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BreeSkee
BreeSkee asks:
Q:

How to discipline a two year old boy?

I have a two year old son who does not listen.  He hits his sister and pulls her hair.  He gets angry and lashes out by hitting or throwing what ever object is closest to him.  He continues to do everything he knows he is not supposed to it seems just to spite.  I know he knows that it is wrong because right before he does something naughty he asks if it is a no no.  I have tried time out and after two hours of constant struggle finally gave up.  Swatting on the bum does not work either.  He looks at me and says "ow"  then proceeds to do whatever prompted the spankings.  I have no idea what to do next.
In Topics: Parenting / Our Family, Preparing my child for preschool, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Dr.Monika
Jul 25, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Parenting toddlers can be challenging as they push the limits to see what they can get away with.  It is a normal part of growing up, although it often makes us grind our teeth!

Sounds like you already tried time out and swatting the butt without any results.  Try positive reinforcement: reward your son with positive attention for good behaviors.  Most of the time children do not want to get in trouble with parents and if they get positive attention for doing something, they will be more likely to engage in the same behavior again.

Of course, "bad" or unaccepted behaviors must be followed by negative attention (negative reinforcement).  Continue time out, one minute per year of life, as a consequence for those behaviors that you do not approve of.  Make time out a place that is not fun.  That means, do not send your child to his room filled with toys.  Instead, make it a chair in the corner of the living room.  To help your toddler understand the length of time out, set a timer.  When it goes off, he can get up.  If he has a difficult time to sit in the time out, use the bear hug technique: have him sit in your lap for the duration of the time out.  If he fights you, embrace his arm with your arms, and legs with your legs.

Suggested readings:

Where do temper tantrums come from?

http://www.pluggedinparents.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=250&Itemid=0

Practicing healthy discipline

http://www.pluggedinparents.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=172&Itemid=0

Best regards.
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Additional Answers (7)

jritchie
jritchie writes:
Hi there,

Thank you for your question. The resource below links to an article on education.com that contains information on disciplining young children. You may also try additional searches on education.com in our Google toolbar at the top of the page to access content more specific to your issues. Best of luck to you.

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A990
A990 writes:
Dear Breeskee,
I have read your question thoroughly and i came to a conclusion that you should continue with the time out strategy or the naught chair/ corner (place him alone for a little time on the chair, until he understands what he did is wrong) and don't give up on it no matter how hard he struggles or cries just be persistent and in the end he'll give in cause he knows that you won't change your mind. Or what you could even is that if you were out to buy something tell him he won't get any cause he was naughty and when he behaves properly then buy him what he likes.
Now since he's two years  old, he's kind of still in the stage of exploring stuff so that's why he touches and recks everything and it could also be that he wants to grab your attention by doing so.
> 60 days ago

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bluetrish
bluetrish writes:
Ok the comment made by stebbinsd about whipping a child is awful apparently he likes beating people i have a two year old they are still young and learning whipping them is just not right i don't care what anyone says thats abuse
> 60 days ago

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kasinkathy
kasinkathy writes:
two year olds can be a handful, but consistency and determination are the keys to changing bad behavior...time outs work but they must be fair and consistent...don't time out for every little thing, choose your battles...if it is a behavior that can't be tolerated, like hurting his sister, he gets a 3 minute time out...if he does it again, he gets a longer time out say 5 minutes, and so on...eventually he will get tired of it...also make sure he is sleeping at night, and taking a nap during the day as needed...overtired children can be explosive, and very likely to misbehave...also don't forget the other side of the coin, rewards...if he does anything merit worthy, notice it, and give him a treat, or a star, etc...do not give rewards for bad behavior...I have seen so many moms in an effort to change their childs behavior, to give in to their screams and give what they want thinking it will stop the madness...it may temporarily, but guess what, it reinforces their demands because they know if they are bad you will try and get them to stop by giving in...be strong and good luck
> 60 days ago

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Janathenianna
Janathenianna writes:
Spanking a child as punishment for hitting makes no sense to me. I would encourage you to begin by reconstructing your relationship with him in terms of setting him up for success. Hitting is often a physical expression of frustration and since 2 year olds are barely beginning to express themselves verbally, it seems logical.  In setting him up for success you try to ensure that his frustration does not have to manifest itself so suddenly. For example, when you have plans to go out, talk to him about it. Tell him the steps you are going to take. "First we are going to go get our shoes on. Then we will get Momma's keys and get in the car. Do you want to help Momma get her keys?" Get him involved in the process. Give him an option of two shoes to wear. When he begins to get frustrated use distraction techniques. Say he doesn't want to wear shoes. Fine. Does he want to help you pick out yours first? Does he want to help you put on your socks?
Once you complete one step go over the next. Tell him how how after you get into the car you are going to go to the store and to the bank. Ask where he would like to go first. If he struggles, get him in the carseat, ignore the behavior and try more distraction techniques. What should we do for lunch? Do you want to go for a walk or to the park when we get home? Don't let him dwell on the negative. Not only are you distracting and setting up a structure, but you are also focusing on the communication skills that are setting him up to communicate well with you.
I also have a two year old boy and I fully employ all these tactics with him and have had great success. I've never hit him or put him in a corner. When he does have timeout time it's because I need a timeout. I'm not going to waste my time standing over him in a corner and fighting with him over sitting in a chair. My son's timeouts are in his room and he is allowed out when he is no longer whining. He can play with his toys, scream or sleep, but must stay there until calm. Works every time.
Lastly, be consistent. If you tell your son that you are going to leave the mall, the grocery store, or a friends house if he does "X," then by God you need to leave the second he does "X." NEVER make a threat you aren't fully willing to support. Do it immediately and without yelling. Don't yell, don't spank. Continually reward (verbally and occasionally with goodies) good behavior, even the ridiculously mundane. Stay calm, consistent and positive.
Good luck.
> 60 days ago

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Willyaround
Willyaround writes:
Timeouts don't work. Neither does spanking. This is just another non answer on the internet providing no real solutions because everybody's a winner. Horse manure. I'm going to try forced cold showers. See if that works.
28 days ago

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pisfilabundis
pisfilabundis writes:
As mom of a 6year old and a 3 year old, my son was a more quiet boy however; my daughter she is a little tremor with a big character.  One thing you have to have in mind is your patience will be tested and all your buttons will be pushed but you have to keep calm (HARD) there is no perfect mom and you might feel like you can't take it no more....trust me you can that's why you are a MOM....what I did and worked for me at least most of the time because it doesn't always work!!!! Timeout on little kids works only for max 3-5 minutes (to them it's A LONG TIME ) I put my daughter facing the wall while I tell her that what she did (ex..hitting your sister is bad bad) ask him to say sorry which is a big step and if he does it reward him with a  high five and a hug. If that doesn't work remove a toy he likes or whatever he wants to do that moment and explain the reason in a way he understands but with a FIRM voice for it to work!!!!
24 days ago

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