How do you deal with a toddler who's testing and being stubborn? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 01-30-2011, 10:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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HI

I know my almost 2.5 DS is exhibiting normal tot behaviors but my husband and I are not sure how to deal with them in a gentle yet effective way...

 

He is very often now testing us and not wanting to listen to our requests to do everyday things like washing hands before meals, putting clothes to go out, change diapers, brush teeth, take a bath or not touch or do something that is dangerous.....

 

He runs away from us or makes us run after him, then he will approach us and then run away when we get near.

If you walk away or use reverse psychology and say for example " ok- don't eat"he will get upset and say for example "I want to eat" but then run away again if you get near....

 

Many times we ask nicely and the next step is to give him a choice " you can walk to the bathroom to wash up or mommy can come and pick you up and take you and wash you up" He will often reply "Mommy come" and then get upset when we come and try to pick him up and he goes limp and we pick him up and take him.

 

Sometimes we say "I will count to 20-if you don't come I will pick you up", etc.... and then he counts himself (which ends up irritating us of course.....

 

Everything becomes a big process and drama lately and I don't feel as patient as I used to be....We don't scream but I feel we are raising our voice more than we want to and it doesn't feel good. 

 

To make matters worse, I am with my ds all day everyday (during the week) while my DH works outside the home. My son doesn't listen to me as much as he does his dad and it makes me feel really bad. :-(

 

I should point out my DS is in general a sweet, mild tempered, loving and a very gentle-generous soul. Always ready to share and give toys to friends, wanting to be affectionate and he is VERY sensitive....

 

Thanks for listening!!

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#2 of 18 Old 01-30-2011, 01:40 PM
 
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My ds1 is a little over 2.5, so I definitely understand.  I've been looking for some good discipline ideas myself.  It can be frustrating because he definitely likes being contrary.

 

One thing that I've noticed that works for us is making sure we're in situations where I don't have to tell him 'no' a lot, so that when I do need to tell him 'no' or ask him to do something it doesn't seem like I've been asking him or telling him to do things all day.  Does that make sense?  I'm a stay at home mom too, and dh works all day, so yeah, if I can just make our days easier to start with, I do.  I definitely choose my battles, and also try to give him plenty of oppurtunities to be independent.  For example, lately he does not want to get dressed, he just wants to be naked most days.  So (if we're not going anywhere) I will ask him, "Do you want to pick out some clothes and get dressed?"  He will usually say, "No, I want to be naked guy."  So I just say, "Ok, let me know if you get cold."  And I leave it at that.  It's not worth wrestling him into clothes if we're not going anywhere.

 

Or another example of something we do is, I'll make a deal with him.  We have a rule that his pacifiers need to be put away when he wakes up (so that we know where they are at nap time or bedtime).  He doesn't always like to have them taken away right after he has woken up (which I understand, he's still sleepy) so I'll say, "You can have them for 5 more minutes."  Instead of just yanking them away.  I'll set the timer for 5 minutes, and when it goes off, almost always he will be fine with putting them away himself.

 

Hopefully something I said helps.  Good luck! :)


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#3 of 18 Old 01-30-2011, 02:59 PM
 
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My daughter is 2 and really likes to run away.  I dislike it a lot because it usually makes her more emotional then she was before.  Unless she is headed for danger, I say calmly that I will not chase her and then either sit down or do something else away from her.  Usually she will giggle and run, but once she sees that I am not going after her, she stops running.  

Also I love 'when...then" statements.  I don't give a choice, just say for example, "When you wash your hands you may eat"  I will wash my hands and sit down.  Then if she runs away it's no big deal.  Usually within a few minutes my dd comes and waits by the sink to wash her hands. 

The when.. then... is my biggest tool.  It gives her clear guidelines but lets it be on her time line.  Stick to it... even if they get upset about it for a bit,  it does pay off.

