So basically I should never be angry at my 2.5yr ds?(48 Posts)
I am struggling with the tantrums, the lying, the snatching from other children, the pushing other children when they snatch from him, the disobedience to myself and my dh. All I ever read is not to get angry at toddler and tell them off because they are not trying to be naughty. I never shout, I am always fair and consistent, I try to reason with him and listen and to solve the thing that may be troubling him. But ds continues to push and challenge. How do I keep the control and also be a kind and considerate parent?!
I have never read anywhere that you should not tell them off. You have to set very clear boundaries, set expectations such as 'at this playdate you do not push, you use your kind hands and you will share/take turn'. If he break these rules you say NO straight away, pay attention to the other child and make sure they are ok, you get your son to apologies. Remove from the situation if needed (sit down on a chair until he apologises). Setting clear rules is essential, and if he doesn't follow the rule there is a clear consequence. I don't think I have ever read that you don't tell them off. You have to stay clear headed and calm, in control. So no you shouldn't get angry, but it's absolutely expected that you will set rules and follow up with a consequence. And most importantly, if he does follow the rules, he should get praises and a special cuddle, a little snack that he likes, etc. Encouraging good behaviour in a positive way is essential.
I don't necessarily think it's wrong to be angry with your child. If they behave really badly I think it's ok for them to see that it will make other people feel cross.
Obvs I don't mean hitting/bawling at a very small child. But use your cross face and stern tone of voice - that's ok.
In general, getting angry at toddlers doesn't work, because their emotional response to your anger tends to blank their memory of whatever it was they were doing - if someone suddenly shouts at you, you immediately have a mind full of 'angry person' and not 'Oh I was just taking this toy I want, she must be angry about that, I won't do that again'. So it isn't a very effective mechanism, specially with younger children who don't have any real concept that other people have any rights.
The calm response of stopping them, reversing the effect (giving back the toy) and repeating the lesson 'No we don't grab', has a much better chance of gradually changing their behaviour.
Thanks. It's just that apparently according to some toddler calming stuff I read they say that a child cannot understand that it is wrong to snatch toys, they aren't doing it to be naughty or spiteful they are simply doing what comes naturally so you shouldn't make them apologise because they haven't actually done wrong. I sort of agree with that. But I think I am struggling to know what behaviour is not punishable and what is. Lying isn't them being naughty it is them not truly understanding the implications and not being old enough that we can expect them to understand.
I think the point is save 'lessons' for when everyone is calm and happy so they are more inclined to listen. The trick is to remember to do it! If you find telling them off or you getting angry makes things worse, don't do it. Words are useless in a tantrum, the communication shutters go down. Your child is small enough to physically remove from the situation and take them off to calm down together. You also need to assess the reasons behind the tantrum. If you think your child is more in crisis/panic mode than throwing a princess fit, cuddling them and soothing them will not be rewarding bad behaviour.
Ps Christopher Green's Toddler Taming book has an excellent list of what is and isn't worth telling off about. (He includes answering back and swearing as not worth getting heated about which I fully agree.)
This is what I read this morning -ten common parenting myths you are likely to believe (and why you shouldn't)
Yeah I found trying to reason with a toddler to be a complete waste of time. Removal from the situation always worked best with mine.
Can 2 year olds lie? I didn't think they were sophisticated enough! But I could be wrong there - my oldest has ASD and has never been able to lie so I've no experience there!
Ooh thanks silk stalkings, may well take a look at that book.
GlitterKandinsky, I didn't think they could lie but my ds did very recently and both me and dh were very shocked and disappointed. We asked if he had done a Poo in his nappy and he said "no I haven't" because he didn't want it changed. We looked in nappy and there was a poo. Also told is sun had come up on his gro clock one morning when he came into our room but it hadn't. This because he wanted to get up. So he clearly knows what he is doing!
"both me and dh were very shocked and disappointed"
Sounds rather extreme reaction. Why did you feel like that? Can you break it down to what is triggering such a strong reaction?
It feels like you're takkng everything your toddler does personally, maybe as if he's failing you in some way?
I'm just trying to understand where all this anger and big adult emotions are comjng from? It sounds a hard way to live...
Miscellaneous. I've not looked at it like that before. I think we feel that we are failing ds because he isn't growing up to be truthful or respectful. I don't know how to parent him in the right way to bring him up as a "good" boy. I worry and over analyse and probably read too much info which basically tells me I'm doing everything wrong. I suppose deep down I assume his tantrums and other behaviour show me up to be a weak parent who has no control over my own child. Gosh. Deep.
