Best Answer

I have a 3-year old that is VERY strong-willed as well. So strong willed in fact that she could easily bring me to tears some days out of sheer frustration. I spoke to her pediatrician about this and he has given us some wonderful pointers on how to discipline her effectively. We have a calendar for her and everyday that she behaves- meaning no tantrums, back-talk, etc., she gets a sticker. When she has 10 stickers she gets to pick out a small toy from the store. Whenever she starts to misbehave, all I have to say is "Sticker" and she stops. (MOST of the time) If this doesn't work, we 're-direct' her by removing her from whatever situation it is that's causing the issue. For example, if she's having a fit because she wants to play with something she's not supposed to, or be in a part of the house she's not supposed to, we physically pick her up, remove her from the situation and give her another option. Then she feels like she is still in control, even though she really isn't. We have also found that lowering our voices rather than raising them has amazing effects.

Try giving him a choice. Example: You can either stop (fill in with negative behavior) or you can go to the corner for 5 minutes. If he doesn't comply place him in the corner. After 5 min. are up give him the option again. This will work if you can dedicate the time. The whole point is not for you to suffer guilt over punishing him, but to make them choose to be punished. They choose, You have no guilt. But whether you use this or not, you have to get a handle on the situation. If not you will be on a talk show with a wild child that disrespects you or is running your household. And 3 is to young to be running things.

I am at the end of my rope with my 3 year old son. He is disrespectful to me. I know why, because my ex-husband was and my son saw this and he thinks it is right. I left my husband 1 month ago. My problem now is how do i reverse the damage my ex has caused this child. For a 3 year old he has seen too much. Please help me, help my beautiful boy. I don't want him to grow up to be like his father. My son has been acting out for no reason, for example he drew on the couch with pen knowing this was the wrong thing to do. There are plenty more examples I could give but I would be writing a novel. I don't know what to do anymore. Any advice would be appreciated.

I am a guilt-driven mom who has a three-year-old boy, a 1 1/2-year-old boy (very strong willed already!), and a newborn girl (who is, thankfully, a good baby); so I have several points against me. After reading two books on discipline, I have learned that you give a toddler choices ("you can either listen or go to your room."), and then follow through with the consequence. I am not big on spanking; however, there are times when a spanking can be administered with a warning first, such that he understands that certain actions will be followed by a spanking and being sent to his room (I put a lock on the door for the times that he is so unruly that he won't stay in his room). Other times when he is just being whiny, I will place him in his room and tell him that he may come out when he is ready to stop whining; surprisingly, he will stay in there for a few minutes and then call out to me that he is ready to stop crying. Another helpful hint is to give 2-minute warnings before making him switch gears; for example, he is taking a bath and you KNOW that it will be a fight to get him out of the tub, so you tell him "two more minutes until we drain the tub." Then in approximately two minutes, you tell him that the two minutes is up and give him a chance to pull the drain plug or "mommy will do it if you don't want to." Works like a charm--he almost ALWAYS pulls the plug himself and hands it to me! One more thing--after a time-out where there was a major tantrum and to-do involved, I always go into his room and sit him on my lap and talk about the time out and have him acknowledge that he understands what happened; and I NEVER point fingers or give him a "I-told-you-so" tone; I just make sure I get the point across that his previous behavior will always have to end up in a situation like this, so I am sure he will not choose to do this again.

That is a very tough question to answer. I have the same problem. First, consistency is key. If he knows he can break down your guard he will pry at you until he does. Secondly, spanking in anger will never work because you are not thinking clearly. I DO believe in spanking, but it should be one solid swat to get their attention...NOT to hurt them and then and explanation of what the wrong behavior is. Sometimes just rewarding the good behavior is better. If you can ignore the bad (when it is not endangering him or others) and reward the good...they catch on that they get more attention when they are good. Unfortunately, it is a mind game. Kids are very smart and quick learners, so remember to keep cool...

What you need is a drastic change in your approach to parenting. Most people could suggest "what to do" in a variety of isolated situations. What you need, though, is a way to make life easier and more pleasant in your home overall. Most parents unknowingly make the mistake of giving most of their attention to their kids when they are behaving poorly. You need to shift your focus to good behavior. Make a list of several specific behaviors that you like your child to do and then spend more of your time looking for those behaviors to occur. And when you see them, give your child lots of attention. Once you start doing that, you can ignore most of the irritating behavior that leads to punishment and tears. A rule of thumb is: if it doesn't cause damage or hurt anyone, it's better just to ignore. Your attention is valuable to your child. Spend it on the behavior you want more of. Go to for examples and details on this unique and proven approach to parenting.

