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Something that I have been told is that children often tune out the "no" or "don't" part of a command and only hear "throw that!" or "touch that!" So the supposed solution is to rephrase commands into positive statements like "put down that remote!" I don't know if that will help or not (my daughter is not sensitive to spanks but IS sensitive to timeouts, thank goodness) but it might be worth a try.

When our daughter went through the throwing stage, she only threw her own stuff, but whatever she threw we would put up on the top of the fridge so she could see it but not have it because she threw it. She learned quickly. And usually just said "No" or "Don't" instead of "Don't throw that" for the same reason the other poster said. Good luck. He may be naughty but he's gorgeous!

The solution is clearly to switch for my preschooler who is content knocking the other children over at school when he doesn't get what he wants. Throwing would be a nice change. If you find the secret, please pass it on.

Yep, things that are thrown are immediately confiscated. I find my kids respond best when I ignore, but I have a hard time with it.

I second KW's comment. My children don't understand "don't". Try it next time with "give mommy the remote control".

Dungeon, definitely. I hear rats work wonders on disobedient children. (My dungeon, alas, is still in construction mode.)

The few months before three were hellish here too - he's 3 and one month now and a totally different kid. Much nicer. I'd be confiscating things that he throws, putting as many breakable things away out of reach and teaching him to throw balls into a bucket instead. None of these things are guaranteed to work, but at least it would feel like I was doing something.

(PS, am a slight lurker - have been reading here for years.)

Whoever coined the phrase Terrible Twos obviously hadn't had a 3 year old yet. 3 is so much harder than 2. It is a phase, he will outgrow it. In the meantime, he is certainly old enough to know that throwing isn't ok and it will take some figuring to find out what works as a consequence. If he's throwing his own things, I'd say get a box and label it something like "Max's box of things" and he'll learn that anytime he throws something it goes in the box for x number of days and he can only earn 1 toy back at a time as he goes a certain period of time without throwing. If he's throwing your things, simply institute a rule that only big boys get to touch grown up things and big boys don't throw. My boys (all 4 of them!) are all out of this age group, and I can only say it gets harder. Good luck!

As a speech pathologist, I have to add that is is really true that little kids don't understand 'don't'. They really don't! It's a language form that just comes later! They do understand our frustration and reactions, though and will keep repeating the behavior for the fun of seeing us go nuts! The advice to put the goal behavior into a positive, "stop, put that down, etc" is sound advice. And....don't smirk, smile, roll eyes, sigh, etc. Easier said than done!

No advice on the throwing child but just wanted to say that it's almost impossible to believe that such a little cherub could be so naughty!

I agree with Cathy - Rachell used to have her things taken away too. If you're throwing it you clearly don't want it.
She doesn't throw anything now, and I can't recall the last time she did (vindictively, anyway).
She doesn't respond to shouting and if she gets a smack it has to be accompanied by a time-out in order to make an impression.

Smacks on the bum WON'T work. I'm not going so far as to argue that a swat or a spanking is abuse. But it won't work, so why teach your kids that it is OK to hit?

This is one of those nip-it-in-the-bud scenarios before it turns to Max hitting other children, which so often grows out of throwing fits. Bottom line: If he throws something of his, it's taken away. When he has earned it back, if he throws it again, he has to GIVE it away. This tactic pretty quickly stops the throwing of their toys, because who wants to cry and wail and have to donate your toys, because you mistreated them? On that note, if he is also throwing other people's items, the same rule can apply - you throw a toy at school, and you're losing a toy at home. You throw mum's cell phone, you lose a toy.

In the mind of most toddlers, this progression will be nearly unbearable after losing just a handful of toys. Token society dictates he who loses stuff is not very happy. :)


My kids line up in age very similiarly to yours - b/g twins and then a now 3 year old little boy. I found with my three year old (James) much of the naughtiness is to get my attention because he is constantly competing with the twins for it and just about everything else. Since the punishment doesn't seem to work, maybe some special mommy time? I know things in our house improved immensely when the twins went to school and I managed to carve out some special time just for James and me. When his love bank (aka some alone time with a parent) got filled up, the naughtiness seemed to abate. He is still very naughty (and I secretly laugh a little), but it seems much less frequently and with less intensity. btw...my James had almost identical hair to Max and I just cut it all off...sniff sniff...keep his a little bit longer!

You might try putting him in the corner. Blake hated that above all else. Spankings I tried to do sparingly and time out was a joke to him. The corner he couldn't see or do anything so it drove him batty.

Good luck. There is no one right answer to parenting. It's whatever works for your child. Well that and let your yes be yes and your no be no.


I have 9 year old twin girls and an almost 4 year old boy and I agree - the two girls together were not as challenging as he is at this age. He doesn't respond to time outs unless they are in his room and the door is locked - he simply won't sit for a time out for me (but does for teachers and babysitters) and I believe ultimately that the difference is how *I* react. He is demanding attention and competing with his older sisters and I get that but I am simply not as consistent with him as I was with the girls because we have so much more going on and I often combine ignoring to time-outs to taking toys away to yelling. I think the lack of consistency (where I was extremely consistent and on top of the girls) is not helping him overcome the negative attention getting behavior. He has the evil glint in the eye too and when we say "don't" he does it immediately. I am going to try rephrasing it so he can't "defy" me which is I think his point (just like I never ask my kids why they did something because it encourages defensive lying and very often they just don't know why they acted on impulse.) Some of what works best is to include him in MY activity when sisters are home and he's acting up (unloading the dishwasher - making dinner - putting groceries away). Also, if he can play in front of me - magna doodle, playdough or moon sand on the kitchen table while I work in the kitchen so I can stop and give him attention for that great tower/picture or "eat" the playdough cookies he made - that really helps keep him out of trouble while I am not able to give him one on one time. I don't think that this behavior leads to worse behavior unless they actually get rewarded for the bad behavior btw.

how are you doing time outs? They have to be away from anything fun, away from everyone. I would pick a room where there are no toys etc that he would not like to be. You can put a time out chair or bench in this room. He gets 3 minutes because he is 3. If he comes out, it starts over. You have to stick with it over and over until he stays. Set a timer. Also, use the time outs for any behavior you do not like. If it is not as serious, start with 1,2,3 warnings (I used the book 1,2,3 Magic) he gets 3 warnings when doing something (unless it is throwing or hitting etc where he goes into time out right away). he will learn that as soon as you say "1" that he gets 3 chances to stop. This would be for something annoying but not harmful (whining?) I would definatly do something about the throwing, because like someone else said, it easily turns into hitting and/or pushing to get what he wants. It's an aggressive behavior and you will notice other people will not be as understanding of him as you are. He is your little angel, but other moms will not see him that way ya know?? No one wants the thrower or hitter around their kid. good luck, and stick to it. It also will help for him to not have access to things he typically throws. The remotes get put high up so he can't get them. No access to your cell phone etc. I know easier said than done, but if you are diligent he will understand it is not acceptable. Little by little he can try to have access to these things with you watching him. Give him boundaries and maybe he is looking for some more boundaries and is testing you?

You must always be within arms' reach of him, and take whatever he is trying to throw BEFORE he has a chance to throw it. Smacking his butt after means nothing. Stopping the action before it takes place, constantly and repetitively will. You have to be a tougher mama even though he IS precious, and your baby (I have a mama's boy as well!!) GL!

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