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appropriate 'discipline' for 2 year old?

(16 Posts)
GrumpyFish Wed 04-Aug-10 14:06:18

DS (PFB!)will be 2 next week. He is generally pretty easy going, no tantrums yet, and so I have taken a very relaxed approach to 'discipline' (using the term loosely as I'm not really sure that discipline is appropriate at such a young age) so far, usually just asking him to say sorry if he e.g. pushes another child, making him return stolen toys, and removing him from situations where there is an issue.

In the last few weeks, however, he has done a few things that he knows are really naughty, and which I think merit an immediate consequence. As an example, this morning he kicked (albeit gently) a friend's dog 3 times. I think he was just trying to play, but after the first two times, when I had explained that it was very naughty and hurt the dog (and got him to pat the dog gently and say sorry) he still did it a third time, giggling and shouting "kick" as he did it (he is used to dogs and has never done anything like this before). At this point I went nuts blush, picked him straight up and took him home. He didn't seem hugely bothered by this though.

He is very articulate for his age, and when asked at lunchtime (3 hours later - I had not mentioned it since the incident) if he knew why he had been naughty today, he was able to say "because I kicked the doggie", so he obviously does have some understanding of his actions. We did then spend a few minutes playing "nicely" with his toy dogs, stroking their ears and patting them gently, with me telling him that that made the dogs happy and want to play with him.

I'm really not sure what sort of discpline is appropriate at this age? I doubt he would sit on a naughty step or similar yet for any length of time, and probably wouldn't understand a star chart or similar. However I think I do need something to use as an immediate consequence for when he does something that is either dangerous or involves aggression. Any suggestions gratefully received.

bubblagirl Wed 04-Aug-10 14:26:34

my ds was able to get the concept of time out i had spot in hall way away from me and toys and would sit him there if your able to hold conversation and he has understanding he will be able to understand time out for his behavior

the thing with the kicking of the dog even if gently the dog may have got scared and bit him then who would be at fault he needs to be aware that is not acceptable just use timer and have 2 mins in time out this can be taken with you every where and enables you to deal with the problem there and then rather than later as children often forget hours on and then get him to apologise stay consistant i used this with my ds and to be honest he responded well and i would use the 5-4-3-2-1 warning after a while i only ever got to 3 and he had apologised asnd stopped his behaviour as he knew i would follow through with the time out he hated being away from all the fun going on

i never called it naughty corner just time out for his behaviour

Firawla Wed 04-Aug-10 14:30:50

well what i do with mine (similar age, he was 2 a month ago) is just a time out in his room. i felt the naughty step will be a big performance of getting him to stay there still for the 2 mins, and may not be 'worth' the hours it would probably take to get him sat there, by which time he may have even lost track of what he did wrong in the 1st place? although works for some (many of my friends use it and say its good) but i felt it will be too frustrating for both of us, so i just put him in his room, and if he is sorry and going to behave nicely then he can come out. for eg if he had gone in there for not listening to what ive told him to do, he would have to come out and straight away do that thing. if it was going in there for being too rough with his brother then just come out and dont do it again is fine
once you have some kind of consequence in place, whether that kind of thing or something else, i find they take you more seriously when you use the firm voice? counting to five in a firm voice tends to work well with mine. but i think firm voice only when they never known a specific consequence doesnt get the mess across as much? you dont have to use for everything but just have something there to use when necessary and then they know there are lines they cant cross?
i think taking home works okay, you said he wasn't that bothered by it but still he must realise he kicked the dog then he had to go straight home so he lost out on the playtime?
sounds as though you dealt with it okay, you took him home then explained him later, i think its enough there is no need for overkill they are still young. also the obvious one lots of praise for the good behaviour, so they get more attention for that

CoupleofKooks Wed 04-Aug-10 14:42:04

i would offer a choice - "you can touch the dog nicely, or come and sit on my lap"

model touching dog nicely

if he carries on kicking take him onto your lap, or away from the situation in another way

in a less volatile situation i would maybe just use distration, but it's fairly important he learns not to kick dogs as soon as possible! you supervising very closely when he's with the dog should play a large part in this, though - he's not old enough to be trustworthy all the time with animals, and as has been pointed out, the dog may retaliate

i think time outs are lazy and punitive and i try to be more creative about discipline
fair enough if you are at end of tether, there are worse things to do, but don't use as your front line parenting method

