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Feeling really down. Could do with some very good advice.

(14 Posts)
Nbg Wed 22-Jun-05 09:58:16

I really need some good advice on how to deal with DD's behaviour.
Atm it is spiralling out of control but I just don't know how to deal with it or to stop it.

She is only 20 months so I know alot of it is to do with her age, maybe slightly premature terrible two's but there must be something I can do to stop her being the monster she is.


Things I don't want her to do and tell her not to she just keeps doing. She's used to throw food when she was a bit younger. This stopped but once again she started doing it, but no matter how much I tell her it's wrong she still keeps doing it.
The only way she takes any notice is if dh shouts and we both don't want to have to do that.


She's hardly eating again but constantly nags to eat cereal throughout the day. MIL has commented that she is very inconsistent with what she will eat, which is very true.

Last week I had 2 days out of the house so dh looked after dd. When I came back he said that she was an absolute angel and then a day or so later when dd was playing up he said that she was totally different when I wasn't there and he's sure she's doing it for my benefit


I've thought about the naughty step, corner etc but I thought she might be a bit young for that.

How do I control this behaviour? What do I need to be doing when she is bad?


Any suggestions or advice will be very welcome.

Guardianangel Wed 22-Jun-05 10:06:25

mmm, sounds like a lot of the behaviour is saved for you. At a guess, I would say you have a naturally tactile very loving relationship. She plays on that, bright little star she is. Sounds harsh but she needs time away from you. Pop her in a nursery for a couple of mornings a week and she will truly sparkle. Worked for me and I got time to recharge to deal with the next onslaught.

Nbg Wed 22-Jun-05 10:10:13

You might have a point GA.

She does spend every day with me apart from when I'm working which isn't very often.
We didn't want to put her in a Nursery until she was 3 though but if it will help it might be an option.

bakedpotato Wed 22-Jun-05 10:17:14

How do you react when she plays you up? Do you show her your anxiety when she throws food/eats badly? If she's getting attention via 'bad' behaviour, that will reinforce it. So, say she's getting hold of something you don't want her to play with, or messing around with her food, just remove it, shut your ears to the screams, and ignore her completely until she calms down.
Wouldn't give in about the cereal, or she will learn that nagging/whining works

Guardianangel Wed 22-Jun-05 10:19:16

BIG mistake to hold off till they are 3yrs. I went through 12 years of trying for my DS and eventually a successful IVF treatment created my Darling Little Monster!! My guilt was unbelievable when it was suggested my little fella was put into nursery at 15months by the health visitor. IT WAS WORTH IT. Their thirst for something more is far greater than our desire to keep them close to us. You can always take her out if she doesnt appear to thrive.

Guardianangel Wed 22-Jun-05 10:21:08

Baked potatoe, I tried all of that, it simply doesnt work. These kids that dont respond to all the tricks in the book are quite often found to be bright. (they have worked us all out)!!

wishingchair Wed 22-Jun-05 10:26:38

Hi nbg. Just going to start by saying I am absolutely no expert in this but what I can tell you are some of the things I do with DD who is 2 and a half so here are some ideas:

When she's doing stuff I don't want her to do - distract/ignore. Its the reaction they want - my dd would pull and shake the blind (which she's not to do), whilst looking at me and smirking - basically provoking me to tell her off. So I used the "ooo look a dog in the garden!!!" technique which at least had the end result of stopping her doing what she's doing. She knew it's wrong, and when she realised I'm not going to react how she wants, she stopped doing it.

Stickers - never underestimate the value of stickers even to little ones! This week has been a nightmare getting dd dressed for nursery. 30 mins of me cajoling her. Today I said "right, if you put your knickers on and your dress and then your sandals, you'll get 3 stickers and you can choose them". Response - "that's exciting!!!!" and dressed in 2 mins flat. Won't work every day so guess I'll have to keep thinking of new and exciting ways to get the job done!

I've never used a naughty step as such ... at my dd's nursery they get a couple of warnings and then a thumbs down - which involves taking them away from whatever they were doing and explained calmly why what they were doing was wrong, they get the thumbs down, invariably they sob, they then have to say sorry. So I do use that and it works. Oh and they also say "that's such a sad thing to do" - which seems to make them realise that what they're doing impacts someone else and they can understand "sad" ... but maybe not "bad". Might be something in it, then again might be a load of baloney.

And sometimes I just have to take a deep breath and pick my battles - some things really aren't worth a huge argument.

