Please help me support my friend (terrible twos)(6 Posts)
An old friend has an almost-3yo DS. Since aged 18m or so he has been doing all the standard stuff you'd expect from the "terrible twos". The thing is, it's constant negative behaviour when he's with other toddlers and it's getting to the point that I and other parents are becoming wary of seeing him. The only interaction he has with other children is hitting, not allowing other children to have any toys (no matter who's toys they are) and other negative stuff. He goes to nursery and is similar, but seems to know to tone it down there. His mum is an old friend of mine and I care about her lots. I know that toddlers can find life difficult (my almost-2yo has given me some experience!) but this is taken to another level. It is constant.
Friend is frazzled. Her son seems unhappy. Often frustrated, as typical for his age, but will take it out on any passing child by hitting. He will sometimes look around to check no adult is watching when hitting. He will seek out a child to hit, not just "you're too close, go away". More like "where's x? I'm going to push them over". The thing is, with a toddler myself I can't ignore the behaviour, I can see my own child looking to me to see my reaction to things my DS isn't allowed to do. E.g. sharing, taking turns, or how I react to own DS being hit by another child. Ditto friends, we all have similar aged children.
So, if you've any ideas, please pass them on.
We've tried letting her DS get his own way, e.g. if he takes a toy from the others, letting him keep it and giving the other child a different toy. Her DS will just take the second toy from the other toddler too. I do think that this sort of reaction reinforces to all the toddlers that one of them always gets what he wants. It's not helping anyway as he won't settle down and play with the toy he took from another child, he continues taking all toys and maybe breaking them to, then pushing or hitting other children as though he's frustrated generally.
His mum had done time out, telling off etc as well. Again to no obvious effect.
If I was her I would tell him before we set off that if he takes a toy etc then he will e taken home- and carry it out every single time. It will be hard, and may take time, but it is worth it in the end. Don't enter arguments about it- just the bored, broken record approach, 'I told you what would happen'. Be very boring once home again.
Fruits your right,
Just got to see it through can be hard. I would have lost the rag by now.
The important thing is not to get cross, not to enter into endless pointless arguments, justification etc- just tell the consequence and carry through. Keep calm, slightly surprised but bored tone - 'but I told you we would leave'- and don't let him manipulate you into deviating from the same sentence.
Thanks for your replies- thinking about it, I don't know if the boy gets a consistent message about the consequences of these actions. My friend won't mind if I step in, I'm sure, so if we start with "if I hit carabossse's DS she always tells me to stop and be gentle" etc etc that may help. It'll be a few weeks until I see them again, so I''ve time to make a plan.
It's hard without knowing more about the child and what motivates him, and to offer much advice when you are not his parent. Maybe try to pick the things you do carefully when you meet up with this child - is he better outside? Parks / walks / duck feeding trips might have less scope for conflict. Above all though, just keep supporting your friend, ignore as much of the behaviour as you reasonably can, and let her deal with her son. I know you feel that as a mother of an almost 2 year old you have some experience, but in terms of my own sons I have found that 3 is far worse than 2 in terms of bad toddler behaviour. My eldest in particular was an absolute nightmare in the months before and after his third birthday, it was by a long way his most challenging age. At his worst, I put him on a sticker system (when out and about and places likely to be problematic, eg toddler group) where he won a sticker for every 15 minutes of good behaviour- labour intensive for me, but it worked quite well as he could just about manage to be good for that long! He would choose which sticker he wanted next, then work towards that for the 15 minute period.
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