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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    1,109

    Terrible Two's... Help!

    Well, Rowan will be 2 in October and just like my little overachiever, I believe she is hitting her terrible 2's early. The past few weeks she has been going through a hitting/throwing things phase and just being an all around brat. She thinks it's funny to slap my glasses off my face and to throw a full sippy cup of milk at my husband's crotch when he isn't paying attention. We correct her every time and said "No, we don't hit/throw things/push/what have you" in a very stern voice but I honestly don't have much experience with children before I became a mom, I am an only child and all my friends growing up were a few years older than me.

    I guess I'm just looking for advice from other parents. What are your secrets? Is it really just a phase, or will she be a brat forever if we don't nip it in the bud? We both work from home right now so she isn't in daycare or anything, and all our friend's kids are way older (5+) or newborns, so she doesn't really get to interact with other kids around her age much (save for brief interactions at play places or parks) and she is mostly absorbed in "Mommy and Daddy World" all the time and I'm sure some would say, spoiled. We want to start taking her to the child care center at our new gym a few times a week, but I'm kind of scared she will be mean to another kid or throw a tantrum.
    My cherished daughter, Rowan Jane. ~b. 10/2011~


    Sawyer ~ Aven ~ Elowen ~ Sage ~ Eilonwy ~ Eleanor
    Morgan ~ Asher ~ ___ ~ ___ ~ Currently trying to fill the blanks...


    Trying for #2 in January 2014.

  2. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    2,150
    I don't really have much time for a long response, but I wanted to drop in and try to help a little. Hopefully I can come back later and elaborate, or maybe someone else will be along to give some useful advice.

    I worked in a private child care facility for several years (working with the 2-3 year old groups). Something that I learned during that time is every child is different, and every child approaches the 2s in a different way. Another thing I learned is that every parent/guardian/caregiver/friend/mother-in-law/grandmother has an opinion on how certain situations should be handled, and no matter what you do someone is probably going to tell you that you're doing it wrong.

    So while my opinions might not amount to much, here's my advice:

    Children grow at such an incredible rate during their toddler years. They are constantly learning new skills, and with their increase in knowledge comes their desire to test their boundaries. Toddlers will test you harder than you've ever been tested. What they're looking for is consistency. They are learning how to process complex instructions. A thought process might include something like: "Sure, mom said I shouldn't throw my teddy bear, but she didn't say I couldn't throw my sippy cup" or "Dad hasn't talked to me in a few minutes, but he showed me attention the last time I spilled milk on him."

    I think the best thing you can do is to be consistent, and continue to be firm. Also, in my experience, 2-year-olds thrive on reactions. If you act overly exacerbated, they'll most likely just play into it. It's best to stay calm. At 2 you can usually start to implement a "timeout", if you want. A lot of parents have complained to me that timeouts don't work on their children, and I generally find that it isn't true. Some parents just don't know how to properly execute a timeout. The child needs to be in a quiet place with few distractions. The general rule I use is one minute per year of age for the child. A 2 year old doesn't have the attention span to sit in timeout for 5-10 minutes. It won't work. Not only will they get up, play with toys, run around, etc, but they will also forget why they're in timeout in the first place. That is also why it is important to explain clearly why the child is in timeout in the first place. Be specific. "You need a timeout because you threw your toys. You shouldn't throw things because you could hurt someone" (or something like that). Also (assuming the child can talk) ask the child at the end of the timeout "Why were you in timeout?", and let them tell it back to you in their own words. That way you can see if they really understand.

    Anyway, to sum up: I don't think your child is being a brat. She most surely doesn't see it that way. She's just testing you (and her own new-found talents).

  3. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    1,186
    Quote Originally Posted by dovah View Post
    I think the best thing you can do is to be consistent, and continue to be firm. Also, in my experience, 2-year-olds thrive on reactions. If you act overly exacerbated, they'll most likely just play into it. It's best to stay calm.

