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Help!!! Mom of 2 year old!!

Posted by on Feb. 4, 2013 at 9:15 PM
  • 28 Replies

Hi everyone, I'm new to this site!! I have a 2 year old son who I truly love more than life. However, I feel like I can't stand him sometimes!! :( :( He is so defiant! I swear he does things that he isn't supposed to do JUST to get to me :/ I'm not a very patient person, but I try... I really love him, and want to have a good relationship. Maybe I just suck at it? Any advice?!

by on Feb. 4, 2013 at 9:15 PM
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doulala
by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 12:52 AM

That sort of thing can be completely normal...    Try to breathe and take things slowly, don't get emotional- stay calm.     How you choose to handle this is important, he is (and will be) testing you (from now on!) and you can decide to lead him with love and nurture.

;-)





I have saved some stuff that could help.
GL!






Gentle Discipline. 


Immense info: http://www.mothering.com/discussions/archive/index.php/f-36.html


And here's lots of suggestions:

Be in sync: Perhaps one of the most important principles to discipline is that parents and other caregivers be in sync with how to discipline a particular child. The child should know where the boundaries are, and the more consistent those boundaries are, the easier time your child will have staying within them. So make the rules clear, simple and consistent. Keep your children's teachers and caregivers apprised of any unusual situations at home, and get to know what's happening at daycare or at school.

Don't discipline babies: Babies cannot understand when their behavior is inappropriate or "wrong." Punishing a baby is both unfair and a lost cause. A toddler might have some understanding, but a toddler's behavior is still impulsive and totally self-centered. Always ask yourself if your child really meant to disobey, or if the child simply didn't understand the situation. Redirection can be a very effective way to guide young children. Our motto was always: Divert and conquer!

Warn them of what's coming: Try to not spring things on your children. Allow your children time to get ready before shopping or traveling. Always tell them where they're going and what's expected of them. Tell them how long the trip will last. Gently remind them again before getting there. Then, just before it's time to come home again, alert them when they have five minutes to go. Then three minutes, two, one... If you do this consistently, and are firm about leaving on time, you might find them much more responsive.

Have a routine: Having a regular schedule and routine for waking up, going to bed, eating meals, etc. can help children feel safe and comfortable, and to know what they should be doing. It's normal for them to test these rules, but if you always give in, not only will they will feel less safe -- perhaps even afraid -- they'll be motivated to test you again and again (to find out where the boundaries really are).

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Use humor: Humor is another excellent way to get children to obey. As long as they don't see your command as a game, then a funny song or funny face might swing them around. For example, you can:

bulletDeliberately get things wrong or do things backward.
bulletTell funny stories of when you were young and did this activity.
bulletSing a goofy song about the activity in a goofy way.
bulletLet the child help you with the activity, and in return, you get to help the child.
bulletPretend something silly about the activity.
bulletRecall how the child had such a hard time with the activity as a baby, but now is so much older and more capable.
bulletIf it's safe to do so, allow the child to help a younger child (or perhaps a stuffed toy) with the activity.
bulletPretend to be someone else, like a favorite story or television character.
bulletTurn your hand into "Hand" or "Spider" (they don't need puppet costumes, so they can come out at any time), and let the child explain the activity to Hand or Spider.
bulletWhisper a favorite story, secret, loving comment, or song.
bulletHave a race -- perhaps a silly race, with mistakes on your part -- to see who can finish first.
bulletEmphasize how the activity will have such good and wonderful consequences.
bulletSometimes you can just laugh until finally the child starts laughing too.

It's their job to rebel: Remember that it's a young child's job to say no (and we don't say that in jest). It might help to remember that your children are biologically motivated to become separate entities from you. Give them controlled choices and leeway whenever you can, and don't take their tantrums personally.

Take care of their needs: Make sure a child isn't being disruptive because of illness, hunger, thirst (we believe that most children don't get enough to drink during the day. See our Dehydration page for more), boredom, a dirty diaper, physical discomfort, fear, changing circumstances, a reaction to medication, vision or hearing problems, lead or chemical poisoning, or just plain weariness. Plan shopping trips for after meals/naps, if you can, and dress them appropriately. Parents who take care of a child's basic needs first will find they have a much more cooperative child.

