Gransnet forums


How to tame a two-year-old dictator

(73 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 ?

maxgran Wed 02-Nov-11 15:46:13

MDougall,.. I feel sorry for teachers, like your daughter. It is not easy dealing with children who have not been taught and set boundaries.
I sometimes go onto Mumsnet and am surprised at how many Mums on there are trying to wok out what their children want and how to handle them and they worry about 'getting it wrong' or their child being upset.

I think if parents tried to understand themselves more and where their own inconsistencies lie, instead of thinking its something 'wrong' with their child - they would do better !

It really is much simpler than they realise. Say what you mean - mean what you say - and think before you react with a yes or a no.
My own grandchildren are totally different depending on who is 'in control' of them. ( I got told off on Mumsnet for saying 'in control' ! apparently - its tantamount to bullying?!))

harrigran Wed 02-Nov-11 16:41:16

Oh for goodness sake, what do they want ? Nobody in control of a child so that they can do just what they like. Recipe for obnoxious children. I do sometimes feel like giving these modern mums a slap.

MrsJamJam Wed 02-Nov-11 19:31:01

I think that children develop their sense of security by knowing that the adult is 'in control' so they can relax and not worry. The worst behaved children are often actually anxious all the time because they don't really feel safe and secure. Having a tantrum is a very frightening experience (I know, I can still do a tantrum if pushed!!)

We all know that there is a huge difference between adult behaviour and bullying. The comment on mumsnet to Maxgran leaves me speechless!

maxgran Thu 03-Nov-11 12:08:56

I know !
'In control' - is a positive not a negative - Its not the same as 'controlling'
If I am ever in a situation where I lack experience - I am glad to have someone 'in control' :-)

Elegran Thu 03-Nov-11 12:18:56

Perhaps the word to use is "leadership" if they have a problem with "in control".

Every group has a leader, whether they were elected to that position or not, or whether or not they want the job, or whether the rest are aware of it. A leader takes account of the personalities, abilities and opinions of the others, listens to advice from differing directions, then makes decisions on group policy, sets the tone of the group and plans projects. This does not have to involve bullying - what kind of group do they imagine they are talking about?

In a family the leaders are the parents, not the children. Would they allow a child to wrench the steering wheel from them on the motorway if they disagreed with the destination they were driving to?

maxgran Thu 03-Nov-11 14:07:13

Ha, ha !... Maybe not Elegran,... but I wouldn't be surpised if they left the Mway by the next exit and turned round for the kiddie !!

Elegran Thu 03-Nov-11 14:14:16

The bottom line is - if something really matters to them, they can be "in control", probably loudly and suddenly. For instance, if a child starts to scribble on some important papers that Daddy has brought home from work to look at, Daddy stops being a pussycat and roars like a lion. But if same child pulls up cherished flowers in a neighbour's garden for the third time, Mummy smiles fondly and says "Oh he is very determined, he won't do a thing I say"

maxgran Fri 04-Nov-11 09:07:42

Elegran, I try to explain that to my daughter. I tell her to apply the same response/determination to her children messing with her Laptop - or ornaments or anything else she does not want broken, as she would if they were touching an electrical socket.
Her reply was 'But those aren't dangerous!'
Totally misses the point !

Elegran Fri 04-Nov-11 10:37:25

Answer her - "So you don't care if he smashes your ornaments/wrecks your laptop? Why not just give them to him to play in the garden with, then?"

There is also a "training" element involved - if he does not need to pay attention to Mum over bouncing ornaments about, how is he to know that she means it when she won't let him play with a boiling kettle?

maxgran Mon 07-Nov-11 10:57:47

My daughters 5 year old broke her ipad last week. In the past the notepad was broken by her children. They have destroyed the fridge door- it fell off and she had to buy a new fridge. I can't see why a child under 5 is allowed to go into the fridge ??
The Laptop will be next. I have lost count of the items that have been destroyed - and its mainly down to sloppiness and not teaching them to respect things. Its not the kids at fault - its her and her husband

Ariadne Mon 07-Nov-11 11:08:24

Boundaries, parameters - aren't these things that are so badly needed, especially for the young, in today's society? One cannot negotiate one's way out of everything, though heaven knows I knew many students who tried, and were so frustrated because it didn't work.

harrigran Mon 07-Nov-11 12:31:20

My GD has had three Nintendos in a couple of years, the other week she said " I think I will have a red one next time " I bought two of the three but I told her I will not be buying another one as she obviously does not take care of them. My DC cared for their toys and games and they survive to amuse the GC but they won't be fit to pass to another child.

maxgran Mon 07-Nov-11 13:21:11

I cannot understand my daughter at all. She was not allowed to abuse or destroy things. She is forever complaining they have no money and yet she allows money to be wasted like this.
I have stopped buying her children anything expensive because I may as well just throw the money in a bin.

