How do I discipline my almost 2 yr old?

Jayne - posted on 01/11/2011 ( 17 moms have responded )

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My daughter is driving me to tears. Between willful destruction, constant "no", and in your face defiance I am at wits end. We do counting (1, 2, 3, then time out) and it does not even phase her. I have begun putting myself in time out when I am so angry I want to smack her.

I tried the 1-2-3 Magic system the pediatrician suggested. My daughter is verbally advanced and appears to comprehend my requests. She will do what I ask if she is in the mood but it is totally on her terms.

My three year old son has regressed since her awful behavior has started. He went from a shy but curious kid who was mostly independent to a clingy, whiny, needy little boy. Do you suppose my daughter is bullying him already?

Any ideas or help would be great. And no, no major life changes. I am married but my husband travels for work. We are financially stable, have not moved, are in the same class and teacher at school as before this started, and I just cannot pinpoint what the trigger is/was.
Thank you in advance!

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Stephanie - posted on 01/13/2011

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I think you may be giving her too much leeway with the 1-2-3. Just cut the 1-2-3 out. If you ask her to do something and she refuses, Tell her firmly again and warn her that if she refuses she will sit in timeout. Then just DO IT. Put her right into time-out, tell her why and how long she will sit there and walk away. If she leaves the defined space, put her back without talking until she serves the full 2 minutes. My daughter is very independent and pushy also. Just be consistent with what rules she needs to obey- Listening to mom and dad is the major one in our house- no throwing toys, and no hitting. Just a few and explain these rules to both your children and what the consequences are if they break the rules (time-out). It helps to get back to basics when you feel the kids are off track. Your son is probably clingy to you because you're giving your daughter more attention therefore he's receiving less (my son is also three and went through this). Even though your daughter may be receiving negative attention he is probably jealous. Set aside special time for just you and him (even if only during her nap time you guys read together or paint or draw). I doubt she is bullying him- however if you see her hit him or yelling T.O. would be appropriate immediately. I don't give warnings for hitting because that is completely unacceptable and has been explained repeatedly in our "house rules" We also wrote them down and pasted them on the wall where the kids can see (even though they cannot read, my 3 year old knows thats where the rules are and he can tell you WHAT they are because we went over them several times [when he seems to have forgotten the rules we go and read them over again]) Hope that was helpful! We're still working things out here, but after a T.O. with my daughter I ask her again to do whatever she refused to do that landed her there and she almost always does it right away (if she doesn't I put her back in time out). You just have to stay calm and collected (TRUST ME I KNOW THIS IS THE HARDEST PART) because they can tell when you're losing it and they act up more.

Stephanie - posted on 01/14/2011

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supernanny is exactly where I get my disciplining techniques, too! check out supernanny.com as well. But actually watching the show physically shows you how to properly implement.

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Yes, watch Supernanny! I record it with the DVR, and I love it. My kids are well behaved for the most part, they are 3 1/2 and almost 2, but I still learn a lot from the show. Just because they are well behaved, I don't want to overlook something that could lead to defiance later. I do a firm warning, then they sit on the step. I do not use the words naughty, bad, no, etc. There are different ways of saying things without using hurtful words. We focus on respect, so if they don't listen, which gets them time on the step, I explain to them that we need to respect each other by listening. We are a team, and we work together. We are "Team Bright".