Listen to your children, and be involved in their lives: Give your children undivided attention every day. They have a lot to say, and sometimes it's easy to just tune them out. But they'll be more cooperative if they know you listen and understand how they feel. Older children can even resolve their own problems -- with love, support and guidance from you. (This, of course, is the long-term goal -- to teach them how to solve their own problems). They'll be more comfortable doing it, however, if they know you're there.

Don't bribe them: Children can easily fall into a habit of wanting something on each shopping trip if parents allow it to happen. Make it habit instead to not buy things for your children while out. Always take a snack and drink with you so they don't get cranky from hunger or thirst, but don't bribe them with toys or other snacks. This only sets you up for the same thing the next time you go. We found that a simple "You can (desired behavior) now, or we can just go home" usually did the trick. Or, we'd say sympathetically, "Sweetie, if you're too tired to be out, we can go home and take a nap." The problem usually evaporated.

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Take care of your own needs: Parents also must take care of their own needs. Parents who are thirsty are already dehydrated -- and dehydration, hunger, or weariness will steal much of any parent's patience.

Make sure they're listening: Be creative in dealing with a toddler and preschooler. Sometimes a very young child just doesn't hear or absorb what's being said (don't believe it? Ask the child to repeat what you just said, and see the blank look that comes back). It helps to get down on the child's level and make sure you're being heard. Try singing the instruction. Try a funny instruction. Try a race. Try using a catchphrase that gets the point across. Or, just make sure they are looking at you, and listening. Have them repeat what you said.

Don't nag or argue. Make it happen: Say what you want, and expect that it gets done. If a child "won't listen," it's because the parent isn't making the behavior happen the first time the child hears the words. Someone suggested to us that it's kind of like training a dog (you have to be patient for as many times as it takes the dog to understand), and this rang true with us. Your children want to learn, but some things just take time. Your patience will help -- just make sure your tone is respectful, and that your child is actually hearing you.

Say what you mean: You can wish ("I wish you would..."), you can muse ("That behavior isn't appropriate..."), you can lecture ("Someday, when you're a parent..."), you can manipulate ("It would be really nice if someone..."), but none of these is an effective or lasting way of disciplining. Tell your child what you want, and try to be specific ("Please pick up these crayons"). Then make sure it happens.

Keep it simple and be specific: Keep your instructions simple (a child can't absorb several directions at once), help your child if the task is difficult or daunting -- and if you can, make the task fun and light-hearted. Make sure the child can actually do the task. If so, stay calm, and don't let the child off the hook - this only makes it tougher the next time. Some parents find that a silent Look-That-Means-Business does the trick. Do be specific. "Clean up your room" means little to a child. However, "hang up your clothes" and "put your toys in that box" tells your child exactly what needs to be done.

Do praise: Provide your child with positive (but not overly effusive) feedback whenever possible. Praise them not just for nice artwork and for learning their letters -- but also for behaving well (correctly, compassionately, politely, and with self-control). Don't forget to let your children know when they've taught you something. It will happen, so note it and thank them for helping you learn. See Staying in Touch for suggestions on ways to stay in touch with your children.

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Allow them to suffer the consequences: Allow your child to suffer the consequences of misbehaving (unless the consequences are liable to inflict injury). Be prepared for squawking, and don't give in. Unless you've made a major error, follow through on all promises (and threats). Sometimes, this means you might have to leave an event when you don't want to, but the long-term lesson for your children will be worth it.

That's why it's important to be careful with your words and your choice of consequences: Don't be mean. Don't use words like "you always" and "you never." Don't label the child or call the child names. Use a respectful tone, and always make sure that consequences are realistic. Don't threaten to leave your children at a store (this undermines their sense of security, and you won't be able to follow through on the threat). Additionally, your children should never think for one second that you would actually give up on them or leave them behind. Don't threaten to "never" let them do something again. And if you're divorced, please don't punish them by refusing to let them see their other parent or extended family. In our view, good discipline should teach, guide and comfort -- not punish, wound or terrify. We also recommend that your chosen discipline not inflict damage on others. We've seen parents discipline by withdrawing babysitting privileges at the last minute (this causes inconvenience and financial burden to other parents), by withdrawing working privileges (this puts employers out and damages your child's work history), by keeping the child home from school (this can prevent your child from being successful in school) or by withdrawing group activity privileges (this can jeopardize the success of a whole group). Instead, choose a consequence that is appropriate and that is limited solely to the child.

