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anay1741165
anay1741165 asks:
Q:

How do I get my 2 year old son to behave?

No matter what I do, I cannot make my 2 year old son behave. Nothing works, time-outs, taking his toys, not giving him his snacks, not buying him special treats in stores, absolutely nothing. I am at my nerves end. I have nowhere else to turn. My own mother says shes never seen a child act like mine. For instance today I have put him in time-out over 20 times, I've taken all of his toys away for 10 minutes at a time at least 4 times. No matter how he screamed and wailed I didn't give him his snacks after dinner. Yet, he still will not behave.
No matter what I do. I can't take much more of it. He ignores everything I say, no matter how many times I tell him to stop doing something he continually does it. He will not stop. He has killed 2 of my kittens by throwing them and beating on them and slamming them into walls, jumping on them, stomping them, kicking them, punching them, throwing things at them and strangling them. I don't know what to do about it. No one wants the kittens I can't give them away. I obviously cannot keep them because he won't let me.
He climbs on the end tables and stands and no matter how many times I punish him for doing it, he keeps doing it. It just doesn't even matter what the problem is when I try to get him to stop he just ... won't he does it for hours on end. He goes to bed at 3 or 4 in the morning and gets up at 7 in the morning. I can't get him to go to bed earlier. He just doesn't. He throws such a fit that I end up giving up because I can't deal with him beating his head into things or throwing himself on the floor.
I take him to the grocery store with me. I fasten him into the cart he starts screaming. The last time we went to the store he beat his face into the handle of the cart until he busted his lips. He wouldn't stop. So I let him down to walk with me, He wouldn't let me hold his hand he held his feet up off the floor so that I was carrying him with one arm with him screaming and throwing a fit. He wouldn't hold on to the cart or me. He took off and when I went after him, he knocked over whole boxes of jarred pickels and olives, breaking them all. I honestly need help I do not know how to handle this or him or how to deal with his behavior. Someone please if you have any ideas as to how I can make him behave PLEASE tell me.
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Aug 22, 2008
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What the Expert Says:

Wow! The behaviors that you are describing from a 2 year old are almost unbelievable.  If you were talking only about behavior issues such as not following instructions, not listening, etc., I would recommend that you try some basic parenting strategies.  Unfortunately if your son is harming himself and is violent with pets as well, you need to seek professional help for him right away.  The first place that you need to start is with his pediatrician.  It will be important for a doctor to look at his medical history as well as examine his current physical condition.  In order to be prepared for this visit, I would recommend that you write down your son's issues and be prepared to give example as you shared here.  For your son's safety & wellbeing, please reach out and get professional help for your son as soon as possible.  
Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000

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Additional Answers (50)

spencerl0924
spencerl0924 writes:
wow i thought i was the only parent who has a child that does not know how to behave. my son is 3 yrs old and i cannot make him mind me or anyone else for that matter. he will jump from one couch to another and throw stuff at me when i tell him to stop. at age 3 he has already had 10 staples in the back of his head and has pulled muscles in his neck, and has suffered a slight concousion. from doing numerous thing that i tell him not to do. i have had to spank him constantly to the point he started getting welps on his butt and i just dont know what to do any more. i had to stop spanking him and i feel bad for it but nothing works i have tried taking toys away and spanking, time out, taking naps (which does not work, he will not take a nap at all). if we go to the grocery store i put him in the buggy and buckle him in and he starts kicking and hitting me and screams at the top of his lungs.if i let him walk he will not hold my hand or a buggy just last week he let go of my hand and started running across the parking lot and almost got hit. he will not do anything i ask and will not mind when i tell him to do or not do something. every time i tell him stop or no, he comes after me with toys, fist flying and kicking. i am sick to my stomach every day because he will not behave and i get hit at least 10-20 times a day. he is out of control and i dont know what else to do
> 60 days ago

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StressedOutMom911
StressedOut... writes:
I know It's kind of late to be answering this but I googled the same situation but my son is four and he has had this attitude since he was about a year and a half, I know it sounds horrible but i feel kind of relieved I thought I was going thru this alone. Yesterdat things went overboard with mine, I just had to spank him, twice in his butt!! (did not work at all) I've talked to the pediatrician like adviced in so many of the written posts and she gave me a referral for psychological  treatment, which i am still waiting on them to call me, I am so stressed out about this situation Ive even taken him to church to see if he would calm down during mass, you know a quiet place, he did he said he liked it  but has son as we left the church he just starting acting up again, i've tried learning games sitting down with him paying extra attention to him, absolutely nothing works and I am scared a have a 2 year old baby girl with special needs she has CP and i can't leave him alone for one second because he will go in here crib, and he just answers me mom i just want to play with my sister, I understand but he his a rough little boy, I can't even take a shower in peace!!! What can I do??!
> 60 days ago

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humandoing
humandoing writes:
Just like there are no bad dogs, just bad owners, there are NO bad children, only bad parents!
Your parenting needs close scrutiny!
And very soon!

