How do you discipline a willfull toddler?

Danielle - posted on 05/14/2010 ( 119 moms have responded )

43

22

1

My daughter is 22 months old. Since she's been about 10 months, she has been independent, determined, stubborn, and adventurous. I've done so much reading on the 'good' methods of getting her to understand NO, but they all have failed miserably despite a years worth of trying. I've done the firm NOs, and she laughs and says NO back at me (and no, I don't smile or laugh when she does this). I've moved her from whatever she's doing wrong, and she beelines back to it- every. single. time. I've given her distractions and she couldn't care less because she only wants what SHE wants. When she wants something, she gets it. I've given her time outs for 90 seconds. After doing this for three weeks straight, literally up to 20 or 25 times a day with no progress, I stopped. When going to touch things that might be dangerous (things in stores, hot things, glassware, whatever), I've given her quick 'pops' on the hand (just one finger, more of a firm tap, not slap), and now she walks around slapping her own hand when I tell her 'no' and laughing. It got to the point where I was just making really loud noises to scare her when she went for something she shouldn't. It worked for a few times, until she thought it was funny and realized she could just ignore me. She's been in terrible twos, I am assuming, because she just walks around screaming. She won't let you put her in the stroller or hold her, she has to walk, but then runs and doesn't even acknowledge that you are talking. She doesn't learn from any disciplining- she just throws massive tantrums until A.) you give her her way, B.) She's been screaming and crying for so long she doesn't remember why she's crying, or C.) She finds something else she is interested in- on her terms, not yours. So, any advice or suggestions would be great, because I don't know what else is left but a firm spanking on the butt, and I really don't want to do that.

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

[deleted account]

Oh my gosh---give her a decent swat on the butt or leg! I also tried the all the methods becasue i was determined not to spank and teach her "violence is the answer" but then I saw a news story about a study that was done on spanking. Bottom line, the study found spanking kids 6 and under is the most effective way to correct behavior/punish bad behavior. Once they are 6, then they recommend against spanking. SOOOOO, I tired it. It works! And you won't be whacking your kid 50 times a day like you end up doing with time -outs. I tell my daughter "do it again and you get a spanking". If she does it again, I spank her leg (hard enough to sting). She cries for like 30 seconds and I say "I told you not to do it and you did anyway. I warned you that I'd spank you so that is why you got spanked". She gets over it and guess what? The next time I say "stop or you'll get a spanking" my 2 year old considers those consequences and usually won't continue what she's doing. Kids aren't dumb. A time out is good if they just need to chill for a minute, but I think it's really optimisitc to think this will actually correct behavior long term. We mostly redirect her but there are times when a little swat is much more effective. "Do you want to get a spanking? Then cut it out!" goes a long way in restaurants/public places, too. I don't have to spank her more than 1x/week for any reason because the threat works well enough by now. The big thing is if you say "stop or you get a spanking" if the behavior doesn't stop, you gotta follow through and smack their leg. My kid knows I mean business. I let her get away with a lot but at two years old, we have certain limits and boundaries. I hope that enforcing those now will save us from a lot of problems down the line! good luck!

Missy - posted on 05/27/2010

87

15

16

This age is all about autonomy. They have realized that they have an opinion and they want their independence. Here are a few things I can suggest:

Control- you have it, she wants it. So give her some. Let her have choices on things that don't really matter or make a difference either way. It may seem silly, but it works. " Do you want to eat lunch now or play for five more minutes?" Is a great one. Of course, she's going to say to play for five more minutes but it gives her a warned and it lets her feel in control. When five minutes is up " Do you want to walk to the table or hop like a frog?" Let her have a choice in what she wears " Red shirt or blue?" and how she does things " Are you going to brush your teeth fast or slow?" You'll notice that as she has more control over her world, you'll gain more control over choices that you have to make.

Consistency- be firm on what your expectations are. Toddlers need to know their boundaries. If they know that breaking rule A always results in action A, they won't have reason to test it as much.

Pick your battles: I'm not saying to lay down and let her do as she pleases but remember that some things just aren't as a big a deal as we think they are. This is a hard one for me!

Find times where it's ok for her to follow her whims. Playing at the park or free play is a great way for them to exert their independence. If they get their fill of it on the play ground , they'll be less likely to act out at home.

Just a few things..I hope they help!

Tracie - posted on 05/15/2010

79

36

4

PRETEND IT'S NOT YOUR CHILD! I've done this a few times- and you wouldn't yell and loose it (hopefully) if you watching someone else's child, this has worked for me instead of loosing the plot on a number of occations :-) good luck!

Lisa - posted on 05/14/2010

225

13

13

oh yeah--NEVER give in to a tantrum! it just teaches them that the next time all they have to do is scream. totally ignore tantrums unless they are harming others. just walk away. they are throwing them for your viewing pleasure, but once you walk into another room and do your own thing, they will wonder what happened to their audience, they may even follow you into the other room and then keep screaming, you can either go into another room or just whisper, "no, you can't come in here when you scream" then put them out the door and shut it in their face. The important part is to maintain your cool and your boundaries. and when you whisper you are showing you are in control, they have to quiet down to hear you, they may miss what you said the first few times, but after that they will be eager to hear what you were saying...