Tantrums are best handled by ignoring them. Make sure there is nothing fragile or dangerous around your child and then walk away. Buy some earplugs. When he is calmer explain that you don't like that behaviour and you won't be around it. When he acts like that he is invisible to you (not literally). Try to give a lot of attention when it is for good things and explain the right way to handle situations. Always remember he is the child (only 3!) and you are the parent and the adult. YOU are in charge. YOU say what is acceptable. YOU have like 100lb and at least 2 ft on that kid! Don't let him push you around. Push back. He needs to learn that everyone (including himself) has boundaries and needs. He will learn this from your boundaries, your needs. You two have to live together for another 15 years, you need to learn to behave in ways that can make that work. If his behaviour doesn't improve at all (it will get worse before it gets better) Take privileges and hand out punishment. 5 min time out, no dessert. Try to make them fit the crime: "Moooommmmmmmyyyyyy! I NEED a cookie!" "You don't eat cookies before dinner. You need to ask nicely for things you WANT (not need) and say please in a pleasant tone of voice. You may have one after you eat dinner." "But, I neeeeeed one now!" "No. You may have one after dinner or not at all. That is your choice. If you throw a fit you will also go into time out." "WHAAAA" "Go sit in the time out chair for 5 minutes, quietly. Time out is not over until you have spent 5 consecutive quiet minutes. You can walk there or I can spank you and put you there. That is your new choice." Always let them see the way out. They need to understand that they have control over when they are punished and how long you stay upset with them. Let them know you are angry, disappointed, sad. They need to understand, this does hurt their feelings and shake their sense of security some, but you can explain that it is possible to punish someone and to be angry with them even though you still love them. They will get the message after a few trips to time out and after its over you love them anyway. Kids aren't stupid

I have a very energetic and strong willed 3 year old girl. Like yours, she is constantly challenging me to keep our household calm. I do commend her when she is doing well. I always say that "I am proud of how you....., are you proud of yourself?" Lately, she has been trying to hurt me and having up to 1 1/2 hours of screaming fits. Sending her to her room would increase the volume of the screaming. I remember hearing Dr. Phil say that everyone has their currency. My daughter really loves her videos, so I have started taking videos away. This seems to get her attention. She only gets one movie at a time back per day, if she has been good all day. Good luck to everyone. I am going to try some of the suggestions I have read here.

Each answer so far has a lot of good advice. I've worked with challenging behaviors from adults to children over the last 20+ years. I'll try and give you my take on it in the shortest bit I can. The first, second and third things that need to be in place for success are: CONSISTENCY...STRUCTURE..DISCIPLINE. (Of course Love and nurture are automatic, but not in the top three!) And for everyone's benefit I'll explain DISCIPLINE-- It has nothing to do with yelling, spanking, hitting etc.. It means when they are good they get the world; when they are bad they pay the price by losing "privileges" which can be anything they LOVE> But YOU have to be consistent, keep your temper, speak in a low quiet, matter of fact voice (that kills them!) and follow through. It will be really hard at first, because giving in seems to end it all. But if you stick it out, you will have years and years of smooth sailing. BEST OF LUCK ALSO; another important factor is that you establish that YOU are in control. I've met a lot of people that think that telling a child NO "damages their self esteem". HOGWASH! They have to learn NO at an early age; that helps them understand boundaries and feel secure. If you remain cool, calm and collected, when he misbehaves HE should "pay", not YOU. Stand your ground and follow through with a punishment. There are a million ways to punish without yelling or hitting. I've raised a step-son, and help parents with behaviorally challenged kids. NEVER laid a hand on one of them and they totally respect me, I respect them, I'm in charge, they listen and they love me as much as I love them! PUNISHMENT: Loss of T.V. for a set time; loss of a favorite toy; family trip to McDonald's where ice cream is dessert EXCEPT for the young man who doesn't listen to moms direction; plan a trip to the arcade (earning a privilege for "good")- cancel the arcade (loss of privilege for "bad") etc... It may sound harsh, but after a month or so of misery......SMOOTH SAILING! Be creative with earning and losing privileges. It doesn't have to be (shouldn't be) a BAD thing, but a LEARNING thing. Even tho one parent calls me "sarge", she also LOVES the fact that her son with special needs and horrible behavior is now more well behaved than the "normal" kids. (I HATE the term "normal") Let's say "the kids who are not behaviorally challenged!

