Toddlers sure don’t like to hear the word ‘no’ – even when they’re super-keen on using it themselves! This mum of a strong-willed toddler needed some advice on the best ways to discipline her young daughter so she asked our #help community of seasoned parents for their tips for dealing with this tricky situation.
Here’s some of their great advice:
#HELP! I need advice on discipline for my 2.5 year old. She has found her voice lately – lots of saying ‘no!’ to her dad and I, being pushy/snatchy with her older brother, and throws big tantrums when she doesn’t get her own way. She even pulled some of her brother’s hair out recently, when he wouldn’t give her his toy.
She’s just pushing all the boundaries and we need some new discipline tactics! Time-out hasn’t really helped – she simply refuses to stay put in the designated spot. We aren’t keen on smacking or yelling, but there’s been some yelling lately I can tell you! She shouts right back at us. I’d love to hear how other parents are disciplining your toddlers – does ANYTHING work?? Please help!
So many Big Feels
Ummm … this little girl is only 2.5 years old. She’s experiencing big emotions which is developmentally normal at this age. The part of her brain that “controls” these emotions is significantly underdeveloped (like a couple of years underdeveloped). She’s also probably pretty frustrated she doesn’t yet have the words to explain exactly what she needs. And is reacting on impulse. Your best bet is to support her and encourage her to get out/release her big feels in a safe way. Be empathic. You could say something like, “You wanted that toy … but big brother is using it right now. When he has finished, you can have a turn. It’s hard waiting, I understand.” What she needs right now is someone to sit with her and help her (really guide her) through what she is feeling. She needs to feel heard. Please know that a tantrum is a release of built up stress. Embrace the crying and the carrying on. Encourage it even, especially at such a young age ??? – Nic Mutton
All these emotions crashing down on her, no skills to cope with them. She needs time and compassion so she can learn compassion and empathy and understanding. This can be challenging for parents. Discipline or having her feeling more wrong, more alone, more lost, will not help her. Reach out to her, she needs help. – Trish Anne
When we have the big tantrums, I just sit on the floor about a metre from my daughter and tell her to just let it out and I’m there for her when she’s ready, and wait for her to come to me. We however have a naughty corner for hitting etc and she knows if she does hit or whatever to go to the corner and even asks for it. She sits there for 2 mins and although she may be upset, she comes out and gives us a cuddle and we move on. Our tantrums have dropped dramatically lately using these techniques. – Hayley Hambour
The gentle art of negotiating
With my now 4-year-old son, I used restricted options to overcome the ‘no’ tantrums. Some examples: “Time to put your shoes on” turned to “This pair of shoes, or this pair?” or “Right foot or left foot first?”, “Sweetheart, we need to leave the park now, time to hop off the swing” turned to “Do you want to leave now, or after 5 more pushes?”, “Time for bath” turned to “Would you like a bath now or in 5 minutes?” or “Would you like a pink or a blue bath (a drop or two of food dye … works a treat!).” I believe my son felt more in control and independent. I still do it now and it’s amazing just how many choices you can end up giving them. – Jessica Kennedy
I think that negotiating with her might be more helpful than disciplining her for now. My grandson is going through the same and it can be a challenge but they are at a stage where everything is frustrating and they don’t know how to manage their temper. If she starts to get angry, ask her why she is upset and stay calm yourself. If it’s because she wants something someone else has, then explain why she can’t have it right now, negotiate with both children if needed so they both can have a turn and give her a couple of other options to choose from so she feels like she has some power over her world. – Karen Jury
Know that you are not alone!
OMG going through the exact same thing here. Amplified by recently getting a little sister to adjust to. I use the limited choices approach generally, explain consequences, and provided he’s not hurting anyone, give him 2 warnings before consequence occurs. Eg, if you don’t have bath now, there is no time for story at bedtime. As consequence occurs, remind why it’s happening. It won’t stop the strong expression of emotions (massive tantrum ?) every time, but it does help him make a choice. I just have to remind myself that this too will pass – and theres always Nan’s house lol! – Linda Muscat
My son is 3 in April but went through this 3 months ago. My best advice is be kind to yourself and to your daughter. It’s a hard stage, you’re torn between screaming at them and cuddling them. My LO was screaming “I hate you”, he was punching, hitting etc. I cried myself to sleep many nights however his tantrums now are so mild compared, its easier to deal with.
I use a time out method and it’s worked. The first few times were horrible but I’ve got a beautiful boy now who is a pleasure to be around. I always say to my LO “It’s okay to feel *insert emotion* but maybe tell Mummy about it and I can try to help”
My son is very advanced verbally and is able to tell me the issue now. As adults if we are feeling annoyed we snap, we argue, we paddy, so why are we harder on our children??? I always try to remember it’s just a phase. 🙂 – Charli Jones
You can read all the helpful advice given, on the original Facebook post here:
#HELP! I need advice on discipline for my 2.5 year old. She has found her voice lately – lots of saying 'no!' to her dad…
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