My 3-year-old doesn't listen: Advice?

I seriously need help with disciplining my three year old. She WILL NOT listen to anything. She will just constantly scream her head off, throw things, hit, kick, and just scream no at me. I’ve tried calmly talking to her, yelling, spanking, time outs, taking toys away, everything, and NOTHING works. I’m 26 weeks pregnant and high risk, which I know she doesn’t understand that, but she’ll hit or kick my stomach. She’s in preschool, and we thought it would help, but it’s not. She’s doing good there; just when she’s home, or we take her anywhere she acts like this. I can’t handle it. I love my daughter to death, but this has gotten outrageous. I don’t know what to do anymore. All of this started when she turned one and has just slowly gotten worse. She’s absolutely amazing when she wants to be, but that’s become rare. Any advice on what I can do? Or how to correct this? I will admit, she’s spoiled. She’s the first baby on mine, her father and my boyfriend’s side. But, she used to listen to me and do what she was told/asked without screaming and kicking. Nothing will calm her or please her anymore. I’m at a dead-end it feels like…


Following: my 4 yr old who’s in all day head start has acted the same since 2.

Stop spoiling her and be constant with her punishments for not listening.


My daughter was the same way and slowly got better when she reached 5 and had since improved. Nothing we did ever worked but I guess what we do now when she misbehaves is just take things away, ignore her, talk to her calmly, and she sees a therapist at school.

My son used to be this way and the only thing that has helped is being consistent. Time out and tv taken away, NO MATTER WHAT DONT GIVE IN. If she sits in time out screaming for 20 minutes… that’s her fault. She will learn. And once she stops then you can explain to her what just happened. You absolutely HAVE TO BE CONSISTENT or it will not work.


I’m really not trying to be a smartass, but maybe the child being in timeout or put in their rooms wont help the behavior, but it sure can give a Momma a break to get her shit together before dealing with them again…from a Mother of 4, Grandma of 2

Maybe talk with her doctor to see if there are any specialists that deal with these types of things. Maybe there’s some counseling sessions you guys could go to?

I’m so sorry this is happening to you… I feel even worse I dont have the answer. Mine just turned 2 and I find that not being consistent with consequences back fires big time

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I have not tried this yet but I’ve heard if when they do all those things you don’t acknowledge it whatsoever… when they see that you’re not giving your attention to when they throw these tantrums they’ll stop


You need to be consistent. Every. Single. Time. I would talk twice then tell her if I have to say it a 3rd time, she won’t like it. If she continues, DO SOMETHING! Just do the same thing every time.
Also look at the times of day this is happening. Regular sleep and eating habits are important. Is she hangry?
When I hear people say they’ve tried everything, I usually think they have not picked one thing and stuck with it. Good luck!


My daughter was in the phase and still has her moments like any kid. I learned that talking to her and when she throws a fit I completely ignore it. I don’t look her way absolutely nothing. I calmly stare “when you decide to calm down we can talk” this happened a few times and now she’s learned she’s put in time out throws her fit calms herself down and then we talk about it. She’s 3 and she will test me but they need to be taught how to handle their feelings. They won’t be perfect bc again, the world is so big and they don’t know exactly how to articulate what they are feeling. We still have her moments but this has been something that helps. I want and hope she learns that she is the o my one who can change her attitude… which is something even most adults can figure out.

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I Don’t have Any Children. I would Suggest Professional Help. I would also Do it Now, while She is Young. The Longer You Wait, the more Difficult it will be. XO!

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Sounds like my 1 year old :weary:

If she can do it at school she can do it at home. She’s playing you!


Time out. Put her in her room to think about it. Slap her hand and say dont kick.

Life is ruff , even on little ones some times. My great nephew went thru this. Was so ugly…but he out grew this and is now the sweetest little guy , he’ll be 3 in 4 months.

I’d recommend play therapy it helped my daughter tremendously with her behavioral problems

Ignore it. Move on. And ignore her shell get the point and just take her things away. When she calms doen explain why you took them away. Do not talk to her or amytbing in her rage.

Ignore her it’s hard to do but effective or remove her to safe area and let her scream she will get tired of it if no one is listening.

Is her bad behavior getting an uptick at home when the new baby is mentioned? Has she been included in the nursery picking out baby things, etc. There are great books to read to her her about becoming a big sister. Maybe an immediate consequences sticker chart? Spaces for completing 3 meals, using the potty, listing, picking up toys. When she reaches a goal you both agree on how many stickers she gets a dollar store prize or an activity away from home.

