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Asking for help controlling my 2 year old (more of a WWYD than AIBU)

(25 Posts)
Northend77 Thu 05-Jan-17 13:50:30

I have 2 year old twin girls who, on the whole, are very well behaved. One of them, however, does occasionally really push me to the edge of my limits to cope with her. We usually go through the routine of telling her off (mixture of saying no, explaining why she can't do/have what she wants, etc), then the naughty step for some time out, explain what they have done and ask if they are sorry and this usually does the trick

Recently though she has started refusing to express remorse or say sorry so she's stayed on the naughty step for up to 10 minutes until she does. What I need help with is what to do after this level of discipline. 90% of the time or more it is sufficient but a recent example at a friends' pub left me with no more ideas than to just go home. She was taking the baubles off their tree and throwing them, opening the fake presents underneath and running around everywhere being very defiant and shouting "no" at me. In the past I have found myself tapping the girls on the back of the hand when they refused to let go of something or were constantly trying to touch something hot/sharp. I stopped doing this because I didn't like it and didn't want to encourage it as acceptable behaviour. However, I found myself saying "stop that or you'll get a smack" during the height of this recent incident and heard my friend utter to herself "thankfully xxxxx (her child's name) doesn't know that word". I felt awful for hearing that and also for having said what I did but I was just at my wits end with her (no excuse I know and I didn't actually tap her hand that time)

I just don't know what to do when it escalates like that. If I take her home she's too young to understand it as a consequence and it's also not fair on her sister

Any ideas please?

SolomanDaisy Thu 05-Jan-17 13:53:43

I'd have taken her home. I had to a few times with my DS as a toddler. They do understand that it's a consequence, though they don't necessarily have the self control to change their behaviour because of it.

Areyoufree Thu 05-Jan-17 13:57:19

Your friend sounds lovely. Toddlers can be absolute little buggers at times, and can push you to your absolute limit. Nice of her to mutter smug, judgemental comments to herself, rather than offer you support! To be honest, if one of mine started acting like that, I would have taken them both home. I always tell them that we will go straight home if they don't listen, and I always follow through with that, even though it does seem unfair on the other one. But, she's 2. It's a tough age, and you have twins. Give yourself a break!

Areyoufree Thu 05-Jan-17 13:58:26

That sounded like I have twins - I don't, there are two years between my kids, but same rules apply!

DangerousBeanz Thu 05-Jan-17 13:59:11

Parenting is hard. My key rules are say what you mean and mean what you say. That is don't make that's you won't carry out, like smacking. Better to move the child away and say if you touch that we are going home then do it. And be consistent if you let it go one day then you can't jump on it the next or a 2 year old won't know where they stand.
Small childten feel safe wirh firm boundaries, but they like to push them to make sure they don't move.
And lots of praise and attention when they are doing the right thing. When they aren't don't give them attention just get them and stop the behaviour straight away. Then when they stay being good thank them for being so good and praise them.
Patience and consistency. If you lose the battle of wills at 2 you've no chance at 15.

SortAllTheThings Thu 05-Jan-17 14:00:39

Are they only just 2yo, or nearer to 3?

I think expecting a 2yo to consistently say sorry is a bit unrealistic.. I would just focus on modelling behaviour, being extra positive when they are behaving well etc. Be firm, obviously, but I think you're expecting a bit too much tbh.

DamsonInDistress Thu 05-Jan-17 14:00:46

With a two year old I would probably physically pick them up and leave. It's boring and tedious and feels like it will last forever but it won't. It really is just a phase and you're doing the right things.

FakebookNotForMe Thu 05-Jan-17 14:03:52

Sounds like she's pushing boundaries and that's completely normal albeit extremely frustrating at times.

Follow through with any consequences you say will happen if the bad behaviour continues.

There's 15 months between my boys and I have certainly sprouted a few grey hairs since the eldest-then youngest- hit two.

Very firm but very fair. I look forward to bedtime probably a bit too much winebrew

Birdsgottafly Thu 05-Jan-17 14:05:33

My GC is two and stubborn, much more so than my three DDs were.

There's times that we don't go out with her, or cut the visit short.

You may be expecting too much for her age and personality.

It's easy to compare her to her Sister, buts that's very unfair.

She's too young to be true lily remorseful, so to punish her for that is wrong.

How close to three is she, does she respond to praise/one on one time?

bumsexatthebingo Thu 05-Jan-17 14:07:09

I'd ask her once to stop then I would help her out. So pick her up and move her away or physically position yourself between her and the tree. As for the running around is there a garden she could do that in? When stopping her doing things you don't allow I'd tell her that you are going to help her not touch the tree for eg. and if she protested I would sympathise with her ' know, you're sad you can't play with the tree' but tell her that the tree toys need to stay on the tree so they don't get broken. I wouldn't make it particularly punitive or insist on apologies. She probably isn't sorry that she's 2 and curious and wants to investigate things and has poor impulse control as all toddlers do. You need to enforce what you will and won't allow.

BIgBagofJelly Thu 05-Jan-17 14:10:16

I personally wouldn't force an apology because it's a bit meaningless if they're just saying it so they can get out of time out. Obviously if they're doing something completely inappropriate I would physically stop them, tell them they need to sit close to me as I can't trust them not to do XYZ. If they wouldn't or started screaming you just have to go home. It's tough, at this age sometimes they simply don't have the self control to stop themselves, all you can do is be firm but loving (it's not their fault they lack self control that's their developmental stage but obviously you need to help them develop it by sitting limits).

RebelRogue Thu 05-Jan-17 14:16:25

Was there anything in the pub she could've played with,engage with,get distracted by? You don't necessarily have to go home,but if circumstances allow(aka someone to keep an eye on your other daughter) you can just remove the overexcited one for 5 mins,have a chat,allow her to calm down etc.
Tbh if it was all boring grownup pub outing and she was surrounded by shiny,exciting stuff it's pretty unfair to expect her not to touch things or run about.