My partner spent ages fixing the lead connection to the Notepad they had. It was very tricky and intricate work and took him hours. It broke because they would use the notepad plugged in and balanced on the arm of a chair or the couch, leaving the lead trailing down. The strain on the lead connection caused it to break so they could not recharge it anymore. We were promised they would not do this again - but 2 weeks later it was broken again, same problem. They had absolutely no respect for the time and care & effort he made to fix it, so now they have been told he will no longer fix anything for them !

toria100 Mon 07-Nov-11 16:34:12

The best piece of advice I ever had was to 'catch my child being good'.
Perhaps this 2 year old is getting more attention when he is behaving in a challenging way than when he is being quiet and compliant. He should be ignored as far as possible unless he is a danger to himself or others when he behaves badly . If he behaves well even for a few seconds then the praise should kick in immediately. Everyone should also be told of how good he has been not how bad.( He should not hear himself being the centre of attention for bad behaviour). Try smiling and clapping and tell him he is a good boy EVERYTIME he is playing quietly and sharing with another child.

When he behaves badly he should be quietly and firmly removed from any audience and should not get the consequence the bad behaviour was aimed at. In the situation with the car seat I would try never to be under time pressure and wait it out without an audience. We never went anywhere unless children were in car seats and if they tried to get out of their seat when they were old enough the car stopped and went nowhere.
Distraction can also do wonders. The number of non existent cats , birds etc that I told my toddlers had just gone by to distract from behaviour I didnt want , or songs , nursery rhymes etc sung was amazing.

Carol Mon 07-Nov-11 21:29:07

I have just been doing this with my twin grandsons, just 3 years old. Picked them up from the childminder, gave them supper and got them ready for bed - all fine until story time and then they wanted to trampoline on their beds, throw all the teddies over the safety gate, whip my specs off and generally run riot. I simply repeated, as I stood up as though to leave their bedroom, 'no story if you cannot be quiet.' When they didn't listen (too excited) I put each child in bed and turned out the light, went on the landing to a chorus of 'we be good now, nana!' Gave lots of praise for being good, read two stories and they went to sleep like a dream. Cheeky monkeys!

Elegran Tue 08-Nov-11 11:45:41

If you tell them often enough that that they are good they start to live up to it, and when (inevitably) they are bad, then you imply that this was a deviation from their normal behaviour, which, of course, is going to back to normal right now.

Carol Tue 08-Nov-11 11:58:34

Yes Elegran, my favourite mantra to them is ' we don't behave like this, so let's start being well-behaved right now, shall we?' Then I notice every piece of good behaviour and reward with praise and cuddles, telling them what they did well, so they can repeat it.

GoldenGran Tue 08-Nov-11 12:57:57

I agree Elegran and Carol. I think we label children in families as good or naughty, or pains in the neck I think they grow into their label, if you expect naughtiness from them you will get it. Always expect the best and praise them when they deserve it.They won't be little angels all the time, but they will grow up to think the good behaviour is normal.

Elegran Tue 08-Nov-11 13:19:00

It is very easy to label one child in a family "the good one" who gets all the praise, and another "the difficult one" who is always in trouble. Then the "bad" one feels sour about the "good" one being in favour and is even worse. The "good" one can act nasty to them in return, but is excused because they were provoked ........and so it goes on.

The other situation I think is fraught with problems is when one child is considered mother's favourite and the other father's. Each child needs the approval and attention of both parents, not necessarily at the same time, but evenly distributed.

maxgran Tue 08-Nov-11 14:39:10

My Grandson is feisty and full of fun and energy and can got too far sometimes and get over excited,.. but, I don't really remember how I established it - but when I say to him,.. 'I am serious' !! or even just 'Serious !' He responds immediately.

Many freinds of the family call him the 'cheeky one' and I have noticed he will play up to that tag.

Elegran Tue 08-Nov-11 14:45:12

maxgran It is because you are serious about it. Children can suss out an insincere "stop that" faster than a door-stepping salesman can feel you weaken. It is a survival tactic from caveman days.

maxgran Wed 09-Nov-11 09:51:51

Elegran, I think we are on the same wavelength smile

I think many of the problems parents face today with their children is down to lack of confidence on the parents part and the hesitation when they are trying to get their children to behave.
I get really frustrated when my daughter is telling one of her young children to stop doing something and then after the umpteenth time I will say 'Did you not hear your Mum ?.. stop it now' and they stop. My daughter will raise her voice, shriek and yell.
I actually mean what I say when I ask them to stop. If I didn't - I wouldn't say it !

Elegran Wed 09-Nov-11 10:58:41

Exactly. If it doesn't matter - keep quiet, or mention mildly that it is not a good idea. If it does matter - make sure that it stops.

And be clear in your own mind what matters and what does not. Will someone get hurt, physically or emotionally? If something is destroyed, will it cost you time, money, inconvenience, or heartbreak? Will someone else be upset at the careless or wanton destruction of something they valued, or that they bought for them with hard-earned cash?

And finally, are you giving out the right signals about listening to other people's opinions?

There is a lot of noise about children's rights (good), not enough about them learning to respect other people's rights (bad). Every right has an equal responsiblity attached to it, that is how a community stays in balance.

supernana Wed 09-Nov-11 15:27:22

Elegran Such a wise lady. thanks

maxgran Thu 10-Nov-11 09:45:46

Yes,.. Agreed ! Very wise words,.. and I just wish more people shared those views !