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#4 of 18 Old 01-30-2011, 05:30 PM
 
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Although my twins are age 4 now, they still like to play that game.  Not always, but sometimes. :>)  I have found that if I ask them to do something and they don't do it, it is a lot less frustrating for me, and more productive overall, if I just calmly walk over to them, take them by the hand, and guide them to whatever it is that I've asked them to do.  I like the previous poster's approach, too, of "when-then."  That works well .... sometimes!  2 1/2 is still pretty young to be following through with verbal instructions all the time and resisting impulses, IMHO.  Counting to 20, using reverse psychology, etc. sounds draining.  My advice is to keep it simple. Also, when my girls are acting like that it is often because they could use a little more of my attention.  Don't know if that's the case with your son...? Sound like you have a wonderful little guy (even if challenging!).

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#5 of 18 Old 01-30-2011, 08:17 PM
 
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I spent my entire weekend being yelled at & whined at & generally being told what to do & bossed around by my 2.5 year old irked.gif

 

I feel like the "when... then" thing mostly works for us when it's something I need her to do, but what do you do when they ask to do things where the answer is just NO?  Or they're trying to order you around -- telling you where you can sit, when you can eat, when to talk, etc.

 

It goes: 1) whining for something I don't want her to have (like candy, tv, etc) - OR - whining for me to pick her up (fine, but there are certain moments when that is just not practical) 2) I tell her no, or to wait a minute 3) more whining 4) firmer no & offer of something to replace it (eg) do you want to read a book?  eat something healthy? 5) screaming crying tantrum or angry face & throwing things. 6) more bargaining on my end.  I'd love to get through it before complete meltdown. 

 

And the whining.  It is driving me crazy.  I calmly ask her to stop whining, say I can't understand what you're saying when you're whining, etc.  Inside I am screaming!

 

She's clearly going through an extra-clingy time right now.  She's stuck to me like glue if I am anywhere nearby.  Constantly saying Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, what are you doing?  Mommy, up!  Etc. 

 

She RARELY does this stuff to my husband.  She goes to daycare, and I don't think it happens much there, though I know she does try to boss the other kids around.

 

I have found myself raising my voice at her out of frustration lately when she tries to order me around, and I don't want to get into that pattern.  She's very sweet usually, but this stuff has been getting out of control lately.

 

I am clearly not doing this right.  Would love any ideas.

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#6 of 18 Old 01-30-2011, 09:40 PM
 
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I am not sure if this is gentle parenting... but for tantrums, I make sure my 2 year old is safe and will not hurt herself, and then calmly say that I will listen when she can talk to me calmly.  Then I walk away. 

As for the inside screaming... I completely understand, whining is very frustrating!

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#7 of 18 Old 01-30-2011, 10:31 PM
 
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It's the disequilibrium of the age: http://www.centerforparentingeducation.org/programs_articlesresource_byage.html#year2h http://www.centerforparentingeducation.org/programs_articlesresource_ucstages.html

 

I also have a 2.5 yr old & it can be a nightmare.  I am finding plenty of info on WHY they do what they are doing & v little info on how to cope w/ it.  How to help them deal w/ this whirlwind time of life.  I will post again if I find anything.

 

A few tricks I have picked up are that, to get dd1 to get her coat on and leave the house, instead of telling her we are leaving, I say, "Mommy and dd2 are going to the store, do you want to come with us?"  I will say wherever we are going, Grammy's house, library, etc.  She will always say, "Yes!" and get ready right away.  IDK why it works, maybe b/c I am inviting her along instead of insisting.  For tantrums, I let her have her scream fest & then talk to her when it is over.  She is so caught up in the emotions that there is no reasoning.  I will try a few little things to break thru, which sometimes works.  If they don't, I leave her be.  I try really hard to avoid making her do things, it's quite difficult.  I cannot use when..then b/c she will still refuse to do the first thing & then I have to follow thru on the second thing even if it is something I want her to do.  I'm not going to let her keep running around & not eat lunch b/c she refuses to wash her hands, she will never agree to wash her hands & just refuse to eat.  I either let things go or quickly "help" her do them.

 

My v favourite right now is that dd1 will ask for things over and over again, even if it is stuff that we don't have in the house.  Like a random request for a brownie, haha!  And then she says, "Cuz you want it," (you meaning I) over and over and over and over until she cries about it b/c I said no or we don't have it.  If she would just stop that one behaviour, the rest would not seem as bad!


