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What do I do about this behavior? Is it normal?

My 21 month old is always mad and cranky. If he is not constantly entertained he screams and whines. He won't even sit still in the car in front of his DVD player for more than 20 minutes without screaming. I can't go in the store for 5 minutes to get something because he whines and cries and won't sit in the cart. Also, he does not listen. If I tell him no, he looks at me and continues to do it. I have tried spankings, stern no's, and time outs, nothing works! He is just mad and cranky ALL the time! Is this what they call the terrible two's or something else?

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Asked by expectoct at 9:41 AM on Jun. 15, 2010 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (14)
  • It could be terrible twos. but it could possibly be add/adhd....but im no expert.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:44 AM on Jun. 15, 2010

  • Sounds like he needs to be engaged in what you are doing. Do you talk to him about what you're going to do or just plop him in his car seat & turn on the tv? Will he sing along w/ you to some of his favorite songs? Tell him where you are going & what you need to get & ask for his help in remembering the list. Give him specific tasks while in the store like getting the correct items off the shelf instead of just telling him not to pull everything off. When he gets the wrong thing make a game out of it instead of correcting him. For example "Dylan can you get the blue box of maccaroni off the shelf for mommy?" "That box is red, can you help mommy find the blue one?" The reason he's acting like this is bc he wants more of your attention.

    Answer by Nyx7 at 9:48 AM on Jun. 15, 2010

  • My son is 21 months and similiar. At the store he gets one chance to be out of the cart, and he pushes it with me. Or hangs on the handle and "rides" it. But as soon as he starts to walk/run off he goes back in the cart. Then I have to get a box of crackers or something and he is usually content to eat while I shop....quickly.
    At home with the temper, some days are better than others. But when I tell him No to something I just have to stick to it. But have also tried everything from time outs in his playpen to spanking. It's annoying and I am just waiting for the phase to pass. It is normal. Some kids are just more tempormental than others. You aren't alone though!!

    Answer by 2BlondeBabies at 9:48 AM on Jun. 15, 2010

  • My daughter was the same way at that exact age and it lasted quite a while! She still has her moments now at the age of 3 but no where near what it used to be. The only advice I can give you is to stay patient and be consistent with whatever discipline you are using. For me, time outs seemed so hopeless at first but I stuck with it even if it seemed not to affect her in any way at all. Eventually it started working. If you give in and let him out because it doesn't seem like it's working, then he is going to know that he can get his way by throwing a tantrum and he will walk all over you. Good luck, I know these are tough times but they WILL pass.

    Answer by Ctink8189 at 9:50 AM on Jun. 15, 2010

  • My son is going through the same phase right now. It started at 20 months right after I had his baby sister and is still continuing and he is 26 months now. In my case I think part of it is the boy version of the terrible two's (boys are way different than girls) but I also think he has middle child syndrome.

    In your case, is it possible that either you are dad is grumpy a lot? Are you frustrated with your son and respond in a cranky way instead of being patient? Toddler model the behavior they see at home. If you don't stay at home with him, then this may be a reflection of the type of care he receives during the day. His daycare provider may be cranky and impatient with him.

    Regardless of the cause, it's sounds like your son needs more positive attention and lots of hugs and kisses. If you just give him more care and positive attention, then this will simply be a phase that passes.

    Answer by ThrivingMom at 9:53 AM on Jun. 15, 2010

  • Well, all I can say is it started with my DS at 18 months and he's 3 1/2 now. Hold on and prepare, it's the terrible twos, threes & I hope he's over it at 4 but I doubt it. It is not for lack of attention in my house. I think the problem is that he IS the center of attention. I never spanked, I just do not think it works. We do time outs, but mostly I re-direct his attention when the behavior starts. We have TALKS before we go out shopping about being a good boy. Sometimes it works & sometimes it doesn't. If he throws a fit when we are in a store, I remove him to the car immediately even if I have to carry him over my shoulder. He's getting the message now. I just am looking forward to 5 or 6 years old. If you notice, most of the women who post these issues, the child is around 1-4 years old so I guess they grow out of it. Just try & ignor or re-direct when you are home when it gets crazy. You are not alone! Good luck!

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:07 AM on Jun. 15, 2010

  • Is he getting enough sleep? I know the two go hand in hand. That age should be getting 12-14 hours of sleep within a 24 hour period. It plays a big role in behavior. I've read up on it and it was said that there have even been misdiagnosis of attention deficit disorder due to lack of sleep! I know it sounds "out there" but when I put that into play with my son when he was ounger it worked. It may not be the deal with your son but I thought it may be worth mentioning.

    Answer by kimberlyinberea at 10:10 AM on Jun. 15, 2010

  • My DD is 25 months and the thing that has worked the best with us is simplly talking with her. Not talking TO her, but with her. Let him help while you're shopping, ask him to hold the list, or if he is well behaved enough, let him pick up the crackers off the shelf and hand them to you to put in the cart, or if he can match let him match the coupons to whatever you're getting. Tell him every item you pick up, "Mommy has the milk now. Do you like milk? What do we do with milk? Yes, you drink the milk!" Everything is not only a learning process, it is keeping him entertained.

    AND I just wanted to point out that at this age you should not be using TV as a constant form of entertainment. Don't get me wrong, I'm not in any way against TV, but it sounds like it may be overused.

    Also, as far as spanking him and a "stern no" for this stuff is probably a little overboard for being a busy two year old.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:14 AM on Jun. 15, 2010

  • I do not use TV, TV is used in the car when we are in it for more than 20 minutes. I live in the middle of nowhere Wyoming and there are long stretches of open road.

    Answer by expectoct at 10:16 AM on Jun. 15, 2010

  • how he is sleeping i know when most kids dont get thr right amount of sleep they are cranky .have you mentioned this to your doctor ???

    Answer by britme1027 at 10:18 AM on Jun. 15, 2010

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