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how the heck do you handle a toddler

Forum: Traditional Parenting


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June 5th, 2009, 02:55 PM
Gaby&Emmy'sMama's Avatar aka NZ-Emma
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Christchurch, NZ
Posts: 56,618
Gaby has suddenly turned into a toddler monster.. and I do NOT know how to handle her. If she doesn't get her own way she cries and whines and throws a tantrum until I eventually give in... For the past week when I've given her her breakfast she decides she doesn't want it & throws it on the bloody floor....

How do you deal with a toddler like this? I know that she's asserting her independence blah blah blah, yay for that, but it is driving me up the wall... I feel like I've failed as a parent somehow - perhaps if I had been better with discipline since day one, she'd not be like this?

Any ideas?

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June 5th, 2009, 05:16 PM
MrsSarah1's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: California
Posts: 2,617
It's called the terrible two's for a reason. I hear it lasts until about the age of 17. ;-)

My daughter is a bit younger than yours, but she's just starting to enter the "Hmmm.. what happens if I do this?" phase. My plan now and in the future is to not give her any attention. Sometimes she will scream at the top of her lungs for no reason at all. So I just walk away. She'll also throw her food down on the floor and look at me for a reaction. So I don't give her one. After she's done eating/everything is on the floor, I clean up the mess and she is done. (I'm a little soft on this because she is so young, so if I know that she's hungry, I will give her the food back later when she isn't throwing it.)

Attention is what they crave. They do everything for a reaction from you. Verbal praise is their goal in life, and to have mommy just walk away.. heart breaking!

So I would just try to not address it at all. Stay calm, say "I'll talk to you when you aren't yelling." and move away from her.

It sounds ridiculous.. but give verbal praise to a doll or bear. This technique is called "Ignore-Attend-Praise". If she's throwing herself down on the floor and crying, talk to her doll or another family member. Give them praise for not yelling and being a "good girl/boy". Completely ignore your daughter (always keep an eye on her, but don't let her know it.). When she finally settles down, praise her for being calm.

Whatever you do though, don't give in. She wants you to give in. And when you do give in, she'll remember that you gave in, so she'll continue the behavior in the future because you gave in once.
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June 5th, 2009, 07:12 PM
Gaby&Emmy'sMama's Avatar aka NZ-Emma
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Christchurch, NZ
Posts: 56,618
thanks for the tip/s!!! I'll have to try them out.. She's so darn persistent...

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June 6th, 2009, 09:07 AM
Laney21's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: NB, Canada
Posts: 21,661
Never give in to a tantrum or other bad bahaviour. Praise, praise, praise her good behaviour. If she throws her food, take it away. Pretty much ditto all the advice above, lol.

Just remember it's a phase and it will pass!

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June 10th, 2009, 10:20 PM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 2,914
We're struggling with this too! It's been hard on everyone in the house the last few weeks

Great advice though .. I'm def. going to try all of them!
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June 11th, 2009, 07:32 AM
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Thankfully, it's just about ended for us. Caleb's started at the half mark (18 months, 2.5yrs) right on the nose, and thankfully, this last phase didn't last long. He knew I meant business when I got on to him.

Ditto to everything above.
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June 11th, 2009, 12:08 PM
Super Mommy
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Lansdowne, Pa
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Meghan has tantrums and I let her-it's her way of expressing frustration at her world. Honestly, if it's not related to hunger, thirst, pain, being tired, or needing a diaper change, I figure she just needs to get it out of her system. When she sees that I'm not going to cave in to her, it usually ends within minutes. And for the ones that don't end-taking her to another room or outside usually helps make her forget what was bugging her in the first place.
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July 5th, 2009, 07:02 PM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 394
In the case of the food being thrown on the floor I would just say

"Looks like you weren't hungry after all. I like it better when you say 'no thank you mommy."

then take the food away.

Feel free to PM me if you want some simple tips about tantrums in general, I'm more then happy to help, if you want
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July 5th, 2009, 10:49 PM
Kierasmom's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 23,763
I would clean the food up and not offer anything else until lunch.

Never give in to a tantrum.

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July 8th, 2009, 10:25 PM
Gaby&Emmy'sMama's Avatar aka NZ-Emma
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Christchurch, NZ
Posts: 56,618
thanks ladies At the moment she seems to swing between two extremes - either REALLLLLLY good, or REALLLLLLLY 'bad'/frustrating.... but i'm learning to handle it better.. well, most of the time

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July 14th, 2009, 08:07 PM
MyDuckySam's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
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sounds like totally normal toddler behavior that should be ignored. Even though my oldest is a pre-schooler, we're very much still in the toddler phase due to his delays.

I'll agree with the Ignore, Attend, Praise thing.

I've been working on getting the phrase "gimme" out of Sam's vocabulary. It's pretty much gone, but once in a while, like tonight, he'll say it. I just say, "we don't use that word, what words do you use when you want something?" then he'll say, "mama, I want chobby please." (chobby is his word for milk)

Try not to use the word no, use positive words, like "we bite food, not people" Doesn't always work, but sometimes it does. This came from my speech therapist. They hear "no" so much that it's hard for them to understand what they CAN do.

I really liked Dr. Karp's Happiest Toddler on the Block personally. It helped us understand Sam and to communicate him.

Also, give her choices. At this age, it's about who is in control.....let her think she has it when it's you that has it. Sam would drink milk all day long if I let him. But he needs water and other things. So for lunch, I give him a choice, juice or water. If he insists on milk, I will tell him that he can have the milk if he drinks all of his juice or water. He'll drink whichever, then forget about the milk most of the time.

If he has chicken for lunch, then he gets a choice of dinner like toasted pbj or a grilled cheese. Last night he wanted pizza, but we had a turkey roast. I told him it was chicken. With it, we had mashed potatoes (one of his faves) and green beans. He wanted more potatoes, so I told him three more bites of chicken and two more beans. He ate all that, so I gave him the potatoes.

I think basically the whole toddler phase is about picking your battles. I wouldn't pick up the food, I would make her do it. Granted, you'd have to help her, but she needs to understand that it's hard work to clean that up. She's completely testing her boundaries with you.

It's never too late.
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Last edited by MyDuckySam; July 14th, 2009 at 08:12 PM.
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July 15th, 2009, 07:43 AM
Laney21's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: NB, Canada
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^Excellent advice for us all!

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