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how would you deal with this behaviour (2.9yo)? Tips and advice gratefully received!

(13 Posts)
washngo Tue 12-Jul-11 21:09:55

My 2.9 yo ds is driving me a bit bonkers at the moment, and whilst i love him very much he is making it rather difficult to like him! His default setting at the moment appears to be 'whinge', so if i suggest something that he doesn't want to do ("would you like a snack? Shall we play with some puzzles? Would you like to wear your blue shoes?") I get a response that sounds like I have asked "Would you like to eat some slugs? Shall we walk across some hot coals? Shall we throw your favourite toys in the bin?". Usually along the lines of 'nooooooooo i dont waaaaaaant tooooooo", but said in the whingiest voice possible. He is very cautious, and often doesn't enjoy things because of it. On a recent trip to the seaside he said he wanted to go home almost immediately because it was windy, he didn't like the sand and the sea was too noisy. When other adults (including ones he knows) speak to him, he often says "No" in a frightened voice and hides his face on me or wherever he can instead of answering them. He is terrible at sharing and if he's playing with something and someone else wants a turn (even if they ask nicely and wait patiently) he simply cannot cope. OK, so that covers what he's like when he's in a good mood.

When he is being really difficult i find him very hard to deal with. Recently he has started pushing his younger sister (13 months). Often this comes in the guise of a cuddle which becomes a headlock. Once he scratched her neck with his fingernails whilst doing this. Earlier today i came into the living room because she was crying ( i had popped into the kitchen to get him a drink while they were playing happily), and he was grinning from ear to ear and gleefully told me "I pushed her". He has been getting very over excited, and generally rough. If i tell him to stop doing something or give him a warning this makes him even more likely to do it, he'll start giggling and repeatedly do the thing i've asked him not to. He also occasionally pushes or hits me. I honestly don't know what is the best way to deal with this.

I know that part of the problem is that he is very jealous of dd, who as a typical 13 mo is v happy and smiley and generally gets lots of attention from everyone. I try very hard to make ds feel loved and not at all left out, but at the same time i don't feel like i can just let his behaviour go unchecked, so feel i nag him quite a lot. By contrast obviously dd is too young to need this kind of intervention so he probably feels that the attention she gets is more positive. It's a bit of a self perpetuating problem.

My question is, how would you deal with this behaviour? Do any of you use the naughty step technique? How can i help him to be a bit more easygoing and gentle? Also (i know this is a bit of a silly question as nobody can really say what 'normal' is but i am going to ask it anyway), is this behaviour normal for a child of this age? Should i be worried?

Ineedmetime Tue 12-Jul-11 21:34:44

hi, I have a dd 2years and 8 months, Im not getting all of the problems you seem to have but she does hide her face when we see some members of family and with some strangers too. with her I think it could be shyness as I used to be shy as a child. she also does a lot of hitting and doesn't like to share toys( she has older brother 7 years). if she hits i tell her its naughty and on rare occasions she says sorry but a lot of the time she carrys on. sometimes we do use the naughty step but only if she is really hitting a lot cause sometimes my ds is winding her up anyway. I hope this is of some help to you but I think some of it is just their age and hopefully things will get better

washngo Tue 12-Jul-11 22:09:49

Thanks ineedmetime, I do hope it is just an age thing.

washngo Wed 13-Jul-11 08:53:15

Anyone else got any tips for dealing with this behaviour?

lindsell Wed 13-Jul-11 10:18:41

I've recently done a really useful course at my ds' nursery on techniques for disciplining boys - apparently things like the naughty step are less likely to work for young boys.

If you look at this website and go to the resources section you can download for free a copy of the guide to under 5s which has 17 techniques to try.

I found with my Ds (2.3) that the 'Low and slow' and 'fewer words' techniques combined worked best - we're getting there with controlling tantrums/whinging and trying to follow the techniques helps me by keeping me calm and making me think before I speak and I have more confidence in dealing with his behaviour which means he listens more - well as much as toddler will anyway grin


washngo Wed 13-Jul-11 13:27:06

Thank you lindsell that was really helpful. The course sounds great too. Did they mention anything about what to do if your child is rough with a sibling or friend?

savoycabbage Wed 13-Jul-11 13:37:17

I would be seeing if I could get him to take pride in his sister, if you see what I mean. 'I can't get her to stop crying, can you sing her a song/make a funny face as she loves you '

'Jane wants to show you her favourite rabbit as you are the best brother'

'she loves it when you sit next to her/push her buggy/brush her teeth/get her a drink'.