Caitlyn - posted on 01/19/2011

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I just had a quick peruse of some of the other posts and was surprised that no one mentioned diet as a possible cause for your little girl's behaviour. Research shows that small children with growing brains need lots of essential fatty acids. A diet low in EFA's can cause behavioural issues and are linked to mental illnesses in later life. Studies done in prisons where inmates were given EFA supplements found a pronounced decrease in violent behaviour. Apart from some what you're already doing as far as discipline is concerned you may want to have a look at what she's eating. Reduce and eliminate sugar and processed foods as well as foods with additives in them. Increase vegetables and fruits and also add avocado, eggs walnuts, almonds and salmon and tuna to her diet. You can find supplements for kids containing fish oils that are yummy for them to have. I use one called Kid Smart by Nature's Way, which is available in supermarkets here in Australia. It's a multivitamin with fish oil.
On top of all that you seem to have a bright little girl who may also need some extra stimulation. It seems the bright ones get bored and go into destruct mode so she might need some activities and toys that are a bit more advanced for her age.
On the food front: I know as a mother of a 2 year old getting good nutrition into them can be a struggle. In the case of vegetables I process them raw in the food processor and add them to pasta sauces or hide them in burgers, fish and vegetable patties and slices like zucchini slice. Little pastry triangles with spinach and ricotta go down a treat too. There are lots of recipes and great books on healthy eating for kids that doesn't need to be boring, and shouldn't be either. Gook luck and I hope you find a solution.

Desiree - posted on 01/17/2011

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Time outs have done wonders! You have to be consistent though. And make sure hubby is too! My husband hates being the bad guy and giving time outs but will do it. My daughter fought them at first but now sits, does her time, and learns from it. Don't let them fool you. They aren't dumb those kids! Now I'm at the point where I can go about doing what I need to do and her little hiney doesn't get off the stair. If she stands up or tries to walk away the timer starts again. It also may help to physically set a timer, something they can see you start over when they misbehave. Be calm, be collected, and be in control of it! It really does work!

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Janice - posted on 02/09/2012

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when my daughter was at that stage i used da timeout, i used da supernanny method and sum of my own method!! when she did naughty tings she was warned once and if cont straight to da naughty step and explained why she was der!! if she was hving a tantrum for no reason i cud see of i ignored her till she calmed dwn and asked her why she acted like dat! it is hard and can b very tiring and emotional but i onli had 6 wks of this! which i tin i was lucky dat way!! talkin to dem when der calm about wat behaviour is apporiate helps and praising dem when dey show da rite behaviour! my daughter was very advanced for her age so i started naughty step as soon as she cud walk which was when she 14months old! sum family and friends tink im very strict on her but aimee is a very mannered child that say please and thank you al da time!! she still has her moments like every other child! every child reacts to differ methods!

Quenisha - posted on 01/19/2011

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My son will be two next month and is having some of the same episode most of you have described. I thought that it was something that I was doing wrong. Well after viewing the feedback I guess I am in the same boat and don't feel so bad. I am going to take some of the advice given and see if this helps me. Thank you all.

Hope - posted on 01/18/2011

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I have found a wonderfull book that i think is what you need. My daughter will be 2 next month and we had the same problem with her. this book has helped us out tremendously and we have seen a huge difference between her and others her age. It's called "to train up a child" its by Michael pearl. his wife's name is debby and they have also written several other books I found out but this is my favorite. we now live by it because it works so well. I Highly recomend this. call me if you have any questions 931-265-4911 im rarely on the net

Dawn - posted on 01/18/2011

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"The Happiest Toddler on the Block" IS a great insight to the mind of a toddler.....I find it difficult to use his method all the time, but I have found using my own version I am comfortable with helps. When my son is upset, I will hold him close to me and let him know I understand how he is feeling and then explain why it can't be done and/or an alternative. I have been torn between explaining too little and explaining too much...but I find that when I acknowledge my son's feeling and explain very detailed why and what is happening, he responds better. And yes, do not be fooled by these little ones!! They may not have the impulse control to help themselves from doing the misdeed in the first place, but they almost fully comprehend everything we say!!! I also want to add that I find most of our meltdown are caused by something else...hungery, bored, tired, energy to be burned, or Mommy's mood!!! If I stop to take a breathe and look into what is really going on, I can find a solution that makes us both happy and I always like that better than arguing!