Angela - posted on 05/31/2010

6

13

1

It does sound like you have exhausted your other options. My son is 5 & we started the terrible 2's at about a yr. old I did end up having to swat his bottom a few times,but, the good news was since I was consistent he got the point rather quickly.I don't yell at him I speak in a low even tone so has to pay attention to be able to hear me & after about a month of swats,making him pay attention & even still I will tell him something one time & if I know for certain he heard me I go to the swats or taking away a toy or something I don't repeat myself.
Not saying it's a perfect system,but, it works for us and it makes our time together so much more enjoyable.

This conversation has been closed to further comments

119 Comments

View replies by

Lisa - posted on 05/31/2010

25

4

4

my son is also in his terrible two's, so i can relate to your frustration. i feel like i'd get more of a response talking to/disciplining a rock sometimes. one thing that i have found that works a bit is when he misbehaves i give one warning, telling him if you do that again i am taking away your fav toy. when he does do it again i take that toy away. if he continues to do it after that i take ALL of his toys and put them in his room w/ the door shut so he can't get at them until i open the door for him. this he REALLY hates and usually helps him stay in line for a couple hours or so. i hope that it may help you too! good luck and hang in there!!

Valerie - posted on 05/27/2010

901

29

171

DONT SPANK HER AS IT ISNT THE ANSWER AND BREEDS HER HITTING OTHERS...focus on what she is doing right to help that to grow...when you see anything good name it...ie, helpfulness, friendliness, cooperation, obedience, kindness, gentleness...say I see your friendliness when you smile at mommy...I like it when you obey me like you just did by coming to the table...name the virtue and how you see it to help it grow...when she isn't using a virtue, call her to it..."Mommy needs your helpfulness to pick up those toys." If she doesn't listen I would repeat the request. If she still doesn't listen I would give her a two minute time out followed by are you ready now to be helpful? if she says no i would let her sit...if she protests i would ask again, "are you ready to be helpful now and pick up your toys?" i think you will find that if you stay calm and a broken record using this language...you will have better results most of the time...i am not a big believer in the time out method by itself or used very often...i think you see the negative results of this...i think you have shone alot of commitment, patience and caring toward your daughter...all the best www.virtuesvillagellc.co,

Kris - posted on 05/27/2010

7

27

0

I'm a mum of 5 girls, I was going crazy trying to discipline kids ranging in age from 14 to 1 and came across a parenting class called 1-2-3 Magic. Its fantastic. 2 years down the track and it's still working for us.
http://www.parentmagic.com/

April - posted on 05/27/2010

5

4

2

I know the timeouts are exhausting and frustrating and don't always seem to be working. But really months are more appropriate than weeks. You know it's a rough day when you've had three time outs before 7 am. Some days it seems like time outs are all we did all day, but i am a believer that slapping/tapping hand or bottom encourages violence or them to hit back. After several months Annika now puts herself in timeout when she does something bad. I've always explained to her why she was time out after it was done and gave hug and kiss. Even before she was two and probably didn't understand what I was saying. But now she really responds to the "Do you want a time out?" threat if she doesn't stop. We even went through a short phase of "I hate you" when I put her in time out (this is from 26 month old). Time outs didn't work for that, so i tried rubbing soap on the tongue. That stopped it immediately and she hasn't done it since. I felt aweful for rubbing a bar of soap on my 2 year old's tongue, but it wasn't encouraging violence so i went with it. Being creative and not giving up is important. Being a parent is HARD. I don't think i could do it with any more than one child.

Felicia - posted on 05/27/2010

23

27

0

Well, it looks like you've done everything BUT spank her lol, but unfortunately it might have to be done. Since she's so young, it isn't a phase that just goes away. She's establishing herself and winning. If you don't want to spank her on the butt, start with the hand. The one finger thing doesn't hurt, in the least (I just tried it on myself to make sure). Be proud that you stuck to your guns with not spanking her for this long. It sounds like she's mocking your efforts and a change must be made. I know of someone who's daughter was and IS the same way, even now when she is 18 years old. She's even attacked her mother for not letting her do what she wanted. I'm not saying this will happen with your daughter, but you don't want this to be a habit that sticks, because if she's still like this when she hits puberty...all you can do is pray. You won't be a horrible person for being a mother, and discipline is a firm part of it.

My daughter is still willful, because that's her personality, but she knows what she can and cannot do with me. She knows she can probably get away with more stuff with anybody else BUT me. Now I don't hit her for everything, sometimes a firm tone is enough. You will know when a spankng is in order, but you have to be open to it. Discipline is key with the independent ones lol

[deleted account]

