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Troublesome 2 year old!

(18 Posts)
incontinentiabucket Mon 01-Jul-13 13:53:15

Please can anyone give me some constructive advise on how to handle this. We have a 2.2year old DD who is trying to exert her authority in more ways than one and I am desperately trying to avoid being a shouty mum.

Meal times are a major battle ground. She has always been a faddy eater (one minute she'll eat loads of home cooked food, next minute she won't touch it and will only eat sachet type food), and we have to really encourage her with every mouthful at the moment. She is going through a phase of taking one spoonful and holding it in her mouth which she can take up to 10 minutes to swallow or she spits it back out - even with a meal which has been a favourite up to now. Meals can take forever. We all sit at the dinner table together in the hope that seeing us eat, would help her to eat but nothing seems to work. If you get cross with her she just laughs at you, if you give her the plate or the spoon to feed herself she just launches it accross the kitchen. We don't know what else to try with her - finger foods, meals, puddings all get thrown on the floor. We encourage her by cheering when she feeds herself or takes a spoonful, we've tried smaller portions so the meal doesn't look so daunting.

Also, we had a miserable day out the other week where I took her out for the day with a relative to a shopping centre. She screamed and screeched her way around for nearly two hours so we gave up and came home (I tried giving her a drink, food, milk but she just carried on). I spoke to her sternly to tell her off (didn't raise my voice, just tried to let her know I was unimpressed with her behavoir and I wanted it to stop), and she just laughed in my face continually. How do you discipline them ( for want of a better word) when you are out in public?

Suggestions welcome because I am at breaking point with this. Obviously this is a small insight into our daily battles but they are the ones that are sticking in my mind at the moment. No doesn't seem to be a word she wants to understand.


PollyPlummer Mon 01-Jul-13 14:03:24

With meal times I don't think there is much more you can do other than ride it out. Give her what your all having, she will eat when she is hungry. I wouldn't encourage her to eat or make an issue about it in anyway, just pop her food in front of her and sit down yourself.
One of my dts has had a phase like this recently and it was so frustrating, he would only eat one thing off his plate - sausages, peas, bread - never the same thing twice and some days he hardly ate at all. They really only need a small amount of food at this age. It is hard though because I feel the natural urge to feed my dc - so I know they're full iyswim.
Tantrums in public suck, I just ignore and wait it out if I can or take them home if it looks like its not going to stop anytime soon.
I do give them a warning and tell them if they don't stop screaming we will just go home, usually they are screaming too loudly to hear me though grin

PollyPlummer Mon 01-Jul-13 14:07:36

Sorry I missed the bit about food throwing [tired] Dts both used to do that too, we just picked it up and put it to one side and carried on as if nothing happened it took a while but they soon stopped. Its bloody messy though I got sick of mopping the floors because I knew they would be covered in food after the next meal time.

MsDeerheart Mon 01-Jul-13 14:22:06

sounds tricky - food I would ignore as much as possible - this is hard I know from experience- pop it in front of her- if she doesn't eat it or throws it take it away - just saying I see you are not hungry - its amazing how little they need at that age - there is a book called my child won't eat which might be helpful as well
Trips out - I have say 2 hours in a shopping centre - would not be a possible with my DCs at that age - I assume you were trying to do some actual shopping - they would get bored, want to run around, and then screeched - so sounds normal to me

incontinentiabucket Mon 01-Jul-13 14:38:44

Thanks for responding both, glad it's not just me who has been / is going through this. MsDeerheart, yes we were trying to do some actual shopping after having some lunch (included within that time, so actual shopping time as only about an hour), we managed one department store but left as she wasn't stopping with the screaming. I dread taking her anywhere these days in case she does it again, as I don't seem to have any effective strategies at stopping her from doing what isn't acceptable!

