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a two year old terror..so embarrassed and need advise..is his behavoiur normal!!

(54 Posts)
NessaWH123 Sat 18-Jul-15 14:13:23

I am writing this post after yet another embarrassing morning out with my 2 year old son. I am at my wits end as to do what else to do..he is probably just a boisterous and very stubborn toddler but I do worry there is more to it... Today he has spent all day saying no, arguing back about everything..from what he wants to eat, to toys to play with, not wanting to go out, then wanting to go out, then we go to a funday and he hits the peppa pig character thinking he is funny, getting over excited so the lady asks us to move on, he screams at the top of his lungs because I sat on a chair he wanted and everyone looked, he threw his food down because he didn't want the choice and then created because he wanted something else..i am soo embarrassed. He has always been a very strong willed character but some weeks he is a little more chilled and then he will have a month or so of being the devil child! Everytime I get him out of the car he starts to scream v loudly and fight because he wants to play on the front seat..yet some days I need to get in the house. I do all the usual with distraction, firm voice, finger on lips to ask him not to shout and TRY and stay calm but it is so wearing and I feel a crap mother. He doesn't concentrate for any length of time and we went to speech and language as he has glue ear and she commented on his very poor concentration. I am a primary school teacher and am fine at my job but cant seem to control one little boy! This is the start of the 7 weeks holidays and I should be looking forward to them but they are filling me with poor dread in my stomach. any help please..thanks

JiltedJohnsJulie Sat 18-Jul-15 21:46:53

So sorry to hear that you are dreading the holidays.

A few things stand out from your post. Is he overtired? Does he still nap? I know you will know this already but being tired can have a negative affect on behaviour.

Is he having any treatment for glue ear? Have SLT therapy assessed him?

Could you be expecting a wee bit too much? He is very little and seems to be offered a lot of choices. At that age I would offer two things only and let him choose from those. So for a snack, would you like cheese and grapes or would you like a banana? That way they feel more in control of their little lives but you are only offering choices that you want to offer.

Could you keep the next few days fairly quiet and predictable? Say breakfast then a play in the garden. Snack and a quiet activity. Another quick blast in the garden. Lunch. A nap. Snack and a quiet activity. An hour in the park. Tea. Game of football. Bath, books and bed?

If you want a book on discipline, Elizabeth Pantley has written an excellent one smile

NessaWH123 Sat 18-Jul-15 22:42:24

Thanks but he sleeps well. Usually 2/3 hours still in the day and 7-7 at night so dont think he is tired. The assessmeng for glue ear was t wait three months and try towork on his concentration which we are. We will def be just around house and garden tom after todays antics as cant face it again x

JiltedJohnsJulie Sat 18-Jul-15 23:32:52

Definitely not sleep then. How long has he been having problems with his hearing for? Just wondered if you could push for and earlier appointment rather than wait 3 months.

Have you been given a copy of this leaflet by your GP?

Do you have some activities lined up for tomorrow? If he's arguing about food, could you do a little picnic to eat in the garden, then he can choose what he wants?

JiltedJohnsJulie Sat 18-Jul-15 23:33:16

Definitely not sleep then. How long has he been having problems with his hearing for? Just wondered if you could push for and earlier appointment rather than wait 3 months.

Have you been given a copy of this leaflet by your GP?

Do you have some activities lined up for tomorrow? If he's arguing about food, could you do a little picnic to eat in the garden, then he can choose what he wants?

Procrastinatingpeacock Sat 18-Jul-15 23:41:37

Hi OP, I have a 2 year old DS also and just wanted to provide some solidarity as he has also been an absolute nightmare recently and sounds very similar! Deliberate pushing of boundaries and difficult behaviour. He has previously always been fairly well-behaved so this has been something of a shock and has been pretty hard work.

On reflection I really feel that this is just a developmental stage for DS and he is testing boundaries in a very normal way. Like you I am trying to be consistent and thoughtful in my response and hope that this stage will pass before too long!

I don't have any understanding of glue ear but just wanted to reassure you that his behaviour does sound like it could just be perfectly normal behaviour for a two year old.