I have a very strong willed little girl whom I love to bits - but who drives me nuts some times. She is now 3,5yrs - but has been miss independent from the moment she was concieved! I am very careful not to break her spirit - but there is also a very fine line between independence and defiance. So yes - I believe that all actions has consequences and she has to learn that to. THerefore I do give my child a smack. Not for every little thing. Most of the time she is sent to her room until she can be "fun" again to be around. She gets a choice - either to walk there or to be carried. When she is ready to be fun she can come out and we smile and move on. If it is something that can have dire consequences like touching the stove or glass things or anything that she knows can really hurt her, she knows that those things gets smacks. I warn twice - then she has to go to the bathroom. I wait to compose myself first, then I go in explain what she did wrong and give her a smack on the bum. It's sometimes so hard to do that when you're not angry anymore - but it certainly has the required effect. When she's finished crying I give her loves and we move on.
I read a Christian book called "loving your children on purpose" which explains a lot of this disciplining method. It really boils down to not taking on THEIR responsibility or bad tempers, but let THEM carry that. So when she misbehaves when I have to cook - rather than work myself in a tizz she gets to go to her room until she can be fun. It normally does not last long - but at least for 15min or so I could cook without a screaming child and it has removed the stress from me.
Good luck. They are a handful these strongwilled little people - but still so precious.

Lee Ann - posted on 05/26/2010

131

65

1

this sounds exactly like my daughter, she is 2.....and man have we been going through it with her, she throws fits, screams all the time, throws things, kicks, bites, you name it she dose it, you can pop hands, smack her bottom, put her in time out, nothing works for us either......just makes you want to pull your hair out....so i feel your pain on this situation, best of luck hun.....im going through all of it as well

Geanna - posted on 05/26/2010

14

4

0

OMG you have almost described my 20 month old son to a T! there are a few things different (like for the most part my son doesnt mind the stroller or grocery cart as long as its moving). it is so very frustrating when you disciplin them and they laugh at you. if you find an answer to this delima let me know please and i will do the same if i find one

Agnes - posted on 05/26/2010

2

2

0

my son is not that tempered but he doesn't listen when I tell him no. I know it has to do with me not being consistent which is very important. I have never put him in time out but slapping his hand doesn't work for him either, he'll just go right back to what he's not suppose to do. I just need to put him on my lap and hold him tight, like no moving around. After he's calmed down I'll ask him if he will obey now, if he says no he'll sit longer. My son is 20 months but he knows exactly what I'm saying. I think if timeout doesn't work maybe you need to find a different method. Someone has also told me about their child who was kind of like yours and he had to change discipline methods every so often. I wish you all the best!!!

Jolyn - posted on 05/26/2010

15

23

0

Ya i'm worried about taking my sons binky from him because it comforts him so, but it's time.. way past time... Things were so easy with my oldest but I also was a stay at home mom then. My son is going to flip but it is unsafe for him to be biting them so hard they are breaking... What if he swallowed or choked on it???? I would hate myself so I figure that I'll just make him go cold turkey!!! I really feel bad but as you said i'm sure God will work it out for me too!! Thanks!!

Lisa - posted on 05/26/2010

2

0

0

Awe. You sounds like such a great Mom! Thanks for those ideas. I just weaned my son from breast feeding (he was down to nights). I was so scared to stop, but you know, God just totally worked it out. Why I was so intimidated/afraid of how he'd react, I don't know, but... it was amazing and he did just fine. I pray God will give you wisdom and your son grace as he grows up in this new way. :-) Bless you guys!

Jolyn - posted on 05/26/2010

15

23

0

I actually swatted my sons butt once and now if he does not listen by the count of three he gets that look from me and my hand goes up and he immediatly listens up or does the task I asked him to do. I haven't had to swat him again. He talking so much and just started saying I love you too and sorry.. He's been saying thank you for a while now so it's been nice to be able to praise him and him kinda praise me back he'll get a little mad at first but then he'll say sorry momma! It's too cute. I also have an 11 year old and it has always helped that I talked to the boys and asked how they are feeling. I have always treated them the way I wanted to be treated. I would say I am very fortunate, my oldest was the best kid ever, never ever had terrible twos!! My youngest is giving me a run for my money but is still a pretty good boy. I thank the LORD for my boys!!

Lisa - posted on 05/26/2010

2

0

0

I can soo relate to all these posts. I just wanted to tell you (don't know if your child still sleeps in a crib), but I put my son in his crib for his timeouts (for around 2 minutes), and I close the door. He responds pretty well when I finally "do it". He would never stay in one place for my perception of a "regular time out". He doesn't want to go to bed, so I think it helps him behave. I agree with the longer (10 minute) time out recommendation. I will definitely make him stay up there longer, if he stopped responding to the short times I've been giving him. Hang in there and pray for lots of grace. :-) You're a great Mom! blessings, Lisa

Janel - posted on 05/26/2010

9

10

2

Wow! Everyone has toddlers who are normal. This is great but also frustrating. I have a 2 year old independent stubborn son and have been watching children since I was 12. Just remeber you are the parent and the childs responsibility is to listen to you. It gets hard, but I have found with mine talking quietly almost a whisper catches his attention more, if he is throwing a fit in time out, pick them up swat on the butt once, and start the timer again for 5 minutes. Telling your child once they can sit quiet for 5 min they can get up. Once he is up I talk with him about how he is suppose to listen to me because I want him to be safe and not get hurt. Then it is hugs and kisses.
I know this might sound bad, I learned this from my grandma, but once he was throwing a fit so hard that I could not control him and I took a tablespoon of water and dumped it on his head to get his attention, it shocked him and he calmed down long enough to be put in time out. Or like last night when he did not want to give up the bottle of hot sauce and wanted to drink it (the lid was off), so I offered him a taste and put a touch on his finger. He left it alone after that. Sometimes you gotta let them try it in order to learn why you are saying 'no'. Just make sure it isn't putting his hand in the over or something horrible. Be consistent, pretend you are talking to an adult co-worker about an issue, and don't give up. It only gets worse once they start talking back or can actually outrun you.

