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how can i get my 3 yr old to listen?

its becoming more and more of a complicated task to get my 3 yr old to listen to me.. he wants to do everything his way. i try to discipline him by taking his toys away, making him go to bed early, time outs.. nothings working. ive even made him go to his room when he start throwing a screaming fit... i dont know what to do..

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Asked by NaomisMama1201 at 10:24 PM on Jan. 16, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 3 (27 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • im having the same problem but with 2. my ds is 3 and dd is 2 and they both do this. when he starts i pick him up and put him on his bed and he has to sit all alone for 3 mins. dd is another story. for her i have to sit with her. sometimes it works but sometimes we have to all even mommy sit in time out

    Answer by knagsmom at 10:31 PM on Jan. 16, 2011

  • whats dd and ds? and just time out in his room doesnt work. and even when i tell him i need a minute it doesnt work. he follows me everywhere.

    Comment by NaomisMama1201 (original poster) at 10:33 PM on Jan. 16, 2011

  • I would say they easiest thing is keeping him on a schedule every day and stick to it. kids do better on a schedule and do better with a sleep pattern when they know what to expect. dont give empty threats or chances. be firm. its suggested not to send a child to bed or bedroom as punishment because that makes them think it's a naughty place to, they have toys there and wont care about time out. try giving him choices thru the day. kids at this age are very independent. for example: would you like milk or juice with your sandwich for lunch? this way he feels he is making the decision, you can still be the parent and he is less resilient......hope this helps you.

    Answer by OurHeartsAwait at 10:36 PM on Jan. 16, 2011

  • I would say that expecting a 3yo to behave like a computer program is a bit unreasonable. Children --humans of all ages, frankly-- want to be independent and make decisions for themselves, particularly in areas that are totally arbitrary (when to eat, what to eat, what to wear, what to do with free time, how to contribute and when to stop what they're already doing.)

    We live in a culture that's pretty enamored with the idea that controlling other people is possible --and that they control us (he's 'making' me mad), which we need to resist... without ever really thinking about that.

    Is it possible to control someone?
    If it were possible, would it be genuinely good for them (or anyone else)?
    If it were possible, and desirable, how on earth do we manage to find a certain place to stand that says 'I know what is best for everyone' without our heads exploding for the sheer arrogance?

    Meet his needs, skip the arbitrary rules.

    Answer by LindaClement at 10:54 PM on Jan. 16, 2011

  • whats dd and ds?

    dear daughter
    dear son

    Answer by musicmom08 at 11:00 PM on Jan. 16, 2011

  • I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a 3-year-old to learn to listen and not pitch fits! And I certainly wouldn't assume that the only reason a 3-year-old acts up is because he's being subjected to "arbitrary rules"!! It has become more and more fashionable nowadays to let your children run their own schedules, assuming that a small child inherently knows what's best for themselves and that there is something intuitively holistic about their childish whims. Mama, I don't think you're at all wrong to want to teach your child to be a respectful human being, and I do believe you can start now. Start by meeting his physical needs: Make sure he's getting good nutritious food and very limited sweets. Make sure he's getting plenty of rest. Kids who stay up to late have more difficulty with self-control. A 7 p.m. bedtime is not too early for a 3-year-old. (cont)

    Answer by Adelicious at 11:50 PM on Jan. 16, 2011

    This clip explains very well what I have been leaning toward with my 3 year old.
    I agree with LindaClement 150%!
    Children learn to respect by BEING respected, not by being FORCED to behave a certain way.
    I'm not great at it...yet anyway...but I "know" it's the right way to go.

    The only times I put my "foot" down are with REAL danger and very specific rules:
    -Hold hands when crossing the street
    -always have coat buttoned hat on in cold weather
    -eat at the table
    My son has a HIGH mirror response too, so every demanding controlling thing I have ever said has come back to me already, and I have only myself to blame!
    At the end of the day, allowing him to brush his teeth EVERY time we go to the bathroom and letting him cut his food with a butter knife may "take longer" but the reward for him and for our relationship is HUGE. He gets to feel powerful in a heal

    Answer by boomamma at 11:50 PM on Jan. 16, 2011

  • powerful in a healthy way :)
    Not by getting huge upset responses out of me when he does something naughty, which he then keeps doing, regardless of punishment...because it gets attention and response!

    Answer by boomamma at 11:52 PM on Jan. 16, 2011

  • (Cont) As for actual discipline, I cannot tell you how to do it. For one thing, i don't know your son, and for another, I haven't been the mother of a 3-year-old yet. But I would say, don't give up. Be consistent, keep a regular schedule. Time outs aren't always about punishment, for a lot of kids, they need some isolation in order to cool down.

    Hang in there!

    Answer by Adelicious at 11:52 PM on Jan. 16, 2011

  • Adelicous: I'm going to respond to something you said, because it's a common misconception about peaceful parenting...
    the reality is that listening to your children (and that doesn't mean ENABLING their bad habits and letting them do whatever they want) IS what teaches them to be respectful people, because they are being respected.
    We start teaching them to be respectful the day they are born, by how respectful we are to others and to them.
    I do agree completely however, that time-out should mostly be about "cooling off" or what we call "down time", where we find a quiet corner and sit for a minute to redirect or discuss if something "happened".
    "Listening" and "pitching a fit" are not opposites. If my son has a tantrum, I speak calmly until he calms down enough to focus. I have him take a breath and then he asks with his manners. Done. No punishing him because he freaked out over a cookie or wanting the other jacket

    Answer by boomamma at 12:11 AM on Jan. 17, 2011

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