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How do you discipline your 2 year old when time outs don't work?

My 2 1/2 year old is really a great kid. But his behavior is quickly getting worse every day! This past month he stopped sitting for his time outs and is wearing me down fast with his bad behavior. I've tried different things (taking away toys, giving a reward for good behavior, restraining him during time out) but nothing is working. I am so frustrated! I don't want to spank him, but I have done it now twice and each time I regret it. His favorite bad behavior is throwing things. It usually starts just after my husband comes home from work and I am cooking dinner, (I know he wants attention) but now it is happening during the day too. It is driving me crazy!!


Asked by Anonymous at 7:13 PM on Feb. 4, 2011 in Toddlers (1-2)

This question is closed.
Answers (7)
  • Continue the time outs- by stopping them/trying different things, he has learned that his behavior WORKS. No matter you do, you are reinforcing behavior and right now, it's negative behavior. When he throws a toy, tell him, "Toys are not for throwing. Toys are for playing. If you throw, the toy goes up and you will go in time out." If he throws again, immediately take the toy away and put it out of reach, then sit him in time out. Have a set spot. If you have to sit indian style and hold him in your lap, do it. Stay calm and stay with him. After 1 minute, tell him again, "Toys are not for throwing. No throwing." Then make him say "No throwing" or "Yes Mama." Don't let him get up until he says it (or something like it.) When time out is over, say, "I love you so much, let's play with your toys!" And give him a big hug and play with him for a minute or two. BE CONSISTENT. Teach what not to do, what to do, and you still love him

    Answer by DanielleB10 at 4:31 PM on Feb. 6, 2011

  • Try the time outs again. Be consistent and take him back to the spot again and again. It takes time and is frustrating, but it does work. Tell him once why he is there and then no talking and stay anger. GL

    Answer by elizabr at 7:37 PM on Feb. 4, 2011

  • I know this doesnt not answer your ? but....if you keep putting him back into time out he will stay eventually. Its really frustrating but doesn work. GL!!

    Answer by Steph319 at 7:14 PM on Feb. 4, 2011

  • He is TOO little to be trying different things. It takes consistency for it to work. You have to pick a kind discipline that you are comfortable with and you have to stick with it no matter what for the long term. At 2.5, he hasn't been around long enough for you to need to have tried so many different ones.

    Answer by BradenIsMySon at 7:23 PM on Feb. 4, 2011

  • Maybe check out Thich Nhat Hanh a very famous Vietnamese, Buddhist monk, nominated by Martin Luther King Jr for the Nobel Peace Prize - he should have won it in my estimation! He teaches on anger - that we should get with the anger and 'talk' with it - a 2 1/2 yr old can't do that, but you can pick him up and say, "You're really mad, aren't you"? Really really mad, show me how mad, smack this sofa cushion til you don't feel so mad! Twenty wallops later he'll have worn down a bit of the 'mad' energy and you may be able to reason with him. I did that with my sons and they learned to recognize the temper rising themselves by about age 4 or 5. We all need a bit of that kind of constructive channel for anger, to say nothing of the peace that follows!!

    Answer by nursemom4boys at 7:24 PM on Feb. 4, 2011

  • When my lil ones throw things i dont spank but i hit them on the hand, not hard but so they know that throwing things is not allowed and honestly it works.

    Answer by Littleguysmommy at 7:43 PM on Feb. 4, 2011

  • Is he still in a crib? My husband puts our DD in her crib for time outs (or as he calls them "attitude adjustments"). She'll cry and yell for a couple minutes and when she stops he or I will wait an extra minute before going in. She'll be back to her happy little self after that. This doesn't happen alot, but when it does, it's when she's having a "terrible two" moment.

    Answer by MommyLee08 at 10:28 PM on Feb. 5, 2011