Jolyn - posted on 05/26/2010

15

23

0

I know I'm chiming in a little late but I have two boys, very stubborn especially the 2 yr old. What I did was start a sticker board. He loves sponge bob so much so I bought him sponge bob stickers and when he listened like a good boy he got a sticker on the sticker board and after so many he recieved a trip to the park or we made cookies together, any type of activitity that he wanted to do. I also did this for my oldest son when he was potty training and it's worked like a charm! My problem is that is not working to get rid of his BINKY!!!!!! So I'm afraid that this weekend I'm just going to take it away!! He is starting to chew through them so wish me luck as I do you with this big issue to takle!!

Jessica - posted on 05/26/2010

1

13

0

Parenting with love and logic is a wonderful book! They also came out with a toddler addition! I would recommend this book to anyone!

Sandra - posted on 05/26/2010

3

10

0

Thanx. That really helps. I just dont want to be the bad parent and my husband says that he cant deal with me and her much more. And I understand where he is coming from cause neither can I. Thanx alot

Julia - posted on 05/26/2010

7

21

1

My husband thought we should pop our son's hand when he was about 18 months (h'es 28 months now) when he was starting to grab something hot or otherwise dangerous. Well he didn't grab the hot things on the stove, but he started hitting ME, in the face. I decided that we didn't teach him not to grab hot things as much as teach him to hit, and it broke my heart. He is a strong willed child, but not the extreme that others' kids are. I did put him in a time out for not listening to Mommy/following directions about a month ago. He was in the chair for a 2 minute time out, and then I picked him up to explain why and asked him to tell me sorry. Even though he knows how to, he waited, while I was holding him, for an hour and 50 minutes before he gave in and said sorry. We haven't had that problem again since, and I'm confident we won't in the future. He learned that Mommy doesn't give in.

As far as the tantrums go, if they're in a public place, it helps to talk about the kid to someone else. "Doesn't she look silly? I would be too embarrassed to roll around on the floor like that. I'm glad that I'm big now and I know not to do silly things like that." It works better if you say it to a child who's older than your child. Toddlers love to impress older kids and don't want to look like babies in front of them. They can be the meanest ever to the parents, and then polar opposite sweet to a child just a year or so older. Then the rewards come in, mostly praise but anything else that they really like, only it has to be something RARE. If they get it every week or almost every day, it is not a treat.

Sandra - posted on 05/26/2010

3

10

0

It is sooooo nice to know that I am not the only one with a child who thinks they are in charge. I have a daughter that turned 2 in Feb. I have tried everything. I have even taken parenting classes for several different age groups to see if that would help me. NOTHING is working. I put her in time out and hold her still for about 10-15 mins, and she still does the same thing. I have given her rewards for good behavior, she comes home asnd still acts up. I have popped her hand and on her diaper, she laughs. I tell her that I want her to pick up her toys or something like that and she tells me NO. I am so wore out from trying. I dont know what to do. It is actually causing me and her step-father to argue all the time. If anyone has any advice for me, I am open to suggestions. PLEASE HELP!!!!

Crystal - posted on 05/26/2010

12

10

0

In response to time out , if you child makes it fun.

(this process can take 2 months or more to really start to show progress)

My daughter did this or laughed at me or made it a big Joke. The following may seem mean but it really is not and it also helps to make your child understand the seriousness of a time out.

When you put them in time out. Use a very serious slightly louder voice (not yelling!!) very stern with a very serious stern look on your face and tell them You are going in time out and why. Then take them to time and out dont be "gentle" When you set them in the chair set them down firmly, not to hurt them put to get the point accross that it is not a game. Also if they get up dont sit on them to keep them there. Without making eye contact and without talking, calmly but sternly take them back to the chair even if this means taking back to the chair 20 times!!!! Eventually they will get the point that no matter how many times i get up mom is going to put me back. Also if the chair or wall become a toy for them. Choose a spot on the floor in the middle of a room as a time out on a door mat.

Also sometimes 2 min is not enough. even for a 2yr old or under. Sometimes you need to make them stay till they get the point especially if they are making a game out of it. Make them stay there till its no longer fun to be there.

When your child is old enough to talk and knows what saying sorry means when time out is over tell them why they were in time out and ask them to appoligize or acknowledge that they understand. My daughter satrted doing this at age 2 but she started talking very early and we started time outs before she was a year.

NEVER let your anger show. It is ok to be angry or frustrated but will not help you in this situation. Take a time out if you need to to breath then come back to the situation.

ALWAYS reasure them that you love them at the end with hugs and words. Say thank you if they say sorry.

IF they throw a tantem at the store ...take them to the car for a time out... or go home. This may ruin your plans but with kids sometimes rescheduling needs to be done.

