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Need help with discipline for nearly 3 yo

(11 Posts)
Askja Fri 14-Feb-14 13:16:16

I need some help establishing consistent disciplne for my nearly 3YO, very stubborn DD1. She has real flash points at the moment over getting dressed, hair brushed, getting out the house. She acts all silly, flings her clothes around and shouts and cries over every little thing - ‘I’m not brushing her hair gently enough’; ‘she needs to put her top on by herself (she can’t do it yet)’; ’ her sleeves are over her hands’… it goes on. It can take hours to get her dressed and out the house.

I have tried using time out but it’s not really working. It calms her down a bit but when I go to her and ask her to say sorry she says ‘go away I can’t say sorry yet’. Usually she will say sorry eventually, but she has been known to hold out for over an hour. The only way I got her to say sorry this morning was by threatening to take her toys away – then straight away she shouted at me again leading to a screaming match with me crying, her crying and poor DD2 looking puzzled in the middle (not proud…). I took toys away from her, banned biscuits and sat her on the step again and feel I’ve just confused everything with too many consequences. What do you find works if this sounds familiar? Especially what do you do when you have to be somewhere and don’t have the time to wait out tantrums – just forcibly get them dressed and deal with screaming later? Please help…

amistillsexy Fri 14-Feb-14 13:24:15

I took my DS1 to my Mum's naked once, because he refused to get dressed. He only did it once...

If that's not for you, I would say you need to take charge without all the sanctions, and in a kind and calm way.
In other words, approach it with confidence- 'You ARE going to get dressed, darling'.
Give no choices- 'Here are your clothes, sweetie'.
Sit with her while she's doing it, and calmly and kindly offer help with what she needs.
If she insists on doing it herself, let her, within reason, but if it's taking too long, just firmly tell her you're going to help her, tell her how, and then do it.

Remember, she's still very young, and she needs to know that you can keep calm when she can't, otherwise the world will seem a very scary place indeed!

emski1972 Fri 14-Feb-14 13:28:04

Well it all sounds familiar. I have two ways of dealing with this (I work full time and will do anything to avoid high drama) a) brushing hair teeth etc - sometimes I just stop and walk away - this usually results in LO following me saying oh please brush my teeth. I think its becasue they are asserting themselves and so if you dont start arguing but shrug it off with oh well I'm off to do something more interesting instead then that seems to do the trick b) the alternative is that I say well we have two choices here you can either get dressed and we can do X or you dont get dressed and its Y (Y being a less appealing alternative) works unless overtired...

Dont get into battles it just aint worth it and you feel crap and believe me with a 3yr old and 18mth its easy done - just keep it simple and consistent (cant be arsed with sorry and time out I really dont think they get it yet...)

fruityloopy Fri 14-Feb-14 13:33:41

Sounds like my 3 year old.. anything she doesn't want to do is met with wails and screaming. To the point I feel like the neighbours must think she's been beaten!

I've been meaning to do a star chart .. not sure if it will work but it worked for my sister.. She did a very simple one just A4 paper with a few rows of boxes.

Askja Fri 14-Feb-14 16:12:59

Thanks. I know I need to stay calmer - I'm not normally so impatient, just been a long week.

ami You are right I need to keep it simple. I did try just letting her go out with no shoes once but it back-fired as she just thought it was fun!

emski I will try the walking away thing adn you are right I need to keep it simple. I'm not sure I agree that she isn't old enough to understand about saying sorry though.

fruity have just started a sticker chart - will see if it helps.

JeanBodel Fri 14-Feb-14 16:20:17

Prevention (as far as possible) ie looking ahead to see where flashpoints will arise and trying to plan for them.
Giving the illusion of choice (not 'Time to put on your dress' but 'Which dress do you want to wear, the red or the blue?)

If all else fails, tickle her. At least you'll both feel better (and you can often cajole them into an unpopular action whilst doing so).

Pick your battles and don't expect too much at this age.

Funions Fri 14-Feb-14 16:25:24

would she respond to games?
Beat the egg timer or alarm bell for a sticker on a chosen activity or simple sequence.

Make a picture flowchart of the sequence you need her to follow at particular times of day e.g. getting up, dressed, eat breakfast, ready to leave. Get her to help with creating it: drawing, colouring or finding/sticking pictures.

Reward/praise when she follows steps well. 3 is still a bit young to expect complete self-sufficiency, but not too early to start trying.

I don't force apologies as I don't think it's helpful. Usually I find DS will happily say sorry of his own accord if it's been suggested, just later. Time out is helpful as a calming down technique though so if it's working for that keep doing it smile

Askja Fri 14-Feb-14 19:58:59

Thanks again for the suggestions. Lots of good ideas to try.

Bertie I agree I don't think it was helpful to force an apology - I won't be trying that again.

BarberryRicePud Fri 14-Feb-14 20:17:45

Some of the things that work for us are:
Give choices wherever possible - would you like to wear the red top or the blue one/ would you like to get dressed first or brush teeth?
Use races - bet you can't get dressed before I finish my shower
Use a sand timer - quick, it's a race against time...
Pick your battles

And, on a day when I'm working, we don't go downstairs until he's dressed and teeth brushed. No beebies, no milk, no breakfast til he's ready. then if he gets ready nicely he can have all the above.

If it all fails, my fall back discipline is 1,2,3 followed by consequence (as relevant as possible), as per the 1,2,3 Magic book. So, very calmly state, if you won't clean you teeth now there will be no time for a bedtime story, then count. It is rare for me to have to get past 2 now. I always follow through too and he knows it.

But, even though I try as hard as I can, I can still turn into shouty mum, esp when tired as I have a dc2 too, so I feel your pain.

lizardqueenie Sat 15-Feb-14 17:18:00

I was reading this for ideas/ advice for my dd- Berry I like your idea with the 1,2,3- timeout isn't always appropriate so like you say if there is no teeth brushing there will be no story. We have tried that but not with the 1,2,3 at the same time. I shall give that a go thank you very much! It's such a minefield! shock

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