Give them choices: Give your child -- even preschoolers -- a choice, and then make sure the choice sticks. This approach works exceptionally well with toddlers and preschoolers (who are determined to decide everything for themselves, anyway). You might even allow your child to choose between two given consequences. When shopping, let them choose between two cereals, choose a yogurt for the week, and choose the oranges (and then help bag them).

Don't put up with whining: If a child is argumentative, it's generally because the parent is allowing the argument to continue. Instead, set the rule and move on. It's amazing how quickly children adapt when they realize you're serious.

Give them the words they need: It's hard for younger children to find the right words for their feelings, and the subtleties can make a huge difference (for example, between "Give me that!" and "I feel left out"). So help them articulate their emotions. This doesn't necessarily mean you'll give them what they want, but they'll be happier knowing you understand. Our three-year-old demonstrated this for us one day when we went wading in a stream. The moment her shoes got wet, she began to fuss and cry. Belatedly, we realized she was afraid she would be in trouble for getting her shoes wet. Once we apologized for forgetting her wading shoes, and we gave her permission to get her running shoes wet and muddy, she waded happily into the water.

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Allow them to be angry: It's okay -- even beneficial -- for your children to get angry and frustrated, but it isn't okay for them to hurt themselves or others. Help them expend excess energy and emotion in constructive ways (talking, dancing, stomping, playing outside, pounding play-dough, drawing, crying, making up stories or songs, playing with stuffed toys). And set a good example by expending your own anger and frustration constructively and then talking to them about it. Avoid name-calling, itemizing past wrongs, or labeling them -- and try not to overreact if your children lash out at you. Remember that anger is normal and healthy -- but it doesn't go away by magic. If your children don't learn how to be angry in a constructive way, they are likely to be angry in destructive ways.

Reinforce the behavior you want by doing it yourself: Listen to yourself communicate. If you are hearing something from your child that you don't like, ask yourself if your child is getting it from you. If you swear, lie, yell, forget to say please or thank you, only half-listen, pout, blame others, etc. -- that is the behavior your child has no choice but to learn. The best way for your children to learn good behavior is for them to watch you behave that way.

Reinforce the behavior by making it happen: Don't just tell your child how to do things next time; make it happen this time, too. If you ask your child to give you something, and it gets thrown at you, calmly give the item back to the child and have it done again properly. If you ask a question, and the answer is yelled at you, calmly tell the child to repeat the answer in a more pleasant way. The second best way for children to learn good behavior is to do it -- this time and every time.

Don't spank as a first resort: Don't use spanking (we define spanking as one or two light swats on the buttocks with an open hand) as a first resort. Research indicates that physical abuse often begins with a spanking that gets out of control. However, we know there are many ways to lovingly raise a child, and we do respect parents' right to use their own judgment. If you come up with a perfect method, please tell us and we'll tell everyone else.

Apologize when you make a mistake: Accept that you're going to occasionally lose your temper. Always make sure your child is safe (not in the bathtub or on the road, for example), and then leave the room (not the building!) for a minute until you can regain control. Don't be afraid to apologize to your child for mistakes you make.

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Tell 'em you love 'em: Safer Child highly recommends consistently telling and showing your children that they are beautiful and capable people who mean the world to you, whose company you enjoy and whose opinion you value. We believe that such ongoing affirmation of their self-worth will go a long way toward preventing discipline problems - at the toddler stage and beyond.

Be prepared for the lying: Most children go through several phases when they will lie to avoid being punished. Don't take it personally or overreact. The concepts of trust, truth, and long-term consequences are new and complex -- and must be learned over time (and in several different ways). Stay calm, discipline gently, and explain (in very simple terms) the consequences of lying.