Danielle - posted on 05/25/2010

43

22

1

Wow! Thank you all for so much great advice, and it's wonderful to know that It's not just me and my daughter! I'll check all the books that have been mentioned and definitely try a lot of these suggestions. Thank you again!!

Katie - posted on 05/25/2010

37

10

0

This too shall pass. Respect your child and your child will learn to respect you. Make a game out of whatever it is you are trying to teach. Children don't know all the social rules our society inflicts, let them be themselves and help them learn all the rules in a safe and comfortable way that they can hear. It takes time and understanding. Choose your battles and try to be flexible whenever possible. Explain in simple terms that your child can understand why she can't or needs to do something. Use natural consiquences rather then punishment. Using strong punishments can backfire in the long run. Work on your relationship and you will find ways to teach your child what she needs to know.

Hayley - posted on 05/25/2010

1

8

0

I have the same problem. My son is 20 months old. He gets into everything, trashes the house, and will do anything to get what he wants. He's very defiant and thinks discipline is funny. He screams all the time, has to be a big boy about everything, and wont let anyone help. Im afraid that hes going to get hurt with some of the things he does. He's a cute kid, so lovable, and so sweet, but he is a pain in the neck. I've done everything in the book to get him to stop and it's just not working.

Holly - posted on 05/25/2010

7

18

0

my son was like this BUT with the added fun of he thought he was a grown up. So now we have to repeat over and over "who is the grown up? who is the child?" until it sinks in that he is not the boss of the house. Sure, I feel a little bit like that one scene in the movie Matilda but it does help him calm down and realize that he is not the adult and that mommy is trying to keep him safe, etc. Good luck!

Christa - posted on 05/25/2010

8

2

0

Hi,
Sounds like a challenge. I have since becoming a mom started employing the techniques used in the show "Supernanny". I am always amazed how well these techniques work when executed correctly and consitently. The key is in the consistent steps of each discipline technique. Also, recently I became aware of my own behaviour that was actually breaking one of our own house rules!! I was throwing toys into my son's toybox in an effort to clean up quickly but he was modelling that behaviour and sometimes that is what I was disciplining him on. So check out the 'supernanny' online and specifically the naughty spot or naughty chair. It works for us everytime, but we have an even tempered toddler so that is a factor I realize. Good luck.
Chris

Kate - posted on 05/25/2010

7

21

1

I know kids can get to you by the end of the day. My son is 3 and is "high energy" as someone else described your daughter.

The key is to be flexible but firm. If you SAY you're going to do something, then do it. And if it doesn't work, try plan B without going back on what you said.

Timeouts have never worked with my son because he is stubborn too. When you're having to restrain a child to keep her/him in timeout, by the time you get them to sit even for a minute, they've forgotten WHY they're in timeout, AND you're totally frazzled. Not a wise solution for short or long-term success/sanity.

Here are a few things that I alternate doing (but always try to do what I SAY I'm going to do), and my son's behavior is generally very good now (although all children have "their days"):
1. Explain firmly and briefly so he can understand that he is not allowed to do X, Y or Z and that I'm not going to give up. If she mimics you, just repeat very seriously, "That's right, Mommy said no" and leave it at that. If the behavior continues,
2. I give a warning swat on his diapered bum and say, "Mommy said no, and I mean it." I almost never have to go beyond this. As long as I do it firmly, calmly, and in the moment, it surprises him without causing any pain. I've done this since he turned 1 year old, and he has never, ever hit another child because of it.
3. If the behavior continues, I make him lie down in his bed for a few minutes until he is calm. I sit in the room in a chair next to him reading a book, praying, or playing a game on my cell phone. It gives us both time to relax a little, and it's a lot easier than trying to make him sit in a chair while I do something else.

I've found that most fits come when kids are starting to feel a little tired (and therefore out of control with a need to control you). Even just a 10 minute rest helps them to calm down & recharge. Sometimes if he's upset, he'll fuss or cry for the first few minutes, but when he sees I'm sitting there with him but doing my own thing, he calms down and enjoys the rest. He'll get up a few minutes later with a new attitude.

When a fit is already in full swing, the whispering tactic does work at least half the time (again, my son is stubborn), and most of the time leaving him where he is (as long as there's nothing dangerous) and going into my room and closing the door will shake him up (he'll stop crying to try and open the door).

In public, the best thing to do for a fit is to get them out of there. If you don't have a car in the parking lot (this is the best option - just go out & have a firm "talking to" - it will surprise her), go to a restroom and close yourself in a stall with her. Just a change of scenery gives you both a chance to calm down and relieves some of the "embarrassment" that your kid is throwing a tantrum in front of others.

Positive encouragement has not worked with my son except lots of hugs and "I love you"s when he's being good.

Setting expectations and sticking to them when in public works about 80% of the time, so it's worth working on.

Finding places & times every day where your daughter can run off some energy is a very good idea. Many times kids don't know what to do with their energy and they get antsy, which leads to fits.

It's important for your daughter to know that you are in charge, not her. It gives her security and trust in you. If you're tense by the evening, find a sure-fire activity that you (or both of you) can enjoy to relax and avoid battles (even if it means you have to watch the same movie every evening!)