Oblomov Wed 04-Aug-10 14:43:04

ds2 1 and 3/4. has terrible temper. stamping before one year old,and now full on tantrums. all new. never had this with ds1. oh well.
when he does something naughty, i carry him into the lounge and plonk him in the middle of the floor, firmly. say "no" and walk off. nomrally to the kkitchen. this he hates.
it is a form of naughty step i guess. more so i see it as attnetion withdrawl. i belleive most children just want your attention. and if you withdraw it, until they can behave/treat you nicely. then to me, this seems a good way. loving but firm. no nosense, but not too harsh.

maybe others have other ideas. can't remmeber what the officail/book recommendation is, but how does the suggestions sit with you, morally, so far ?

Pigsinblankets Wed 04-Aug-10 17:29:33

My Ds (2.1yr) is going through a 'difficult' phase. Hitting, pushing and pinching me or her brother, usually when she can't get her own way. I am struggling to deal with her, probably because it's new, DS was a dream (4) and still is (that'll come back to haunt me! smile

I know I'm not handling it in the best way, I'm not always consistent, I usually use a combination of the naughty step, a firm eye to eye telling off and time out upstairs if she's particularly bad. I have also tried the "it makes Mummy sad when you do that" line but that doesn't seem to get much response. I've also tried bribery, (if you're really good whilst we're in the supermarket then you can have a treat) I think she's too young for this though and it's not sustainable!

I have noticed one thing though, it does tend to be bad when she's hungry or tired, my new tack therefore is to pre-empt it as much as possible. Sounds obvious but it took me a while to get it!

Not much help, but you're not alone! I keep telling myself it's just a phase - how long it'll last though is anyone's guess!

Sorry I haven't really helped but you're not alone.

GrumpyFish Wed 04-Aug-10 18:24:40

Thank you all for your responses, lots of ideas there! kooks I think I probably have quite a similar approach to you, in terms of distraction being my first line of attack, but there have just been a few things lately which have been too much (dangerous / hurting others) - I agree that close supervision is essential and I do have an eye on him at all times but he's just so quick that I can't always get there in time even if I can see what is coming!

I think I will devise some kind of time out technique for extreme circumstances. Needs to be something that works equally well out and about, and I think as you say Firawla that a naughty step would be too much of a palaver and not enough of an instant lesson. He also loves stickers so I'm going to try giving him a sticker for every half hour that he behaves nicely when we're out (incidents are generally out rather than at home), I do need a bit of a reminder to praise good behaviour!

menopausemum Wed 04-Aug-10 18:58:43

I think Pigsinblankets has hit the nail on the head. If you can pinpoint why a child is behaving badly then you can do something about it. I have always believed that naughty children are bored children but definitely it can be hunger, tiredness, sadness (needing mum etc). Being too cold or too warm can also set it off. Some children just like the action of kicking - if so, give them things to kick legitimately as much as possible. If its just testing the boundaries then I would agree with the idea of a short period of time out - it worked well for mine.

GrumpyFish Wed 04-Aug-10 20:13:57

Thanks menopause - I actually think you're spot on with him just liking the action of kicking! He's always kicking a ball around at home, and he goes to Socatots where he is encouraged to kick skittles, cones, bean bags etc so maybe it's not such a big leap for him to kick a dog as it would be for an adult. I think once he'd got a reaction from me though it became a testing the boundaries issue. In this instance he shouldn't have been tired or hungry (9 am, not long after breakfast) but that definitely explains behaviour in other circumstances - now I think about it he hits a real low point in the middle of the day and maybe just needs his nap a bit earier - thanks Pigs for reminding me of that.

withorwithoutyou Wed 04-Aug-10 20:20:49

Grumpyfish, are you me??? shock

My DD1 is also two next week, also very articulate and has also been abusing our dog.

If I tell her off she just laughs like it's a game. Her behaviour is generally very good and it really upsets me when she does this.

pookamoo Wed 04-Aug-10 20:22:11

All this is very interesting to me too, grumpyfish. My DD is 20 months and has taken to throwing things. Toys, food, cutlery, anything. She knows she shouldn't, and I usually try to distract her, and explain that we throw a ball and nothing else apart from a ball, but I am thinking this is only going to develop, if not throwing, then other things!

