Do 3 year olds listen? and other questions about 3 year olds----help - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 01-29-2012, 02:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am really having a hard time with my almost three year old listening. Here is an example, we were at a plant store. There was a tree with a lime. Right away she reached for it to pick it. DH and I quickly said no and I grabbed her hand. Then I let go and she did it again, we did the same and then she grabbed it again and succeeded to pick it. It sounds crazy now. Why didn't we walk away? The thing is this was in a span of, like, 10 seconds!

 

This type of thing happens ALLLLLLL the time. Especially when it comes to not touching.!!!!

 

She also does things we ask her not to do over and over and over. For example, pulling out all the toilet paper (yes, we keep it where she can reach it) or throwing things other than balls.

 

It is very hard to manage. I feel...tense all the time because the sh*t could hit the fan at any second.

 

She also alternates between being very gentle and very rough. I have to watch her constantly to be sure she won't hurt our dogs or push a baby over at our school-type thing we go to (the other day she hit a baby on the head. She is not mean or angry. It seems more high energy or curious or methodical than that. I can't figure it out.)

 

She doesn't seem like most kids. She is high energy. She does not have a "walk" setting. If we are out she has to either be in arms or holding hands. Otherwise she is off in a flash. She is always climbing on everything. ETC

 

ARE other 3 year year olds like this? 'Cause we have not met any...

 

 

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#2 of 9 Old 01-29-2012, 03:05 PM
 
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Mine were.  I seriously had Bebe's kids.  I would tell them not to do something and they would watch me and do it. 

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#3 of 9 Old 01-30-2012, 05:00 AM
 
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Mine wasn't a runner, but we had to hold hands while out anyway. And the not touching thing was painful. I didn't shop ANYWHERE that didn't have shopping carts unless I could use the stroller to keep him contained and most things out of reach. We have a great little health food store that I love and I couldn't go in there with him b/c the carts were the tiny kind and didn't prevent him from reaching things on the shelves, which he did as soon as the cart stopped moving for even a split second. (And he still managed to grab some things along the way while the cart was moving, too.)

 

Even now, I trust him a lot more, but sometimes (at 4) he just can't NOT touch. So we leave and I have to go back later without him. And we talk about why we had to leave etc but that's probably too much for a just-turned 3 yo. (It can't hurt to keep talking about it, I just wouldn't expect it to have much effect right away.)

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#4 of 9 Old 01-30-2012, 05:29 PM
 
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Mine is. I have no advice, just sympathy.
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#5 of 9 Old 01-30-2012, 11:11 PM
 
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My 3-yo does that stuff too.  I always try to think of appropriate consequences for various situations when I'm cool.  Then right as we're going into the store (or whatever) I tell him several times in a clear friendly way what the consequences will be if he does X, Y, or Z so that I know he understands.  Then I carry out the consequences as close to every time as I can.  We both do best this way. 

 

For example, DS likes to walk around in the grocery store but like every 3yo, he likes to touch things and forgets the no touching rule occasionally.  Our rules are: He can get out of the cart and walk if he'd like but 1. if his hands touch anything besides me or the cart he must get back into the car for 10 minutes (I set my cell alarm) and can then get back out again.  If he wants to touch something, he may ask me.  2. If he whines about having to get into the cart, he will get a spank when he gets home (other punishments would work fine if you think that spanking is child abuse - I don't.  Just make sure to follow through though or you won't be taken seriously next time).  If the whining continues I make it two when we get home.  If whining continues more, we stop what we are doing and I have him come stand right in front of me and let his steam out for a few minutes.  Then I kindly ask if he's ready to get back to what we were doing and usually he is.  

 

He rarely whines when he has to get into the cart because he knows it is counterproductive for him and instead we just have pleasant conversations while he bides his time.  I can tell that DS really likes the predictability of this system.  He sometimes brings his cabbage patch kid to the store and makes him touch things and whine just so that he can see the consequences play out on the doll LOL.

