Posted by: Susan | 2012-11-26

Child Discipline

My daughter is three years old there is nothing I can discipline her with. I have tried everything. I need to get away to discipline her because she is getting out of control.

What can I do?

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Our expert says:
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You need to see a child psychologist for a detailed assessment of the details of this situation, every method you have tried and apparently failed with, and to work together to devise a new and more successful program of response to whatever the child's behaviour problems may be. Its not possible here to give a broad generic answer to a problem that is not defined.
But the one broad comment I can make is that you ( and maybe Nini too ) are probably expecting too much obedience and idealized behaviour from a little person of only three. Kelly's response sounds very sensible. Why create massive crises out of what are actually rather small issues ?
Often a child is experimenting with boundaries and power, and have realized that they have considerable power by saying NO, and not much by being agreeable. As kelly so numbly illustrates, leting them explore and understand the unpleasant consequences of not doing things you recommend out of your greater wisdom and experience, and make their own choice to be hygienic and loveable, can be far more effective

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: Jakobi | 2012-11-28

I think all parents who even TRY to discipline their toddlers are on the right track and should be commended. Just ''letting them be'' all the time is the easier option, but not always the right one. I have a 3 yr old and an 8 month old. The 3 yr old went through a very bad tantrum phase... we responded by taking him to an empty room (spare bedroom) and sitting there with him while not showing ANY emotion untill be said sorry and emmidiately did we what origianlly asked him to do. We give him many choices: what to wear, eat, play, which toothbrush to use and which cup he''d like his milk in - but when we intruct him on something without giving a choice he also had to learn to listen. The ''room'' method started very bad with tantrums going on for up to 4 hours as he would try anything to get our attention, it then got better and better and we are now at the point where he only has to ''go to the room'' maybe once a week and then within 5 minutes he gives up and everything is back to normal. Myself and hubby feel this is great as we don''t shout, plead or smack - we just sit and allow him to come to his own conclusion that when mommy or daddy says something, he should listen because he WILL NOT win the battle... :) give it a week, it''ll change your life if you commit to it 100%

Reply to Jakobi
Posted by: Lu | 2012-11-27

For the mommies to-be reading this, I''d like to say: To eliminate the issues most mommies have in this regard.....

Try you best to be consistant with the basic things like bath time,washing hair, brushing teeth, sleep time, breakfast, lunch and dinner etc (where possible at least)....also when it comes to manners. My 2 kids will remind me that I have not brushed their teeth yet or they will remind me that they have not said please or thank you for something etc.

I have drilled most of what i''ve mentioned into their heads by being consistant and it seems that it paid off, so far!

Both my kids are still toddlers!

Reply to Lu
Posted by: Maria | 2012-11-27

Kelly, children who are allowed to just do as they please turn into undisciplined, socially unacceptable brats.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Chris758 | 2012-11-27

Kelly, the one thing I never were was unreasonable!! Children need to know discipline. Today the children are being bribed to do what is expected of them!! Times have changed but should you not always see that your children are disciplined?

My youngest daughter was at her school reunion the weekend and when she returned she said that she was glad about her upbringing and the chances we gave them to study etc. The friends she had at school who could come and go as they wished were all either mothers at 22 and have no qualification other than Matric and some did not even make matric! No Kelly I am not lucky they turned out to be great kids.....I brought them up to be exactly that!!!!!

Reply to Chris758
Posted by: Kelly | 2012-11-27

Thumbs up to Maria! I like the way you dealt with that.
Then others might say that would cause harm to the child and the psychological wellbeing of the child etc etc
Parents need to grow some balls sometimes.

Chris I''m glad you were their father instead! You lucky your daughters turned out as they did. For most parents like you, their kids grow up and then rebel in the worst way and also turn to drugs. Being too hard on growing children is not good for them at all. AND they can still turn out well rounded, successful individuals with good jobs and qualifications.

Reply to Kelly
Posted by: Milla | 2012-11-27

Maria, I run a similar system but yours sounds much better actually! I also have list but we do it in the evenings, make sure homework is done, school bag is packed, sport clothes are packed, school uniform for next day is set out etc. so everything is done and ready for the morning. If she did all those things and gets ready for school without issues I give her R5 to spend at the tuck shop.
I''m actually suprised that between these R5s and the money she earns from her chore chart she saves up quite a bit of it!

Sometimes I think that ''paying'' her to do things might not be ideal, but when we go to the mall and she sees a toy/book or clothing item she wants, instead of asking for it she actually weighs whether it''s worth the price and decide whether she wants to buy it for herself or leave it. I feel that she is also learning the value of money and how to spend it responsibly which is very nice to see from a 12 year old!

Reply to Milla
Posted by: Maria | 2012-11-27

You cannot explain the consequences of tooth decay to a stubborn two or three year old. When my daughter was that age we held her down and brushed her teeth against her will. We only had to do it twice, and she went back to brushing teeth voluntarily. It wasn''t pretty, and it was pretty noisy, but it had to be done and it worked. At least when they''re screaming blue murder the mouth is wide open and it''s easy to get the toothbrush in there...

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Chris758 | 2012-11-27

I was a very strict father for my children. Some of my friends in those years believed I was too strict with them and I was often told in as many words to chill!!

The first seven years are the most important years of the childs life......the forming years I call it. We now have three beautiful daughters, well disciplined, very good qualifications and very good jobs!! Highly skilled and today when we look back at those years we all laugh about it but they confessed that that helped them to be successful today.

I gave them a fair chance but the one thing I stuck to was my yes was my yes and my no was my no!!! They new that and if you say you will punish them for something, do it although your heart breaks in two!!!!

