to think my 2 year old's behaviour is extreme?(65 Posts)
My DD is 2.5 years old. I'm worried her behaviour isn't normal even for a two year old. I've spoken to four different health visitors and they've all said it's normal but I'm finding myself transforming from someone who never shouted or lost my temper to now I feel like I spend half the day shouting
This morning, I took my DD to a toddler group so she had 1.5 hours of running around inside and out and thoroughly enjoyed herself. Since coming home she's repeatedly pushed her one year old sister over, rocked the highchair with one year old in it until she pushed it over!! Pushed the airer full of clothes over repeatedly and threw clothes around the room. Climbed on toys and table continuously until she eventually slipped and fell off and hurt herself. I start off by telling her calmly to stop doing whatever it is she is doing and I explain why and it eventually escalates until I'm shouting because she just smirks when I tell her to stop doing something.
I noticed at the toddler group she was the only one who wouldn't sit to the table for juice and biscuits and kept running around the room.
There’s no such thing as normal. Some kids are just more energetic than others. I had two very calm ones but then dc number 3 is like a whirlwind, she’s 8 now and still never sits still. Your dc sounds very ‘normal’
Yes. Its down to you to develop strategies to cope with and manage her behaviour particularly when she is out. Its horrible but you will find something that works for you and you will get through it.
What do you do When she pushes the baby? What are the consequences?
Telling her not to do it or explaining why won’t work. At 2.5 they cannot understand reasoning and have very little self-control.
Having a younger sibling to compete with for your attention exascerbates her behaviour.
Distraction is the way to go. Remove her from the unwanted behaviour and get her doing something else which you can praise her for.
Sounds fairly normal to me. She sounds like she wants to play with you/get your attention. Could you small plastic boxes (empty ice cream tubes work well for that) with play do, small toys, etc... that you can give her to distract her when you are busy?
You might want to read 'how to talk so little kids will listen' for some strategies. Sounds exhausting but normal to me!!
That sounds tough OP, but FWIW I've known lots of equally 'spirited' toddlers that eventually mellowed out and had no SN (I used to teach pre-school)
What do you do when she does sonething dangerous? (eg pushing her sister?)
I tend to go with saying 'kind hands, gentle' and demonstrating the first time DS is a bit heavy handed, but if he does it again I pick him up and move him somewhere else and tell him why in a firmer voice.
Toddlers dont properly learn impulse control till later than we think...about age 3/4...so tbh if she's smirking when you tell her not to do something i'd probably keep picking her up and moving away.
Sounds normal to me. Using verbal instructions/reasoning at this age isn't really likely to help which is probably why you find yourself ending up shouting.
Control her environment rather than expecting her to control her own behaviour. So when the baby is in the highchair, she's strapped into a booster seat at the table too, physically pick her up and take her down from tables, use stair gates to block off dangers. It's hard work as you have to be supervising all the time, 2 under 3 must be really difficult.
The website Aha parenting has some good tips for two year olds. I think it comes down to keeping them busy so they don't have time to get into trouble, baby proofing and having age appropriate expectations. I found pre warning of what would happen next and how I wanted them to respond also helped.
My ds is a nightmare, 2 and 4 months. He hits and bites. I was putting him on the 'thinking spot' but he just runs around and seems to quite enjoy it. He is deliberately destructive, has terrible tantrums a couple of times a day and frankly is bloody hard work. He smirks and laughs when he is being told he is hurting us etc.
He gets a warning now, it is a bit 'you can have the first punch but next time'..... he will deliberately to the bad behaviour again. I put him straight in his cot and shut the door for 5 minutes. Before he gets out I make sure he knows why he's there and then he apologises. It seems to help for a little while.
People keep saying he will grow out of it. When he does I'll paint over the scribbles on the walls and furniture.
Oh yes I forgot about the little kids version of how to talk. Agree totally. OP I think you have the right idea but just unfortunately it's a bit early!
What are the consequences when she pushes the baby?
Try saying her name in a firm and loud tone.
