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How well should my 2-year-old behave?

(29 Posts)
BroccoliSpears Tue 20-May-08 16:28:16

I suppose I'm looking for reassurance that it's normal for a 24 month old not to exibit any "good behaviour".

I promise to take it like a man if concensus is that I'm deluding myself and need to take my brat in hand.

She is 24 months old. She does exactly what she wants to do all the time. Sometimes what she wants to do happens to be what I want her to do and all is happiness and harmony in the Spears household. Most of the time what she wants to do is throw her breakfast on the floor, or tip the dog's water over, or swing on the gate, or pull up flowers, or poke her baby brother with a stick...

It feels a bit relentless, and I listen to myself become more pathetic and incidental as the day wears on. I am completely ignored unless what I am saying includes the words "chocolate biscuit" or "Night Garden".

It's not completely disasterous. I do successfully impose my will when I need to, but not without bribes or tantrums.

So, normal 2-year-old behaviour, or ratbaggery that needs to be addressed?

(It's worth noting that she has a very new baby brother and the Green Eyed Monster is definitely a factor).

LittleMyDancing Tue 20-May-08 16:30:27

Normal! Pick your battles, otherwise you'll be exhausted.

the important ones in our household are:

no hitting or hurting
please and thank you
cleaning teeth
no throwing food around

with anything else, it depends on how bad he's been, how strong I'm feeling, what he's doing.

ScoobyDoo Tue 20-May-08 16:31:47

Normal my 2 year old is just the same she is an utter nightmare at the moment & very stroppy!

Hard work isn't it?

Flame Tue 20-May-08 16:33:46

Mine is currently screaming behind his gates <see profile> because I couldn't take him hitting his sister any more.

Medowflowers Tue 20-May-08 16:36:40

Dont most 2 yr olds think the world revolves around them and them alone? You brought another baby into the house! shock

ds1 a nightmare after ds2 born. He jurned 3 = a joy.

All the stuff you describe above seems like a pretty good way to gain some attention from you just for her. (Any attention is better then no attention if you are 2! wink)

IMHO normal 2 yr old + new baby = distinct possibility of very difficult time for mummy.

Disclaimer - not excluding dads - mums often primary carer with new baby + toddler in tow.

Medowflowers Tue 20-May-08 16:37:44

And what littlemydancing said.

BigBadMouse Tue 20-May-08 16:37:44

Perfectly normal I think. My DD2 has just turned two and is a total nightmare I either get sympathetic smiles or disgusted sneers when I am out with her.

We have the green-eyed monster factor here too and that certainly doesn't help - although I have been told that poking a baby brother with a stick is an awful lot of fun and an opportunity not to be missed regardless grin

ScoobyDoo Tue 20-May-08 16:38:27

Ha ha flame you done the one gate on top of the other, we did this when we got desperate with dd because she just would not stay in bed, but the little madam climbed up right over the top shock there is just no stopping her so we had to remove it because her climbing over the top was just so unsafe!

DD has drained me of any energy i had a left i am emotionally & mentally drained!

Flame Tue 20-May-08 16:40:28

I give DS another 6 weeks before going over the top.

He is very quiet - do you want to bet on sleeping or shredding wallpaper?

EachPeachPearMum Tue 20-May-08 17:01:45

Can I ask what exactly can you do to stop them being naughty?????

dd (2.3) is good as gold 90% of the time, but wow- that other 10% I have no idea what to do (other than pmsl behind my hand/in other room!)
She knows she's being naughty, and loves it!

horace Tue 20-May-08 17:02:12

all of this is perfectly normal in my experience. Ds1 like this when 2 and dd born and dd is like this now that ds2 is 6 months old. Ds1 is now lovely but he made my life hell for a few months when his sister was tiny.

it's hard to keep it in perspective when your worn out with baby and two yr old behaviour. Like others have said pick your battles - you dont want to spend all day saying no or shouting or being mean mummy.

BroccoliSpears Tue 20-May-08 19:09:33

This is all very comforting.

I like the idea of choosing a few important rules and concentrating on those.

1. No hitting / hurting baby brother.
2. Table manners... anyone care to share what they expect of their 2-year-old at the table?

shish Tue 20-May-08 20:05:53

This is a very intersting and reassuring thread. My ds is 23 months and can at times be really difficult and tantrumy. He's not talking much - just a handful of words - and I sometimes wonder if the fact that he can't communicate with us is adding to the problem??

Like echpeachpearmum, he's good most of the time and has become very good at following intsructions, but if he doesn't get his own way, then all hell breaks loose!

LittleMyDancing Tue 20-May-08 20:08:35

Hmmm, table manners - no throwing food, no throwing cutlery on the floor, no smearing food all over the table.

that's about as good as it gets round here. today he dipped each forkful of sausage pasta into his juice before eating it. and then drank the juice.


Flame Tue 20-May-08 20:10:16

Table manners - no emptying your plate on the table/your head and smearing it everywhere etc. Stay at the table until all finished.

He was asleep. Slept through the car journey to collect DH and is now wide awake.

Oh the joy never ends...

LittleMyDancing Tue 20-May-08 20:10:22

as for stopping them being naughty - i find that distraction is the best technique, followed by removing the item he's being naughty with.

we've recently started counting to five, with some success.(as in 'I'm going to count to five, and if you haven't put it down/eaten your yogurt/put your shoes on then....)

horace Tue 20-May-08 20:19:03

agree with quite basic rules for table manners. no throwing, no smearing, no spitting, try to get them staying at table.

stopping being naughty - well, the step always works for me. it just stops things escalating when it gets out of control, a bit of quiet time really. .

Flame Tue 20-May-08 20:21:53

For us it depends on his mood. Naughty step does nothing - he either giggles or destroys hmm

If we are out then I normally sit him on my lap and hold him tight (quite often one arm holding his forehead up or he bites shock), for 2 mins, quietly telling him why x is wrong etc.

If we are home, I either do that, or if I just can't do it any more (like today), he goes in his room until he calms down.

talilac Tue 20-May-08 20:27:21

Heh LittleMyDancing, that sounds very familiar.. DD1 (21m) was sat with us at table last weekend for a delicious roast courtesy of MIL. She proceeded to pour her water glass into her dinner plate. She then asked for some gravy, which MIL, fascinated, gave her. DD then ate the watery roast dinner up, right down to the soggy potatoes. Occasionally she'd say "mmm lovely" and ask for more gravy! Thankfully my MIL has seen it all and knew better than to bat an eyelid at this!

We draw the line here at hurting DD2, biting or kicking me, and anything dangerous or too destructive. I also tend not to give in to demands for junk food though DH does (grr). Most of the time this results in a peaceful household. Last night however she spent an hour and a half shrieking like a banshee because she wanted to sleep in my bed and I really wasn't on for it!

What works for me is distraction if shes not too far into her tizzy - the old "whats that over there!" trick can do wonders. Cbeebies can pull her out of even the most hysterical of fits.

When shes being mean to DD2, I tend to say coldly "we don't bite / kick / hurt people" and then make a BIG fuss over DD2. This seems to work better than telling off DD1, she generally sulks for a minute and is then sweetness and light.

Otherwise, I reckon you need to remember your breathing techniques from labour to remain calm in the face of toddler fury, and if you've got a DD like mine who is a shrieker, seriously consider ear protectors!

Weegle Tue 20-May-08 20:32:43

I've been wondering this today. I have spent the whole day telling DS "do x or I take y away", "don't do that or I'll..." constant threats and I became so aware of it! I spent a swimming class where he willfully did the complete opposite of everyone else and I thought how the heck do I handle this? He just giggles and laughs at me. At home I have reasonable control but how on earth do you make them do what you want them to do in public without hissing in their ear threats about raisins/going home/etc etc????

EachPeachPearMum Tue 20-May-08 20:55:21

LittleMy what do you do when you get to 5, and she's still laughing, doing what you've told her not to, whilst saying 'look Mama! I'm putting my head in the fire"?????

Naughty step is completely out- they have it at nursery, (where she is golden, and has NEVER been on it) and she asks to go on it at home! She thinks its a great game. Holding doesn't really work- she is so violent, and a danger to herself (thrashing her head around, usually near a bookcase, or wall etc).

BTW- we don't have the jealousy factor- she is currently our only child!

LittleMyDancing Tue 20-May-08 22:38:44

When we reach 5, then we carry out the dire threats - sometimes it's straight to bed with no stories, if it's evening.

he hates being made to do anything, so it's normally 'I'll count to 5 and then I'll put your jumper on you whether you like it or not' or something along those lines, iyswim.

not going to work much longer though, he's getting very strong!

Edge6340 Sat 06-Sep-08 18:21:29

My 2 year old grandson is a nightmare. He throws,kicks, hits and screams for my daughter and son in law all the time. He can't play with other children without screaming. He screams and stands on this toes until they come and get him. They hold him to cook, clean, at dinnertime, their bathroom breaks and just about the whole day. When he is taken out he throws things and quickly clears a table of everything on it. My daughter and son in law feel this is normal behavior and do nothing. They say he is just being a boy. I have tried to let her know how everyone is saying things and she calls me a liar. It has seperated our family. We just had a family vacation and everyone feels they wasted their money and it was the worst vacation. My daughter feels we made them feel uncomfortable. She doesn't care that her son ruined our vacation by her son constant bad behavior. just that we made them feel uncomfortable. Also my grandson's favorite word is snack. My daughter carries a bag of snacks around and for four days her kids ate from this bag. We cooked 3 meals a day but her kids rarely ate anything. My 4yr old granddaughter has gained ten pounds in six months. Please help, I don't know what to do.

LittleMyDancing Sat 06-Sep-08 18:41:22

Blimey, that does sound extreme!

Although there's lots of tales of 2 year olds being generally pretty naughty on this thread, I think there's a difference between average toddler behaviour and a child who is never pulled up on anything, iyswim.

It's difficult. If the boy's parents won't do anything, realistically, you can't do much.

But you CAN say 'my house, my rules'. Do they ever come to your house? You can insist that in your house they follow some simple rules (no throwing things, no messing around at the table etc) and maybe carry out some simple sanctions (put them out of the room for two minutes if they break a rule, for example?) Would your daughter be angry if you did that?

Do they go to a nursery or anything like that? Is there anywhere else that they might get some guidance on how to behave?

I feel for you, it must be very sad to see your lovely grandchildren being allowed to go to rack and ruin.

We've recently started putting DS in his room and shutting the door. It's not a particularly cruel punishment, as he has toys etc in his room, but he understands that if he does something naughty he is removed from the action for two minutes or so. This normally works quite well, better than the naughty step which he just doesn't stay on.

LittleMyDancing Sat 06-Sep-08 18:43:15

Thinking more about this - if she thinks you're lying, would the rest of the family be willing to pitch in and talk to her?

It's a really difficult situation, as there's no more sensitive subject than one's own parenting skills, so it needs to be dealt with very carefully.

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