How to manage your 3 year old’s tantrums and bad behaviour

November 22, 2019
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    Your threenager can certainly dig his heels in – when he doesn’t want to do something, he can stand his ground no matter what you say. At times, he acts as if he is the boss at home, not you, and it’s hard staying cool when your child refuses to cooperate. Here are strategies to manage your stubborn, unhelpful preschooler.

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  • Keep control of your temper
    2 / 11 Keep control of your temper

    Despite your best intentions, your blood may start to boil when your three-year-old refuses to cooperate with you. If you think you are close to exploding, remove yourself from the situation – while making sure he is safe – and don’t come back until your temper has cooled.

    Related: 3 ways to tame your child’s temper

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  • Don’t anticipate confrontations
    3 / 11 Don’t anticipate confrontations

    The problem with your child’s repeated non-cooperation is that you start to expect a battle even before a problem has arisen. Your anxiety about what you think may happen when you ask him to do something increases his tension as well, which makes him more awkward to deal with.

    Related: How to handle your stubborn kid


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  • Tell him why he should cooperate
    4 / 11 Tell him why he should cooperate

    He’s more likely to do so when he understands how he’ll benefit from it, too. So, explain to him, for instance, that if he tidies his toys now, he will have time for an extra story before he goes to bed. He needs to understand that cooperation is good for him as well as for you.

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  • Keep repeating your request
    5 / 11 Keep repeating your request

    Calmly refuse to accept his non-cooperation – if your little one consistently refuses to do as you ask, resist the temptation give in for the sake of an easy life. Persist with your gentle but firm request until he responds positively. He needs to know you won’t back down.

    Related: 7 ways you can handle your child’s tantrums

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  • Never make empty threats
    6 / 11 Never make empty threats

    Make sure that you always follow through. For example, if you warn him that he will be punished in a specific way for not cooperating with you, stick to what you have said. Empty threats simply teach him that you don’t mean what you say, and consequently they will actually encourage him to ignore your request.

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  • Use positive techniques
    7 / 11 Use positive techniques

    Rewards, praise and positive language can be just as effective as punishment. For example, complimenting him when he eventually does what you ask reinforces his cooperation, making it more likely that he will behave this way in the future. Give him a special treat as a reward.

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  • Time rewards and punishments carefully
    8 / 11 Time rewards and punishments carefully

    A varied mixture of carrots and sticks have the greatest impact when they are given immediately after the behaviour has occurred – the closer the better. Avoid the “wait till your father comes home” threat because too much time will have passed by then.

    Related: How to control your toddler’s temper

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  • Encourage rather than force
    9 / 11 Encourage rather than force

    If you bully your toddler into obeying – and you can probably do this because you are bigger than him– your success on this occasion will only be temporary, and he’ll do what he wants as soon as you turn your back. Help your kid develop a cooperative spirit with your encouragement instead.

    Related: 10 ways to discipline your 3 year old

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  • Be consistent
    10 / 11 Be consistent

    Your child looks for weaknesses, and if he thinks you lack consistency, he will continue to be defiant. Bear in mind that teaching your kid how to cooperate with you is a long-term process. But if you adopt an unwavering approach, you’ll gradually begin to see positive changes.

    Related: How to manage tantrums in a 5 year old

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  • Have confidence in yourself
    11 / 11 Have confidence in yourself

    The daily grind of confrontation can wear you down. The incessant challenges soon reduce your confidence and you may start to doubt your effectiveness. Don’t let that happen – remind yourself that you are doing a good job.

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