Perhaps you should ask him less questions . Maybe he doesn't like to decide what shoes to wear.

icd Wed 13-Jul-11 17:15:28

I would ask fewer questions. Don't ask him whether he wants a snack, hand it to him. Basically, don't give him the opportunity to say no all the time - he might be happier if he doesn't always have to say no?

2ddornot2dd Wed 13-Jul-11 20:42:19

I had about a year of this sort of thing. DD1 became a big sister when she was 2y 3m, and went downhill from there. I am finally coming out at the other end after taking advice from a child psycologist I happen to know. She suggested that it was either attention seeking or trying to get control, and you basically deal with them both in the same way.

Attention seeking:

Ignore the bad, just praise the good. You need to say eight positive things for every one negative thing. (and I can only begin to tell you hard that can be).

Remove your daughter from dangerous situations and just ignore your son.

Try not to get into confrontational situations (eg pick up that toy, please pick up that toy, pick up that toy now, DS PICK UP THE TOY) Instead ask him once, walk away if it's not done come back, pretend to be really suprised to see the toy, and say 'Its not like you not to pick up the toy, you're usually such a helpful boy' (I'm still crap at this - just can't act suprised)

Try and give him one to one time when you can. We bath both girls at the same time, and then I put DD2 to bed, whileDH does DD1. Then after DD2 is definately asleep I pop into DD1s room and give her a cuddle, we usually have a chat, sing a song, sometimes we read a longer book DD2 just wouldn't concentrate for (she is 14 months now, DD1 is 3.5)

all of the above, but also let him make choices - what would you like for tea? Pasta or Fishfingers? do you want to wear a blue T-Shirt or a red one? Do you want to read a story or do a jigsaw? Try and choose two things you would like.

I'm sorry this is a bit of a long post, but if I had known it all a year ago I can't begin to think how much happier we would all have been.

Sharney Wed 13-Jul-11 20:49:05

Excellent advice 2dd. Am going to use the "Oh is this still here? That's not like you ect..." Love it, good luck washing.

Tgger Wed 13-Jul-11 23:50:04

Not much advice but just wanted to reassure that his behaviour sounds very normal for his age and a lot of it "will come out in the wash" so to speak as he gets older.

My son was also like yours very senstive re wind etc and very shy with adults. He's older and a lot easier now. I think the key to this aspect of the behaviour is to support rather than criticize and realise that they are expressing how they feel, all be it in rather a raw and direct way (2 year olds don't do social niceties eg re that you've gone to a lot of trouble to go on day out so you don't want it spoilt by a whinge-bag!).

Try to ignore the whingeing, be really positive (I know it's hard) and appeal to the older child within- I do this with my DD who is similar age. Sometimes just a calm appeal for a happier DD without criticizing the whingeing one can have results!

Being bad at sharing is completely normal for this age, again encourage the good, ignore the bad. I wouldn't insist on sharing when it doesn't need to be insisted on- getting the other child a similar one/something else is allowed. If he does share praise praise praise.

With the sibling stuff, set boundaries, but don't expect too much. No, he's not allowed to hurt her but some rough stuff is ok if it doesn't actually hurt- little ones can often take more than we think. My rule was if the younger one wasn't crying not to stress.

Have a zero tolerance on hitting- anybody. However if it's only occasional rather than a lot I would just deal with it with a very stern "No, no hitting, it hurts" with eye contact.

Try to find some stuff that you and him can do that you both enjoy and are happy doing. Do it at a time of day when he is less likely to be whingy (morning?). I find if you build on the good times then the bad behaviour that is often part of being 2 doesn't dominate but just rolls into the background.

Good luck!

washngo Thu 14-Jul-11 14:21:44

Thank you so much savoy, icd, 2dd and Tggr all good tips. V interested to hear those tips from child psychologist. I'm definitely going to try to ignore the bad behaviour more - i'm 99% sure it's an attention thing, and i'm making it worse by reacting. I'm also going to try to give him a bit more 1-1 time. V helpful suggestions thank you!

HipHopOpotomus Thu 14-Jul-11 23:52:12

The only response I ever give whining is " no whining, please use your big girl
Voice". It works.

Re not liking the places you go and shyness dd is often like this. Remember distraction is your friend as is humour. When I get the "don't likes" and "want to go homes" I will start talking nonsense, or find a yellow car (we always call out yellow cars), or say look at that bird/squirrel/garden gnome etc and she soon comes right. Sometimes with the shyness it's best to just leave dd be - she sorts herself out after about 30 minutes.

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