terrible 2's stage at 18months

Natalie - posted on 04/09/2010 ( 34 moms have responded )

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i have an 18month old who is coming into the terrible 2's early. How do i deal with her saying NO to everything i say and not listening to anything i tell her to do unless i yell at her? I am sick and tired of her telling me no all the time. What can i do about it? Can anyone help please?

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See we used to call it the terrible 2's because years ago there was not the big push for the Early years development. As more research came out about what we could and when we should be teaching our young kids, the terrible 2's really is the terrible toddlerdom (so 18 months +). It's just terrible 2's sounds better and everyone knows what you are referring to when you say it.



How to deal with our troublesome 18 month old terrors ( I mean that in a loving way).



Recognize first off that they are not trying to be contrary on purpose. They are trying to become more independent.

As to the No! all the time, ignore it when you can and just repeat what you asked.

Time out is not effective yet, but a minute to sit down near you or in your lap to calm down may help.

I started giving my son a 3 second count down to correct his behaviour before I physically help him to what I have asked him to do.

For example, helping tidy up his toys, most of the time he does this with great enthusiasm, other times he throws and kicks things instead of putting them away. I firmly remind him what he is supposed to be doing. He gets two warnings. On the third I start counting down and if he hasn't come around by then I hand over hand (which is literally what is sounds like) I help him put his toys into the bucket. Generally after about 30 seconds he pulls his hands away and starts putting things away on his own.



I say a lot of things like "If you don't start doing ____ Mommy is going to have to come help you."

Since they want to be independent they will come around to this phrasing faster then me engaging in a battle of wills (No! Yes! No! Yes!).

I have noticed between my own son and 10 years of working in Early Childhood Education that 18 months is around when children start implementing selective hearing.

And some days I feel like I have to yell to get through to my own son too, but those days seem a lot less then back when I first started working with this age group.



I also find trying to state things in a different way that avoids the use of the word "No." helps.

For example: "No hitting!" becomes something like "Stop hitting. That hurts! Hands are for helping not hitting."

"No running!" becomes something like "We walk inside. We run outside. Walk please or you will have to sit down."

"No throwing toys etc!" becomes something like "Throwing is for outside and balls. Those toys are not balls. Please stop throwing or (enter consequence of choice here).



The rationale behind lessening the usage of the word "no" is that it is less confrontational. The rephrasing gives them a little less to argue with.

I wouldn't make the responses any longer then my examples, too long and you lose the kids attention at 18 months.



The last piece of advice I can offer is be consistent! Consistency is key and really really hard to do especially when you are tired, its the end of the day and you just want them to hurry up and do what you have asked. So what ever you choose to do for consequences and such, always be consistent and follow through. And don't beat yourself up if on the rare occasion you end up giving in, it happens to the best of us, we're human.



I hope this is helpful!



Good luck!

Aimee - posted on 04/14/2010

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No is a developmental phase...It will pass eventually. It is frustrating but it is part of them growing and learning to be their own person...Great book...Positive Discipline for the first three years...It has made a big difference in my life and I have used many concepts. I am a child development major as well and really see this work!! It is great...good luck!

Angel - posted on 04/14/2010

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Honestly, I sometimes have a bit of trouble out of my 19 month old but I have found that different approaches work for different children. When i grab my little one's hand she tries to throw herself down, and try as i might, most often she succeeds (little hands are a bit slippery) The last time she did this it was on concrete and she's since stopped doing it, at least on hard surfaces. lol. Also, singing seems to help when they are pitching a fit. Start out at least as loud as they are being, then get quieter so that they have to be quiet to listen.

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Maxine - posted on 04/28/2010

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My daughter started in with the bad behavior and i do time outs and they work amazingly. I didn't do them for long though, about 1 minute. She is an angel now. I only had to do it a few times consistently before her attitude started to change. Now when she has something she's not suppose to she brings it to me. When she tears something apart she will put it away when i tell her too. She listens so well now, when i say don't touch something, like a computer cord she will listen immediately and not touch it again and i don't have to yell at her, i just talk kind of monotone and when she looks at me i don't laugh or smile so she knows i'm serious.

