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 ?

Gagagran Thu 10-Nov-11 15:26:14

My very bright 6 year old DGD has always been very challenging and quite wilful. Her lovely Mum (my DiL) just gives in to her after a series of saying "No" so of course she gets away with murder. However, whilst giving loads of love and affection I have always set firm boundaries when she is staying with us (sans parents) and she is much better behaved here as a result. At the weekend she said "I know where Daddy got his strict gene from Granny - it was you". I had to smile - she is quite right!

HildaW Thu 10-Nov-11 18:06:28

Elegran, a wise lady. 'Responsibility' as in taking responsibility for one's own actions seems to be going out of fashion. Whilst watching the professional Master Chef last night the young lady who was ejected quite quickly blamed Monica for 'being all over' her when she made a mess of a dish. It did not seem to dawn on her that it was her own lack of skills that let her down. She could not appreciate that the judge (The truly scary Monica) was doing her job well whilst she was doing her own badly. If children are brought up to blame others, finding out that its up to their own actions that will help or hinder them, must be a tough lesson to learn. Slowly getting our children to take responsibility for minor things such as packing school bags, remembering when they have an afterschool club etc etc will help but they need to see the adults in their lives taking responsibility for things. Blaming someone else for so many different things has become a bit of a theme for certain folks.

gulligranny Sat 12-Nov-11 17:18:37

My nearly-4 granddaughter gave us some major insight into children's behaviour recently. She's very keen to have a sleepover with me and Granddad (she lives about 70 miles away). We were visiting a few weeks ago and she decided to scream at the top of her voice because we were paying more attention to her baby sister. When her mum told her that Grandma and Granddad wouldn't want to have her to stay if she behaved like that, she witheringly replied "Well, I wouldn't be naughty at THEIR house, would I". Such killer logic and completely unanswerable, especially when you are trying to keep a straight face!

harrigran Sat 12-Nov-11 23:06:37

Been there got the T shirt gulligranny. Mine is as good as gold at our house, bring the sister into the equation and all hell breaks loose.

Hunt Mon 21-Nov-11 09:58:09

I used to run a day nursery and Mum's would often say'' He/she is so naughty!''. My reply was ''The naughty children turn out to be the most interesting people''
There is a lot of very good advice here.

jaimsdesuja Tue 27-Dec-11 08:56:07

Message deleted by Gransnet.

bagitha Tue 27-Dec-11 09:00:21

Aye, it's the ones that show a bit of character that are the most fun.

PoppaRob Tue 27-Dec-11 12:52:52

A lot of parents want to be best friends with their kids. My GD generally behaves well for me. No means no, we've had the "I'm the boss" talk, she knows that naughty girls do NOT get cuddles, and that actions have consequences... and she's two and a half years old! My daughter is constantly amazed that GD and I have such a close and loving relationship yet GD behaves for me. I keep saying she needs to always love her and tell her she loves her, to not necessarily like the things she does and let her know when the things she does are unacceptable, to stop negotiating with her and be her parent not her friend. Being a parent is not an easy job so don't look for an easy way out - it does no one any favours.

supernana Tue 27-Dec-11 13:01:12

Wise words dear PoppaR

PoppaRob Tue 27-Dec-11 13:12:10

Interesting about little kids being let loose on items that we older set see as things to be treated with respect and not toys. My GD cheerfully sits on my desk while I use the PC. She picks up my Harry Potter wand and points to things on the screen (and does a very good Avada Kedavra curse!) but she knows not to touch the screen, keyboard or mouse. No problem. My daughter suggested I give GD one of my old keyboards and mice. Why? A 2 1/2 year old does not need to use a PC! GD also knows that Poppa's keys, mobile phone and the remotes for the TV and DVD player are not hers to play with, but she knows they exist because if I ask her to bring them to me she complies. Consistency and boundaries... or consistent boundaries. hmm

Elegran Tue 27-Dec-11 13:31:45

Popparob I have seen it suggested that you can teach toddlers to be careful with ornaments etc by having a few worthless pieces within reach, but treating them as though they are precious. That way, they get used to handling things with respect - and get used to the feel of a piece of china or whatever in their hands - but if it does get dropped, they see that it is breakable. To the adults, it is not the end of the world as it was not really valuable. This has a certain logic.

Carol Tue 27-Dec-11 13:50:17

Wise words Popparob. Only thing about naughty children not getting cuddles is that sometimes a cuddle is just what is needed to enable them to cool down and behave. My grandchildren know to say 'sorry' for bad behaviour and draw a line with a cuddle, then carry on playing. It's a useful boundary to draw on.

