Please help - my 2 1/2 year old's behaviour is awful!(7 Posts)
I've woken up today to yet more difficult behaviour from my dd. I just don't know what to do.
For background she is 2 1/2. She has always been wilful. She was quick to crawl, walk and talk. She is fully potty trained. But her behaviour is the worst I have ever personally witnessed in a small child.
She has tantrums pretty much all day long. Food is a definite trigger. She will follow me into the kitchen and demand food. When she doesn't get exactly what she wants (it can be anything) she will scream, kick, throw etc. She will demand to eat from my plate at every meal, and the same behaviour will result if she is refused. Toys are another, any toy that her older siblings have - she will want it. She will grab things from them, and even resort to hitting them viciously.
When we're outside she tries to walk off and do her own thing. If she's asked to do ANYTHING - hold my hand, or the pram, again pretty much the same thing, screaming, dropping to the floor etc. I just can't take her anywhere. Last night we went to see fireworks, I would have loved to have taken her, but there was no way she would have been able to go. It's things like this which sadden me.
At night, unbelievably she is just as bad. She wakes often and her usual thing is to throw the cover off and ask repeatedly for it to be put back over her, or even resort to intentionally rolling off of the bed, if she's ignored.
I am at my wits end, as is my partner. We have tried time-out, and that is pretty much all we do, but it doesn't seem to help. I have fears that she will never change from being the way she is now, and as much as I love her, her behaviour is so unpleasant.
Any recommendations, books etc. will be appreciated. My local health visitor was no use to me at all!
Sounds like she's a much bigger handful than your other kids! Some things to try.... Try telling her things in advance? And giving her simple choices before she has a chance to fix on something heself. Like, "I am going in the kitchen now to make lunch. Today were are having sandwiches. Would you like ham sandwich or cheese sandwich?" And be very strict that certain things always happen in the same way - food only comes from her own plate no matter how big a fuss she makes. She's a bit young to help you but she might enjoy "helping" putting slices of cheese on the bread or whatever. She'll make a terrible mess but it's probably less hassle than the tantrums.
When you say she has to walk near the pram does that mean she has a baby sibling? She might have a major case of nose-out-of joint plus her "advanced" behaviour might be making you expect her to be a bit more grown-up than she really is and that's stressing her out?
Try having a routine so that she knows what is coming and can be independent within that routine. Let her know exactly where she stands - some things will never happen however much she kicks and screams. A bit of "when-then" - "WHEN you have washed your hands THEN we can have tea and cake". Lots of choice-of-two things. She might need more input from you to keep her playing happily. Snatching toys might be her way of trying to join in with her sisters? She is so little, she maybe can't ask "can I play with you". Can you support them to play together? She reminds me a bit of of my DS whose solution to the problem of too much choice was to see what another kid was playing with and snatch it.
Try setting some little challenges - "when we get outside can you run to the lamppost and then stop and wait?"And lots of praise and encouragement for whatever she does that's half-nice. "Wow you made it to the lamppost so fast! You are a great runner! Can you get to that one over there? etc etc." Time out works best if she's getting lots of positive attention the rest of the time. The night-time stuff sounds like attention seeking so max her out on attention during the day.
I used Toddler Taming with DS at that age. Your DD's still a bit on the young side but Incredible Years (which is the basis for a lot of parenting courses for awkward kids!) might help too.
Don't worry about not being able to take her to fireworks etc. Some little kids can't cope with that much excitement and disruption anyway (not to mention the loud bangs!). It's over-stimulating for them and it's OK to keep things within what she can handle. She'll grow into it.
This is good advice Kleinzeit. It relates to my ds too. Thanks
Wow klienzeit thanks for that. it's posts like yours that make me so grateful for this website. Really helpful for me too
Sounds like she needs the exact opposite of time out to me. (A) she's too young to understand it and B) she's a baby and has big emotions she can't understand. Shutting her out will do more harm than good.).
I agree it's better not to use time out too much. I did use time out when DS was 2 but only for aggression, of course DS didn't understand what it was about but it was a way of calming everyone down. Two year olds are usually easy to distract which was a good way to stop him doing things he shouldn't. So I think it's fine to use time out if the OP's DD bites her sibs but I would also try to divert them before it got to that stage if possible. When DS was older I still kept time out for the most serious misbehaviour (like aggression) and otherwise I used natural consequences or just ignored a lot of trivial misbehaviour.
Kleinzeit - I just want to say thank you for your post. For the past few days I have been following your advice, and it has helped. Her behaviour has actually been significantly better.
I have been talking to her a lot more, as opposed to barking at her I guess. I offer her choices, e.g to finish one piece of food, before asking for anymore. She will then come to tell me she has finished.
With the pram the same thing, I ask her to hold on to my hand or the pram, or I will have to hold on to her hood. She has actually taken to voluntarily holding my hand now.
Just to clarify the time-out for the other poster, it's not actually for everything she does. Usually only when she is very naughty (throwing, hitting etc.) a last resort I guess, and I hate to do it.
I will take a look at the recommended reading too, hopefully I can now continue in the right direction!
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