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I am finding it very hard not to repeatedly lose my temper with my defiant toddler.

(21 Posts)
artichokes Sun 28-Jun-09 21:24:53

DD1 is nearly 2 and three quarters and very strong willed. She is currently in a very defiant phase and will not do anything she is asked.

For example if I ask her to put her shoes on to go to the park she does nothing, no amount of encouragement, chivvying, reminding her of the delights of the park etc will get her moving. If I try and put them of she will run away and scream blue murder if I catch her. If I threaten punishment (no park, naughty step etc) she asks for the punishment. If I try and explain that her behaviour is not nice and will lead to us all being miserable she says "I want to be miserable". Sometimes bribery with treats works but I hate to go down that route as it teaches her to hold out until a bribe is offered.

I now have a six month old DD2 and the time constraints her care puts on my day makes it hard to be patient with DD1. Too often I find myself shouting at DD1 and making her cry or, even worse, physically forcing her into the buggy/car/shoes etc.

Please help me deal with her defiance in a more constructive and effective way. I am all out of ideas.

thedolly Sun 28-Jun-09 21:35:04

You may have tried this but it works a treat for me at the moment - If I ask DS2 to come and put his shoes on and he refuses I simply make a big deal about what I'm going to do for myself instead - 'OK then, you've missed your chance, I'm off to brush my teeth now so you'll have to wait' He usually runs into the bathroom with his shoes in his hand saying 'put my shoes on, put my shoes on'

I use this technique a few times each day but I am well aware that it won't work forever.

BiscuitStuffer Sun 28-Jun-09 21:38:40

I will watch with interest - it's a nightmare and a real button presser isn't it??

One thing that I'm trying at the mo is to try and teach her to want to do things for other people, so i will ask for her help with something..

e.g. I would love to take you to the park but I'm finding it difficult to get you and DD" ready in time and I wondered if you would be really kind and put your shoes on while I try and get DD2 sorted....that kind of thing. It does seem to be helping but I only do it when I remember and am feeling like supermum, which hardly even happens blush

LovingtheSilverFox Sun 28-Jun-09 21:40:54

I have just read your post, and thought "I could have typed that"!

I can't be desperately constructive, but advise that if you threaten no treat, park, loss of favourite toy etc you need to carry it through. As your DD2 is only 6 months, she won't mind not going to the park, but if it is you who need to get out, I wouldn't advise withdrawing the park trip as a form of punishment, you will be cutting off your nose to spite your face.

I use the naughty corner, I ask her once, ask her again, and then tell her with the line "If I ask again I will count from five and then you will sit in the naughty corner" This tactic may mean you have to prepare to go out much earlier than you would have done previously.

Is there anyway that she would respond by making her sound like a big girl? "Why don't you show DD2 how you put shoes on? She will be learning from you" etc.

mrsmaidamess Sun 28-Jun-09 21:42:20

I used to turn it around. Instead of saying 'If you don't put your shoes on ,we can't go to the park' I would say 'Do you want to go to the park? Good, you need your shoes on'.

It's good to act though as if you really don't care whether she puts them on or not. It's a reaction she is trying to get.

BiscuitStuffer Sun 28-Jun-09 21:42:30

Although I must brag about today (because I never get the chance to brag and it's DD I'm bragging about, not me!)...

We were going to go out to a local pub for lunch on the way back from the park (great excitement for DD 2.5), We got there but no highchairs for DS (1) and so we decided we should really just go home as it would turn in to a more labour intensive lunch and for us, not worth it today for lots of reasons.

I went to the loo and found DH said DD very upset about not staying.

I crouched down and explained that we were all wanting to have lunch here but because there wasn't a special chair for DS, wehad decided that we should go home so that he could have a chair too.

Unbelievably it worked. What a thoroughly reasonable and empathetic DD I have <proud>

BiscuitStuffer Sun 28-Jun-09 21:44:30

But I have to say that I feel that I'm on the verge / and or losing my temper alot and feel dreadful. Like you, I really am finding it very tough.

TOK Sun 28-Jun-09 21:47:04

It must be so tiring with your lo at the moment so I can totally understand how easy it would be to get impatient or lose your temper with DD1, try not to beat yourself up about it.
Has she been like this for long? I suppose it could be response to DD2 requiring so much attention at the moment. Are you managing to find time (and I know it probably already seems like there aren't enough hours in the day) for just you and DD1 to spend a little bit of time together? Even just ten minutes when baby is napping to do something (decorate biscuits, play a game, draw pictures) could help your relationship with her and so, maybe make her more willing to cooperate?? I could be talking complete rubbish so take it with a pince of salt! What does she make of her little sis? Does she like to help out? That could be another way of getting her to do things- say you need her help to get DD2 ready etc... I am pg with DC2 and will have same age gap with DS1 so I probably have this to look forward to in the future too. Let us know how you get on.

llareggub Sun 28-Jun-09 21:49:13

I have a DS of the same age, and boy, do I share your pain. I am hoping this will pass soon.

ilovemydogandmrobama Sun 28-Jun-09 21:52:18

It's such a difficult phase. DD (2.11) is getting so defiant, difficult and horrible. And like you, I have a 16 month old also, so not easy.

It sometimes works if says, 'NO, don't want to put on shoes!!!!' to say, 'OK, the choices are: you put them on and are helpful, or I'll put them on for you...'

