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how to discipline very strong-minded 2.5 yo?

(10 Posts)
annady Wed 22-Jul-09 13:32:12


my 2.5 yo dc1 has recently started hitting. nothing unusual in that i understand: it's not hard, is clearly for attention / to vent frustration and it's mainly me who gets it (although on occasion it's been a grandparent, a fellow toddler or our four-month old dc2).

the problem is trying to teach her to say sorry (despite the fact that her speech is very good and she has no problem saying phrases / comprehending issues of a similar nature); and indeed stopping her hitting once she gets into the mood to do it.

when she hits, i take her into another room (although she's so used to this now that she toddles through herself as soon as she's done the deed!) i go down to her level, tell her firmly 'no', and tell her to stay there until she can come and say sorry. she'll come straight through and give everyone involved kisses, cuddles, but she won't say sorry. (she'll also sometimes start hitting again at this juncture).

i know she understands to some degree what she's doing wrong, because i've watched her role-playing with her toys and having them say sorry if they 'hit' each other...

she also won't stay in the room, or corner, i put her in. she thinks it's a game, either laughs or just amuses herself - but she just won't stay where i put her.

should i just keep at it with what i'm doing, or am i expecting too much, or doing the wrong thing?

any advice would be very much appreciated!

a xx

caspercat Wed 22-Jul-09 14:12:25

If she doesn't say sorry when she comes back in the room, i'd put her back again, and again, and again until she does. No attention of any kind until she does. Sorry if that sounds extreme, but hitting (as you know) is a no-no. I did the same with my dd (now 3), and she didn't hit for long.

FimbleHobbs Wed 22-Jul-09 14:32:26

Sounds like you are doing really well as you are. Your consistency is obviously paying off - she clearly knows the rules. She doesn't always follow them (totally normal), but shes got the first step of understanding them, so well done.

The trouble with getting her to say sorry is that, its a hard thing to measure if it has been done 'correctly'. Has it got to be at a certain volume, which a certain tone of voice? A mumbled grumpy 'sorry' is not really acceptable but it easily becomes a battle for her to try and push the boundaries.

My DC are 4yrs and 2.5yrs and they are pretty good at saying sorry, but if they are reluctant to say it, I offer them another way to show they are sorry (like a hug). Just so that the event is finished with rather than insisting on a sorry and getting a sarcastic/snappy one.

As for sitting where they are put... they just get put back there each time they move anf the time out starts again... its very long and boring but the only way I can think of.

Cheepz Thu 23-Jul-09 15:50:02

with my 2.3 month old he finds himself put in the corner and made to stay there for 2 minutes and then i tell him what he did, ask him if he understands and then tell him to say sorry. once he has said sorry we have a cuddle and go and find something fun to do. i think its about being very clear why they are there and making them stay there for a fixed period and the making sure they understand and say sorry before going back into play / tv / mealtime or whatever. probably sounds harsh but works a dream with mine and he is generally pretty good but can be quite wilful, i have also found a corner with nothing to fiddle with or play with so there is nothing of interest for him at all

annady Wed 29-Jul-09 13:16:51

thanks so much for your responses - is still proving nigh-impossible to get her to stay in the corner on those occasions when i put her there but she is hitting a lot less, and she does say sorry now, so maybe we're (slowly) getting there.
thanks also for the recommendation re: putting a time limit on being in the corner, that makes a lot of sense. (if i can ever get her to stay there at all, that is...)
thanks again
a x

Rosebud05 Sun 02-Aug-09 22:32:13

Something that is quite effective when my dd (2.4) hits (in a similar way as you describe ie not hard) my ds (8 weeks) is to ignore her and pick up and make a big fuss of the baby. I was finding her clonking him them saying "no hitting" a bit pointless - as pps say, she clearly knows the rules. Since doing this, her behaviour has improved and I know to watch for flash points eg someone else cooing about the baby and try to prempt situation by moving the baby out of her way before she can do anything.
Good luck. It's hard work, isn't it?

neolara Sun 02-Aug-09 22:56:23

Neither of my two would have stayed in a corner or a step for more than about 5 seconds. As I see it, the point of putting them "in a corner" is taking away adult attention (it is not meant to be a punishment in itself). If you then have to spend 10 mins chasing your child round the house while you try to get him / her to stay in a corner, then this gains him / her more attention, not less, and so will go some way to perpetuating the behaviour you want to stop.

Because they won't stay put in one place, when either of my dcs do something outrageous, I put them in another room, out of sight for roughly a minute of their age (up to 5 mins). They don't like it. They cry. I ignore them and hold the door shut if they try to escape back to where I am. I don't try and stop them if they want to go into another room in the house - but they don't get my attention. So far it's worked pretty well.

FWIW, I found that when my dd got to about 3 1/2 she suddenly really made the connection between doing something inappropriate and the consequences that befell her. Up to that point impulsiveness, forgetfulness and not really-thinking-things-through meant that she only sort of make the connection,no matter how consistently consequences were applied or how frequently she was reminded of "rules".

floraflora Mon 03-Aug-09 13:20:49

Agree with neolara - the act of being separated from me, i.e. by a door he can't open on his own, has my 3 yr old immediately softened into a more co-operative/ reasonable / gentle mood. I'm not talking locking him in the cellar you understand wink just being in a different place and his not having unrestricted access to me. I say I don't want to be around someone who does that, shut the door and he's usually humbled in seconds.
(hmmmm, wonder how much longer it will work?)

slowreadingprogress Mon 03-Aug-09 13:28:11

totally agree with neo and flora

It just has to be another room altogether if they won't stay put, and yes on a few occasions I held the door shut on my ds as this was the only way to re-inforce the message that mum does not want to be with you when you hit, and no it's not a game where I come to and fro a corner with you endlessly, but you are going to have a few minutes alone to think about why mum doesn't want to be with people who hit her....

booksgalore Wed 05-Aug-09 12:20:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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