Lorrie - posted on 04/28/2010

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hello my son is doing the same biting hitting and throwing tantrums especially when he is tired. timeouts worked for a little while.I try to distract him to something else or if he is hitting or biting i make a big deal about how it hurt and make sad faces and he seems to understand that he hurt someone but he is just a fresh little boy most of the time. I would like to try that reparaphrasing that sounds like a good idea thanks

Donna - posted on 04/26/2010

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I am so glad to read my little angel (when she wants to be - lol) is not the only one being this difficult! Although...she has been throwing tantrums since she was about 13 months old...I am assured, by experts as well as friends/family that clever children throw tantrums earlier (because they know what they want & understand more at a younger age & can't express what they want/need) & I am clinging on to that to keep me sane lol

Angie - posted on 04/25/2010

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I have noticed that distracting isnt working as well as it used to. I am not sure that time outs really get to them. They have attention spans of gnats and memory of elephants. Some times I have noticed that they do just need a change of scenery. I am happy the weather is getting better and so am I so we can start going out side some more (now I just have to get the husband to fence in some of the front yard)

BryAnne - posted on 04/22/2010

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My son has been a little bear lately....we say no and he repeats "no no" back to us and then go back to doing what he isn't supposed to be doing...we will repeat this 5+ times and he still does it. He is 19 months old so if I put him somewhere for a timeout he will leave there...hmmm...what to do? I've been trying to distract him from what he is trying to do that is wrong.

Monica - posted on 04/22/2010

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It looks like all these babies got the same memo...lol! My daughter has been going through this stage for the last couple of months.

Anne - posted on 04/22/2010

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with my lil girl when she hit to terrible 2`s we tried everything and what ended up working was anything that we could we would give her options, so like for dinner she would get 3 options of what she could have. If I wanted her to clean up her toys it was either you pick up or you go to bed. Didnt always work but usually it did. Best of luck

Denielle - posted on 04/21/2010

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We have a 19 month old daughter. We've found that she really likes to help which again promotes learning to be independent. She likes to help unload the dishwasher, put laundry in the dryer, help put her toys away, even help vacuum! When she decides to throw a tantrum we usually just tell her that this kind of behavior is not acceptable and we walk out of the immediate room she is in. She will usually figure out that we aren't responding to that kind of behavior. They say to redirect them to something else if they are doing something they should not be.

Keiana - posted on 04/21/2010

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My son has been not listening at all for the last week. My husband and I have no clue what to do with him . We are trying everything but he wont listen to us only others like his daycare teacher or my mom. I have been so embarassed this pass week from his tantrums in public he has gone so far as to swat at me or even spit at me when he does not get his way. Any words of encouragement will be great.

Tonja - posted on 04/20/2010

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My 19 month old is going through the same thing. She is not saying "no", but does shake her head when she doesn't want to do something. They are so incredibly smart at this age. We try not to shout at her, but calmly tell her "no" and try to redirect her from that activity. A lot of times she will get mad and throw a brief tantrum, but we are working on ignoring and she comes around pretty quickly. I like the idea of changing wording so that we are not using the word "no" all the time. Good luck!

Loni - posted on 04/20/2010

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I have found that when my 18 mo tells me no, it's because she doesn't realize that "yes" is an option. so when she tells me no, I tell her yes, and we do what I told her to. That way she realizes no is not the right option in that situation. I also let her know that when her life depends on it (running into the street) or she needs to mind right away, that no is not acceptable and taking her away from what she is doing helps ground it in her mind a little better.

Samantha - posted on 04/19/2010

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Time out works for my son. I'm working on getting him to say yes. He says no for everything even if he really means yes, so i'm not really having a problem with him not wanting to do things it's just using the correct words. His half sister taught him No and Don't, i don't want too, and other negative comments, which we do not use in this house.

