Not sure what to do anymore, at my wits end.

Robyn - posted on 11/22/2013 ( 4 moms have responded )




I am not sure what to do anymore. I am having a lot of problems disciplining my daughter and her behavior worrries me. I really want to nip it in the bum before she gets out of control. My daughter is 21 months old and I have been sending her to timeouts since around 16 months. On top of that I do redirect when its appropriate. I talk firmly. But nothing seems to affect her. She smiles, she laughs, thinks its a game, she doesn't care. I am at my wits end with her, she is a lot different than my son who has been very easy to manage(sporadically started timeouts at 18 months for him). Time outs affect him. He finds it unpleasant, knows he has done something wrong, apologizes, and learns from the experience. Timeouts have always been effective with him and he rarely needs one if he is warned about something. ((there are certain offenses that are STRAIGHT to timeout offenses)).

Its not that I want her to cry or anything. I just want her to know it IS a punishment.... but timeouts just DON'T affect her at all. It is frustrating because she just keeps on doing naughty things and then my discipline tactics are laughable to her. Like she literally laughs.

I give time outs for things such as hitting, throwing things, being mean/chasing the dog, taking toys. Continuing to throw fits/continuing to whine when not getting their way/when I have said no.

The behavior that concerns me is that she likes to pick at/ bully her brother. She just wants a reaction. In fact she LOVES negative reactions almost more. Because they are 'bigger'. She finds it funny when my son bawls when she takes a toy from him and runs away with it. the more he squeals, the more I tell her NO.... the more fun to her. She pushes for the sake of pushing. She loves to try to take a blanket from him. She has hit him with toys on the head. In these situations, Bren will be playing with his toys. She will walk up to him. Take whatever toy he has or is near him. And quickly tap him on the head or really where ever. She laughs when he gets upset. She LOVES to push buttons and she knows all of them well. :( She can really be mean sometimes. She will even hit us. She also knows that she gets a reaction out of me when she does these things, it almost seems like she actually WANTS me to send her to time out sometimes!

When something like this happens/witness it. I get her attention by firmly saying "No Liv we do not ________." I then grab her shoulders and get down on a knee to look at her in the face, I tell her that "_______________ is not nice. That makes ______ very sad or that hurts when you do that. You need to be nice. You are going to a time out for ________." Then I place her in the corner in our kitchen. I have been making her sit there for 2 minutes. But most importanly she DOESNT CARE. She smiles. she will sit there and rock... then she will start talking to me. "Hi mom hi!" she will should. "I like colors." "I play with ponies" Sometimes she will try to scoot her butt across the floor(cause she knows she has to sit) or she just gets up and goes to the pantry to get into stuff. I try to be around the corner, So I can check up on her by peeking around the corner. I will then catch her trying to move out of the corner. The first time I will tell her again that she is in time out for taking a toy or hitting her brother or whatever it was. "you need to sit here and now your time out starts over again" She doesn't care. It is a game now. She will move again. Then I don't say anything and just put her back in the corner. and start over again. This can go on forever. When she gets out of time out, she very willingly gives her brother a hug or the dog or me (whoever it was that she was unkind to) and says she is sorry. But she will go back to whatever she was doing shortly after. RARELY does she EVER get upset about time outs, rarely if ever do I see that she even knows she is being punished.

She is the youngest of my two children, my son is 3. They are ying and yang of each other. While my son is very cautious, sensitive, laidback, always very sweet, will easily entertain himself.... my daughter is daring, a bit wild, very determined/ stubborn sometimes---down right Tenacious, independent in doing things herself yet NEEDS me to be close /feels she needs me to play with her at all times (she is really really rather attached to me--I have always joked that we have an invisible umbilical cord still attached), very dramatic (has been throwing fits--like laying herself down on the floor when she doesn't get her way since she was 1), very sassy. She has hit milestones sooooo much faster than her older brother. Even when she was just a newbie, she has WATCHED and wanted to keep up with everyone else. Seriously at a little over 2 months she was doing what I call "baby crunches" because she wanted to situp so badly to see what everyone was doing. She walked at 9 1/2 months because she just wanted to walk like everyone else and get into things. FEARLESSLY, throw caution to the wind sort of girl. She wanted to get to things. She most defiantly is my climber. She is really rather smart, sharp as a tack. She speaks very clearly in 2-3 word sentences (while my son just started doing that the beginning of this year). She can be so sweet and lovely but other times she can be soooo mean and cruel. I know a lot of it is her testing, her being the little toddler scientist that she is. She likes to do things for reaction. If I do this, this will happen... however, I want her to KNOW that these things are not nice. Are not good behavior. Or the very least just NOT to do them because there is a consequence not just game or more entertainment for her.

