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ok, so i know i'm round my almost 2 year old's finger...how do i fix it??

(21 Posts)
shouldnothavegonetospecsavers Sat 10-Sep-11 18:46:21

Ds isnt exactly naughty, but he point blank ignores me if i try to tell him off or to do something, ie the lift in my building - he'll just stand there and smile at me when i'm waiting for him to walk out, so i'll hold the doors open and go through all different tones of voice from excited to stern to coax him out, I've tried counting to 3 but soon as i say 'one' he shouts back '2' and then i get stumped because i dont know what to do when i get to 3.

I make all sorts of threats but he doesnt acknowledge i've said anything and in the end i get stressed out and end up dropping all the carrier bags so i can pick him up and drag him out.. I'm too scared to say bye and walk off incase another floor calls the lift and it goes with him in it, so what am i doing wrong?

If i raise my voice and shout at him he'll cry and come over for cuddles and as i dont want to be a shouty mum i end up cuddling him back!

I'm a lp and realise i've done this all myself but i need help to put it back on track..

Thanks in advance and sorry it was so long winded!

RitaMorgan Sat 10-Sep-11 18:53:36

In that situation I would just go straight to carrying him out rather than making loads of meaningless threats then shouting. Give him one chance to walk out, if he won't then put the bags down and pick him up.

Toddlers are difficult and willful, they often can't be reasoned with and will do the opposite of what is asked of them - I don't think it means you're wrapped round his finger!

I tend to - only make a threat if it can be carried through immediately (no "or else later..."), save No/shouting for really important or dangerous stuff, and don't enter into negotiations - give choices between two things only, and if they can't make a decision make it for them. Sometimes you do just have to pick them up and make a run for it though grin

shouldnothavegonetospecsavers Sat 10-Sep-11 19:02:50

Thank you, that was just a example tho, what about not tidying up etc? Its like he deliberately emptys all his toy boxes out and refuses to pack them away, eating proper meals instead of 19 bananas, letting me cut his nails etc etc

Is this just the life of a 2 year old and i'm not as bad as i think?

NickNacks Sat 10-Sep-11 19:03:06

I agree, the empty threats are your main problem as he knows you have nowhere to go after number 3. I do the same as above, give two choices, their way or my way but it's still going to happen! So in the lift situation I would say either 'you walk out together with mummy nicely or I'll carry you out'.

RitaMorgan Sat 10-Sep-11 19:11:10

OK, so he empties one toy box out - then he can't get anything else out til he helps you tidy the first lot away.

If he doesn't want to eat his dinner he can get down from the table - don't fight over it, he can either eat or get down, totally up to him! I have to limit my ds to 1 banana a day and keep the rest out of sight grin If lunch was going to be a sandwich followed by a banana, I don't really mind if he wants to eat the banana first, or decides not to eat the sandwich, but there's nothing else available.

Nail cutting - I do it while he's glued to Cbeebies. Or when he's asleep!

Tee2072 Sat 10-Sep-11 19:11:22

Yews, this is life with a 2 year old. If you say 1 and he says 2, you say 3 and pick him up. He's too little to understand anything but direct, immediate consequences.

He's not going to tidy, so help him tidy. He will or won't eat what he will or won't eat. He won't starve.

Pick you battles and always remember you are the parent.

shouldnothavegonetospecsavers Sat 10-Sep-11 19:48:50

Well that makes me feel much better!!!

Thank you all for your input, feels very reassuring to know that i'm not raising a devil child!!

Zimbah Sat 10-Sep-11 19:59:23

I do 'counting to 3' with my almost-3 yr old, I think I started when she was just turning 2. The way I do it is tell her what will happen when I get to 3 e.g. "Come out of the lift now. If you haven't come out by the time I count to three, I will carry you out." Then I slowly count to 3, often adding in 2.5 to give a bit of extra time. She learnt pretty quickly, now I often just start counting when she misbehaves without first telling her a consequence and she stops doing whatever it is. Although, being a toddler, sometimes she tells me to count to 3 (as in, she is deliberately pushing the boundaries to see what happens) and in those cases I better make sure I have a suitable consequence for her behaviour, otherwise it will lose its effectiveness.

Tee2072 Sat 10-Sep-11 20:12:50

I actually count to 10 as I think 3 isn't long enough for a toddler to decide to do something. That way I don't have to do the 2.5 thing. He gets to 10 and then I say 'end of free will' and grab him to do whatever it is I need him to do. He almost always does it by 9.

He's 2.3, BTW.

shouldnothavegonetospecsavers Sat 10-Sep-11 20:29:44

Can I also ask you all what your take is on time outs? I feel like i should be using them but at the same time i dont think he understands it so whats the point? Maybe i'm underestimating him or pfb...

RitaMorgan Sat 10-Sep-11 20:35:13

Why do you feel you should be using them?

I work in early years, and we don't use time outs as a punishment - sometimes a child might need a time out to calm down, but we don't time it or send them to a naughty corner.

BertieBotts Sat 10-Sep-11 20:36:35

I agree with everyone else smile Though why not just use a pushchair in the lift? Would that not make your life easier if you have a lot of bags to carry?