Ask for help when you need it: When your child's behavior gets out of hand (abusive, self-destructive, dangerous, violent, withdrawn, depressive, etc.), get help. It might not be easy to get the proper help, so don't give up. Call your health-care provider, school counselor, local mental health professional, religious leader, crisis call line, family resource center or parents support group. Do involve your child in the process, and stay aware. And if you find yourself losing control, seek help. See Safer Child Tips for Prevention of Abuse in Your Home, and in a crisis situation, see the links on our Abuse and Neglect page.

Help your children calm down: We can't tell you how many times we've been out in public and seen parents stand by -- or even continue to shop -- while their small children scream and wail for an extended period. This behavior, however, doesn't teach them anything positive. Little children need help and comfort to get themselves back in control. It's okay to let them cry for a minute, but then offer a warm hug, a snack, juice, a rest break, or a favorite toy (not one you're buying). Sometimes, it's best to just go home and leave it for another day.

Make discipline a learning experience: We do find that discipline - whatever it is - modifies behavior most effectively when it's fair (fits the crime), fast (happens without delay), is done calmly and lovingly, and is consistent (the same consequence for the same crime). We personally found spanking much less effective (and much less instructive) than a brief time-out in a corner. Time-outs gave us all time to calm down and think. We always tried to make the experience an opportunity for learning. (See what we found most effective)

http://www.saferchild.org/tipsfor4.htm



And here's one more: http://www.bellybelly.com.au/articles/toddler/discipline-and-your-toddler






doulala
by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 12:56 AM

Another kind of "gentle discipline" called NVC (nonviolent communication) may help too.     I have read some of the books, taken classes, and would encourage you to check into it, as well.

:-)




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hollydaze1974
by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 1:18 AM
1 mom liked this
You don't suck at it... He's just really good at it.
It is normal, he is normal.. YOU are normal.

I simply put mine in his crib and told him I'd be back when he wanted to listen/ calmed down/ was able to control himself. I don't think time outs work at this age of finding self autonomy, they won't stay in a open space like a chair or stool. You do what you can....and ride it out. It's sooo hard. I missed my grandmothers funeral because it was scheduled at naptime and he was uncontrollable. I spend the entire time in the refreshment room rocking him in the dark. My 13 yr old had to take care of my mother.
Whatever you do, don't pray for patience! God just makes him act out worse! Lol!
Good luck , it is a phase... A long one, but a phase. Just keep control of you....and him
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lightning918
by Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 1:32 AM
1 mom liked this
My dd was being a terror today. She spent some time in time out, got a swat for doing something dangerous, refused to nap, then spent 2 hours throwing herself around screaming and crying every time I looked at her. At one point I broke down laughing because I just couldn't do anything else. Then she smacked me with a phone and when I started crying she put her hand on my cheek and said "pease don't cry, pease" and became the sweetest girl ever. She loves to touch everything she's not supposed to and somehow find things to put in her mouth that I've never seen before. They really like to test our patience at this age. I'm not very patient either. I almost locked myself in the closet just so I wouldn't have to deal with her, but then she probably would have gone even crazier.
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mommy404204
by Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 1:37 AM
1 mom liked this

My daughter just turned 3 yesterday and she is the same way. She does things she knows she is not supposed to she is always touching everything and when I tell her NO she says "but I have to" lol she can be sooooo frustrating sometimes when she knows she is doing something wrong but will do it anyway. Sry I dont really have any help but I am right there with you. I got really lucky with my first he will be 6 in april and he was always very calm. now I am going through the I'm bored phase with him. There will always be another phase they will go through. They are all frustrating and different for each child.

jstine86
by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 11:19 AM
Thank you everyone!! Made me feel better. :) Doulala, thank you for the info! I read it all. Had a lot of good points. Makes me think I need to work on myself too. :)
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ThinkAgainMom
by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 12:38 PM

I don't know where you think your child is in terms of cognitive development, both of mine were pretty advanced, even at age 2.  So, I employed my (still superior then) reasoning to use the development that happens at that age to my advantage. 

