listening....what happened? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 06-23-2012, 04:37 PM - Thread Starter
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i have a 3 1/2 year old, she is an angle but in the last 2-3 weeks YIKES! she will not listen at all it doesn't seem to matter if I'm trying to get her to do or not do something, and to make a long storie short we both end up miserable. She hasn't been like this before. I can't seem to find a common connection as to why or  when its at the worst, its random and usually ends up in a tantrum of some kind. How do I get her to listen to me with out a fight. I don't want to go down the same road my Mom went! That is one of my worst fears!

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#2 of 5 Old 06-24-2012, 06:52 PM
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I'm so sorry you're having such difficulties with your little girl! I'm sure someone in our community will have some advice to share but I wanted to point you to our Gentle Discipline Resources so you can begin learning about approaches that are respectful and kind to your child and help you manage problems in a way that makes you both happy.  Scroll past the books list and you'll find some other online resources. And this article on might be of help too.


Good luck!

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#3 of 5 Old 06-24-2012, 08:09 PM
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3.5 is a hard age. Kids start wanting autonomy, so while they used to just happily do what you wanted them to do, they start having opinions and wanting to do what THEY want to do and have control over their lives as much as they can. They will get into huge power struggles, and frequent ones, to get autonomy if they need to. IMO you should just give her autonomy wherever she can have it. Instead of choosing clothes and telling her to get dressed, put her clothes in her drawers, only have appropriate clothing for the weather available, and then tell her to get some clothes to wear. Put her dishes/cups where she can reach them and have her get that together herself. Put her snack food in a place where she can reach it and when it's snack time tell her to get her snack out. If she doesn't want to wear a sweater but you think she needs one, let her go without and just carry it with you. Anything you can, let her have it. This will give her a feeling of autonomy so she won't feel a need to create as many power struggles, and also it will allow you to save your strength for those areas where she can't have a say and she just has to do what you want her to do - for safety reasons, or because she can't annoy people horribly out in public, or whatever, but keep it for the serious things. You will still have power struggles because that's what 3.5-year-olds live for, but at least you hopefully won't have as many. Also, kids have complete and 100% power over three things: input (food), output (potty), and sleep. You can't force a person to eat, use the bathroom, or fall asleep. They know you can't force it so you will lose any power struggles around those three things. I would especially avoid power struggles there.
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#4 of 5 Old 06-25-2012, 08:20 AM
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I agree with mamazee completely.  This may not be a "phase," so much as the beginning of your child's increased independence.  Give her every opportunity to exercise autonomy, and save the commands for really serious situations.


This may sound flippant, but if I want my children to listen, I need to say things that are worth listening to.  Can you give some specific examples of the things you're butting heads over? 

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#5 of 5 Old 06-25-2012, 08:59 AM
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I agree with mama zee as well.  As much as you can give them control over, do. My dd liked picking things for the family as well - like which vegetable we had with dinner, what family movie to watch, which park to go to.  Little things that in the grand scheme of things don't matter much, but made a huge difference to her.  She still likes to be the one to pick out the fruit at the store and she's 6. LOL


Clothing is another area where she has nearly complete control.  I say nearly because if she comes down wearing a turtleneck and long pants and it is 90 out, I will probably suggest something else, same for super cold days and shorts. She comes up with some eye bending combinations, but it has helped us not argue about that.

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