How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask proexpert37 Your Own Question
proexpert37, Educator/Life Coach
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1374
Experience:  Teacher 20+ years, Parent, Expert Mentor
Type Your Parenting Question Here...
proexpert37 is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I seem to have a very stong willed 3 year old son. I am a single

Customer Question

I seem to have a very stong willed 3 year old son. I am a single mom, which makes discipline very difficult. I have tried timeouts but he refuses to stay in his bedroom. I have tried putting him back in there without saying anything to him. I have done this over and over and over again but it just does not seem to be working. If I tell him he is not allowed to have something, he gets it anyway. I will take it and put back. But he goes and gets it again. Everyday is a constant fight with him. I understand to a certian point that he is only 3, but how do I make him realize that I am the boss? I just dont know what to do. I am just about at my whits end with this. He is the same way at daycare.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Bonnie replied 6 years ago.
Hello and thank you for consulting JA,

Your son is showing the symptoms of Oppositional Defiant Disorder. I would like to recommend a book that will help you with his strong will throughout his childhood. Read it and re-read it and keep it handy for the difficult times:

It is called Your Deviant Child and the author is Russell Barkley. You can find it on his website or an Amazon or other on line bookstores.

Good luck...
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Well, I dont agree with your answer. I looked this 'Mental Illness' up on WebMD. First of all, he is not hostile, he does not have any learning disablilites, or mood disorders.


I think it is his age and that he is trying to see how much he can be in control. That is why I specifically clicked on someone to answer my question that was a parenting specialist with no medical training. It seems as though every child that does't sit on the couch and not move has some type of 'Mental Illness'. And, no, I am not a mother in denial.


Thanks...but no thanks.

Expert:  Bonnie replied 6 years ago.
Okay, but the book I recommended does give all the strategies for these non-compliant behaviors.

We could soften it by saying Oppositional and Defiant behaviors which are aggression and noncompliance. It looks like he does not have the aggression component but the strategies still work.

I will opt out so another can answer.

Edited by Bonnie on 2/5/2011 at 6:31 PM EST
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 6 years ago.
Hello my friend. Has your son always been a strong willed child? How does he behave with other children his age and other adults? Is he an only child?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
No, he has not always been strong willed. Seems to have become this way within the past 6 months or so. Yes he plays well with other kids, and adults he does not know as he knows family, yes he is as well behaved with them as expected from a 3 year old. No, he is not an only child. He has an older sister that is almost 6.
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 6 years ago.

Your son has come to a point in his young life and has realized that he does not have to do everything that Mommy says. He now has developed his own separate agenda. Continue to have structure and limits. Be consistent as well with your demands. Use a stern voice when reprimanding if needed. These elements are essential for enforcing discipline. The main gaol of discipline is to teach what is acceptable and what is not. It should not serve as a punishment with yelling and spanking all of the time.


What you must do now is do not give bad behavior attention so difficult as that may be. You must focus more on the positive actions that your son is exhibiting and really praise and reward him. If you tell him to go in his room and he only stays a limited time, praise him for his limited time and request that he stay longer next time.


You want to reconnect with your son and have lots of fun. These years of youth will soon be gone. Get him involved in activities outside the home as well. Some parks and recreation programs have activities for three year olds.


Be a good role model for your son. Do not let him know that you are frustrated with him. Stay as positive as you can. A loving and nurturing household is what will motivate him to do improve.


Hope this helps!!! If not, let me know.