Gransnet forums


How to tame a two-year-old dictator

(72 Posts)
Elegran Sat 15-Oct-11 10:59:49

Here is a question (from a gran - is she one of ours?) on Cassandra Jardine's advice page. Thoughts, GN ers ?

jinglej Sat 15-Oct-11 11:09:00

Its often the extra intelligent ones who behave like that. We have got one such in our circle of friends. His younger brother is as good as gold. They have both been handled the same. Don't think there is much more you can do. Sounds like everything is already in place. Wait for him to grow out of it.

Wouldn't try too hard to "tame" him!

Elegran Sat 15-Oct-11 11:16:20

If he refuses to to sit in his car seat, I would say "Well, we can't go anywhere then, you have to be in the seat. I was going to buy something nice for your tea, but it will have to be... (something he doesn't like)..." Not bribe him by saying he will get something specific if he does it, but that it will be impossible if he doesn't

supernana Sat 15-Oct-11 11:24:27

Elegran - good plan wink

Elegran Sat 15-Oct-11 11:30:41

So long as they are prepared to go back into the house and not go anywhere. If you promise a child a present, you make sure it arrives. If you say something will not happen, then you have to hold to that too, and not change your mind when they wear you down.

Elegran Sat 15-Oct-11 11:33:18

If they learn young that eventually they always get their own way, however inconvenient it is to everyone else, they will never grow out of it - just grow up into an overbearing selfish adult.

There are plenty of examples of those around.

bagitha Sat 15-Oct-11 13:22:33

Right behind you, elegran!

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Sat 15-Oct-11 13:52:53

Some great advice - keep it coming. We have added a link to this thread on the original article in case the grandmother who originally posted the problem would like to take advantage of the wisdom of gransnetters

HildaW Sat 15-Oct-11 17:18:16

I read this item in the paper and thought some of the advise was quite helpful. However, I did think that providing the little so and so with a sibling was going a bit far. Little Dictators need firm consistent 'Nos' you have to mean it and stick by it. Also nipping such antics in the bud is also a good idea. If they learn they can wear you down they tend to keep it up for longer. Younger daughter was not keen on hair washing or being strapped into push chair so early on I would just sort of get on with it despite the yells not giving much eye-contact. It was all done quickly and was soon over, at that point I would re-establish the eye contact and be all smiles and give a 'well done' cuddle and change the subject. Sounds a bit heartless as I type it but she really soon got over it. I think the longer you leave such behaviour unchallenged the worse it will get. Little ones are developing their sense of self at this age and can put on quite a performance to get their own way. As new Mums and Dads we dont like to think of them being upset or unhappy but often their tears are more about anger or frustration than anything else. They should not get the idea that if they protest at something we will stop doing it.

grannyactivist Sat 15-Oct-11 23:05:06

We're looking after our 21 month old grandson this weekend and he is as bright as a button, beginning to string words together and mostly a happy chappie - BUT.... every now and again he will 'try it on' by screaming, hitting out, saying 'NO' etc.; all the typical tantrum type behaviours you would expect of a nearly two year old. I mostly ignore said behaviours or respond with a very firm 'NO' of my own. What I don't do is give in to him - ever. My word is law; that's how it was with my own children and he gets the same treatment. If I say there will be a consequence I always carry through with it. Spoilt children are just that; children who are less well behaved than they could have been if only someone had been firm with them when they were young.

Carol Sun 16-Oct-11 08:55:41

My sentiments entirely grannyactivist - feisty toddlers in my family have sussed out who they can try it on with and their behaviour deteriorates in that company. It's only fair to the child to set firm boundaries and keep to them.

dorsetpennt Sun 16-Oct-11 10:00:30

I love the way that jinglej says difficult children are the intelligent children!! I'm sure that is something parents hope is the case as it really isn't . It's just a child being a little so-and-so. Years ago I complimented a friend on her three well behaved children - this was before I had children. She said she'd love her childen no matter what but she wanted other people to like them too. I used that as a template on bringing up my children. It really isn't difficult - all actions have consequences whether good or bad. An 18 month old next door screams whether he is happy or not - it is ear splitting - his parents say nothing as they think he is too young to be reprimanded. You don't have to go into a long drawn out explanation just NO or something that simple. My 2 year old GD understands and has done for months when she is being naughty - the naughty step has been implemented and so far it works. I used to send my children,when they were older, to their rooms. It didn't work for my daughter as when we called her down she would say' No it's ok I'm playing'. So my husband would say when they are really naughty we send them to our room as it's boring !!! I like what grannyactivist says it make such sense.

susiecb Sun 16-Oct-11 10:22:46

I read the article too and agree with the person who said their grandchild knows whose boss and who he can try it on with. My lovely highly intelligent!! grandson can do the tantrum thing but doesnt ever do it with my husband and I only his parents because he can get away with it. He knows when I say something will or will not happen depending on his behaviour thats how it will be. He always seems to have a nice time when he stays with us lots of laughs and giggles and cuddles - as soon as his parents appear to pick him up the behaviour starts. My daughter and SIL are unemcumbered by any advice we have ever proffered so we dont offer it anymore.

Jangran Sun 16-Oct-11 14:58:56

Same with my five year old grandson. I once saw him looking at me speculatively when I said "no" to him. He obviously sussed out that I meant it, because it was not followed by a tantrum as it often is if his parents say "no".

