Hello Terrible Twos

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AmyJo86268's picture
Joined: 12/08/07
Posts: 1406
Hello Terrible Twos

Everett has been a nightmare for about a month now. He does stuff just to get the negative attention. Yesterday I told him "if you want attention from mommy you don't have to get in trouble, we could snuggle, or read a book or color, you don't have to be bad all the time" and he asked me to do somethign with him and he even let me put him to bed (DH's job).

Today, he took no nap and is absolutely exhausted, but his behavior is horrible. He had a monster meltdown and ended up being put in time out by DH and me multiple times, but he wouldn't stay. I read on another BB about a ped recommended getting behind the child and doing a bear hug until they calmed down from their temper tantrums so I did that and he flipped out for about 5 minutes (the whole time I'm saying when you calm down I will let go of you). Then it was finally over and he ate his dinner and has been relatively good.

We have tried spankings, time outs, rewards and nothing is really making a difference in his behavior. I printed out a behavior chart that is about temper tantrums. I thought I could tell him when he gets 5 stickers on the chart for a day with no temper tantrums we could go to mc donalds for a happy meal toy. I told MIL that we may have to withhold mc donalds to get his behavior to improve and she was heartbroken because they go there every wednesday. (I know her thing is not the same as our thing, but should the rule be concrete?)

I'm really at my wits end with him. I don't even like the idea of taking him anywhere in the car because he is so challenging. I've taken him to daycare kicking and screaming the whole day in twice now and brought him home from daycare kicking and screaming once.

I understand he's two, his life has been turned upside down in the last 3 months, and he may or may not feel bad b/c his ears are bad. . . .but despite that I expect better behavior.

Tell me I'm not alone and any hints for handling the situation. I am pretty strict with him since the beginning, it's not like he's a spoiled rotten kid who is just now finding out about rules.

Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 38

oh, you are not alone at all! my twins have been a bit (ok, considerably) naughtier in the last few weeks, too. now, when they are separated, they are angels but when they are together, they feed off of each other and have been quite challenging for me. patrick never really had tantrums before, now he does. the longest was about 15 minutes but it seemed like forever. he through a fit because i told him that he could not watch any more tv for the day...

but you know, when it gets really really though, just think of me: i have TWO 2.5 year old boys :)...just kidding...

it really is hard some days for sure but i truly hope that things will get better as they get closer to 3, rather then the other way around..

here's to hoping and wishing!

Angelica Haze's picture
Joined: 12/25/07
Posts: 143

The only thing that has worked with Maddison is positive reinforcement on good behavior and time outs- which since hubs left have been few and far between. We don't do charts of any kind but she can have a sucker in her high chair or color at her chair as a reward a lot of times.

Maddison is having an issue (thankfully a rare one) that when she goes into major meltdown -not just a run of the mill fit, there is a level above that.. she cannot calm herself down easily, so what I do then is put her in her crib (now that her ears are better i'm going to reintroduce the big girl bed again) for however long it takes her to calm down in the dark as if it were bed time.

She's started spitting her drink out when she doesn't want to be in bed either so starting tonight there is no more bed time cup. Throwing is becoming an issue too as is the car seat.. but i think i figured that one out I need to readjust her straps. We've also had a few incidents or her screaming and hitting at me when she wants something or doesn't (depending on the situation) those have def been time outs.

its all just normal 2 year old behavior i think and I hear that after the terrible 2's is the worse 3's ... joy

Oh there is a book called "making the terrible twos terrific" i want to look into i've heard its great.

AmyJo86268's picture
Joined: 12/08/07
Posts: 1406

I've read that book Bobbi. . .i'm doing what it says. . .doesn't make the 2 year old not a 2 year old though Smile

1stbabyboy's picture
Joined: 04/11/08
Posts: 183

Is it bad that reading about the other kiddo's just made me feel a little better about mine? Wink For some reason, it is nice to know we are not alone in this! Drew has been having MAJOR meltdowns too recently. His kind of started right around when his baby brother was born so I kind of attribute them to that, but they are so hard to handle. It's like when anything doesn't go his way, he flips out. Luckily, he has been only doing it at home and not daycare (or when he visited grandparents). His new thing is to immediately scream "no, no, no" or "don't be mad at me" over and over even if I am just telling him to be careful or something! It is really frustrating... We have been just trying to be really consistent with time outs and let him know ahead of time that what will happen if he tantrums. Actually, I have been consistent, but DH has a harder time with it. He tends to be either too lenient or too harsh in my opinion, but he has been working on it! I like the idea of a sticker chart for no tantrums. Maybe I will try that. I guess it is also probably a normal developmental thing in some way, which is why it is the "terrible twos!"

onelittlemonkey's picture
Joined: 05/01/10
Posts: 35

I could have written your post myself. In fact I was venting to a coworker the other day and your post pretty much summed up everything I said. She suggested the book "The Strong Willed Child"... has anyone read that?

