How to tame the terrible twos, screaming and hitting, not good

Valory - posted on 06/30/2010 ( 21 moms have responded )

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He hits and screams when he is told no or when is disciplined from time out to a swat or a scolding, He has a temper and then we 'fight' How do I tame the terrible twos?

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Christy - posted on 07/01/2010

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monkey see, monkey do...right? So as hard as it may be to stay calm and model good behavior all the time, that's what you need to do. I find that when I get frustrated by my son's frustration, it makes things worse and we end up in a downward spiral...when I stay calm and model how I want him to act and talk to him how I want to be spoken to, then everything is easier. The book Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn offers some good advice that I found very helpful when it comes to interacting with children (even young toddlers) in a way that makes them listen and helps develop a mutually respectful relationship. See if your library has it, it's really good.

Rachelle - posted on 06/30/2010

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Hope someone has an answer. I have a 2.5 year old (3 in October) and he screams this high pitched shrill that seriously pierces my eardrums.

So- someone says it might get easier at 3?

Ashley - posted on 07/04/2010

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I just have to weigh in here, after reading all the posts. I think that each family has to find what works and go with it, and sometimes what works with one kid doesn't work with another.
Also, I think taking some things from "one discipline method" and some things frome another are fine.
For example: i love what supernanny does with her reward systems. It teaches kids to be in charge of their own day, it also teaches kids that they can have control in their own lives, that their feelings are valid and that they matter.
I also think that asking a kid to apologize to me for their feelings or their bad behaviour is silly. If my son goes to time out it is becasue he obviously needs some time to calm himself and to find his inner quiet. He is having a bad day or time and needs some space. I give him that space. Having him apologize for that is like making me apologize when I feel down or when I feel angry at something. People shouldn't apologize for their emotions. So, I remind him why he went to time out (throwing a fit), ask if he feels better and wants to join us now, and let him if he wants. If he doesn't I give him options - he can stay there, he can go upstairs and play alone in his bedroom, etc. I am trying to teach him balance in his life here, not to apologize to mom for who he is.
So you see, there are good and bad points to everything.
I too am going to check out that book, thanks for sharing it.

Ashley - posted on 07/03/2010

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It is so hard. Just so you know, 3 is worse. I think the thing that works best for us is being consitant. Really. If you say you will do something, do it - every time, no matter what. If the rule is no tv if you throw a fit. That's the rule. Even when you are tired. Even when you want a break. Even when you don't want to follow your own rule.
If he gets out of time out, put him back in.
The hitting - you can't stand for that. But I found that my son hit when we tried to spank, and stopped when we stopped. We use mostly time outs, taking away his favorite things, and rewards. I went to supernanny.com and printed up a rewards chart. The first few days I made sure he made it all the way to the end of the chart and got a reward (I had a box of small toys and candies for him to choose from). Then after the 3rd day I let him actually have to earn the reward, and made it like "if you have a bad day, you don't get it". We got along much better after that. I would just remind him of his chart and he did so much better.
Time outs for bad things like hurting people.
If he has a really bad day - throwing fits, etc. I take away computer or tv time.
Period. No discussions.
Good luck.
PS, dad has to follow the same rules too, or it doesn't work.

Shannon - posted on 07/02/2010

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I've been having this problem too, and after a little trial and error I've found if you validate his feelings he WILL respond. They scream and hit out of frustration. I have read that if you respond to him by repeating what he wants 3 times he will stop. This is working for us. For example, sister takes a toy that he wasn't even playing with and starts screaming, I say "you want that toy? 3 times and by the third time he responds with a sad yes and I explain that it's sisters turn with the toy and if he disagrees I try to change it up by offering a new toy or activity he likes. We also use time out, he wouldn't stay before, but now he does. Stay consistent with him and really feel what he going through. At 2 years old they just can't say everything they want to yet. And in his world everything revolves around him.. Good luck!

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Carlo - posted on 04/30/2013

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Ashley - you dont think its appropriate to require an apology? You believe people (He will be an adult one day), should not be held accountable for any of their feelings, good or bad? Because Hitler had some thoughts about things too but I guess he shouldn't apologize for them right? Because they were valid feelings to him. Let me ask you this; How will you transition him from this phase to an empathetic (not pathetic) adult???? Have you figured that out yet? I hope I don't run into your son. Have a nice day. ;)

Valory - posted on 07/03/2010

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Wow, lots of input, thank you all for the points of view. This is my 7th child you'd think I'd have it down by now, I like the chart idea, am working on potty training and was thinking of a chart, but a chart for good behaviour is a good idea too. I have also resorted to putting him in the room in his crib when he screams at me. That has been useful at times. Thank you again for all the input.

Patricia - posted on 07/03/2010

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I am going through it now....she started at 1 and has built up steadily as the months have gone by.
It is frustrating but I try to feel what she does and try to talk to her about what she is feeling and why. What was unexpected is when she has a tantrum and does not give you any chance to rectify it.
FOr example, we were going to the park and as she was in her car seat she said she was hot, so I said that I would remove her jacket and proceeded to do so and she kicked off inconsolably for and hour and a half. We tried distracting, waiting it out, going for a walk around the block but ended up going back into the house and letting her cry herself to sleep with me holding her. There was no reasoning and no warning and thank god this is not a daily occurrence.