 

More generally speaking, we've found it really helpful to be consistent and to never ignore problem behavior.  Nip it in the butt.  I am willing to tell DS something twice.  The first time is to let him know what I want such as "please set your boots neatly by the door".  He will almost always rebut with a counter suggestion such as, "I want to put them in the closet", which I will consider and decide if that is an okay option.  If it isn't and I insist a second time, "I'd like them by the door, so please put them there", that is the end of the conversation in my book.  If he doesn't do it or if he whines or asks again to put them somewhere else, or puts them 5 feet from the door just to not obey me but still avoid punishment, I do not even humor the behavior.  I calmly send him to his room for a couple of minutes.  Then I'll go up a few minutes later and ask (for example) if he is ready to put his boots by the door yet.  Usually it is yes.  If I hear any further complaints I tell him I'll be back again in a few more minutes, etc.  This method has prevented countless emotional meltdowns and power struggles.  We are both so much happier because he spends far less time crying and I spend far less time dealing with a misbehaving, whiny boy.  We prefer our time together to be happy, friendly, and fun.

 

Having said all that, I was getting worried about this direct defiance stage for awhile, too, and a friend that I asked about it told me that it is totally a phase that every kid goes through.  Just to test the boundaries and see how set in stone they are.  Expect her back around age 4-5 smile.gif  It is good to expect that kind of behavior and have a plan ahead of time how you are going to deal with it so that you can keep your cool and not get upset with your DD, which isn't fun for anyone and rarely helps anything.

 

Relax.  Know that the defiance will happen.  Have a plan for how you are going to respond to it.  Communicate your plan to your DD when you are both calm and make sure she understands it.  Deal with it immediately and consistently so that DD can count on the rules being what they are day in and day out.  Don't walk away from the lime just so she won't touch it - teach her that there are consequences if she disobeys you and the consequences WILL be enforced.  Teach her by your actions, not your words, that when you speak she is expected to listen.

 

It may seem mean or really "strict" to crack down on behavior so quickly, but it seriously will make you have a much happier relationship with your child where you will find yourself having to correct her far less than if you let things slide now and then.  Let your consequences do the talking so that you don't have to wear your voice out and can keep your conversations positive.  Happier relationships are good for all of us thumb.gif

 

I found this book to be really helpful and to give me so much perspective on raising kids.  Plus, it is hilarious and worth the read just for the comedic effect.  I was able to check it out from my library.


Stay at home wife and mom to two sweet boys (12/08 and 2/11)!
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#6 of 9 Old 01-30-2012, 11:51 PM
 
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My 3.5 yo DS is the same way. I do notice that DS does listen and responds to me better than DH and I am very consistent where DH is not consistent at all. I never go shopping with DS by myself because I cannot mind him and do the shopping that needs to get done.


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#7 of 9 Old 01-31-2012, 05:42 AM
 
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Yes, especially 2-year-olds and young 3-year-olds. They don't have much if any impulse control, so even if they know they shouldn't touch something, it's very hard for them to resist. That's not where they developmentally are yet, but it starts to get better over the year and by the time they are 4 has improved quite a bit, though it won't be perfect by any means then either.

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#8 of 9 Old 02-06-2012, 03:24 PM
 
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While it's true that developmentally it's not as simple at 3 to say something and expect them to just do it (is that really reasonable to expect at any age?? LOL!), when I read your post OP I wondered whether you ever have any consequences for your child when they act like that.

 

To me, watching your child not listen again and again and not experimenting with consequences... well there's no reason to think they're going to do differently unless parents try something different.

 

I related to the longer post above about consequences.  My dd turned 3 last month, but I have been using consequences since she was early 2.  And it works!  She has favorite foods, treats, and activities that we do most days, and on a day when she's not listening/purposefully doing things she knows she's not supposed to do, I explain that she knows she's not supposed to do that, I ask her not to do it again.  If she does it again, I tell her that if she doesn't stop or she does it again, the consequence will be she won't get any _____ or won't get to do ________.  I try to pick the thing she was most likely to get/do next, so that it will be more immediate.  I explain that she wont get it, or won't be able to do it, and then if she does it again, it's not a big conversation, it's a simple "Ok, now you can't do/get _____".  Then, whenever she asks for it or it's the time we usually would do it, I calmly get down to her level, ask her if she remembers before when she did _______, asks her if she remembers me telling her she can't have it now because she did it again.  She often will start to cry, but I explain that that's what happens when you don't listen, and I hold her and I'm not mad and I don't make a big deal, but I hold firm on the consequence.

