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How best to deal with 2-year-old conflicts

(33 Posts)
bluemoon Sat 18-Dec-04 21:28:53

Dd's 2.2 and has been a really lovely little girl in every way except for eating virtually nothing! For the last month we've been seeing our first really 'challenging' behaviour and I haven't a clue if I'm dealing with it properly or making thngs constantly worse. Almost every question I ask her now is either ignored or answered with a 'no.' So I've tried to reduce the questions and just state things, i.e. 'it's time to get dressed now' but I end up running round after her like a loony trying to get clothes on and it ends in a tussle with her crying and me holding back my temper. With things that don't really matter I'm turning a blind eye / ignoring etc. But with the things that do, i.e. sitting down somewhere (anywhere!) to eat a meal I've made, taking clothes off for a bath, nappy changes I have to have the final word. So, do you just do it with them kicking and screaming? Do you cajole / persuade etc.? I've found the last few days very frazzling, although I know I don't have it as bad as I probably will in a few months!

popsycal Sat 18-Dec-04 21:33:54


experiencing something similar but seems to be fading a bit now.

with ds, i found that fore-warning him of things 10 mins before bath, we used to tell him its nearly bath time - and talk about what to do - take off clothes, take off nappy, etc etc etc. Nappy changes - we switched to pull ups for a while which could be changed 'on the move' except for dirty ones. I try to distract him with a toy he really likes

will have a think about some other things...all pretty much trial and error for us!

bluemoon Sat 18-Dec-04 21:40:43

Hey popsy !

It comes and goes with us too. It's like having a little schizo child. One day she's the sweetest, most loving thing imaginable. The next all day is just one conflict after another. It wears me out. I'm not a bad tempered person at all, I'd much rather have a nice quiet life!

bluemoon Sat 18-Dec-04 21:42:29

I think you're right about the warnings though. I've succeeded in the getting out of the bath fight no longer being a fight by telling her a few times that we'll be getting out soon and getting her to put her bath toys 'to sleep' along the sides of the bath. I think a lot of it with them is that they want to feel they're the ones in control? But they're NOT. Well, they are really I guess.

We are their slaves ...

popsycal Sat 18-Dec-04 21:43:42

we ket ds sit on the toilet for a bit to get him out of the bath

then we have the whole 'how to get him off the toilet' routine.....usualy ends up with simpsons to which he is addicted (dont ask)

bluemoon Sat 18-Dec-04 21:50:24

, yes I had a little bash at potty training dd a month ago and it went ok but I decided to postpone for a while. She LOVED sitting on her potty and it used to take extreme bribes to get her off again. When she did she'd have a complete little round potty halo on her little bottom!

bluemoon Sat 18-Dec-04 21:51:52

Basically I'm getting the picture from what you're saying that you go for 'negotiating' rather than 'brute force' as it were? Do you sometimes worry that the negotiating is just giving them too much rope about certain practical things that just have to be done?

popsycal Sat 18-Dec-04 21:55:26

With 'brute force' i find that he plays up even more.
I try to pre-empt it rather than let it happen then negotiate

aloha Sun 19-Dec-04 11:09:18

Definitely lots of warning that things are soon going to happen plus distraction - eg "yes we'll do X andY and then we have to go home for tea.....aftery Y we are going a minute we are going home....oh, now it's time to go home for a lovely tea. How exciting! Hmm what shall we have. Ooh! Look! An aeroplane! Can you see that cat?" etc etc etc. Obv not aeroplane if getting out of bath! - But maybe "Oooh look, a lovely warm towel...can you run very fast to your bedroom? I'll chase you!" I did a lot of running around with ds's clothes (um, still do really) and dressing him in front of Cbeebies.

bakedpotatohoho Sun 19-Dec-04 11:35:47

bluemoon, prob a bit obvious, but have you tried the naughty step? like you there are some things I won't compromise on, like sitting down to eat. if she won't cooperate, i warn her first then, if she's not paying attention i stick her on the step (sure there are lots of threads about this).

i think in an odd way it gives her back some control, ie she gets to decide when to get off the step/stop crying/come and say sorry/get back into her chair. and it gives me a break when i'm really wound up, too.

otherwise echo advance warning, distraction/sticker charts.

bluemoon Sun 19-Dec-04 21:00:09

Thanks everyone.

Yeah, Aloha, we do the non-stop warning thing too but that's fine when moving from event to event but with the mundane things like dressing it doesn't work. I say 'let's get dressed and then we can sit down for breakfast and Noddy!' (followed by absurd mummy 'yay!!!') etc. etc. but she just says 'no. I don't think I want to' (she's very taciturn) then gets extremely upset that she's missed the Nodding fellow.