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 19-Jul-15 10:29:40

How are you getting on today Nessa? Just thought I'd pop back and see and recommend Your Toddler Month by Month. smile

StupidBloodyKindle Sun 19-Jul-15 10:47:35

Hey Nessa what's occurring

Mine has screaming ab dabs atm at:
having nappy changed
having nappy on
having clothes on
having teeth brushed
going in buggy
wearing shoes
which direction we are walking in
who's holding the fork
not being allowed breastmilk on demand any more
not being allowed to hit or bite

Other than that, he's adorablewink

He is dc3 and I don't recall the others being so bloomin' uncooperative bht I may have just blanked it <rocks back and forth>

As Elisa Albert put it, your child may well be a "swell little guy. Still a baby though, of which even the best are oppressive fascist bastard dictator
narcissists" shockgrin

I am trying to ride it out and hope he is tame enough for nursery soon. My kids are a bit feral atm, I am that shit-fuck of a parent another poster sees in the cafe (albeit I am usually also tearing around chasing the tazzy devils).
But it is wearing particularly when No to every reasonable request means having to force the issue (I can't not brush his teeth).

Also mine are like duracell bunnies. Even if I take them out for five hours straight, or swimming or trampolining or tear-arsing around the park, they are still not shattered.

Have some cake brew Buy some more duplo. You are lucky if you have a garden envy sand/water table? mini trampoline? teddy bear picnic? paddling pool with 100 plastic balls? neighbours with the patience of a saint?! shamrock

ShootTheMoon Sun 19-Jul-15 11:09:49

I don't think this is unusual, especially with SAL delay - children are of course hard wired to communicate and it must be frustrating for him.

Could you teach him some Makaton or baby sign for key decisions so he can express himself clearly?

My DD (now 3.5) was a high needs baby and is incredibly stubborn and wilful. Things that work with her are:
- giving the impression of (limited) choice, like cheese/banana option described by a pp.
- get right down to her eye level to make eye contact to explain things
- give lots of warning for going out, changing activity, leaving somewhere
- define expectations - I.e 'we expect you to sit nicely for 10 minutes at this cafe'
- distraction techniques - books, toys, colouring etc for when they need to sit quietly
- lots of praise when they do something sensible, especially if we haven't asked

My DD is obviously older but we've been working on this for a long time as she was mobile from a very young age. And she didn't sleep - has never had 2 hour naps! - so often was overtired.

I agree with pp that it might help for the next few days to have plenty of routine, perhaps draw up a plan for the day with pictures to show him. Try to plan activities where you can say yes as much as possible. Don't stress the small stuff and give as much positive feedback as you can, and ignore smaller misdemeanours.

I'm as stubborn as DD so I have to work really hard not to get into a pitched battle of wills over, for example, whether she's wearing a cardigan or not. So I do my best to avoid issuing an ultimatum if it's not important or if I can't back it up grin

Good luck!

NessaWH123 Sun 19-Jul-15 21:02:29

sorry I haven't replied sooner to all your comments its been a crappy day again. JiltedJohnsJulie thanks for asking after me we did stay around the house today. I have looked at the information you have recommended me to read thanks. It was interesting,they wont let us though go back any earlier than three months! the picnic was a great idea and one I will try again but today it didn't go to plan as he stropped over everything there was to offer and just asked to play (he isn't a big eater)
procrastinating peacock thanks for your response it helps to hear im not alone unlike your little one mine has always been highly strung like Jekyll and hyde so im not shocked just warn out..yep I hope its a developmental stage that will improve as at the moment its just embarrassing..i do worry he behaviour is beyond the norm but hoping its not.
Hey stupidbloodykindle lol yep sounds about right..mine has had similar reasons for outbursts..feel your pain bet you are warn out but I will try your ideas for other things to do..esp cake and tea..or wine!!;) everything I suggested today though he said No to grrrr and after his nap today he woke up and screamed and created for nearly an hour and I have no understanding why?!!!
Shoot the Moon thanks for your advice I do try sign but he isn't having any of it! I will use your ideas suggested with regards to choices etc any idea if it gets easier as they get older?!!

JiltedJohnsJulie Sun 19-Jul-15 21:09:34

It definitely gets easier as they get older or rather fewer problems but the problems are bigger.

As for the signing, even if he's not signing at you, please do carry on signing at him. Are the nursery staff using it too? When Dd had a girl start who used Makaton, they all used it, staff used it every time they spoke or sang and soon all of the children were signing too. Might be worth speaking to them smile

Don't worry on the food front either. If he doesn't eat much at a meal, just assume he's not hungry and clear away.

