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DD 2.5 refusing to answer/say sorry
Push it or leave it?

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#1 Lakey

Posted 05 May 2012 - 02:20 PM

Our gorgeous DD is now 2.5 y/o, she used to be a gorgeous placid girl.  But the terrible 2's appear to have hit hard!

I am sure she is in the realm of 'normal' behaviour for a 2 y/o but my mum is insisting we take her to a child psychologist.  Her favourite word is no, and uses it a LOT.  She will refuse to answer, for example if i ask her if she needs to go to the toilet.  Or if we ask her to say sorry, she will flatly refuse.  She used to be very good at saying it.

If she refuses to answer or say sorry we have tried putting her in time out.  This can go on for a LONG time, in and out, giving her some time to say the words or answer the question, if she doesn't we put her back to time out.  But so far she has beaten us each time, we have had to give up due to the amount of time it has taken.  Inevitably other things need to be done or we have to go somewhere.

I can't say when the behaviour has escalated as such, it just seems to have gotten worse and worse as time has gone on.  

Does this seem 'normal'?  Or should we be seeing a professional?  We are at our wits end with the obstinence.  We have a lot of other stress with extended family going on, and then for her to be testing our boundaries is making life fairly unpleasant at the moment.  Maybe this is feeding through to her...

#2 bark

Posted 05 May 2012 - 02:28 PM

She certainly is getting attention from you for not saying those things and she probably enjoys that. I'd try and ignore it for a while, she is only 2.5!!

#3 FreeRangeBabies

Posted 05 May 2012 - 02:30 PM

My ds was like this also. It became a game o him that we didn't realize we were playing. So in the end, we just stopped responding. We would do time out once, get him out, explain what he had done, why it was naughty and give him the opportunity to rectify said behavior. If he chose not to, that was fine also, but he lost something he wanted.... Ie an Easter egg after dinner.

I think it only took a week of him escalating his responses (and screaming no at us) before he realized he wasn't getting a reaction that he wanted, and just stopped one day.

#4 SeaPrincess

Posted 05 May 2012 - 02:42 PM

When I am getting ready to take someone out of time-out, I ask them "Are you ready to say sorry?"  If they say they're not, then they stay in time-out.

I went to 1, 2, 3 Magic and got the thing about not saying sorry, but I think if one of the children does something to one of the others, then I expect them to apologise, even if it's an accident (which doesn't get a time-out).  Teaching them that "I'm sorry" actually should imply that they will try not to do it again is another matter!

Oh, and depending on what it is, if the children don't answer me, then I either make a decision for them (which isn't necessarily what they want) or they go without.  For example, this morning, I asked DD what she wanted on her toast and got no answer - she got toast with nothing on it.  She took a couple of bites, then asked if she could please have vegemite.


#5 BornToLove

Posted 05 May 2012 - 03:59 PM

QUOTE (shmach @ 05/05/2012, 02:42 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Oh, and depending on what it is, if the children don't answer me, then I either make a decision for them (which isn't necessarily what they want) or they go without.  For example, this morning, I asked DD what she wanted on her toast and got no answer - she got toast with nothing on it.  She took a couple of bites, then asked if she could please have vegemite.

We do natural concequences for DD's responses as well.  If we offer her a choice and she refuses, we take her word for it and move on.  9 times out of 10 she comes around quickly and makes a proper decision.  

We also limit some choices by avoiding open ended questions or limiting choices.  I find she reacts negativly when she's overwhelmed.

#6 LittleMissPink

Posted 07 May 2012 - 08:51 PM

With the "no" thing, our speechie suggested modelling a whole sentance to say instead of just NO!

So when you ask, Do you want to go to the toilet? and she says NO, say, no I dont need to go, or no I am ok.

When you ask, Can you pack away the toys and she says no! Say, no mummy Im not finished playing, or no mummy, i need help.

Get the idea original.gif It certainly helped my DD with very little speech, and stopped the NO shotuing matches!

#7 Princess.cranky.pants

Posted 07 May 2012 - 09:50 PM

Sounds like normal toddler behavior to me. 2 year olds do push boundaries and try to assert independence.

Personally I wouldn't make too much of an issues about saying sorry because it sounds like it's become a power play. Pick your battles. 2 year olds can be very stubborn. I would just move on when she is refusing to say it.

Time out at this age shouldn't be longer than a few minutes. There is no point in continuing time out for a long period of time because she will have forgotten why she was on TO in the first place. And it sounds like TO has become a battle of making her say sorry which is not what TO should be about. At 2 she wouldn't understand that you keep her on TO because she won't say sorry.

We don't do Time out. We found 'time in' is more effective- remove the child to a quite place and stay with them to help the calm down. It's usually enough to defuse any unwanted behavior that is going on.

