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My 2 yo and 4 year old are pushing boundaries and I feel I have nothing discipline wise

(24 Posts)
HotSteppa Mon 23-Oct-17 21:49:43

That really. 4 yo started school recently and is suddenly "cheeky" pulling tongues completely ignoring me at will. 2 +9m yo is hard work, throwing things and being destructive, often out of a manic kind of giddiness around mid afternoon which is tiredness related but also I think both of them are testing boundaries and realising we (dh and I) haven't got much of a stratergy for dealing with this. We do lots of counting to 3 , particularly with 2yo (I'm going to count to 3 and if you don't get on your car seat mummies going to put you in) and we have started taking things away which he throws. I am loosing my temper at times and using a very loud shouty voice to get their attention and show them I'm cross usually a one word "roar" as a shock tactic. As a rule it's not very effective. We are obviously telling them that we don't like some of these behaviours, and also praising the behaviours we do want to encourage. I'm not necessarily anti time out or naughty step per say but think actually getting them to stay put and do their time might be quite traumatic for all involved. Before we had kids we used to watch super nanny so smugly. Karma is a bitch. Any ideas for strategies to manage this ? Is this normal behaviour at this age?

theconstantinoplegardener Mon 23-Oct-17 22:25:46

When we were having these sorts of problems, we introduced a small treat after dinner for each child (the treat would be something like a couple of chocolate buttons but if you wanted to be more healthy, it could be a sticker each day with a treat when they have achieved ten stickers). When they were misbehaving, we would calmly warn them that if they did it again, there would be no treat that night. And then try to remember it at tea time! Your four year old will probably be able to understand that a misdemeanour earlier in the day results in a consequence in the evening. Your almost three year old may need to be reminded at tea time why he isn't getting his treat but will quickly learn. HTH.

Wolfiefan Mon 23-Oct-17 22:31:10

Counting to three is pointless.
Shouting doesn't change anything.
You need to decide on consequences. We can't go to the park later or no TV today or time out. And stick to it.
Sometimes you have to face the trauma of them kicking off to get past the poor behaviour.

Glovebug Mon 23-Oct-17 22:32:28

I found sticker charts worked and I also use the counting to 3 followed by timeout if I get to 3. I find the counting to 3 only works if you are consistent and follow through if you do get to 3. After a few times of getting to 3 mine soon learnt not to push the boundaries

OytheBumbler Mon 23-Oct-17 22:33:45

The naughty step worked quite well for us. The only problem was DD was so stubborn, she wouldn't come off it when we said she could. Which was a win win for us really. grin

Wolfiefan Mon 23-Oct-17 22:34:33

It's what you do when you get to three that matters! Counting itself is pointless. I hear so many parents saying "I'm counting to three. Don't let me reach three?!" And then bugger all happens!

Mishappening Mon 23-Oct-17 22:39:03

It is sometimes possible to turn a situation round - e.g the other day DGD was chucking my handbag around - I went over and asked her if she would like to look at the bag, see how the fastenings work, find out what was in it etc. etc. - a joint positive activity. I know it is hard to find a positive spin a lot of the time - and that exhaustion, PMT and so on are often in the frame - but it can work if you happen to have the energy for it that day!

Losing your temper feels bad - but there is a lesson in it - if you make folk unhappy they might lose it! - children need to know that too!

GinevraFanshawe Mon 23-Oct-17 22:40:06

Any toys that get thrown are confiscated in our house. Bad behavior gets toys confiscated. We leave places if behavior is awful and go straight home.

Distraction and prevention are best, but sometimes they NEED to test the boundaries for their own development.

With my 5 year old it sometimes works if I am very clear. "You are behaving badly. In a moment I'm going to get very cross. Do you want me to shout at you or shall we skip ahead to the part where we're all nice to each other?" Or "If you're unhelpful to me then I might be unhelpful to you. Now, are you going to XYZ or not?".

Good lord, it's wearing!

HotSteppa Mon 23-Oct-17 22:52:49

Thanks for the input, its really usefull to hear other perspectives. We use counting to 3 more in the sense of do it yourself or we do it for you so it's effective in that they get the opportunity to tow the line and a warning of what's coming next (brush your teeth yourself or daddies going to do it, hold hands to cross the road or mummies going to carry you) it's the consequences bit we are floundering on. Up to this point we haven't really done consequences unless it was really immediate as their memory and/or understanding didn't seem to work that way. But the 4yo would definitely get it. They use time out at school so maybe that might be more useful than naughty step for consistency. So is it the whole, remove them from situation, explain what's not ok and time out is for x amount of time to calm down/have a think? I think this is still a bit beyond my nearly 3yo to be honest he might go for a sticker chart type thing though, do you remove stickers for naughty behaviour or is it just about encouraging good behaviour?