He is behaving like this because he doesnt know how else to behave...he is TWO for goodness sake!

You need intervention from social services before you hurt your child or cause long term damage!

If you love your child, you MUST seek help now!
How long before you lose your temper and lash out?

The clues lie in your mesage...even the last sentence..."how can I MAKE him behave!...

I hope you get help..the fault does NOT lie with your child!
> 60 days ago

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Halina
Halina writes:
He may need some professional help.  Does your doctor have any suggestions?
> 60 days ago

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DareU2Dreamll
DareU2Dreamll writes:
Unfortunately people always assume that it's the parents fault. However, that's not ALWAYS the case!! It's sad that parents ignore these serious issues and pass them off as "normal" behavior such as the "terrible twos". I started at the pediatrician. At first she was diagnosed with Sensory issues. Once a week I take her to an occupational therapist. I received referrals to a Neurologist and Behavior specialist and am now adding behavior therapy to my weekly routine. Also day care for social behavior. My daughter has been diagnose, along with Sensory issues, ODD, ADD which makes her compulsive. Talk to your sons doctor. It is stressful, I know. Don't listen to people and follow your gut instincts. There are reasons specialist are out there!!!
> 60 days ago

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sbarnes24
sbarnes24 writes:
Oh my im experiencing the same thing since she was 3 i also have four other children...we should talk because ive tried everything and my mom says the same thing that i never acted like that or that shes nevwr seen a child act that way...me and my husband cant really figure out what to do we argue about her because we dont know how to aproach her anymore...i have a fb under sandra jo paul barnes ...i hope that we both get some answers....i do know mostly it goes back to parenting but somethings gotta give
> 60 days ago

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GrannyGeo
GrannyGeo writes:
I raised 4 daughters and have 22 grandchildren.  Two year olds are driven by a need to learn. But the two most difficult two year olds among all my little ones ended up having Asperger syndrome.  Consider that like a child with this high functioning type of autism, your son's learnig drive may cause him to get into extreem patterns of behavior. Even as adults "Aspies" get focused in on their special interests, and when deprived of the opportunity to continue their research can 'meltdown' (much to their own embarassment - they hate doing that).  Even totally typical two year olds have some of those traits.  Can you find a special interest that is safe for him and really apply yourself to helping him with explore it?  You may be working against his basic nature.
> 60 days ago

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sarafuller143
sarafuller143 writes:
Have you tried ignoring his negative behavior and reinforcing the positive? and when he acts up in the store just tell him if he doesn't stop that you will leave and then follow through with the leaving part. Following through is most important. Somewhere you son has realized that he can walk all over you. You have to be an authority figure. Ive found that talking with my son is a really good way of getting him to do what I ask. When is engaged and thinks he is helping and he is happy and isnt acting out.  Your son might just be wanting your attention some of the time. I know that's the case with mine. But when I get down on his level and engage him he is a very well behaved little man. (he is 21 months)
> 60 days ago

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Emerald91
Emerald91 writes:
Btw I forgot to add look up sleep terrors.  That's probably what he has if he won't sleep.  He's in that age.
> 60 days ago

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Erikaschneider
Erikaschnei... writes:
Oh how I feel for you.  It will take every second of your day to try to change that little boy.  Try the next day the very first time he stands on a table. pick him up from behind under his arms and hold him straight out for 1minute (count to 60 or start with 30) do not face him.  after that stand him on the floor and get eye to eye with him and tell h im "you cannot stand on the furniture"  do not say "you cannot stand on the furniture ok?" take his hand and ask him if he would like to do some coloring (i use 1crayon and a either coloring book or newspaper or magazine. dont think it matters.) let him color for 5minutes and color with him.  see how that works for ya. wont go to bed till 3am? hah! no way, i make my 20month old go for a walk everyday sometimes 2x i make him play outside and make him play with other kids  we walk for about 45 minutes uphill (no..not both ways)  , then we sit or play together, he goes to bed at 9 and goes right to sleep most of the time without a peep. Nope, my house is no longer spotless, the kid is more important.
i also think if he goes to bed at 3 and is up at 7 it is really not so unussual i have heard moms tell me stuff like that.  but you should try to change that.
> 60 days ago

