Curious How You Handle This Toddler "Rebellion"...

Updated on January 09, 2012
K.U. asks from Fort Worth, TX
11 answers

You know the one where you're walking them to bed or through a busy parking lot and they just go limp and refuse to stand or walk?! My 2 year old daughter recently started doing this. She'll either do it mid-tantrum or just for the fun of it like in a parking lot and laughs the whole time. This is beyond frustrating seeing her enjoying herself doing something naughty!!! Her twin brother has never done this, her big brother never did either and I'm lost as to how to discipline this sort of thing! Please help! This has been a challenging couple of months since the twins turned 2 :(

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So What Happened?

Thank you, everyone, for your help! Dawn B...your comment about carrying them like luggage gave me the best giggle in the middle of my frustration and grumpiness :) After reading your answers, I'm realizing that I'm reacting too much to her behavior, and she is enjoying it! I realize now that I need to notice when I'm stressed and adjust accordingly so I can stay calm. Again, thanks for the support, it's so nice to hear from other Mom's.

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answers from Dallas on

I picked him up like a dang football and walked right into the store. Plopped him in the shopping cart (It was in the grocery store parking lot) and did NOT make eye contact, or acknowledge him for a good long time. He did it once.

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answers from Dallas on

I picked him up like a dang football and walked right into the store. Plopped him in the shopping cart (It was in the grocery store parking lot) and did NOT make eye contact, or acknowledge him for a good long time. He did it once.

12 moms found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

VERY carefully. Like Adansmama said, foot ball carry if necessary. I've known of children that had their elbows put out of socket because of this sort of fighting with their moms. I can only imagine the crucifiction I'd get as a daycare provider if this happened.

This week I took 4 little ones to the park. Between the van and the playground, I had 2 that decided they didn't want to walk. I had balls in my hands, one of the kids in my hand and my daughter was struggling with the other (my grandson). We are close enough to the street that I had to grab him securely by the middle of the arm and hold him tight enough to force him to walk with me. It was that or drop the two balls that I was managing and one was large enough to roll out infront of a car and cause an accident if it went towards the street.

Needless to say, I'm going to find a bag big enough to hold our balls and gear by slinging them over my shoulder so that I have 2 hands free.

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answers from Washington DC on

I pick her up. Or I'd strap her into the stroller but then not let her get out when she next decided to walk. "No, you did not listen so you are stuck there."

If it safe enough, I count to 5, but if it is not safe and she doesn't stop immediately, then it's carrying her, often one arm under her middle so she's hanging like a sack of potatoes. That way she can't kick me. I also agree that she gets as little reaction as necessary. It won't be funny when you just march on.

If she does it going to bed, she gets picked up and put into bed with a firm "good night" and door closed. No song, no story, no tuck in.

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answers from Washington DC on

aaaahhhh the Terrific Twos!!!! followed by the Fantastic Three's!!

My boys didn't do this but once. In both instances? I was the mean mommy and left them there. I walked away and when they realized I wasn't playing their game? they hopped up REALLY fast.

When my daughter did this? We were on base the first time she did it. I couldn't just "walk away". And there really is no reasoning with a two year old. I picked her up and carried her like a football and pressed on.

I just read Dawn's response - I thought I was the only one who did this!! I LOVE Osh Kosh Big Osh overalls!! I would carry ALL of my kids that way sometimes - for them? it was a game! and fun! for me? it was a lug but it worked!!

It's hard to "walk away" but when you fight or get upset with the behavior? They KNOW they have hit a button and will play with that button. So instead of fighting - just walk away. They WILL realize (you won't be but 5 feet away NOT LOOKING BACK) you are not playing either and hop up REALLY fast!!

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answers from Topeka on

I wouldnt discipline at all...don't even act like you notice it...if you are in a parking lot or somewhere else that is dangerous...just quietly pick her up and move on to your destination.
If she goes limp on you at home...let go of her hand and go on about your business.
In a store...where you have access to a shopping cart...simply tell her she has a choice...walk or ride....if she doesn't want to walk...then plop her in the cart!!
I don't really see this as misbehaving...they are just telling you that whatever it is that you had in mind is NOT what they had in mind...or...whatever they just LEFT is where they REALLY want to be!! The less you react...the less imprint it will make on them!!

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answers from Oklahoma City on

My grandson does this nearly everyday with my hubby but only did it twice with me. I swatted him on the hiney and continued walking with him dangling. He only did it one more time.

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answers from San Francisco on

Ignore it, more or less. If you're in a parking lot sweep her up with no fuss and keep going. If you're at home or inside somewhere just drag her along. My son always stands up quickly once he realizes I won't dignify his behavior with a response.

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answers from Champaign on

I always just picked them up and tried to pretend it didn't bother me. Of course, I didn't have twins, so I could do that in a parking lot.

My youngest will be 3 in March. I used to tell him every time we were in a parking lot or street or similar that he could either walk with me and hold my hand or I would carry him. Sure there were times he wanted to be carried, but not too often. He usually wanted to be able to walk. We would usually try walking, but for awhile there he would try to let go and want to take off running. I would then pick him up. Still, every time I reminded him that the choice was his, walk and hold hands or be carried. He's finally got it. He almost always nicely takes my hand and walks through the parking lot or down the street.

I really think it's like so many other things. Be consistent and calm (and not emotional), be upfront about expectations and remind yourself that "this too shall pass."

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answers from San Francisco on

Abbie H said it perfectly! Like most annoying toddler behaviors you want to ignore it and move on, your reaction is their "reward" so don't give it to them and they will soon stop...or at least move on to something else :)

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answers from Omaha on

Yep, ignore the behavior in the sense of not letting them see it is getting on your last nerve! If it happens in a parking lot where it is not safe to just walk away from them, then scoop her up and say, "I'm so sorry you want to act this way, but I can't let you do it here in the street because it is not safe, but feel free to go to your room when we get home." You would think a child of two might not understand all that you just said...but they do. It is all in the follow through. If she continues with this nonsense, take her to her room when you get home and tell her she has to stay there and she can go limp there all she wants! My daughter did this sort of thing with the screaming/crying bit. If she didn't stop, I would simply scoop her up, put her in her room and shut the door. It took less than a minute and less than a few times doing this for the nonsense to stop.
If your daughter pulls this at bedtime, then just leave her on the floor and say, "I was going to walk you to your room and tuck you in, but I guess you are going to sleep here. Goodnight." Turn off the light and act like you are going to bed. The goal isn't to "one up" her, but to stay calm when she pulls this sort of behavior. At this age they are trying to get your attention and the more you fall for it, the more they will do it. Jim Fay's Love and Logic books are a great resource for combating issues such as this. He has books on discipline for all ages including toddlers. He approaches discipline in a way that is loving, empathetic, accountable and makes sense. Good luck!

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answers from Columbus on

If it's in a parking lot, I pick my son up and say "It's my job to keep you safe. Sitting/laying down in the parking lot is NOT safe." And don't react in anger or laugh, etc. Then once they are safe, I explain that if they can't walk safely, they will have to ride in the stroller, be carried, wait in the car (with other appropriate adult to watch them), etc.

If it's a less serious situation, I say, you seem to be having trouble with walking/following directions/etc., so I am going to help you move your body. Now, when I say "I'm going to help you move your body," he straightens right up about 90% of the time. Moving their body for them takes away their control & their choices, which little kids don't like.

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