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Hitting, kicking and throwing sand...
The terrible twos, help!


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#1 runnybabbit

Posted 03 July 2013 - 08:02 PM

My angelic little 26-month-old boy has become a lot more willful in the past month or so. A few fun new tricks he's learnt:

1. Hitting me and his baby brother. We haven't had any jealousy issues since the birth of his brother six months ago, but lately when I'm carrying the baby, he'll come over and hit me or the baby. If I catch his arm mid-air, he thinks it's HILARIOUS and then it's a game. If I growl at him for hitting, he chucks a sad and then tries to hit some more. I do try to keep him occupied because I thought it might partly be boredom, but I don't really know how to address this.

2. Kicking and throwing sand at the playground. Part of this is just curiosity, he loves sand and he does it when no one else is at the playground. But he also likes doing it TO other kids, who obviously don't appreciate it. I've told him no kicking and throwing sand, whether other people are there or not. And I've also tried distracting him with "Why don't you scoop some sand into your bucket..." etc. Today I finally said, "If you kick anymore sand, we are going to go home." He did. We did. It didn't faze him at all.

3. Blowing raspberries and spitting on the dining table. Throwing food and laughing, especially if he manages to hit his brother with a good splat (I can see why this is funny, we have to try very hard not to laugh). When this happens, we move his high chair away from the table so he can't continue to make a mess, but he does continue to spit onto the floor. I don't like the idea of him being punished in his high chair, though.

I also don't really like the idea of time-outs, but what are the alternatives?

He is usually really lovely and affectionate, but he's obviously pushing the limits (e.g. looking right at me as he kicks sand just after I've told him not to) and I don't really know how to respond.

#2 CherryAmes

Posted 05 July 2013 - 09:37 AM

Argh, my daughter is two and a half and I am also finding it a challenge!

In our case, we have two main problems - firstly,  hysterical emotional outburst triggered by wanting or not wanting something, and secondly, testing the boundaries by deliberately doing something like spitting food on the table that she knows she shouldn't.

For the emotional outbursts, we use emotion coaching. "You're feeling frustrated. You want the toy. (blah blah)". This started with us saying the whole thing but now we just have to say, "I'm feeling . . ." and she'll say "I'm feeling sad about the toy" or whatever.

For testing the boundaries, we will count. If we reach 3, then it's a consequence (usually put in her room. Taking away a toy for a while is another one.) A way to make it clearer, which I'm considering, is to make a chart of the basic rules (or the things she's doing a lot which I want her to stop). So a picture of spitting food with a cross through it, pictures of other things. Then when she does it, we can grab the chart off the fridge and show her - the rules say don't spit food/keep food in your mouth - to make it clearer.

We haven't been consistent though and now she's getting older we need to. I can tell you if we get angry, the behaviour gets 100 times worse.




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