Is there something wrong with my child or is it just the terrible 2s?

Rachael - posted on 06/03/2010 ( 28 moms have responded )

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I have always felt that there is just something not quite right with my little one. He had a behavioural assessment completed at 18mths. Showed he was lacking in communication skills.

He is now 2 1/2. His language skills are still very limited. But his behaviour is beyond acceptable. So much so, I just feel like he is sucking the life out of me. There is rarely a day that goes by that I say, yep that was a good day.

He whinges from the minute he wakes up till the minute he goes to bed, about what I can't say. Something as little as taking the empty bowl from him, when he is not ready for you to take it.

I know children of this age push the boundaries, but when you say NO to him, I may as well be talking to a brick wall. It is the same things I'm saying everyday 1000 times a day, but it just never seems to sink in. I'm to the point now, that I'm wondering, does he really understand what I'm saying.

Have tried all I can think of over the months and have been consistent with it all, smacking, time out, warnings, counting etc. Nothing seems to work with him. Even if I take him to an indoor play centre, he is wanting to go into the toilet or the office at the centre, just basically getting into things he shouldn't be, never interested in what is there for him to play with...

I have a baby who is 14mths, and the difference in play and understanding between the two is vastly different, which makes me wonder if there is something wrong with him. Am due to have another baby later in the year, and just feel exhausted as I feel like I am bashing my head against a brick wall from the minute he gets up till he goes to bed at night...

Any suggestions??

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Maggie - posted on 06/04/2010

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oh I meant to mention one more thing as far as the communication. We did baby sign language with both boys. It's easier to learn a hand movement than it is to form sounds sometimes so maybe you should try it. It's really easy to learn (for adults and kids!).

Kate - posted on 06/15/2010

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I have a son (eldest) who sounds like yours and a daughter (2 yrs younger, now 4) who is very smart. It is funny to see them behave together as if they were the same age.
Kids are like this : different ! My son is extremely interested by anything NEW. Everything he's already seen is too boring. His curiosity leads him to pretty much anything that is not allowed to him and therefore it is very stressful as a parent to coach him through life. However, in school, although he's The day-dreamer, he picks up on some lessons and eventually agrees to learn and then amazes everyon with his abilities. I however took him to a 'child-psychiatrist' who helped me A LOT in understanding his ways of refusing authority, and his ways of being interesting in things. He really works differently from what I thought in some aspects and it helped us a lot from then on. I had the right receipes for punishments and for encouragements. We're no genius, sometimes it helps to get external professional views. He's now 6 yrs old and seems 'special' to everyone who meet him although he does NOT have a real problem at all. All humans are different. You're the mother of one.

Rachel - posted on 06/11/2010

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Sorry things are so challenging for you. Such a heartache to hear another mom struggling like this, the way I did with both of my twin boys, now age 4. Sounds like you are doing everything right from what I can hear. Just a comment- maybe have your child seen by a Developmental Pediatrician. This is a great place to start. They are more specialized than a regular pedi and can recommend and may do specific testing for your child's age to truly see if they should even be a concern.

Best of luck to you! There are so many of us out there like you, but who are not always willing to post- thank you for doing that.

Delani - posted on 06/07/2010

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Speaking as a mom with 5 children, 2 who are deaf, I can relate to your problems, its a long story but I agree with the person who said teach your baby sign whether they are hearing Impaired or not it will greatly help him, he sounds like he is frustrated like my 5 year old(who is deaf) was at that age same thing was going on with my almost 4yr old who can hear we have always used ASL and it help alot with temper tantrums. She was also just tested for speech and we wer informed that she has a very high vocabulary for her age. And with my youngest almost 2 who is also deaf the diff between having sign from the get go and no sign with her older sisiter till she was almost 3yrs old the behavior is night and day. most major library are starting to carry signing times videos that you can check out. good luck

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Alison - posted on 06/15/2010

