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User Topic: Words to discipline 2.5 year old
Member # 17637
Default  Posted: 8:18 AM, February 28th (Friday)

Relatives have a two and a half year old who is a past master at drawing parents into the kind of bargaining discussed in another topic here.

--which words would you say in the following type situation -
Child sneaks a kick at handicapped brother, or pushes over 8 month old trying to stand up.

A You are bad
B tThat was very naughty
C That is unacceptable behaviour

He is usually put in the naughty chair following this.

Do you have any other words you would say?

Posts: 548 | Registered: Jan 2008
Member # 21101
Default  Posted: 8:22 AM, February 28th (Friday)

That is not nice. We can't be mean to others.
Um, I was really good at using NO. NO. NO!!

Him: FWS
Kids: 15 & 17
Married for 22 years now, was 16 at the time. .
D-Day Sept 26 2008
Fully R'd, and Happy Happy Happy

Posts: 8707 | Registered: Oct 2008 | From: St. Louis
Member # 17637
Default  Posted: 8:44 AM, February 28th (Friday)

Thanks Tush.

They do say no, but that covers so much of what a 2.5 year old tries to do all day!!
The violent behaviour is concerning, because he could do real damage if he is alone with the other two, and no one has eyes in the back of their heads.

The funny thing is that sometimes he will go and say he is sorry, and they have no idea that he had done anything wrong, and he will tell them what he did. It is not always to do with the other two, it could be that he changed the channel on the TV, or something else he is not supposed to do!!

Posts: 548 | Registered: Jan 2008
Member # 13333
Default  Posted: 9:04 AM, February 28th (Friday)

The funny thing is that sometimes he will go and say he is sorry, and they have no idea that he had done anything wrong, and he will tell them what he did. It is not always to do with the other two, it could be that he changed the channel on the TV, or something else he is not supposed to do!!

Kids go through a stage where they LIKE to say "I'm sorry" - it can be a vicious circle!

Words I use around here (day care):

- Not for you when they are touching/taking something that they should not. Explains in a way that someone else can touch it (adult) but not you

- That's Danger

- Use your words, not your hands/teeth/feet/legs

- That was not a good choice. What should you have done? Helps them learn they are responsible for their choices.

- That is unacceptable! Intentionally hurting another person/animal. This results in a time out.

I think it's important that the act be scolded, not the child. We need to teach them through discipline how to behave. Constantly saying No, making them sit really teaches little ones not a whole lot. IMO

Oh and when a child apologizes to another child, I teach them to say "Thank you" - because what do we typically say:

Person A: I'm sorry
Person B: That's OK

And it's not OK

Indian wisdom says our lives are rivers. We are born somewhere small and quiet and we move toward a place we cannot see, but only imagine. From Tending Roses

Posts: 6556 | Registered: Jan 2007 | From: WNY
Member # 38207
Default  Posted: 9:38 AM, February 28th (Friday)

- Use your words, not your hands/teeth/feet/legs

- That was not a good choice. What should you have done? Helps them learn they are responsible for their choices.

- That is unacceptable! Intentionally hurting another person/animal. This results in a time out.

These plus 'that's not safe' and 'when you (push, bite, hit, run over brother with your ride on toy, throw your plastic airplane at your brother's head, etc) it hurts him. That is NOT ok'.

Posts: 1108 | Registered: Jan 2013
Member # 29565
Default  Posted: 9:40 AM, February 28th (Friday)

My mum was my walking childcare bible after bringing up four of us :). She taught me to keep it simple because reasoning with a ball of ego is nigh on impossible. Lol.

Her favourite phrase was "can I do that that to you?" and she would always expect an answer. Which of course, was always a big fat NO! (Followed by confinement to the naughty chair for a while)

I followed her lead with mine. I'm glad to say we all grew up with a strong sense of empathy and a tendency toward standing up for people who can't stand up for themselves. :)

Posts: 166 | Registered: Sep 2010
Member # 17637
Default  Posted: 12:38 PM, February 28th (Friday)

Thank you all. I like some of the alternatives you have given. I was not sure if the word unacceptable would mean much to a 2.5 year old if he had not heard it applied to other kids when they are naughty.
I like Clearview's mother's approach also. I did try that with him once when I was babysitting, but I don't see him too often.

He is always made to say sorry. His sibling has no way to defend himself. It breaks my heart to see this happen.
The jealousy was spurred by the advent of the 8 month old and I am sure he will get through it.

Posts: 548 | Registered: Jan 2008
Member # 31349
Default  Posted: 1:00 PM, February 28th (Friday)

How scary and sad. It's one thing to correct a child who has made a mistake, it's another to be observing inherent unkindness like this.

At DD's school, they use redirection and then timeouts when things like this happen. They try to get to the root of the action, if possible, and then offer an alternative suggestion.

For example, before getting angry at the 2.5 year old, try to ask them why they did it. Why did you push the baby? Why did you kick your brother? Are you angry? Are you scared? Not all toddlers are able to have a dialogue, but they might be able to give some indication as to why they triggered and lashed out physically. If you DO get a response that helps identify why they felt compelled to do it, offering an alternative before punishing may help cultivate a new behavior. If the 2.5 year old admits that "mommy/daddy/sitter wasn't paying attention" or that it was hunger, or that they were angry or scared, telling them that they have a safe place to go to to ask for help actually helps. Once you understand the why, you can offer alternatives. "Next time, instead of pushing the baby you can come right to me and tell me what you need and I will help you right away." "I will ALWAYS give you something to eat if you feel hungry in your tummy." "If you are sad or scared, you can come sit in my lap and I will hug you."

