20 answers

2 1/2 Year Old Throwing Major Fits and Whining All the Time

Ok so when I say 2 1/2 year old one would think that this is the answer to the question - that all kids at this age do this.

But my daughter is beyond acceptable with this. She resorts to acting like a little baby everytime we tell her "no" or she doesn't get what she wants. It's gotten to the point that she is being disruptive in her school class of other 2 and 2 1/2 year olds. They are not behaving this way but her teacher states that she is so needy and cries everytime she is told no.

I am 6 mos pregnant with our second so we thought this may be a contributing factor but don't they usually go this direction AFTER the baby comes?

I am at my wits end and am considering a child psych b/c I want to ensure that my husband and I are reacting appropriately when this happens. We have both lost it a couple of times. Who wouldn't when your entire weekend is spent pacifying her? But we certainly don't lose it all the time. Just a couple of times each of us. Even that I feel is too much but we are human. And when I say we lost it I mean that we raised our voices and told her "Enough - I'm done with this", etc... I hate doing that but GEEZ!

Can anyone please tell me about a similar experience and what you did and what I should do? And would you recommend that we see a child psych or am I over reacting?

With my pregnancy hormones going the way they are, I am very emotionally spent over this. I hate for my daughter to go through anything negative and I wish I knew what was behind all this or if it's just a stage.

Please HELP!!!!

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

It sounds like something is bothering her. At this age she may not even realize what it is or be able to articulate to you what it is. Maybe it is the baby already, or has something else changed? I agree with Liz A - give her hugs and love. This takes longer (a few weeks maybe) but in the end you will show her that you understand that she is upset about something and that you are there to help her with that, not to punish her for being upset. I did this with my son, and like I said it took a few weeks, but now things are so much better. You daughter needs understanding and help to deal with her feelings of frustration, anger, sadness, whatever. Punishing her or ignoring her only teaches her that she should bottle up her feelings. it doesn't teach her how to deal with them. Sometimes the "tantrum" ins't even related to a paricular incident of when you tell her no, but it is just the trigger that releases the feelings she has about something else. And yes, sometimes you will "lose it" because it is frustrating and it takes time, but if you usually don't lose it then all will be well.

1 mom found this helpful

The best advice I can give is to be consistent in "punishing" behaviors you don't like. My daughter is also 2.5 and can throw some major fits. But, even with the fits, she has to sit in timeout or go into her room. I just don't tolerate that kind of behavior. I think that this year will be tough, but as soon as she learns that over and over again she is going to be punished, then she will modify her behavior.

Good luck!

L.

More Answers

I have a 1, 2 and 4 yr old. The 2 and 4 yr old were starting to get out of control with their whining and tantrums. I decided that "pacifying" them was actually making things worse. I have to say that once I started saying, "I will not talk to you until you can use a big girl voice" and stuck to that, the whining and tantrums have abated to a manageable amount. I had to actually teach them what I meant by a "big girl voice" and I also had to teach them the appropriate words to use like "please" and "excuse me". I do not respond to them until they can talk to me in a calm voice with correct manners. And yes, even my 27 month old has figured it out.

While I still get some whining and tantrums, it is nowheres near as often and I still use the same method, so nothing lasts as long. Oh yes, and when they approach me correctly without my having to remind them, I take the time to point out what a big girl they are being and how much I appreciate it. My daughters seem to be pretty happy that they can now communicate without everyone getting upset!

Hope this helps.

K.

3 moms found this helpful

If you have been consistent with her and used the same dicipline repeateadly (that is what is needed-what you use is not usually the issue, doing it all the time, every time is the issue) then you might consider a psyciatrist, but she is really little for that. Even if you loose it, if you don't give in, then you are fine. We are all only human, just don't give in, ever.