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if i were you, i wouldn't stress. my son didn't talk (like almost at all) until he was three. the speech therapist put him on the wait list for one on one counselling. she told us we had a BIG PROBLEM and that we'd have at least 2 years of the one on one before we'd notice any changes. about a week after that, (his third birthday) he suddenly started talking. he just turned four, and we can't shut the kid up!! it makes us laugh (and feel extremely proud) when we walk through walmart and our son is screaming his abc's at the top of his lungs. i wouldn't stress about the communication. (i would guess that your second is a girl?? we have two girls, and i'm astonished all the time by their communication skill)

someone else mentioned that his behavior is probably linked to frustration that no one can understand him. and i would completely agree... our son was okay with us, but with other people, he'd get frustrated and then get really quiet and just of sulk. i wouldn't stress about that behavior until you've worked on his speech.

the thing that worked for our son was, we'd pick 5-10 words that he used OFTEN. "car" "daddy" "thomas"... we wrote them on the fridge. and everytime he "said" them, we'd make him say them over and over again until he said them right. within a week, he was using almost all his words properly. we just had a one year assessment (still on the wait list for the one on one) and she's taken him off the list completely.

ps: my kids sound about the same ages as yours. so don't stress, it can be done!! and remember, he's 2 :) disregard the parents who talk about how amazing their kids are. they're lying.

Nicola - posted on 06/15/2010

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Honestly it sounds pretty normal to me. Boys generally are late talkers. My son is also 2 1/2 and honestly doesn't say alot well nothing that makes sense. He has his days when this really frustrates him and he throws tantrums and can sometimes get violent. Other then my husband all the males on his side haven't really started talking until the age of 4. He will get angry and play up as he knows what hes trying to get across to you and can't work out why you can't understand what he wants when he can understand you. When our son plays up we find ignoring him when he gets frustated tends to help him try to vocalise what he wants more and when he acts out we count to 3 then its time out. It has worked wonders so far, our son still doesn't say much unless he wants to but i'm not worried at this point as I know its a tendency with boys. If your really worried the only thing I would think you may want to consider being wrong with him would be a syndrome on the aspergers spectrum, you can suggest this to his GP and ask to see a proffesional from a aspergers spectrum test (its more common then you'ld think) or you could put him in descent day care a couple of sessions a week and see what feed back you receive from the teachers (my SIL is a ECE and this is part of her work).

Rachael - posted on 06/14/2010

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I'm so overwhelmed by the responses and although its not good for anyone else, it is nice to know that there are people out there who do understand.

For those who have children in the same boat, I wrote down all my problems so I wouldn't forget anything and we finally had out pedetrician appointment today.

The Ped agreed with me that his behaviour is definately high end scale. He asked me if I thought something was wrong with him, to which I replied yes, I have since the day he's been born. I love him to pieces, but there is just something not right.

To cut the long story short, he has ordered speech and phyc testing for him, with the view of him having mild Autiusm. This makes me feel slightly releaved as although I have no idea what to do in this instance, I know there is nothing I'm not doing that isn't right and that maybe there is something that can be done to improve the behaviour. So yah... Some helpful news.

Carrie - posted on 06/14/2010

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I think I can agree with you. It isn't normal behavior. I, however, am in the same boat as you but my child is 5. I take things away. I live in a house of nine people. It is my son and I with 7 other people. He is treated much differently then the other three boys but that is also because the other three boys are very well mannered. My son, however, is a monster. He pisses on the floor on purpose, especially, after he gets in trouble. I think we have tried everything. I do not know what to do anymore. I am so frustrated. I work everyday except on the weekends. It has come to the point that I have even taken Mommy time away from him because he is disrespectful, and doesn't care if he gets in trouble or not. Lately, it seems like he has been in more trouble then not. I do not know what to do at this point. PLEASE HELP!

