How to gently discipline a 2 year old? - Mothering Forums
Gentle Discipline > How to gently discipline a 2 year old?
barefootdoula's Avatar barefootdoula 01:27 PM 05-19-2011

Good afternoon Ladies,

My almost 2 year old (3 more days!) has recently started turning everything into a tantrum. She speaks full sentences and can easily tell me what she wants, but the moment she's upset baby talk comes back. When I try to hug her, she hits me and pinches me, which is something we definitely did not teach her, so I don't know where she has learned to do it. When I try to help her understand her feelings like the Happiest Toddler on the Block says to do, she screams and thrashes and hits me. I've also tried teaching her to redirect her violence to non-living things such as a pillow, or her blanket, and that works for the hitting occasionally, but never for the pinching. I am not comfortable with spanking, time-outs or taking things away, but I do try time-ins with her, which don't appear to work. She has started this since her sister was born (she is now 5 months), and no matter the amount of alone time I spend with her she is still upset by her sister's existence, which is understandable since merely 5 months ago she was the star of the show! I try to focus on her most of the day, and put my youngest in our moby wrap, but she's angry that her sister is even around. If anybody could provide any tips or insight, I'd really appreciate it!


Thanks :)

hakeber's Avatar hakeber 10:21 PM 05-19-2011

Almost two is pretty young for being able to easily tell anyone anything. And when emotions, exhaustion or hunger come even a little into the mix the linguistic skills of any person are significantly diminshed, even adults who are eloquent speakers become tongue tied when they are upset, hungry or tired.  That's why we always love those scenes in movies when the heroine says to her philandering lover exactly what she should say without even a stutter or a flub.  Flawless verbal knives sharpened to kill.  No adults I know can maintain that sort of mental control with any sort of regularity, so how can we expect a toddler to, eh?


This is not abnormal.  Even very very verbal children have meltdowns between the ages of 2 and 5.  It's par tof how they develop their emotional well being.


The best thing to do is stay consistent and in my experience the best thing to do with a flailing child is to stay with them in a safe place and if they are hurting YOU, to hold them in a bear hug until they calm down.


The only way to teach away tantrums is to be consistent with methods of open communication, love and safety...and even then you will see them pop up throughout childhood and into puberty. 


Even as adults we sometimes have the odd tantrum like response to a stressful day given all the wrong circumstances.


It also helps to start paying closer attention to diet at this age if it hasn't been an issue yet.


ETA: Welcome to MDC!