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#8 of 18 Old 01-31-2011, 04:20 AM
 
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We play the chase game at our house too.  It's annoying, but eventually I'm able to pick him up and bring him over for diaper change, hand washing, etc.  The thing is he likes to do simple tasks.  I'll ask him to put his dish in the sink or throw something in the garbage and he follows through.  He loves getting the fruit out of the fridge and then says that he can do it and for me to sit down. 


Ryan 08-28-08  & Julianna 5-3-11
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#9 of 18 Old 01-31-2011, 07:13 AM
 
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I agree with another poster, you are doing way too much.  Just make your request and then perhaps once more, then just go get them and lead them through the activity.  2 1/2 is tough, but it will get better in a few weeks.  And then it will get worse. . . . and then better.  There is a great series of books  http://www.amazon.com/Your-Two-Year-Old-Louise-Bates-Ames/dp/0440506387/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1296486979&sr=8-1  that is very helpful knowing about the development stages and ideas to help.

 

The chase game:  If they run away when I tell them to stay close, then they have to hold my hand from the moment the door opens until they are in the car or back in the house.  I tell them before we leave a safe place that they may not run because it is dangerous, and because they have trouble remembering, then I will hold their hand until they are old enough to remember.  And I only would chase my kids after they 1. asked to be chased and 2. I would look around and tell them, "this looks like a safe place to run and play."  So they would understand that chasing and running weren't always safe.  (But I had twins who would bolt, different directions, from 11 months old!)

 

Whining: whine back!  It is great. When you child whines at you for something, you respond by whining something annoying.  They may laugh and think you are funny or get annoyed, but they will get the point.  The other thing is to just tell them, "Oops, that was a whiny voice, why don't you ask in your nice voice and then I will answer you."  That has worked for me too.

 


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#10 of 18 Old 01-31-2011, 10:57 AM
 
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Mine is a little older but at that age I started with '123'. I know not everyone agrees with this approach but it works for us. Basically, I will say what I need to happen (climb in his car seat, put on his coat, etc) and if it doesn't happen I will slowly count to three. If he still doesn't co-operate I just physically do it for him. What I think this has helped with is him knowing that I really mean it and that it WILL happen. Usually as soon as I start to count he says 'I'm coming' or 'I'm doing it'. I don't chase unless it's dangerous. For things like getting dressed I say 'OK, I'm going to go brush my teeth (or whatever)' and he usually says 'no, get me dressed!'. My guy is extremely stubborn and a prize debater and is always trying to make 'deals' but I don't think he was doing that at 2 1/2. He was a runner though which is SO frustrating. Good luck!

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#11 of 18 Old 01-31-2011, 11:25 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by at-home View Post

2 1/2 is still pretty young to be following through with verbal instructions all the time and resisting impulses, IMHO.  Counting to 20, using reverse psychology, etc. sounds draining.  My advice is to keep it simple. Also, when my girls are acting like that it is often because they could use a little more of my attention.  Don't know if that's the case with your son...? Sound like you have a wonderful little guy (even if challenging!).



Agree.  Keep it simple. 

 

The "when... then" thing is awesome!!  Use that all the time!

 

Have to share.....

 

We count slowly backwards from 5.... reminding what she/he should do by 1 half way through the count.  This way, our kids can understand what is wanted and react in time.  We don't count all the time.  Also, reserve saying "No" for important stuff.

 

Oh... and.....

 

My neighbor's 2 1/2 year old runs away from Momma as a game and hits my girls a lot.  Not angry hits, but out of desire to get their attention.  (Running away is an attention getter, too.)  It is just the age.  Drives her mother up the wall, none the less.  I will get down at the 2 1/2's level, ask her why she hit.... what she wanted from Lilly.... when she tells me, I quickly simulate a better way to handle it and say if she "uses her words" nicely instead, she will get what she wants and Lilly won't cry.

 

Consistency is key. 

 

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#12 of 18 Old 01-31-2011, 11:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Everyone!!!