Bakedpot, I have thought about naughty steps. We're in a flat so it would have to be something different to a step but I don't think she's quite tantrummy enough to do that yet. I can imagine that she will be soon and so I'll be looking for a naughty corner somewhere!

popsycal Sun 19-Dec-04 21:04:08

Talking of naughty steps....
we have never used it at all as not really got to the stage of needing one...
BUT - my sis uses in for her daughter and ds has just picked it up, and if he throws a tantrum..he goes whimpering to the stairs and puts himself on the 'naughty step' chanting 'calming down now' to himself!

sugaralmond Sun 19-Dec-04 21:06:21

I actually use the "naughty step" - depending on age that is the step they sit on - works in most cases - DD sulks - DS's will sit until told they can get off - it calms the place down if nothing else.

bluemoon Sun 19-Dec-04 21:07:46

ahhhh ... popsy

Incidentally, how do you get them to stay on a step and not just constantly come off it?

bluemoon Sun 19-Dec-04 21:09:16

And what exactly would you put them on the naughty step for? I mean what limit of behaviour? I was thinking that if I put dd on it for every conflict she'd be there half the day. But on the other hand that also signifies that she doesn't do any really 'extreme' behaviour yet that I can think, yes, naughty step type stuff.

popsycal Sun 19-Dec-04 21:09:19

dont know.......
hoe someone can answer it!

popsycal Sun 19-Dec-04 21:10:30

bluemoon - that is the thing...kind of not happy that ds has picked this up - as the other day, he put himslef on the naughty step for accidently spilling his cup of milk which he was really trying to drink ery carefully with bless him
he wasnt being anughty at all

bluemoon Sun 19-Dec-04 21:21:43

That IS the thing popsy. I'm not convinced yet (and not, I think, being starry-eyed mommy) that my dd is being deliberately 'naughty' most of the time. I think she's exuberant and wants to do her own things and has always been very independent. On the odd occasion I've shouted at her she's been very shocked and kind of 'huh? whaddidowrong?'

Debbiethemum Sun 19-Dec-04 21:31:04

Don't know if this will work for you, but with ds I used to give limited choices. eg do you want to wear the blue top or the green top, do you want to take the bath plug out or shall Mummy, shall I dry you in the big towel or the small towel etc etc. I read this theory somewhere and it worked (but not all of the time) with him, so he had the illusion of being in control but I got the result I wanted.

However just wait for me to eat my words when dd gets to that age.

Good Luck

popsycal Sun 19-Dec-04 21:32:42

debbie - i started doing the 'two chouces only' thing in the last few months and it really works,,,,also lets me have some do you want weetabix or toast fro breakfast'

Debbiethemum Sun 19-Dec-04 21:37:49

Thanks Popsy.
I must also say that the choice of clothes sometimes left a bit to be desired - especially if dh was dressing him!!!

Hulababy Mon 20-Dec-04 08:54:07

I also do the 2 or 3 options only decision for my DD (2y 8m) too. If nothing else, it reduces the time taken for her to decide.

wrapmefestively Mon 20-Dec-04 09:16:14

With my 2 year old I went through a phase of using the naughty step many times per day (for obstructive behaviour like refusing to get dressed, refusing to put coat on when we were about to go out etc), and worried that in over using it then it might start to become ineffective....but instead, after around a 2 week spell of this she 'learnt' that mummy wasn't going to back down over certain things, and I barely ever have to use the naughty step at all now.

I am not an over bearing mummy and do give her lots of freedom and choice generally, so I think she is 'okay' with there being a few core rules since mostly she gets a lot of latitude.

I don't think you need to reserve the naughty step for major tantrums and think its perfectly appropriate in the circumstances that you have described.

bakedpotatohoho Mon 20-Dec-04 09:43:47

Wrapmefestively, that's so interesting, that's more or less the pattern of naughty-step usage here. we used it several times a week for maybe a month or two -- but only for issues which i felt really strongly about, like sitting down at mealtimes/'trying' if not finishing food/cooperating at bathtime. as i posted, i realised we haven't had to use it for maybe 3 months. it was useful at a certain point, to reinforce the fact that some things weren't negotiable, and now she understands that.

for whatever reason, she never really made an attempt to get off it. and yes, occasionally when she was naughty, she would go and voluntarily plonk herself on it (sort of 'hands up, i've rumbled myself'). i had to stuff dishcloths in my mouth so she couldn't hear me laughing.

btw, bluemoon, friends have naughty corners/chairs which work just as well. have you tried the 'right, i'm counting to 3 thing?' that worked pretty well, too.

Hulababy Mon 20-Dec-04 09:57:29

We have a naughty chair - just DD's little pink chair placed in the hall way - as we don't have stairs. TBH I very rarly use it now. Went through a stage of taking her there for some time out to clam her down, but found that she didn't need it that often - probably once a month maximum now. TBH when she gets wound up she will now often take herself to the hall way or to her bedroom to calm herself down instead.

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