When she gets into a screaming tantrum, I pretty much ignore her and say when she calms down we can have a cuddle and talk about it. She invariably does, we talk and cuddle and carry on.

Eating - lots of children won't sit and eat a full meal. I'd try cutting down portion size (better to have her ask for more than be put off by too much), and give her a couple of snacks in the day too but at regular snack times so she gets to know they're part of her regular daily food routine. If she has milk before her breakfast, maybe she's just too full? Eating is something that will worry you but try not to get stressed out. If she doesn't eat it, calmly take it away and that's the end of the meal. Don't start begging her. She'll eat when she's hungry. (Again - easier said than done - we recently had a hol and dd ate nothing but a bit of rice and fruit - I stressed about it no end - but she was fine). Some kids just get bored at meal times - we have more success if I'm sat down eating a bit with her and chatting etc. And then if she only has a few mouthfuls, we agree on a certain number of additional mouthfuls (2 or 3) and then big thumbs up and well dones if she eats them.

I think it's all trial and error. Some days I find we battle on all sorts of stuff. Then other days I make conscious effort to do the distracting, make things fun thing and I have to say it does work.

Oh and she will be fab for dh and play me up. And vice versa too. They're very clever!

Hope that helps x

wishingchair Wed 22-Jun-05 10:31:33

Oh and agree with GA - nurseries are great. Don't feel guilty one bit about it. They generally love them and it gives you a bit of sanity

Nbg Wed 22-Jun-05 10:40:40

Thanks for your replies.

I feel a bit better now and will go and get some stickers from somewhere as that's got to be better than food bribes.

wishingchair Wed 22-Jun-05 10:48:32

Just wanted to add (read back my message and I sounded a bit wishy washy) - when she does something really bad ... she bit me once at about 20 mths, hitting, spitting, deliberately throwing something at someone etc ... I'm very sharp with her(but don't shout - save shouting for life threatening stuff in the hope that she'll really pay attention then!), tell her what it is she's done and why I'm cross, then do the whole thumbs down thing.

You sound like a fab mum nbg - it's just really hard work at times like this!!!

Nbg Wed 22-Jun-05 10:51:19

I'm not kidding, I burst in to tears last night.

No one ever tells you this part of parenting do they. lol!

This thumbs up/down, Is itactually putting your thumbs up and down?

Also where did you get your stickers?

ivy3 Wed 22-Jun-05 11:02:28

Great advice wc I would second it all.

I will also add that my dd ate very little (and needed lots of coaxing) between the ages 1 and 2.5, we even took her to the doctor. She wasn't under-weight, she just needed only a 'little fuel to go a long way' as the doctor put it. She is now 3.5 and a good eater most of the time and loves to try new things. I guess what I am saying is try not to focus too much on the lack of interest in food - most children eat what they need. Easier said than done I know but I hope this helps.

wishingchair Wed 22-Jun-05 12:42:19

Thumbs up/down - thumbs down is very cross voice and face and I say something like "because of xyz, I'm going to have to give you a thumbs down (with hand gesture), now have a think about what you've done and then say sorry". Thumbs up is a bit ott "yay well done hurray that's a thumbs up!!!" with actual thumbs up too. No idea if I do it the same as nursery but seems to work - have to struggle not to laugh when DD gives me and DH thumbs up/down when we've done something good or (in her mind) bad.

Stickers - Woolies have got loads but they were all different so cue another tantrum when we'd run out of her favourite so I use stars which I got from Sainsbury's.

And don't worry - I was in tears on Sunday. As far as she was concerned, everything I did was wrong - so blinking frustrating! Course she was fine with DH - had to assure him I wasn't making it up.

And agree - no one does tell you about this! Came as quite a shock when reality hit - when you're pg you think you're having a baby, not a toddler/child/teenager etc!

But it is a truly fantastic age - they're so funny (tantrums aside)

ThePrisoner Wed 22-Jun-05 18:14:35

I've watched lots of these "super-duper-how-to-parent-properly" programmes on TV (which make us all feel totally inadequate!), and have to say that I now praise unendingly how well my minded children sit/talk/play/paint/walk/breathe or whatever, even though they are behaving nicely. It works!!! Any "naughty" child witnessing another child being praised takes on board what is said, and you can almost see the cogs turning in their brains as there is this dawning realisation that maybe they could have "some of that." I always try to find something positive to say to even the most boisterous of children (and you have to dig very very deep sometimes!) - but think this is probably far easier when they are not your own children.

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