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TherapistJen, LCSW, CPC
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 2738
Experience:  Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Certified Coach Mom of Twins.
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What is the best way to show my 3 year old boy that im boss,

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What is the best way to show my 3 year old boy that im boss, and when i command him to do something, he has to do it right away?

(Right now im using a technique where i count to 3, if by 3 he doesnt do what im asking, i spank him once in the behind)
Hi. Thank you for joining me. Please forgive any typos as I get very immersed in my work with you and my brain may go faster than my fingers.
Good morning. Your question is a good one because most parents struggle with this, but I must tell you that his behavior is normal for his age.
At age 3 he is beginning to test his independence and connecting back with you and he does this by testing the limits to see what he can and cannot do. He is not acting this way to make you angry.
It requires firm boundaries on your part and consistency on those boundaries The boundary doesn't need to be that rigid, but it needs to be consistent. Obviously if his safety is involved a rigid boundary is needed. Often I suggest to pick your battles...meaning that if there is a space where you see him testing and in the end is no big deal, let him have that independence so he can have the feeling of independence but in the areas where there is no wiggle room such as time to get dressed for school or bath time, you are firm on the boundary. I am not a big fan of spanking..doesn't seem to have much effect either.
I prefer a simple and short time out...a minute for every year. So he is 3, then he would sit in a chair for 3 minutes. I wouldn't engage with him during this time, but make sure he is in a safe place. We would all love if our children would do something we asked the first time we ask, but that is not likely at this age. During the time when he does do something when you ask, please commend him for that behavior as that is the behavior you are trying to reinforce. Often too much focus on the behavior you don't want only reinforces the behavior as they see they are getting attention for it.
So to sum it all up.
1-He is in normal development for testing limits
2-Set your boundary around the task. "I need you to get dressed now so we can go to school. If you do not get dressed now you will need to sit in your private chair." and let him know that he will lose a privilege. Don't make empty threats.
3-If you count to 3 and he does not begin to get dressed then place him in the chair and let him know he needs to sit there.
4-Give him some areas where he can feel a sense of pride and let him have some wins too.
5-Praise the good behavior when he does do what you ask him to do.
6-Remember this behavior is normal.
7-Try the time out chair rather than the spanking.
8-Be consistent so that he is not confused.
I hope you have found these tips helpful.
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