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tallbibi
tallbibi writes:
My son has just turned three and he also has tantrums and melt downs. It is terrible. He also has a speech delay which makes him very frustrated. My family doctor has referred us to a paediatrician, who has recommended he be assesed for autism. Autism can be a source of these problems. As a concerned mother, I would ask you to get him assessed by a paediatrician.
> 60 days ago

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Lgsu
Lgsu writes:
Hi, there
I am also the mother of a 2 year-old boy.  My son is absolutely lovely, and I am really lucky to say that he hasn't exhibited any of these behaviors.  There are some things in your post that stood out to me, and I think they are possibly contributing to your problem.
Firstly, he definitely needs far more sleep.  Giving in to his freak outs and letting him control things by allowing him to stay up late not only affects your health and his, but it has taught him that you are not really the boss. He is.  If you have to, remove all furniture from his room, all toys, etc, and just leave a mattress for him to sleep on. That way, there is nothing to whack his head on, except maybe a wall or door.  You really, really need more sleep!  I don't know how you will be able to function long-term, otherwise.  
Also, he should not have access to pets. If he is near animals, you need to be close enough to intervene before a kitten gets thrown or killed. My son loves chasing my sister's dog, but if we didn't supervise him, the dog would either bite him, or he would hurt the dog. You said that you just can't keep kittens "because he won't let me", which really says a lot about who is actually in charge.
The one thing, though, that really stands out is that your son needs almost constant POSITIVE attention. 2 year-olds are really too young to understand or respond to full-blown discipline.  If he walks on furniture, has a hissy fit in a store, or does anything else that is defiant, you remove him from the situation.  If that means leaving a store without groceries, you don't get groceries.  When he disrespectfully walks on your furniture, pick him up, lift him off the furniture, tell him "no" and put him in another part of the room.  If he does it again, you remove him again.  You do this as many times as you have to, even if you are fed up.  You must be consistent for anything to work, because he is just waiting for and expecting you to give in.  If you ever give in, he will see you as someone he can control and manipulate.
I knowhow hard it is; really, I do.  And, if you don't have the regular support of a husband or partner, it is even more difficult, and I definitely feel for you.  
While I am the parent of a toddler, I am also a high school teacher, and I have taught the children of parents who weren't consistent in their parenting.  These teenagers don't seem to understand the concept of "no", they think that everything is negotiable, and they have little respect for authority.  
If you are really that overwhelmed, contact your local hospital and get information about any support groups that exist for parents of young children with behavioral issues, because he is in danger of growing up to become a bully, a violent offender, or just a jerk that has no social skills.  He is only 2 and still young enough to learn appropriate behaviors, but if you don't address it soon, it will be too late for him to make any changes.  
Another thing is to avoid the advice of spankers.  I was spanked as a child, and I turned out okay, but if your son is already behaving violently, like with the kittens, modeling violent behavior like hitting or spanking is counter-productive.  Telling him to not hit or harm people, or animals, when you discipline him by also hitting him is being hypocritical,  and it will only confuse him.  If possible, always talk to him in a calm voice (no yelling) because he will tune you out anyway, and really focus on and praise him for any good things he does.  The more he hears how bad he is, the more he will grow up believing he is bad, and he will live up to those expectations.  If he starts to hear how good and wonderful and lovable you think he is, he will do more things to show you how good he is.  Kids of ALL ages respond very, very well to praise.  Give him lots and lots of hugs and kisses.  Physical affection really works with toddlers.
Lastly, make certain he gets regular meals, and pay attention to his behavior before and after meals.  Maybe he is diabetic and acts out when his blood sugar is low and he feels crappy.  He might be angry because he is hungry, needs food, but doesn't know how to say it.  Or, he has food allergies that are almost personality-changing.  Monitor his food intake, only feed him fruits, veggies, and whole grains - no junk.  Believe me, as a teacher, I have seen the personality changes that occur when some kids eat crap at lunch.  They are respectful, sweet kids before lunch, and obnoxious, hyper little s**ts after they have eaten four donuts, a chocolate bar, fries and a can of Coke for lunch!
If my ideas don't work, he might need psychological assessment.  He seems very angry and maybe it is due to loss of a father/father figure, or jealousy over another sibling...who knows? But, you have a sweet, innocent little boy who still has a chance to make some changes.
Good luck!
> 60 days ago