I do the 1-2-3 thing but tend to keep it for situations where there is an obvious choice involved - you put your shoes on, or mummy will sit on you and do it. You walk in this direction, or you go in the pushchair. That kind of thing. And always explain what you are going to do. Actually I've found it worked better when DS was the younger half of 2 as now he's nearing 3 he tends to get really worked up and say "No, I want to count to three!" and gets so incensed that the original issue is lost. I don't ever do the "Okay I'm going then, bye!" thing because I think it's counterproductive if you want them to be okay being left in situations like nursery, with a babysitter, etc. Decide whether you leaving them behind is an okay thing or a scary thing and stick with it!

With tidying and stuff, don't ask him to do it, just state "It's time to tidy up now, come on, let's do it together" - if you can work tidy up time into a routine, say always before lunch or before bed or whatever, then he will come to expect it and should be more cooperative. If you need to tidy up at a random time, say because he wants to get a big toy out (this will probably come more later) again say something which is a statement, not a request, so "We need to make space for the jigsaw. Let's tidy up these toys here." You will probably need to do it with him for a year or two before he can reliably do it by himself. Basically just stating your expectations about what you want him to do in the same kind of way as you would say "That's a cow, and cows say moo". There's no reason why he shouldn't assimilate information about how to behave in the same way as he gathers information about how the world works in general. Use that curiosity and his penchant at the moment to believe everything you say without question! He's possibly a bit young yet, if he was older I'd say something like "When the lift stops, we have to get out quickly, before it starts moving again." but I probably would have been having kittens with DS in a lift while carrying bags at that age without a pushchair or at least a hand to hold!

BertieBotts Sat 10-Sep-11 20:45:52

I only use time out with DS if he is really kicking off and either the environment he is in is winding him up or he is being destructive - ie once he was having a tantrum during dinner and started bashing his cutlery on the plate and splattering food everywhere - I removed him as it was easier than removing what he was making a mess with. I just take him to a quiet place and tell him he needs to calm down. When he was younger I used to stay with him and hold him if he needed it, but now I just get him to sit somewhere - a step or a stair or a sofa or a chair or a bed - until he is calm. (I heard him doing it to his teddy the other day - "You can sit there until you are calm!" grin) I usually am nearby if I don't have something else to deal with, but he seems to calm quicker if we ignore him now. The point I'm trying to make anyway is I think it's useful for engineering a chance to cool off away from a situation, but I don't use it as a punishment as such - I wouldn't use it for something like biting. I don't want him to associate being taken away to calm down with being a bad thing, because I think it's quite a useful thing to be able to recognise that you are getting too angry/frustrated to act calmly and take yourself out of the situation, so (hopefully) if he sees it as a neutral (if slightly annoying) experience, he might choose it as an anger management technique when he is older.

Tee2072 Sat 10-Sep-11 21:38:54

I so use time out with my son, but only as a last resort. I would rather give him two choices, either or which I can live with, and if he isn't listening and choosing either of them, he gets put in time out.

The exceptions to this are hitting and throwing (inappropriate throwing, obviously he's allowed to throw a ball!). Those are immediate time outs. 2 minutes in his play pen (no toys in there any more), say sorry and move on. I don't push the say sorry at this age because, although he says it, I am not sure he knows what it means.

Tee2072 Sat 10-Sep-11 21:41:54

I just realized I wasn't very clear and am not sure I can explain it better.

It's no so much if he doesn't do one of the two choices he goes into time out, it's more if he's doing something he shouldn't and will not listen (and he hears fine, it's been tested!) then he gets put into time out for not listening.

He always gets two choices even if it's 'walk or be carried' 'put your shoes on or I'll put them on for you'! Not making the 'right' choice does not = time out.

I'm still not explaining this well, but it works for us!

shouldnothavegonetospecsavers Sun 11-Sep-11 00:21:09

Oh dear sorry I crashed out on the sofa, i didnt mean to post and run, Some really usefull ideas here, I never do the two choices thing and it sounds like its good to do a running commentary as suggested 'This is what are are going to be doing and you can either do this or this' (Tho i can see me working hard to get used to actually doing that)

I thought i should be doing time outs already as its the only punishment i agree with (no shouting smacking or negative vibes but still gets point across behaviour is not acceptable) But I just feel leaving him out in the hallway(tiny flat and only place no access to toys etc) is really harsh when he doesnt quite understand it yet.

Thanks again everyone, feels lovely to get advice from fellow parents, I'm the first in my circle of friends to have a child so have no one to go to about things.

Iggly Sun 11-Sep-11 00:39:30

I have anearly two year old and dont tell him to tidy - I get him to help me put stuff away - which as he gets older I'll get him to do. Also telling him to do something like leave a lift - counting wouldn't work. He's too young to understand. I'd entice him out (eg look there's this or put bags down and pick him up).

He needs clear instruction which is simple and understandable to him. So tell and show him things all the time. I find life is easier if I work with him e.g give warning evral times before something happens - toddlers get so absorbed in something that they don't hear you or only here one word then get upset if you take them away from what they're doing (eg changing nappies - I tell DS a few times every few minutes I'm going to change his nappy. He's more amenable if he's had loads of warnings!)