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3 is a tough age! They are learning so much and are discovering all these new emotions and they just don’t know how to deal with them yet. My daughter is going on 3 and is also spoiled lol she can be a complete sour patch kid! Try not to yell I know it’s hard but just get on her level try to understand the problem why is she screaming and then redirect her get her attention to something else. I smacked my daughter once and it just completely hurt me as i watched her cry so i try so hard to use other calming methods

Ignore what isn’t kicking/hitting etc…

Get down on her eye level to speak to her explain what is expected of her and let her know she has 3 minutes to calm down or she will get a)time out for 3 minutes, which she can’t get up. b) gets a privilege taken away.

Also explaining things like going to Target. We are coming in to get abc and your gonna sit in the cart.

But try to include her on finding abc and if you feel she deserves a reward carry a zip lock of dum dums sucker’s or stickers!

Best of all be consistent on what you say and do whatever you say! (Zero empty threats)


Also ask her teachers what they do at school and follow through at home. Like pp have said consistency counts every. Single. Time. It gets exhausting. Hugs momma.

They learn very quickly how long they have to keep it up before you finally give in.
So no more warnings no more chances. Pick a consequence and first sign of a tantrum follow through.
As far as hitting and kicking you, get right on her level, in her face, and sternly tell her no ma’am. Get as stern and serious as you can. Even if it scares her. Explain We don’t do that and put her in time out. She doesn’t get out until she is in timeout quietly for 3 minutes. Obviously she isn’t going to listen right away because she’s never had to before. But you just keep putting her back and walking away without talking. Over and over until she learns that she only gets out if she cooperates.
Easier said than done, I know but being stern and consistent is the only way.


I’m 36 weeks pregnant and my youngest has always been the SWEETEST. She just turned 4. But ever since I’ve been pregnant, she’s been the absolute most difficult child. It’s like they sense there’s another baby and it’s really difficult for them. When she acts crazy at home, I let her have her moment because I think we all need that even as adults. After that we talk or cuddle. I constantly have to remind her how much I love her. However, when she she throws things at her older sister or older brother, she gets a timeout. Sits down against the wall for 4 minutes. If she moves, the timer starts over. If she talks, timer starts over.

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Stop reacting. . my daughter was like this and she did it for attention. I didn’t react when she did and after awhile she stopped all together. Also she might be frustrated if she cant communicate kor knkws there is a baby coming and is acting out because of that. Spend more positive time with her

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Going through this with my 4 year old he will even hit his siblings. The doctor said he would out grow this he is probably just jealous that he is not the only child anymore. I also asked if he could be tested for ADHD but he said we cannot test him until he goes to school.

Ignore any outbursts. When she hits you, throw her butt in time out. Dont use her bed but use a couch or the corner. 3 is a tough age. You’ll get through it, though. :heart:

Following. My 4 year old is the same way, but I’m not pregnant

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Consistency, tough love, and prayers for strength :blue_heart: Pretty much what everyone else is saying. She’s capable of behaving. So at home mommy and daddy need to ignore the bad and praise/celebrate the good behavior. I’m a mom of 2 boys. My oldest was 2.5 when my second was born and it was my second c section. They both were at home with me because daddy had to work… It gets better. You can’t be their friend. They’re now 3 soon to be 4 and 16 months. :blue_heart:

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My 3 year old is the same way. Im loaing my mind too. Consistency is key. My 5 year old was the same way at 3 hes getting better now tbat we can hold conversations and he is able to understand me a little better. Just stay strong and be consistent they tend to grow out of it

Apologizing now my thoughts are all over the place!

Redirect and give options. Distraction is the best thing to redirect. Be like “oh hey! Look at this!” Give appropriate options such as you can wear this or this today if getting dressed is an issue… also if there is a favorite anything (activity, snack etc) you can be like if you pick up all your babies and put them to bed we will do/have X. Figure out what her triggers are and redirect before it gets to that point. I had a biter and I had to look for her cues (usually she was tired and/or wasn’t getting her way) so I would redirect and distract her before she had a meltdown and bit. Dont get me wrong she is still a fighter at almost 7 years old and most certainly hold her own against all her older siblings but it broke her of the biting. Just have to be consistent.

Also if she does go into meltdown and tantrum mode ignore it. If shes in a safe place just leave her there to throw it and when shes done resume what it was (picking up toys etc).

Also it might be she is very tired after her day at school so let her rest or have quiet time.

