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Disciplining/discouraging naughty behaviour in a 2 year old.

(8 Posts)
polkadotdelight Fri 20-Jan-17 19:30:55

I need advice! DS is 2 years and 4 months, DH and I both work full time and he is looked after by my mum. He was being looked after by PIL once a week but FIL had been seriously ill and is now to frail so we visit at the weekend instead. I have offered to put DS with a childminder or nursery to ease things for my mum but she doesn't like the idea of it although he will be starting 2 hours a day at a preschoolers/nursery setting from April.

So as we work full time we only really have DS at the weekends and it's all fun and games. He has always been very 'good' but of course is getting older now and pushing things. I think mum has had a long week with him and she has asked how we want her to approach unwanted behaviour.

As an example, she has two old dogs who are arthritic, going deaf etc and she has been segregating them from DS with a baby gate until recently. He has always been very good with them when they are together (supervised). This week DS has forgotten how to be gentle and is grabbing at them and has also kicked sideways at the cat.

He has also walked away from her in the local shop and not come back when he is called, he has reins on and would always stop if she called him.

She has mentioned that her friends use the naughty chair/step with their DCs/GDC's but DH and I are not convinced he will get it yet.

How do you manage your toddlers behaviour? We all need to be consistent but I need ideas before I have a chat with my mum.

KitKat1985 Fri 20-Jan-17 20:45:11

Hi Polka. [waves] With DD we normally tell her off firmly and take away something from her like a favourite toy or similar. I think the important thing with a 2 year old is it has to be instant, e;g, not 'well if you don't behave now then we won't watch Peppa Pig later' or similar as otherwise by the time they receive the punishment it's unlikely to connect with the misbehaviour.

polkadotdelight Fri 20-Jan-17 20:49:10

Hi KitKat! We have been doing those things too but I feel put on the spot a bit as it feels like my mum wants to use something like the naughty step and my googling hasn't come up with very positive stuff about it.

Ilovecaindingle Fri 20-Jan-17 20:49:38

My ds is the same age and has a naughty corner and knows I mean business when he has to sit there!! He sits for 2 mins and always says sorry and wipes his eyes, smiles and gets up and starts afresh!

FATEdestiny Fri 20-Jan-17 21:00:47


Mostly I try to distract, redirect and avoid. So I will anticipate issues where possible to avoid anything escalating. Or distract and redirect when I see them becoming an issue.

I'm not against bribery. If you... you can have...

I try to wait for a request to be done, rather than getting into a battle and forcing the issue.

I use "no" and a tone of voice that says I'm unhappy (which usually results in lower lip coming out and dd looking at the floor). But not very often.

I wouldn't have segregated the dogs for this long. It would have been better if ds was learning how to behave aporoprately with the dogs from an early age.

Calling a toddler in a shop, or anywhere else, I use the word "stop" consistantly. It cannot be misunderstood then. Shouting their name or giving longer instructions is less instant. "Stop". Followed by "DD stop NOW" - it's really clear and concise.

If she then ignored the basic instruction to stop I would leave wherever we are, stand in a corner out the way somewhere, bend to get level and explain in a cross-voice why I am unhappy with her behaviour.

I'm not against the naughty step and all that, but haven't had a need with my DD the same age.

Having said that, roll back 11 years and I had an 18 month old who has to learn not to climb on top of her baby brother when he had floor time. It wasn't difficult to teach her that the yellow blanket was "baby's mat" and she couldn't go on there. I did that by using a travel cot (in living room , so not seperated) for 30 seconds time-out every time she went on the yellow carpet. She wasn't even 2 years old and learnt within a week to stay off the yellow blanket. So it can work this young.

polkadotdelight Fri 20-Jan-17 21:46:11

Thank you Ilove and FATE (waves back!).

Everything said so far is stuff that we do at weekends and that mum has been doing. DH picked him up tonight so she hasn't spoken to me yet, I'm wondering whether to rebroach the childminder/nursery thing with her in case it's getting a bit much.

With the dogs, he has always had supervised contact with them but I think now mum nips upstairs more to take washing up etc and leave them loose. He has always been gentle, we have three cats but in the last few weeks he has been known to chase them - I get it, it's fun but of course it's not acceptable. One of mums dogs is old and on pain meds, none of us wanted be in a position where he bites through pain and has to be put to sleep, and of course the risk of injury to DS so thats why there has been lots of baby gates!

I will have a chat with her but wanted to get some perspectives of other mums.

skankingpiglet Sat 21-Jan-17 00:15:23

I have a 2.7yo who likes to test boundaries. We use a mix of techniques depending on what she's doing and where.
I'll distract if possible (this is becoming much less often). After that how I react will be influenced by the reason she's behaving the way she is: tired, hungry, poorly she's obviously cut a lot of slack. We use counting 123 mostly, fully stating the consequences between each number, as above using an instant punishment. The most effective consequence has been to remove her opportunity to carry out the task ("either you do it, or I'll do it"). Even if it's something she doesn't want, she'd still rather do it herself. She will, however, often wait for 3 before jumping into action angry
We use bribes at times if suitable. Chocolate buttons are always a winner, but more recently very small change has been even more effective. She has a little money box she decorated herself and loves putting the coins in (and exchanging it for stuff too of course!). This approach has worked best for specific things we want/need her to do in a day eg going for a poo in the potty/toilet (has been poo withholding of late), or a general 'made good choices all day'. The childminder pays her for completing little chores too.
We try to get her to think about what she's doing too, asking if something is a good or bad choice (the language her preschool use). She's taken to this well and usually gives it some thought. She'll often tell the cat off for 'bad choices' now grin
With some behaviours I'll just completely ignore, then praise the opposite desired behaviour. The stage she went through of weeing in her knickers constantly after being trained for months springs to mind. An "accident" was met with little interaction, just a quick change. A wee in the potty was met with praise and a reward at the end of the day for no accidents.
Finally if all else fails or a non-negotiable happens (eg hitting), then it's time out. We started by doing 'quiet time' at 18mo ish which was essentially the same thing but with us sitting with her helping her to calm down, and she still gets that if necessary, but we've found it can aggravate things further and she does better now on her own for a minute or two. After time out I explain what she did (or ask her what she did) and why it's a problem, then have a cuddle.

It's difficult, but it's about working out what motivates your particular child, then applying it in a way that they'll get. DD1's comprehension has always been good for her age, she's fiercely independent, and is reward-motivated so we work around that.
Hitting the dogs would be time out in this house. Hitting cats, I'd leave them to it as the cat will stick up for themselves without any lasting damage to the child: natural consequences. Not coming back when called in town etc would mean reins or being strapped into a pushchair, removing her autonomy: threatened with that my DD would comply.

polkadotdelight Sat 21-Jan-17 15:05:06

Thank you Skanking!

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