Angie - posted on 04/19/2010

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Sadly I think that most of us are at this stage. I am tired of the that dreaded 2 letter word. but I dont even know wheat else to do. I just had a second baby (3 weeks ago) and am fried. I use it alot and often call my husband in tears right now.Be consistant they are just testing our limits. I have notice that Duncan only really testes the limits when he getting tired so we go sit down on the bed or take a nap.. It seems to help, if not just give me a moment of quiet.

Shawn - posted on 04/18/2010

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Time out is working a little, but since I count to three, with older sister, 35 months, he listens after I count to two... It's hard work with girls bc they are espeacially independent!!!!

Jen - posted on 04/18/2010

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I'm reassured seeing all of these stories. Our daughter was Miss Mary Sunshine, then it was like a switch was flipped; she knew "no" and the world was a different place. Don't get me wrong, she's still typically a very sweet, happy-go-lucky sort, but now she's discovered that she has a will of her own.

My trick with her of late is to give her options. She was a bear for diaper changes, trying to squirm away, kicking around and more than once got her foot in a poopy diaper. That was not fun for me! I figured that if I gave her a job to do, she'd be more cooperative. Now she chooses which diaper to wear, and she is charged with holding the wipe until I need it. I don't know how that kind of thing works for other kids, bur for DD it's working for now.

Stephanie - posted on 04/18/2010

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Wow, and I thought my 19 month old son was bad. From the stories I read on here I guess he's not that bad. I'm sure I'll experience the worst later. My husband was trying to teach our son the word "please" when he ask for things. Nowadays when he as for a cookie we ask him "what do you say?" And he says "pease". We didn't think he understood the use of the word but the other day he wanted to get out of his stroller and he tried "out", "down", "upa" (for up) and nothing worked. Finally, he sat quietly and suddenly said, "PEASE" and I couldn't help myself and LOL! Daddy had to smirk and gave in to him. Our son will occasionally not listen to us and run off or drop something we ask him to give us or put away. He'll also walk away when we call him. But I guess those aren't so bad. The worse he has done is when we ask him to return the step after he has used it to reach the sink and he refuses. In the past, my husband would warn him and end up putting him in the crib (he hates it) and let him cry for 10 minutes. He eventually learned to "cope" with that and just stood there and talked to himself. So recently I started to repeat myself 3-4 times and on my 5th time I will reach for the step and repeat myself. He will start to move towards the step and pick up the step and return it to its original spot. Once he puts it down I will say "very good" and/or "yay! you did it!" Clap our hands and he's happy.

Jacinta - posted on 04/17/2010

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Hi Natalie! my 20 mo is the same. I have found that instead of yelling at her (which only makes her more stubborn) I try to calmly talk to her while telling her "no"and its "naughty"and then i go and do something that she can help me with - like clean her toy room or water the plants and then encourage her for her good behaviour... i was suprised with myself when it did actually start working! She can still be a terror but not as often or severe!! Good luck!!

Daria - posted on 04/16/2010

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join the club.. My 18 month old son does the same thing.. he is not listening at all.. I was so glad when he finally fell asleep tonight. I guess that's how 18 month old kids are.. They're trying to figure out what they can and can't do.. They're testing..

April - posted on 04/15/2010

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My 19 month old son has also decided to fast forward to Terrible Two and I've been dealing with him spitting his food/drink once he's had enough, refusing to take his medicine, banging on tables in public and fake crying as long as he doesn't get his way. I am trying 'time-outs' when he spits by pushing his chair away from the dining table so he sits apart and know he is being punished. When he fake crying, I simply ignore him and he would stop after a while. Yet it is hilarious when I can see him peeping at me from the corner of his eyes to see if his crying is working, LOL. As for the medicine, I just feed him in different ways; when he refused the syringe, I would use a colorful spoon instead and it works.