    That is also why it is important to explain clearly why the child is in timeout in the first place. Be specific. "You need a timeout because you threw your toys. You shouldn't throw things because you could hurt someone" (or something like that). Also (assuming the child can talk) ask the child at the end of the timeout "Why were you in timeout?", and let them tell it back to you in their own words. That way you can see if they really understand.
    Totally agree with these statements that I chopped/cropped from dovah's full reply. Those are my secrets-- consistency/firmness, follow-through on consequences, and be specific/ask for acknowledgement that they understand.

    Another thing I use for toddlers/pre-schoolers is something called "Tomato Staking" - when little ones are in a "mood" where they are acting up constantly... it's best for me to keep them close to me. It's a slight "punishment" that they have to stay with me and don't get to venture out to the huge bin of toys or whatever else is on their mind... I keep them nearby or at least in view and I can correct them immediately and each time they do something that is not appropriate. The repetitive nature of me correcting their behavior and catching it while it is happening has been successful for us.
    Wife to one great guy
    Mama to six pretty ladies: Scarlett (12), Penelope (9), Alice (3), Fiona (3), Lucille (16 mo.) & Coraline (16 mo.)

    & 4 angels gone before us: Christian (7 wks), Amos (6 wks), Naomi (16.5 wks), & Hosanna (6 wks)

    ~We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.~

  4. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    113
    I second time out. I'm a nanny caring for a little boy who is in the middle of his terrible twos, and he was doing the same sort of stuff your daughter is--throwing things, hitting, etc. We started giving him time-outs when he started one of his fits. In the beginning he often wouldn't listen to us about staying put in one place, so we would sometimes have to hold him there (usually facing a wall or something equally as uninteresting) until he calmed down. Now, if we tell him he's in time out he'll usually go by himself even if he's screaming about it. The rule we had was two minutes since he's two, but sometimes he would completely calm down, wipe his eyes, and put a smile on his face before two minutes was up so we'd let him play.

    I think time out has really worked for us, but like I said it took a little while for us to get where we are. He's throwing fewer tantrums and isn't hitting anymore. I think part of it is that we also worked on the "cause" of the tantrums, which for him was mostly a dislike of transitions. For instance, "I'm having fun playing with my trucks, so I don't want to get my diaper changed/eat lunch/get in the bath/get dressed." I made up a "game" where I ask him to give me a number, then I count to that number and when I'm done counting we race to see who gets to the kitchen/bathroom/etc. first (he always wins, of course). Your daughter might be a bit young for something like that, but if you see that something in particular is causing her tantrums and can find a way to make it into a game she can understand and have fun with, it might help.

    As for throwing tantrums at the child care center, every child is different, but I've actually found that many kids I've been babysitting throw more tantrums when they're in comfortable surroundings with people they know and trust vs. people they don't know well in a new setting, so she might surprise you and be well-behaved. For instance, the little boy I care for throws far more tantrums when his mother is also home than when it's just the two of us, and he hasn't ever acted out when I've taken him on various excursions outside the home. Again, all kids are different and you know yours best--but I think some interaction with other kids her age would be fun for her!
    Current favorites:
    Genevieve - Eloise - Rosalie - Cecelia - Adelaide - Felicity
    and
    Theodore - Oliver - Henry - Myles - Silas - Finn

  5. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    PA, USA
    Posts
    548
    Well I'm not a parent, but I am a toddler/preschool age teacher so hopefully I can help out a little bit. Kids at that age are learning where their limits are at the same time they're learning to assert their independence, so acting out is pretty much inevitable. I agree that, whatever form of discipline you choose to use, consistency is key (including between parents!). Also, a big part of the pleasure toddlers get from their tantrums is the reaction of others, so it is definitely helpful to avoid revealing your feelings, no matter whether your instinct is to laugh or become irritated. It sounds like what you have been doing is a great strategy, so don't get discouraged just because it might not seem like it's working right now.

    One more thing: please don't consider not sending your daughter to childcare just because she might throw a tantrum! Literally every single toddler I have worked with has thrown a tantrum at one point or another, even if most of the time they're a perfect angel. Childcare is a great place for your child to learn about social interactions with peers. You can even talk to her teacher about what strategies you've been using at home; he/she will hopefully be willing to work with you!

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