Appropriate discipline for 2yo?

(19 Posts)
HamAlive Mon 04-Mar-13 20:54:39

I'm feeling so confused over the best way to deal with my 2yo (just turned 2). He sometimes pushes or smacks. He does this to children if they are too close to him or to me/DH etc if he is tired/hungry etc. Now, whilst I appreciate he doesn't know how to handle strong feelings just yet and his speech is poor so he can't always tell me, I obviously want him to know that hitting etc are not acceptable behaviours and I want to teach him how to deal with things.

How do you do that?!

He went through a biting phase at around 1 which we dealt with by saying "we don't bite" and showing him how to be gentle. Sometimes that still works (with a firm no) and he will say "aww", stroke your face and give you a kiss/cuddle. But if he is overexcited or past it with tiredness he just does it again. Half the time he just laughs at you or seems to enjoy the reaction. I really worry what other parents think about him, I don't want him being excluded for being aggressive.

With non physical stuff I tend to distract him which works well, as he seems to love the attention he gets from misbehaving. But I don't feel I can do that for pushing, it doesn't seem enough? We have done warning and "timeout" for some serious hair pulling where he wouldn't let go; we didn't make him sit on a step for 2 minutes, we removed him from the room to calm down, but I don't think he really gets it.

We are firm and consistent, does it just click into place some time? I sometimes dread taking him to parties etc but he will be the one pushing the others. I make sure I praise him lots when he is nice and gentle and make sure I'm specific about what I'm praising, e.g. "that's lovely and gentle DS, well done!" so he does get positive attention.

Please help, I feel like I'm failing him.

abbyfromoz Mon 04-Mar-13 21:07:25

Ohh hamalive- i feel your pain sad DD is 22 months and has been hitting/pulling hair/shoving at times.
DH said it's because i was 'getting all up in her grill' lol
I think it's typical of their age tbh (not excusing it). So far we have tried all the same measures as you... The worst thing for me was worrying whether people thought she picked it up from home!
She doesn't like to share at all... Even at the playground if someone wants to use the slide she will plant herself firmly at the top of the slide and say 'no no noooo!' Until they back off... Now how on earth do you explain sharing to a toddler whose vocab consists of 'puppy!' 'Nana!' 'Car' 'daddy!' Etc???
With regards to hitting i would hold her hand and say a firm 'no! That's not nice bubba you be nice to mummy, now please say sorry'...if she continued i would call DH for backup (i'm a softy) after 3 warnings we would put her on the naughty step for 2 minutes explaining why she was there and then when finished asking for a sorry. She would often cry and throw herself on the floor but in the end would say sorry and get a cuddle and pleased to say she hasn't hit again for about a month touch wood. Would you feel comfortable doing something like this?

MamaBlue4 Mon 04-Mar-13 21:29:19

My dd sometimes likes to nip when she's tired or annoyed. I tell her, "No nipping, it hurts mama." If she does it again, "I pretend she's hurt me and that she has to kiss it better," usually, she settles after that. If she does it a 3rd time I pick her up and move her to her bean bag. She hates being ignored and knows that when mama doesn't pay her attention, she's being punished and stays quiet for a while then comes snuggle with me. I don't give her a time limit, I let her come to me. It works with us, it may not with you.

If in public, she likes to walk so we use the reins, if she misbehaves, she get's a firm no and told to hold mama or vava's hand, if she continues we put her in the pushchair and ignore her, we don't talk to her or make eye contact, if she cries, she cries. Eventually she stops and settles down. Only then do we ask if she wants to walk, again.

It's so tiring to punish her and ds and sometimes, I want to give up but luckily she has rare bad days so that evens it out.

Just stick with one punishment, one set of rules, and as he grows he'll learn. Hopefully. That's what I'm wishing anyway.

HamAlive Mon 04-Mar-13 21:35:56

It's hard to get the balance between accepting it's normal and teaching them it's not right, isn't it?

Your DD on the slide is just like DS, everything at the moment is "nooooo, miiiiiiine!", including park stuff and my breakfast.

That's what we did with the timeout, we gave him a warning and when he did it again we took him out of the room and explained it was unkind behaviour and that he needed to calm down. We left him for a bit, probably not 2 minutes but long enough, then we went back and explained again, said he must be gentle and said "show mummy gentle" and he does the whole gentle thing, gives a kiss to say sorry. But then I've read threads on here that say they're too young?

I'm just confused! And worry so much about what other parents think. When I've done the warning thing when out and about, other parents have been sympathetic and said don't worry they all do it etc, but then if I was less strict I don't think they'd be so understanding if he'd pushed their child.

For minor things like climbing on the coffee table I have started counting back from 5 if he doesn't get down. Little monkey always gets down when I get to 1. And now he's started wagging his finger at me and saying "2, 3, 6, 9 no no no no". I have to try not to laugh at that!

HamAlive Mon 04-Mar-13 21:46:48

Thanks MamaBlue. I think my problem is that no method is going to show instant results which makes it hard to feel like you're doing the right thing.

I have had a buggy battle with him once and I warned him he would go into it. It took me 10 minutes but I kept putting him back when he wriggled out of the straps before I could do them up. But following through worked, if I say he will go in the buggy now he usually stops whatever mischief he is up to.

It's just a phase, right? <prays>

MamaBlue4 Mon 04-Mar-13 22:03:41

You're welcome. It took weeks before she finally understood that she had to stay on her bag and calm down. It took me 23 times once to put her on the baf and the hardest part is ignoring her when she's screaming at me or crying.

Oh, the buggy battles. I've had plenty of them; she either kicks her legs, crosses her arms, goes stiff, swings back and forth. If it gets too much my husband takes over or breathe in an out and chant "it gets better" in my head

As for people staying they're too young, they're not. This is the best time to learn them rules because they're quick learners - hell they even learn how to walk and crawl without much guidance!

abbyfromoz Tue 05-Mar-13 08:35:49

Here here with the buggy battles. I have started giving DD an ultimatum (hold my hand or sit in your buggy) took a few times for her to get the message but now she'll quickly hold my hand. Also we bought a buggy board - usually for if you have a smaller child in the buggy but DD would much rather stand on than sit down ... And if that means getting from a to b quicker then so be it

crazypaving Tue 05-Mar-13 08:45:08

gah I feel your pain. it's so hard to wrangle a 2 year old with a 5m old in a sling too! yesterday we were dropping off a prescription at the doctor and ds1 have a thing about one of the books at the surgery. I told him no (we didn't have an appointment) but he ran in and started throwing all the books out of the box trying to find his favourite. I ended up having to carry him out kicking and screaming under my arm while ds2 woke and wailed in the sling.

sigh.

we go through phases of disliking other children too close and lashing out. at the moment everything is 'mines' and sharing not an option. with hitting I always took his hand, said 'no hitting' very seriously and then paid as much attention as possible to the child on the receiving end. also apologising profusely to the parent...

these things seem to come and go though, so I think pick an approach and stick with it doggedly. it'll work in the end (right?? right?????!?), or they'll just grow out of it grin

crazypaving Tue 05-Mar-13 08:46:55

*ds1 has a thing

tired typo <glares accusingly at ds2 snoring peacefully in sling>

NewRowSees Tue 05-Mar-13 08:53:06

I've just read a book called Toddler Taming which might be useful for you. My DS has also just turned two and he doesn't hit or bite, but has recently started choosing not to follow instructions (e.g. "don't touch that" / " don't climb that" etc). We had great results in just a day, by making just a few small changes - I'd highly recommend the book - it's by Christopher Green.

Iggly Tue 05-Mar-13 17:22:37

They are too young for some methods because they don't understand the concept of a warning. They're very "in the moment".

You mention tiredness and hunger - do not discount these. Tackle them if you can - so have a think about what you're doing, if they're tired etc.

Showing them what to do works well but you've got to do it a lot for the message to hit home.

For hitting and biting - can you pinpoint likely scenarios as to when and try and avoid or anticipate? And if they do it, a firm no and move away. Then move on to something else - don't dwell on it as they'd have moved on by then themselves.

I know people laugh but I found teaching my two sign language to really help. They can communicate with me so less frustration.

Iggly Tue 05-Mar-13 17:23:55

Also commands like"don't do x" tend not to work as they will usually just hear "do x". So if you say "get down" in a positive way instead of "don't climb" then they're more likely to respond.

abbyfromoz Tue 05-Mar-13 17:52:09

Good practical tips there iggly...
So if i were to use the phrase 'no hitting' as opposed to 'don't hit' would this be more successful?
Regarding the warnings... I am sure DD might not understand the concept if warnings as such but I want to make sure i have made it clear before giving any punishment... Give her a chance to understand what i am saying?

Iggly Tue 05-Mar-13 19:49:29

It depends - my dd (15 months) used to hit us in the face - a bit over enthusiastic really. So I told her "gentle hands" and took her hands to show her how to do it. Now she might get over excited but as soon as we say gentle, she strokes instead.

With ds he went through a hitting phase (when dd arrived) and I used to have to be quite swift - so a firm "no hitting" then move him away or move away from him. He'd hit us out of frustration I think. After a bit of that he stopped - now he's older (3) I will give him one warning for hitting and also give him an alternative - so say "instead of hitting, if you're cross, tell me and I will help". However that doesn't work with a young toddler. So swiftly saying no and removing works better. A warning is too late iyswim as they would probably not get it.

Iggly Tue 05-Mar-13 19:50:25

So you're not punishing them

Iggly Tue 05-Mar-13 19:51:18

Whoops - I meant to say you're not punishing them for hitting, you're moving them and showing them that you dont want them to do it. It all depends on why they're hitting really.

abbyfromoz Tue 05-Mar-13 22:04:23

Hmmm i get it... Usually it starts with the overexcited/thinks she's being funny. At which point i say- uhuh! That's enough...
Sometimes it escalates where she gets so frustrated she ends up gripping my face and digging nails in... At which point the 'no that's not nice! Be gentle with mummy!' Comes in... Then if she continues I have to be more firm....

abbyfromoz Tue 05-Mar-13 22:07:24

I should mention she's experimenting a lot with pain lately... I.e hitting herself and laughing or pinching me and saying 'ow! Ow! Ow!' She also does this 'woooahhh' followed by fake falling over and then telling me 'ouch! Head!' I have a feeling she is just realising what it's all about...

mummy2benji Wed 06-Mar-13 08:42:27

My ds went through a phase of hitting and also bit a few times at around that age too. It does pass! Equally, we started using the naughty mat (our take on the naughty step - a little mat in the dining room) when he was 2 and popped him on there for 2 minutes if he did something very bad like biting. For hitting he'd be given a warning first, but for biting or hitting in the face he'd be put straight on it. At the end of the 2 minutes we'd tell him very briefly why he was put on it "you bit me and that was naughty" and he'd say sorry, we'd cuddle and that was that. Ds has never once got off the naughty step and it has been a godsend in terms of our parenting - we haven't overused it, but the threat of sitting on it has frequently nipped any bad behaviour in the bud. I know it doesn't work for every child, and some just repeatedly get up from it and have to keep being put back (I've watched some Supernanny!), so I don't know if it was just that ds took to it, or if the age we started using it for him was just the right age. Anyway, if used appropriately I can't recommend it enough.

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