 

Now, at 3, we almost always can get her to listen and stop doing it, whatever it is.  And if she does it anyway, she is used to getting the consequence, and she'll still make a fuss sometimes but mostly she just moves on now.  NOW she's starting to try to talk her way out of it, which is hysterical and makes me smile, but I try to keep a straight face.

 

Lastly, it's really important to not wait until your exasperated to try consequences.  That's been one of my biggest learnings.  I do them early on, when I'm still calm and it hasn't gotten too far yet. Because if I wait until I'm really frustrated, I've learned I just need to ride out her tantrum and not even talk about anything, because she can't hear and I"m too frustrated to deliver the consequences calmly and fairly.

 

One more thing, I also really really have started making a point of coming back to GOOD behavior and reminding her of it and complimenting her for it or rewarding her.  The other night we pulled up and I noticed that my neighbor's car hadn't been there for a few days and there was another car there instead, and I said out loud but to myself "I hope she's ok, hope nothing happened to her car..." and dd said "We have to go talk to her!  If Melissa and Marnie's mommy has a problem, we have to help!"  I was so proud of her, after we checked on the neighbor (she was fine), I took dd home and rewarded her with extra treats for "being kind and thoughtful".

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#9 of 9 Old 02-08-2012, 05:16 PM
 
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YEP! My  3.5 year old DS is this... especially the running. And oh my oh my is he FAST. Sometimes it's all I can do to catch him! And I'm a marathoner. So yes, in my arms or holding hands whenever we're out. Which is quite difficult considering I have a 12 m/o to carry! 

 

As a few others have mentioned, consistency is ABSOLUTELY KEY for my DS. He is too smart for his own good, and notices even the tiniest difference in my response (wording, timing, you name it!). If I say, "don't touch that again, or we're leaving" I MEAN don't touch it again or we're leaving. When my DH says things like this, he often means... or I'll shout, pick you up, and lecture you for awhile................. duck.gif. My DS is much more inclined to listen to me because he knows when I threaten to leave, I mean it, and when I say I'll throw that toy away, he's seen it in the dumpster. Still - he has his times where he will get that challenging look in his eye and do exactly what he shouldn't while I'm watching just to see what happens. If it's attention they seek, give them the opposite. Silent treatment drives my DS completely mad. Especially since he's like blahblah.gif jog.gifblahblah.gif

 

My DS is extremely high energy also. We go to the park daily - I'm pretty sure we'd knock each other out if we stayed here. He never stops running, jumping, climbing, searching, seeking, building, destroying. I know lots of other 3 and 4 year olds but have never met one quite as intense as DS. Glad there are others out there!

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kfillmore View Post

I am really having a hard time with my almost three year old listening. Here is an example, we were at a plant store. There was a tree with a lime. Right away she reached for it to pick it. DH and I quickly said no and I grabbed her hand. Then I let go and she did it again, we did the same and then she grabbed it again and succeeded to pick it. It sounds crazy now. Why didn't we walk away? The thing is this was in a span of, like, 10 seconds!

 

This type of thing happens ALLLLLLL the time. Especially when it comes to not touching.!!!!

 

She also does things we ask her not to do over and over and over. For example, pulling out all the toilet paper (yes, we keep it where she can reach it) or throwing things other than balls.

 

It is very hard to manage. I feel...tense all the time because the sh*t could hit the fan at any second.

 

She also alternates between being very gentle and very rough. I have to watch her constantly to be sure she won't hurt our dogs or push a baby over at our school-type thing we go to (the other day she hit a baby on the head. She is not mean or angry. It seems more high energy or curious or methodical than that. I can't figure it out.)

 

She doesn't seem like most kids. She is high energy. She does not have a "walk" setting. If we are out she has to either be in arms or holding hands. Otherwise she is off in a flash. She is always climbing on everything. ETC

 

ARE other 3 year year olds like this? 'Cause we have not met any...

 

 



 


sleepytime.gifjog.gifSleepy, running, wife to superhero.gif DH 08/09 -  Mama to jog.gif DS 8/08 & love.gif DD 1/11

"Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare. " - Japanese Proverb

 

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