HotSteppa Mon 23-Oct-17 23:03:17

Yes we have started with anything that gets thrown gets confiscated and that's the kind of thing my husband and I have been talking about stepping up a bit.

And yes to the positive spin stuff, it definitely helps if I'm on good form and able to be available and present with them. Like you say sometimes we are all on a low ebb though and things get a bit fraught. The wanton rudeness with the 4yo is new and feels like it's linked to starting school. I'm trying to ignore it and then cracking and telling her how rude it is which gets more stomping and scowling from her.

Checklist Mon 23-Oct-17 23:05:43

We used the hierarchy of consequences, on the advice of a children's psychiatrist parent in our twins club. There is a hierarchy of five consequences, each one more serious and rare than the previous one, say -

1. One minute per year of age on the naughty step
2. If they could not stay on the naught step, one minute per year of age in their bedroom
3. If they could not calm down in their bedroom on their own, removal of a weekly treat in our house like no ice cream/sweets on Saturday...(they got sweets on Saturday; two ate them in 5 minutes, the other one took a week to eat her's)

I only had to do 3 once, and they never got that far again, after they found out, I would carry out the threat.....Time out and lack of attention gives them time to calm down and reflect.

GlitteryFluff Mon 23-Oct-17 23:12:36

Watching wth interest.
Ds is 3 and his behaviour is really difficult at the mo. We take toys away (and put in a box out of reach) if he's not doing as his told or misbehaving. Then he can quickly earn them back if he actually does what we've asked. We empty the box every night once he's gone to bed if there's stuff in there - clean slate for the morning.
It doesn't always work though. Sometimes the threat of X going in the box is enough to get him to behave. But sometimes it end in meltdowns and tantrums. We don't give in though.
I physically couldn't keep him in time out or naughty step. I tried but I just couldn't. He was kicking and screaming and I'm 28 weeks pregnant with a mahoosive bump that gets in the way. I might try it again though. Just set a timer and hold him in the time out corner (if he won't stay) until the timer goes off.
Interested in seeing what others do.

Wolfiefan Mon 23-Oct-17 23:17:41

Pick what to ignore. Some things are no big deal!
Distraction
Prevention. (Don't take overtired and hungry kids shopping!)
Warning and consequence.

GreenTulips Mon 23-Oct-17 23:21:09

We do lots of counting to 3

I knew you'd say that

Never count up ALWAYS count down (there's no more numbers)

If they ask what will happen you ask them if they want to find out - eye brow raise.

SleightOfMind Mon 23-Oct-17 23:31:48

I don’t think there’s one strategy that fits all situations though.
Sometimes time out is perfect if they need to be alone to calm down and reflect. I often use it if one of mine hurts a sibling for example. I also tell them that they can’t stay with everyone and play if they’re going to hurt people.

We have a seat in the kitchen, the bottom step on the stairs and finally going to their room, depending on how bad they’ve been.

Removing a treat is if they’re refusing to do what we’ve told them, or breaking the few absolute rules of the house.
They get a warning that the treat will go if they don’t stop before I get to 5.
I’d only use this if they’re calm enough to listen and reflect though.

I also think there’s a lot to be said for talking about what you expect from them before they’re into the misbehaving.
We were out doing fun stuff this morning but I had work to do in the afternoon.
When they’re all at home together on the first few days of school holidays I know they can get a bit rowdy.
On the way home, I talked to them all about what I expected, with clear sanctions if they misbehaved and nice things when I’d finished if they were good.
They did forget from time to time but it’s much easier to remind them than try and have the conversation when they’re already hyped up.

It’s exhausting sometimes though!

SleightOfMind Mon 23-Oct-17 23:38:17

So for those with time out refuses, this works for us.
If they try refusing to sit in the kitchen, they have a chance to go nicely by the count of 5 or it’s onto the stairs, if they won’t go on the stairs it’s a count of five and they go to their room.
If they won’t go to their room (they are allowed to choose a book to take) then I very sadly say I’ll have to put them there myself and shut the door.
We don’t usually get that far though.

It makes me sound horrible but I’ve only had to do that twice. Nowadays they go without too much fuss.

DeleteOrDecay Tue 24-Oct-17 00:14:14

I posted a similar thread a while back! My dc are the same age as yours and it’s so difficult at times. We do ‘the step’ when they have misbehaved or when they get themselves worked up/upset and need to calm down (usually dd1) before we can talk to them reasonably about what they did wrong and why it was wrong.

