How 2 Discipline a 2 1/2 year old?

Amanda - posted on 12/26/2011 ( 18 moms have responded )

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My son is 2 1/2 year old & his tantrums r getting out of control i dont know what 2 do spanking him doesnt work & time outs dont work hes constantly screaming hitting biting & pinching & climbing he wont listen to anything i say...Can someone please help me i dont knoow what to do

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Jennifer - posted on 02/19/2012

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Hi Amanda,

I, too, have a hard time disciplining my almost 3 year old son. He was in day care for a little over a year and was picking up bad habits - coming home hitting, spitting, saying shut up, pinching, etc. I decided to do in home daycare to pull him away from the negative environment he was in at daycare, and it did help some, but it hasn't improved enough. Time outs do not work for him, he'll sit there and scream bloody murder. We've tried to divert this aggression with getting him to sit down and read books or color, and sometimes it works. Spankings don't work either, they just make me feel like the world's biggest meany because of the fear I see in his eyes.

I was told by a friend of mine about a t.v. show similar to Super Nanny, but in the U.S. and I have found some of her tactics seem to work. It's called 'America's Supernanny' and you can find episodes on Hulu. I get to the point I don't know what to do, and I don't feel as if there is someone that can truly help in this situation - such as a therapist due to the fact that he/she is not there 24/7 to fully understand what is going on - but seeing and hearing first hand other parents going through similar problems has helped me find alternate ways in which to, not only control myself, but attempt to help my son. The calm down corner is what we are working on with him and it is slowly working. Creating a diversion in other words.

I wish you luck. It's difficult.

Ariel - posted on 12/29/2011

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Have you tried giving him something with a bitter taste when he misbehaves? My aunt gave her kids a spoonful of vanilla extract every time they were in trouble. Her kids just laugh at her over spankings and timeouts.

As for getting him to listen, all I can suggest is getting down to his level to where he doesn't have to look up to look into your eyes and calmly talk to him and tell him what you want him to do and then show him. My Parents-as-Teachers lady says that putting your hand on the child's shoulder while you are at his level will help as will keeping your voice down so he doesn't think you're yelling (that is, if you raise your voice when you grow impatient. I know that I do and I apologize to my daughter when I do and remind myself that I need to talk to her calmly.) because talking calmly makes them want to know what you're saying.

Giving him reasons to want to behave will help too. My daughter's half brother will act out and we've discovered that rather than wait until he's been behaving badly to say something like, "If you don't knock straighten up, you can't stay anywhere this weekend," (when he's told that, he knows that he's already in trouble and won't be staying anywhere that weekend anyway and he'll continue acting out since he's already in trouble) we can tell him something like, "If you're good this week and don't get in trouble on the bus, we'll go bowling," and he'll be good all week long. Of course, with a 2 1/2 year old, a week would be too long to wait for the reward and he would probably act out again. So maybe try something like, "If you're REEEAAALLL good today and you listen to what Mommy says, we'll go get a brand NEW TOY!" (or "....you'll get to have this snack!" or ".....we'll go to the park!" Something that would excited him that is doable)

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Amanda - posted on 01/13/2013

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Julie my son is almost 4 now & still has these little outburst now it's gotten worse when he was 2 1/2 he was able to still communicate with me now he demands things i've tooken him to a behavioral clinic the dr there told me that he has adhd & might have odd cause he is mean to me not as much to his dad or anything else but is mean to me so dr said he might have odd but can't fully test him for it till he's 5 I don't understand what I did so wrong cause he is always getting my positive attention he gets more attention then his 15 month old brother so I don't know why I know a lot of its jealousy cause when he was 2 1/2 thats when his brother was born & my oldest didn't want nothing 2 do with me at the time its started all with that if I knew he would of acted like this with having another baby around I probably would of waited till he was older

Julie - posted on 01/11/2013

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The list of outburst your 21/2 year old is having are all signs of his attempts to communicate. Boys typically to not gain verbal skills as early or easily as girls. physical reaction and vocal outburst are primal and all he knows. It is your job to teach him how change the behavior by using his words. Start REWARDING him with complements every time he uses his words and does have appropriate behavior, listening skills or manners
Try this as well: STOP what you are doing. DROP to his level, not bend over but kneel and make eye contact, TALK in a calm clear voice with minimal words. Ask him to respond with, YES or NO, that he understands what you are saying. That's your one warning, tell him that if it happens again....you take (what ever he values most at the time) his truck or teddy or plane. Place it on top of the fridge for the day. Tell him he can earn it back with good behavior, or get it tomorrow. Ignore the tantrums, let him scream until he falls asleep on the floor. I becomes hard to entertain when there is no audience. Besides, he is getting a payoff with his outburst, your attention! Negative attention is better than NO attention. If you have a two month old, he is in stiff competition. Try to get some one on one special time to read or color or play cars...10-30 minutes is like a year to a toddler :)

Amanda - posted on 01/08/2013

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Christina no sorry haven't made any progress it's gotten worse actually since my baby was born

Lucy - posted on 01/06/2013

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I am having the same issue with my 2-year-old. I find that saying, "No, we don't _____ (bite/hit/pinch)" is what works the best. Very rarely, he will actually sit in time out.

