Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Discipline for a 2yr old that isn't mine.

Suggestions/advice?? Anything besides time outs?? They don't seem to work. And by discipline i mean for anything including spitting/hitting when mad, throwing food on the floor because she doesn't want to eat, not cleaning toys when told, etc. Also, im not comfortable spanking a child that isn't mine so that's a no go. Thanks in advance

Answer Question

Asked by Anonymous at 10:39 PM on Nov. 5, 2013 in Toddlers (1-2)

Answers (9)
  • Are you babysitting her or what? Have her caregivers offered any suggestions?

    Answer by Ballad at 10:53 PM on Nov. 5, 2013

  • Oops I guess i should have put that in there. She's my boyfriend's daughter, and we all live together.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 10:55 PM on Nov. 5, 2013

  • Well then why isn't your boyfriend disciplining her?
    How convenient for him to have you as the built in baby-sitter.

    Answer by PartyGalAnne at 12:40 AM on Nov. 6, 2013

  • She is only 2 but sounds very frustrated. maybe because she cannot express herself with words clearly yet. You NEED Patience. Be calm, comfort her, talk to her at eye level & say no & the reason why. Be consistent. Maybe she misses her Mom. Poor little thing. Please do NOT spank her. Get some books at the library on Parenting. That will help a lot. I hope your BF does not spank her either. She is still a baby & that will never help at all. I wouldn't do that to an animal either.


    Answer by ILovemyPaulie at 9:07 AM on Nov. 6, 2013

  • At 2, not much discipline is needed. If she throws food on the floor, mealtime is over and she waits til the next snack/meal. As far as cleaning up, make it a game - "I can put more toys in the bucket than you!" or put on music and see if you can get the room clean before the next song. Spitting/hitting when mad - hold her hands, get down on her level and say "no hitting" and then redirect immediately to another activity. Make sure she's getting enough sleep so she isn't overtired and give her choices so she feels some control ("apple slices or grapes with lunch?","the purple shirt or the red one?", etc)

    Answer by missanc at 10:32 AM on Nov. 6, 2013

  • You don't have to resort to spanking to respond to those behaviors.
    If you think of "discipline" as loving guidance (understanding/empathy for what's happening, protective limits, support) rather than as punishment, force or control, then you can relate appropriately & constructively to any child regardless of whether or not you are the biological parent! I don't take it upon myself to punish someone else's child even if they are in my home (playdate, babysitting) but I don't rely on punishment/control for my own children when issues arise, either. My response for both situations (my child, not my child) is the same. I show understanding for why something is happening, I hold any necessary limit (for safety of people or property, to protect someone from being violated & also to protect the upset child from the experience of having violated someone else when overwhelmed with feelings), & I make space for the feelings they have.

    Answer by girlwithC at 10:55 AM on Nov. 6, 2013

  • I've never used time outs & I believe there are good reasons not to use them. So I wouldn't worry about that, either.
    Think in terms of what you want her to do instead of the problematic behaviors, when she's "acting out" her feelings those ways. First, have in mind what you DO want, what IS acceptable to you in those times, because the feelings themselves are not going to go away! What you need to provide is support & guidance, so she learns what TO do when she's feeling frustrated, angry, enraged.
    If she is repeatedly feeling helpless or powerless in situations, and sad about her losses (even necessary, prudent ones) when she can't change reality, she is likely to react TO those painful feelings with anger & protest. She will 1) struggle to MAKE things go her way & then 2) rage about (or, if she has lots of emotional safety, grieve) her inability to do so!This is how children come to terms with situations they can't change.

    Answer by girlwithC at 10:56 AM on Nov. 6, 2013

  • (I'm assuming you're the person who is reunited with an ex who had a son with you 6 years ago & later had a baby with someone else. He is back with you & has full custody of his daughter.)
    When she hits when frustrated or angry, protect yourself or your son from being hit; stop her promptly (this is the protective use of force. Just hold onto her hands & warmly say you are keeping everybody safe.) Let the limit be physical, and focus your VERBAL response on acknowledging her upset feelings, not on criticizing the behavior. None of your instructions or admonitions are going to get through unless you connect with her. And it's most likely the hitting is happening because she's upset & overwhelmed, NOT because she is unaware that hitting hurts! Under stress her brain shifts from higher cognitive/thinking functions to reaction or survival instincts: the stress response of fight/flight. When she's in that mode, you need to connect.

    Answer by girlwithC at 11:14 AM on Nov. 6, 2013

  • Connect by showing empathy for how she's feeling. You don't have to "calm her down" by pushing against her feelings & trying to change them; just show understanding for how upset she is.
    When my twins were small, I focused first on verbalizing their big feelings--even just acknowledging aloud what had happened: that something he was enjoying got taken away (his brother grabbed his truck, or mama took away the scissors, or mama said No to something), or that he had seen something fun & just wanted to enjoy it (thus grabbing a truck from his brother, etc.) I showed understanding for the problem behavior, that the hitting, grabbing, hair-pulling etc. made sense (they happened because he was so upset.) This is real empathy for the person & for why the problematic thing happened in the first place--real understanding beyond someone just "being bad." And I focused on what TO do: "When you feel like hitting, ask for help."

    Answer by girlwithC at 11:22 AM on Nov. 6, 2013

Join CafeMom now to contribute your answer and become part of our community. It's free and takes just a minute.