There are some good points all posters have given, but I can't believe my ears with the discipline that is being given with the few that believe in a spanking as a last resort. I grew up in the 40s and 50s and my parents gave my brother and I 2 tries to correct our behavior and if we didn't we got a swat on the butt and sent to our rooms. There was no "wheeling and dealing" such as REWARDS for good behavior. It was expected just as it's expected in reality out in the real world. Parents are mentors preparing their children for society. When raising your child you have to raise them to learn that in society your boss doesn't care if you are angry, having a tantrum, acting up and you sure aren't going to get any rewards or sometimes not even pats on the back. By giving rewards it's teaching your child that's what life is. When you take things away from a child it has been proven that many of these children become grabby and bullying when they start kindergarten or elementary school.

The second thing is ladies, who has time to reason with their child and put up with screaming, tantrums, hitting, slapping, laying on the floor screaming. When a mother has more than one child this is unacceptable behavior and sometimes a swat on the butt is what works. Giving children some chores to do (along with you) makes them feel grown up. It may take you longer to cook or bake, but children love it and my mother did it with my brother and I. To this day we are both good cooks. If she swept the floor, I swept the floor, etc. I felt useful and grown-up.

I find that mothers often don't take "time out" to go to the park with their child or simply a walk. Depending on the weather go to the zoo, etc. Pick a day of the week and if your child is old enough have what I call, "A piggy night" ... make popcorn, have goodies and get a child's DVD. They love it! Consistency is a big part of it all. Still, moms are worn out to a frazzle and ignoring a child (only upsets them more), or giving rewards doesn't work. It may for awhile, but it's back to the same old, same old.

In British Columbia Canada if parents bring their children to an adult restaurant (not McDonald's, etc.) and they are screaming or throwing food around or kicking the table the manager has the right to ask them to leave and does so because so many patrons were complaining. This includes ANY public place! I once read in Anne Landers that when your child has a tantrum, leave the store and go sit in your car and let your child, kick, scream, shout, slap (whatever) until they get it out of their system. This is not psychologically healthy for a child because the only reason they start to behave themselves is they are completely exhausted from the tantrum. What mother has the time for this garbage when she has a dozen things to do in a day! When I read that I thought Anne Landers was doing crack!

British Columbia has brought the spanking laws back in because they realize now that more children are out of control and there is a high rate of kindergartens sending kids home or even elementary schools doing the same things. The teachers can't do a thing with them.

Children simply need to know who is boss. With love, kindness, and quality time and the odd spanking (this is not beating your child) there is no reason your child should be getting away with this type of behavior. Once a day fresh air, fun and basically quality time and by the way, not one of you mentioned your husbands! Get them involved to take a load of YOU!


When making the above analogy about "real life" and "bosses don't care and don't give rewards" I think you have it backward. A "good" job and good attitude indeed get "rewards"--promotions, pay raises etc... A "bad" job or bad attitude gets you FIRED. That's a REAL life lesson.

Here Here, and bosses are not allowed to 'spank' their staff, if one adult does it to another (with some exceptions) it is called assault. How much more is it assault when the spanker is an adult and the spankee (?) is a much smaller child?


YOU are the adult. They are the child. When they act like that its because they are getting your attention in any way they can. All they want is to be loved, played with and some boundaries set. Play with them and give praise when they are good, teach them that the only way they get your attention is when they are good. The Naughty step works well in this situation, it shows that you are not a child who resorts to childish fights and screaming tantrums to win the argument against them, but that you are the parent who sets boundaries and has rules to be followed, Children NEED this. If they are good, everyone wins Yay. You NEVER win when you lose it with them because they get what they want- your full (negative) attention. See it coming, deflect and distract before it gets that far from now on.. Step up to your parental role, not down to theirs. They need that from you.