Northend77 Thu 05-Jan-17 14:29:52

Sort, they were only 2 in late October so yes, young 2 year olds

SaucyJack Thu 05-Jan-17 14:44:58

Take a pushchair with you, and strap the one child in until they agree to be good?

CommunionHelp Thu 05-Jan-17 14:49:20

I have a two year old who is extremely 'wilful' grin.

It's a tough age in lots of ways ( I have two older ones). I do find that distraction works best for when my DD is playing up - they can be sooo testing but easy to distract. I tell her if she does something wrong and I'm watchful to make sure that she doesn't repeat it. I also think only just 2 might be a tiny bit young for the naughty step, to be honest.

Northend77 Thu 05-Jan-17 14:51:57

Rebel my friends' daughter is only 8 months younger so had brought some toys downstairs but she wasn't interested, typically!!

I try to be as consistent with them both as I can, which can be difficult when you work full time and are tired, but I know how important it is so do try and they both get lots of praise. It is the rare occasions that these incidents happen (probably no more than 1 every couple of months) so not hugely an issue but embarrassing when it happens in public places! Still, most parents will have gone through it at some point, I'm sure, so would hopefully understand.

bingo there is a canal (with no barrier) right outside so I don't like them playing out there too much plus it's just too cold at the moment!!

birds they get very little one on one time with either me or their dad because of us working full time and only having weekends with them however that is one of my new year resolutions - to take each of them out somewhere on their own each week or so and hopefully that will help

Thank you everyone for your replies, sounds like I'm not doing too much wrong! I've only ever really got to the point of taking them home from somewhere so I will talk to them and explain that it's what will happen if they continue to misbehave and see if that works. They amaze me how much they really understand at times!!

Thanks again

Northend77 Thu 05-Jan-17 14:52:58

saucy good thing to try, it's always in the car and I use it to take them anywhere away from the car as I struggle to walk with them both!

Gottagetmoving Thu 05-Jan-17 14:55:19

At her age I would have told her very firmly that she must NOT touch the tree baubles and move her away. I would repeat that each time she went to do it.
Sometimes you have to repeat something like that many times before they get fed up and accept it.
Your DD is not being naughty - she is being a toddler and it is up to you to guide her and teach her.
If she says 'No' I would ignore that and just physically move her. It doesn't matter if she says no so long as you are consistent in stopping her.

Northend77 Thu 05-Jan-17 15:04:11

I think part of the problem is that I don't always focus 100% on what the "naughty" (for want of a better word) twin is doing as I am also watching the other one and sometimes having to control her too. Obviously this isn't an issue most of the time as DH and I take them out together but on my own its not easy hence why I want to do more one on one time with them which I think will help both of them

Gottagetmoving Thu 05-Jan-17 16:18:46

No one can focus on a child 100% of the time. I think you are worrying too much - You are doing your best.

ems137 Thu 05-Jan-17 16:46:04

Don't listen to what your friend said, I think I'd have said something back to her if that was me. Especially seeing as her child must only be around 18 months old, there's a massive difference in behaviour IMO and you have 2 at the same time to manage. That must be really hard at times and it sounds like you're doing exactly what most mums would be doing!

LivingOnTheDancefloor Thu 05-Jan-17 17:14:42

Ah! I have 2yo twins as well - although mine are almost 3 - and there is also a misbehaving one which I am not sure how to handle!
I find is especially hard when the other twin behaves so well, understands consequences, etc. so basically you spend your days telling the same twin off 90% off the time.

My technique is to remove him from the situation and sit him somewhere telling him he is punished and has to stay there. I stay nearby (but don't interact or look at him) in order to prevent him for going away. I also do the say sorry afterwards but I have to admit most of the time I can tell he doesn't mean it and just says it to be done with it.
What sometimes works, is that while he is sat being punished, I talk to his twin sister "yes, DS has been punished because he did this, I know he shouldn't have, he is punished now, etc" this always catches his attention and he listens carefully so maybe I am on to something.

LivingOnTheDancefloor Thu 05-Jan-17 17:17:08

Oh and I forgot, what I tell myself in this kind of situation is that only one twin is behaving like this but the other isn't, therefore there is a good chance that there is no issue with your parenting, it is just how this child is smile

RebelRogue Thu 05-Jan-17 18:14:56

OP you're not doing anything wrong. You have two young toddlers. Why do you think they call them terrible two's? And you have two of them. Plus it's actually pretty impressive if it's only once every couple of months. At that age i used the pushchair and a lot of bribery...and i only had one grin
You're doing your best,and they're still learning.

Only thing the future maybe stop worrying about what others are thinking and instead focus on DD. What would distract her,what she would like to do instead,maybe have smth handy that she loves for quick distraction etc.

Northend77 Thu 05-Jan-17 22:24:43

Thanks everyone, some really good suggestions and lots of reassurance too so I really appreciate that

I have already started talking more to her at her level, explaining things (only day 1 but today's nursery pick up and evening was the best in a very long time!). I'll also carry around some of her favourite toys as distraction items in future and use the buggy more

I do realise I am lucky that these instances don't occur very often at all and I read some posts on here and another parenting forum and my girls are positively angels in comparison, even at their worst!! It's just so hard not to compare when one is behaving nicely and her sister is running around like a crazed lunatic!! In all honesty though, I wouldn't change either of them for the world as I love their different characters.

living Hunger Games salute to another twin toddler mum!! Sounds like you have found something that works for your 2, success! x

And you're right Rebel, I need to forget about what other people think (I don't usually, it was probably because it was a close friend and took me by surprise)

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