The little dude is two and a half and his behaviour is becoming more and more challenging.
I’m not proud to admit I’ve cried multiple times a day for a while; normally out of sheer frustration when things go wrong.
My head isn’t great at the minute and I know that’s not helping; it feels a little like he can sense my mood and feeds from it.
I’m constantly torn between the need to mix him with other children and the fear that he will bite/punch/kick/generally misbehave.
So I decided last night through sheer desperation to see what Dr Google has to say and see if there is any new techniques I could try to ease the issues we are having.
I am not a lover of ‘internet parent guides’ because of some of the random shit people say but I also acknowledge that it’s a learning journey for me to and it wouldn’t hurt to pick up some tips.
I could label this as 101 ways to deal with the terrible twos; or a naughty toddler – let’s be real, I haven’t got a clue what I’m doing so I will share what I found and maybe it may help you too.
Through frustrated tears I typed ‘how to deal with a naughty toddler’.
A few pages of mum forums loaded initially with some mixed messages; but the general consensus was that it is just a phase, especially when the child is generally affectionate.
Other mums talked about coping strategies such as ensuring your little one is safe and walking out of the room, taking a few deep breaths and walking back in. Simple and effective; sometimes it’s easy to lose your shit when they have wound you up all day.
Another thing that seemed to appear multiple times was rewarding good behaviour. I feel like I really try to do this already; however I can see that maybe he knows he gets more of a rise out of me for bad behaviour and this may feed the ‘bad’ behaviour more.
Another common theme is how we forget how little they are and how they are still learning the difference between right and wrong; such as branding them as naughty when they don’t know what they have done is naughty.
Another suggestion is to ring the health visitor – I have never had a good relationship with mine and I have never seen the same one; we have had three visits in two years so to me I’m not particularly comfortable with this idea.
William does seem to need an awful lot of stimulation; he gets bored really easily and I am guilty of maybe not giving him enough attention sometimes – not because I’m just ignoring him but I have to get my housework done and other jobs done. The struggle is real.
Structure seems to come up a lot – maybe I need to get some sort of routine in place and roughly stick to it; who knows. Maybe I don’t sit and physically play with him enough – I could definitely make more effort with that.
We do use the naughty step but he doesn’t seem to take any notice of it at all…it works if he needs to cool down when he’s having a complete shit fit, but as a naughty step it doesn’t seem to work.
I found a really interesting comment that said:
‘Try not to think of it as naughtiness; its learning. If you tell yourself he is naughty and you tell him he is, he will be. If you firmly and calmly say no we don’t do that and enforce with removal to a cot etc. you will stop a negative cycle that will get you down and make you feel like a bad mother whose child is not doing what they should. At 2 they don’t know, they don’t know they can hurt, they only know they can feel. Be kind to yourself and it will be easier for you to be kind with him. They do what they see around them and they do anything to have undivided attention. He has to learn to separate himself from you and that the world is not all about him. And that takes at least 18 years, often a life time!
But really, enjoy these years. The discoveries they make are wonderful and it will be time you can never recapture. Dont use it all up saying no, stop it, naughty boy etc. I know, I am getting old, but its a truism for a reason.’
I can see a lot of truth here and it’s really positive – I’d like to take most of this on board and try to change my mindset.
What to Expect says similar and talks about following up a ‘crime’ quickly with a ‘consequence’ such as if they misbehave to quickly take away a toy or switch what they are watching off for small amount of time. It talks about how saying they can’t have ice cream for pudding in three hours time won’t work as they will have forgotten by then.
True, although I hate the words used such a crime… he’s drawn on the sofa not committed fraud…
At present I do count to three – he does whatever he does, I tell him that we don’t do that. If he continues, we count to three and then he goes to the step. By this point he knows he has done wrong and what normally ensues is a complete meltdown.
It feels like my methods of discipline seem to make him worse… not cool.
I do feel a little better – I started writing this thinking that my child was aggressive and not normal and I can now see that he is totally normal. Every single article I have read from some well-known websites describes how at this age curiosity, miscommunication, immaturity and a desire for independence all play a huge part in normal behaviour and it’s all about coping, nurturing and teaching your child to grow and learn.
I’m going to take a really good look at the words I use and the way I deal with him; I really am going to try to make an effort to not be so negative, not raise my voice and try to remind myself that he is little and needs to learn.
I will still punish and discipline him; but I’m going to try things such as taking toys away, rebranding the naughty step as time out and I’m going to try and find ways to stimulate him and try to stop bad behaviour before it starts.
And most importantly, I’m going to start not taking it so bloody personally… I’m doing my best, that’s all I can do.
As always I really love reading your comments and messages – please feel free to comment below or contact me with any tips, tricks, stories or anything.
Apart from Viagra adverts – I get hundreds of those a day.