2 1/2 year old behavior issues

Kristi - posted on 06/23/2009 ( 14 moms have responded )

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I am having a horrible time with my 2 1/2 year old daughter. She is hitting, ripping books, throwing things, and doing pretty much anything she knows she is not allowed to do when she gets mad. We have done timeouts since she has been little and have now moved them to her bedroom since she will not stay in a timeout chair. Now, when she has to go to her room for misbehaving, she is pottying on the floor. I don't know what to do! Please give me some advice on dealing with my 2 1/2 year old's behavior issues!

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Nykee - posted on 04/15/2012

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"since she will not stay in a time out chair"



It sounds to me, with all do respect, that she won. If you want her to stay in a time out chair, you enforce it no matter how long it takes or how tiring the process is. You can't let her win, or you will lose your authority.



Put her in the chair, and tell her to stay for her time out. You may even want to get a timer, so she has a visual of how long time out is to last. When I worked in day care, time out was to be 1 minute for every year of age...so a two and a half year old would sit for 2-2.5 minutes. If she gets out of the seat, you firmly place her back in the chair and tell her that she is being punished for ripping books, throwing toys, hitting, etc and that she needs to sit until time out is over (or until the timer goes off). Continue to put her back into the chair every time she gets up and start the timer over. It may take a long time, but you need to make her understand that it is your rules that she must abide by. Be consistent, and firm. After time out is over, chat with her about why she was in time out, and why the behavior she was punished for was unacceptable. (i.e. "Throwing things is not a good way to get your anger out. Something could get broken or someone could get hurt. Everyone gets mad, and when you're mad you need to use your words and tell mommy so that we can fix what is wrong together.")



I like to follow up those conversations by reminding my kiddos that I love them and that my rules are designed to keep them safe and happy. Hugs, kisses, then we find a constructive activity to do.



This is how I handle time out with my munchkins and it seems to work...



Now, if the behavior they're getting in trouble for is dangerous (life threatening - running away from me, going in the street, touching outlets, etc), I do spank, then explain why they've been spanked. I know it's a hot topic, and not one I feel like getting into...but I feel like you need to make a major impact. A spanking is going to be a lot less traumatic than being hit by a car, kidnapped, or receiving an electric shock.



All the best!

Sarina - posted on 06/25/2009

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we as parents these days give our children, no matter how old they are, too many choices.......i learnt something the other day about this and i have now decided that i am the adult so it is time to take action and go back to the basics of old fashioned parenting. My children are going to be loved and nurtured but they no longer have a choice on behaving badly, or not eating their dinner or throwing little tanties..tell them their only choice is to stop behaving badly, simple as that, i tried this the other day and it actually worked, hope it works for u too ..........

Carrie - posted on 07/11/2012

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My son is 3 1/2 and has always had consistant diciplin. He is the youngest of 4 and the only boy. He has a horrible habit of getting into everything he possibly can he once even got into powdered laundrey soap i was so scared but he was ok thankfully. Another time he did what most kids do and put something up his nose and hot it stuck. I have found him hiding things under his bed pillow even a pair of sissors. I keep my house as kid safe as possible door knob covers gates outlet cover cabinet locks all of it. His ability to hide things he absolutely know what he is doing when he does these things. He has hidden dirty pants and under wear in his room pee' d on our couch before. He wont sit still either to have down time or for a family movie. He is put in time outs all the time. I try to do fu. Things with him but he simply pouts and is a complete stick in the mudd when it comes to doing things most kids live. He is great with helping feed yhe dogs and putting plastic dishes away and is praised for all these good things. But it seems he is an ever volving bad habit magnet and some of the things he does are outright disgusting. Like crapping his pants and not telling us the hiding

Teresa - posted on 06/24/2009

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make your little ones clean up the mess they make by pottying on the floor. they will probly realize its disgusting enough to quit if they have to clean it. just closly supervise to prevent bigger mess and then clean them up afterwards. after they aren't around then finish up cleaning their mess. it may take a time or two of them cleaning their mess but they will probly stop. when my 3 year old made a potty mess, he has to clean it up and i make sure he washes his hands real well after that. so hes pretty careful usually about the messes.

Kristi - posted on 06/27/2009

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Thank you all for your replies on 2 1/2 year old behavior issues. It is nice to hear so many different perspectives. To answer some of your questions and to give you some more information...she has always been strong willed and pretty much defiant. We had a hard time with hitting when she was probably just 18 months old. We used timeouts and put her in a pack and play as a time out in a spare room when she was little. She is very verbal, communicates extremely well, and is very aware of rights/wrongs/good behavior/bad behavior. I definitely know that most of her bad behavior is attention getting. When we are in public or with friends, she is an angel- well mannered, polite, kind hearted. When we are at home she is a challenge. I do notice that her behavior tends to escalate the more I react to it, so I do try to play my reaction down. She does have a new little brother (6 mos. old). It seemed to be a smooth transition for her and she has always been very loving and caring towards him. I'm guessing a lot of her bad behavior now is b/c he is starting to get quite a bit of attention now that he is sitting up, playing, etc. I don't think this is the only part of it though b/c she will act up even when he is not around and I do make quite a bit of effort to spend one on one time with her as much as I can.