Tracy - posted on 05/25/2010

5

18

0

Wish I could help I'm having the very same problem with my son who is almost 20mos old, so i'll have to read up on your response from people.

Bri - posted on 05/25/2010

83

65

4

Check out Raising A Spirited Child by Mary Kurcinka.... our daughter is very stubborn, focused at times, distracted at other, independent, etc. And for a while we had a hard time with her.... found this book which fit her to a "T" and really provided some insight into understanding the personality of our daughter as well as techniques specific to particular behaviors.

Has made a WORLD OF DIFFERENCE... and we're seeing the longer term effects more than a year later as she's able to calm down by herself, or that we (and family/friends) know to touch her to get her attention before giving instructions and now she can transition from one activity to the next without a major meltdown.

Your daughter may or may not be "spirited" by definition, but even if she isn't, this was a great book for getting to know personality, quirks as well as differences between child and parents personalities and learning to work with them instead of AGAINST them.

Good luck!
(p.s. there is also a forum for spirited children here on circle of moms)

Becky - posted on 05/25/2010

105

91

8

I haven't read every reply, so I'm sorry if I repeat anything here. Up until about age 2, I only used redirection. It never became a battle of wills "don't do that, get away from that, please stop it." I just immediately went over and removed him from the situation while telling him why. Its exhausting, but it does help to toddler proof the place as much as possible so that you cut down on the "no's." My oldest is now 3.5 and I am using 1,2,3 Magic with him. We've only been doing it a few days, but it is really working wonders already. He never responded to time outs well, but this method uses a "rest time" where the child just goes to his room for "x" amount of time. There is no need for restraint, which was my problem with time out in a chair. The purpose is not punishment but to remove the child from the bad behavior. There is also a lot of positive enforcement for good behavior. I've also used charts with some success. Some children respond better to them than others. I have also put toys in time outs, taken away cartoon privileges, and cut park trips, but your child may be a little too young for that.

Some other books to check out are Love & Logic for Early Childhood and The No-Cry Discipline Solution.

Regardless of what anyone says, spanking is not "okay." It effects everyone differently, but it does effect everyone. Being hit by someone you love is always hurtful psychologically. Many of us were spanked and turned out "fine" not BECAUSE we were spanked, but IN SPITE OF. There are tons of better options. Good luck to you! This phase WILL pass!

Meggan - posted on 05/24/2010

5

8

0

When my, very stubborn, high energy, 2 1/2 year old son gets in trouble, I've started taking him aside and saying, "We need to have a talk". I then kneel down and hold both of his hands in mine and say, "I will not start talking until you have your listening ears on". He then puts one hand to his ear to show me he's listening. I tell him what I saw that was not acceptable, what I would like to see him do next time, and what he needs to do to correct it (usually, this means apologizing). And then we walk over together and he apologizes. If he refused to stand still and listen, I tell him that he has 2 choices. "If you choose to listen, you choose to stay and play. If you choose not to listen, you choose to go home. Which do you choose?" He usually shapes up pretty quickly at this point because the first couple of times he didn't get it and we immediately left. So now he knows I'm not kidding. If he refuses to apologize, I give him the two choices again. I've learned that there is a choice in everything we do. For instance, it's bedtime, and although this is non-negotiable, there is still a choice. I say, "It's bed-time. You can choose to walk to your room, or you can choose to hop to your room. Which do you choose?" He's then intrigued and it works nearly every time. On the times it doesn't work, there is now another choice. "I see you've chosen not to choose. So, now you can choose to go to your room yourself, or you can choose for me to carry you." If he still refuses to make a choice, I simply pick him up and carry him to his room. Once we are there I say, "You will be able to choose again tomorrow. I hope you make a choice that makes you happier than the one you made tonight." So, be creative. It doesn't help to bully or enter into a power struggle with a stubborn child. Giving them choices makes them feel good about themselves and teaches them that there are immediate consequences for the choices that they make. It's not something that you are "doing to them", but it's a choice that they have the ability to make on their own

Melanie - posted on 05/24/2010

19

28

0

It is nice to know so many other moms go through this too. I have a VERY defiant 3 yr old and now a 16 month old that has just started the tantrums, and climbing and not doing what he is told just like his brother, who by the way always has to get involved and make things worse.

I liked some of the ideas I read here and think I will try them out. Thanks ladies!

Jameeka - posted on 05/24/2010

9

93

0

I know exactly how you feel. I think all mothers have been throught this terrible two phase. One thing for sure: Never Give In. If you start giving in to her wants because she throws a tantrum, she's going to grow up thinking that she's entitled to anything just because she pouts, adn I don't think you want her to have that notion about life. Just practice patience. When she gets older, you'll see that all of your rules and regulations were not in vain. My son is 3 growing on 4 now and, sometimes, he still has his moments, but for the most part, he has calmed down and is a tad more rational than he was during his terrible two stage. And remember, whatever you do, stick with it. If you say 'no', stick with it. Hope this helps.

Shannon - posted on 05/24/2010

4

11

0

Wow, what I would give to go back to the "so-called terrible two's". My 4 year old was literally a dream child her entire life until she got to be like 3 1/2. She is now 4 years old and very defiant, she needs to get the last word, she tells me no, sometimes she throws things when she gets angry.

