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Before I start, YES I know it's totally normal for a 3-year-old to be testing his limits and saying no. But the only way I was taught to handle this type of attitude growing up was to hit. If you don't obey immediately, you get smacked and that's all there is to it. I have never hit DS and I don't plan on it. But I'm having trouble dealing with it. I'm starting to get really frustrated and that's not a good place for me.<br><br>
I've been doing time-outs, which I know some people here disagree with, but it's been working for us up till recently. I'd set DS down, tell him he was in time out, he'd sit quietly, then I'd let him up and talk to him about what he did wrong and what he should do instead. Then he'd do whatever it was I'd asked him to do. Now time-outs aren't working. He won't sit there. If he doesn't sit in time-out, he has to go to his room. After a few minutes in the room (where he usually cries, which I HATE), he'll sit in time-out, then we'll have our talk and he'll do what I asked.<br><br>
This is getting to be a real process, and it doesn't seem to be really working for either of us. I try to do natural consequences whenever I can, but sometimes I just can't think of a natural consequence. For example - when I ask him to pick up his clothes and put them in the laundry and he refuses. What is the natural consequence for that? Or when he won't pick up the Cheerios he spilled in the floor. He's already done eating, so I can't take away the Cheerios. What can I do?<br><br>
Help please!
 

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I only have a minute, but wanted to respond. First a big <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">...this is hard stuff!<br><br>
Can you do the talking that you did after the time-out without the actual time-out? Does that make sense? I find that if I engage with ds and tell him what I don't like or appreciate and what I'd rather hear it can go a long way. My ds never took to time-outs and I'm glad because I didn't feel right about them anyway.<br><br>
One thing I'd keep in mind is that this kind of behavior doesn't go away overnight. So maybe knowing that you might be in for this stuff for awhile will help you not get so frustrated.<br><br>
With the picking up, I would maybe try asking him to help you do it and then try to make it fun. Maybe sing or put on some rockin' music while you cleanup. Most kids this age won't do it willingly, I think.<br><br>
I'm sure you'll get many more helpful suggestions...I just wanted you to know that you're not alone! I found ages 3 and 4 to be much harder than anything we had previously experienced until then.
 

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Good for you that you are trying to learn new ways to handle situations.<br><br>
My suggestion would be to try to refocus a bit. Right now it sounds like the goal is to make him do what you want him to do. He resists, you wear him down with time out and talking and then finally he does it. It isn't making him more likely to clean up next time and it is leaving both of you feeling lousy about the exchange. That is really still caught in the how do I make them do what I want them to do mentality and it can be a hard place to be stuck. Is it possible to focus more on how do we solve this problem together.<br><br>
Cheerios are on the floor. That's a problem - what can we do to fix it? I'm not convinced it is necessary for a 3 year old to pick up the Cheerios every time. It is a lot to ask and may end up causing a lot more conflict than if you don't. Some things I might try in this situation.<br><br>
1. Get him involved in making a routine including clean up times. Many kids this age do well with helping to make the routine and they are more likely to follow it when they helped create it.<br>
2. Beat the clock - do the clean up together.<br>
3. Get a dog...okay maybe not practical but it is one time honored way of coping with the Cheerio problem.<br>
4. How about a special Cheerios be gone song or a laundry clean up song? Our son loved songs I made up at this age.<br>
5. Help him out and realize that whether or not he cleans up when he's 10 has little to nothing to do with whether or not he cleans up every Cheerio now - in other words choose to let this one go. With our three year we hoped he helped sometimes when it was fun but really didn't expect all of the time.<br>
6. Find ways to playfully handle the situation - could you pretend to be animal tamers cleaning up the Cheerios to feed to your wild boars. Or, could you put on a hand puppet who tries to beat him to picking up the dropped socks.
 

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One of the things I find that works some of the time is to rephrase how I say things. Instead of "I want you to put your clothes in the laundry." or "You need to put your clothes in the laundry" it works better to say "the clothes need to go in the laundry" put the need into the object rather than make it personal. I don't know exactly why it works but it seems to help us. My son seems to accept that objects have needs - fridge doors need to be shut, taps need to be turned off, toys need to go back so other toys have space.
 
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