2 year old doesn't learn from natural consequences.

Kadi - posted on 10/16/2012 ( 3 moms have responded )

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My 2.5 year old daughter doesn't ever seem to learn from consequences. She doesn't care if she gets in trouble for doing something she shouldn't, she ALWAYS does it again. She will jump on the couch, fall and hit her head and hours later do it again. She has been potty trained for 9 months. She will back to pooping in her pants (no diarrhea) and laugh about it. We have ignored it, time outs, spanked, made her clean it up herself, taken showers (even a cold one) stand in the corner, toys taken away... NOTHING IS WORKING. I am extremely frustrated with her, and we are not enjoying eachother at all. She doesn't learn from natural consequences or consequences we give her. She only obeys after I am completely angry with her (her brothers obey and learn the first time). I am at a complete loss, and extremely frustrated and angry with her. We have an appt with a counselor for toddlers to get help, but its a month out. Any advice or tips about kids who just dont seem to learn and have impulse control issues??

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Rebekah - posted on 10/16/2012

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Forgive me, but don't all 2.5 year olds have impulse control issues? I don't say that to minimize your struggle...it sounds like she may have a streak of willfulness--which often happens at this age anyway, right? But I also tend to think that some of this difficulty is par for the course for this age. They want to do what they want to do.



I would wonder how much of it is "not learning," versus the consequence doesn't seem to be a strong enough deterrent to make her stop. Perhaps its way too much fun to jump on the couch, and that enjoyment simply makes her forget the pain she had a few hours ago (2 year olds are so "in the moment" anyway). It sounds like its been hard to find out what punishment would get her attention when she's naughty, but it has to be something that means something to her. What does she most react to? Having a favorite toy taken? Not getting to see a video? Time out? Even if you don't see change in behavior immediately, keep consistently implementing it.



Now with the pooping in her pants... I would stick with the "natural consequence" of her cleaning it up, if she's capable of doing that. Eventually she will tire of that and hopefully it will stop. I don't know if I would apply other "punishment" to the pooping thing, like spanking or taking toys, etc. That could turn it into a control issue or make it more emotionally charged.



It also sounds like she's in a cycle of getting negative attention, so maybe it would help turn the tide if you can "catch her being good" or make a positive fuss when she is obeying, or using the toilet properly. I know it can be hard to do that when you are frustrated with her, but it may be a really useful thing to do to turn things around.



Hopefully the counselor can offer other ideas. And I'm sure as she matures, some of this will work its way out. But for this challenging age, I think that its really important to let kids know that mom is consistent and in charge...especially for those kiddos with a strong willed streak. Good luck.

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Rebekah - posted on 10/18/2012

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When you add those scenarios, then yes, I'd agree that you're seeing some extreme behaviors. You are doing the right thing trying to stay on top of it and have her evaluated. Even though she wasn't diagnosed with anything at this point, keep watching how she grows and see what the counselor can offer you. Hopefully things will improve as she gets older, but perhaps she can be re-evaluated down the road if things are still not resolved. I'm wondering if there might be a sensory-related issue that is prompting these behaviors? Can you get a second opinion?



I would still advocate for intervening with her in consistent ways and offering praise whenever you can to signal her that she's on the right track, regardless of whatever diagnosis she may or may not have. I hope the counselor can offer you some insight and some relief.

Kadi - posted on 10/18/2012

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Rebekah, when I say she doesnt have impulse control what I mean is it is way worse than my boys (or any foster kid that I have ever had). She has to lick walls when we walk by them. Even if I tell her "no, thats yucky", she cannot stop herself. If a piece of food hits the floor, she eats it and then will lick the mess up if we cant catch her fast enough. She was evaluated for autism for her strange behaviors, and they basically said "thats just how she is". She will literally lay in her bed and poop in her pants because she doesnt want to get up. I don't think this normal at all. Infact, it is all very embarrassing and it is causing me to not even enjoy my own child.

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