Posted in Behavior, Toddlers

Toddler talking back

Anonymous

I don’t know what to do with my almost 3 year old anytime I ask him to do something he doesn’t want to do he yells at me that he doesn’t like me and he doesn’t have to and I tell him to do it or go on time out and he chooses to stand in the corner over whatever it was I asked of him. I’ve tried talking nicely I’ve tried yelling I’ve tried time out I’ve tried rewards but he won’t do what I ask. Example: I told him he had 5 min of playtime left before bed then we needed to pick up toy but then when the time was up I told him we needed to pick toys up and he started yelling no I don’t have to I’m not talking to you anymore and turned away so I told him it’s not nice to talk that way to people and he said I’m not talking to you so I said he was making me sad and told him it is time to pick up toys then go lay down and read a book and he just screamed so I told him he could pick up toys or stand in the corner and he just walked right over to the corner 🤦‍♀️

  • Toni
    Jan 31

    When he yells or talks back the first time or even before he gets that first word out (while he’s yelling)....That’s when you get up, walk over to your child, grab his hand or shoulder firmly and get down in in his face on his level and let him know that he can not and will not talk to you in that way. You don’t have to yell, just firmly tell him. And do this every single time he starts this yelling/talking back. Then walk him over to do what you told him too. Basically force him to do what you told him. I will guide mine over (with my hand on the firmly shoulder) and repeat what I told them to do over and over again (every 5sec) until they do it. With the older ones I get super close to them and invade their personal space...now when they see me moving in, they do it before I get to them lmao! But the three year old, I now basically live with my face in her face telling her to do what I asked and stop talking back. He’ll probably cry and maybe have a tantrum. Completely ignore the crying/tantrum by not saying anything or comforting/address it at all (there have been times where I’ve completely stepped over a child who has fallen out in the floor). When he calms down, go back to having him do what you asked him to do. Whatever you do, Be Consistent, if you don’t, you’ll be a joke!

  • Athena
    Jan 31

    So I have a different opinion than Toni. What we know about behavioral science is that tactics like intimidation, strong-arming and getting in your child’s face are not effective and can actually make things worse. Your child is not even 3, not 8 or 10. And it was right before a nap! So a) he’s tired, so of course is going to have a shorter fuse, and b) things are so exciting of course he doesn’t want to take a nap! He’s not being disrespectful or “talking back” that’s what a teenager does, knowingly and willfully. Your son is being a developmentally normal 3 year old. He’s testing boundaries and exerting his will, trying to find a little control in a life he doesn’t have a lot of control over. A 3 year old has no impulse control. Zero. They literally cannot behave sometimes, even if they want to. So why are we punishing them for something their brains can’t control? Don’t take it personally, don’t get angry, don’t overreact - or they learn pretty quickly that they have power over you because they know they can push your button and get a reaction out of you and if they don’t get positive attention from you they will seek negative attention from you. When my 3.5 year old son says crap like that I ignore him, and/or roll my eyes at him and walk away. In your situation you could say something like “I see you’re having a hard time right now. Let’s pick up your toys together and get ready for nap.” Asking him to pick up his toys at all at age two, and especially when he is overtired, is asking a lot of him. Dare I say it’s asking too much of him. Realistic expectations of your child is key. I recommend Janet Lansbury’s podcast “unruffled” as well as Laura Markham’s blog “aha parenting”.

  • Anonymous
    Jan 31

    I think being at eye level with your child is a great idea. He probably won’t yell at you if he’s looking at you in the eyes. I definitely don’t consider that intimidation.

  • Jenn
    Jan 31

    Try giving him 2 productive choices (not just do as I say or be in time-out). For instance: "It's time to put your toys away. Would you like to put away the cars or the blocks?" and help him clean up the rest. You can also try to make it fun by racing him..whoever cleans up quicker wins (figure out if you need a prize for that moment or not... most 3 year olds are content to just beat you at something 😋).

