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What do I do with my strong-willed toddler?

I have a two-year-old daughter who is usually so well-behaved and just a joy to be around. The only problem is that she is stubborn as a mule and is so strong-willed that it takes all my energy to get her to cooperate once she digs her heels in. She used to take to time-outs as discipline very well and I never had to worry about her acting out in public. But ever since her baby sister started crawling, my toddler has become more and more defiant. At this point, I'm lucky if I can get her to sit in time-out without screaming bloody murder and throwing herself around, and I'm finding myself raising my voice at her more often than I'd like. I'm sure this is normal, but I'm losing my mind. Please, I'll take any advice!!

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Asked by Anonymous at 6:20 PM on Mar. 16, 2010 in Toddlers (1-2)

Answers (2)
  • My son is the same way. Now for time outs I'll let him scream his head off for a bit and then I go sit with him and get him to take deep breaths with me.
    I tell him that as long as he's freaking out, he'll have to stay in time out.
    When that doesn't work I start taking toys away. After each one I take away I go back and do deep breaths with him again.
    Once he's calmed down I ask him why he is so angry.
    He's pretty good about communicating his feelings.
    I try to be understanding and work out a compromise with him. Within reason of course.

    After all. It's got to be tough going from being the one who gets all of the attention to now having to share it with a baby.

    The more you use patience to deal with her outbursts the more she'll learn that that's how to deal with things that are bothering her.

    It's hard as hell some days, but take a moment to breath before reacting to her when she's acting up.

    Answer by Laila-May at 6:26 PM on Mar. 16, 2010

  • all very normal. what i would do, is set aside special time just for her. whenever you can squeeze it in, is when she needs one on one time with you. even if you want to throttle her because her behavior is awful. she is feeling displaced and if you can reinforce that you love her very much and she's just as special, it should help. but keep on the discipline or it can get out of control. explain when you have to deal with the baby that you two will have special time again tomorrow where it's just the two of you but right now, you have to also care for your other child. if it's not jealousy and just the tantrums, you can read The Happiest Toddler on the Block which basically says toddlers are frustrated because they cannot communicate to you and just want to be heard.

    Answer by jeanclaudia at 6:28 PM on Mar. 16, 2010

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