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Question
Posted by: Jen | 2010/02/04

3 year old daughter

My daughter is 3 years old and the love of my life. I' m divorced and actually enjoying being on my own. Sometimes I find that I get very short tempered with my daughter. It' s mostly because she doesn' t listen to me and she is constantly testing me. I found that lately I have a very short temper because I am so tired of talking and talking (spanking doesn' t help anymore and it makes me feel even worse). I don' t like being nasty to her or yelling at her if she does something wrong. I feel terrible afterwards, I can' t sleep at night because I feel like I could do so much better. Will the phase ever pass? Sometimes she listens and sometimes she just carries on with what she is doing. Is this normal for a 3 year old? What can I do to be more understanding and practice better discipline?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Isn't a sinificant part of his problem, that you are expecting from a kid of 3, behaviour they're not fully capable of until later years ?
Yes, kids test you, especially, I think, when we don't provide simple, explained, consistent boundaries and limits, so they test to discover where these might be.
Spanking doesn't help one to learn anything except to suggest that it's OK to use violence when you're angry, especially when you have the greater degree of power.
She's a normal kid. And you're a normal mom. Congratulations to both of you.
Maria's comments are spot on

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Our users say:
Posted by: Happiness | 2010/02/04

I think its just a stage and what a terrible one I know! Last night my 3 year old daughter wanted to flush hubbys cell phone down the toilet! From she washed her hands with toothpate! It will pass, just give a lot of hugs and kisses she is growing up

Reply to Happiness
Posted by: Maria | 2010/02/04

Kids thrive on routine, and if they know what happens next they are less likely to fight you about it. So have a routine for afternoons and evenings, e.g. get home, playtime, supper, bathtime, story, bed.

If eating is an issue, remember a child won' t die if she misses a meal, or even 2. Tell her she doesn' t have to eat but she won' t get anything else until the next meal either.

Take time out for yourself. Children are hard work even when you love them and want to be with them. Get a babysitter and go out to do something you enjoy. It will recharge you and will benefit both you and your daughter.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Maria | 2010/02/04

You sound like a typical parent and your daughter like a typical 3 year old. Try not to beat yourself up over the things you think you do wrong, kids are remarkably resilient and forgiving, and you' re wasting emotional energy that can be better spent elsewhere. Explain to her in a way that she will understand what the consequences will be if she does something you don' t find acceptable. E.g. if she doesn' t pick her toys up when you ask, you will put the toys in your cupboard and she cannot get them back for two days. Stick to your guns, it will be rough but after a while she will realise that you mean what you say and things should improve.

Good luck!

ps. Also post on the parenting forum, lots of experienced moms there.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/02/04

Isn't a sinificant part of his problem, that you are expecting from a kid of 3, behaviour they're not fully capable of until later years ?
Yes, kids test you, especially, I think, when we don't provide simple, explained, consistent boundaries and limits, so they test to discover where these might be.
Spanking doesn't help one to learn anything except to suggest that it's OK to use violence when you're angry, especially when you have the greater degree of power.
She's a normal kid. And you're a normal mom. Congratulations to both of you.
Maria's comments are spot on

Reply to cybershrink

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