I think you need to gain some perspective on what you should be reasonably expecting from him at this age.
At 2.5 why would he have any concept of "lying" or even know it is wrong? He simply gave the answer that he wanted to in that moment. So yes you need to set the boundary and make it clear that lying is wrong, but you don't need to be disappointed in him. And getting angry is going to get you nowhere.
I agree with PP who said you are taking it personally. You really need to get a hold on that. His behaviour is not happening to spite you. Nor is it a reflection on you. His little character is emerging and it is up to you to set boundaries so that he can still be him, but in a way that is acceptable to the norms of our society. You are his teacher as well as his mother.
2.5 is a hard age. This time last year I was convinced DS was going to be an axe-wielding serial killer. More or less.
For us, a lot of it was that he simply didn't understand. He didn't understand why things were wrong and he had no concept of telling the truth vs a lie etc.
We did rather take a pavlovian approach - instant punishment in the form of naughty step or withdrawal for behaviour we considered completely not okay (biting, hitting etc). And lots of praise for positive behaviour. And we actively tried not to get too worked up about the stuff in the middle.
You are very unlikely to be bad parents. But you may be expecting too much. It's only now that DS at 3.8 is starting to truly be able to reason consistently.
As someone said above I thought the Toddler Taming book was absolutely brilliant and its definitely worth a read so is The Honest Toddler a book written from the point of view of a very spirited toddler.
everything that Slice said.
You need to stop over-reacting and start dealing - oh, you said you didn't have a poo, you know sometimes if you leave a poo in your nappy for too long you can get a sore bum? Come on, let's change it and can you try and tell mummy next time?
If he tells you next time, lots and lots of praise.
If he doesn't, repeat step 1.
Toddlers have no concept of truth or respect...
Toddlers have no concept of truth or respect
Good children, much older than your toddler, tell lies. My poor dd got told the story of the boy who cried wolf so many times she was sick of it.
But I certainly wouldn't let a toddler snatch toys or hit another child without consequences!
You just cannot believe everything you read, you take what makes sense and works for you and forget the rest. I remember one childcare book I read said that it was unnatural for children to be potty trained, WTF!
Maybe you would find a parenting course useful. All the people I have known who have taken parenting courses have been brilliant parents, so there must be some good in them.
I would add that you need a zero tolerance policy to violence and deliberate vandalism. This does not mean going mental, it means remembering they must be pretty stressed to reach that point and so calmly removing them from the situation. If they are attacking you, do not wait until you've put dinner in the oven etc - stop what you are doing and deal with the situation. Try not to talk until they are calm or just make soothing sympathetic noises while you hold them in a tight cuddle. NB this could take a looooong time.
This is experience from when my autistic son with challenging behaviour had us all terrified of him aged 2.5!
Thanks everyone this is really helpful actually! Ok here is an example ds at play group, a toddler snatches toy from him so he reacts and shouts and pushes and tries to snatch it back. I see whole thing, can't really blame his reaction but he has to know he can't react like that. Other parent only sees what my child is doing and not that theirs snatched first. (Which in itself isn't wrong, but at least explains why my child is treating theirs badly). What should i do?
Pluck him up, calmly say 'we don't push even when we're cross' and sit with him elsewhere until you're sure he won't go after the kid.
I have a 2.5yo and a 3.5yo. They are sometimes knowingly naughty!
What Silk said. Even though the other child was in the wrong first, your DS still behaved badly. As he gets older you can explain that sometimes other people do bad things but that doesn't justify him doing them too.
I don't believe in bad or good behaviour anyway, being labelled a good or bad person is not helpful. I prefer unhelpful or unkind - more tangible and inspiring of empathy.
My 2.3 year old is sometimes knowingly naughty. I find it funny actually, obviously I don't let that on to her, but when she is deliberately naughty I see it as quite smart to try to deceive me.
Getting angry at her doesn't solve the issue though. I do get frustrated when she is constantly stripping all her clothes off etc, but that frustration is my issue. We have figured out that she will keep her clothes on if we let her sleep naked.
Its very easy with your first (I assume hes your first) to worry about how they will turn out. I did with my first. But now with the toddler I am much more relaxed because they really aren't properly reasonable until they are over 3.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now »
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.