2 yr old laughs when I tell him off(25 Posts)
We have a good relationship and for the most part he is well behaved and follows instructions.
However, he has been hitting me, his baby sister, dad and other kids at playgroups on and off for 4 months. I've tried Tizzie Hall's 'holding technique' (hold his arms down when you explain why you're doing it. He should get annoyed and try to wriggle free but doesn't seem to mind it... If I speak as firmly and assertively as I possibly can (and I'm certainly no wallflower), it has no effect- he giggles. I'm at a loss as to how to communicate that certain behaviour is not acceptable. I guess I want to see in his face that he has got the message.
My 2yo DD does this, she is generally well behaved but there are times when I need her to do something such as get her shoes on/get off the floor/stop running round the car & get in her car seat etc, I use the "I'm going to count to 3 and if you don't do it I will have to do it for you/pick you up etc" method which sometimes will work and sometimes she'll either grin and just count with me (infuriating) or wait til I've finished and when I say "so DD are you going to get up/come here etc" and just say "no" quite happily (doubly infuriating) so all I can do is make sure I follow through with whatever I've threatened, be it I then go pick her up from the floor or take the offending toy away and try to stay calm and ignore her attempted rebellion. Easier said than done but I think she does it for a reaction so if I don't give her one eventually it will help.
Needless to say I will watch this thread with interest OP!
It sounds like he's enjoying all the attention. Could you just remove him from the situation and then chat about it after he's had some time out?
Omg the sheer audacity of them! If my mother told me to do X I bloody well did X. I was too scared to laugh. Why aren't they scared??
Also watching with interest, DT's are 27 months and do exactly the same.
They also think that if they apologise before doing something they are not supposed to do then its ok.
elle I think he's particularly uncooperative when he's tired - normal, I'm sure. Yes, you are right about revisiting it. I tell him a zillion broken-record times 'no hitting' and whilst his speech is pretty poor 'hitting' is one of his words do he knows exactly what's going on. I just feel agog with disbelief at the cheek and nonchalance at such a young age. Or is it cheek??
Well he's only 2. He doesn't get explanations. All he knows is you're him attention and that you give less when baby is about.
Try and be more positive. Tell him what he should do. Any hitting should be met with a firm "no hitting" and move him away. End of. No talking after etc etc because he will have forgotten, being 2.
I'm a bit at the comments about wanting to see it in his face and about him not being scared. You're his mum, why should he fear you?
Honestly though, he's too young for empathy etc. give him shit loads of attention, divert him and learn to anticipate situations where he might hit so it doesn't happen in the first place.
Sorry but there is something in the way you talk about your child that strikes me as a little odd. You want him to be scared of you? You are disparaging about his speech. I think he just sounds like a normal two year old tbh. Ignore the bad behaviour, reward the good.
I would guess he knows you're cross and it worries him, so he's trying to relieve the situation by laughing. It doesn't mean he isn't listening.
Also; don't use too many words. A seven word sentence is better understood by adults than a longer sentence, so why would toddlers be any different?
Keep your explanations very, very short, eg. We do not hit, ever.
Not: Now you know, it hurts when you do that and it's not very nice, is it? And you wouldn't like it if he did it to you etc.
Horrid: NEVER ask a toddler if they would like to do something you have already decided they must do. It isn't really a choice and you just set yourself up for trouble. Just say get in the car, we are going .
You can give a sort of choice. Shall I lift you up or do you want to climb in? Can you get in before I count to three?
I wouldn't worry about him giggling when you tell him off, sounds normal - he's barely more than a baby remember. I use "the step" for violence though.
How do you get on with timeout-style techniques?
I had this with my DD. A very serious "I don't find it funny" or "I'm not laughing" seems to have had the desired effect but it could just be coincidence with her development at that stage. Whatever the reason, she has stopped laughing in my face which helps me keep my temper better.
I think I know what you mean about wanting him to show a reaction like scared, if your telling him off, then him laughing at you may well really cheese you off.
For those of us who even 40 years on wouldn't for example swear in frount of our parents because we just wouldn't dream of it.... its hard to know what our parents did that made us feel that there were certain barriers of behaviour that we just would not cross.
I suspect a slap on the legs might have featured at some point.
Now that we know not to do that, it does really only leave voice control, there is a definate point at witch mannual handeling fall flats - usually when they outweigh you.
So nothing for it but to practise your voice of authority, pratice with a mirror, do you actually look like you mean business ? or does the little fella just see puffed-up mom with rosy cheeks ? Work hard with frowning, finger wagging, pinched in lips (plucking eyebrows can really make even the pretties face look terribly fierce_).