I have kids who needed psychiatry, and the fundamental thing you should look for is if she is miserable, and she really can't change the behavior that makes her miserable, even with clear and consistent reasons to do so (your discipline.) If she continues to use strategies that are not successful, then she may have a processing issue that prevents typical dicipline from being effective. It is a matter of degree and function. Her fit may look the same as one of a typcal 2.5er, but if she does not learn anything or improve, then you have more to think about.

I do have advice for this stage, for both typicals and kids with issues beyond this stage. That is, tell her what you want her to do instead of what to stop doing. It is not as easy as it sounds. Instead of "stop whining" say "use your nice voice" or instead of "don't kick" say "put your feet on the floor." It does work when they are so little that they can't process what you have just said, stop doing what you said, and come up with something more approriate to do, it is just way too many steps. One step commands with an action that they can successfully carry out right away will be very attractive to kids of this age and kids who have processing issues well beyond this age. It helps them be successful, and success breeds success.

If this continues, and you really feel like you are picking your battles well, and being unwaveringly consistent, consult a Developmental Pediatrician, found at children's hosipitals. You will find this kind of evaluation and physician to be much more user friendly for such a young child, and you can rest assured that any issue (be it physical, mental, genetic, neurolgical, etc,etc) will be addressed by a Developmental Pediatrician so you will miss nothing and can walk out the door knowing exactly what is, and isn't going on. This is the gold standard, especially for such a little one.

Good luck, I don't think the pregnancy has much to do with it, either for you, or for her. 2.5 lives in the here and now, and the baby is not here yet, and unless your husband has pregnancy hormones too, you are not alone in your frustration.

M.

2 moms found this helpful

I have gone through this, with my oldest child, who is now 10. He was actually removed from his class because of it. We tried yelling, time out etc. What ended up working the best, was ignoring him. We would tell him that we thought he was behaving badly etc. and put him in the corner. Then ignore him. I even walked away from him (one aisle over where I could peek at him) in Wal-Mart once or twice. No giving in. No giving him attention for the tantrum. I would even step over him on the floor to continue going about my business. We occasionally have to do this with the other kids too (4, 6, 7). It took time with my oldest, but he did get the point. And he's pretty well behaved and respectful now. If it's an option, pull her out of preschool for awhile so you can deal with her at home. If not, explain what you are trying to do with the teacher. I taught 2-3 year olds for 5 years. It will annoy the teacher, but she can ignore your daughter's behavior as well. Even if she is rolling around on the floor. As long as she is safe, it's really the best response. She can flop around on a carpet in the corner away from everyone else. The teacher can even tell the other kids (I tell my kids this) "X is having a bad moment right now, the best thing to do is just leave them be and continue doing what we are doing. Don't comment to them about it, it will only bother them more. " Eventually she will get tired, bored, or irritated that she's being left out of everything else that's going on. Then she will pick herself up and cooperate. But giving in to her, just reinforces the behavior. She needs to learn to be a little more independent, and to respect you before this baby is born.

2 moms found this helpful

Don't give up hope! You are not alone. My daughter started this behavior when she was just shy of 2.

The best thing you can do at home is to nip it as soon as it starts. The very first whine or stomping of the foot or tear . . . . have her sit on her bed until she is done with the fit. When she is quiet, she may come out. As soon as she starts again, put her back on the bed.

You might have to do this 5 or 6 times (for each espisode )or even more, but when she realizes she can not do it, she will stop.

Its hard to determine what causes this. SOme of it is age, some is because it is nap time, or they are hungry, or they didn't get enough sleep, or they are not feeling good. . . . . . You have to do a quick assessment of the situation. If it is just because she is trying to test her boundaries, then be firm.

Also, sometimes changing how you respond works. For example if she wants a cookie at 9 am. Instead of saying, "no, it's too early for a cookie", say, "yes, you may have a cookie after you eat your lunch"
If its raining and she wants to play outside instead of saying "no its raining" say "yes, as soon as it stops raining. Let mommy know when the rain drops stop falling". Almost every situation can be turned into a yes.