MsDeerheart Mon 01-Jul-13 14:53:49

you see I can see how its a pain but its sounds normal - not not acceptable- that would be more something like hiting or biting
there are somethings in my view that toddlers can't be reliably expected to do -and shopping expeditions are one of them -
how is your DD in more child centred trips/activities -eg toddler groups, soft play, swimming that kind of thing
also consider time of day - my DCs always wanted a nap after lunch until older than that and were especaily tricky when it didn't happen

Nancyclancy Mon 01-Jul-13 20:09:57

My dd is exactly the same age as yours and is behaving the same way! I can ignore the eating but it's the screeching and screaming that I'm struggling with. She always does it in public!!

Sorry I can't offer any advice but I'm relieved I'm not the only one! smile

Nancyclancy Mon 01-Jul-13 20:11:45

Also, I completely avoid shopping, unless it's a supermarket. My dd loves going in a trolley!

Shootingstar100 Mon 01-Jul-13 20:24:58

My daughter is 21 months and can be a fussy eater. I'm trying to ignore as I figure it can too easily turn into a control issue and then I'll be in real trouble! DD feeds herself & I let her get on with it!! Working on the theory that she doesn't need much food & she'll get better. It's impossible to force food into them so I try not to stress!

My DD wouldn't manage 2 hours shopping that easily either!! She's want to touch things, wander off etc! Too much like hard work!

missorinoco Mon 01-Jul-13 20:35:09

Sounds normal for age.

Food I agree. Ignore ignore ignore. She won't starve. I read a great tip - look at what they eat over the week rather than the day. That helped me with fussy DC1. Otherwise I find myself in a spiral of negative attention, and at that age any attention is good.

Some people's children are happy pootling round the shops for ours. None of those children are related to me. My shopping trips are now honed with planning worthy of Mission Impossible. Plan the shops, what I need, the snacks and the exit.

A lot of this is frustration on the part of a small frontal time bomb, who knows what he/she wants, but can't do it and can't articulate what they want to do. I can still remember DC2 screaming at me because she wanted to walk and go in the buggy at the same time, and that she couldn't was clearly my fault.

Quite hard to discipline them at this age. I plonk DC on the floor when he hits/bites etc me. If I am at the end of my tether I plonk him in another room for a minute whilst I shriek at the wall.

For everyone looking at you there is someone else with a sympathetic grin or and encouraging "been there." And there's always wine.

incontinentiabucket Mon 01-Jul-13 20:48:01

MsDeerheart, up until this last trip DD has been really good whenever we have gone shopping, she would always have some form of a nap in the buggy and this was the first trip where she refused to sleep at all. Nursery have said she is refusing naps with them as well and she isn't the happiest person if she hasn't had a nap so have always tried to make sure she has a nap before we go anywhere, but unfortunately this time we had to see a consultant at the time of when her nap would have been, then it was lunch time so we decided to stop at the shopping centre for something to eat and wander around after that, stupidly believing that she would doze off at some point! More fool me.

Like Nancyclancy (Thank you for responding Nancyclancy - it is a relief to know there are others out there going through the same isn't it!) I shall be avoiding the shopping trips for a while and see how she goes elsewhere. If we are at a playground / soft play centre / Swimming she can get a bit over excited and will scream and screech which can get some evil glances and disgusted comments from those around us - always a performance in public. DD will scream and screech if she is in the pram or out on her own running around, I guess she is just finding her voice but there is only so long it can go on for before people around you start tutting and commenting.

Talking about acceptable and not acceptable I meant any kind of behaviours like screaming / screaching / hitting / smacking (her smacking me)- things you wouldn't put up with at home either (i'd tolerate the screaming and screeching for a while but she can take it to the extreme and carry it on for an hour or more at a time, high pitched and painful on the ear drum). How do you effectively discipline in public? Some may use the naughty step approach at home, or reward charts for good behavoir etc, but how do you transfer this to managing out of the house? If I tell her off sternly she just laughs at me which suggests that the whole thing is just fun and games to her and I could be saying anything I liked for all it is making sense to her!

