Defiant toddler

Lisa - posted on 08/23/2014 ( 6 moms have responded )

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How to get my almost 2 year old to listen...I could say don't touch, leave it alone, don't hit, a million times a day and she does it again, and again all while looking at me with a smile on her face!i hate when she does it when we are out somewhere and other moms stare at me like I am a bad mom who can't control the child!

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Chet - posted on 08/27/2014

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Don't expect a two year old to listen. It's unrealistic!

As much as possible, try to orchestrate situations to remove temptation and make good choices the only obvious choices. Engineer your daughter's environment for success. If you don't want a toddler to touch something you need to put it out of reach. If your toddler won't stop throwing sand at the playground don't go to playgrounds that have sand. If your toddler is causing damage to the house with certain toys make those toys for outdoor play only, or put them away for awhile.

Try not to give you daughter direct orders. If you don't give blunt instructions, she can't flat out refuse. Rather than saying "put your shoes on" you can say things like "can you put your shoes on?" or "what do we need to do to go outside?" or "who wears these shoes?". Rather than saying "put on your shirt" ask "do you want the red shirt or the yellow shirt?".

She might respond with no when you ask her if she can put her shoes on, but you're not at a dead end if she does. There are lots of ways to respond. You can say that she needs shoes to go to the park. You can be silly and say that you will wear them. You can ask if she wants to wear boots instead. You can show concern that her nice socks will get dirty. By avoiding direct orders it's easier to keep the dialogue open and not have things degrade into a battle of wills.

Avoid saying things like "no" and "don't". Try to phrase things in a positive way as much as possible. It's better to say things like "hands are for clapping" or "pat the kitty gently" or "soft touches" than "no hitting". Help kids learn the right thing to do instead of constantly telling them what not to do. Also, it's asking a lot of a very young child to think of the alternative on their own.

As well, if something is dangerous or will hurt her make that clear. A lot of parents overuse words like "no" and "don't" to the point that they are saying "no" to things that are mildly annoying and "no" to things that are life threatening. And it's asking a lot of a toddler to understand the difference between "no" in the context of that's annoying and "no" meaning "that's unsafe and will land you in the ER".

Watch your daughter for triggers. One of our kids was always very difficult when she was hungry. Another copes very poorly with being tired. A good portion of poor behaviour in young children is owing to their being tired, hungry or overwhelmed.

The truth is, most of toddler issues are developmental. You can't parent them out of your kid in six or eight weeks. You need to find strategies that allow you to survive them until your child matures enough to outgrow them. Children who feel loved and secure, who live in households where the people around them set good examples, and who have consistent expectations will be fine.

Ev - posted on 08/25/2014

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But your child is a unique person as are all those other kids that you see. How consistent are you? If you do it only a few times and then just give up, of course, she is going to continue. You have to do it every single day not just when she gets in these moods of not doing as you want. Consistency is the key here. NEVER use the CRIB for time out. She will begin to associate that with time outs and eventually will not go to bed. Find one spot in the house and use that for time out all the time. But if you keep giving up and then trying again, she is getting that message that you are not going to follow through all the time. All of us moms go through this at one point or another with our kids at all ages. I have a 17 year old, he is not perfect by any means, but even at two he had his moments but I never once backed down and that is what it sounds like you do after trying things for a while. Do not back down, because if you back off even some, when she is older she is going to use it to her advantage.

Lisa - posted on 08/24/2014

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Evelyn, I have tried all that, and sometimes it works, when i am home I put her in the crib for a time out, with the door open so she knows it is not nap time, and when I am out I put her back in her stroller with the straps so she can't get out till she calms down, and sometimes all that works, but most of the time it is a losing battle.....i feel like I am doing something wrong, and I know she is just testing me , but I see other kids her age and they behave so good! This is what bothers me....

Ev - posted on 08/24/2014

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You need to set boundaries and keep it consistent. Remove her from the situation, redirect her to another activity that you allow, tell her in terms she can understand what you expect of her. You just have to keep at it. No child is born with a set of instructions that tell you how to get them to do things as they grow up.

Thomas M. - posted on 08/23/2014

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Try the pencil trick, sit her on your lap and draw a line with a pencil on a piece of paper, then show her the eraser and say " watch this" and erase the line, then tell her you will do the same thing to her if she doesn't behave. Good luck T M E

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