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#13 of 18 Old 01-31-2011, 04:43 PM
 
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This is kinda a weird one, and I don't remember exactly how I started using it, but it works like magic for my daughter (she's almost 3 now, and we started this at 2.5). I ask her to do something; she says no. I ask her how many minutes till she's ready to do it; she always says 2 minutes. Then I ask her to tell me when it's been 2 minutes. Usually after 10 seconds she announces, "It's been 2 minutes!" and then happily does what I asked. I think this works because it gives her a feeling of total control over when the dreaded thing will happen? LOL.
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#14 of 18 Old 01-31-2011, 05:29 PM
 
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I will definitely try some of these ideas.  I'm glad to see on the developmental list that the bossiness is somewhat normal.

 

Thank you for the info & keep it coming!

 

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#15 of 18 Old 02-17-2011, 11:20 AM
 
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OMG I could have written this. My 2.5 y/o dd has been driving me insane to the point where I thought someone exchanged my kid nut.gif I will have to try the things suggested and will check out the links. Thank you!


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#16 of 18 Old 02-18-2011, 02:38 PM
 
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I have nothing useful to add except that I also have a 2.5 year old and I am feeling so, so worn down right now.  I feel like somedays DD is in a constant state of temper tantrum over disappointment, she didn't get to say "we're here!" as we pulled into the driveway at exactly the right moment she wanted to = melt down, we aren't having mashed potatoes for dinner = melt down, she wanted to flush the toilet for me but didn't say so, so I flush it= melt down.  Did I mention this series of events is happening all in a row?  It is so exhausting and really I just lose sympathy after a while...


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#17 of 18 Old 02-18-2011, 06:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JennaW View Post

I have nothing useful to add except that I also have a 2.5 year old and I am feeling so, so worn down right now.  I feel like somedays DD is in a constant state of temper tantrum over disappointment, she didn't get to say "we're here!" as we pulled into the driveway at exactly the right moment she wanted to = melt down, we aren't having mashed potatoes for dinner = melt down, she wanted to flush the toilet for me but didn't say so, so I flush it= melt down.  Did I mention this series of events is happening all in a row?  It is so exhausting and really I just lose sympathy after a while...

 Oh my,  this is my DD right now too!  I'm sooo exhausted and feel like I'm walking on eggshells all day long around her.  It's nice to know that I'm not the only mama going through this.

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#18 of 18 Old 02-23-2011, 02:22 PM
 
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I also have a 2.5 year old and have been dealing with this sort of behavior.

 

What has helped in our house is a combination of a lot of the above advice.

 

I often use the "when...then" tactic, which works especially if it is something she really wants (the "then" part), but I always make it something that is okay with me too...for instance, she really likes parades, so at bedtime, I say, "As soon as you get your jammies on we can have a jammy parade!" Then we march up and down the hall way with instruments for a few minutes after she has her jammies on.

 

We also use the Magic 1-2-3 counting strategy, but I really recommend reading the book or watching the DVD before attempting this. It has worked wonders in our household. She usually responds at 2 or sometimes waits until I get to 3. I also count and say, "if you don't come for blah blah blah by the time I count to 3, I will come and pick you up and help you," just as another poster suggested.

 

I also do the "Mommy is going to the store...do you want to come with me?" and "I will do so and so when you use your big girl voice and ask me nicely." I tried the whinning back, but she though it was so funny that she actually started whinning more to get me to do it.

 

Finally, if she starts the chase game, I don't partake. I stay where I am and ignore her. She usually comes back in a few minutes (because, ultimately she wants to be around me more than anything) then I make my request again, or say "Hi! Okay, time to..." At nap time or bedtime, if she is resisting, but already has her jammies on and brushed teeth, I will say "It is time to read stories now. Dolly and I are going to start reading and you can join us when you are ready," then go to her room and start reading and talking to her dolly/stuffed animal, let the dolly pick a book, and so forth. DD can hear all this and eventually wants in on the action and comes running. So, I'd say we use a lot of  of playful parenting techniques too.

 

It is exhausting living with a 2 year old! I find I often have to tap into deep wells of patience and creativity! I am definitley going to try lisavarks idea and see if DD reacts the same way.

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