You just kinda have to see what works for her or for the situation. Not everything will work all the time. But you need to keep yourself safe so if she is kicking hitting just walk away or let dad deal with her if she is there.

Another thing is have her help you in a fun way. Before and after baby gets here. Things will be rough for her when baby gets here so let her help and make her feel included. Let her get baby a diaper and wipes or a toy. Let her “read” a story to baby and show her how to be gentle.

You should most definitely block her and say “I can’t allow you to hit or kick me” but by yelling and hitting her you aren’t modeling the behaviour you want to see. And when you say she doesn’t listen is it because you’re possibly not speaking her language? How are you talking to her? No one likes orders being barked at them all the time. If you haven’t already, get down to her level and try naming the emotion or the problem. (Sometimes you have to wait for her to calm down a bit for her to hear you but that’s ok) “I see you’re frustrated. How can mommy help?”… “you must be sad we have to leave the park but if we go home we can make a yummy snack. What would you like to help mommy make when we get home?” By adding empathy mixed with logic and problem solving, it diffuses the emotion. Then once she’s calm is the moment to teach her what she can do next time (because to discipline is to teach, not punish). “Its ok to be angry. But it hurts people when you hit them. Next time lets stomp our feet like a big angry dinosaur instead. Lets practice”

Also, lots of warnings and choices help too. I’ll use the park as an example again, warn her that you’re leaving in 10 min, 5 min, 2 min. Set a timer if you have to “oops timer says we have to go” puts the blame on your phone, not you. As for choices… do you want to wear the green dress or jeans? Do you want eggs or oatmeal? Do you want to hop like a bunny or trot like a pony over to me so we can put our shoes on?

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I’m in the SAME boat with my two year old. Nothing is working!!!

When mine does this I put them in their room n tell them when your done you can come out n I close the door and when they are done they come out and we talk about why they had to be put there now they’re so used to it my 2 year old when he gets grumpy and knows he’s about to act up will look at me n say paw patrol night night mom grab a bottle on his own mind you walk to his room n chill for about 10-15 minutes come back out all smiles again n I ask him you better bubby he says yes mommy n we go back to playing I don’t care if they scream n have their moment in their room cause well we all have them I can not hold them to a higher standard then I’ll hold myself to but it has to be in their own room cause I don’t want to hear nor does anyone else it works here anyways good luck momma

Jamie Marie Ordway maybe this can help you with Connor?

Put her in her room until she quit take All toys that will brake window or thing’s that will cut her let her do her thing. But you should sit quite out side the door don’t say anything to her until she quits then talk softly to her tell her that you can understand better when you talk softly. Repeat over when she gets like that

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If its lasted longer than 6 months, talk to your pediatrician about a referral to a psychologist. Sounds like oppositional defiant disorder. My 9 year old son has it.


OK, As a mother of 5 two step and 3 of my own the youngest one being 5 and she is also Spoiled to the brim…Here is my advice… Someone above my comment got laughed at for suggesting counseling and I honestly do agree with it for one reason… A child this young MAY BE ACTING OUT THIS WAY TO GET ATTENTION ON SOMETHING THAT COULD BE HAPPENING TO HER that she does NOT know how to talk about…A licensed professional may be able to get her to open up. It could be anything from bullies at daycare/prek or something more severe (feel free to think of all the possible worst case scenarios) Hopefully its nothing (lord willing) but a counselor could also give her a platform to feel like she has a voice since her nose is being broke a bit with the new baby coming and she is showing hostility towards the belly…I agree giving her a safe outlet to express herself now may be better than her possibly harming the new sibling or things getting worse. At some point especially when you have already said you have exhausted all the tried and true options : time out, spanking, removal of stuff and such…there is a bigger issue that needs to be discovered…She’s trying to tell you something mama.


Can you please clarify, did you say she is the the first baby on yours, her dad’s, AND your boyfriend’s side? If that is the case, not judging at all, but maybe it’s a lot of changes for her? And now you are pregnant again so maybe she is not adapting to change?

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My son would make the girls kneel on rice or make them kneel in the corner with their nose to the wall.