I quite liked it when I took him shopping in a hypermarket once. I asked him if we could look at the clothes. He whined and I ignored. But before we got to the clothes, we reached the toys and I bought him one that he liked without him asking. Then I said "what about the clothes?" and he said "Yes... and I won't even fuss!". And he didn't.

elizabethjoan Sun 16-Oct-11 22:59:32

Yes, I agree with much of the above, but we are now confident people. We know much more than we did when we were young anxious parents, desperate to do all the right stuff, having read the books and got masses of conflicting advice from an array of "experts" friends and family. So confusing! They have to deal with a much wider range of problems, such as the child's right to free expression, for fear of having a repressed "anally retentive" child......for goodness sake.....! getting the balance is hugely difficult and that is where we grandparents come into our own, providing a relaxing place where any anti-social behaviour can be quietly ignored and then we move on to something better. Pity the new parents stressed, in case the adored child becomes a monster!

jinglej Mon 17-Oct-11 10:02:12

dorsetpent, to be fair, I did say "are often". Not "always". smile

Mine was quite a casual reply, tbh. Being a granny certainly doesn't make me a childcare expert! Why would it?! I've only brought up three not ninety!

elderflower1 Mon 17-Oct-11 11:18:40

Agree with elizabethjoan Being a parent today is very difficult. I also read the article and thought the advice while useful was somewhat alarming. ie suggesting seeking the advice of the GP. If the mum in question was a little worried she would now be totally alarmed that there may be an underlying problem. There may be but are not frustration and tantrums part of a normal cycle of behavour for a 2.5 year old. My now 2.5 year old granddaughter had some spectacular tantrums at around the age of 2. (I remember one where I thought she would kick her way through the front door) We tried coaxing, comforting, reasoning but everything failed. My daughter then said ignore her and walk away. Hard to do but we did, making sure she was safe of course, she rarely has a tantrum now. Now if she starts to refuse to do something, like get into her car seat, I say fine you find something to do and grandma will go and read her book she quickly comes around and wants to go out.

I think that what is often called bad behaviour is just frustration. Infants are developing rapidly and want to communicate and be involved in everything around them but as yet do not have the skills. They need confident relaxed adults around them to accept their behaviour and help them develop new ways of coping.

Good luck to the mother and her grandma

dorsetpennt Mon 17-Oct-11 11:43:15

Does anyone think there is far too much conflicting information for parents nowadays. In my Mother's day it was Dr.Spock in mine Hugh Jolly or Penelope Leach.I know it's Gina Ford now but have you looked at the bookshelves for baby and child rearing? There are hundreds, plus magazines by the ton not to mention of course the internet. My D-I-L must have read them all when she was expecting her first baby and quoted them constantly - I did point out two things a] the books aren't baby manuals like a car manual and b] the baby hasn't read them. So just because it doesn't do what the book says doesn't mean anything is wrong. Both her Mother and I tried very gently to give her the benefit of our experiences but she stuck to the book so we stepped back.Thankfully, next baby is due in a month's time and she is far more relaxed this time. She recently said she had gone a 'bit mental' with books - I did say there is no reason not to find one good child book as a guide especially with health issues. so Gina Ford it is.

harrigran Mon 17-Oct-11 13:26:39

I vowed if my lot brought out Gina Ford again I would toss it at them, what twaddle.

jinglej Mon 17-Oct-11 15:22:39

You'll set their nerves jangling at GNHQ. Mentioning the dreaded GF.

Dr Spock forever! grin

Nanban Mon 17-Oct-11 20:14:46

Just tell the little swine, do it, do it the easy way or the hard way but just do it. Children spend growing up pushing the boundaries to make sure they are safely contained within; waffle is a weakness. As for books, if only it were that easy we would all be perfect parents with perfect children instead simply poorer by the price of a book.

countrygourmet Sun 30-Oct-11 14:57:25

I agree that a 2 year old should do what they are told, and obviously enforce this to prevent later problems building up. However, frustration and inability to communicate their wishes can lead to a lot of "No!" - type tantrum situations. My 2 year old granddaughter has a large vocabulary and communicates well but she can't always tell you what she wants. For example, at bath time I always laid her down to dry her then one day after getting her out of the bath she suddenly started making a fuss and went rigid, refusing to lay down which made drying very difficult. After a while I hit on the idea of saying, "Shreya, stop screaming, listen to me. What do you want, do you want to stand up while I dry you?". To which the tearful but relieved answer was, "Yes". Result - no more bathtime tantrums. This approach has worked well subsequently when I have thought she is throwing a tantrum through frustration and not just naughtiness. The relief when you get through to her is palpable!

gracesmum Sun 30-Oct-11 15:43:21

"Divas and Dictators - the secrets to having a MUCH better behaved child" by Charlie Taylor. Just got this from Amazon - not that littlest fella isn't a poppet, but as I think I have said elsewhere, if he grows up like his mummy - DD - there could be fireworks!grin

maxgran Tue 01-Nov-11 13:51:30

I totally agree with you ! My GS is 4 and he is a lovely, intelligent, lively child. I watch him having tantrums for his Mum and dad - and they negotiate and bribe, and make deals etc etc and yet for me and his Grandad he behaves lovely. He knows the boundaries and he knows if we say something we mean it.
He will still try it on as he tries to establish himself - but we stay firm and a child will give up if his 'bad' behaviour is not rewarded in some way.

I really believe that parents/ adults need to look at their behaviours - rather than think a child is 'naughty'
If you know what you will and will not tolerate and you set your intention - then dealing with a tantrummy child is not as difficult as it might be.
Of course,.. there has to also be a lot of love and affection !

MDougall Tue 01-Nov-11 20:32:10

My daughter is a primary school teacher and consequently has to deal with lots of children every day - all day - so i consider her to be much more an expert at knowing what children want than I do!!

She can recognise instantly the children who were told "No" - and "No means No" from an early age.

The children with whom she has the most challenges are nearly always the ones who do not know their parameters - and have never known them. it makes the teaching so much more difficult. If only parents would mean No and carry it out - then children know that there is a consequence to their tantrums and as most of the comments already made are quite true. if a child know that their tantrums will not work - they grow out of them very very quickly!