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DakotaErikson
DakotaErikson writes:
I am so sorry for your trouble with your child.  I recommend taking him to a pediatric specialist to see if he has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  Children (and adults, as FAS/FAE is lifelong mental retardation) with FAS/FAE have a physical deformity in the brain in that the corpus callosum has not properly developed.  This cannot be corrected by any medicine or surgery, just like a child born without an arm cannot benefit from medicine or surgery.
FAS/FAE can not be determined by a test, but by subtle physical characteristics and measurements which a FAS specialist knows.
FAS can occur if the mother has only a sip of wine or takes liquid cold medicine which has alcohol in it. And there are (inconclusive) studies which posits that the father's sperm, if he has been heavily drinking, delivers a dollop of alcohol to the egg.
FAS develops differently in each FAS child.  There are children who are born to mothers who are alcoholics, yet do not develop FAS.  And there are children whose mother had only one sip of wine who have FAS.  Additionally,  I had a case where the mother had twins, one with FAS and one with the milder form, FAE.  So each child with FAS develops differently; and some fetuses are affected by alcohol and some aren't.  
I wish you, your child, and your family well as you search for solutions to your child's behavior.
> 60 days ago

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zenny1230
zenny1230 writes:
Hi there, I really sympathise with you, my son who is 6 now went through a very similar phase, he was also very extremely violent, lots of energy, his speech only developed at 4 which was a big issue. However now he is the best child to take shopping, he is also a very loving child, he has his violent days but compared to what he was like lots have thankfully changed.

I would recommend you step back and look at your child, there will be both loving aspects and things that can be improved and they will get better. You cannot do this alone you'll need proffessional help, a paediatrician or a speech therapist is need be. There will be help out there, take a proactive approach and get some help. At home keep a structured and regular routine he can follow, keep things simple in daily life. He seems like he has lots of energy, perhaps taking him for a walk in the park. there is something that just calmed my son in the nature. i built regular walks into our routine, on days we couldn't go i would let him play in that back garden. Prepare him for situations and what you expect from him. He won't stay within the boundaries initially but begin understanding you have expectations and what is about to happen. making him more calm.

Also you need to have one to one time, something he really enjoys, whether that is cooking cakes or reading books, find out what he is interested in and spend some quality time together. I've read books like boys adrift and other parenting books, i haven't followed them completely but found very useful tips.

If you do get a chance take some time out for yourself, trust me you'll need a spa day!

hope this helps, good luck and things will get better
> 60 days ago

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zenny1230
zenny1230 writes:
Hi there, I really sympathise with you, my son who is 6 now went through a very similar phase, he was also very extremely violent, lots of energy, his speech only developed at 4 which was a big issue. However now he is the best child to take shopping, he is also a very loving child, he has his violent days but compared to what he was like lots have thankfully changed.

I would recommend you step back and look at your child, there will be both loving aspects and things that can be improved and they will get better. You cannot do this alone you'll need proffessional help, a paediatrician or a speech therapist is need be. There will be help out there, take a proactive approach and get some help. At home keep a structured and regular routine he can follow, keep things simple in daily life. He seems like he has lots of energy, perhaps taking him for a walk in the park. there is something that just calmed my son in the nature. i built regular walks into our routine, on days we couldn't go i would let him play in that back garden. Prepare him for situations and what you expect from him. He won't stay within the boundaries initially but begin understanding you have expectations and what is about to happen. making him more calm.

Also you need to have one to one time, something he really enjoys, whether that is cooking cakes or reading books, find out what he is interested in and spend some quality time together. I've read books like boys adrift and other parenting books, i haven't followed them completely but found very useful tips.

If you do get a chance take some time out for yourself, trust me you'll need a spa day!

hope this helps, good luck and things will get better
> 60 days ago

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denalyn
denalyn writes:
The first thing you need to do is find a safe place for the kittens that your son cannot get to.  No more animal contact for him.  At two he shouldn't have access to small vulnerable creatures.  End of story.