I used to teach preschool (also have 4 kids). Just like adults some kids have to learn how to control their emotions. A child would act like this at home because that’s where they would be the most comfortable, maybe have a day at school, something bugs them, come home and just let it all out. But at this age and stage of brain development, they can’t be angry and focus on something else at the same time. Literally, there’s studies on this. If she’s freaking out and you give her something heavy to hold, she has to focus on the weight. I used to have an entire angry box of things that work for kids and you can make stuff at home cheap and see if anything works, like a kid stress ball. She has to focus energy on squishing. Or a big squishing lap pad, because it’s got weight to it, and she can push it around, but at the same time it’s like those $200 weighted blankets they sell for adults for anxiety etc. Make a cup with streamers to blow into to “blow the angry away” like a fire breathing dragon, etc. Some kids who had issues would slowly start to recognize they were getting frustrated but before a melt down come ask for the dragon and roar and blow into it. There’s lots of stuff to try maybe something will work for her. Here’s a link to a couple DIY.


How much positive attention is she getting from you when she isn’t acting up? Sometimes attention is attention and she’ll get it any way she can. Try ignoring the bad and rewarding the good.


Time out, when you put her in timeout explain what she did, if she get up, without saying a word to her grab her and put her back (do not start the time until she finally stays there) it will be a bit frustrating, but she’ll get it when she realizes mommy isn’t acknowledging her but just putting her back in time out, once she is finally stayed and done her time, explain again what she did, have her apologize to you when needed, and then give her loves… trying making personal time to spend with her with an active (drawing, making a puzzle, reading a book) sometimes kids will inflict bad behavior just to get attention, they don’t care if its negative attention, show her more positive attention and the negative attention will slow down… use a firm voice when needed… you’d be surprised what a little bit of structure can do… you’ve got this mama’s…

Welcome to 3. It’s challenging. They’re crazy and they don’t listen and they don’t care where you are.

Stay calm, be consistent, and eventually they start listening. Don’t make threats, always follow through with a consequence if you have said it’s going to Happen

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Search for the group “Gentle Parents Unite”. They have incredible advice and will not let you down.

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How is she at school? Talk with her teacher and see what they do or how they discipline. And bring it home. That way it’s the same punishment whether she’s home or not.
She’ll get it eventually. My son is almost 3 and is terrible DOESNT listen for shit. So I’m still learning too

Oh dear lord she’s 3 you’re expecting way too much.First of don’t lose your cool toddlers require utmost patience second every little thing she does good requires praise (ex. If she’s sitting quietly tell her job for sitting quietly, or she picks up her toys tell her good job that makes you happy) praise and hugs works wonders


I give my 3 year old a 1 2 warning and 3 I put him in timeout for 3 mins and when he gets out we hug and then I’ll tell him no hitting and then be done with it I count 123 because he gets a chance to apologize and stop the key is prositints

Love and logic tells you to completely baby proof the room and shut them in but you MUST sit outside the door. Say I love you, you can come out when your nice. And make sure they can’t hurt themself.

She is defo acting her age pushing and testing boundaries. You just need to set the boundaries and have yourself back in control. And make sure every one is on the same side

Just ignore her if shes not in danger of hurting herself or falling or something if she sees shes not getting the reaction she wants or the attention she will stop it will be hard but be persistent you are the adult not her

I wouldn’t spank especially if she’s having trouble hitting and kicking. That’s basically saying it’s okay to hit… First off is there a trigger causing this? Has anything changed in the home? You said your pregnant, have you been getting things ready for the new baby? Sounds like maybe she can feel the change coming. I would try to include her in things, maybe get her a new baby doll with pretend diapers, a baby bottle and some accessories for her baby and show her how to be nice to the baby and take care of her baby. It is really hard on our littles ones especially if they’re use to all the attention or since you say your on bed rest and high risk maybe she is acting out as an attention thing. Sounds silly but kids do it all the time. I’m not saying you aren’t giving her attention just sometimes they have a hard time communicating with us and show us what they need by how they’re reacting to everything and everyone :purple_heart:

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Mine is turning 3 Monday and acts the same way but in front of people she’s the sweetest little girl.

If possible I would make a play room and all toys ect. Would stay there and her room would be a quite time room for sleeping and time outs. When she starts yelling and misbehaving I would put her in her room shut the door and stay outside the room. When she calls down I would explain that this is what happens when she acts out. If she comes out and not calm put her back in. This will be a battle of strength but if you follow thru it will work out. May God bless you.

You must be and stay consistent.

