Who to 'discipline' a 2 year old who doesn't care?(23 Posts)
I'm having difficulty in getting my just two year old to do as he's told. Obviously my standards are low in what I expect of him as he's only two. The main issue is him hitting his sister. If he throws a toy I take it away, easy. But I can't take his sister away. If I tell him off he just smiles, if I make him sit on a step he just sits there smiling then goes straight back and hits her again. He's generally not to badly behaved but is inflexible and more physical compared to DD who has never hit back once and can be a bit of a push over. I don't want DD to think being hit is okay and something she has to put up with but nothing I do affects his behaviour. His language is very good for his age so he understands we don't want him to hit he just doesn't care.
If he's only just turned two then I don't think punishment will work, he won't make the connection.
With our two year old DD we make her stop, tell we understand the emotion that she's feeling (whatever we guess it is, frustration etc), tell her it's never ok to hit people regardless of how you feel and ask her to apologise. We do the same thing if she hits us.
How old is your DD? It would help if she told him not to hit her when he does hit her, if she's old enough.
Thanks. DD is 5 and she does tell him but again he just doesn't care. We also make him apologise and now he immediately says 'sorry DSis' with a big smile then hits her again. When DD was this age if I used a serious tone was enough to make her stop what she was doing.
Different personalities. I'd just keep being firm and consistent. You may need to vary the apology request from the sound of it if he's just doing it by rote and lying to you? Have you tried something like "how do you think she feels when you hit her? How would you feel if she hit you?".
Ongoing process. Can take years! I'm still having this conversation with 9yo DD2. 7yo DD3 got the message about 5 years ago....they're all different.
I have one of these.
Stubborn and feisty!
Rude and selfish
I've found the best way to deal with it is be consistent with whatever you decide to do. Take toys away. Make him sit alone for two minutes. Dont let him have an ice cream at the park. Don't go to the park/soft play/library (whatever you were planning on doing)
I've found once I say what the consequences will be he'll either roll his way or he'll deal with what I said was going to happen. And I have to do it.
Afterwards he comes up to me with the biggest doe eyes though and says "sorry mum for xyz" and he asks for a cuddle
little fecker knows how to get me on his side
Then you carry on with your day. Don't hold a grudge.
DD went through this phase at the same age. Whenever I saw her hit her cousin I'd give her cousin a big cuddle, ignore DD and tell her cousin "That wasn't nice of DD, we don't like hitting, stay with me for a minute while DD calms down" eventually, DD realised she wasn't getting any attention and stopped.
He is thriving off the attention even if it's negative you are not doing anything wrong just maybe to much talking and punishment when he hits her say no son that's sore and make a fuss of dd rub the bit he has hit and hurt
Be consistent in whatever you do and ignore any laugh smiling.he is very young but knows he gets a reaction.
Thank you all. I really like the idea of giving DD lots of attention if he hits her and ignoring him. He really thrives off attention. I'm sure I'll have the opportunity to use it soon.
Is he stimulated enough to begin with? I know my DD can be naughty when she is bored. (Usually when we are busy doing other things so she has to play independently for a bit)
I agree with the suggestions of fussing over your DD but maybe look at when he hits her and what triggers it.
Yes that is a really good idea seeing what triggers it you might be able to prevent it.q
I agree with lougle - sometimes it just takes time. Keep quietly removing him. Make it low key and boring so he isn't hitting his sister to get your attention and you aren't turning it into a game. Eventually he will get the message.
I'm not sure they were quite to young, but I used to make mine say what they were sorry for and why.
E.g Not just sorry bid sis, but I'm sorry I hit you big sis, I was cross because you took my toy.
They sometimes found it difficult to express but sitting there until they came up with something was part of the "punishment"
I too have a 2 year old that just doesn't care about being told off (unlike his older brother who would burst into tears and immediately stop)
Where is the time-out step? Our time out chair is too close to the living room so he doesn't feel excluded from what is going on. A much more effective punishment is sending him to his room. He would prefer to stay with us and play.
We've found the123 Magic book good for this for our 2 year old. The principles are no talking & no emotion. Just 3 strikes & go in your room for a cool off. There's no big apology, no lectures etc so it takes away the negative attention
For a hit we say 'right that's straight to 3, you need to calm down in your room'. After a couple of minutes I just say you can come down now if you want but dont talk any more about the incident.
It's working well for us for some behaviours! ( doesn't work for bedtime / getting dressed!)
I wouldn't focus on sanctions for a 2 year old. I would just stop the hitting, then say 'no hitting, it makes your sister sad' and take him off and do something else. Just repeat repeat repeat. He's just 2 - my DS1 didn't have the understanding for threats until at least 3. As a 2 year old his behaviour improved loads once I stopped the 'punishment' approaches like naughty steps, ignoring him etc.
Sitting on your lap and smiling speaks volumes... He LIKES that!!!
I absolutely agree with the PP who suggested showering DD with attention when he hits her and "ignoring" DS for a little bit.
By that same token, the hardest thing to do to support that is to actively praise DS when he's being good. "What good playing" "good sharing" all that.
Give him attention when he's exhibiting good behaviours
Yes look for triggers and try to pre-empt, separate them, or give him better coping mechanisms for what you want him to do. So if it's out of frustration get him to say what he wants instead. If it's out of excitement then try to keep an eye and change the activity when he's getting too wild.
When you catch him doing it or are too late to prevent then go the empathy route instead. After you've given attention to DD, "Look at DSis's face. Is she happy or sad? What has made her sad? How can you make her happy again? Let's not make people sad. Hitting makes people sad, no hitting." You could then go for backing this up by talking about happy faces and sad faces, looking at pictures in books, how to tell if someone's OK or not, basically.
If he loves attention why not shower him with attention when he is not hitting and then completely ignore him when he does (remove his sister if necessary, but don't remove him). Carrots work better than sticks imo, reward, reward, reward the good, ignore the bad.
Get the Toddler Taming book, it's quite good on things like this. I agree that showering your DD with attention and ignoring him is step 1.
I think the book basically says "don't give them the audience they crave" but can't remember the details.
I have a toddler with very advanced language too, but it's deceptive. Language does not necessarily equate to comprehension, he's got a lot of language, but he's still only two. Things are rote observable behaviour.
A foundation I laid with mine was gentle play with soft toys. Gentle cuddles and stroking the fur of a much loved teddy. Additionally when extricating a lost insect or something that's got in the house I make a big performance of bieng VERY gentle with it explaining its fragility, and taking it outside.
Now obvs they aren't going to understand why, but it's laying a foundation. As has been raised up thread the oxygen to all this is the concern/attention. You can get DD on board with all this too. Give her lots of attention and praise when she is gentle with things.
He doesn't 'understand'! Either the hitting it the apology. The apology is something he thinks is part of a by rote process.
Remove him matter of factly from his sister when he hits, and as others have said, model gentle kind behaviour. Lots of 'aaah, nice to kiss cuddle stroke'. Give him lots of praise and positive attention when he is gentle.
Hitting is probably attention seeking. So apart from just removing him, ignore, make no fuss (two year olds are rarely deterred by negative attention).
2 year olds have no 'theory of mind ' . Developmentally they cannot put themselves in someone else's shoes and realize that hitting hurts that person.
Agreed they have no 'theory of mind' at just-turned-two, but empathy does start to evolve between two and three and it's not like a switch turning on once they do get it. We found it helpful to get into the habit of asking DD to consider things from other's points of view at that age, and she slowly started to get what it meant as she got closer to three. It's also a better thing to be saying than "go to your room!" if you need something to divert your own feelings into.
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