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24 month old nightmare. Finding it difficult to cope

(13 Posts)
squinny101 Fri 10-Aug-07 14:37:17

I have a twenty four month old daughter who is becoming a complete nightmare. She throws constant tantrums, runs off in the shops and quite frankly does what the bloody hell she likes. I am finding it very difficult to cope at the moment. I have a four year old who she hits and screams at constnatly and a five week old baby who is up all night screaming with reflux. I dont' have any family to help me at night and I just don't know what to do. If her behaviour was a little better I feel like I would be able to cope. I put her on the naughty step. But its almost like she just doesn't care or listen to a word I say. We have moved into a new house so our neighbours must think they are living next to the people from hell all she seems to do is scream all day long. Any advice please?

EscapeFrom Fri 10-Aug-07 14:44:32

Squinny, if I were you I would go back to treating her like a baby for a while. Don't let her run off in shops, she's too young to know better - put her in the push chair. at 24 months old I would be very surprised if she DID listen or care about a word you said. She is still a baby really. Don't expect any compliance or obedience, sense or understanding, then you won't be disappointed when it doesn't happen. Give her another 6 months, she will be a different child!

About your baby, have you got some treatment for the reflux?

EscapeFrom Fri 10-Aug-07 14:45:41

Sorry meant to add - remember she has just been ousted as 'the baby' and she must be feeling sad, confused and angry about that too.

squinny101 Fri 10-Aug-07 14:54:09

I suppose because she has been walking since she is nine months old and her speech is amazing, I always treat her like she's older than she is. Do you think the naughty step is a bad idea. She bit me earlier, it drew blood and I put her on there. She did say sorry and gave me a cuddle so perhaps it does work?

EscapeFrom Fri 10-Aug-07 15:04:03

I personally wouldn't bother with the naughty step with a child so young. A loud clear NO BITING and put her off your lap and walk off. But then if the naughty step has worked before... I would suspect, though, that she said sorry because it seems (to her) to make you happy - I wouldn't be too certain about it having much to do with the naughty step.

I know your 2 year old suddenly seemed 6 inches bigger, 10 times stronger and practically adult once you got your helpless newborn home ( I came home with a newborn to a MAHOOSIVE 3 year old) but it's still so so tiny.

paddingtonbear1 Fri 10-Aug-07 15:04:38

squinny I sympathise. My 4 year old still tends to run off in shops - and she's too big for a buggy now! I do think the naughty step is a good idea - do persevere with that, it always worked for us. dd rarely goes on there now! When dd was 2 I found it hard sometimes, and I only had her to deal with! I agree with what EF says. It will get better, promise! Your dd sounds very bright. maybe if you can give her some 1-1 attention sometimes that may help?

EscapeFrom Fri 10-Aug-07 15:05:25

I do think that treating her as older than she is, is setting you both up for massive failure. She can't help but disappoint you, and you can't help but feel like you can't control her.

Most of her 'behavior' is just her age.

lemonaid Fri 10-Aug-07 15:14:00

What was she like before you had your new baby? One of DS's friends went through a bit of a nightmare stage for several months earlier this year at the same age as your DD, just after the arrival of a new baby in the family.

squinny101 Fri 10-Aug-07 15:19:53

she has always been 'high maintenance' so I wouldn't say her behaviour has been particularly worsened by the new arrival. I think she desperately needs stimulating I would love to put her in a nursery but can't afford the fees. She doesnt' qualify for pre-school until Jan. I was worried for a time that she had ADHD as she seemed to be constantly so hyper all the time. THe health visitor thinks that she's fine and I know all children are different but she is so unlike my son. He was always so calm and rarely threw tantrums. I am so worried I am doing something wrong in my parenting to make her like this. And of course am worried about making the same mistakes again with the new one. I love my dd very much but sometimes, I don't like her and that makes me feel really sad.

Baffy Fri 10-Aug-07 15:25:07

I do think she's a bit young to understand the naughty step. Agree that you should maybe treat her a bit more like a baby.


My ds is 24 months and is great at talking and really can come across as older than he really is. But I have to keep reminding myself that he's only a baby. Especially when I plead to his better nature not to touch that/throw that/run away... and he does it anyway!
He understands me completely. But he is pushing the boundries to see what he can get away with. Which I think is completely natural at that age.


You really do have your hands full with all 3. I sympathise. But love her for being so different and gather all the advice you can off here as to how to handle her!

Baffy Fri 10-Aug-07 15:31:34

And my feeble suggestions to help...

Any way you can keep her in a pram when you're out? My ds loves to walk but sometimes I just don't give him the option and keep him in the pram to make all our lives easier!


And if you can't afford nursery maybe try to set up things at home so they are a bit more like a nursey... iyswim...

For example at ds's nursery they have a variety of different 'areas' to keep him occupied. Eg 'construction' area which is all the building blocks, garages, cars etc

Then a 'kitchen' area with kitchen appliances, pretend food etc. Could you recreate that at home with pots and pans, empty boxes and containers etc and encourage her to cook and make things like mummy does? (My ds loves this!)

Messy play area... play doh or crayons and paper etc - all on something 'cleanable' on the floor!

Obviously outdoor area would be good if possible too. Sand pit or buckets and spades or even just footballs and big beach balls or something...



I'm just thinking along these lines as there would be then so many things to distract her. She can move from one thing to the next as soon as her attention starts going and she can keep herself occupied. Hopefully then that would reduce the tantrums and her needing you so much??

HonoriaGlossop Fri 10-Aug-07 15:59:13

I have to second Escapefrom's advice, I think it's absolutely spot on - particularly "don't expect any compliance or obedience, sense or understanding, then you won't be disappointed!"

Nearly all stressful times like this can be turned around IMHO, by three things; changing your expectations, distraction, and consistent boundaries.

If she runs off in shops you will just have to be like a brick wall; either she goes in the buggy or she has reins on. Once you've acheived her sat down or reined in, then you unleash a stream of consciousness type conversation and just keep her engaged, interested, in ANYTHING. You both need to immediately move on.

Distraction is still a huge tool with kids this age. I didn't use the naughty step myself, I relied on lots of firm "NO WE DON'T BITE" or whatever it was, then removing my attention and getting on with something else that he could get interested in. I didn't treat this stuff as needing punishment. If ds had a huge tantrum or was being deliberately pesky despite ALL efforts to distract, then I would on the odd occasion do time out, not as a punishment but as a genuine break for us both.

And the main thing as escapefrom hit on, is lowering your expectations. She's still a very young toddler, only two, and she's had a new sibling to cope with. Two year olds are often so unreasonable! But really, trust her that this is her age - she will be your lovely little girl.

Also, does your DP/DH ever give you a break? No wonder you feel you can't cope, with 3, and one of them keeping you up all night. I do feel for you.

EscapeFrom Fri 10-Aug-07 16:19:18

The thing is about my advice is that I have the benefit of hindsight - Ds1 was a Livewire with a capital W.

I got it all wrong with ds1, and it is only in hindsight, and seeing other people getting it RIGHT, that makes me see how small 2 is.

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