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Go outside and get you a switch and tell him you going to use it on and popthem with it one time and they’ll behave the rest of the time


It’s because she’s spoiled my daughter is the same way and I just had another but you need to stop spoiling her and ignore her tantrums. Don’t coddle or reason with her she’s 3. Let her know you are the boss not her or it will only get worse


Lock her in a room for 3 minutes with no toys. Every single time she kicks you. Toddlers hate having nothing to do or play with


I spoiled mine as well and there is no magic fix for it unfortunately🤷‍♀️ Once you go that route the only way to fix it is long, hard work on our end. Make rules, fair and age appropriate rules, of course, stick with your punishments, mean what you say and say what you mean, and staying consistent is the biggest part, honestly. Some days are really tough, sometimes it’s a lot of tough days in a row, but I realized that every time I gave in, or didn’t keep my word, my kid took that inch and ran a mile and we were starting ALL OVER AGAIN🤦‍♀️


They warn us of the terrible 2s, but never about the horrible 3s & fearsome 4s…


Is she acting out for attention? Kids will do anything for attention, positive or negative. Do not give her any other option but to listen and act appropriately

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When mine threw a fit, I just told them mommy ears can’t understand you when you behave like that. That lasted until they realized I was not going to help them. I just stood there going, what? I can’t hear you. We also had play time and rest time. During play time we played together or cuddled their choice. During rest time they had to go to their rooms, I told them they didn’t have to go to sleep but they had to stay in their rooms. They could play alone or lay down, they usually took naps. Being consistent and keeping control of your anger is a big help. At that age, they don’t know how to express what they feel you have to teach them. It doesn’t happen overnight but it will come and it will be a big help once you have the second child.


I would also maybe talk to your pediatrician about it. Maybe there is an underlying cause? It won’t hurt to have someone talk to her who isnt you.

I had one of those. She is 40 ish now. Her strong will is now a blessing. In a teetering job market with an auto immune disease, she conquers all. Wish I let her have her way more. You never know what battles they are being prepared to fight

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I’d ignore her… and stay away when she’s mean. “If your not nice i don’t want to be near you” “i don’t like sitting next to mean girls”

Well its normal :woman_shrugging: this requires patience and time. Meanwhile consider talk therapy. This is where the therapist will play with her while they talk, making her comfortable to Express herself and yes even at 3. They can possibly get to the root of the problem. If she is ok at school but home she completely different, then I wonder what at home could be sparking her behavior?

Terrible Twos Trying threes and Fearless Fours!!! Add a little spoiling and BOOM this is the result… Simply put, time And patience. Punishment and reward. Age appropriate (of course) as someone mentioned earlier. It will get better even if it does seem like that right now I promise you it will get better

Your child is a young toddler, and doesn’t have the cognitive function or development to understand, it’s taken you 3 years to get here so change isn’t going to happen over night, but punishing her for having feelings and emotions, that’s you have helped create unfortunately won’t help either, you’re just going to have to keep explaining you can have this, because… No we can’t go there because… but we can do this instead…
I know you’re upset and frustrated but how about we kick a ball or play a game to help you calm down, you’re her mumma and her role model, you can’t expect her to know what to do, you have to help her get through this phase, and better yet help her move forward with the ability to deal with it :slight_smile:

patience ma you are doing a good job. I would not ignore her, i think this is her way of letting out some sort of emotion. Kids are the worst for their moms cause they feel the safest with them. 3 is a hard year, this will eventually pass. Be consistent with whatever you choose to do discipline wise. Personally we do time outs or take things away but thats your call. Just dont give in, its hard i know. I would also try to fit in some one on one time with her if u arent already. My 4 year old sometimes acts out when she just wants mom to play or love her

I would suggest taking her to see a Psychologist. I also would give her options like: maybe she wants chocolate candy bar and it’s too late for her to have sweets/caffeine,say she can have that tomorrow and give her something else that she likes that doesn’t have sugar/caffeine in it. Or if she starts throwing a fit about something tell her that if she continues that you will spank her/time out or she can go play quietly in her room. But regardless she can not be hitting and kicking you in the stomache. Gotta protect that baby. Do you think that she may be jealous of the baby? Maybe she’s thinking that she’s loosing MOMMY to a new baby? When you do have the baby, you might want to involve her in helping change the baby or help bath the baby or help sing to her. And always tell her that you love her no matter what. My son has ADHD and was diagnosed with it at 3yrs. I was taking him to see a Psychologist. So I know that kids that young can see a counselor.

Have you ever tried to memic her so she can see you are acting like her I did that to my daughter or I had a big baby doll that singed and I would scared with that and she would also calm down and now she misbehaves not as bad any more she is calmer and she is 4 years old cause the spanking don’t work and time out don’t either try the memic and up date me