Reply to Chris758
Posted by: Milla | 2012-11-27

The issue with just leaving a kid who wont brush their teeth for too long is tooth decay, once the enamel has been eaten away it''s really an uphill battle to keep teeth healthy and it will end up costing the parents a ton of money dealing with dental issues. For the younger ones it''s not such a big issue because they still have their baby teeth but for the 11 year old, I don''t really think it''s fair to saddle a child with rotten teeth and tooth aches for the rest of their life because they couldn''t fully grasp the consequences when they are so young.

Have you guys tried showing them pictures of what happens when people don''t take good care of their teeth or bathe regularly? Maybe they will understand better if they got to see it.

Reply to Milla
Posted by: Maria | 2012-11-27

Mrs Brown I had a 10 year old and we also had endless battles about getting ready in the morning. So we started a reward program. We made a list of everything she has to do in the mornings - eat, get dressed, brush teeth, pack recorder/guitar if needed etc. - and stuck it on her door. If she gets up without being nagged she gets a marble. If she does everything on her list and is ready on time without being nagged she gets another marble. Once she has a certain number of marbles she gets a reward. There are also other things for which she can earn or lose marbles. This e.g. got rid of her habit of leaving clothes lying on the floor. Maybe something you can try?

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Kelly | 2012-11-27

R you sound like a very strong mom indeed, I think I would just give in to them. Do as you please kids! Just dont break anything or hurt yourselves but I geuss it''s not that easy in real life.
Kids can be true monster I''ve seen that side therefore I only enjoy them for an hour or at a time and then back to their moms!

I hope I''m going to get all this when my time comes!!!
Be Afraid! Be Very Afraid lol!

Reply to Kelly
Posted by: R | 2012-11-27

Lol, yes Kelly, let these be lessons you learn from us!!! Be very Afriad!
But it is not all bad.
What I have found is that the very first time my child thinks he can get away with something, he will continuosly try and test me. Fortunately I have a very obedient 5 year old, and after the second firm way of disciplining him, he hangs his head and submits to his punishment, nothing hectic, maybe gets sent to his room for a few minutes to think things over. ( I donot show how bad I am feeling inside)
BUT I also have a 1 year old, and I have no idea what to expect. Already his character appears to be the opposite of his brother, but I hope I will find the right way when the time comes to discipline him, as I realise they are both different people and will react differently.

In the end, a parent needs to be firm from the word go, make it clear who''s the boss, and while we can have loving and fun rolls on the lawn together, in the end I am the one in control. (Lol, yes my mantra almost daily, since I am a single parent most of the time)

Reply to R
Posted by: Kelly | 2012-11-27

Shame guys! I''m sure it will get better Mrs Brown!
I think I would just let it go on though.
Also maybe take some stuff away and only give them back once they''ve done whats asked of them. Also no treats, outings etc

If they do not want to abide by your rules then you won''t give in to their wants... Then let them continue, they will soon learn that its far better to do as they supposed to than what they want to once they see what a bad deal they getting.

The world of parenting is hard. I''ll have to think twice before getting myself into it!

Reply to Kelly
Posted by: Mrs Brown | 2012-11-27

Dont mean to scare you but it can go on for longer,my daughter will be 11 in 2 months i still have to ask if she brushed her teeth ,she takes forever to get ready for school sometimes i feel drained.somebody plese tell me it will get better.

Reply to Mrs Brown
Posted by: Nini | 2012-11-27

@Kelly - the fight was ALREADY after 3 days of no brushing teeth! I hear what you are saying, and to an extent it makes sense - but trying to explain consequences to a 2 year old is rather difficult. Sometimes it is a lot easier to just " let them be"  as you say - but it''s not always the best solution. My daughter will happily go to school in her pyjamas, but in doing so she causes other kids to want to do the same!!! Been there, done that, so that is not an option anymore.

I dont expect too much from my daughter at all, in fact I am a very relaxed parent. However there are certain things that need to be done, and certain things that unfortunately need to be taught from a very young age.

I have decided that I will pick my battles, and hope for the best.

Reply to Nini
Posted by: Kelly | 2012-11-26

Seriously if they do not want to brush teeth, brush hair, eat, bath, wear what you want them to then just let them be lol

Not brushing their teeth after a day or 2 show them the mirror and all those nasties that can grow on them and tell them evetually those bugs will eat at their teeth and they would have a toothless smile, or show them pictures of kids with cavities and I promise they will come right around.
Dont want to bath after the first or second day whenever you walk past them pinch your nose &  have the household play along lol that should get them begging for a bath.

Don''t want to eat... wait a day, they cant hold out that long.
Dont want to dress, send them out as they are. Once they see you do not care and they not fitting in with playmates they will come around.

Parents spend way too much time fighting with kids over petty things. Once they see you objecting they start learning just how to get to you and try to push those boundaries.

Reply to Kelly
Posted by: Nini | 2012-11-26

My daughter will be 3 in 3 months and I totally understand your frustration! Just this morning I packed all her favourite toys in a plastic bag and walked outside to throw them in the dustbin. She just wont listen and this was my last resort - I had to threaten her just to get her to do a simple task like brushing her teeth and hair. Needless to say with many tears later, we got it right.

So I dont have any advice for you, but I''d be curious to see what the other mommies and CS say.

We''ve done it all - rewards chart, time out, taking toys and fun activities away, pleading and begging, compromising, and our last resort will eventually be a hiding. I did smack on her on the bum this morning, but I am not so sure how effective that was.

Reply to Nini

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