So any tips will be gratefully received over here, too!

GrumpyFish Wed 04-Aug-10 21:14:20

withorwithoutyou maybe it's a phase that they all go through at 23 months and 3 weeks?! It really upsets me too to be honest - for some reason I don't have much of a problem with him e.g. pushing other children (obviously this is not ok, but I can deal with it and then forget) but the image of him kicking the dog has stuck with me all day sad. He has grown up around animals and really does seem to love them, but it is very important to me that he learns to treat them with respect.

pook we had throwing too a few months ago - it passed, I didn't really make a big deal of it - there's another thread on here just now about throwing which you might want to look at if you haven't already noticed it.

withorwithoutyou Wed 04-Aug-10 21:34:13

Maybe it is!

I keep meaning to start a thread on this as it's getting silly. Our placid little dog actually growled for the first time yesterday after DD sat on her in her bed and bounced on her back. I know supervision is the key of course, but I was breastfeeding my newborn at the time and it took me a while to get over there to drag her off.

I'm not keen on naughty step either and generally go for distraction techniques. We have got to the point where she will say sorry to the dog and pat her nicely. The trouble is, she thinks it's all just fun and games, I'm sure she doesn't actually mean to hurt her.

menopausemum Thu 05-Aug-10 10:15:21

As regards throwing things, I think this is similar to kicking. Have you heard of 'schema'. Its fairly complex but there's lots of info on the web. Generally children go through phases of being interested in just one thing which they experiment with, so you get 'enclosure' schema where children like to put things in other things (like at playgroup where you find an envelope full of sand inside a handbag inside the washing machine, same children will enjoy dens, a large cardboard box or polly pocket toys. There's another schema called 'trajectory' where children experiment with the outward movement from their body e.g. kicking and throwing. As they're going to do this regardless of what you do, the idea is to give them lots of opportunities to do it legitimately so set up throwing games with bean bags or cushions etc to get it out of their system. (but yes, be rigid about not kicking/hitting the dog)!!

Isitlargewineoclockyet Sat 28-May-11 22:54:46

My ds is just 2 and although he displays love and affection to our dog, he can also lash out suddenly, kicking, and today he hit him suddenly with both hands. He knows it is wrong, because he looks at me with a surprised/shocked/knowing look on his face, but when i tell him it is naughty and try to make him say sorry to the dog, he laughs and may try to do it again. I think, maybe he gets a reaction from me, albeit negative, and does it again to see what might happen. It is upsetting to see and quite honestly i am not sure what to do about it. He does not try to hit or kick anyone else, just the poor dog. Any suggestions welcome.

Glitterandglue Mon 30-May-11 19:55:51

With my niece and nephews, any violence/aggression gets an immediate time out. I don't mean aggressive speech, I mean actual contact with intent to physically hurt someone else (including the dog, though they never usually go for the dog). The 6 year old in particular used to be quite bad at this, lashing out in the moment when he was annoyed with something, but he got a lot better when we started immediate removal, along with, "No, you do not hit/kick/punch," or whatever. It gives them a chance to calm down anyway if they are acting out of anger, and if they're just doing it to see what happens, they learn that what happens is they are immediately removed from the situation! Having to sit alone in the bathroom (the room we use as it's fairly boring) for x minutes per year of age is dull, so they try to avoid it.

As far as time out in general goes (used for other behaviour it comes with a warning first, i.e., "If you do that again you'll be in time out,") I tried for a while with the whole step or spot approach but found that yeah, it just became a battle and even though I could win that, being more stubborn than the kids, it was pointless because by the end of that time they'd forgotten what they were there for in the first place and were often more worked up than they had been before. It just seemed like me proving I could overpower them, which wasn't the point. Now they just go straight into the bathroom and if necessary I'll hold the door - used to have to do that a lot when we first started using it but much less so now unless they're really angry when they go in - but they worked out much more quickly that they couldn't open the door, so the battle didn't rage on like it did when they had the freedom to roam from wherever they'd been put before.

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