She should not be pushing the baby. If she tries to do this, turn her round quickly to face you and tell her clearly and firmly 'Do not push your sister'.
For posters saying it's normal behaviour. I think it is normal and DD has a lot of energy.
However, 2 year olds do have some self control and are aware what's right and wrong, and what kind of behaviour is unacceptable if you reinforce this.
They smile and laugh when being told off because they don't understand why you're cross/sad and they are trying to cheer you up. That is what the latest research says. It's not spite or ha, I win. You need to redirect them to activities you find acceptable so that they learn what they should do instead.
Actually I think that IS extreme. And I'm a mum and childminder so I've seen a fair few toddlers in my time. I'm not suggesting she should be 'diagnosed' with something but I can absolutely see why you are finding her behaviour difficult to manage. How is her sleep? Is she easier to manage when you're out and about?
Normal. Try distracting her if saying no doesn't work.
This too shall pass.
Also I always think if a toddler is being particularly difficult then they're probably; tired, hungry, thirsty or need a poo.
Now my kids are older I really look at 2.5 yr olda aa babies! When yiur 1 yr old is that age you will look back and think the same. She sounds completely normal to me.
I have one like yours. I have to helicopter the hell out of him, as he is in a 'that's mine' phase and continually taking toys away from other children. It's actually a relief when he does it to his sister because then I don't have to apologise to another adult.
He won't sit still unless he is eating and even then he is likely to fidget. I miss the high chair and the ability to strap him down.
I look at other quietly sitting children with envy and am lowering my standards of acceptable behaviour at the dinner table.
So hopefully it's normal and a phase 😂
I am worried that she managed to push over the high chair with sibling in. The clothes thing I wouldn’t worry about too much but being left to physically harm a younger sibling is serious, your younger child could have been horribly injured. Warnings need to lead to restraining if another DC is physically at risk of harm
I think you need to be more on the ball tbh: make sure you are between her and the baby in the high chair, remove her the first time she pushes her sister or gets at some clothes she's not supposed to have. Be on the lookout for potential clashes and pre-empt them.
Just telling her to stop doing it isn't working. You need to actively stop her doing it. Lift her down while telling her. That way she learns that when mummy says I can't do something I don't actually get to do it. If she is a spirited/impulsive child it may be a year or two before the penny drops: you just have to keep at it.
'Normal' does not exist when i comes to toddlers! My 2.5yo son has periods of time that leave my throat hoarse from shouting so much. I do think what your describing though is more than acting out from tiredness/hunger etc I'd suggest going to see your GP, they might refer you daughter for behavioral tests. It's worth it just to rule it out.
Normal. My now nearly 3 year old was exactly the same, but is getting a lot better every week. He seemed to have a bit of a developmental growth spurt at 2 years 10 months and started talking a lot better and being much better behaved. Hopefully she will too, so hang in there!
Could you pay for a couple of sessions of pre-school a week to give you a bit of a break?
Thanks everyone, I'm taking all your tips and advice onboard and just about to google the books you've recommended. It is reassuring to know the majority of you do think her behaviour is normal. The health visitors keep telling me she has a lot of energy (as some children do) and is very bright so needs a lot of stimulation, so we go to two toddler groups a week, walk virtually everyday in the park (she can walk for 2+ hours easily), plus a couple of organised classes a week.
When she pushes over baby, I get down to her level and make her face me, then I tell her that was really unkind and we don't push people and make them cry, she then has to give her sister a cuddle and say sorry. If she does it again then I take her to another room and make her sit there for a minute.
Her sleeping is a whole other story. She's always been an atrocious sleeper and still is, won't go to bed, up during the night, up early, it really is awful and again I've had loads of advice until eventually health visitors have said she's just one of those children that doesn't need a lot of sleep and struggles to switch off.
Since posting, I've had to tell her off for opening baby's bottle of milk and pouring on floor and she's just had a meltdown because I refused to let her spoon out the butter and eat it.
Does she still have a nap? She could be overtired. Mine were always really naughty if they were tired even though it seemed like they were full of energy.
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