By two, they have figured out that they are separate from you and that they want different things than you do, some of the time, or nearly all of the time, depending upon the child. So I decided if my child was seeking power and control, I would give him/her some under my terms.  I came up with "Mommy chooses" and "DD/DS chooses".  They soon came to see that sometimes they could choose, and sometimes Mommy would choose.  When i said, "Mommy chooses" that was law.  When I said "DS chooses" my daughter  was choosing between two options that I had already determined I could live with - whether it was what clothes to wear or food to eat or game/toy to play.  I found that by giving my kids power some of the time (and it was really still my power because options were what I chose) made it easier for them to accept that I had complete power some of the time.

Of course, I had those days/times when it was a "Mommy chooses" and I would hear, "No!  I choose." but I found that they could be more reasonable when I pointed out the last thing they chose, or they next thing they would get to choose.

I don't know if this would work with all kids, but I have found that the challenges of "two" tend to be most extreme on the either end of the developmental scale - that being fast developers and slower developers.  It definitely worked for me with a couple of fast ones.

la_bella_vita
by Gold Member on Feb. 5, 2013 at 12:58 PM
1 mom liked this

 Welcome to cafemom : )

Looks like a lot of good advice was posted. I realized talking things through helps children. I try to explain them to them how things are wrong.

jstine86
by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 1:11 PM

 


Quoting ThinkAgainMom:

I don't know where you think your child is in terms of cognitive development, both of mine were pretty advanced, even at age 2.  So, I employed my (still superior then) reasoning to use the development that happens at that age to my advantage. 

By two, they have figured out that they are separate from you and that they want different things than you do, some of the time, or nearly all of the time, depending upon the child. So I decided if my child was seeking power and control, I would give him/her some under my terms.  I came up with "Mommy chooses" and "DD/DS chooses".  They soon came to see that sometimes they could choose, and sometimes Mommy would choose.  When i said, "Mommy chooses" that was law.  When I said "DS chooses" my daughter  was choosing between two options that I had already determined I could live with - whether it was what clothes to wear or food to eat or game/toy to play.  I found that by giving my kids power some of the time (and it was really still my power because options were what I chose) made it easier for them to accept that I had complete power some of the time.

Of course, I had those days/times when it was a "Mommy chooses" and I would hear, "No!  I choose." but I found that they could be more reasonable when I pointed out the last thing they chose, or they next thing they would get to choose.

I don't know if this would work with all kids, but I have found that the challenges of "two" tend to be most extreme on the either end of the developmental scale - that being fast developers and slower developers.  It definitely worked for me with a couple of fast ones.

Wow! Thanks! That is a really good idea!! I think it would really work for my son! He is definitely a fast developer, which has been a challenge for us since he acted 2 when he was 14 months. It's only gotten worse :/ All in all he's a good kid, very loving, happy boy, he just wants/needs his independence so much that it's draining sometimes. He is SO hard-headed!! I am going to take your advice for sure!! Thank you again!!

 

IntactivistMama
by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 1:17 PM
This.

My 2 year old loves to help do chores and I let him choose things sometimes.

Also, when he is being a turd, I try to re direct. Two year olds would try the patience of the Buddha. I love my son to pieces but he is currently in a bad whiny phase. Ugh.


Quoting ThinkAgainMom:

I don't know where you think your child is in terms of cognitive development, both of mine were pretty advanced, even at age 2.  So, I employed my (still superior then) reasoning to use the development that happens at that age to my advantage. 


By two, they have figured out that they are separate from you and that they want different things than you do, some of the time, or nearly all of the time, depending upon the child. So I decided if my child was seeking power and control, I would give him/her some under my terms.  I came up with "Mommy chooses" and "DD/DS chooses".  They soon came to see that sometimes they could choose, and sometimes Mommy would choose.  When i said, "Mommy chooses" that was law.  When I said "DS chooses" my daughter  was choosing between two options that I had already determined I could live with - whether it was what clothes to wear or food to eat or game/toy to play.  I found that by giving my kids power some of the time (and it was really still my power because options were what I chose) made it easier for them to accept that I had complete power some of the time.


Of course, I had those days/times when it was a "Mommy chooses" and I would hear, "No!  I choose." but I found that they could be more reasonable when I pointed out the last thing they chose, or they next thing they would get to choose.


I don't know if this would work with all kids, but I have found that the challenges of "two" tend to be most extreme on the either end of the developmental scale - that being fast developers and slower developers.  It definitely worked for me with a couple of fast ones.


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