Comment to above "one last note":

I have to add to this above response. Let's ask this: If you got fired for throwing a complete tantrum on the floor of your office after your boss asked you to complete a task, but you decided to still have that tantrum and not leave, what do you think would happen? The police (parent) would show up is my guess. And what would happen if you continued the "no, I am not going to do that because I don't want to" rant? You would be "physically restrained with force", also my guess.... If you decided to continue flailing away because the police weren't acting like parents and "deflecting", what then.... JAIL, also a guess. Point being: If you continued to throw tantrums, they would continue to use force (physical that is)... Unfortunately, that is how the human brain works. We respond to pain. Emotional and physical pain. Mental masturbation (negotiation) with your child only goes so far. And it is not a PHYSICAL BEATING (less than what the police are going to use on you), but an alert stop to the mental path that child has taken. It's exactly that... You are the boss and they need to understand that if the rules are not followed a level of pain will follow.... Unfortunately, we have to be the judge, jury and the one that flips the switch in most situations... Your child needs to know that you will go "there" at least once in his childhood. Negotiating will work for only so far.... Good Luck with that though.

To the poster who mentioned that good jobs with good work gets promotions, etc. I don't know what country you live in, but I live in Canada and good jobs are getting harder to find. No, bosses don't spank, they fire! I also see traits out there from bosses stating that many of the younger people today expect 'big bucks' and want it all now without working for it! Of course there are some young people who were brought up properly that know that working hard many times gets the breaks, but there are situations that it doesn't and you either stay or leave for a better job and these are good habits a good parent instills in their children ... life isn't always fair.

One boss put up on a notice board where my husband worked:

  • This is a company trying to make a profit so we don't care .... 'If you are trying to FIND YOURSELF on our time!
  • We are not here to get your approval as to whether you like the company rules or not. Take it or leave it!

It is a factual study that since spanking laws went out in some States and both parents may be working that many children are also out of control during their teens and the crime rate is higher than ever before.

A parent is not their children's best friend! The child should know that the parent is there to protect them and give them love and support, but also learn that by bad behavior you pay your dues and this attitude should start as soon as the child can understand that bad behavior doesn't pay.

  • Time out! Some of these children go into their bedrooms and trash their toys or the bedroom, while others will scream, kick furniture and some just sit there only to come out and do what you don't want them to do all over again.
  • Busy parents don't have time to explain every little thing to their children. The child needs to learn who is boss and what they say goes (without explanation) because when that child is old enough to work do you think any boss is going to take precious time to explain every little thing to an employee?
  • BOTH PARENTS need to be on the right path and be consistent. The child needs to know that he/she can't play one parent against the other.
  • If a child is very much out of control then it's a good idea to see your family doctor to be sure it isn't something physical.
  • Who said MOM was the only one to deal with children. Where are the dads in this equation?

From a Dad.... I can't believe people are saying things like "explain the behavior to the child" or "redirect their attention", "make them think they're in control when they really aren't". What is wrong with you people? You're the parents, they're the child. Plain and simple. They need to understand that you have the authority over them, and they have to listen. You should NEVER allow your child to THINK they have control, even if they don't. That leads to a child who will always try to run the household. You chose to raise your children, so it's your JOB to raise them. Do what you have to do to make the point that you are their superior, no if's and's or but's. It's time people stopped pandering to their children and grew some balls. Most of us would never have even thought about acting the way some children do now. Why? Because we would have got the piss beat out of us. Maybe that wasn't appropriate, but we knew who was boss, and we respected that arrangement. What ever happened to that?

To the Post above!

To the Father who wrote above. AMEN!!!! I completely agree with you! I see so many out of control toddlers and kids that hit and scream most mothers do nothing but try to talk to their 3 yr old. It is insane.

If you believe in God read Proverbs 23:13 "Do not withhold discipline from a child, if you punish him with a rod he will not die." God Almoighty tells us to Spank.... Hello people start spanking ur brats that are going to turn into bratty adults!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

User Avatar

Wiki User

โˆ™ 2015-07-15 20:44:12
This answer is:
User Avatar
Study guides


29 cards

What was Hippocrates father of

What fraction of a person's life is spent in the circadian rhythm of sleep

What is the activation-synthesis theory

When is a person said to be in an altered state of consciousness

See all cards
9 Reviews

Add your answer:

Earn +20 pts
Q: How can you effectively discipline a strong willed three year old boy without becoming angry and resorting to spanking?
Write your answer...
Still have questions?
magnify glass
Continue Learning about Educational Theory

Does spanking hurt more than it helps?

