Advice please - feisty (just) 2 year old not responding to me :((14 Posts)
Hi, I am needing some advice. My son is mostly a lovely but lively boy. He's just 2 I have been firm but fair from quite early on (since he knew he was being cheeky really - about 15 months). we've had "time out" etc. and use reward charts for good behaviour. However, I am now having great problems when it's just me (with daddy he's fine!). He refuses to respond to requests (nappy changing, getting dressed, getting into the buggy, car seat etc). Some of these are just very frustrating (we try counting 1-3 - sometimes works - but then withdraw a privilege) but sometimes especially when we're out, it feels almost dangerous, and that he is holding me to ransom. I often literally cannot get him into the car seat, or buggy etc. He is very very strong, I can't do time out because we're often by a road or in a car park. If I try picking him up, he usually hits me or scratches me. Today trying to get a loaf of bread from the corner shop turned into something from Nightmare on Elm Street. Any advice please?.....I really need some tips. Thanks.
Hi, he is very little to understand and respond to time out and reward chards. I think that you should
- understanding that behaviour considered 'naughty' by us adults is often simply a way that a child learns;
- most of what you say are difficult behaviour are normal developmental behaviour, you can manage it, help him through it, help him learn, but punish him - not always, sometimes you have to think of what your priorities are;
- find a way of managing his behaviour which is positive and appropriate for his age;
- and finally, pick your battles. If you give him time out for little things, then it will be difficult for you to find a method that works when he really misbehaves, or does something that is not safe and you need it to learn quickly. Keep time outs and punishment like taking away a toy for bigger issues.
Find a way to distract him before the tantrum starts, learn to read the clues and distract, distract, distract. Make things fun and interesting for him.
I think he is too little to be able to respond to any of these behaviour 'management' strategies TBH. My own DS is 2.4 and I work with children with behavioural difficulties. My DS would not understand any 'modification' method (like reward charts) yet. They have to develop their understanding of cause and effect and the ability to delay gratification before any of that will have an effect.
I agree with cuppa and would add;
make sure he gets enough 'free range chicken' time when he doesn't have to be nagged to behave in a certain way. I use the great outdoors for this.
try to minimise the amount of toddler-unfriendly stuff he has to do (like shopping). Do online shoping etc.
toddler-proof well to cut down on battles at home.
be prepared to just do stuff to him that has to be done (like getting dressed) without his consent. My DS is also very big and strong and will refuse to get dressed but I just corner him in a VERY bright and breezy way, effusing about what a good boy he is for getting dressed, and do it anyway! He knows it is inevitable that it will happen so he is giving in quicker and quicker. I always hug him and praise him afterwards however
much of a sod difficult he has been during the process.
try making things a game- 'how fast can you jump into your carseat' etc.
My DS does still have meltdowns but I actually manage to railroad him into doing quite a lot of things that he doesn't really want to do by overwhelming him with
faked cheerfulness and enthusiasm.
Oh, good thread. I need all the help I can get!!
DS (2.2) is the same. Usually a little angel, but sometimes out of control.
Yesterday walking home, he ran on ahead and didn't stop when we told him to. He was about to run into the road, when DH told him to stop and picked him up and explained that it was dangerous. DS lashed out and hit DH round the face. We told him to say sorry and he refused. DH said, "that's it, no toys, no TV, just bath, milk and bed" (it was bedtime by the way). Is this the best way to handle it? It seemed a little strong, but then he was about to run into the road, so needed to understand.
I work FT and DH looks after DS full time, so I don't feel I can interfere with his parenting too much, but we're both a bit clueless about how to, and how much to discipline DS.
Being 2 sucks!
I really don't think your DS would be able to associate having things removed at a later point in time with nearly having run into the road. He doesn't understand the dangers of the road- to him he was just running, which feels lovely, so he didn't want to stop. By the time you got him home he wouldn't associate anything else that happened as being a consequence of the road incident.
I think it would have been enough so say a sharp no, and then point at the cars on the road and say 'if a car hit you it would really hurt' in whatever words you know he fully understands.
Then consider how you can make sure he can't run away from you so close to a road next time.
I think they are far too young to associate being told off with what they were doing before, and even more with remembering hours later that's why ey didn't get any tv. Equally reward charts and time out are for older hildren - my 2yo would never understand.
I just do an (for eg) 'no running in the road' sharply and pick him up. That's all. If something like throwing food I say 'no throwing food' twice or so, more sharply the second time, then distract him with something else. It seems to work most of the time. I don't think he understands consequences enough to do any more. It is a pain but there we go!
I agree with Inclusionist. Punishments that take place later will just confuse such a young child.
I've had similar with my DC, but it was a phase that passed and once you can talk to them and
try to reason with them, it does become easier.
For getting them to do stuff (the problem for me), it's good to give yourself as much time as possible.
Agree, pick your battles is a great mantra but when applied to two year olds it means "avoid battles if possible, you will likely lose"!
He won't be a tantrumming kicking hitting brute forever. It's his age, he's not going off the rails just yet
PS I have found a great resource to help me through the toddler years. It's
I have a 2.1 year old who is going through the 'no' phase. Every request is met with a 'no' or a 'why?' Whether it's getting dressed, eating dinner or doing a jigsaw. It's tiring, but I find ignoring, praising highly when she does something I want and again picking my battles. Eventually (I hope!) she will stop saying no and become more compliant. 2 year olds are too young to understand sticker charts or consequences. It's very much about the here and now. And I always try to make sure that she has time each day to be 'free' without being told what to do. Pretty much what everyone else has said really.
Thanks everyone. That's really helpful. Stuff I've read in books just doesn't seem that helpful. I will continue trying to pick battles, try and distract better (wow, we have to really think on our toes don't we), and I agree with some of you that finding or creating "free range" opportunities are essential, and I probably need to find do more of that. Really great to get some tips; I try so hard to do the best, but it's not always easy is it.
P.s. did first online shop today. Definitely going to be much better for me AND 2 year old.
I have loved reading this!! Such helpful suggestions. Am going through the same thing with my 27 month old - only mine is bedtimes - after a lovely bath / milk / story / bed routine that USED to work like a charm before the terrible twos, she is out of her bed upwards of 20 times this whole process goes on until around 9pm I'm exhausted and frazzled most evenings. I'm a single mum too so have no one to vent to either!!
I would also say guage how worn out he is, is he still having a daytime nap, cos although my daughter is SO active and sometimes falls asleep in the afternoon I find limiting naps work to get her to stay in bed (she's worn out by bedtime) but also let them have a little power nap if they are getting narky and overwhelmed during the day.
I have been feeling like such a shit cos sometimes I really shout at her, and its so upsetting. Its very nice to know not the only one dealing with this darling-child-turned-into-troll situation!! Oh and I agree - I advocate too!! Good luck x
SummerDaisy, I could have written your post! Have just emerged from the bedtime battle with my 2.2 DD, feeling awful cos I could feel myself getting angry and frustrated with her. Fortunately, I do have a DH to help and he managed to get her to settle (she doesn't try the same tricks on him that she uses with me). It must be really tough doing on your own.
I do think many just 2 year olds will understand time out and counting to 3 for naughty behavior. I know all my kids did for sure. The stickers would have gone over their head though. Time out for physical violence is perfectly acceptable.
How about taking a different approach. He is looking to challenge your rules, you can throw him completely by making everything fun and part of a game. Make him want to play along and please you. Fly him into his buggy pretending to be an aeroplane, pretend to be a cute tickle monster. Also agree with giving him more space to run round
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