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Ask Dr. Rossi Your Own Question

Dr. Rossi
Dr. Rossi, Licensed Psychotherapist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 4627
Experience:  Certified Hypnotherapist, Parenting Book Author, 13+ years of experience.
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hi, three yr old girl very loved and not neglected ( we feel

Customer Question

hi, three yr old girl very loved and not neglected ( we feel ) in any way; She will take items she knows are taboo; hide with them and destroy or possibly injure herself. No discipline or punishment seems to work such as spanking,hand spank, raising the voice etc. lately she takes all her clothing from the dresser and throws them on the floor and pees and poops on them she is also involving her 15 month old sister in this activity, showing her how to take off her diaper and pee or poop on the clothes. We are lost, please help.....thanx
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Dr. Rossi replied 6 years ago.

Good Afternoon,


When did the behavior start and do you know if something is triggering it (possible trauma, change in her routines, etc)

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
mom and dad divorced she was 2 at that time it's the only reason we could think of
Expert:  Dr. Rossi replied 6 years ago.

The behaviors may be caused by anger and may also act as attention seeking or even punishing the adults.


Punishment may not be the best tool to correct her behavior. She may reply on punishment to feel a sense of her self existence.


Routines have to be followed and each guardian/disciplinarian must use the same parenting approach.


You may want to try to implement a behavioral reward system (for the desired/good behavior) allowing her to earn things that she finds pleasant (extra play time, sticker, toy, treat, etc) and use a lot of praise. This may take some time as she gets used to it. Nothing would be an overnight miracle. The rewards have to be given shortly after the positive behavior. If she does well that day, she should be rewarded at that time. She is too young to grasp that "tomorrow" she'd get this or that or go to the park. The motivation would wear off if the gratification is delayed.


Try to notice if the behavior escalates during certain times (is she comes back from visiting one parent, when she may be jealous from her sibling, etc) Stress can increase the acting out behavior.


If you reside in an area where there is a mental health center offering therapy for younger kids, see if there is a play therapist she can work with.

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