I think he is getting these bad habits from daycare, and I plan to switch him to another daycare where the teacher/student ratio is a little better. Lately, he is turning into a child I do not recognize. He starts throwing a fit and loses control. I don't want to show aggressive behavior toward him. I feel like that isn't showing a good example. When I tell him no calmly and walk away, it works the best. I just find this time so draining and frustrating. Sometimes, I want to fast-forward and be in a point of time where he is a good listener and does what his parents say. What age is that supposed to start happening? lol.

Christina - posted on 12/10/2012

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Hi Amanda,



I saw your post and I wanted to follow up with you to see if you guys have made any progress. I am going through the same things with my 21/2 year old boy. Have you found anything thats worked?

Michelle - posted on 07/12/2012

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Try sending him to his room and tellling him to sit on his bed til he can be good! My sons 3 and usually does good in the corner but when he's really naughty I make him go sit on the bed and let him calm down. He usually calms down and comes and says sorry for what he did. Maybe that'll work. Also, my niece had a bad biting problem when she was 2. My sister and her fiancee would bite her back harder to show her how much it hurt her and that made her stop. Personally I wouldn't do that but every kid learns differently! Good luck!

Jenni - posted on 07/05/2012

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yes ignoring him when he behaves this way is probably going to be the most effective. i imagine that at this point he just behaves like this to get you to react because he clearly doesn't mind the fact that you are angry with him. when he does something you don't like just turn your back and do not respond until he has settled down into a more appropriate mood.

Amanda - posted on 06/10/2012

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My son is now 3 turned 3 in April but he still acts the same way especially when we go into a store...When he acts up I will say do you want to go to the car eventually we will go

Sonya - posted on 06/07/2012

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Yes...I do these too. My son is 2 1/2 (Jan, '10) Lots of praise/hugs/kisses for all of the good things he does, even small things (but not overly done so it sounds fake, just a high-five here, thank yous, etc.) I remind him before we go into the store/doctor/where ever, "this is what I expect of you..." and let him know that if he does X then we can not do Y...if you scream or throw a temper tantrum in the store today, then we can't do fun thing...but if you're VERY GOOD...we can go to the park...etc. Then a gentle reminder if he starts to get fussy..."remember, if you throw a fit we can't go to the park" Just basically PATIENCE. That's a big one in our house. There's a song I learned when I was young and every time he starts to get impatient, I sing it to him, he now starts to fill in the words for me when I start. "Have patience, have patience, Don't be in such a hurry. When you're impatient, you only start to worry. Remember, remember that Mommy's patient too and think of all the times when others have to wait for you [I use his name here]."
I also use the 'time out' method to have him control the time out. I have him sit or lie down on his bed/couch/chair not the same thing or place every time because I don't want to associate any particular thing with "the bad place" and when he's ready to calm down, listen and talk to mommy he can come out. When he's finished, he'll come out and talk to me.

The thing I have the most trouble with is when we go to town he will get tired and frustrated and then it's ON. He knows there is nothing I can do in town so he will act up...any suggestions for this would be great!!

Dorienne - posted on 03/04/2012

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my almost 3 year old girl is the same way ii have spanked my daughter a few times, and felt bad but always talk to her and ask if she likes when i am mad or get up set with her like that her response is usualy no or none at all, when kyra hits or throws things to hurt me i have hit her back not so hard but enough for her to feel it and ask if that was nice... and the climbing thing is hard i have a haard time with it she is constantly climbing things i always tell her she is gonna get hurt . when she does fall or get hurt always tell her to do it again and that stops it for a little while.. but most when she is having a tantrum i will put her in her room and tell her to stay til she is calm or stops freaking out, that usually works for me ...

Amanda - posted on 02/24/2012

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Ive seen that show American's super Nanny I thought about trying the calm down corner but didn't know if it would work for my son cause all he does is laugh at me or get up he won't sit

Amanda - posted on 01/05/2012

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Ariel i have tried getting down to his level it doesnt work sometimes i feel like im gonna lose it i also have a almost 3 month old baby..he is constantly climbing on chairs to turn the water on he tries to act like he's the boss i tell him not to do something he will say shut up mommy i don't know what to do

Amanda - posted on 12/29/2011

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he screams even more when i ignore him..i also have a 2 month old baby when he has a tantrum he will kick him i will spank his butt for that one i don't know what to do i am so stressed he thinks he can do whatever he wants like he's the boss & he's only 2

Amanda - posted on 12/27/2011

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i discipline my son if he bites i tell him no biting its not nice he laughs at mr & continues doing it

Mandy - posted on 12/26/2011

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sometimes walking away and ignoring the behavior works. it is so hard but if mine throws a fit i just simple walk away. she was biting for awhile, i just give her a dirty look and walk away, when she would come to me for attention i would tell her not if she is going to hurt me. she stopped. sometimes its good to have a calm down place and my daughter really likes the swing in the back yard. i dont know how but she just swings and then shes calm. sorry i couldnt be more help

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