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My wife and I have 3 year old daughter Olivia. She is lovely and very sweet at normal times. She goes to daycare everyday and am happy in the daycare with her friends. However, here comes with her problem. Her personality seems very different from others in my opinion. She is very demanding. Sometimes she insisted something very consistently. If my wife and I don't satisfy her, she will cry and crash for very long time. We don't know how to distract her.

For example, this just happened this morning. She finished her breakfast in the morning and my wife wanted to take her to the daycare. She insisted that she wanted to play for another two minutes and then go. OK, my wife agreed. But after 2 minutes she asked for another 7 minutes. My wife knew her personality and again agreed. After 7 minutes she still requested more time and said she didn't want to go to daycare today again and again. Of course my wife can't convince her. When my wife was trying to force her to get dressed, she became out of control. She cried, fell on the ground, took off the pants and socks, and became like totally out of control. Eventually my wife used her strength and carried her to the car and sent her to the daycare. You can imagine the process was really out of control and my daughter cried with sharp scream. Finally when my daughter got to the daycare and saw her friends and teachers, she became a little calmed down. I would guess she will have a good day in daycare. But these types of stuff has happened several times a week and now becomes a routine for her life. I want to check your opinion. When she is happy and normal, she can be very lovely and adorable. But when she can't get what she wants and we can't distract her, things become out of control and drive us crazy. Is it common or a little bit uncommon to a 3 year old girl? Or I should make appoint with mental health care professional for help?

Thank you very much for your advice.

  • A three-year-old trying to control things. I've never heard of such a thing - except from the parents of every other three-year-old in the world. :-) This is a normal three-year-old thing. Yes, it can be upsetting and aggravating to us as parents. We need to be firm-but-not-harsh, we need to set limits (five minutes means five minutes) - and sometimes if she insists on ripping her clothes off she goes to the car with her butt hanging out (if the weather's not too cold) or wrapped up in a blanket (if it's cold) and gets dressed when she gets to school (been there, done that). Best of luck. – Bob Jarvis May 19 '16 at 12:10
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It sounds like you are giving her too much control and now shes basically in charge here.

Instead of letting her have 5 more minutes... 5 more minutes... 5 more minutes...

Approach her with a warning that you are going to leave (or change activity). "Ok honey in 10 minutes we are going to put on our coat to go to day care." Then in 5 minutes "5 more minutes until we go to day care.."

Those two warnings are her 5 more minutes.

When the time comes "Ok time to put on your coat. Your toys will be here for you later." and that's it. If she tantrums, let her. If need be you can attempt a distraction try letting her choose something, "Do you want to wear you red sweater to daycare or your green one today?"

Don't give her choices about things that must happen. She must stop playing and go to day care - but let her choose on non important issues, i.e. Red or green sweater.

If she tantrums or refuses to choose, pick a sweater and dress her.

She will only put up a fight for a little while. If you are very consistent with "We have to leave in X minutes" and you make her leave, then it no longer becomes negotiable. Hope that helps.

P.S. This behavior seems pretty normal for a 3 year old. I don't think she needs a mental health care professional, just some consistent discipline.

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