Is it terrible twos or something more...???

Kelly - posted on 06/19/2011 ( 7 moms have responded )




My 2 y/o daughter will be 3 next month and she can throw some fits. I'm beginning to think these are more than just terrible twos. I have never believed in giving a child a pill for their behavior but seriously, if you could just spend a day with my toddler, you might see what I see. She hits, kicks, screams, throws her toys... Any suggestions for this? Her doctor keeps telling me its just the terrible twos, could it be more and I'm really considering a different doctor now. At what age is a child diagnosed for ADHD? She can't be tamed! HELP!


Jenni - posted on 06/19/2011




Firstly, a 'responsible' doctor would never medicate a 2 year old for ADHD. Because very likely, he's right. It is just a phase. I don't think it's possible to correctly diagnose a child with ADHD until the age of 6-7. And why would you want to medicate your child before exhausting every other option?

We've all been there/are there. What you are describing sounds like the typical terrible twos and it generally gets worse before it gets better.

Give her plenty of choices to have some control over the little things in her life. Limit to two choices. Toddlers are fighting for independence.

Avoid unnecessary power struggles. Stress issues of safety and respect.

When she hits or kicks, put her in time out. Give her 2 mins to calm herself down. Time out is not a punishment it is a tool to teach young children to calm themselves and learn self control. After have a chat with her about her behaviour.

Teach her the words to express her feelings. Tantrums, kicking, screaming, hitting etc. Are usually exhibited by toddlers because the lack the language to express themselves. Therefore, they will express themselves physically. So when she tantrums say; I see you're really mad right now. When she's happy say: Oh you're so happy we get to go to the park. Express your own feelings into words so she learns the words for her feelings.

Model behaviour- If you don't want her to yell when she's mad, then don't yell yourself. Give yourself a time out when you get mad so you can model appropriate behaviour we need to exhibit when we're mad.

Find creative ways to say 'no'.... like: "I'll think about it" "Maybe later" "How about we try this instead"

Stay calm and positive- the opposite will only escalate her bad mood and behaviour.

Ignore tantrums, address the behaviour first and then ignore:

"I see you're really mad right now, when you calm yourself down... we will talk again."

"I see you're really frustrated you can't do that. When you are calm I will help you"

"We don't kick and hit. We use our words and say I'm really mad!"

If she throws a toy, put the toy in time out. If she breaks a toy, put it in the garbage.

If she is being physical immediately put her in time out to calm herself down. Remove her from the situation. Do not give warnings for being physical. Say: "I see you're angry. Let's go somewhere quiet to calm ourselves down"

Teach her to breathe through her anger or count to 10. Model this behaviour yourself when you are angry.

Above all be consistant and patient. It takes time to make though the terrible twos and for them to learn self-control. It will not be done over night but it gets better! I have 3 toddlers right now a 13 month old, 2 (almost 3) year old and a 3 (almost 4) year old. My oldest two now have learned to put themselves in time out when they are angry. Make sure you talk to her after she is calm to show her mommy will help but mommy won't help when you are throwing a fit.

For more join our community (PBS) Positive Behaviour Strategies:

Here is another link to discipline I think will be helpful:

Nikki - posted on 06/19/2011




I agree with JL and Jen. It's normal, as stressful and awful as it is. I would really look into diet as JL said. My daughter (same age) is a monster if she has even a hint of sugar, so I have completely up hauled her diet to ensure she is only eating healthy, the difference in her behaviour is amazing. I have done this for quite a while now and everytime we have slip ups the difference is amazing. It did seem to take a week or so to notice a difference, and it wasn't like she was eating a lot of sugar. So I would try diet first. Also make sure your child is getting enough sleep, if Issy has a wink under 12 hours at night and then less than 2 hours during the day I really notice the difference. So a good routine with lots of healthy food may help.

Try and find some time for you as well, I know how stressful it can be, see if you can get someone to watch your daughter for an hour or so here and there so you get some time to relax and recharge.

Jaime - posted on 06/19/2011




Kelly, the way you describe your daughter sounds exactly like my son. He turned 2 in February and it's been a lot of trial and error to figure out what works well and what times during the day he's most 'active'. At this stage you can't say you've tried everything and nothing is working because she's still so young and despite trying and trying and trying things over and just have to keep doing it. Consistency really is important. Consistency and calm. Also diet...make sure that your daughter isn't eating foods high in sugars or dyes close to bed time/nap time or early in the day...really try to limit the amount of 'treats' she gets. Fruit juices are full of sugars and should really be limited as well. Also corn is a culprit for sugar which I didn't know until I started researching. Some foods that help to balance out energy are bananas and cheese. Please come join us in PBS because there are plenty of moms at the ready to help or listen.

Christy - posted on 06/19/2011




Age three is worse than two's, especially for precocious little girls. I had one, too! I wouldn't assume that she has ADHD because of her tantrums. This is the age that you need to train her how to act and what is appropriate. I really like the book, "Parenting with Love and Logic." They have a book specifically about the toddler/preschool age and you might be able to find it at your library on audio book!

When my kids reached the age of two, I put them in training. I especially wanted my kids to obey me and behave well in public, so we did a lot of our training during grocery shopping trips. Toddler would want to walk, except that my kids liked to run away. So I taught them to hold onto the cart to help mommy push the cart. If they walked away, I'd buckle them into the seat. After they were done screaming we'd quietly talk about why it's important to stay with mommy and hold the cart. Then if the child had calmed down, we'd try it again. There were plenty of times I didn't finish my shopping because toddler wouldn't calm down. But after continuous practice, my kids have all done very well to listen and obey even in public situations where there is extra stimulation to distract them.

Also, I found with my daughter at that age, that instead of telling her "no" we'd talk about the reason why I didn't want her doing what she was doing. Then I'd help her find something to do that was age appropriate for her. Because I wasn't mad at her, she rarely did it again in search of (negative) attention, and because I wasn't always telling her no, she rarely told me no! If only I had remembered to do all that with my boys!

Jenni - posted on 06/19/2011




Like I said; It takes time. There are no immediate cures. My son hit for a year before I effectively taught him to use his words instead. There are no over night cures, not even medication. Discipline takes a lot of work, time and effort.


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Kelly - posted on 06/20/2011




Thank you all so much for your suggestions. I really appreciate getting feedback on this matter! I will definately and consistently try all these suggestions! Thanks again!

Kelly - posted on 06/19/2011




Thanks, but I've tried all of this. I know that 2 is too young for ADHD medications, thats why I asked when a child is usually diagnosed. Personally, I dont believe in medications myself. But I've tried everything you suggested.

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