My daughter turned 3 a couple of months ago, and in the last few weeks there's been a drastic change in her behavior. She gets extremely angry and screams, cries, and becomes violent if she's told no/not to do something. When I tell her to do something, she tells me no. No matter how I try to punish/discipline her, it doesn't work, she laughs and ignores what I tell her. If I spank her, she laughs, even if it's on her bare bottom. But when I threaten to spank her she says, "No mommy, don't spank me" but then she refuses to do what she's told. She'll be incredibly sweet one moment, then become a complete monster within seconds. Now for the last week or so, she's refused to eat her food. Twice now she's gone to bed without eating dinner because she refused. All she did was scream and cry until she eventually went to bed. I refuse to give in and let her eat McDonalds and junk food for every meal. I know she knows what she's doing is wrong, because after she gets in trouble she tells me she's sorry and wants a hug. But then it goes straight back into the same thing as before. I've looked through some of the other topics like this, but I haven't been able to find anything that works.
As a parent your responsibility is to prepare meals and serve them, and it is important not to get into struggles about whether or not your daughter eats the meals. Mother Nature will handle this matter. Children this age often place great store for a while in saying no to their parents. It's OK and nothing to become alarmed about. Physical punishment is not going to help and may in reality exacerbate the situation. My suggestion is that you take this all in stride, refraining from emotionally heightened responses. If you adhere to the guidelines in Lynn Clark's book SOS Help for Parents you will adopt effective methods of managing this normal childhood behavior problem (see www.sos
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