Do You Have a Difficult Three Year Old?

If you have a difficult three year old or any age in preschool, what is the problem? A recent report on MSNBC suggested that parents’ pre-occupation with their kids’ self-esteem may have produced “rude” children who lack compassion for others.

According to MSNBC, “many experts say today’s kids are ruder than ever.”

A difficult three year old is often due to a lack of discipline. Child psychologists have been telling us to build up our child’s self-esteem. However, pampering them doesn’t do this. Instead it inflates a child’s self esteem and they have no respect for parents, other adults or other children.

“High self-esteem doesn’t make you any better; it only makes you think you are better, which, in the end, makes you worse.” Roy F. Baumeister, professor of psychology at Florida State University

So, how do you deal with a difficult three year old? One book that changed my parenting style and gave me help was  “Secrets of Discipline: 12 Keys for Raising Responsible Children” by Ronald G. Morrish. As a parent, you need to know what the guidelines are and how to teach your child to follow them. You must teach your child courtesy and respect, deal effectively with defiance, prepare your child for independence down the road. You don’t have to pull your hair out.

Read the full MSNBC article…

Read “Forget About Self Esteem”…

Read “How To Discipline My Toddler?”

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Posted in be an affective parent, How to Discipline Toddlers, Parenting Strong Willed Children
7 comments on “Do You Have a Difficult Three Year Old?
  1. mercerd says:

    interesting material, where such topics do you find? I will often go

  2. Taara says:

    it is great to read information like this.

    My 3 year old girl is proving to be very, very strong willed. She lashes out and often hits, bites and scratches whoever is nearest to her when she gets of the main recipients is my 8 year old daughter. She often clenches her fists and growls (very loudly) when she does not get her own way. I often wonder if this has anything to do with her being born as an ‘extreme prem. She was born at 25 weeks gestation (1.5lbs), and spent 3 months in NICU.

    We do visit a centre for premmies and they assess her at different stages, i have talked to them about her behaviour, but they say it is quite normal. Being the mother of an 8 year old, i have been through the toddler stage before..and to me, my 3 year olds behaviour is quite extreme. We have tried ‘The naughty corner’, time out..everything we can think of, but her anger is so intense. I feel like it is nothing she will ever grow out of at this stage. 😦

  3. editor says:

    Hi Taara, do you know what’s causing her frustration? Are there any specific triggers? I’m learning more about my child’s love languages and how to effectively fill their emotional tanks. Have you read the ‘Five Love Languages for your children’? Not sure if that could lead to something good. Here’s a video to learn more…

  4. kmason says:

    i also have a difficult 3 year old who yells and throws a fit when he does not get his way, he seems to act worse in public and especially around his grandparents, after staying a night with them everything changes and he doesnt even want to go to bed when hes suppose to and even has accidents when he is very well potty trained. we have tried everything including time out and taking away his favorite things…is there ANYTHING you suggest to calm him down and get him to mind w/o having to punish him or raise our voice, he starts school in 6 months and we have no idea how they are going to handle him b/c he also REFUSES to share and he gets what he wants by hitting……please help thank you, the masons

  5. the editor says:

    Here is one of my favourite resources for parenting: Start with the podcasts, videos and articles! I’ve used her techniques numerous times!

  6. My 3 1/2 year old is horrible. She is so tempermental and destructive. She is mean and rude. She throws huge fits when she doesn’t get her way and is EXTREMELY hyper active. Her father was diagnosed and medicated for ADHD during his childhood so he basicallly is refusing to let me get her tested for anything. I understand his apprehention because I watched my little brother be “drugged up” from ADHD meds and he ended up better off them…after he was on the for 3 years. I do think it helped even him out a bit. I just am at my wits end. It gets worse every day for the last year +. Noone seems to have any advice and just judge me. I can hear them now “she cannot control her child she is obviously a bad mom” I have tried everything from “nice mommy” to “upset mommy” to “timeout mommy” to “i give up mommy”. All my bf does is blame ME saying I let her get away with too much and don’t discipline her, however I do! I’ve done timeouts and stern talking toos and even a swat now and then if it gets really really bad. I fear that she has angry/adhd issues like her father and she needs help. just yesterday she emptied a gallon of milk, a box of malt o meal and baby ceral on her bedroom floor (I wasn’t home so I don’t know how she got into all of this) PLUS decided to use the bathroom onthe floor as well.(She was very difficult to potty train). Does anyone have success with angry/hyper children?

  7. the editor says:

    Thanks for sharing your frustration. You are not alone! I have appreciated the work of Dr. Jane Nelsen and her positive discipline teaching. Here’s her powerful ‘Mistaken Goal Chart’ which has helped me immensely:

    Visit for her articles, blog and podcast.

    You may also be interested in a recent talk I gave… “Mothers Who Shape Their Children’s Hearts” (Mother’s Day Message)

    Another article which refers to a book I highly recommend: Really Loving Your Child and Child Discipline

    Press on. Glad you are seeking answers. Way to go!

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