what advice saved your sanity during the terrible twos?(49 Posts)
DD1 is very much in the throws of her terrible twos. Every time we go out for food she throws a major tantrum, she also refuses to get dressed, laughs in my face when I tell her off, takes herself to the naughty corner, won't listen to the teacher if I take her to a class, refuses food I know she likes ...I could go on.
I've tried many of super nannys tricks with the whole coming down to her level, trying to use a calm firm voice, 2 minutes in the naughty corner etc, but quite honestly am beginning to despair. What was the best piece of advice you were offered for dealing with such behaviour?
I was told to not sweat the small stuff. It works for all aspects of life actually. Pick your arguments and don't worry too much about mess.
How far into 2 is your DD? how is her language development?
Sister had a chart that worked well (prize of magazine, stickers when 10 was obtained), also counting to 10 and my sisters favourite 'pick your battles'. Hug in there it gets better.
Everything is a phase and survival is paramount. So not working about every tiny little thing. Helped me enormously....
She's pretty good at answering back 2 and a half almost exactly
This too shall pass. It really does, even if it feels like hell on earth at the time.
DD2 had horrific tantrums- easily up to 10 a day on a bad day. I despaired of it ever ending, but it did.
I think as long as you try to be consistent (hard at times!) and don't give in (again, bloody hard sometimes) you are doing all you can
One day, you will laugh about her antics, I promise
Get breaks when you can and know that one day you will come out the other side.
Hi there. I sympathise, I have ds just as you describe. Having other children reassures me that this will pass. Honestly.
Pick your battles, have some non negotiables, for safety etc but be prepared to compromise or ignore if you can. Imo sometimes ds just craves attention not matter how much you already give. Wrt eating out, make sure your dc is hungry when you eat out. Picking where I eat makes a huge difference too, if it's a child friendly place I walk around withmy ds let him explore abit and sit at the last minute. Granted it's not good for conversation, but at least I eat without leaping up all the time because he climbs out of every high hair.
Watching for tips with interest.
Oh Lord, two and a half was the very worst bit! DS1 is now three, as of a few days ago, and his behaviour has been steadily improving since about November. Hang on in there!
Although he now argues with me which is annoying, though nowhere near as bad as the tantrums/hitting/refusing to do anything I say purely on principle.
This too shall pass....and OP, in a little corner of your mind, when it gets tough...think of me and others like me...my last DC (17) is leaving home next week...in the Navy and going away for 4 months...then moving into a flat with his DB...DD moved out in Dec...my house is so quiet...as will yours be if you do your 'job' right'...
But saying all this, I do feel for you...tantrums are just so trying...but it will pass...promise.
Be consistent. 1,2,3 - naughty step. No 2 and 3 quarters type stuff. I have also used naughty steps in shops.
Are you going to say sorry? Yes - cuddle and off. No - back for another 2 minutes. Explain why she's there.
Hitting out gets an immediate naughty step.
Pick your battles. If she doesn't want to get dressed, I'd make it into a game and leave plenty of time in the mornings so I'm not stressed.
Not eating food she does like... I will ask if I can have it and that usually spurs him on.
If he won't come and sit down nicely for dinner I use the naughty step.
If he doesn't eat, he has to wait until his next meal. We've stopped snacks for the most part as he eats meals better when he's really hungry.
Re classes, I'm not sure. If it were me and DS wasn't listening and therefore not really getting anything from the classes I'd think he wasn't ready yet and try again when he's a bit older.
It is all perfectly normal for a 2 year old and I try to remember that as much as possible and make what I feel are reasonable allowances for their age.
I could've written your op! My dd wouldn't laugh but would stand there smirking and shaking her head. Tbh it's all part of the job there's nothing you can really do to stop it. I found taking away toys or reducing play time made her realise she needed to behave. Don't let her believe she's in control and stick to threats (not violent threats ofc)
I attended a seminar (work related) about neuroscience and childhood development which helped me put things into perspective and realise that I was raising anormal child rather than a devil child! Margot Sunderland is very good and helps you recignise why toddlers throw tantrums and how to respond to them empathetically. Having said that I am dreading going through the same with my new little one but it's a few years away! Hang in there. It gets better gradually and then a year down the line you realise that things are a whole lot better.
