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Ahhh naughty toddler.

(40 Posts)
Staceface87 Thu 07-Feb-19 14:31:00

Help me please!! My little girl is soon to be 3 (26th feb) and for some time now we've been struggling with her behaviour. She never - and I mean never - Does as she's asked without having to force her or bribe her to do it. I feel we've tried everything. Naughty step/corner was a game to her, she would quite often put herself there or if I had put her there she would constantly come out laughing after a few seconds. I tried returning her over and over for up to an hour one day but by the end she had forgotten what she had done wrong. Reward chart she didn't care a less and would just rip her stickers off, we never got past having more than 2. Sending her to her room and removing all toys she still doesn't care and will spend ages just jumping up and down on her bed. This normally finishes up with her falling off and me having to go in to her. I really don't like smacking children and don't want to take this approach but most days she has me in tears by always disobeying the simplest requests, hitting out and generally finding everything funny. I've tried remaining calm with her too but then it's as though she feels that she can carry on the naughty behaviour and mummy doesn't do anything.

I'm really struggling now and just do not know what else I can do with her. Even my mum has commented on her behaviour and she normally thinks the sun shines put of her backside and can do no wrong.

Please help me get some control back

lovely36 Thu 07-Feb-19 14:35:02

What types of things does she do that frustrate you?

Staceface87 Thu 07-Feb-19 14:41:45

Ask her to get dressed, I have to ask several times before grabbing her and forcing her to change. Tidy up after herself not a chance, will leave everything where it is and no punishment bothers her. If I get cross she tells me to shutup. Throws her toys around just for the sake of it. Constantly torments the cats and has received several scratches but still continues this behaviour. Will not sit still to eat meals and if we force her to she'll eventually throw her food on the floor. Basically just acts out and defies every single request from me or her dad. Even having a bath is a battle as she knows water needs to stay in the bath so does whatever she can to throw it all around the bathroom.

TheNewParent1 Thu 07-Feb-19 14:44:02

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Confusedbeetle Thu 07-Feb-19 14:48:57

The whole approach should be one of positive parenting, not negative. Your post reads as though you are having daily fights about what she is not doing, There are loads of punishments in there. Toddlers learn from positive experiences not punishments. Not a world away from the fact that a dog will run to you because he wants to , not because he will be punished if he does not.
I think you need some guidance, does your health visitor run any positive parenting groups? Think about changing your mindset so there is something in it for her and assume she will do it no question.
When you have put your shoes on we will go and play in the park,
I will help you put away the toys and when we have done it I will read you a story
Although she must learn consequences of bad behaviour, such as spitting. I am no fan of the naughty chair and definitely not sending her to her room. I would not request something, I would state it as something she is going to do. Hitting and shouting are not acceptable but punishing is going to highlight the bad stuff. make the good stuff easy and the bad stuff hard. I think she is a little young for stickers. If she hits, or bites you should correct her and remove your attention. Eg No we dont hit, I will talk to you when you have stopped, pick up a newspaper to read, anything really. If she stops, lots off attention and praise. Smacking is absolutely the most useless tactic and just teaches her to hit

ChariotsofFish Thu 07-Feb-19 14:54:34

If smacking worked she’d have stopped teasing the cat after the cat scratched her, so you’re right not to consider it.

I think partly it’s about lowering expectations. Two year-olds do behave defiantly and they do grow out of it. If you can accept that and stop expecting her to stop doing everything now, you’ll both be more relaxed. It sounds like there’s a lot of tension now.

lovely36 Thu 07-Feb-19 15:06:06

I feel for you. My neighbours son was exactly this way. When I'd see him in the morning I'd say "good morning Jackson, and hed say "dickhead!! " and spit at me. His mom was mortified as he heard that word from his dad once while driving and his behaviour was out of control. Nothing she did worked. Luckily I'm a nursery teacher so I've learned what works, what doesn't and I've learned a few tricks I guess after working with 2-6 year old for years. First off it's very and I mean very important that you always speak to her with respect and very neutral. No baby talk no "yay you did it! Good girl!" Or "that's naughty!" As that doesn't work. You need to speak to her like you would speak to an adult. When you ask her to do something tell her once. If she doesn't listen, go down to her level, look at her in the eyes and very sternly but calmly say "I asked you to move away from the oven(example), either you walk away from it on your own or I pick you up and move you myself. What are you going to choose." And let her choose. Also the second option has to be something you're willing to do. She might say "you move me!" So go ahead and pick her up and move her. Start doing this when you ask her to do something. And only ask her once. If she doesn't choose, you say. "Since you're not choosing I'm going to choose for you and pick you up and move you." That's it. Not threats, no shouting. Just make it simple and avoid her playing games with you. As far as hitting. If she ever hits or disrespects you. Again immediately go down to her level ask her to look at you in the eyes and say "I will NOT. Allow you to hurt him/her." Very very sternly but not yelling. You need to be very very consistent and clear about your expectations with her OP

MrsTerryPratcett Thu 07-Feb-19 15:07:21

Two things. Firstly, work on the relationship rather than the behaviour. If you have a really positive, happy, close relationship, she is more likely to want to do things with/for you.

