What do you do about a defiant and violent toddler

My nephew lives with me and my mother. He just turned 2 about a week ago. He doesnt talk much but when you do something he doesnt like he starts screaming and yells no and likes to hit us. We try putting him in time out but I dont see that its working, if we make him sit down on the floor for time out then he will yell and hit and just get up again and basically fight us over it the whole time. If we put him in his room for time out he just screams the whole time. They say you should only put a young child in time out for like 2 minutes, but what are we supposed to do when he screams at the top of his lungs the whole time. He can go on like that for a long time… For instance when we put him to bed he screams for at least a half hour before he settles down and goes to sleep. He has been acting like a little monster lately! Yet for the babysitter, he is a completely different child. I went to pick him up this morning and watched her change his diaper, he was amazing! For us he runs away, he kicks us, and he rolls around like crazy and its all we can do to stop him from rolling right off the changing table. Yet for the babysitter she told him it was time to get changed and he climbed up on the couch next to her and layed down and picked his butt up when she told him to…he was a complete angel and I was completely dumbfounded. What might we be doing wrong here? Why does he seem to think that it is okay to be abusive and defiant towards us? We dont just put up with it, we put him in time out and we take away toys and dont give him cookies and stuff when hes bad… So what the heck is going on here???

Answer #1

Put your foot down! My 2 year old niece is very intelligent and has no mental problems. (She has been seen by a doctor)She can count and even write simple things. She is far ahead in her growth. But, she is extremely violent and has even slapped me and threw major tantrums when I watch her. She is like this at her home as well. Worse. For a lot of people here I am sure they will say “that must be the way her parents are”. Untrue for this case. They are loving ,gentle and unfortunately do not like to discipline their children enough. I say this because I have a 2 year old myself and the first fit she had 6 months ago, she slapped me in the face. I slapped her right back, and she never did it again. I do not tolerate her fits either and now that she realizes she will have consequences - (I don’t do nicey nicey ignore you or time out, I say stop it or you will be punished. One warning, that is it.) - she thinks before she reacts and we camly get though her problem together. All my children do( ages 2, 4 and 7). As they get older and wiser, I ease off of the punishments and a good talking to does the trick.They remember what it means to do something very wrong! And no, I don’t beat them, or slap them for every little thing. And they never go a day without a hug, kiss and an I love you sooo much! It is the major things that deserve the tough love. Will a toddler really think to his/her self that because you are being nice to him/her, they should stop? Riiighhhttt… My niece has no fear. A timeout to her is nothing. Having her favorite toy, or tv show turned off, means nothing to her. She will fight, bite, scream and hit everyone and anything until she gets her way. When she hit me, and since she is not my child, I had to follow the punishment rules her parents set for her. Needless to say, I love her to death, but I won’t have her here until she learns to behave.And her parents learn to parent. Put your foot down. He slaps you, slap him back! Then put him in his room and let him cry it out. When he stops (not 2 minutes! When he is finally quite only) then you can let him out and hug him and tell him you love him. Tell him that he can not act this way or he will be properly punished. You love him more than anything in this world, but that behavior is wrong. Toddlers are not stupid! They will understand what you mean. Most of them just don’t care, because nothing is really happening to them when they act out. All this sweet and nice spare the rod, spoil the child bull is the reason more and more underage are committing serious crimes! Thank God my mother spanked me when I was really bad, or I would have kept being bad. Bad was fun. She loved me and there was not a day that would go by that she didn’t show it. But, I learned to respect her and fear those punishments should I deserve them. I never threw tantrums, stole things, bullied others, brought weapons to school. Why? Because my mother would whoop my butt!