We do the counting thing but there’s always a consequence when we get to 3 in the form of the step or removal of toy depending on what they’re doing.

If they’re jumping and climbing on the sofa (a favourite of theirs atm) I give them a warning to stop and if they do it again they are not allowed on the sofa and explain to them why. This one is difficult to enforce though if you are trying to cook dinner or something at the same time as you need to be there to stop them from going on the sofa(s).

It’s so hard, but I’ve been told it passes and gets a lot better so fingers crossed.

Glovebug Tue 24-Oct-17 00:17:52

OP no stickers don't get taken away if they're naughty. Once they've earnt a sticker, they've earnt it.

I find with mine, saying "if you don't do x then I'll do it for" isn't much of a deterrent. They Just wait for you to do it anyway. It's more the taking them out of the situation and putting them on a time out that seems to work for us.

It's a pain in the arse sometimes when you're trying to get somewhere and you need to stop and have a time out but once you've counted to 3 you really need to follow through or they soon realise that actually nothing happens when you get to 3. If it's not going to be feasible for you to follow through then use a different tactic at that time instead of counting to 3

HotSteppa Tue 24-Oct-17 23:44:09

Thanks for this. Loads of useful stuff 4yo pretty angelic today but we have a plan to start time outs in the hall down stairs and moving to stairs and then to bedroom if behaviour escaletes. 2yo had an ice cream van and 2 dinosaurs on top of the fridge by bed time today as he was chucking them about.

Wolfiefan Tue 24-Oct-17 23:45:22

Not bedroom. Never time out in the bedroom. You want that to be a calm place they associate with sleep.

VinIsGroot Fri 27-Oct-17 04:41:21

We've always used the naughty step...time to reflect on bad behaviour and the they get to explain why the behaviours were bad..cuddle and get in with our day. It does take loads of patience at first.
I have a 10 yo with ASD and we still use this same theory with him...he sits alone with no distractions for 10 minutes to think. Usually he's calmed and more reactive.
Honesty works well too. Don't say roar...use no!!!! Use no with the makaton sign and follow with you are making me sad ..... Works even with severly disabled child.

Mamabear4180 Sat 28-Oct-17 08:45:39

Counting to 3 and giving warnings (especially in the 2 year old's case) is beating around the bush. It's entertaining for them to wind you up and play the counting game and it's ineffective and pointless!

I once read in a childcare book 'when you spit in the wind, it flies back in your face'. I love this expression. Any other strategy is just pissing about IMO. When bad behaviour occurs react immediately-no warnings or pathetic counting!

Ignore-silly faces, cheeky answers, putting out of tongues and all other childish behaviours designed to wind you up. Refuse to allow your DC to play with your emotions and get you flustered. Instead of all the bollocks just say 'put your shoes on please sweetheart' if you get a cheeky response, ignore completely, refuse to be drawn in and immediately put their shoes on for them yourself. Battle over.

Shouting exacerbates situations and causes panic unnecessarily

Time out and naughty steps don't feature in my parenting. I actually think formal discipline techniques make a mockery of your parenting. You shouldn't need them.

isthistoonosy Sat 28-Oct-17 20:38:27

We have a similar gap 2.9 and 4.2 and have a range of strategies we try !

Mostly it is 'natural' consequences - e.g. if I have to spend time tidying toys I have no time to make desert, if I have to dress them for bed I've less time to read bedtime stories etc.

Also have a share it or lose it rule for toys, so take turns, use it together - I don't care tbh - but if they keep arguing it will be taken away. Only had to remove a toy once and put it in sight but out of reach, never had the issue go so far again (yet).

Also with the regular 'battle' points we have tried to make them more fun / change the focus e.g. teeth brushing we've explained teeth monsters like sugar and left over food, so we need to brush it away, teeth monsters hurt / cost money to get rid of etc (worked for 4 yr old) and added a dance to the end if done properly for 2 min (set an alarm on my phone) which motivates the 2 yr old .

Also we just try to pick our battles, they need to taste food but we don't really care if they eat it or not, but don't offer anything else (welcome to go back to their dinner though). Need shoes and clothes outside but if they want to try crocs and shorts in zero degrees and wet weather they are welcome to try and I'll pack wellies and jeans.

MiniAlphaBravo Sat 28-Oct-17 20:43:58

Have you read about gentle parenting? I find it definitely helps me though I can't do it all the time. Very interesting read though. The author is against reward charts, consequences (except natural consequences), time out/naughty step and it's based on actual research.

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