As for your MIL taking him to McDonald's, I think the expectations should be the same no matter whose care Everett is in but you shouldn't expect her to punish him for his behavior at home. If he's misbehaving for her Wednesday morning before the weekly McDonald's trip then she should make the call that he hasn't earned to go to McDonald's that day. Or is she the type of grandmother that will reward him regardless of his behavior? If that's the case then I guess I would have to put my foot down as well and make the call for her.

AmyJo86268's picture
Joined: 12/08/07
Posts: 1406

"onelittlemonkey" wrote:

As for your MIL taking him to McDonald's, I think the expectations should be the same no matter whose care Everett is in but you shouldn't expect her to punish him for his behavior at home. If he's misbehaving for her Wednesday morning before the weekly McDonald's trip then she should make the call that he hasn't earned to go to McDonald's that day. Or is she the type of grandmother that will reward him regardless of his behavior? If that's the case then I guess I would have to put my foot down as well and make the call for her.

I don't think she would listen if I told her they couldn't go. . . but I really feel like Mc Donalds is the only thing I can hold over his head as a reward. We'll see how it goes. . .he got a sticker today.

Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone though Smile

Joined: 11/01/07
Posts: 650

stephen does alot of the same things. Our tactics are the same, but sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't. When do you get tubes?? Stephen is much happier with his tubes now. And he is potty training willingly. We tried a few times before and he fought fought fought... Tubes make our lives easier, the first set did too!!!

We have a lot of kicking and screaming. I have to let DH deal with most of the b/c I am afraid he will kick me in my baby belly!

YOU are NOT alone...

MrsRiggert's picture
Joined: 11/21/07
Posts: 2195

You are definately not alone! Here is my perspective oh behaviors...I work with behaviors all day long so I have some advice to give right? Smile

Ok..the bear hug during a tantrum, unless he is hurting you, someone else, or himself I don't know that I agree with the bear hug. In my eyes it's a restraint, which is what we do when children are VERY violent and attempting to cause harm to themselves or others. My training has told me that it can be psycologically damaging to a child so I have mixed feelings on this one.

My suggestion instead would be that when you put him in time out set a timer that he can see so he knows how long he needs to sit there. Everytime he gets out of time out you sit him back down and restart the timer. Except for the initial "You are in time out because you..." don't talk to him. Even when sitting him back in time out just walk him over, sit him down, and walk away without talking.

My biggest suggestion would be the positive reinforcement for doing GOOD things. I'm talking over the top "OH WOW! Thank you so much for helping mommy ____" and "I just LOVE when you are playing nicely with your toys" things like that. EVERY chance you get give him attention when he's being good. Plus plan on special 1:1 (or 1:2 if he's wanting complete mommy AND daddy attention) time every night for atleast 10-15 minutes. It needs to be uninturrupted "this is our time with you".

When he is showing negative behaviors GIVE HIM NO ATTENTION! If he is being destructive or violent then put him in a safe room where he can't get hurt and can't cause too much distruction.

My final suggestion is an M&M jar. I started this with my students in February and saw an immediate difference. The way it works in my room is they start the day with 25 M&Ms. They lose M&Ms for behaviors they have in the classroom. I targeted specific behaviors I wanted changed. They lose 1 M&M for swearing, name calling, and spitting. They lose 2 M&Ms for hitting or kicking and they lose 3 M&Ms for every 20 minutes they are not sitting at their desk and working (sleeping and refusal was a huge problem in my room)

NOW...they also have the opportunity to EARN BACK M&Ms after they lost them. THey can earn back 2 M&Ms for every 30 minutes of work and positive behavior.

This has seriously worked wonders for me in the classroom. Swearing is down 50% and the kids no longer sleep in my room. We definately still have our days but nothing like it used to be.

I hope this helps a little bit.

Sorry for writing a book!!!

Joined: 12/25/07
Posts: 190

I'm not a big fan of the bear hug thing either - mostly because I think it send the wrong message to kids about being touched and hugged - if they want to hug you that's fine but sometimes they can't tell the difference at this age. I think discipline with a 2 or 3 year old is a moving target - I know I don't keep Savannah as busy and stimulated at home as she is at school (where she has no behavior issues). She's also more inclined to push limits and buttons with me than other folks. I also think the rewards and discipline with other family members is never going to be the same and I don't think it should be. I know I treated my nieces and nephews far differently than I handle Savannah and my sister spoils her to death - that's their relationship and it doesn't interfere with what we do at home so I let it go.

AmyJo86268's picture
Joined: 12/08/07
Posts: 1406

I just wanted to update that although MIL was heartbroken, she didn't take him to Mc donalds yesterday. They went to a park instead (great idea for both of them!) Today is his 5th day, so if he's good and gets a sticker (which we count them often) he will get Mc Donalds tonight or tomorrow. He's stopped temper tantrums in their tracks if I remind him that if he doesn't settle he won't get a sticker. I don't know if it will work as for a second round or not.