I can tell you my girl started before our baby was born too. She regressed in her actions, in potty training, etc.

This will be a hard adjustment for her. I know you are tired and it is very easy to get short with her. Just try to understand how confused she is. Her life is going to change. She is probably scared. Things have been changing. Her mommy is tired and cranky, maybe daddy is too. So many things going on with you two and they pick up on it.

I bought a book called "I'm a big sister" . It went over how lucky this little girl is to be becoming a big sister and how much her parents still loved her. It goes over how fun it is to be big. You may want to go to the bookstore and see if you can get a similar one. Sit and read it to her, even if you have to every day.

Congrats on the soon to be new addition!

1 mom found this helpful

It sounds to me that you are trying to worry about her, but not maybe being consistent. Tell her no......if she whines, or cries and won't stop, send her to the corner, her room, somewhere where you don't have to listen to her. Tell her when she stops, she may come back to where you are.

You have to let her know that you are the boss and you are running the show. You don't have to be mean, but you do have to be consistent and you have to be forceful in your voice.

You had better get this under control before the new one gets here or you are going to lose your mind.

When she is being good, ask her about the new baby......what she thinks, is she excited.......try to let her help you get things set up and let her become a part of the baby before it gets here........that will help as well.
Good luck and hang in there.

1 mom found this helpful

It sounds like something is bothering her. At this age she may not even realize what it is or be able to articulate to you what it is. Maybe it is the baby already, or has something else changed? I agree with Liz A - give her hugs and love. This takes longer (a few weeks maybe) but in the end you will show her that you understand that she is upset about something and that you are there to help her with that, not to punish her for being upset. I did this with my son, and like I said it took a few weeks, but now things are so much better. You daughter needs understanding and help to deal with her feelings of frustration, anger, sadness, whatever. Punishing her or ignoring her only teaches her that she should bottle up her feelings. it doesn't teach her how to deal with them. Sometimes the "tantrum" ins't even related to a paricular incident of when you tell her no, but it is just the trigger that releases the feelings she has about something else. And yes, sometimes you will "lose it" because it is frustrating and it takes time, but if you usually don't lose it then all will be well.

1 mom found this helpful

I have one also - don't think you need a child phsyc, some kids are just wired this way, if I say no to my daughter who is 26 months, she immediately throws herself down on the floor and screeches so loud you would swear she had been killed!, if I say come here so I can change you, that is her cue to run in the opposite direction - fast, she is a very difficult child, active, boisterous, always climbing, difficult to do anything for myself as she is so needy.

these children are usually very clever and bright, they just dont have the language skills to express themselves yet, I dont really have any solutions either, I have tried everything from ignoring, to putting her in her bed, to spanking, but it just seems like a communication issue.
My son was the same way, but grew out of it when he could talk better.

I feel bad coz yesterday I told her I was going to take her back to the baby shop LOL, of course I love her dearly, but WOW, I will be glad when this stage is OVER!!

1 mom found this helpful

You can go completely in the other direction and at the first sign, give her hugs and love. One thing that I did during the preschool stage was use humor. (I can only begin to understand how hard this would be at 8 mo pregnant. I know how those hormones go.) Get "Playful Parenting" from the library or search the internet for some podcasts or radio interviews with "Larry Cohen", the author to get you started.

If you really think she is over the top, please check into food sensitivities. Eliminating a "trigger" ingredient can work miracles. To get started, search for Feingold Diet or go to yahoo groups and sign up for Foodlabs. They are great there.

You can go the timeout route, or taking away things, or some other technique in that vein, but from your post, I'd guess that you'll be upping the consequences over and over to get them to "work". My suggestion, and experience, is to take a leap of faith and approach it from another angle - humor and understanding her point of view. It really does do great things once you get the hang of it. Plus you and your DD are working together to get something done, instead of constantly battling.

To help with the adjustment of a new sibling, the book "Siblings Without Rivalry" is a great place to start.

1 mom found this helpful

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