I do try to listen to her all the time and if I see a warning sign, I say she has to say her request again calmly as I really want to help her and can't understand until she does so or I try to distract her by saying "not right now, but can you help Mummy do this or what is that out the window, can you see a bird" I try to avoid saying an out and out "NO"
Sometimes when she is crying and kicking, I just make sure she is safe by holding her in my arms or saying soothing noises, then ask if she is okay and wants a hug and she will usually respond back with a yes and say "i'm sad, I cry" and I empathise right back and try and talk through why she is sad.
They really are very frightened coming out of a tantrum, I have seen the fear in my DD eyes mid flow, it's almost like a seizure where she has no control and is slow to come around. She is out of control of her feelings and emotions and this is very scary for her. My job is to make sure she knows she has a safe place, that she is not going to get hurt and I will think nothing less of her after. I try and help her work out her frustration by talking it through after a fit and explain why she can't have a certain thing. I have found that she responds better this way. I have also prioritised what I will and won't accept....no hurting others (when she hits me I look sad and say she hurt me and ask if she knew how much she would hurt me and she is so caring about her genuine apology and fuss about seeing if I am ok, she is like this with other kids too if she accidentally knocks them over - she is big for her age), but its okay for her to go to the fridge and take a snack (fruit) off the bottom shelf if she asks mum first. I have learnt to be flexible and change what is acceptable and what's not. If there is a source of constant annoyance, I remove it. I avoid situations which distress her.

I did try supernanny naughty step but thought it did not suit my parenting style and to be perfectly honest I only use it rarely now when I am at the end of my tether and would gladly strangle her (joking), it gives me a moment to calm down, and I always say I am putting her there so that both of us can have a minute to calm down a bit and talk things through calmy.

My mantra is "this is a phase, its, not forever, be patient" plus it is practice for when she is a teenager lol

Dia - posted on 07/03/2010

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my son is 3years old and i m still dealing with his tantrums he screams alot nowadays then before i told him always not to do that but he couldnt bother but now sometimes i avoid him and sometime tell him our neighbours get disturbed with loud screaming voice so he is understanding tht but thats true how we react they react on us if in frustration i raised my voice on him he did the same recently i have another baby boy so he is bit jealous so i have to keep patience he screams near by his brother he is 4 months old now and getting use to..

Ebby - posted on 07/02/2010

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Kids love stickers! :D Good luck, wish mine didn't try to eat them still. LOL.

Rachelle - posted on 07/02/2010

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I think we're going to try charts and see how the behavior goes from here. Something has to work.

Louise - posted on 07/02/2010

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my child is going through the t2 at the mo but only started after my second child was born. i use the hot spot which some days it works some days it does not. it also got hard just to do the normal routine such as gettin dressed , brushin teeth so now i do a chart and if he does getting dressed , brushing teeth with out it bein a a batle he gets a tick and if he get lots of ticks then he gets a star at theend of the day. i also use a feelin fan which has diferent faces eg happy, sad, ect so when he starts the sad face goes up for examle for hitting and he gets a cross on his chart and the happy face goes back up when he has carmed down and is being nice again. i also went on a coures called living with children and i advies parents to go on it if u can.

Brandi - posted on 07/02/2010

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I do time- out.. thats the only thing that works for my child! I have a time out rug and sit his little booty on it when he's in trouble and i explain to him what he did wrong.. and if hes crying about it i tell him listen your not getting up until you straighten up.. If I dont do that he will keep crying for ever! lol and P.S. I got that from Super NANNY!

Ebby - posted on 07/02/2010

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Your opinion is definetly warranted, and I'm not sure what your children are like, but in the case of my son, there really is no talking to him, (but I do try to talk to him on his level when its happening every single time in a calm firm manner before anything else). I know all children are loving caring little people, in their own moment and element, with all these other circumstances that affect them that come into play. Talking with my daughter works, she fully understands what I'm saying and cooperates when I communicate with her just like the book your recommending does, its in her nature to try to want to understand and care, but the same things do not work for my son, I call them my night and day, he is always a cheery exhuberant little boy, but when he doesn't get his way its like an explosion of emotion and talking to him does not work whatsoever and the best thing for us personally is to take him away from the situation so he can forget what he saw he wanted and then talk to him after he's calmed down. My girl however is usually more serious and reserved, but is more receptive to talking and relating, so its important to note that kids are very different from one another, no one size parenting fits all, and I do agree its important to understand how they recieve how our emotions and reactions are coming forth during the heated moments, but theres only so many times you can redirect a toddler in a day before you start to get frustrated and have to give the time out and give up for a few minutes. He is a constant battle, constant redirecting, constant talking on his level and still the full out tantrums erupt and theres nothing that can be done. So I feel you Valory, I'm in the same shoes.

Kat - posted on 07/02/2010

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my son just turned 1 and i think he's decided to do the terrible 2s a year early. it sounds just like tristan.

Christy - posted on 07/02/2010

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I certainly didn't mean to offend anyone, but in my opinion supernany negates a child's feeling and ability to be empathetic and instead teaches them to parrot an apology after being ignored. I have more faith than that in children and believe that people are people no matter how small.

Ebby - posted on 07/02/2010

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I had a lengthly response to your flaming of my advice, I felt the way you posted your link was a little off putting, however I deleted my previous comment because I don't want to argue with someone who clearly follows a doctrine from another perspective than mine. I appreciate your concern in posting Alfies advice, however after doing some research and reading reviews on his books, I found that most parents commented that his advice was hard to implement because it didn't enable them with any tools. I put the book you recommended on hold at the library to read. I'll let you know how it goes.



Valory, from everything I do read its more about choosing one discipline method and being committed to it, sticking with it long term so they know what to expect when they do lose control and fight with us, sometimes theres just no talking to them and I find myself needing a mommy time out. LOL. Some kids are harder than others, hope you can find something that works for you, I've always got an open mind to trying new things, but the link I used above is more for just having structure and ideas for avoiding the frustration before it starts. Take care! :)

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