I don't want to be a screamer, but it seems I have turned into one. I try the no, no, no thing. Then its I said NO! Then by the end of the day and the 100th issue I am screaming. I too do not feel it is child abuse for a tap on the bum to get their attention, but I save that as a total last resort, becuase I don't want her to think its ok to hit people when they aren't doing what you like/want.

I have been bringing her to her bedroom for time outs and she yells and screams and cries the entire time she is in there. Sometimes more than 10 minutes. She seems to not get the corelation between her behavior and these time outs, or even my yelling. Believe me, I explain why she is in the time out, or why Mommy yelled or what she did wrong and it still doesn't sink in.

I could sure use some solid advice. I want to do this right. Love this child beyond reasoning (as we all do).

Ami - posted on 05/24/2010

57

55

2

COMEPLETELY there with you! My son (23 months) does the exact same thing. Everyone tells me to just spank him and I dont want to spank him. He is too young to understand what it means and it is just going to make him even more mad. (His daddy took it upon himself to to it one day).

Blaine has also been behaving this way since he was about 1. It has continuously escalated.

So whenever you get some advise, PLEASE let me know what it is.

Megan - posted on 05/23/2010

42

22

8

Hi I also have a (willfull child) Madison is 2 and a half and she has been going thru terrible 2's since she turned 1. I was talking to my mum one day and she was telling me that my brother would go hypo from a number of things. 1 day we had an tantrum first thing in the morning so she didn't have her normal chocolate milk with breakfast, she was such a good girl that day. We went shopping, no tantrum even when I said no to her favorit hot chips. She was such a good girl I gave her a chocolate icecream when we got home. Within 30mins she was her normal naughty self. Since that day I have been trying different things and found that chocolate even a nutella sandwich, ricebubbles and cake make her hypo.
She is such a good girl now and have reconnected with her on a different level.
I'm so glad I found this out, I just wish I had have put two and two together sooner.
I hope this helps.

Gina - posted on 05/23/2010

3

21

1

My Jason is trying on the terrible twos. He uses the silly approach then the obsessive crying. He is really good about producing tears. I tell him to listen to the baby crying and he stops to hear the baby when in reality he's the only one crying.

Cheryl - posted on 05/23/2010

0

0

6

Hi ladies, I have read all of your concerns and advice. I too had a lot of problems with my sons misbehaving, tantrums, even violence. I suspected ADHD, and even oppositional defiance. They are 7 and 5. I MUST tell you about a GREAT bunch of herbal products that I found that are 100 percent safe and not addictive that have made my life and that of my kids SO MUCH BETTER! I was truly in tears and falling into depression about their behavior and tried everything from positive reinforcement to strict lay down the law proceedures with little difference. You know what? Some kids are just wired differently and their little chemical make ups are broken down by things like allergies to food that we may not know about to stimuli that we wouldn't think would affect them. The Herbal products that I researched and have incorporated into my boys schedule have made such a huge POSITIVE change in their temperments, concentration in school and sleep patterns that I just can't keep these products to myself. If anyone would like more info on them please feel free to email me at my personal address lovemyryan02@msn.com and I will send you the info. I am a momblogger ---you can check out my website for the link directly if you prefer over at becausemomsaidso.com too. But I am more than happy to answer any questions you may have. I hope you will all try the products. Within two weeks I saw a positive change in them... its been six weeks and I am really seeing a big difference now. God Bless, Cheryl

Sheryl - posted on 05/23/2010

1

11

0

In all honesty I agree with Brittany. My 3 year old is the same way and believe me if you think 2 is bad just wait until 3. Like you, my husband and I tried so many different "methods" and we tried to not resort to spanking. There were times where a spanking was the only way (sorry to those who feel we are cruel). My daughter has thrown major major tantrums in public places - throwing herself on the ground crying and screaming, and we just had to pick her up and carry her in a fireman carry (over the shoulder) and plopped her in her carseat until she calmed down. My daughter would cry and scream until she threw up. I have to say that now -at almost 3 1/2 - she has calmed down with the tantrums but she still talks back when you tell her not to do something. I have learned to be consistent with discipline - we use time out and they DO work, we talk to her calmly - although we do occaisionally lose it and scream, or if we are out in public and she is having fun we just tell her we are going to leave if she doesn't listen. Taking something away works too - one day we took away ALL of her toys...all she had were her books. Thank goodness she loves to read....it was the quietest day ever. Just remember that if you are consistent (and patient) your child will listen. I just takes times to let them know that you are the "boss"...not them.

Good luck!