Jamison - posted on 06/13/2010

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hi hun.
has he been to a pedatrishion. un like a dr thay may be abel to send you to an early intervenchion service that have speach ocpashinal theripy phisio and egcaters which all can do an assesment on your child and if thay feel nesasery thay will work with you to get throw these difficalt times. thay are abel to work as a team to pin pont what is seting him off and see what thay can do to help redrrect him into better behaver. we also youse vishwal ades to help.and thay do help like 2 step card so first is breckfest and than a toy or game he likes as second when his bole is emty ask him if he is finished also make a thumbs up and shake it back and forth as you say finished this gives him a vishal ade to help him see you are asking him a questionthen ask him if he would like to play with the toy on the picher. with luck and praktes he will be more intrested in what he is about to play with rather than throwing a tanty.
have you had his hearing cheked or dose he get the flu or tonslitis alot becose this can affecked ther hearing he may need gromets to drain flud from his ear drums so he can hear better have him seen by an ear nose and throt persion.
he may just be jelise of his siblings to is he geting mummy time to himself i know thats hard with a nother littal one and whill prgnet. i know you are realy bissy and egsasted with the children but how do you feel within your self. I hope iv helped keep you head high you are doing a grat job.

Rachael - posted on 06/13/2010

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All the advise offered is much appreciated. I have really considered the food additive thing. I think I will seriously look into that. Another problem I'm having is him hitting my little boy... He throws things at the little one with extreme force... And usually at the little ones head. Or, he just hits him very heavily on the head. I continually put him on the naughty spot for this and tell him hitting or throwing is not accepted in this house, but five minutes later he's doing it again!!! Very frustrating.

Samantha - posted on 06/12/2010

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I think everyone here has given you some good things to go on with, but I'd like to mention what Dee Claydon did. My friend had a little boy who did many of the things you described in your first post, and was pretty much just labelled a difficult child, until his daycare insisted that his parents have him tested for reactions to food additives. he now has an additive fee diet and is a different child. I'm not saying he doesn't have a disability or anything, but it might be worth trying. My friend ignored the suggestions of her son's daycare for sometime and regrets it now, because she has a loving wonderful boy now.

Sam - posted on 06/12/2010

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i agree with maggie walkup, i think focus as much as you can on what he can do and give him praise, keep him on a consistent schedule so he will kno what to expect from day to day, and give him choices(limited ones). and they are called terrible twos for a reason. and try not to worry sounds like a phase and all will pass with time!!

Brandy - posted on 06/12/2010

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I would call it terrible 2's. I thought my son (he is 2yo) was having development problems and it turned out that he is actually ahead of other boys his age. I also have a 6yo daughter that was always in school, so he wan't having much interaction with other children his age. He was not enrolled in daycare or anyother groups. A few weeks after his 2nd birthday I enrolled him in Early Head Start and they have play groups everyother week to allow adjustment to dealing with other children. To say the least it has been about 4 months and he has blossomed. He still has "problems", but that is part of being 2 and being a boy.
If you are really concerned, the people who do the assesments can give you the name of local government or private agencies that specialize in helping parents through these situations.
I send my best and hope that something I have written will help ease your mind/heart.

Dee - posted on 06/12/2010

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Have you tried Additive free foods? There is a book that changed my life "Fed Up" by Sue Dengate (spelling sorry?) even healthy foods can affect behaviour. Bananas and chocolate are in one group. Sultanas are like drugs to my kids...nightmares, toss and turn all night. Please please please read it! I was where you are two months ago and I am never going back! Good luck xxx

Maggie - posted on 06/11/2010

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I'd say the overtiredness coupled with the frustration of not being understood (because he doesn't talk well) that what you described IS normal behavior. You might want to try to have him go to bed earlier instead of trying to make him sleep in. Also, even if he doesn't take a nap you should have some quiet time in the afternoon. After lunch I lay down with my boys and quite often the older one (almost 4) doesn't want to sleep. Once he's layed quietly for 20 or 30 minutes I'll let him read or play in the bed. That way he still has some down time to rest and re-energize.
Keep up the sign even if he doesn't seem interested - it could be that he didn't connect the sign to the object/action. Once he realizes that you can understand him a lot of that frustration should go away.