Nancyclancy Mon 01-Jul-13 21:40:05

I wrote a similar post to you on Saturday. We had a BBQ to go to and after a really bad day of dd screaming, I couldn't face it. (She's beginning to take over!)
We went and she had a few outbursts but wasn't as bad as I thought.

When she's at her worst, she hits, scratches and has bitten. I have 4 dc and she's been the only one to have driven me close to breaking point.

At home, I put her in her cot to calm us both down but out in public it's so hard and she knows!

Nancyclancy Mon 01-Jul-13 21:45:04

I've been avoiding toddler groups etc purely because dd terrifies other children with her screeching!

incontinentiabucket Tue 02-Jul-13 00:01:51

I've got the same problem Nancy, she will scream around other children and she sets off a tidal wave of tears as they can't cope with it so I have to apologise and scuttle away, but wish I had a better way if dealing with it so it would stop her in her tracks if you see what I mean. When its just us at home I can manage it, but outside I don't stand a Chance so will have to abandon certain things for a while.

Fazerina Wed 03-Jul-13 01:11:57

No idea how to cope with this OP, but no you are by no means alone. My DS is 2.2 almost and exactly like this with eating and meltdowns in public. I'm a very bad mom and shout a lot sometimes, when I'm tired blush, well not in public though. I have a funny way of saying DS's name where I kind of stretch it out and the intonation goes up at the end. It's my warning and DS usually stops whatever he's doing at that moment, which is wrong. When he doesn't want to stop he says his own name in the same way back to me as if to try to justify why whatever it is he's doing is the best thing since sliced bread. It's hilarious grin! It's a frustrating age for all involved, eh confused..

NapaCab Wed 03-Jul-13 01:19:28

My 20 month old is identical! A screamer, public tantrums, over-excited yelps and general craziness whenever we're out and about. Not napping always makes it worse too. DH and I are so fed up with it by now since he's been like this since he was about 14 months.

We can't do lunches out, shopping trips, excursions (except to parks/outdoors or child-centric museums) or anything anymore. I don't really know what to do but it is exhausting. Our current strategy is to leave as soon as the tantrums / screeching starts up and to do time-out for egregious stuff like hitting, throwing etc. I don't think it has much impact though! Some kids just seem more strong-willed and highly stimulated, not a bad trait but tough to deal with in toddlers because they're so crazy. Also a friend said that if you leave whenever they scream it'll get worse because then they know that screaming = control. My doctor said it's about attention-seeking and to ignore, ignore, ignore but it's kind of hard to ignore ear-shattering screams...

Slightly depressed to hear that it doesn't get better much after 2... I was clinging to the hope that improved language skills would lessen the screaming and frustrated tantrums... Oh well, so much for that!

Fazerina Wed 03-Jul-13 01:21:38

How does everyone cope with friends who don't have kids? Sorry OP, don't want to take over your thread, but I just came to think of this when you said you tried to go shopping with your DD and a relative.. Of course relatives might be a bit more understanding, but I find it very frustrating to try and explain to friends, who don't have kids (or friends who have very small babies, who can sit in cafees for hours..) That 'no, I can't come to your x/y/z hooplaa, because DS can't behave like a person in public. The other day I had a friend over and she didn't seem to get it that DS can't sit in front of the tv for hours on end watching cartoons while she tells me about her exciting life and career without any commitments hmm. I finally told her that we'd better leave the house and take DS out to the park and she looked shocked that I was rushing her with her tea..

missorinoco Wed 03-Jul-13 20:09:50

Fazerina, it can be hard. A close relative fell out with me when I declined to take my two and a half year old and six month old shopping to chose their Xmas presents one Saturday in December. "That won't work for us," was the sort of line I used. You could try stating they will understand one day, but I thought that would get me into more hassle for rubbing in the fact I had children and didn't bother.

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