Lisa - posted on 04/15/2010

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Parenting with Love and Logic - I am a facilitator and use it with my 19 month old - go to the web site they have lots of great CD's that I listen to in the car - so it sinks in, and then I figure out a technique from their ideas, and makes life alot easier!!!!
Lisa
http://loveandlogic.com

Jessica - posted on 04/15/2010

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I feel your pain my daughter just hit the 19 month mark and we most defiantly at the start of the terrible two's she can't say no yet but she can shake her head and she's pretty hilarious when she's mad she shakes her head no so hard she almost falls over! lol
I know alot of the problem is she starting to build some independence but it can be pretty frustrating at times. I tell my husband quite often DO NOT repeat yourself to our daughter more than once. If you have asked her to pick up her toys twice and she is still ignoring you go to her take her by the hand and start showing her what you are asking her to do. If we start the bad habit now of repeating instructions over and over again now how many times will we have to repeat ourselves when she's 5?

And consistency is one of the hardest things to keep up with at this age, they are incredibly smart and have started to remember things :) So if it's time to leave the grocery store and you're little one has a freak out DO NOT bride them or the next visit to the grocery store will end just as badly. (My husband learned this the hard way.) I guess I'm one of those weird moms out there who doesn't have a problem pushing a temper tantrum taking child around the grocery store, I am always the more stubborn one in our house!

A mother of 6 from my Mommy and me group said last week when we were all asking the expert what to do she explained it took till her third but she finally figured out if she could be incredibly strict from about 18 months till 2 and a half there was a lot less bad habits to break and with all of her kids she found if every time they did a specific action there was ALWAYS the same reaction from Mom then there was less testing they gave up pushing buttons alot sooner than the first two lol.

Bonnie - posted on 04/15/2010

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Nicole advice has started to work...My son is 19 months old and OMG the word "No" has been removed from my vocabulary cause i noticed myself saying it to him ALL THE TIME...So if i ont say it he is less apt to repeat me cause he is going threw that stage as well. If he says NO and i respond with a "well here i come then" and he either stops what hes doing or does what i asked of him. its seeming to be a long process but its all worth it...Thank u!!

Alyx - posted on 04/15/2010

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Wow Nicole great advice! I have an 18 month old daughter and I am going to give that a try! :)

Jamie - posted on 04/13/2010

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Don't know that I can help but my son is entering the terrible 2's also. He doesn't say no or hit or bite, but he does do things that he knows he shouldn't (or at least he didn't do before) and when I tell him no he laughs at me a does it again. He also doesn't stop unless I yell and I really don't want to do that either cause lately I feel like thats all I do. Also, I noticed that he has been throwing temper tantrums often lately. No kicking or throwing himself on the floor, but he does scream and cry A LOT lately. My mother suggest to just try and distract them and that DOES seem to help. I try to take him and do something he likes (like a game or play with a favorite toy or even a favorite show) I've been trying to take him outside a lot lately since that seems to help also. The only thing with that is when we have to go back inside, it's a disaster!! I would love to hear any ideas that moms or dads have also. :)

Apol - posted on 04/13/2010

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My daughter can say the word "No" best of all. And when she really doesn't want to do something she pairs it with a vigorous shaking of her head. However, she is more agreeable with things. i started by helping her and showing her where things went. Sometimes, I would point for her to put her empty bottle on the dining room table, or move her shoes to her room which she dutifully does. When she refuses to do something, I tell her again, about 3 times. And usually I have to make sure I'm nice when I'm asking her to do so, and not yell at her. She does it my way when I yell at her but I prefer not to.

Natalie - posted on 04/12/2010

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Thankyou very much Nicole for your helpful advise i will give it a go and see what happens. Its good to know im not the only one who has problems with the terrible 2's stage.

Sarrah - posted on 04/11/2010

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my son is the same the only person he will listen to is his dad.. even if i end up shouting at him he doesnt listen half the time if he has been norty and i tell him or try a time out with him he laughs at me and does whatever he did to get there again. My son has also started to bite, smack people with either hit fist or anything he has hold of, nip , and the tantrums are unreal.. any ideas wha i can do would be helpful thanks

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