NessaWH123 Sun 19-Jul-15 22:10:22

He goes t a childminders and I have mentioned it but she isn't t keen to take it on unfortunately

JiltedJohnsJulie Mon 20-Jul-15 07:07:32

That's a shame. I would use it every time you talk to him though, both of you. He may not sign back for a while but it will reinforce what you are trying to say to him.

NessaWH123 Mon 20-Jul-15 09:17:22

Thanks I'll keep trying
God this morning another one from hell so far. He slept well and woke up naturally I went in to him and took him out of cotbed and he started instantly shouting at me we went downstairs for breakfast and he screamed and created and shouted no etc pointing his finger at me and trying to hit me. I told him firmly not to shout and hit mummy so he did a high pitched scream and started hitting the wall. I feel awful for the neighbourssad I apologised then decidedhe wanted bbreakfast. We got dressed and headed t car t childminders and he started again outside the house that he wanted t take a book then he didn't want t take a book etc so I just put him in the car in the end does that sound right? Is this behaviour normal really!!? At the childminders he was in but so overpowering to the others who seem quiet and subdued in comparison! Shouting mine if they touched something of his and running around d wildly. The children were trying dressing up clothes on when I left those a similar age were pottering around not looking overly excited. My little one was getting very overly excited running to the mirror laughing and flapping about uncontrollably thinking it was hillarious ! Normal or not I am really worried now?sad x

ShootTheMoon Mon 20-Jul-15 12:36:59

It's so hard to say at this age nessa - it just sounds like buoyant toddler behaviour to me, with frustration over communication issues, perhaps from both you and your DS. Why don't you ask your childminder if you can have a meeting to discuss his behaviour and a plan of action? Then either set up a time outside of pick up and drop off, or a phone call one evening.

You all need to be on the same page with regard to discipline and consequences, I think. And any CM worth their salt would agree to use at least basic sign language. You may even be surprised, I know I was amazed by my DD's preschool report, she seems to behave very differently there - much more reserved than she is at home.

It's hard to say what's causing his frustration but as others have said I would spend lots of time talking about your routine and your day at a point when he is calm - like "isn't it nice to wake up when you've had a good sleep? and then we get to go downstairs and have breakfast together, and then get some clothes on, isn't that lovely, what's your favourite thing to have for breakfast?" etc. It sounds inane but I find it subtly reinforces the plan. With my DD, who is still waking up in the night, we have been working on talking about what she can do to get back to sleep when she wakes up in the night, etc. It really helps us.

As I said, for us it also helps to build in some time when we're just playing together, not trying to get on with housework, and I try to set things up so I can just say yes - to reading, stickers, playing outside, watering plants, painting, whatever it might be. It's probably not relevant for your DS as he's younger, but I only let her play games on the ipad every now and again as she gets quite frustrated and cross if she does that for more than a few minutes - the same with screen time, it makes her cranky.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Mon 20-Jul-15 12:52:40

Well is all sounds very familiar! I will start by telling you my 2yo terror with glue ear and all the resulting issues is now a very normal and happy 6yo. I will also say it was so tough it almost broke me and don't think it is "just" glue ear because it is a big deal and it does cause real problems.

The things worked:

Weekly, focused work with a excellent SALT who worked with us and gave us exercises and strategies including signing.

Changing his care from a nanny/childminder to a nursery who took steps to help including focused one-to-one attention with makaton signing.

Working on his concentration. This made a massive difference to behaviour.

Having grommets put in and his ears drained.

Hindsight. Knowing that his behaviour was because of his issue meant that tackling the issue made a difference. Fighting for the care he needed: SALT, ENT. The realisation that he wasn't naughty (I knew this but when so many people tell you there's something wrong it's so hard. Bitch of an audiologist behaved outrageously) but had a treatable condition that wasn't being treated!

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Mon 20-Jul-15 12:54:23

Yes routine is hugely helpful. When your child can't understand the world around him making it as familiar as possible helps.

