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Can you Gentle Parent a "strong willed" child??

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Okay, I'm just going to be blunt.

My 2yo DD is a terror. We are having her evaluated for Sensory/developmental/behavioral disorders as well as Autism (PDD-NOS is our worst case scenario). She isn't always awful, but she is at least difficult most of the time. I walk on eggshells for sure.

I have tried the gentle parenting approach with her. She used to be a wonderful little angel, up until she turned 2. I'm patient with her and use a gentle tone. I don't spank and only use time out for when she does something really bad. But I'm sooo beyond sick of this and I'm at my wits end. She is mean to her big sister... hits and yells at her. So many times I tell my oldest to just give my 2yo whatever just to avoid a 30 minute meltdown.

Being gentle (talking to her gently or sturn-but-not-loud), explaining etc.... it just isn't working. Her behavior is getting worse and worse. Her evaluation isn't until January. I may go insane before then.

Is 2.5 too young for a pop on the butt? She understands what time out is, and knows that if she does certain things she will go, but it doesn't stop her from doing it!! A big one is spilling things on purpose... throwing bowls of food, spilling an entire bottled water into the floor etc. She knows she'll go to time out, but still does it.

Can you gentle parent a terror?

by on Nov. 11, 2012 at 12:56 AM
Replies (31-40):
by Anonymous 9 on Nov. 11, 2012 at 9:46 AM
Yes you can and you should. I would not recommend physical punishment for any child but especially a child who special needs and is easily frustrated and overwhelmed.
by on Nov. 11, 2012 at 9:54 AM

I don't know. Now i will be brutally honest. I was a terrible child. I honestly feel bad for my parents and i am literally the reason they didn't have a third child. I was stubborn, strong willed and defiant from a very young age. In the home videos even as a baby i never listened. It only got progressively worse as i got older. And i have to wonder if some people are just born that way and there is nothing you can do. My parents tried every method you can think of and nothing worked. I just had to grow up. Now that i am an adult i still hate being told what to do. But i do it because i know that life doesnt work that way, you dont get to do whatever you want. Honestly when my parents were most strict was when i acted out the most. My son is allready this way and he is 15 months. I am terrified of him turning out like me.

by Member on Nov. 11, 2012 at 9:54 AM
by Anonymous 10 on Nov. 11, 2012 at 9:57 AM
Sounds like terrible twos!
by Anonymous 11 on Nov. 11, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Who knows/cares. Im not a gentle parenter. I parent the old fashioned way like my grandparents did (with lots of extra added love). My parents generation turned out fantastic and responsible. My generation (the self esteem free parenting generation) turned out a bunch of lazy douche nozzles.

by on Nov. 11, 2012 at 10:14 AM
I have a very strong willed 2.5 yr old. Your dd behavior sounds just like his. I feel your pain. He will get mad and start throwing a tantrum that lasts 30 minutes and that will put him in a destructive mood for hours. He throws things, spills water and yells at us. It's rough. We've really had examine our parenting and make some changes. I was being entirely to gentle and overlooking bad, destructive behavior because I didn't want his behavior to escalate. However, now I'm very consistent with spankings, giving verbal warnings, and using a more serious, stern voice. It's taken about 3 wks to notice any change in his behavior but I'm starting to see improvement. Spanking has worked for him, but I know it doesn't work for everyone. If you are interested there's a book called shepherding a child's heart. We follow this books discipline strategies.
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by Anonymous 12 on Nov. 11, 2012 at 10:35 AM

Your kid doesn't sound like she has any issues....shes 2. Shes in the terrible twos. Just do your best and yes it is okay to spank. If she knows shes doing something bad...spank her. Try not to go crazy. My kid has been going through the terrible twos early...we're still in it. He was a sweet heart, would hug me...but now hes asshole. I know that sounds wrong to call my kid that, but its what he acts like. I don't call him that, I just think it. Don't give into your child, don't argue with your child. If you don't want to spank, then don't. Be firm, even if you know your kid is going to meltdown. Let it happen.

by Anonymous 13 on Nov. 11, 2012 at 10:39 AM
I am dealing with this right now with my 3 year old. We've had him evaluated and nothing is wrong, but he is certainly not typical. I worked at a daycare and quit a few months ago because he wasn't doing well in that type of situation.

My son needs direct constant talking to to stay on task. He also needs lots of warnings. Every morning I tell him exactly what we are doing that day in detail. Throughout the day I remind him what is coming next. I also avoid bad situations or do them in small doses. If I were you and she was dumping food I'd put just a peice on at a time and gradually work to a couple pieces of food. When she handles two peices of food I would praise her a lot. My son does great if we praise for the smallest normal tasks that he wouldn't previously do.

I understand what you're going through, it's a constant task for us!
by on Nov. 11, 2012 at 10:42 AM
My DD has PTSD and used to be this way. She saw a psychologist weekly for a little over a year and it did wonders. The therapy was not only for her, but for me to learn to deal with her better. I don't think spanking will help, it will likely make it worse.

Quoting amandae21:

She's really not. She has meltdowns that last up to two hours. Even three hours on a few occasions. If something throws her off, a lot of times it makes large portions of her day bad. I wouldn't be driving all 3 of my kids an hour away for her psychiatric evaluation if her pediatrician thought she were normal.

Quoting Anonymous:

Honestly she sounds like a normal 2 year old

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by Gold Member on Nov. 11, 2012 at 11:04 AM
I can't tell you how to parent your DD. My advice to you is use trial and error. The gentle approach hasn't worked so far. Move on to a different approach, and stick with that for awhile. If that doesn't work, use another method or even try the gentle approach again for awhile. The key is to be consistent with whichever method you choose. If you give in, your DD will realize where she has some wiggle room with you and take advantage of that. Good luck. :)
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