Nerissa - posted on 01/17/2011

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I'm currently reading a book called "The Happiest Toddler on the Block" by Harvey Karp, M.D. It seems to have good insight on how a toddler's brain works. May be worth checking out? I've kind of started using his methods (tho I'm still reading it) and I'm enjoying my daughter alot more lately :)

Cassandra - posted on 01/17/2011

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My daughter will be two in Feb. she is also extreamly defiant and distructive. I find myself in time out as well as her. I have to sit with her on my lap in the middle of the floor in order for her to stay in time out. I know it is just a kid thing and I pray to God that she will grow out of this. She is extreamly smart and wants to do everything on her own. When she finds that she can not do it on her own then she will start hitting things and throwing things. If anyone has any advise to help me stop this behavor it would be greatly appreatiated.

Jayne, I know how you feel. Sometime I get so upset that I do start crying, then she will come up to me and say "its okay mommy, do you have a boo boo?' No matter what we will always love our kids.

Megan - posted on 01/15/2011

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i was doing the 1-2-3 and i read "the strong willed child" by doctor dobson and tried the changes he recommended....warning once then spanking. that seemed to really help. and now that she is a little older and has the attention span - 2 min timeouts seem to be more affective than even spanking since she is immediately removed from the situation and forced to sit on a mat like supernanny suggested on tv. good luck to u. it is a rough age.

Jayne - posted on 01/15/2011

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Thank you for letting me know I don't have the only tiny tyrant out there. I will checkout Supernanny. We are a no TV household so I hadn't heard of it before. I think maybe it is suddenly worse because she does not like being cold. Hoping turning up the heat and bundling her up more helps with her mood.

Melissa - posted on 01/15/2011

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Daniel is the same way. If you don't give him something he wants, he screams. If you yell at him or look at him funny, he cries.I tried time out, but think he is to young for that. He also hates nap time.

Megan - posted on 01/13/2011

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you should watch Suppernanny, ive gotten some tips from there & she shows great ways to help with that!!!

Jenny - posted on 01/11/2011

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My daughter very much understands what is asked of her and will even tell us she did something wrong on purpose. just recently we started the time outs ... she gets two minutes. The first minute she thinks it's a game but the second minute always tears. During that time I ask her to tell me why she's in time out and she can always tell me the reason as well as what the right behavior is.
For non-serious issues we take away the privilage. For example, if she purposely colors on the table with her crayons she loses her coloring privilage for the rest of the day. She cries but I make sure to distract her with another activity. we were visiting my parents one day after she lost her colors and when my mom offered her crayons she told "Grammo" what happened and that there was no coloring today.
Sometimes it's the toy that gets a time out.
When I get to the point of frustration I will simply tell my daughter I'm leaving the room and she can come find me when she's ready to listen or play nice, whatever the situation. Lately it's been morning dressing time. She likes to hide behind her curtains and since I work full time I can't play that game. Once i leave the room it only takes a minute for her to come crying.
I pick my battles ... some things are just not worth getting into a fight over. In those situations I just let her know what I'll be doing or where I'm going and let her come to me. Not sure this is what you were looking for but it's what I've been experiencing.

Randi - posted on 01/11/2011

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My son was very defiant too, still can be. Screams, hits me and himself, kicks, everything. I also felt like crying and I was really thinking about going back to work full time so I didnt have to deal with it all day. Time out didnt work at all, he just wasnt getting concept so i stopped bothering. Ive been trying to do more distraction techniques. If I know he is going to melt down or I need to do something he doesnt like I try and distract him some whether it be with a toy or helping me look for something. Works very well in stores. he usually wants to run around stores so I started having him help me look for items and this keeps him in the cart and happy. At home diapers are a big trigger and I usually have to be tricky to find new fun things to do there. I also found that things got better after one of his huge 45 min diaper change melt downs when I did not give in. everytime he tried to get down i put him back up and laid him down. We went back and forth for over 30 min. I stayed calm and then left him on his floor to scream and cry after we were done. I think he saw then that I do mean business. Maybe you need to win a battle ;) Dunno if I helped but best advice is stay calm and try to prevent!

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