Second, natural consequences and empathy for her. Doesn't want to leave the water in the bath, "that's sad because I know you like a bath love but we'll use the hand shower because it keeps the water in the bath. I know it's cold and less fun. Maybe we'll try a bath next time if you can keep the water in." If she messes with the water next time, plug comes straight out. She complains, "I'm sorry too, I like bath time, but the water has to stay in".

Empathy, natural consequences. Doesn't put her clothes on, "sad that we can't go to the park but we can't go without clothes". Or, in DD's case, she didn't want to go out in her PJs but I was very happy to do it if she didn't get dressed. She learned that mummy doesn't bargain. But I'm always empathetic, kind and care about her.

For example, she doesn't like to wear a coat when it's cold. I think that's fine but let her stand outside on the porch while I get ready and she says if she thinks its too cold. 9/10 she wears a coat. Her dad tells her to wear a coat, it's a battle.

lovely36 Thu 07-Feb-19 15:10:47

The meal thing. Sit her down offer her her food. If she begins playing, immediately remove the food from her and say. "You can try again when you're ready to eat. Goodbye." My son tried doing this a few times with his food. Began playing and as soon as he even tried to play with his food like tossing I immediately removed him and said. "Seems like you're not ready to eat yet, you can try again when you're ready." And kept doing what I was doing. He sorta looked at me like "wth?" Lol once he cried. Then 10 minutes later I tried again. He tried playing again! I said the same thing and this time waited 15 minutes. By then he knew I wasn't going to let him play with the food and he began eating.

lovely36 Thu 07-Feb-19 15:14:15

The dressing part, ask her to choose from two outfits. Say do you want to wear this or that. Sometimes that works. Sometimes it doesn't. If she doesn't want to get dressed again, tell her "are you going to dress yourself or do you need my help doing it." If she doesn't choose. Choose for her and say , I'm going to help you now since you didn't choose. She might cry, she might be mad but atleast she's understanding that she's going to have o start choosing and making decisions and not just do what she wants when she wants. Anyway hope this helps. Xx

nr1983 Thu 07-Feb-19 16:20:25

Do you ever have a day where you just want to give don’t want to parent anymore...that’s me today. Over the last week I’ve been called several names, hit several times and I just feel like shit to be honest. I feel like my 3 year old hates me.

But in one tiny little moment when you hear that cute little voice say ‘sorry I was a naughty boy mummy, I love you’ all is forgiven until the next time which turned out to be 40 minutes later when I once again was poo head.
Sometimes I ignore it, other times I tell him off, I’m not consistent with my parenting and I’m feeling lost, a failure, a shit mum.

I used to be that judgey bitch that would see mums/dads screaming at their children in public and would think wow they have no control...never in a million years did I think that would be wrong I was 😂

I love my children more than anything or anyone and would certainly protect them at any cost but today I just want to be the old me, carefree when all I would worry about is what to wear on a night out or what to have for dinner.

I know we all have good days and bad days but today has been bad.

Here’s hoping for a good day tomorrow.


MrsTerryPratcett Thu 07-Feb-19 16:29:42

I used to be that judgey bitch that would see mums/dads screaming at their children in public and would think wow they have no control...never in a million years did I think that would be wrong I was

Everyone's a perfect parent until they have children!

Staceface87 Thu 07-Feb-19 16:33:24

nr1983 this is me today hence why I ended up posting here. Shit mum feels here too.

Staceface87 Thu 07-Feb-19 16:34:31

However I have had some lovely advice from mumsnetters and I'm going to put these in to practice straight away.

MrsTerryPratcett Thu 07-Feb-19 16:50:47

There's a great book How to talk so kids will listen, and listen so kids will talk. It's really good.

chloechloe Fri 08-Feb-19 19:26:09

I was going to recommend the same book too. It’s excellent. The premise is that punishment and exclusion don’t work and that children generally want to be co-operative.

cauliflowersqueeze Fri 08-Feb-19 19:33:03

Also making things into a competition - can you do xXX before the end of the song? Ready, steady....go!!

Also having a pictorial plan of the morning. Right what’s the next thing for you to tick off .... it’s putting on your clothes. Once you’ve put your clothes on then you tick it off... ready? Go!