Answer #2

I am a mother of 2, a girl age 5 and a boy age 10. For starters let me say you need to take him to his pediatrican, make them aware of EVERY issue he is having, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get a notebook and just sorta journal a day or 2 of his behavior, plus you can right down info that you want to inform the doctor about. Where is his parents and what type of relationship have they or do they have with him? I noticed you said hes your nephew and you and your mother are caring for him, so at what age did you begin taking care of him full time? What I mean by this is what or who was he exposed to prior to living with you guys? Things a child experience even as a newborn can have an effect on them as they age even if they only were in a certain “enviroment” for a short period of time. Also, how well do you know the babysitter and/or others that he might possibly be around when you or your mother are not with him? Children that young are unable to tell you how they feel or if something is wrong like an older child might so they act out to express how they’re feeling. One more thing, there is nothing worse than a child that will not behave or mind, there is no sense in you or your mother’s lives having any extra stress and expecially from a 2 year old that think’s they are the boss. Just think if he is doing these things now at 2 when he doesn’t get his way then what will he be like at 6, 10, 13, or even 16? You are going to have to buckle down BIG TIME and it will take your mother and you working together to get his behavior under control, and you MUST be CONSISTENT with it. Children thrive off of consistency, the more stable their lives and routines the better the child. I recieved spankings as a child, no my parents DID NOT beat me, but I did get my butt tore up when it was needed, b/c of that trust me it didn’t have to happen very often. My kids know in a quickness, I don’t care where we are at, I will calmly excuse ourselves to the nearest bathroom, outside, etc and will wear their butts out and because of this like when I was a child it doesn’t have to happen very often. I have a friend whose daughter is the same age as mine and I have her or we are all together at least 90% of the time and I treat her as my own, my friend will HARDLY EVER spank her, she is 5 and I have seen her spank her maybe 3 times her entire life. Now when she is in my presence I treat her as my own and she is expected to mind like mine do so I will spank her just the same and I will tell you she is a TOTALLY different child when she is with me, even with me and her mother, b/c she knows I don’t take the b.s. and I will get up and handle it. But you know this lil’ girl and me are just as close as me and my daughter, she loves me just as much and in fact she crys when she isn’t able to stay with me. It goes back to the consistency, I was speaking about early. What you and your mother need to do talk about the things I mentioned at the beginning, PLEASE make an appt with his doctor, and find you a lil’ belt or something along those lines that you feel comfortable with spanking him with (something you can easily carry in your purse or with you when you leave the house together) and get ready for a long week or 2, depending on just how subborn and hell bent he is on having his way. Either way I promise it will not be worse than having to put up with his hitting, screaming, and fit throwing(it’s just going to be time consuming). Now when he is told to do something or not to do something and he reacts as he normally would, swat his bottom/upper thigh area a couple good times and sit him in a chair. NOT HIS ROOM, it’s important not to send him to his room when he is in trouble like this nor at his age, you don’t want him to associate his room with being in trouble. Make him face away from the TV and anyone/thing else in the room, he needs to sit there for 1 minute per year old (so 2 minutes), this is where the time consuming part comes in, LOL, b/c he is going to do his normal lil’ kicking, hitting, and not staying seated routine and at this point you need to swat his bottom again, add a minute and sit him down. I know TRUST me that for 2 years old they can be pretty determined to have their way, :0) this is the part where he will learn who is the adult and who is the child. You HAVE to keep repeating that process over and over until he will finally catch on. I know it will wear you out faster than it does him more than likely, I PROMISE YOU THOUGH IF YOU WILL STICK WITH IT you will be AMAZED at the lil’ boy you will have in just 3 or 4 days. Even if you are in public somewhere do I as I mentioned above, what I do with my own kids, excuse yourselves to a private area, DO NOT SAY “WHEN YOU GET HOME YOU’RE GOING TO GET IN TROUBLE.” Take the time RIGHT then to address the problem. You also want to make sure you tell him why he is in trouble and that he isn’t going to act like that. I understand you said he doesn’t speak well/much but it is still very important for you to communicate with him, that is going to help him learn to talk about why he is upset instead of not minding and fit throwing. Another VERY IMPORTANT thing to remember is to praise his good behavior and when he does do good things. I’m sorry this is such a long email I just wanted to be as helpful as I could. I hope this helps you and your mom in some way. Good Luck and God Bless YOU

Answer #3

My brother was like this. He has a mild form of autism that we didnt know about until he was older. He is ADHD, Speech Delayed, has Implusive and aggressive behaior AND he has aspbergers(ap) autism. He might need to see a doctor. My brother is now 13 and he has the mental capacity of a 7 year old. He wont develop mentally anymore. Get his checked up. See if the doctor can suggest anything.

Answer #4

I do not have an answer, yet. I am a 57 year old grandmother of a three year old with these very behavior problems, BUT, I read the post from the 15 year old about smacking the MOUTH and BUTT of the nephew she watched and was appalled. You should Never smack or hit a child in the face, mouth or head. It communicates total rejection to the child. The face is the zone where the child develops his sense of self. This girl is terribly misguided. The desired behavior might occur, but this child will learn not to trust, in later years, will be ultra sensitive to rejection will be a victim of low self esteem. I was also appalled by her other suggestions about smacking the head, with the disclaimers about not causing “brain trauma”. It’s too bad that we can’t figure out where this child/nephew is because children’s services needs to be involved NOW. I am a mother of two hightly successful, kind adults with four adorable grandchildren, all of whom were not raised with this kind of misguided violence. They have great self esteem, are respectful and well adjusted.

