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camd2000, Parent Coach/Therapist
Category: Parenting
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Experience:  Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Child and Family Therapist, Parent Educator and Mother.
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My 3.5 year old son has been extremely naughty lately. Example,

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My 3.5 year old son has been extremely naughty lately. Example, yesterday he spit a mouthful of water in another boy's face at daycare - when I spoke to him about it his response was - I like to be naughty with a smile! Now today he pushed that same little boy and said he likes to push him? My husband and I do not want a naughty child that no one likes. He has been telling us that he likes to be the bad guy/kid??? And any punishment does not seem to bother him? Please help ... we also have a almost 2 year old son who we do not want to learn this behavior!

Thank you.

camd2000 :

Thank you for contacting Just Answer. I hope that I can help you with your question.

camd2000 :

How long has this behavior been going on?

camd2000 :

I am sorry that you have been having difficulty with your son and I understand your concern and that you want your son to be well-behaved, well-liked and not to teach your other child this behavior. It is most likely a phase, but there are definitely some things you can try. One thing you want to look at is why he might be saying that he "likes to be naughty". He is probably saying that because there is something he is getting out of being naughty - typically a child who continues a "negative behavior" does so because he is unsure of another way to behave, or he receives attention, or gets some type of reaction that he enjoys (an exaggerated response from someone. It sounds like you have tried a variety of things. But, here are some more ideas. First I would work closely with the day care to find out how they are handling it there. Is the behavior just happening at day care or elsewhere too? It is best if the behavior is addressed immediately following the behavior. An adult should respond neutrally (meaning a neutral tone and neutral facial expression) with gentle reminders of the proper behavior, redirection and a consequence (related to the behavior). It is very important to be consistent in your responses and to be neutral. It takes some time but it should help the behavior. Also, helping your son with teaching him social skills at home by modeling, role playing and reading books will help teach him alternative behaviors (make sure you give lots of positive praise for these behaviors). Please know that defiance is a typical 3 year old behavior and it will get better. And that is why it is so important to respond neutrally. If you would like more details or specifics on how to implement the consequences or what types of consequences please let me know. I also do have some handouts on discipline if you are interstested I can attach them. I hope this has been helpful. If so, please give me a positive rating and if not, please let me know what I can do to be of further assistance. I wish you the best. Kerrie


Thank you. This behavior happens on and off but he has been more this week than ever. He will do this behavior both at home and daycare. If you would attach handouts on discipline ideas that would be much appreciated!

camd2000 :

Hi, Sorry it took me a bit to get back to you. The other thing you can do is try to spend some extra special time with him playing (even 5-15 minutes) following the play techniques on one of the handouts I am attaching. This special one on one time can really help reduce behavior. I am attaching the play handout, a temperament handout and a discipline handout. Please let me know if you have any questions about them.

Attachment: 2013-04-27_113801_play_handout.docx

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Attachment: 2013-04-27_114115_discipline_21.docx

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Attachment: 2013-04-27_114145_temperament11.doc

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camd2000 and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Jacee,

I wanted to see how things are going for you. Have the tips I gave you been helpful? Is there anything further I can do to assist you?