Also tiredness and hunger cause havoc with his behaviour - so I try and resolve!

BertieBotts Sun 11-Sep-11 10:00:08

You don't have to rely on generic punishments like time out, smacking, etc - just do whatever feels right at the time (a more consequences based approach). So as I said I would use time out if I felt DS needed time to calm down but not to punish something else, and it doesn't matter if there is access to toys etc, it's just removing from the situation, if he goes to his bedroom and finds something to do there then great - he's not causing trouble in the kitchen any more!

Consequences-type punishments tending to be if he is playing inappropriately with a toy (e.g. being too rough with it so it might break, or hitting someone with it) then the toy gets confiscated, if he's too distracted by the TV to sit down and eat his dinner, (and I know TV during dinner isn't great but it was a habit we got into when I was first on my own with him and he wouldn't eat at all) the TV goes off, all of these with a warning of course.

You can also do straight consequences which aren't a punishment necessarily but help to make the wrong thing right, like if he's tipped all his toys out then you comment on what you can see, rather than his behaviour - "Oh what a mess!" - then why it is a problem - "I can't even walk through here now, and you have no room to play" - then what he could do to make it better - "Let's get this cleaned up" - as he gets older you can explain that you're busy and you don't have time to help him clean up every time he tips the box over. Stating what is wrong rather than saying You've made a big mess etc tends to reduce the defensiveness and avoid the defensive cycle where they start saying "It wasn't me!" or "I didn't mean to!" etc where you end up frustrated and shouting and possibly punishing them for lying or backtalk or whatever - if you just state the problem and then quash anything with "It doesn't really matter, it's done now. Let's put it right and then try not to let it happen again, okay?"

Also lots of behaviour management - distraction from things you don't want him to do, redirection (You can't hit your friend but you can bang this drum, you can't throw toys but you can throw this balloon), explanation about what they should do differently another time (If you feel angry and want to bite, you come and find this teething ring and bite it as hard as you can/People are not for biting. This is for biting. - Tailor it to his speech and concentration level). Model what you want. If you do slip into shouting and he gets upset, apologise for shouting and give him a cuddle if he wants one, then when he is calm repeat in a calm voice what it was you wanted to say.

You mentioned as well that he will often fill up on snack foods like fruit rather than eating proper meals. I got into a pattern like this with DS because he hardly ate, and I just took any opportunity to get food into him. If your DS really is eating the equivalent of 19 bananas, he's clearly not starving himself and doesn't like to feel hungry, so it might be a good time to start this approach - be stricter about mealtimes and snacktimes. Decide what time your meals are going to be - a good guide is 4 hours apart, with snacks at 2-hour intervals in between. So give him breakfast no later than 9am, let him eat as much as he wants, but appropriate breakfast foods. Once he finishes eating, no more food until snack time at 11ish. It isn't long for him to wait, even if he's eaten nothing. If he has skipped a meal you can always give a bigger snack portion. Then lunch no later than 1, afternoon snack at 3ish, tea no later than 5, maybe a small snack before bed if he needs it (milk might be enough if he still has milk.) If you know that he's going to have a snack or a meal in an hour or so it's easier to tell him he has to wait even if you think "Oh but he's really hungry!" - and actually when I did this I thought DS would be awful and cry and scream about not being able to have food when he wanted it, but actually he wasn't that bad at all. And now he's used to it I'm able to be more flexible about mealtimes, though the 5pm tea is very important or he's too tired to eat properly, I find, although he doesn't nap in the day now.

Anyway I've typed loads blush hope some of it is helpful.

noblegiraffe Sun 11-Sep-11 10:57:55

My just turned 2 year old also used to be a complete pain about having his nails cut, but recently has been asking for me to do it. And his toenails! The only thing I did was make a game of it. We do 'This little piggy went to market' as I cut each nail. Worth a try?

About tidying up, I don't tell him to tidy up, but I'll say 'oh no, a big mess!' and start putting toys back in the box while asking him to help. He loves helping me do stuff.

I'd agree about the push-chair in the lift. With situations that you know are going to be a problem, think of ways to prevent rather than fix, if you see what I mean.

noblegiraffe Sun 11-Sep-11 11:08:15

Oh, and I had a bit of a revelation last week. DS was at the park and it was time to go home - I'd given him one last go on the slide etc, so he knew it was coming. He immediately attached himself to a swing and started wailing about how he wanted a go on the swing and no amount of telling him it was home time and we had to go would stop him (no way was I giving in...that way madness lies).

The next day at the park, same thing. He headed over for the swing and started whining. I said 'Come on, let's go home and you can watch Timmy Time'. Swing immediately forgotten, he powered home after me.

shouldnothavegonetospecsavers Sun 11-Sep-11 14:59:23

Goodness that was a long post bertie, Thank you that food routine is def doing to be tried out, i'm going to be all geeky and write out a whole day plan too!!

noblegiraffe I cant wait for that day!! Turns out ds sits nicely and lets Granddad clip his nails fine but i cant even manage to do one! Cant even do it when he's asleep as the bugger moves then wakes up!

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