Posted in Behavior, Toddlers

Struggling with terrible twos

Anonymous

Hi I'm a stay at home mom to my 2.5 year old son. Lately he's been really difficult and I'm struggling with his behavior. He is defiant, stubborn, whiny and very willfull. Everything is a battle... changing diapers, brushing teeth, eating, getting dressed, getting in car seat. Everything is a struggle. He also hits and throws things, like food, toys etc. I hear this is part of terrible twos and that 3 is even worse... I mean, how much harder can it get?? I tried different methods of disciplining but nothing works. I don't know what to do... I am exhausted. Am I the only one who finds their children extremely annoying? I am considering going back to work just so I don't have to deal with him! 😣 I just need some encouragement.

  • Makayla
    Jun 04

    I’m struggling with this too, but my son is only 1.75. He kicks and screams. He’s been throwing himself on the ground and into things. Then on top of that he doesn’t nap well, so I don’t get too much of a break. The things that have been helpful for us... I try to play with him or sing to him during diaper changes Get him on a schedule for eating and naps so that hunger and tiredness aren’t adding to the struggle. I’ve been adding activities to his day and taking him out despite the struggle. He’s been doing better and better with leaving even when things are fun. I keep snack distractions on hand especially when we are out, so once he’s in the stroller he gets a small snack. And speak calmly. Ask them to speak calm and use gentle hands. At first they won’t, but soon it will help.

  • Anonymous
    Jun 04

    My son is 2.5 too. I don’t have an answer for the hitting and throwing things as I’m still trying to figure that out. Drives me nuts that he acts like the hulk with all his toys. I’ve tried taking them away and putting them on a “toy timeout” but he just finds something else to destroy. Anyway... as far as your other struggles - what has helped us was giving our son choices. Limited choices since too many choices can just make him more frustrated. Getting in the car seat - it used to take us half an hour to get into the car seat. Now I give him a choice when we get in. “Climb into your car seat now or mom can help you.” The first couple of times he didn’t listen but I would grab him and wrestle him in after giving him 2 more warnings. Now he gets in almost right away. Very rarely do I have to physically grab him and put him in. After the final warning and he doesn’t act until you make the move to grab him, still put him in the car seat. Follow through with what you say you’re going to do even though he’s correcting himself so he gets that you mean business. Getting dressed - I give him 2 options in the morning for shirts and bottoms. He has been more willing and excited to get dressed when he gets to choose. Some times he will whine about the choices I give him but I just say that this is all we have today. Brushing teeth - for the longest time we have had to pin him down to brush his teeth. When we felt that he understood that he didn’t have a choice - I started to give him a choice. “The hard way or easy way?” Hard being pinning him down on the floor and easy being that he sits in my lap and we sing songs. Diapers - I don’t remember what we did exactly but I remember the struggle. He would fight me when I changed his diaper but not after I had to chase him all around the house. He doesnt like it when I hold him in a tight grip so I tell him that he can either walk himself over to get changed or I will grab him. Most times he will walk over himself. And I use that phrase for when he doesn’t want to come with me somewhere - you can either walk yourself or mommy will hold you. Choices! Kids love to have a choice. Eating? Is he just throwing food or is he a picky eater?

  • Anonymous
    Jun 04

    My son is 3 and he did the same thing at that age and he is doing the same now but worse. I tried everything! He just chucked a car at my 55 inch flat screen and broke it! He doesnt listen and he hits and screams and throws and kicks, pinches and slaps! Sometimes he is such a good boy and others he acts very poorly. I think, well I'm hoping it's just a phase! Find something he loves and tell him... If you dont stop then.... for my son its bubble baths! I'll tell him nomore bubble baths if you dont stop being naughty! Also IGNORE HIM!!!! my son cuts it out when he notices I dont even look at him.. walk away and tell him when youre done we will talk about this.

  • Taylormm7
    Jun 05

    I could have written this! Currently going through the same thing. My son will be 3 in August. I read the book “How to talk so little kids will listen” it has helped a lot. It covers basically all the topics you were describing. I would also recommend potty training him (if he’s ready) my son likes the independence of it and it helped with other things too. Like getting dressed. I follow the attachment parenting style and there are tons of resources that have helped me a lot. We’re still struggling with hitting so I borrowed the book “ Hands are not for hitting” from the library and it has some good strategies in there too. Also Daniel tiger has little songs in the episodes and he talks about all those things you described too. Good luck and I feel your pain! You’re not alone!

  • Vonda
    Jun 06

    Read Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies. My son is now 20 months and had started to show some “terrible twos”. I couldn’t understand him and he wasn’t happy so we were constantly battling. I read this book and it changed my outlook on my son. He is much more helpful and obliging. No more “terrible twos”. It also helped me be calm and understand my sons mindset and how to help him. Our whole house has a much more calm feeling. I highly recommend it.

  • Jessica
    Jun 06

    First of all, let me say you’re doing great momma! You got this! My best advice here would be to set clear expectations, be consistent, and follow through. Each kid is different so what works for one night not work for another. With my first if you put him in timeout it was 100% ineffective, but if you took toys away he got the picture. My youngest, timeout seems to be the most effective. When we do time out, we set a timer (1 min for each year, he’s 2, so he gets a 2 min timeout). Super Nanny style, after the timer goes off we talk about why he’s in time out and then give him an opportunity to apologize and give hugs. One thing we don’t do is say “it’s ok” when he apologizes, we forgive you or thank you for apologizing, but that behavior isn’t ok, so we don’t respond with it’s ok. With the oldest if he had a toy taken away it was placed somewhere he could see it, and was told he had to earn it back by using listening ears (or whatever he had the toys takes away for in the first place.

  • Jessica
    Jun 06

    I also have very independent kiddos, so they get upset if they don’t feel like they are getting to make some choices so I offer them moments of control example, it’s time to get dressed, do you want to wear the red shirt of the blue shirt? Ultimately I’m in control, but they feel a sense of control and fight me less on getting ready...

  • Jamie
    Jun 06

    I started with hardcore attachment parenting, but it just did not work for my strong willed son when he hit the terrible twos. I had to be very firm with him on the things I couldn't tolerate, while also giving him lots of time for fun and to burn off energy.