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Toddler behavior - NEED HELP

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
DS is 2 as of Aug 5. For the past several weeks he is constantly having trantums & meltdowns. I've become a yeller, a screamer. Example from tonight; I was using the toilet & he came in & turned off the light. He frequently turns it on & off over & over. I asked him to turn it on. He refused, I asked again, he refused, & so on with his tone of voice turning bratty. I got angry, eventually yelled, he cried, etc. What should I have done?

Also, constantly says "mine" to EVERYTHING. It's driving me nuts because when it is something he can't have it is major meltdown. He does not listen, is becoming defiant, & is starting to hit, ignores when we ask him to be gentle.

I'm reading happiest toddler. Any other advice? I'm exhausted & I honestly dread spending time with him right now. Please help!

Sent from my phone using Tapatalk, please ignore typos!
post #2 of 8

Have you read Playful Parenting?  

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
No, will it give me some specific strategies? This morning he had a meltdown because I had to take away the Cheerios that he kept throwing on the floor. Then another because I wouldn't let him play with the metal tape measure.
post #4 of 8
The best way to improve behavior, IMO, is to give more responsibilities. Do lots of "big boy" talk. Big boys pour their own Cheerios. Do you want to pour your own bowl of Cheerios? (yes, it will be a mess, but I find happy messes way more fun to clean up than tantrum messes.)
Give options that make him feel in control but that don't matter to you: "do you want to wear this shirt or that shirt?" "do you want to eat lunch now or in five minutes?" ask him to help set the table, put his own dish in the DW, even if he puts it in upside down and backwards. You can fix it later. Give him a big boy cup, set up step stools around the house so he can get his own water from the bathroom, his own socks from the drawer, etc.

Toddlers want to be helpful and they have very very little control over their own lives. The more decisions and control you can give him, the happier he will be. That being said, this is not real "control." this is not him dictating how/what/where. It's picking between choices that you provide.
post #5 of 8

I was just getting on to say basically what BeMoreFarmGirl wrote. This morning, I asked my (almost-2-year-old) son whether he wanted toast or cereal for breakfast. He said cereal, but then threw a fit when I brought it to him. I tried reasoning with him, which was pointless. Then I brought him a tiny pitcher with a tablespoon of milk in it. I said, "I don't think I put enough milk on your cereal. Can you pour it for me?" And he did. And he was happy, and ate the whole bowl with no more whining. I'm feeling pretty thrilled about that, and I'm trying to think what other things I can let him do that with. Can he spread his own peanut butter? Maybe. PP said something about mess, and she's right. I try to control that by giving my kid only as much as I'm willing to clean up!


A few other things that are working right now (though, I should say, we still have too many tantrums every day...):

Sometimes when he says, "No," I act like it's a joke, like I can't possibly believe he would say "no" to whatever it was. I do it in a silly voice and really exaggerated. I try not to do this too much, because I don't want to discount his feelings, but some of these have now become jokes between us. For example, he loves cereal and would eat it for every meal if I let him. One day, I asked him what he wanted for dinner, and he said, "Cereal." I said, "No," but in a silly voice. He said, "Cereal!" but matched my silly voice. I said, "No," again. Before I knew it, we were both giggling. Now "Cereal" is the setup for a joke, not a tantrum.


The last thing is about him exploring things that he probably shouldn't. I try to think really hard before I take anything away from him. Is he actually going to hurt himself or it? Sometimes, I show him what parts are dangerous (like, on a metal tape measure, the spot where he could pinch his finger), and then let him play. If he pinches his finger, well, he learns. If it's breakable, I ask him to use "gentle hands," and watch him closely. If it's something that I really don't want him to have, I sometimes ask HIM to put it away ("Can you put Daddy's cell phone in his jacket pocket? Thank you."). 


When he does something that is really not OK, like banging his silverware on the table (and scratching the table, making lots of noise, and being rude), I take away whatever he is using inappropriately, and say, "We don't [do whatever]." And then I weather the tantrum that follows. Often, he surprises me by only having a very short tantrum and then being fine. 


But...yeah. They don't call it the terrible twos for nothing.

post #6 of 8

I find myself the same way sometimes. Our best strategy has been timeouts together for a few minutes, explaining what went wrong and why, etc., and then we leave and tell him he can go when he feels like it. He usually sits for a few minutes kind of upset and then comes and hugs and talks some more. 

post #7 of 8

Hugs Mama!  My 3yo (tomorrow) just went/is going through a HUGE mine phase.  I think this bothered me more than a lot of the other things that go along with being a toddler, because we are much more of a communal share everything type of household.  I also found myself loosing my cool.  I read Buddhism for Mothers, while I'm not Buddhist myself, I found it a good read to help me refocus on what is important and remember to let a lot of the little stuff go.  Also it helped to remind me to take care of myself and to nurture my relationship with my partner too.


I try to remind myself that this too is just a phase and one that hopefully will be outgrown quickly.  I basically try to pick my battles so that I have the energy to deal with the important stuff, hopefully in a way that I can be proud of.  We also had a bathroom light incident. Ours when like this: me on the toilet and no where near the light switch, LO wanders by and turns out the light.  Me: "Please turn the light back on." LO: "no." and then wanders off.  I finish up what I am doing by nightlight (luckily we have one in the bathroom) and then go to find LO and talk about why it is not nice to turn the light out on people.  I may have received an apology or just an "ok mommy."  Either way it hasn't happened again and it was no big deal.   


I like the ideas given above.  Before I take something away from my LO I try to take a moment to see if there is another solution.  Banging on the table with a random object: "LO we do not bang on the table.  Would you like to go get your drums instead?  Thank you."  I try my best to redirect the behavior to something more constructive, or at least less destructive.  If your LO is throwing food on the floor, perhaps he is finished eating.  Mine never really ate on a strict schedule.  We have family meal times and then snacks durring the day, so no one goes hungry.  If LO is not hungry at a meal time, we let her down to go play while we finish.  Much better for everyone than having a throughly frustrated toddler at the table.  


Good luck and remember that it is only a phase, next week they will find a whole new way to test our patience, make us grow and bring us joy.  

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank you! I knew I would find help here smile.gif I'll add the books to my reading list. Sometimes I feel like we run head long into the next phase or developmental thing before I realize it. Like having him help more. I didn't realize we were there already! We also do the "big boy" thing with his milk cup. He drinks most of it in a sippy in the morning then when he gets to the bottom asks (or we ask him if he doesn't) to drink the rest like a "big boy", so we take the top off. I'll start doing this more & being even more choosy about what's "off limits".

Thanks for the advice & commiseration & would love to hear more!
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