So the latest is that she is throwing fits, hitting, ripping books, jumping on the bed- anything that she knows she is not allowed to do. She is also peeing (fortunately no pooping- at least not yet!!) on the floor when we put her in her room. Today I put her in her room for nap and after numerous warnings of staying in her room, I shut the door and locked it and then when I went in to check on her she had pottied on her floor and was pretending to clean it up. So not sure if the cleaning it up consequence is going to work for her. Please let me know if you have any other advice after hearing more detail. I feel so helpless with all of this- before kids I was an early elementary teacher and thought I was prepared for anything with my background in child development! I've learned you are never fully prepared for children! :) Also, she does have alone time with me pretty much every day, and I try to take her to her activities by herself and leave little brother with Grandma. My husband is also very involved and spends quite a bit of one on one time with her after he gets home from work. Thank you so much for listening and for any advice! Oh, and I read Happiest Baby on the Block...I'll have to try Happiest Toddler- I actually got it out of the library probably a year ago, but had a really hard time reading it- I will have to give it another shot!!

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Kathleen - posted on 06/26/2009

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I know this sounds crazy, however, it is a logical consequence learning situation. When she potties on the floor, make her help you clean it up. Seriously, this is what they do in Montessori for Toddlers. Once she has to help with the stinky mess, she will probably cease doing it. Also, constant reassurance that she is still as important to you as she was before the baby. Maybe engage her in helping to get diapers/wipes for you when the baby needs changing or letting her help choose what the baby should wear. Ask her to be your helper. Just a thought. I have a 4 year-old boy and a 15 month-old boy.

Melanie - posted on 06/25/2009

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Have there been any changes in her enviroment? move? babysitter? new sibling? is she feeling left out?
Strange question but is she peeing or pooing on the floor?
My twins did this... Let me know if you think shes doing this to get your attn.
Does she communicate her needs well?

Nancy - posted on 06/25/2009

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try time outs in the bathroom, it's not as satisfying to her if it's not as big a deal to you.

Elizabeth - posted on 06/24/2009

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I have a 3 1/2 yr old & a newborn & since the baby came there has been increased whining, peeing and pooping in her underwear and intense tantrums. I too have tried the ignoring. It's very difficult but I noticed the tantrums are shorter when i ignore her. Good luck!!!

~Jennifer - posted on 06/24/2009

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Quoting Beth:


I agree with not reacting so much. I like Harvey Karp's book Happiest Toddler on the Block. He says to use "Toddlerese" and reflect their feelings back to them. You get down on her level and say "Boy I am so mad. I am just mad, mad, mad! I want to throw all my books on the floor and mommy won't let me" or whatever. I try to be as calm as possible and say "I know you are mad right now, but you have to get your pajamas on or we have to do xy&z" Not having a huge reaction helps, I think. "Boy I can see how mad you are but it's just not okay to rip our books. Tell me calmly what you need from me"




I love that book! (even more I love the looks I get while flailing my arms and acting like a toddler just before the baby calms down and the same people shooting me odd looks come over and ask "how'd you do that?") All hail Harvey Karp!! LOL!

[deleted account]

I agree with not reacting so much. I like Harvey Karp's book Happiest Toddler on the Block. He says to use "Toddlerese" and reflect their feelings back to them. You get down on her level and say "Boy I am so mad. I am just mad, mad, mad! I want to throw all my books on the floor and mommy won't let me" or whatever. I try to be as calm as possible and say "I know you are mad right now, but you have to get your pajamas on or we have to do xy&z" Not having a huge reaction helps, I think. "Boy I can see how mad you are but it's just not okay to rip our books. Tell me calmly what you need from me"

Clare - posted on 06/24/2009

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Is your daughter getting attention when she misbehaves, I know if it was me I would probably pulling my hair out. I've found that ignoring the behaviour (yes, I know it is easier said than done!!!) does actually work, I tend to try and walk away as long as I know my child is in a safe environment and just let them get on with it. My youngest is 20 months old and although her behaviour is not quite as extreme I know that when i tell her no and she has a tantrum because she can't get what she wants she is seeing how far she can push me. And they do know the buttons to press don't they? Even with your childs messing on the floor don't give her a reaction just quietly clean it up and then you are not giving her what she wants.



Hope that helps!! All the best XX

[deleted account]

Sure wish I could help with a reply. It sounds just like my 2 1/2 year old's behavior issues. He does the exact same thing to the T. And the pottying on the floor drives me crazy so he does that the most. I am looking forward to hearing some of the other Mom's reply to your post. Good Luck:-)

[deleted account]

Sure wish I could help with a reply. It sounds just like my 2 1/2 year old's behavior issues. He does the exact same thing to the T. And the pottying on the floor drives me crazy so he does that the most. I am looking forward to hearing some of the other Mom's reply to your post. Good Luck:-)

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