Kirsten - posted on 05/22/2010

14

0

1

so much great and differing advice. Those who recommended the 'raising your spirited child' book are spot-on! Not only did I buy this book but attended a workshop. The best thing about it was that I came to understand my son and why she was acting and feeling this way. They feel everything so intensely that everyone on your street knows when they are happy or when they are upset. It helped me to reduce his triggers to certain behaviors and how to use positive labels to boost him up and have other persons not just look at him as just a difficult child. you have to get it. also as many persons have mentioned it will get better, just be consisent and your efforts will pay off in the long run. best of luck

Chelsea - posted on 05/22/2010

7

13

1

Try the swat! Do it with love. She knows you love her by your unconditional care and dedication to her self and safety. I have a VERY stubborn, challenging 2 year old and it really burns me out. I also, am open to suggestions, and try new ways to maintain the PARENTS control. We are the PARENTS, and responsible to teach and guide our children. Sometimes, I have to physically control my child, while consistantly giving love. Different discipline techniques are appropriate at different times. Sometimes, I think a little shock, and pure control helps guide them to make better decisions. Learning from each other, every day...

Melissa - posted on 05/22/2010

65

26

3

My daughter skipped the terrible two's but she is a all about the tiresome three's. I read 1-2-3 Magic and tried it out. It works for us most of the time. By the time I get to 2, she is usually on her to doing what I've asked. Be firm and consistent in whatever method you choose. Someone else suggested taking her outside to run around and play. That is a wonderful way for to expend some energy. I can really tell a difference in attitude and sleep when we are able to get outside.

Larisa - posted on 05/22/2010

46

11

8

Thank you Lisa!!! I try it and it works, he was surprised first time and wondering what I am doing but he stoped screaming and throwing, and next time when he start crying I just walk away and he stoped. So thanks once again

Diane - posted on 05/22/2010

1

6

0

im having the same issue except im the grandmother, babysitting, mon. thru fri. if you receive any tip , please clue me in. thanks, diane middeler. dc19602000@yahoo.com

Lora - posted on 05/22/2010

10

18

0

If she throws a tantrum, you throw one too only louder and more involved than hers. She may laugh at you, but it will get her attention and distract her and show her how silly it looks to have a tantrum. My friend's daughter is almost 5 and has always had the same strong will your daughter does. She tried the tantrum copying and it worked! I agree with making a "Yes" chart and rewarding her for doing good things instead of giving her attention for the bad things she is doing. Good luck!

Lisa - posted on 05/22/2010

6

31

0

can't offer many suggestions but can sympathise my little girl is also very strong willed.i find it hard to keep my temper and feel so guilty when i fly off the handle but we get screaming and dropping to the floor etc i have found time out helpful though. One min for each year of her age. gives both of us time to calm down then i ask what she did wrong and i ask her to say sorry then we hug and start a fresh! works most of the time

good luck

Lisa

[deleted account]

Hi Danielle. Firstly I can completely relate to you having such a strong-willed daughter - I too have that, and I would like to say it gets easier, but our daughter is now 3 1/2 years and still exercises much self-determination as literally the day she was born. In saying that though, we have seen progress through the tantrums and for her to understand us saying no. We found that before our daughter really developed good strong language it was harder to discipline her, because a lot of her tantruming or dysregulation was due to frustration. In saying that though I thought you might like to take a look at www.incredibleyears.com. I am a facilitator of the teacher-training program, which runs along similar lines to the parent program. On the website there is a heap of stuff around discipline hierarchys and in particular what they recommend for timeout. There is a bulk of research on what works, and how to run time-out effectively. As others have said, the biggest thing though is predictabilty and consistency. Providing you stick to your guns and are fair and reasonable, dont give in to what she throws at you. Something we've noticed recently is that bursting into tears over minor 'no' issues is yet another form of a tantrum. So same rules apply to the more physical, louder versions. Just another way of her trying to assert control over that part of her life. I guess finally too toddlerhood is the age when kids are working out what they do have control over and what they dont. If you dont already, play some games with her in which she is in charge of the rules (eg dressups or princesses, or babies or whatever game she's into). She gets to be the rule maker and boss....you do what she says for the duration of the game. Then when the game is over, you go back to being Mummy and the boss. Sounds simple, but it is really effective. Good luck! The world needs many women with 'spunk'....its just a pity their Mums are the ones that have the first 20 years with them!!!! :)

[deleted account]

I have a pretty challenging 3 1/2 year old. At 2 I started telling him that he had to go to time out until he was ready to be happy or listen to mommy, or what ever else I was trying to get him to do. I often sent him back but he learned that it was up to him. If he changed his behavior he could go back to a pleasent environment. As he got older I would take him to his room and tell him to stay until he was ready to act how he was supposed to. I think it worked because it put some control back on him. When I sent him to time out or to his room I was very specific about what actions I expected when he came back. I also created different levels of time outs ... sitting in a chair to sitting out of sight in the corner to standing with his nose on the wall then to his room. He did NOT like the nose on the wall or the room senerio so once he learned that the punishment increased he learned that the timeouts got worse if he CHOSE not to change his attitude.

Cassandra - posted on 05/21/2010

1

8

0

I have a 3 1/2 year old son. He will be 4 in a month. It has gotten better. They begin to realize and understand more. They can also communicate better themselves and that helps. Hope it makes you feel better. Oh, and they also realize that other people have feelings too.

Clare - posted on 05/21/2010

19

0

0

That sounds so much like my daughter. For a minute there I thought we had the same kids. I tap my daughter's hand when she touches something dangerous and she no taps her hand and says no. I'm in the same boat!

Clare

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms