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I don't know what to do with my 23m old.

(25 Posts)
purpleflower Tue 09-Sep-08 10:58:32

He is really badly behaved, he hits me, throws things around, kicks me, completely ignores me and is just an absolute horror in general. When with other people he is an angel but when he is with me he is a devil, he is even starting to be like it with his dad now.

If I tell him no he either laughs or screams. He will just carry on doing it. He is incredably stubborn which doesn't help. This morning he screamed for 20 minutes throwing his toast around until I turned the TV on, then he sat and ate it nicely.

I know a bit of it is that he doesn't talk yet and is getting frustrated but he is just so naughty.

If he wants something he will hang off of me screaming until he gets it.

I'm 37 weeks pregnant and really can't handle it at the moment, I have even smacked him which made no difference and made me feel terrible.

Please help.

Smee Tue 09-Sep-08 11:05:47

Bad, bad age 23 months, so I think you're right, it's the speech thing, and frustration, but also maybe he's pickign up on your being tired and a change about to come (new baby!). Personally I found losing it never worked. Easier said than done, I know hmm Have you tried walking away? Kept me sane doing that. If he screams, put him down and walk out of the room. So long as he's safe it gives you a breather to calm down. I used to sit on the stairs for a couple of minutes, then when I was calm went back and gently told him no (or whatever) if he kept screetching, I just ignored him. If he carried on in the end I'd pick him up and hug him until he stopped, but still didn't give him what he was screetching for. It's really tiring, but the more you give into him, the more he'll do it.

NinaInCognito Tue 09-Sep-08 11:14:50

Smee's advice sounds quite wise here, and I think I will try it myself.

I am like you purpleflower, my ds is 20 months and goes through phases of hiting, biting, scratching and hair pulling and I just don't know what to do with him. I keep thinking that he is frustrated because he doesn't know how to express himself and therefore takes it out on the person he is closest to i.e. me. He doesn't do any of this to anyone else.

I don't think you should feel bad for smacking him either, you are obviously at the end of your tether and maybe in hindsight another way to deal with the frustration would of been better, but we are only human after all and make mistakes.

Am hoping things improve for you....

purpleflower Tue 09-Sep-08 11:42:13

Thank you both.

It's nice to hear I'm not the only one going through this, it's just horrible that it is mainly directed at me.

I have tried walking away but he generally just follows me. If I go in the kitchen hes there behind me he will follow me in to the garden (he can open the back door) and if I go upstairs he will headbut the stairgate sad

I have tried holding him on the sofa to get him to calm down but he just seems to get more and more worked up. I have also tried strapping him into his pushchair to calm down but he has worked out how to get out of it.

I'm going to try and be stronger with him today. He is currently sat in his pjama top eating a yoghurt glued to the TV. I'm going to take him to the park and see if that helps as he is watching far too much TV and I don't think its helping.

He can be the sweetest and most loving little boy but it just keeps getting overshadowed by the tantrums and bad behaviour sad

Smee Tue 09-Sep-08 11:53:42

Yep, get out definitely. My son's always worse at home. Hard to find the energy I'm sure, but worth it. Good luck grin

midnightexpress Tue 09-Sep-08 11:57:36

Agree absolutely with the getting out thing. Mine both calm down instantly as soon as we're out of the house. As soon as they start acting up I get the wellies on and get them out.

Getting them back in the car again on the way home is another matter of course wink

EffiePerine Tue 09-Sep-08 11:57:49

DS is 23 mo, it's a tough age

the only thing that works with a real screaming tantrum is sticking him in his cot for time out for a few mins, then having a cuddle

exercise v v v important - we find he needs a couple of trips out of the house (we don;t have a garden) every day so he can run round the park or wherever

recently tried our local soft play on a rainy afternoon and DS loved it - and I got to sit down for a couple of hours grin. Am only 24 weeks pg and finding it hard enough!

Other htings that work@ getting him to 'help' with household chores (can he stand on a stool while you're washing up and have a splash around?). Oh and DVDs can get you a few mins peace.

LittleMyDancing Tue 09-Sep-08 11:57:51

It's a really tough age. Just remember it WILL get better, you just have to get through it.

I found that just walking away, as people have said, was the only thing to do. Just say very calmly 'if you do that then Mummy is not going to play with you', put him down and go and do something else.

IGNORE THE SCREAMING for at least one minute. The object is not to get him to behave at that particular moment, but to make him realise that bad behaviour will not be tolerated.

If he throws his toast around because he wants to watch TV, then DON'T turn the TV on. Just take the toast away and say 'If you can't eat it nicely, then there's no toast'

It won't harm him to not have his toast for one day. You can always give him a snack later.

And I'm afraid to say that at that age, I found TV made my DS much naughtier. He's a few months older now and we can watch it without tantrums, and set limits on it, but at 23 months imo it's better to have no telly at all. They just don't understand why it has to go off, and they get really sucked into it.

HTH - it's a really tough age. Good Luck.

Seeline Tue 09-Sep-08 11:58:31

Try not to take it personally. You're his main carer by the sound of it so it's obvious that you are going to cop the most trouble. Also he knows you better than any one else so knows exactly what to do to get what he wants. My DS was similar (although not violent) and tbh it is really only the last 6 months that things have begun to be better - he's nearly 7! Good luck with the new baby but accept that this will probably make him worse before getting better - sorry!

MatNanPlus Tue 09-Sep-08 12:03:48

Does he turn the tv on himself?

Unplug it so it doesn't work, tell him it is broken, show him it isn't working, he will complain but offer him something to do or ask him to help you.

I know it is hard but ignore the screaming and maybe
[a] wear ear plugs to deaden it a bit,
[b]have the radio or happy cds playing at a reasonable level and turn them up when he goes off on one and wait it out,
[c]can you alter the pushchair straps so they are unescapable?

Do interesting things when he is having a turn so he is more interested in stopping i have found,
[a] colouring - just 2 or 3 colours in your hand - so less to be thrown/scattered
[b] reading to a soft toy
[c] playing with a toy

Can break the cycle.

wotulookinat Tue 09-Sep-08 12:12:34

I sympathise - my DS is 23 months too. Although the biting has now stopped, the throwing persists, as does the spitting out of food on the floor. angry
He goes to a childminder one day a week and is an angel there - until I come to get him and he reverts to normal devil-mode.
The advice about getting out is good as I find it easier to cope outside of the house - but it's not always easy to get out (especially if you are heavily pregnant, as someone said above).
Getting him involved in the household chores is a good idea. I do try that occassionally, although it has resulted in the dog being bullied.
I guess we can only reassure ourselves that this phase will pass.

LittleMoosh Tue 09-Sep-08 12:57:45

Hi purpleflower

When you say he doesn't talk yet do you mean he doesn't say any words or that he says very few or says words but you can't understand them.

I say this because if he appears to be slow at talking and saying recognisable words it may be possible that he has difficulty hearing. If so, this could be affecting his behaviour.

My DS, now 6 YO, had lots of colds when he was a baby and had a hearing problem due to build up of fluid in his ears. He was a slow talker (used to make lots of noises but none that you'd recognise). He had to have grommits inserted at 3 year old and soon after started saying all kinds of recognisable words.

He has since got more build up of fluid in his ears and we have noticed his behaviour going downhill again. Audiologists advised that this behaviour is more than likely because he has difficulty in hearing. Hopefully he will get sorted soon.

Anyway, I seem to have gone off the track a little here, but what I wanted to say was has he had a hearing test? Was it okay? If not, just a thought that this could be a possible reason for his behaviour and worth checking him out

JODIEhadababy Tue 09-Sep-08 13:03:50

Glad Ive found this thread (on a selfish point of view) The OP could be me, and I agree with the fustrating thing (I have a 9 week old too, so thats another jealousy issue to deal with too)

I'm also aware that he watches too much tv, but it's the only time he's not having a tantrum, going to try that unplugging thing, This weather doesn't make it any easier though!

i know my comments don't help the OP (Other than your not alone), but just to let you all know you are helping more than one person regain her sanity wink

WobblyPig Tue 09-Sep-08 13:15:31

me also. 23 month old testing to me to my limits. Biting ; hitting; throwing food at me ; stopped eating and sleeping.
Throwing himself on the pavement and screaming; refusing to use buggy but also refusing to walk. Wanting to be caried on my shoulders when he's 12kg and I'm pregnanct.

I move rooms when he has a tantrum and we use THE STEP which has some deterent value and gives him opportunity to calm down.

I thought it was only me with the ASBO-toddler.

Agree weather makes things even harder because your options are so limited. I know he needs a good run around. We have just come back from Toddlers and will be going to soft play later. It's really difficult to fill toddler-time.

WheresTheAuPair Tue 09-Sep-08 13:18:23

My DS is 22 months and just entering this lovely phase too. Yesterday I was driving down a busy motorway when he took off his trainer and threw it at my head! Scared the life out of me as I thought he was asleep shock nearly crashed the blardy car! (amazing aim tho!)

Today he refused to eat his lunch and looked straight at me and tipped his cup out on the table. It was so hard not to shout at him but instead say 'ok then, no lunch for you then' and ignore the protests that followed.

Am 33 weeks PG and really could do with a rest rather than negotiate the minefield that is The Toddler! Hopefully his strops will pass once his language comes on more. here's hoping anyway...

Have just put his highness up to bed and despite some protests he's gone off to sleep. all that tearing around must have worn him out...and phew...peace for me for an hour- bliss wink

now...kettle on..cuppa tea!

WobblyPig Tue 09-Sep-08 13:22:50

My feet are up too... toddler-nap in progress. long may it last.

midnightexpress Tue 09-Sep-08 13:33:07

Don't be put off by the weather. I know you're pg and I know it's crapola weather but buy him an all-in-one rainsuit if you havebn't got one and get him outside splashing in puddles.

We are regularly in the park with the DSs covered in mud and soaked to the skin, but if you have a change of clothes (or two) it really doesn't matter - they are completely unfazed by wet miserable weather IME. On the contrary, they positively thrive on it (though I realise that you may not...)

Umlellala Tue 09-Sep-08 13:40:40

Just a quick one - might have been mentioned already, but don't forget to tell him what you DO want him to do, eg 'draw on the paper' rather than don't draw on the walls. It's much easier to follow a positive instruction (they don't have to work so hard to work out what you want). Children don't come programmed to know how to be 'good' either - so we do have to tell them what that means grin

Umlellala Tue 09-Sep-08 13:42:39

PS to OP though, at 37 weeks, well, I was a screaming banshee and horrible to dd. She also watched a lot of cbeebies wink. And you should eat a lot of chocolate.

purpleflower Tue 09-Sep-08 13:57:56

Thank you all for your advice. It really is nice to know I'm not the only one struggling with the behaviour.

I haven't taken him out yet but have just put him down for a nap so the kettle is on and the kitten has come out of hiding.

He has been slightly better today, playing really nicely with his cars. I've slowly turned the volume down on the TV, next step is off completely.

He only has a couple of words, mama, dada, cat (not in english),hiya and baba. I don't think there is a problem with his hearing, it was checked at birth and he does seem to be listening to me. I'm not too worried about his lack of speach as he does have 2 languages to learn and does respond to both.

I'm really going to make an effort to get him out more but I really have no money at the moment so can't take him to softplay etc regularly and I'm shattered. I am going to get him some wellies tomorrow and he has a good coat, I'll have to wear DPs coat as I can't fit mine on at the moment.

purpleflower Tue 09-Sep-08 13:58:54

oops spoke too soon I can hear footsteps upstairs.

JODIEhadababy Tue 09-Sep-08 16:25:55

We've just bought a 'Spotty Otter' all in one so'wester type jobby, for his birthday next week, so will use that, also, just braved the rain in wellies to play rugby on the field, so that OK now.

Does any one know when it starts getting better?????

cory Tue 09-Sep-08 19:57:15

I was sorting through old letters this morning and found one written when dd was about this age. It said "dd has had a major tantrum in the shops or similar every day this week". I had forgotten all about that! I do have recollections of these tantrums but didn't remember they were that frequent.

Yet dd (now in Year 7) has not grown up into an anti-social thug. I also found a couple of recent school reports which particularly stress her good manners.

So somewhere in between something must have happened. Shame that I was too knackered to notice it really...

I found what worked for me was to stay calm, restrain her only if I had to, and to let the tantrum work its course.

Another interesting thing in the same letter is that I mention that dd - who is also bilingual - is far less advanced in her speech than the other children in the playgroup. Yet a year later, when she is just under 3 I record some conversations we've had which seem pretty advanced for a child that age.

Umlellala Tue 09-Sep-08 20:57:31

Cory, that's fabulous, that you had written all that stuff down... <makes new term resolution to keep a journal>

steviesgirl Tue 09-Sep-08 21:12:34

My dd who is 2.4 is just the same. At home she tantrums, throws things at me, hits me and is a horror a lot of the time. She never stops when I say no, she just does it all the more. And, like you have said, she is much better when not in the house and never hits other people, just me.

I try to get her to help me with things as much as I can when I'm indoors alone with her, like she helps me unpack the shopping after a shopping trip. She doesn't play up so much when I give her little 'tasks'. And getting her out in the garden and the farm with her wellies on gives me some blessed relief from her bad behaviour as it gives her something to do.

You are not alone. It's called the terrible twos, and not for nothing.

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