Answer #5

um, thank you everyone for your comments. though I must say, for those of you who suggested I slap my nephew in his mouth, I will never in my life hit my nephew (who is now 3) or my new baby niece (now 1) in the face, thats crazy talk. I do pop my nephew on his butt once in a while, though he doesnt seem to mind that nearly as much as he does being sent to his room when he’s bad. he walks up the stairs angry and crazy, and he walks back down them a perfect sweetheart - I love it.

dcrow1 thank you for your advice, I think he MAY have mild autism but my mom doesnt think so. hes not nearly as bad about acting out as he used to be, but hes currently in speech therapy and still very delayed on his speech, and shy - to me that sounds like autism but I could be wrong. I cant believe someone actually suggested you leave your 3 year old in a group home though I dont know what goes on in peoples minds anymore, did they not have children of their own? how can anyone just walk away from a 3 year old?

Answer #6

Children always act worse for their primary caregiver. Don’t take this as a sign of disrespect, take it as a sign that he’s more comfortable with you.

I have a 6 year old that acted the same way as a toddler and the best thing to do is to NOT REACT WHEN HE THROWS HIS TANTRUMS. If he’s screaming calmly tell him that you won’t talk to him or pick him up or whatever he wants until he stops. At bedtime keep putting him back in his bed but don’t talk to him except to say “Stay in your bed”. When he’s in timeout (which he might be a little too young to understand) tell him that he has to stay there until he can sit still for two minutes. If he gets up, start his time over. It will be tough but he will learn the rules, just make sure that you and your mom and the babysitter all have the same rules (it’s hard for young minds to have different rules in different houses). Everyone has to be consistant and discipline him the same way or it will not work. And try to remember that you want him to respect you not to be scaried of you. For some children when you spank them it reinforces that “hitting is Ok”. You really don’t want to send this message to an already violent child. And try to stay relaxed and calm because if you get upset then he will too.

Good luck

Answer #7

I want to thank everyone for their comments here. Very helpful.

Answer #8

Well, You may or may not see it depending on if you see how the baby sitter works or not, But A child has to learn RESPECT for you around that age. They need to understand there are real consequences to not listening such as my nephew, I am 15 and my nephew acts like that against my step mom and sisters cause they don’t teach him a true lesson, Yet if me or my dad have to go take care of him he behaves immeadietly cause he respects us, And knows we wont take his crap.

When he screams smack his mouth, Not hard enough to break teeth or loosen them but enough to redden his mouth and cause pain. When he crys DONT comfort him, Make him understand over time that is his punishment. If he keeps running from time out, Slap his butt hard while holding him steady to prevent from rocking his brain so you do not harm him mentally, Then set him in time out and stand watching him for FIVE minutes close by, Everytime he tries to leave warm his butt again and put him right back in. Eventually he will learn that if he doesn’t listen he will get a spanking then have to sit on his sore butt for a matter of time that seems eternal to babies. If he doesnt behave on the changing table, Put off the changing in exchange for a spank wait a minute then repeat the process, Just dont do it often enough to permanently harm the child but enough so he understands the pain and soreness to know what it means. Why do you think that older more strict families use a thin belt on a 5-9 year olds butt when they are bad? They remember the pain more then screaming which they can ignore. Also, If he screams in bed warm his mouth ( Slap it but like I said dont harm him too hard but not too easy) and put him right back into his cradle/bed. Eventually, Depending on how efficent you do it. Withen a week or two he will begin to show changes slowly. Just remember, He is young and has sensetive skin so a little bit less then a mild hit will suffice plenty for the average two year old, Just remember to have anger control while doing this so you dont go overboard. Hope it helps with your nephew like it taught mine his manners.

Answer #9

your a great big SMOOTHIE with this boy! my son has autism, severe ADHD most common with boys and autism, seizure disorders…and mild CP from his premature birth at 28 weeks. If your lil fella is this bad please discuss this with his pediatrician. Let me say I am not a big fan of drugs and children but with my son and his situation the ADHD medicine has helped him to settle down, SIT DOWN!!LOL and focus. THAT is when I hit paydirt. Today he talks, reads, writes and made honor roll again. I am so glad I made the choice to medicate my son. I was told to put him in a group home and walk away at age 3. YEAH? well my boys not disposable!!! Chin up girl!!! its gonna be OK!!

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