How to deal with destructive toddler - feel like worlds worst mum

(13 Posts)
RaspberryTea Mon 13-Jan-14 18:48:51

DD 21 months is going through a really destructive phase and I feel like all I do is tell her off.

She does things like break her toys, draws on walls and tries to rip the wallpaper off, tears her books and the sleeves out of DVDs. When she does things like this I tell her no which results in an almighty tantrum and she even starts to hit herself and pull her own hair with frustration.

I take her out every day and plan fun things to do at home so she isnt bored - for example yesterday we went to the park and today we went for a walk to the shops, I bought her a new toy truck from the charity shop as she is obsessed with cars/trucks at the minute smile

After dinner she followed me into the kitchen while I was clearing the dishes, she went straight into the cupboard and emptied a full box of rice crispies all over the floor.

I told her off again and put her into the living room while I cleared up the mess, could hear her crying. When I finished I went into her and she was fast asleep in the middle of the carpet.

I just feel so awful about it that she had fell asleep while she was crying - she hadnt brushed her teeth, had her bedtime milk or a cuddle like we usually do. I know it sounds like a small thing to be worrying about but I just feel like I am constantly being 'mean' to DD by telling her off. When she isnt being destructive or having a tantrum she is such an amazing, loving toddler.

BeaWheesht Mon 13-Jan-14 19:03:21

My tip would be to baby proof things like cupboards so she can't get into the cereal for example but can get into some pans / utensils you don't mind her playing with.

Try and see it from her point of view - cutting paper is ok when you say (eg crafts) so why isn't it ok when she wants to do it? Same re drawing - the wall is a lovely big blank canvas why on earth should she no draw on it? In her mind you're changing the rules all the time.

So, be consistent and remind her of where it is ok to do things like drawing / tearing / cutting and where it is not and distract, distract, distract.

RaspberryTea Mon 13-Jan-14 19:21:58

Thankyou Bea, never actually thought of it like that, no wonder she is frustrated!

Will practice my distraction techniques and fit a lock on the cereal cupboard.

Shes woke up now and we are having our cuddle so I dont feel so guilty smile

cravingcake Mon 13-Jan-14 20:48:24

Agree with distraction as much as possible.

And trying to be positive rather than negative, so rather than just saying no don't do that try saying DD don't draw on the wall, remember we draw on paper, look mummy has some paper here for you, can you draw me a big smily face (or whatever) while mummy tidies up? Its bloody hard work but I've found it helps. Or if you are feeling patient then you can involve them in the clean up - whoopsie, that was silly and what a mess, help mummy clean it up. And then give lots of praise when they try to help.

Also, its very frustrating age for them, I found my DS really hard work between 20 & 24 months but now he's 2.3yo his language is really coming on and he can communicate better with me. Before he would open the fridge and cry/whinge until I figured out what he wanted, now he can point to the thing he wants and is starting to say the words (yoghurt, cheese, grapes etc).

Fairylea Mon 13-Jan-14 20:53:56

Ds 19 months will empty the whole kitchen onto the floor so I've decided to go with it and put safe things low down (pots pans plastic pots blah blah) and I even let him empty out the potatoes and onions onto the floor. The way I see it he's learning even if it looks likes mess to me! Door locks etc don't work in our kitchen due to the weird layout. I've tried lots !

I also have a mesh play pen from kiddicare that I put him into for a few minutes here and there so I know he can't hurt himself. He moans a little at first but within a min or so he sees the toys I've put in there and he's happy for 10 mins.

I think it's really hard having and curious toddler because they really have no idea what they're doing at all! It's all exciting to them!

I'd just child proof as much as you can and don't feel too bad if you do have to say no sometimes. It's part of learning boundaries !

PedlarsSpanner Mon 13-Jan-14 21:15:07

ah now, I would be wondering if she had a bit of a schema going on, maybe exploring trajectory fab explanation here, with ideas to help her to satisfy her curiosity without conflict or destruction

I would almost bet she likes snapping bread sticks, apple slices? And scattering stuff that makes percussive sounds, like knocking down towers of wooden blocks?

If you can pinpoint what she wants to do, then you provide the how and means to do it. Eg try her with opportunities to rip and tear her bread roll at lunchtime instead of serving up neat buttered slices/buy a pot of play buttons for tipping and scattering/trains or vehicles with magnets at front and back for connecting/disconnecting

??

waterrat Mon 13-Jan-14 21:24:37

I think it's easy to over estimate the level of understanding of a toddler - she doesn't know she is being naughty and doesn't understand why you are cross. Just keep stuff our of her way and be clear ie say no we only draw in drawing books - no we do not rip pages in books

I don't think at this age there is any point being cross - although yoi can be firm - as they are rarely being deliberately naughty.

PedlarsSpanner Mon 13-Jan-14 21:29:09

agree water, not ''naughty''

RaspberryTea Mon 13-Jan-14 21:46:03

Thankyou for the posts everyone, I have now rearranged my cupboards so everything she can reach is baby safe and stuff she is allowed to play with, she loves to bang the pans with a wooden spoon!

Pedlars you are spot on with the making noises, that link could be describing DD. She especially loves to click the fridge magnets on and off.

Will try to relax more and embrace the mess grin

PedlarsSpanner Mon 13-Jan-14 21:47:22

thumbs up!

RaspberryTea Mon 13-Jan-14 21:47:50

Fairylea the mesh pen is a good idea, I might pop her travel cot up with some toys when I need to do quick jobs, hoover etc.

SoftSheen Mon 13-Jan-14 21:57:43

Get her a toy kitchen and fill with plenty of play food, mini cereal boxes, pots and pans, little pot of dry pasta shapes, mini tea towel, sponge etc… Site it in your own kitchen and direct DD towards it whenever you need to cook or wash up. With a bit of luck she will feel like she's joining in with what you are doing.

PenelopePipPop Mon 13-Jan-14 21:59:00

Think everyone has said sensible stuff already. But just wanted to add my experience was that DD actually got more into everything just before big leaps forward in communication - it was like her cognitive ability got ahead of her verbal skills and she'd get thoroughly cross for a bit, then her speech would catch up, I'd understand what she wanted more easily and everything got easier again.

So if you can grit your teeth and smile it should feel easier in a few weeks. Not easy though. My DD put an entire tub of garam masala in the washing machine at that age. Which is how I know you need to run the washing machine empty at least three times before you can clothes in it again, or risk smelling curiously spicy.

It was an educational time.

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