TheSmallAssassin Sat 09-Feb-19 13:36:07

I know they're clichés, but pick your battles and as much as you can ignore the bad and praise the good.

Can you make some things a game? Putting toys away and getting dressed for instance? Then lots of praise when it's done.

For sitting still when eating, do you eat with her?

Set your expectations a bit lower, I think it's a bit much to expect two year old to always follow instructions, are you making them really simple?

Also, remember that in the very long run the aim isn't to instil obedience it's to teach her to be an independent, capable, confident person.

Wearywithteens Sat 09-Feb-19 13:49:25

The problem is that we love our children so much we are over invested in everything they do and say. You are taking all of her ‘bad’ behaviour too seriously. All this talk of getting down on their level, talking to them in strict instructions makes me laugh - she’s 3! She will take her cue from you and if she thinks that ‘sitting still’ or ‘getting dressed’ is crucially important it’s a point of power/testing boundaries.

Ignore the bad behaviour completely - freeze her out, silent treatment, ‘grey rock’. If she is about to hurt herself or you need her to do something immediately then you physically intervene but calmly and still ignoring, no eye contact.

Conversely, you praise, kiss and cuddle every aspect of her behaviour that is ‘good’ - even mundane things like eating her dinner, saying please and thank you, being kind to the cat, sitting nicely...etc massive, over the top praise every single time however small the thing.

She will soon learn which behaviour earns her the sunshine and ‘happy mummy’.

lovely36 Sat 09-Feb-19 17:37:43

@Wearywithteens I don't think it's silly it's important. Everything I've said is what iv learned from years of studying child development. As I said I'm a Montessori teacher. Not only that but also a mum. And it's important that you do speak to children with respect and also that you speak to them at their level. If you do simple research or take parenting classes that's the first thing they tell you to do.

Wearywithteens Sat 09-Feb-19 18:09:05

The trouble is that parents lose persepective and start giving very serious, self important instructions about arbitrary rules and practices that ultimately don’t matter in the big scheme of things. This usually results in a comedic battle of wills between a grown adult and a 3 year old. Eg. “Portia, it is extremely important to daddy and I that you eat all of your peas and take your plate to the dishwasher please.” 3 year old thinks ‘fuck that - I’ll throw the peas everywhere and use the plate as a frisby’ - then where do you go?

Yes of course you treat children with respect and talk to them calmly and clearly. But every time I see a middle class parent earnestly talking about expectations when the child is a little tot of 3 - or worse - asking them to choose from multiple things on a menu when there are 20 other people behind them in a queue it is so frustrating.

They are tiny and at that age need more hands on parenting and routines rather than rules, naughty steps and dialogue.

MrsTerryPratcett Sat 09-Feb-19 18:18:29

The problem with grey rock/gushing praise (both of which I don't like) is DC are essentially doing something for love. Echoes of abusive relationships. Either they're doing it to avoid rejection or they're doing it to elicit affection. Making them insecure or needy (depending on the child). It creates good behaviour but not an effective adult.

I agree that dialogue is also a bad idea. We do less and less words.

"DD love, could you put your shoes on please?"


"DD, shoes on please"


"Shoes" in a sterner voice.

Then natural consequences and empathy if it doesn't work.

Wearywithteens Sat 09-Feb-19 18:30:55

I get your point mrsterrypratchett but the praise doesn’t have to be insincere or gushing - some of my most serious praise was done with a very serious face and low voice - just to emphasise how bloody proud I was of them. The silent treatment shouldn’t be nasty or manipulative either - just a bit frosty and ‘disappointed’. The point is the child has to learn what constitutes good behaviour from somewhere (unless you want entitled feral kids) and I think that is more effective and natural than naughty steps or sticker charts.

MrsTerryPratcett Sat 09-Feb-19 20:03:31

Sticker charts and naughty steps aren't my bag either.

What we trying to do here is have an internal locus. So rather than me praising DD, she feels proud of herself. Instead of me telling her I'm happy/proud I say what I know "DD you worked really hard on that, how do you feel?" or specific thanks rather than praise "thanks for clearing your plate without being asked".

It's slower and frustrating but works really well.

lovely36 Sat 09-Feb-19 21:57:25

@MrsTerryPratcett I agree with you. I'm assuming you're a teacher or have studied child development. I was taught to avoid praise for every reason you've mentioned. To stay genuine and neutral. I don't say "good boy!" Or "that's naughty!" I've put into action everything I was taught with my son. Results: he's a very well mannered, respectful and kind child. I keep it real, I avoid manipulation and over the top expressions. I agree with you with everything you've said as it's what my professors all taught me back in uni and during my training. It really works but most importantly children are happy.

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