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#1 of 3 Old 05-05-2009, 03:25 PM - Thread Starter
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My son is in a typical 3 year old not listening phase. Can you help give me some tips on how to handle these situations. I could use another couple mom brains to give ideas.


The first thing my son has been doing is not following directions from his father. He will listen to me if I am there and repeat the direction, but not to his father. My husband will ask him to do something and my son will deliberately do the opposite. After talking to my son, it stops, but then restarts the next day.

The second thing is "mouthing off" to me - saying "No" and being contradictory, for example saying "Yes it does" when I say "Food stays on the table" or "No it doesn't" when I say "Water stays in the tub" Yesterday we were playing at a playground with pebbles as a fall surface. He began throwing them and putting them down his and my shirt (we were sitting on the ground playing together). I told him that pebbles stay on the ground and that we can do x and y with the pebbles. He then immediately put more down my shirt and giggled, so I picked him up and we left the playgound. I have been immediately ending the activity when this behavior happens. Then I either pick him up to my level or sit down with him on my lap, look directly into his eyes and talk to him seriously and sternly. Do you think this might be giving him attention that would cause him to act up again? Believe me, he gets lots of attention from me without being naughty.

He smiles and giggles through these, probally because he knows that he is doing something he shouldn't and that amuses him. When I ask him, "Why are you smiling? Are you happy about this? Mama feels sad." He generally fixes his face into a more serious look. Is this just becoming a game?

He might be doing this because of allergies - He is uncomfortable, coughing and a tight chest. But this is common for him and when he is sick or tired he takes it out on us. I feel bad for him BUT, he can't be disrespectful like this. I feel that he is too old for this. I tell him "I know you feel ____, but you need to be careful and make good choices. Watch what you are doing." He needs to be able to deal with his discomfort in another way. I can't comfort him and be accomodating for him every minute of every day he feels this way.
He needs to stop associating discomfort with misbehavior.

Advice needed please!!!!!!

Happy Wife & Mama to 1 boy 12/6/05
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#2 of 3 Old 05-05-2009, 04:42 PM
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Things that worked for us (or at least seemed to work, maybe it was just a stage that she would have gotten through in any case) were:

1. When DD was having trouble following directions from DH, that meant DH needed to put in a lot more one-on-one play time with her, just having fun together.

2. I tried my hardest to avoid the negative, e.g., avoiding just telling her to stop doing something (like, "Water belongs in the tub). It worked better to try to join in the flow, redirecting the activity ("Let's squirt the water on the walls!") or changing the direction completely ("I'll blow some bubbles for you in the tub").

3. I tried to be playful. With the pebbles in the shirt thing, for example, I would say, "You can't catch me!" and we'd end up in a game of chase. If I was too tired for that and there weren't other kids around, I'd hand up piles of pebbles for her to let roll down the slide (she sat at the top).

I think at this age its more important that power struggles are avoided rather than the child learning to "obey." I also think its better to put your energy into a joyful, harmonious relationship than establishing control. At age 4, DD can better understand the reason for rules, and its a lot easier to explain why something isn't a good idea than it was to try to get her to stop before she understood the reasons.

If she simply couldn't do something or be redirected at that age and I found myself having to resort to threats or punishment, we would avoid that particular activity. An example would be walking on the busy sidewalks in our town. DD just couldn't do it at 3, so rather than try to teach her how to walk safely downtown, we didn't walk downtown.
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#3 of 3 Old 05-05-2009, 05:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you.

Happy Wife & Mama to 1 boy 12/6/05
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