DD went through a minor wanting-to-hit phase. She didn't hit, but she would raise her hand and her face would be angry and she'd make some sort of "Oh!" shriek at me and get her hand very close to my face. She was no more than 2 years old but I watched when she would do it, and it was always when I was holding her and trying to get her to do something she didn't want to do. (Change clothes, get in the car, sit down for lunch) So I told her that if she would listen to me while standing up I wouldn't pick her up and make her feel uncomfortable.

Turns out that DD has pretty big tactile issues and feels a loss of control and comfort unless she has control of who or what is in contact with her. As soon as she realized that I was going to let her control her own physical space (ie no pick-ups, hugs, changes without warning) the anger just left her.

Sometimes the causes are something we don't see immediately. If you can show that you hear where they are coming from, you may be able to unlock some of the lashing out.


DD still got timeouts for big trouble. If she was unkind to the dogs, she got a timeout. If she yelled at a parent, she got a timeout. They were brief, and followed by redirection. (how she should have behaved instead - like when the dog goes after her toys offering them one of their own toys or getting mama to help)

I totally get that sometimes there is inherent violence in kids and adults that is beyond our control. We can only hope that this child is reachable first through compassion, and then perhaps by a doctor.

Hugs to all involved.

[This message edited by Jrazz at 1:01 PM, February 28th (Friday)]

Cherish those who seek the truth but beware of those who find it. - François-Marie Arouet

Posts: 17838 | Registered: Feb 2011 | From: California
Member # 13581
Default  Posted: 3:21 PM, February 28th (Friday)

I have a slightly different perspective on this.

Obviously the 2.5 year old needs boundaries and consistency and to be made to understand that he (or she) can't behave that way.

But... I kind of wonder, if, being sandwiched between a disabled older sibling and a baby, this child maybe isn't getting enough attention? It sounds to me like he could be acting like that because it focuses parental attention on him? Instead of a 'bad' child, I wonder if it's a child needing something. 2.5 is awfully young to be labelled as 'bad'.

I would maybe encourage them to really think about if he's getting enough positive attention, praise, one on one time, etc.

Me: BS, 40, Him: WS 41
Married: 15 years
3 children
D-Day: 10/2005

Posts: 1508 | Registered: Feb 2007
Member # 17637
Default  Posted: 8:58 AM, March 1st (Saturday)

Brooke, I think there is an element of this.
He is very bright and can tune the TV to things he wants to see. They are now carefully monitoring any programs he watches, because even the supposed children's programs can have a lot of violence. He is blocked from seeing the traditional cartoons like Bugs Bunny, but is allowed Thomas, Dora, Bob the Builder.
That said, he does not watch a lot of TV.
They have started allocating exclusive time half an hour each day with both Mother and Father, so he gets at least one hour a day of exclusive attention.
Up until the last 6 months his dad worked long hours and sometimes traveled. From birth he was a light sleeper and fought going to sleep. He hated to be put down. I hope this is a phase, but it has to be handled.

Posts: 548 | Registered: Jan 2008
Member # 35846
Default  Posted: 9:07 AM, March 1st (Saturday)

I would remove option A.

Telling a child what they did was bad = "I am bad" they don't separate the action from themselves. Teaching a child to believe they are bad is something they will spend years struggling with later. BTDT

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”
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Me: 45
Him: 47
Dday 8/2007
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Posts: 3845 | Registered: Jun 2012 | From: Massachusetts
Member # 35810
Default  Posted: 12:04 AM, March 3rd (Monday)

What karma said, big time. Separating the child from the action is SO important.

Calmly specify the behavior you're talking about "(kicking people/pushing people down) isn't a nice thing to do."

Calmness is key, bc kids will do what they get attention for, even if it's negative. Address, but pay less attention to the disruptive behavior than other, more positive behavior - make sure this isn't the time he gets the most interaction.

Then, give an alternative in terms of what IS nice to do. So often we tell kids what they CAN'T do and don't give examples of alternatives.

"You know what is nice? Playing a game" (then show him how to nicely play a game. Or choose any other alternatives you want, and reinforce those with praise and attention when he does those. "I like how you're playing that game nicely!"

Just be careful not to give alternatives that could end up being bad if overdone, like hugs and kisses. He'll likely get excited about the attention of doing it and may do it over and over, and you don't want the 2 yr old constantly pushing physical touch on kids who can't speak up and tell him to an 8 month old, or possibly the brother who's disabled depending on the extent of his disability.

This seems like a great opportunity to start an ongoing discussion about good touch vs. bad touch. Show him examples of good touch - high fives, soft hugs after asking permission, kisses with mommy, daddy, other acceptable people...and talk about examples of bad touch - hitting, kicking, hugging/kissing strangers or those who don't want to be touched, people touching private parts who aren't caregivers helping with a bath....then turn it into a game with lots of excitement and praise. "Hugs! Are hugs good touch or bad touch?" (Child says good touch) "Yeah! That's right! Hugs are good touch!"

Me: Former BW, 28
Divorced 10/11/12
He didn't show up for the D...very fitting, seeing as he didn't show up for the M, either : )
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Posts: 382 | Registered: Jun 2012 | From: Back in the Southeast!
Topic Posts: 12