Tammy - posted on 06/11/2010

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Maybe a paediatrian could help. Also have you tried locking him in a room whenever the behavior arises. Try locking him in for 3 minutes at a time. May feel like you are doing this constantly for the first few days, but it did work for me. After a few days they know what the consquences are of the behavor. Hope this works. I do strongly suggest taking him to a doctor who has great imput into these situations.

Erin - posted on 06/10/2010

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I think at this age children have a difficult time communicating. They have trouble getting their point across in an appropriate manner. You used the example of you taking an empty bowl away before he is ready for you to take it, I'm assuming he had a tantrum. For whatever reason he still wanted it, but unlike you or I he can't say "I still want that bowl, please leave it." So he is letting you know he still wants it the best way he knows how.
As for communication skills he may have something wrong with him but he may not. Every child is different and learns these skills at different times.

Ashley - posted on 06/10/2010

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Have u had his hearing checked just thinking if he cant here properly he wont be able to communicate very well. Just a thought

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Time to go to the family doctor and ask for a behavioural assessment and push for another speech assessment.
Don't back down if the doctor gives you the run around. You know your child best and you are your child's best advocate. If there is something wrong, the sooner it is addressed the faster you can get help and support for him and it will make both your worlds a better place to live.

Is he in speech therapy? Has his hearing been tested/ does he suffer from a lot of head colds/ear infections.
If he can't hear well due to fluid in his ears, it might explain the lack of communication skills and his comprehension.

It is also possible his frustration of not being able to express himself is the problem. Have you though about baby sign language. I look after an autistic 3 year old that when she started with me a year ago was completely non verbal and was responding to sign language. I got on board and got some dvds and books from Babysigningtime.com. It has made a world of difference (it also helped me learn to sign since I found books hard to follow) in both the 3 year old and my son's communication skills. I taught all the little kids to sign figuring if the 3 year old didn't start to talk at least they would understand what she was saying. Luckily she is starting to say the words she signs. The difference over the year has been amazing.

Hang in there. It's tougher when having another wee one around who is also demanding lots of your attention.

Follow your gut, stand your ground and take each day as it comes.

Good luck!

MARIEL - posted on 06/09/2010

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In my case, I have a 3 year old that can be very hard head. I let him go thru the different experiences in order for him to understand and learn what is right and wrong. I also give him choices, I tell him (if you do this, this will happen) most of the time he won't listen so i let him go thru his moment, then i tell him (I told you). If i get upset with him and scream for stuff that he did wrong, he'll do the same thing and get cranky, scream, hit his head on the floor, walls, etc. I've learned to breath, walk away and start all over again. I hope this help.

Rachael - posted on 06/09/2010

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Thanks for your comments everyone. I've tried to sign, with simple things like drink & food with no success. He is just flat out not interested..

Today we woke at 3:30am and wouldn't go back to sleep. Didn't carry on, just kicked the cot, jumped around etc, till he eventually went back to sleep about 6am (after I'd gone to work) and got up at about 6:30am.

Had swimming lessons and spent the day with daddy. He refused to have a day sleep and basically ripped the door (screws and all) off his wooden toy kitchen in a tantrum..

I know he's tired, but this behaviour is just not acceptable. That can't be normal behaviour for a 2yr old. Does anyone agree?

Devin - posted on 06/06/2010

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my son was just like this !!!! he was seen by many just to be told some dont talk tell alittle after 3y old and many smart kids know how to push u all the right/rong ways !!! what work 4 me was to play the same games back, push his buttons, see what makes his tick and use it !!! it will help him talk more and respect what you are saying or threating .... that way u 2 will see eye to eye as much as u can with a 2y old lol .... hold on and reminber this 2 will pass :)