Spankings hurt children physically & emotionally and as they get older they become more aggressive and bully others. It can result in fear and the child will lie rather than tell the truth. Spankings don't teach the right lesson it shows that hitting is the way to solve problems. Edit: That, according to experts, is not true. Spankings, when used correctly, are a good way to discipline your children. Please see related link below for more information.

What is positive discipline?

Positive Discipline is a part of Positive ParentingI could explain to you what positive parenting is from a dictionary perspective but after my encounter with positive child discipline I feel I really know what it is about so I'll tell you in my own words .Positive Parenting (from a mother's perspective) is communicating with your children through respect.Now let me elaborate on what positive parenting is:- Communicating with your children very clearly how you want them to behave- Setting clear limits and boundaries- Praise your children (I will elaborate on this further below)- Being firm and consistent by delivering the same message every time- Viewing disagreements with your children as opportunities to teach them how to communicate and solve problems (most important)When communicating with your child, it is VERY IMPORTANT to communicate with them on a "short and sweet" level. Let them know exactly what you want by getting to the point when you make requests of them. Use "do" requests when as oppose to "don't" requests. It took me a while to learn that one, and I later realized that sometimes your children will act up when using these statements! Remember positive parenting.Praise your children relative to their behavior and be specific. Don't just say, "good job honey" but rather, "good job honey for picking up after yourself." Children respond better to specifics!Now let me elaborate on what positive parenting is not:- Getting angry with your children. It is all about control.- Giving your children everything they want, and it is not taking nothing away.- Threatening your children unless it is controlled, respectful, current, and specific.Do not threaten your children for a later time by saying something along the lines of, "when your dad gets home…"When possible it is effective to give your children ample time to obey your commands. Child discipline is a part of parenting, but when possible I would recommend to stay away from screaming, spanking, and other forms of punishment. Be gentle with your children. Positive parenting will help you earn the respect of your children and hopefully allow you to not worry about child discipline very often.check out my blog at to read more!

Related questions

Is spanking your child the wrong thing to do?

Spanking your child is unnecessary, and is physically and psychologically harmful. There are so many other methods to discipline or shape the behavior of your child without resorting to violence. There are many parenting books that can teach you these alternatives, and almost any parental counselor would advise against spanking your child.

What are the titles of some parenting videos about the pros and cons of spanking?

Online there are the videos called "Pros and Cons of Spanking Your Child", "Spanking Your Kids: Discipline or Abuse", and "Spanking And Child Discipline-The Pros And Cons".

What are various words used for abusing?

discipline, spanking

Types of discipline?

Spanking,Grounding,Time-out,Loss of privlage

Why is discipline effective?

Discipline in the sense of structure is effective because it creates predictability. Discipline in the sense of violence (e.g. spanking, etc.) is not effective.

Should parents use spanking as a form of discipline with their young children why or why not?


What can a parent do with a child that has temper tantums?

Discipline them with time-outs and spanking.

Is spanking your child considered discipline or abuse?

not if they r tougher than u.

Is spanking your child legal in Illinois?

"Spanking" a child isn't considered Corporal any State of the Union, a Parent has the right to discipline their child by Spanking them, this however, does not include abusive behavior.

Do Catholics believe in gentle discipline of children without spanking?

I, being catholic, know that children are often disciplined by spanking, time outs, etc.

What is the proper way to spank your child?

This article does not intend to either promote or discourage spanking, but rather is intended to give parents correct instruction on using non-abusive spanking in discipline. Spanking is a much-debated topic. Most child psychologists do not recommend spanking as a discipline method for children. However, other psychologists and many parents will tell you that a spanking given with fairness, love and care is an effective discipline technique. The decision as to the usefulness of spanking is best made by a child's parents. It is gravely unfortunate that, there are many children who are abused under the guise of spanking, and this article is an attempt to inform parents in a way that would prevent abuse.

How do you spank a girl right?

Spanking is immoral, there are more intelligent ways to discipline people or teach them.

People also asked