  • Ashley
    Jan 31

    I have an almost 3 year old as well. When he starts acting up I calmly tell him to turn his listening ears on and repeat what I asked him to do. If he doesn’t listen I explain my reasons for asking him to do x, y and z. He usually just doesn’t understand why I am asking him to do something. He is really into the why stage. If that still doesn’t work I explain that he will lose something if he doesn’t listen (his favorite car for the next hour, his favorite book, etc). Usually that will do the trick. Just be calm and remind yourself that they are little and just trying to figure out what they can get away with. Stay calm and consistent. You got this mama!

  • Toni
    Jan 31

    Hey Athena it’s all good. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I’ve read plenty of parenting books, articles attended workshops and seminars with my husband, other parents, at school, even paid for. Call it strongarming if you please...I don’t see anything wrong with letting my toddler know how to and how not to communicate with me and firmly guiding them to do what they need to do. Nor do I see a problem with making them clean up. Talking back as a teenager is a learned behavior by not correcting it as a child. We have five kids in total ages 23 to 3, with four under 10 & under and 4 of the 5 kids live with us full time. The last four attend Montessori school so I’m well aware of letting the child have choices within boundaries and a sense of autonomy. This method what works for us when the 123 Magic method does not. You can do it your way, I’ll do it mine. I am just not going to allow my kids to play with me like that.

  • Julie
    Jan 31

    I disagree overall that it’s asking too much to ask an almost 3 year old to pick up their toys. My 17 month old will help me pick her toys up if I ask. She “helps” with all kinds of chores around the house. She goes to daycare and her teachers start playing the clean up song and all the kids help clean (meaning, it’s not just that I have an exception, she’s in a class with 4 boys and 4 girls and they all help and are expected to help). I also disagree that toddlers lack zero impulse control. They have to be reminded often and often they are unsuccessful, but it’s not like they have no control over their impulses at all. I’ve never hit my child and I’ve only raised my voice when she was in impending danger (about to shut her hands in a door or getting too close to stairs for example). She’s in no way afraid of me. There’s no real disciplining going on but she does learn what’s right and what’s wrong with constant repetition and praise when she does something correctly. If I were you and if you haven’t already, I would try to have your child play in group or social settings when possible, let them see what other children are doing and hopefully get some examples of behavior you desire. Also, maybe try give options that don’t include time out but aren’t as daunting as cleaning all the toys. I’m not sure what that would mean for you, but for us it would be something like, “wow! What a mess! Mommy will pick up everything, but can you help me stack the books onto the shelves?” Not sure if this is helpful at all. Good luck!!

  • Julie
    Jan 31

    Also the eye level thing works wonders. I find that I live most of my home life on the floor since my daughter became a toddler. When I’m standing up straight on two feet, chances are she’s itching to be in my arms because she just doesn’t like not being able to see what I’m up to. But when I need to communicate something important such as how its time to go take a bath or clean up, or how dangerous it is for her to stand on her rocking horses back (🤦‍♀️😱), I get down at eye level and talk in the simplest terms possible. Eye level does help immensely. We all probably look so huge to them, lol.

  • Cryzana
    Feb 10

    Make a stern face and bend down (slowly) to his eye level while placing one finger lightly under his chin "forcing" him to face you...then tell him in a whisper: "You will put away your toys right now. If you like your toys you will take care of them. If you don't want to put away your toys then I'll just put them all in the garbage (or you can say I'll donate them to kids who will take care of them). If he doesn't clean up, gather all the toys and put them in a garbage bag then leave them in a hidden spot -the garage or your bedroom closet- for two or three days. If he starts to listen THEN give them back early. Another thing to consider is your timing. Do not ask him to do a chore 10 mins before nap/bed. Make sure you tell him to start at least an hour before. This gives time to set boundaries and time for rewards. For example: if you are telling him that you will read a book ONLY do that IF he completes the task. I have 3 boys ages 7 to 3 and I have them clean their room every time before starting a new task. This way the room doesn't get unbearably messy for the boys to clean up themselves. So they must clean their room before we go to the park, watch movies, have snack time, etc. And they know that if they don't listen they can have "grumpy mommy" or "happy mommy" it is their choice. But always remember to reward them for their good behavior as much as you would discipline the bad.