Second, I am so aware from your posting that you are in need of help.  Two's is a hard year.  Create some time away from your son so you can reassess this situation.  Then make a consistent daily plan for your son.  Same thing everyday.  Remove all foods that have a lot of preservatives in them. This could be a food allergy that is causing his behavior.   Exercise or play time that is very active is essential, outside play time.  It sounds like there is a lot of time spent in your home and that is where problems are happening.  Boys need large motor skill activities.  I have two grown boys and my job when they were little was to find things daily to wear them out.  As long as they had a active day they were wonderful at home and very little discipline was needed.

No trips to the grocery or any place else where controlled behavior is needed until you have better days with the consistent schedule changes.  Have someone else do the shopping or get someone to watch him for an hour so you can get your errands done until he is in a better place.

Get rid of your pediatrician.  Find someone else in that group or another doctor who will take your concerns seriously and give you good advise.  They are supposed to treat the whole child and if you are not getting that, you need to find a doctor who is competent.  Ask other moms and get referrals from your own doctor.

Don't worry about what other people think about his behavior, you need to chanel your energies into helping your child and getting yourself to a place where you feel like live is not out of control.  Until you are both in a better place, keep to yourselves and close family who won't judge but will help you build a consistent, safe, schedule and form of discipline.

Time out is your only course at this time.   No, spanking an out of control child.  It will only cause more out of control behavior.

If in time you don't see improvement, seek professional counseling for you and your son.  He is only two, all is not lost.  Good parenting is people who, through trial and error work to do the best for the children they love.  

denalyn
> 60 days ago

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marienlashawn
marienlashawn writes:
I'm sorry you are going through this. I can say I am empathetic. I am a firm parent but I have a 2 yr old who is very aggressive also. I use to think that people not discipline their children was the problem but I'm not against spankings or other forms of discipline and that doesn't deter my son. Sometimes its just the child. I will say finding positive reinforcements and outlets can help. You can't just cut out a negative action without replacing it with a positive one. What can he do during the times that he is jumping off of the furniture. My son does this also. Maybe he can help you with house work. I came on here because my little one killed my kitten and I don't know how to feel. I know he doesn't understand but it doesn't make me feel any better. But I'm definitely getting rid of them and I have to find a safe way to show him how to be gentler to animals and everything else.
> 60 days ago

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leigh0721
leigh0721 writes:
Have you ever looked into the casein and gluten free diet. Also taking all the preservatives and chemicals out of what you eat. I have a 3 yr old and she was not that bad but close. Started doing this diet and it is like a 360 and you can definitely see the difference when she is on it. I do spank sometimes but try to use other discipline. I read somewhere giving yourself a timeout works. Walking into another room when he does this instead of putting him in timout. Seems to work with mine. Check out the link . My sisters kids are on it . I have seen it work and there is a ton of stories on the internet.

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leigh0721
leigh0721 writes:
Also being calm... Really helps and I know I have problems keeping my calm but it works. He wants you to react. Please try this diet before going to the doctor. That is what is wrong with this world is no one wants to fix the problem they just want to use drugs. Have we ever sat and looked how we act and what we are feeding are kids?
> 60 days ago

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heathers23
heathers23 writes:
I know what ur going thru. my son will b 4 next month and has a ton of energy and is sometimes out of control i guess. But see the thing is...all is have energy and honestly if u keep them inside all the time theyre never going to learn how they r suppose to act. when my son acts up i try taking him on walks or to a park. i also have a 4 1/2 month old so its hard still. but, letting him run around and getting all that extra energy out helps ALOT! or u could try bribing them at the store. go to the toy machines or toy isle and explain to them if they r good ull let them pick the toy they want. but if they dont behave they dont get it. and make sure its really something they want. also i kno tv isnt the best thing but try some educational movies like little Einsteins or something and when they ask ur child to point something out or say something, help them. make it fun! ask them if they can find it.. or better yet, do a scavanger hunt outside. theres so much u can do with kids to keep them occupied. kids act out for attention. ive realized that. i admit, i used to ignore my child for my phone or if i wasnt in the mood to deal with him. but thats not the right way to treat them. u brought them in this world. u r all they know. they trust u to guide them in life until they can figure everything out on their own. help them. guide them. treat them like they should b treated. and things will get better. i can promise u that.
> 60 days ago

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