Answer by Kerfuffle at 6:40 PM on Oct. 8, 2008

  • im having the same problem with my 5year old i make him go to his room its just jealously and he wants atteention so just make him go to his room and stay for 3 minutes and tell him if he cant follow the rules he can stay there!

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:46 PM on Oct. 8, 2008

  • It sounds like maybe he doesn't really think you are in charge, or will do anything when he does wrong. I wouldn't loosen up on the rules, I think that will only make the situation worse. I think you need to stand firm on your rules, and on the punishment for not following them. There is a book called 1-2-3 Magic that my sons' ped recommended to me. It is amazing, it really works. My kids both have ADHD, and since I started using the program in the book, I very rarely have trouble with them anymore. You can get it on amazon. You need to really be firm when he hits you. My kids have never hit me, and they know that if they did, they would be in their room, and they would not be back out that day, except for meals and to use the bathroom. You need to come up with something more dramatic than the usual punishment for when he hits you, so that he really gets the point that that is absolutely unacceptable behavior.

    Answer by tropicalmama at 7:16 PM on Oct. 8, 2008

  • I'll probably get dinged for saying this but (that's never stopped me). Have him evaluated for ADHD. My son was just like yours. Four different psychiatrists told me it was ADHD (between the ages of 3-4). Instead, I believed people who said he needed 'stronger disciple'. Finally, after an 'incident' in kindergarten, we decided to try medication. The transformation was amazing. Even my mother, who was anti-drugs, noticed the difference. One day, she leaned over and said "I think he needs some in the afternoon, too" (he was only on a morning dose. Let me know if I can help.

    Answer by WD40 at 7:32 PM on Oct. 8, 2008

  • i'm sorry, I have a hardcore no tolerance policy in my house, well, until recently, I had twin babies and she's jealous b/c she wants attention too, and she really doesn't get much attention, so I did loosen up on the punishment, but only until she adjusts, well until i feel she's adjusted, but for jumping on furniture and running in the house, yelling at me, throwing things and tantrums she gets a spanking. For telling me no and not cleaning her room or listening when i ask her to do something...she gets a time out. And this is prolly mean of me, but sometimes when none of that works I ask her "Do you want to go live w/ Keelee or Joline ? or I'll tell her she can never go back to school again or play w/ her friends and she listens after that. I guess i'm unconventional, but that's what works best for me

    Answer by BrattyWish at 10:14 PM on Oct. 8, 2008

  • I am consistent with time-outs. I take prized possessions away for hitting. I praise for good behavior, reward with stickers or temp tattoos. The punishments and the praise are only temporary fixes with him. It will work for max half the day and then he is back at it. One sure way is to make sure he has zero down time... if I have an activity or am interacting with him for ever second of the day... he is usually fine. I have to make sure the activity isn't boring to him. He likes reading books with me... playing math games... but he really needs to get physical... so we do relays and things... but there is only so much I can do being 32 weeks pregnant and with my 20 month old daughter

    Answer by Kerfuffle at 10:27 PM on Oct. 8, 2008

  • My 4 year old is a smart little S**t, she thinks she can talk her way into anything, or talk her way out of anything she does. When she hit me when she was 3 I took everything out of her room and made her sit there with nothing to do but sit on her bed. I mean everything, walls too. It's hard work, but when she acts up I ask her if she wants that to happen again. She says no and most the time things are fine. That happened a year ago and it still works. Just something to try, they HATE being bored.

    Answer by Myjoy82 at 10:43 PM on Oct. 8, 2008

  • This is my process I use with my 2 year old ( 3 in Jan, but the mind of a 4 years old!)

    ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS by FIRM. You dont have to yell, but have a firm strong voice when they do something wrong. If my daughter hits, I make sure she is looking at me, get on her level and say "You do NOT do that. You will hurt yourself/ You dont talk to me that way/You hurt others." I mean so firm and strong, that you can hear the disappointment and "I'm not playing" in my voice. Most of the times she gets the "whoa" look, and stops, when she persists, or have a fall-out, I warn her one more time, why she she can't and what's going to happen. If that dont work, she gets spanked or popped depending on the situation. If its a toy, it gets taken and put up for the day. you gotta be firm, and let him know you are not playin and that it is not acceptable. You put on the mean face, and sound like a gargoyle they usually stop! lol...; )

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:05 AM on Oct. 9, 2008

  • Have you tried changing his diet? Alot of times red dyes are a factor in this kind of behavior. Maybe try cutting those out for a few days and see how he does I also heard sometimes wheat and glutton too.

    Answer by mscamp0235 at 9:05 AM on Oct. 9, 2008

  • My daughter is a little hellion after coming back from gma and gpas and all the sugar she has there. when with me, she doesn't get candy all day long and it makes a HUGE difference.


    Answer by gina6 at 9:52 AM on Oct. 9, 2008

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