"You were a lot worse and although mum and dad were tempted to leave you at the local lost dogs home they never did!" That delightful gem was from my brother (7 years older).
The best thing mum ever said to me was "its only a phase - it does get better"
We got the idea from a friend and it's possibly not going to win me parent-of-the-year-award for making DS3 self conscious but here goes anyway:
We used the camera phone to take videos of tantrums and of 'good' behaviour (like helping with the shopping or putting his own shoes on).
For a tantrum video we'd sit down and watch it with him (only him) straight afterwards (or occasionally while he was mid tantrum if it was a long one) and make 'what a funny baby', 'why is he making all that noise' comments at the screen and encouraging him to join in. Then we'd delete it 'because that was silly messing around'.
For the 'good' video we'd show him first and then if he was happy with it ask him if we could show other 'important' people (other parent/nannas/grandpas) for praise throughout the day. If there were no 'important' people available we'd send them to various fictional relatives and friends on our phone, who would then reply with alarming speed that this was the best/fastest putting on of a jumper they'd ever seen etc.
We got to a stage where a tantrum could be stopped by getting out the phone (and where morning socks have to be filmed being put on - family historians in a few generations from now looking for videos of us are in for a treat I tell you)
Keep your voice low and say I am not speaking to you until you stop. Then walk away (if you can safely). ignore. It will pass.
I remember sitting on a low wall in town with my then toddler on a wrist strap writhing around on the pavement screaming the place down. I got some funny looks but I just sat there until he stopped without speaking and then carried on as if nothing had happened. It generally passes quicker that way!
Meant to say also..
If she refuses food simply say ok and take it away, and carry on with your day.
Yes, definitely pick your battles.
Also feel free to ignore any advice from others, especially if it's to imply that you're being a bad parent. DD3 had severe tantrums and I got 'Why don't you just talk to her calmly?' ODFOD And 'Have you tried distracting her?' Gosh, why didn't I think of that?
One of the reasons that she tantrummed so much is that I didn't allow her to run around restaurants, jump on and off the road, etc, etc. whilst my friends allowed their children to do these things, hence no tantrums.
I'm having the same with my 2YO at the moment. He's like Jekyll and Hyde, one day he can be golden and the next he's like something possessed. He's a stubborn little thing too, yesterday he threw his cup at my DM and we had to return to the naughty step 7 times before he would apologise to her.
Haven't got any advice really other than as above: pick your battles and wait for it to pass.
Feeling your pain though.
Thank you so much for your responses, its making me feel more reassured
Toffee, that is BRILLIANT!
Less brilliantly, but still sharing - this is going to sound awfully dippy-hippy, but still. Change the way you view it from 'disobedience' to 'self-expression'. (Doesn't matter how DD sees it, she's only two years' life experience.) This means encouraging reasoned verbalisation, and also rewarding honest emotional statements like "I'm very angry." I used to get them to go to a 'tantrum place' if we were at home, where they could safely wail, thrash, hate the world, and so forth. Then come back and talk about the issue. Maybe I was just lucky with kids I had, but it worked.
I'm also a fan of tantrum as entertainment: What a great tantrum! Wow, can you get any louder? Haha, that's amazing! Shall we both stamp our feet? And so on. This has about a 60% success rate, but at least it amuses the people around you.
It is awful to deal with, but I think staying calm and being consistent are the most important things.
I usually find that making them laugh is the best way to get round a tantrum about not putting shoes on etc. Trying to put their clothes on me or a teddy is a sure way to distract them. Or pretending to have a tantrum myself.
A food trick I have always used is to fill up my own fork with the DCs dinner and say "I'm going to eat that in a minute" then pretend to get distracted. Then I would be all "where did that go? who could have eaten it? They thought it was hilarious that they were "eating my dinner". Ha!
Also use NO sparingly and only use it when you really mean it and won't backtrack. I find that makes for less moaning and wheedling trying to get me to change my mind (works best for older kids I guess).
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