Hallie - posted on 06/06/2010

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hi i have a strong willed boy too n i agree w maggie..let him have more choices...i didnt "give in" but i decided tht i had to b more lenient..if he cant have my phone then he can have the play phone..if he cant have something dont use no or negative words (only when necessary) just say u cant have this but u can have this one also just let him explore even if all the oth kids r playin n hes not its ok my son doesnt play w kids at the park he rather pick up leaves n so wat?? hes happy point tryin to make dont use no alot let him have choices let him b free n when he throws tantrums ignore it then when hes calm hug n talk y was he mad y did u do tht n how did it make u feel my son is 2 yr 3 mths on a bad day he kicks screams bites punches throws etc etc etc so wat do i do?? i give him a shower (he doesnt like baths) take him outside - stores let him run park let him run n hes a happy camper sry tht its long but i have felt tht way i call him my gremlin on a bad day o also he might b actin out more bc of the new baby soo more attention on him

Kaley - posted on 06/05/2010

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I would suggest a few things. Talk with his pediatrician and see what he-she says. There are tests that can be done. Second, you should try so your baby can read dvds to help with his communication skills. Also, if you take him to get tested for disabilities. If there is one, you can go through your local school district and they can send an Occupational Therapist to help improve his motor/communication skills. I agree with not comparing the two kids. It could be that he's a boy. Girls naturally learn faster, talk faster, walk faster than boys do (probably because we're multi-taskers). Good luck with this adn congrats on your upcoming baby.

Megan - posted on 06/05/2010

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I feel the same way.
My son is not even two yet, will turn on july 11.
Nothing i do makes him happy, He gets mad at me for every little thing. What i have learned is that every day is diffrent with a toddler some days some things will work and other they wont, But i never give in, i may try to rediret him but never give in!
Some days just holding him for a few minites work, Some days taking him swimming works, some days nothing works. I find if there worn out by the end of the day there much easyer to deal with(if bedtime is a battle) As for communication my boy is also behind, my doctor has said that every child is diffrent and he will catch up, He does very very well in other subjects such as he looks like he is 3 and plays like he is 3.
Just keep in mind every child is diffrent.
No one is perfect, some days will be better then others.

Maggie - posted on 06/04/2010

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Oh the joys of the strong willed child!
Here's what I suggest. Give him a little more control. Instead of taking the empty bowl ask him to put in in the sink when he's done with it. Instead of picking out his outfit for the day try getting out two shirts and asking him which one he wants to wear; or does he want corn or peas with dinner. Instead of disciplining try redirecting - tell him "that's not for you" and give him something he can have. Reinforce good behavior and make sure he's getting some one-on-one time with you so he doesn't feel overshadowed by the baby and the pregnancy.

Kids this age like to be involved and make decisions. Let him have some small choices, keep his days on a consistent schedule, and make sure you celebrate the good things he does.

Louise - posted on 06/04/2010

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Do you think that the behaviour is through frustration that he can not communicate with you properly? Your son is now 21/2 and he can now be seen and treated by a speach and language therapist. If you are concerned that he is lagging behind in his speach then ask to be referred. You may find as his language skills develop his behaviour changes. Just a thought but have you had his ears checked for glue ear as many language problems stem from hearing problems.

Christina - posted on 06/03/2010

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I'm not sure if there is something wrong. There could be, but it could also be normal toddler behavior. Why did he have the first behavioral assessment done - did his doctor think something was wrong?

I know it's hard, but try not to compare him with your other child. Every child is different. Some are easy, some are difficult (a better word is "spirited" ) My first child had a temper like nothing I had ever seen before, or since. Her tantrums made my other kids tantrums look like a hiccup!! She would scream and scream and scream EVERY time I said the word "No", no matter what the reason was. Then she would flop on the ground and go "Boneless" as we called it, trying to make it as hard as possible for us to carry her screaming sack- of -potatoes body around. Sometimes she would purposely smack her head against the floor or ground. Every day she threw at least 15 or 20 tantrums. Today she is a happy and well-adjusted 1st grader (with the occasional meltdown). It could just be he is going to be a bit hard to deal with, but it will probably improve as he gets older and can communicate better. Just never give in to him - or it will get worse.

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