NessaWH123 Mon 20-Jul-15 22:01:01

Thsnks shoot the moon i will do that. I do try and keep talking about oyr day but he usually just says no he dosent want or like whatever we are doing!but ill keep going ..thanks movingonupmovingonout thats sound advise he has always been cranky and bad tempered on snd off since birth so it cant just be glue ear but im sure like you say it contributes to it alot now. I will try t push for more help and support with his glue ear. How did u go about doing it if u dont mind me asking? Did u see things greatly change when yr little one had grommets? What did you do t improve concentration as my littles one concentration is very poor? Thanks
Tonigjt he kicked off in the bedroom and screamed blue murder because i wouldnt play boo as it was time for bed and then slapped me twice before a complete meltdown again hitting me again! Why is he sooo angry so oftensad

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Mon 20-Jul-15 22:58:33

He is angry because he is frustrated because he can't participate like everyone else. Plus the being two thing won't help at all!

The exercises the SALT gave us were specific to us and helped with concentration. It included things like finding pairs that were the same from cards, taking turns, matching sounds to animals and lots of signing and saying words (he had almost no speech so there was focus on both). Once the concentration improves the behaviour improves because the understanding and language improves and the child can begin to participate more in the world around them. We started to see progress with the SALT but once he had grommets the change was enormous - from very few words to full language and sentences within 3 weeks.

Push for an ENT referral and getting him moved to a setting equipped to deal with his needs. Your childminder won't do Makaton? Find someone who will because what else won't she do? Our nursery was really good with ds. Also SALT is not a one off thing, you need to be seen regularly to monitor progress for both of you. We had to go private but it was worth it. It really helped build foundations.

Imagine trying to work out how the world works with your head underwater. How would you feel? What would your limitations be? That's not dissimilar to how a child with glue ear experiences the world.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Mon 20-Jul-15 23:02:08

Btw glue ear causes pain as well as hearing problems which would make even the most even tempered person cranky never mind a toddler.

I got help by being a pushy nightmare with ENT (took dh with me for back up after a particularly disasterous appointment) and sacking the lovely but ineffective nanny. We also paid over £1000 for SALT because we'd probably still be waiting now for a referral.

NessaWH123 Tue 21-Jul-15 07:59:04

Thanks movingonupmovingonout that really helps me t undetstsnd more part of the problem how did u contact them privately can you ask through nhs contacts? With regards t the rest of the reasons for his awful tantrums usually because things havent gone quite lime he wanted! Any advise as ignoring just agrivates him but so does trying t talk with him and im finding hard when we are out in public

NessaWH123 Tue 21-Jul-15 08:01:13

By the way he has lots of words and gabbles all the time they ate just difficult t understand x

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Tue 21-Jul-15 09:51:33

Glue ear can manifest in different ways so some children have lots of language, some gabble and some have none at all. And of course the condition fluctuates. We had words at about 15 months and had lost them all by 2yo. For my child the frustration he experienced daily meant that he would have epic tantrums when he didn't get his own way because that was how he had learnt to communicate and it had a knock on effect on all aspects of his life. Firm boundaries and focusing on interaction rather than "telling" can help; a child with hearing difficulties stuggles to understand speech so chattering to them without clear direction is frustrating because it takes a huge amount of work to follow what you are saying.

We found our SALT here: www.rcslt.org/Finding_an_SLT but a recommendation is good. It also has details about getting support via NHS.

The charity i-can is very good for children with communication issues.

I would take mine away with a fireman's lift in public and for a while we socialised less because the behaviour was more extreme with me. He still went to nursery and sometimes he lay on the pavement and tantrummed to the horror of passersby. I used to just wait it out until he had finished (so not ignoring but not trying to engage in debate or discussion or explain it away) or I would manhandle him away if it was a dangerous place. Never apologise to the starers or try to justify the behaviour, just quietly and calmly get on with it.

I have a second child without issues and she still has tantrums and pushes boundaries and can be bloody unreasonable at times but it is quite different.

NessaWH123 Tue 21-Jul-15 15:50:10

Thanks a lot for your response I will take a look at the link you have given me. I find he is a lot worse with me than when round at a friends on a play date etc.. yep I know I need to ignore the passers by and I will its just hard some days How long before your little one really improved with his speech and behaviour if you dont mind me asking?

NessaWH123 Tue 21-Jul-15 15:54:02

just looking at the I can charity website - can I ask what help you got from them?

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