Sometimes works. Sometimes doesn't.

Sometimes it helps to say, 'oh, dear, you seem to be very upset. What can we do to make it better?'

More recently DD is getting really upset over the smallest things. Like she dropped a fork on the floo and was soooo upset (not that I have gotten upset with her about it). She started saying, 'So sorry mummy...' Heartbreaking.

Think it's a bit of a balance -- knowing when to discipline and when not to.

fruitful Sun 28-Jun-09 21:53:41

Totally agree with maidamess. Pretend you don't care (which is really really hard but it does work).

I'm just going to sit down and read my book and if you like to get your shoes on, we could go out. But it doesn't bother me ...

Then give loads of attention and praise when she does what you want. Once she has the shoes on, suddenly you do care and isn't she wonderful?

Or you could go completely the other route, and take her out without her shoes on. I had to get to school to collect dd, and ds2 was in his pram waiting, and ds1 wouldn't put his shoes on. So I threw the shoes in the pram basket, picked ds1 up and put him outside, and off we went. He didn't like it. I made him walk for a bit before letting him stop and put his shoes on. Now he puts his shoes on when I ask. He was 3.5 though.

You can jolly them along too. "Ooh look I think I saw a purple elephant! Quick get your shoes on so we can chase it!" .

Or empathy. "I don't like putting my shoes on either, it takes too long. Wouldn't it be great if we lived on a beach and never had to wear shoes. My house would be under a banana tree, what sort of tree would you like?"

Aagh, it's all so tiring. dd is 7 and turning into a slightly-rational human being and it is just lovely. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

artichokes Sun 28-Jun-09 21:56:36

Thanks for your replies.

She has always been pretty strong willed but it has got worse since DD2 arrived (but given she arrived when DD1 was 2 years and 4 months it may have been an age thing rather than a sibling reaction). Everyday I make sure I spend one-on-one time with DD1, poor DD2 is often left to her own devices, and DD1 is an angel when I play with her, she just turns into the devil when I ask her to do something. Luckily she has never taken it out on DD2 who she is very affectionate with.

What breaks my heart is that many of her imaginary games now involve her shouting at her toys "Bear you are very naughty" "Bear I am going to count to five and then you are going on the naughty step" "Bear you are making me very sad" "I am sorry I shouted Bear but sometimes you drive me insane"... these are the phrases she hears all the time and they obviously repeat in her head and are now a big part of her imaginary life too sad.

mrsmaidamess Sun 28-Jun-09 21:59:18

You've just got to pretend to be a childrens Tv presenter with inexhaustible energy and enthusiasm!.

I know it's exhausting but there are loads of ways to get dd to comply without resorting to the naughty step (which doesn't work imo).

You can try the competitive thing 'Can you get your shoes on before I count to 20.... GO!!'

artichokes Sun 28-Jun-09 21:59:53

They don't turn into semi-rational beings until they are seven shock? God help me that is a long tunnel!

artichokes Sun 28-Jun-09 22:03:21

That is good advice Mrsmaidamess. I must imagine I have a little imaginary CBeebies star on my shoulder cheering me on to turn everything into a game. I do try sometimes and it can work. You are right though, it is tiring, so tiring.

Dysgu Sun 28-Jun-09 22:06:17

My DD1 (2.9yo) is generally quite easy going but this week she has been grumping and whining over every little thing is seems. She has been running a temperature though... hmm

I try to make almost everything a choice:

Are you going to wear the red shoes or the pink trainers?

I do have to remind DP not to ask a question that is not a choice though - do you want to go up to bed now?

She does go to the child minder twice a week for 5 hours and to pre-school for two afternoons each week though. I did feel a bit guilty about 'sending' her out when I am home on maternity leave but... this does give me some 1-to-1 time with DD2 (6 mo) and means that I can focus more on DD1 when she is home with us.

I do think having the time - and money blush to spend with the little one means DD1 benefits more when she is here. She also loves the child minder as she has been there since she was 7mo and still goes to play groups with the child minder and has such a great time. And she has only recently started pre-school but loves it there too so we are all (usually) happy.

bigchris Sun 28-Jun-09 22:06:30

we do races here, who can be the first to get their shoes on etc

Dysgu Sun 28-Jun-09 22:11:23

Yes we have a bit of a competition too - who can do something first: DD1 or DD2!

I also get them 'mixed up' sometimes and pretend that DD2 is the BIG GIRL and DD1 is the baby. That tends to get her giggling at silly mummy and telling me that she is the big girl and that she can (do whatever it is I wanted her to do).

I also try to avoid telling her off for simply doing what is age appropriate. I find adults infuriating but generally have lots of patience with children behaving like children!

artichokes Sun 28-Jun-09 22:14:15

Sometimes races etc work for us, but sometimes she just gives me THAT look. You know the one: "Come of Mum, I was not born yesterday". Yesterday I challenged her to a race and she just sighed and said "I am too busy looking at how pretty my fingers are" hmm.

thedolly Sun 28-Jun-09 22:15:08

Yes, I do the choice thing and the reminding DH thing too - he doesn't always appreciate it though.

KiwiKat Sun 28-Jun-09 22:18:48

DS has just turned 3 and is also pushing the boundaries. I'm sure the neighbours think we're beating him with sticks, but all I've done is ask him to put his pyjamas on! "no mummy, no!" Good grief! hmm

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