They know what they are allowed to touch and what they are not, so will occasionally just give a little light poke to see if they can get away with it yet. A look from me is enough for them to grin and move on to something else.

grannyactivist Tue 27-Dec-11 14:29:20

One of my daughters used to give me a merry old time because 'everybody else's mother' used to be friends with their daughters; share clothes/make up; go shopping/clubbing; swap tales of night's out/boyfriends etc. and I was 'boring'. I used to tell her that I was not her friend, but her mother and that one day she would realise the difference. By the time she was eighteen she had learned to be glad that I had stuck to my role and now laments the fact that so many of her friends have unsatisfying relationships with their mums.
I have always been a loving, but strict parent and my children have all responded differently to the rules and strictures placed upon them - but clear, consistent boundaries were the bedrock of our relationships when they were younger. I think many young parents now 'give in' to their children because it's easier than setting and 'policing' boundaries for behaviours.

Carol Tue 27-Dec-11 15:07:26

Spot on ga!

harrigran Tue 27-Dec-11 18:41:12

I believed my job was to raise polite children that would become independent, not to be another friend to them.
I allow the GC to handle ornaments and whatever is at child height, we have had no breakages.

ghsc5 Sun 10-Jun-12 17:30:51

when my gd(3) is good, she is very very good, but when she is bad......!!!
If something is not to her liking she will throw a tantrum and start hitting and kicking. Sanctions eg timeout , removal of privileges have a limited effect, as does positive reinforcement. Her mum is exhausted and has lost confidence as a mother. Any advice?

absentgrana Sun 10-Jun-12 17:34:45

It is hugely important to remember who is the grown-up

HildaW Sun 10-Jun-12 17:45:01

The very first time (and last time - honest) that my younger daughter threw a tantrum...the proper thing in the middle of a supermarket and all! I was so surprised that I just burst out laughing, could hardly stop. She was very put out and took huge offense at my response. Eventually I replied that if she asked me properly for what she wanted I would listen and we would have a think about what we would do. That was it.

Any reaction to a child hitting needs to be along the lines of a cold withdrawl. I would just step away, and avoid eye contact, putting on a bit of a stiff face. I can honestly say that I only had to do it a couple of times. Once she realised that my reaction was not the one she wanted she calmed down. Once the emotions had gone we could have a bit of a chat about what was really the matter and that Mummy loved her very much but did not like hitting, biting etc etc.

Tell your daughter (often) that shes doing an amazing job and its the ones that worry they are not doing a decent job that actually are.

nanaej Sun 10-Jun-12 18:45:41

My DGD will still try it on..she is 6! Whines, groans , moans even though she has never go what she wanted when she does this. Doesn't happen all the time but she will still regress to this behaviour sometimes. It is ignored by all of us. In all other aspects she is a delight and is a bright girl..except in this situation is she not very bright!

FlicketyB Sun 10-Jun-12 21:21:20

My experience based on problems with one of my children was to set a broad framework of unbreakable rules covering behaviour to other people including siblings but allow considerable freedom within the framework even if it did sometimes mean tolerating behaviour deliberately aimed at provoking me to anger. You need to stay calm, stick to any decision you make, do not be harrassed into backing off and equivocating. I found tempering justice with mercy was seen as a sign of weakness. Children like this need a rock to throw themselves against and you need to be the rock.

However it can turn out alright. My grown up child is still uncompromising and not always the easiest of people to deal with but has sufficient self knowledge to know that this means they could not function within a close relationship so lives happily alone but with a large social network. They went to university and are happy in a career where they are successful and well thought of. There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

HildaW Mon 11-Jun-12 14:56:26

Agree Flickety, tis all about picking your battles...letting some things go (ask is this as important as such and such?) but then being very firm and consistently firm, if something is wrong one day its got to be wrong every day! And yes my little madam is now fully grown up, very wise for her years and a good friend to all who know her.

JessM Tue 12-Jun-12 18:13:46

HildaW - spot on. If a 2 year old hits and gets a dramatic reaction that is exactly what is rewarding the hitting behaviour.
"Catch him doing something good" T on previous page, I agree.
My GS was a bit of a nightmare at nearly 3. Saying No, throwing his weight around, asking for things in a whiny voice and, worst of all, running off, really fast, in crowded places.
2 year olds are attempting to rule the universe - and they are finding out just which bits they can control.
I was over there for 5 weeks (and parents happy for me to intervene - only too happy). Oh and we were on a timetable to get him potty trained to meet requirements of nursery too.
I concentrated on:
trying to use positive language all the time - trying never to say NO - the N word - 2 year olds hear it so much. And strictly avoiding the other N word - Naughty
Instead telling him he was a Good boy - he was starting to see himself as a naughty one
insisting he asked for things nicely with a Please Nana (he was a fluent talker)
and if he ran off, or did a sit down strike, in town, the thing he hated was to be picked up under my arm like a bit of baggage. Fortunately I could just about manage this.
(mum has now, at last, given up picking him up and carrying him on her hip - now he can walk 5 miles... but the carrying was rewarding the running off I think)
One day we saw a little lost boy talking to the police. We stood and talked about this at some length.
Another thing that made a huge difference, surprisingly, was on his 3rd birthday, after about 3 weeks of the above treatment, I had a grown up conversation about "big boys hold hands and walk with people.
While all this was going on, in between the wet pants and other accidents, I used to remind myself that he would be much better when he was 4. And he is really very easy now.