Thank you so SO much for your really helpful responses. Iggly and loulou you're right; I'm not TerrorMom or anything - I re-read my post and the scared thing does sound a bit weird I guess, but I was AT MY WITS end today between wriggling out of already tight car seat straps and hitting me in the face when I tried to put arms back in ! Rosemary yes I agree with your comment re him needling relief and fewer words. I think me and DP maybe shouldn't pay too much attention to the hitting. Now I've got a large glass of Valpolicella nothing seems as bad
Oh and Ewan I've tried a tiny bit of timeout in the hall (he can't open the door to get back into the living room) but he's happy as Larry, singing to himself and pottering around the plug socket & door handle. Shows no desire to return to society! But maybe he makes the connection between hitting and absence of attention.
Why do you suspect a slap at some point Rosemary? my mum never hit us, not once in memory. I'll ask her to see if she did when younger but doubt it.
I wouldn't swear in front of mum out of respect, not fear. I'm not scared to, I just think its rude.
2 year olds are too young for time out. They live in the moment. You just have to remove quickly or distract and be firm and immediate with the no. I have a three year old and only now does he get it a bit more now (so now if he hits, he goes out or I take the relevant toy away for a minute. Wouldn't work a year ago).
cravingsunshine re the car seat battles this has been a godsend, DD used to wiggle her arms out of her buckles about ten times a journey but I got this and it solved the problem straight away. If only there was a gadget to stop temper tantrums so easily!
I do recall being told anymore of that young lady and you get a clip round the ear, and your never to old for a smack, can't particularly recall ever pushing to see if mum would actually follow through.....suspect her 1970's pencil thin eyebrows did the trick every time (they never did grow back - quite odd looking even now she's pushing seventy).
Wow, that belt up is a fantastic invention. Thanks Woozles.
Iggly I agree time out doesn't work. I think the emotion I have been trying to engender is 'remorse' rather than make him fear me (that is completely the wrong adjective to use and it's not what I meant in my OP) but maybe, as you suggest, 2 is too young to see consequences. He actually couldn't give a hoot about time out - the only place we can do it is the little hallway - and he plays with the letter box . I think it's definitely about seeing behavioural patterns and working out what leads up to him hitting . I actually think it happens when he wants me to play with him and I have to attend to his baby sis. He resents her and gives her a smack (sadly on the face most of the time).
Yes and he gets attention from you so will do it again. Any attention is better than to a toddler! We used to take ds away as soon as he hit his younger sister and say no hitting then ignore. We didn't have a set time as such, it was more the removal which did the job. As he got older, we told him what to do if he wanted something. Now he's much better (dd is 10 months) although has the odd moment when very tired/upset.
Agree with iggly and all of her suggestions. If you want a few more tips google askdrsears hitting.
Iggy, is the way to go, I don't remember laughing at my mum, but then I don't remember much from being 2. I did laugh and make faces behind her back when a teenager. I also remember giving her what I thought was the ultimate embarrassment....what, why are you giving me the look,mi didn't do anything and she some how turned the embarrassment around on me.
Funnily enough my mum never smacked me or used time outs, maybe she had a realistic expectation of a 2 year old, that I think some parents these days don't, some people expect their 2 year olds to act like mini 10 year olds.
Strangely enough I was never scared of my mum, but I was scared of upsetting her, causing undue stress and afraid of her feeling disappointed in My behaviour.
Incidentally I routinely used time out and have smacked my dd even though my mum never did. But I feel dd does lack some respect, so I have began rationalising more with her about her behaviour and using natural consequences and she does seem to be able to regulate herself far more and I can see her rationalising things far more now. But at 2 I think distraction and the word no is far better, they are still learning boundaries.
Can I suggest something?
2 year olds are still at an early stage language wise.. and not great on attention either.
When you are talking him to him after/during an incident, make sure the most vital word is the one you use last... so don't use long sentences 'Jonny is sad because you hit him please dont hit him' etc but have the key word last..in a 2 or three word sentence.
'Hitting STOPS' That way the key word of the exchange is the essential one (whereas if you said 'stop hitting!' the only word processes may be 'hitting!'
I work with much older children with special needs who are developmentally toddlers but 6 ft and pack a punch and we are taught that in a situation where a child is aggressive or lively in a bad way, to keep speech short and key word last. Sounds a bit mad but it really helps!
That sounds ike a really good tip Medusa .
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