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My 2 yr old was an angel just a few weeks before I gave birth to her sister. Saying no meant she stopped. That hurts means she would stop, that's not nice, please don't do that, okay we're finished----all got her to stop. But now it doesn't. It all triggers an I'll do it more response. This includes yelling, hitting, climbing on things, etc.
I don't know how to get her to stop. I end up often times yelling at her when it gets to be too much. I hate it. Or I have to physically grab her and yank her off whatever she is climbing which she thinks is hilarious.
I have taught her that people need to respect her wishes and space so she's very assertive about telling people,e no or letting them know it's not OK but she has no problems overstepping those boundaries whether it's kissing the baby too much or hitting her dad or aunt. And I'm lost on how to get her to stop.
She had started whining and screaming when she didn't get her way and I got her to stop by sitting her on the carpet and letting her know it was ok to cry but not whine and scream. She sat there and did it for a few minutes till she realized I wasn't going to give in or pick her up. I was in the same room literally no more than two feet away cleaning up the room. It worked and it was great, but now she has started screaming in the car. Nothing I say works! She had nothing in her hands so I couldn't take anything away and telling her she couldn't watch princesses only worked temporarily.
How do I get her to stop?
Well, my DD was never an angel so I can't relate to that much... but she definitely does much of what you describe. It is normal for toddlers to test boundaries but it sounds like your daughter is also struggling with some difficult feelings after going through the big transition of getting a sibling! Also totally normal.
These techniques are not about creating perfect obedience and stopping all bad behavior immediately and forever. I think if that is your goal, you are setting yourself up for SERIOUS frustration but for me, these techniques help me feel like I know what to do in bad-behavior situations, and how to stay connected to my DD and help her work through her emotional storms, which underlie the worst behavior problems. Of course my DD at her best is still a mischievous creature! But I can tell when it's happy and innocent, she is easily redirected and the behavior is not as hostile and she is not as stormy about it. Many times when she needs to work through something, she will deliberately do things she KNOWS she should not or want things she can't have, just to trigger a tantrum. Because sometimes she needs a tantrum to vent her bad feelings from something that happened earlier. She is always happier after a big tantrum with me calmly staylistening with her the whole time.
It's normal for children's behavior to regress or worsen after the birth of a sibling or other major transition (moving, starting school, etc). One thing I would say is to make sure you are making special one on one time with her that is a positive time for you two together. It could be that she is acting out because that is one way to get your attention, even if it's not positive attention. She is probably also enjoying exploring cause effect (when I do this, mommy get really mad! i can control what my mommy does with what I do! this is fun!) however, it's also probably scary, which will make her act out more as she is trying to feel safe and secure and needs your gentle limits to feel that way.
What if instead of yanking her, you gently lift her and say "that could be a boo boo" and then redirected to her something appropriate to play with. Also, "catch her in the act . . . of being good"! Try to "catch" her being good more than you catch her being bad. If she's playing nicely, sit down next to her and say, "You're playing so nice. this looks fun. Can I play with you?" This shows her that good behavior gets noticed and gets attention, too.
Depending on her age, you may also want to set up some natural and logical consequences for her behavior. For example, if you take her to the park often (where she CAN climb on things) then if she climbs on something she's supposed to you can take away your regularly scheduled trip to the park (this really is only appropriate if you regularly go, otherwise it looks like you are telling her she doesn't get to do something she doesn't believe she was going to get to do anyway.
Also, a lot of things you might not want to respond to. If she starts screaming in the car, as soon as she stops (so you can talk and not try yelling over her) tell her, "I'm ready to listen when you want to talk, but I can't help when you are screaming." This lets her know that you ARE there for her, but that you aren't her verbal punching bag, either. Beyond that, IGNORE whining and screaming. It's important she knows you are there for her but ALSO important that she understands whining and screaming doesn't get attention. None. NONE AT ALL. Not even negative attention. I've worked with MANY behavioral therapists for 6 years with my oldest son (from the time he was 18 months old) and I can tell you they ALL say the Same.Exact.Thing. : Do not respond to whining and screaming. Ignore, ignore, ignore. Threats and consequence for behaviors like those only say "You got my attention" and you are essentially training your child that whining and screaming is a good way to get your attention. Often times with a kid who is misbehaving for attention (which is understandable with a new sibling in the house) there is no consequence they won't endure for that attention.
Give her more positive attention and remove the negative attention and I think you'll see a huge improvement in her behavior as things settle down with the new sibling in the house. Good luck!
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(((HUGS))) Lost has great ideas, especially about giving her some one-on-one special time. When we brought the babies home it was rough on our 2-year old. When DH was able to care for George & Abigail or they were sleeping I'd make sure to give her some time where she had me all to herself with no distractions. It was hard because I really wanted to clean or do dishes or other things, but Claire needed me. It seemed to help her behavior to have this time where she knew I was 100% focused on her.
I also agree to give your toddler lots of praise for good behavior. I gush and make a really big deal when Claire does nice things for the babies or helps me or uses her manners. She loves being "Mommy's Big Helper" and getting the positive attention.
I am worried about how Eleanor is going to respond when our baby is born this summer, too. I think it's so normal for kids to have some behavior issues when a new baby gets home. I'm sure it doesn't make it any easier to deal with it though!
I haven't read the specific articles that shen linked, but I have used that website for getting Eleanor to sleep better at night, and I love it! I love that it gives us a way to acknowledge our little ones' feelings over these big changes while still setting some boundaries for them.
I also love the ideas of setting aside special time with your little one and giving lots of positive feedback. I recently spent a while looking up ideas for easing the transition for an older sibling, and here are a couple I found that really clicked with me:
- use photos to make some special books for your toddler about when she was born and how excited everyone was to meet her or about what a great big sister she is and how much mommy, daddy, and baby love it when she loves and teaches baby... then you can read these with your toddler during one on one time or set her up to look at them while you are busy with the baby
- get your toddler her own baby and have things set up so that she can take care of her baby in places/times where you normally get tied up with the baby (have a doll crib for when you have to put the baby down or a little doll changing station for when you change baby's diapers, or use something for a nursing pillow or cover or sling so your toddler can nurse her doll while you're feeding baby
- have a basket with special toys/activities that only comes out when you are busy with baby so that time is a fun time for your toddler instead of a time for jealousy
I am so sorry you are going through this. I have no advice in this area since I have no experience but these ladies have given you some great advice. I hope that you can find a solution and things start to get easier for you.
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