She is still so young and not sure what would be more effective at her age. I refuse to just go back to only redirecting because some of her behavior is just UNACCEPTABLE. I really don't want her to take pleasure in being mean to others. :( I want to raise a child that is respectful of others and I feel like laying the foundation of this should start NOW and not later.



View replies by

Helen - posted on 11/25/2013




I would not use time out with such a young child. If you are using it frequently, it is not working anyway. I agree with Leandra that she is seeking attention but please do not spank her! How can a parent tell a child to be kinder to her brother if she is being hit herself? A spank , no matter how small, is violence and there are enough violent people in this world. If you can spend more happy time with her, reading to her, playing she will be happier and you will be happier too.

She sounds like a very bright little girl. What you are describing is normal toddler behaviour, made worse by your overreaction. React differently and model the nice behaviour you want to see. If you do need to discipline. talk to her gently and redirect her. Toddler do go through some difficult phases. Remember that they pass but that your relationship with her has to endure.

My children were brought up gently and became lovely adults. I did not have any problems in their teens. Now I am a grandmother and I am doing it all again for my working daughter. It is easier this time round because I am more confident and getting more sleep!

Ana - posted on 11/24/2013





She sounds normal to me, but my mother told me that you have to discipline all kids differently.

Time out isn't working, so she may need something a little stronger for her personality type.

If she were my child (and I have 2 girls, 10months and 3.5 years old), I would discipline her as follows:

Have her to complete a project.

Well when she is acting out, I think she's bored and wants to see what she can get into.

So when she is acting out, separate her from the group, give her something to color or paste together and check on her every few mins. keep her close to you and give positive comments about her work. Post her work on the fridge. Still tell her you didn't like what she did and she has to say sorry and now it's project time.

This will help her see that when she gets the Bored feeling, don't go picking on her brother, just ask mommie if she can color or do projects or something.

During her project time, make sure she is alone. This way she can focus.
If she starts crying and acting out, just wait for her to calm down, but make sure you sit her down and get her focused. Tell her she can have a treat when she is done.

The project is not a negative punishment, it's redirecting but there will have to be a lot of it. No toys and no Tv during project time.

You can't change her personality, just show her how to deal with it better.

And as far as the diapers go, change the pattern of how you change her.
You can potty train her in a week, and this won't be much of an issue anymore.

Leandra - posted on 11/23/2013




I have some random ideas that might help some, but you may need to find a child therapist.

It sounds like she wants attention, she may be jealous of the attention her brother gets. My daughter had that issue. She started acting out, once I realized the issue I schedule time for us. We went and did something just the two of us. She stopped acting out.

I might change the Timeouts to standing with her nose in a corner. You might also do something she wants/loves to do while she is in timeout so she knows that she is missing out and will think of Timeouts as more of a punishment as opposed to a game. I noticed you didn't say anything about spankings, if you are not completely against them you might consider it for the most serious offenses. Talk to her about what she did and why she is getting a spanking. I know this is a personal preference and people's opinions on it are all over the place so it is what feels right for you.

I think you should try to control your reactions. Touching herself while changing her diaper became a game because of your reaction. It is gross but it won't kill her. I think she will stop once she does not get a reaction.

You might also see if there is something you can enroll her in like dance class or gymnastics, swim lessons to focus some of her energy.


Robyn - posted on 11/22/2013




I should say another 'funny' game she plays with me is when I change her diaper. She thinks its funny to try and touch herself as soon as I get the diaper off. Because she knows I will tell her no and grab her hands to place them else where. She does it over and over and over again. Whats worse is she goes as far as putting her fingers in her mouth after this because she thinks my slightly louder/firmer reaction is even more funny. "No that is yucky. Your hands are yucky/dirty now. We need to wash your hands." As soon as she figured out that this was a means to get a reaction out of me, it quickly has become a fun game for her. It is enough to make me want to pull my hair out! It is disgusting and infuriating especially when its after she has pooped. I try to be steady firm and not give her much of a reaction. But really anything keeps her going. This game happens nearly every time I change her. What do I do? Do I just ignore her and let her do it and then wash her hands afterwards.... What do I do about the putting her fingers in her mouth? Not say anything as well and just keep bring her hands down out of her face over and over and over and over and over..... and take like 15 minutes to change a dirty diaper and in the mean time possibly get poop every where?!?! I don't want her to make herself sick.

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