And your DD could be picking up on the stress going on in the extended family. If you are stressed she will sense that. Try just being more positive and ignoring the unwanted behaviors. Agree don't ask open ended questions  because they are often met with no.

And no is just an easy word to say when your 2.5 years old. She will grow out of it soon enough so for now I would just ignore it.

#8 Lakey

Posted 08 May 2012 - 08:12 PM

Thanks Everyone, will definitely take all your suggestions on board.

I have noticed that since Mum has gone home her behaviour has improved, perhaps she is picking up on something?!  Lots of 'issues' with my mum.

She is still by no means perfect, but she has stopped ignoring us when we ask her a question, she is at least answering.

Will stop pushing her to say sorry, give her one chance to, if she does, good, if she doesn't, we'll just move on.

Thanks again!

#9 CallMeFeral

Posted 08 May 2012 - 11:30 PM

Sounds normal - my 3yo is terrible with this at the moment. Just this evening she got sent to her room for not saying sorry, and told she could come out when she was ready to. Lots of poking her head out to 'swear' (incomprehensibly) at me, "piew"ing me (pointing finger and making a gun noise) etc etc, and finally when it got too boring in there she agreed to say sorry to come out. I think deprivation of attention is one of the stronger motivators at this age!
The ignoring is driving me NUTS though... and when it's stuff I'm asking her to do there is no natural consquence to HER - and it SUCKS!!!

#10 IShallWearMidnight

Posted 09 May 2012 - 12:11 AM

QUOTE (CherryAmes @ 05/05/2012, 12:30 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Doesn't sound abnormal to me. However, I do advise doing a 123 magic course, they are really good. When I did the training, the guy advised against making kids say "sorry" as it was good training in lying! I think it's preferable to model "sorry" than to try to force it.

We also model, rather than force things

#11 FeralSingleMum

Posted 09 May 2012 - 12:22 AM

Dont worry, its totally normal.

My DS2 says "No" more than any other word! He also has a lot of guts, I put him to bed on Sunday night and went talk to DH in the bedroom. I was in there for about 20 minutes. DS2 had gotten out of his toddler bed, climbed up on the couch and had decided that The Biggest Loser was much better then sleeping. I just couldn't get over it. DS1 was never that brave. I couldn't help but laugh at him. He just looked so natural there.

She's only 2.5, so will probably grow out of it when she has her own child wink.gif

#12 Natttmumm

Posted 09 May 2012 - 12:45 PM

The advice we had was not to push the sorry. We do a cuddle at the end of time out now. It's frustrating this age but she probably is a bit out of sorts with the family stuff. They do pick up on everything.

#13 My3Squishees

Posted 09 May 2012 - 12:51 PM

It's normal - my 2.5yr DS does it .... for things he should be sorry for he flatly refuses to say it no matter what the punishment however he is extremely forthcoming with 'sorry' if something happens that isn't his fault i.e he accidently trips over my feet.

Currently, favourite toys going on a 'time out' on a high up shelf is the only punishment that seems to evoke him to do the right thing.

#14 roses7

Posted 09 May 2012 - 12:56 PM

I think the saying sorry thing is a little overrated, especially with very small kids. You end up in a battle over the sorry rather than focusing on the original behaviour.

My niece has been forced to say sorry since she was little and what she seems to have taken away is that you can do whatever you want as long as you say sorry afterwards. One of my most memorable days was hearing my SIL say to 3yo DN as they left my house (where she had been battering my children all afternoon) " I was so proud of you today, you said sorry so nicely"  blink.gif

What I try to foster in my children is genuine empathy. I'm not interested in raising little parrots who will trot out the right phrases when I'm listening but treat others unkindly. The behaviour comes first, and then when they are a little older I remind them of the language that is considered polite.

2.5 is very young, I was mostly using distraction and ignoring bad behaviour at that age.

#15 Lakey

Posted 10 May 2012 - 08:32 PM

It's comforting to know there are others in the same situation~!  My husband constantly asks "what have we done wrong for her to be like this??"

I never know the answer.  I don't think we are especially soft on her, i hope we aren't too hard either!

#16 Lakey

Posted 10 May 2012 - 08:35 PM

StudyMuffin, our DD is exactly the same!

Brushes past me "sorry mum", yet won't say it when asked.  Agh, frustrating age  rolleyes.gif

#17 jprice

Posted 18 May 2012 - 10:56 AM

QUOTE (roses7 @ 08/05/2012, 06:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I think the saying sorry thing is a little overrated, especially with very small kids. You end up in a battle over the sorry rather than focusing on the original behaviour.

That is absolutely right.  The priority should be on correcting the bad behavior, rather than apologizing for it.  If the bad behavior is dealt with, there is no need for apologies.

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