44 answers

I Can't Stand My Child!

My child is driving me crazy! Technically she hasn't hit the terrible twos yet but she may as well have. She gets into everything and she doesn't listen when I tell her no or don't. I've tried reasoning, I've tried the tough approach, time outs- nothing works! I literally have to walk away from her to keep my temper under control. I am so stressed out, lately I don't even want to be near her. When does this madness end?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Instead of No & don't be more positive and have her do things that she is allowed to do. When you say No & Don't that makes them act up more. Distract her with something she is allowed to do. Give her choices. Show her 3 things she can do and have her choose which one she wants. That helped with my daughter. I do the same thing with clothes and food. When they feel they have choices they feel more independent and content. You will still get tantrums when she is frustrated but it will happen less and less.

These are tough times, but hang in there just remember she is a child. ( not two yet) My son 1 1/2 is a terror, he take everything out of my cabinets pots,pans,baking bowls etc.... I work full time and have a 6 year old daughter that needs my help as well. It does get overwelming most of the time. But, I stand back and say people have it worst then I do. They have a sick child or children that have bigger problems than this. Like you said just take a step back, breath.

It gets better around 3 years of age. They are still learning everyday, my son and daughter mimic me everyday and sometimes not good things.(yelling, getting angry) I see them do it to each other and that is my fault because they see this with me. So now I try even harder to control myself. Everyday its a struggle to remain sain. Keep in there, it will get better. :)

this is the toughest job you will ever have.... I know it gets crazy sometimes... my advice would be not to sweat the small stuff, but follow through on the times you say no. This is the age where they HAVE to learn that you mean it when you say no... I ran after my kids constantly at this age, but once they learned that mommy was the boss, it gets better. Kids try to show their independence and it's good to let them learn and do some things on their own, but certain times, you really need them to do what you say and that's when you have to follow through. Good luck! You are not alone!!

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The madness doesn't end until you end it. Watch a few episodes of Supernanny. The techniques really do work. But you have to be consistent, calm, and in charge. I would also suggest talking to your doctor about the way you are feeling. I was diagnosed with post-partum depression more than 2 years after my daughter was born. I didn't feel depressed, I was ANGRY all the time.

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Read the Happiest Toddler on the Block and the Toddler Book by Dr. Sears.

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Wow, it scares me to read that a mom can write "I Can't Stand My Child", especially a child that is only a few years old, if that!! You can not expect a child of that age to NOT GET INTO THINGS! It's normal behavior. Trust me, my daughter is 2 1/2 and still gets into things....but using the whole negative approach, i.e. "no" and "don't" DOESN'T work! You have to divert her attention and try to explain to her in a nice manner, not an angry one why you don't want her doing what she was doing. Do you have any help at all from anyone? Seems to me like you have a short fuse, and no compassion at all for your daughter. How can you not want to be near your own baby girl? GET HELP NOW. There's nothing wrong with asking for help. Sounds like you really need it, and fast. Don't be the next statistic we see on the news!

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At first I recoiled in horror at the heading of your post... That is because I lost a child due to prematurity. After I took a deep breath and read your full request, I could absolutely understand how a parent could feel the way that you do. When a person has lost a child it is hard for them to understand those who are lucky enough to have a child but who are having difficulty with that child. You received a lot of great suggestions. I just wanted to chime in and remind you that you really are fortunate to have a family. I know that this is a hard time for you and your little one but try to remember the good parts of motherhood as well. So many women never have an opportunity to be a mom at all. You must be a loving mother since you are trying to find solutions. You will survive this! Have a wonderful holiday season. Hopefully things will get easier for you and your family. In the meantime, you totally deserve a girl's day out!!!!

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Dear MT

This is such an important time in the life of both you and your daughter. Please, please be patient. Your daughter needs your unconditional love, no matter what is going on. I have a hunch, that if you work on your own reactions, your immpatience, and have trust in the growth that can happen for both you and your daughter, things will improve.
She is your teacher, teaching you about your own mind, and how to be a more loving person.
Practically speaking, I hope you receive some good advice from other mothers, but I think the more you work on less reacting and more patience, the more her behavior will improve. Also, she might be extra inquisitive. Perhaps there are toys, or things to do that might interest her, keep her attention for a spell.
Good luck to you and I wish you well.

another mother

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Welcome to the club!!

I'm a mother of three, and though I love them always, there are many times I just don't like them. There are times when I just want to walk out the door and keep walking. So what you're going through is perfectly normal.

To alleviate some of these feelings, create outlets for yourself and your daughter. Get involved in a local mommy group, and bring her along to play with the other kids while you chit chat. You may need some adult conversation. When that's lacking, it can get quite frustrating. Enroll in a mommy & me class. They're fun. In essence, you need to redirect your frustrations towards positivity. Chin up. It's the most stressful job, but the most rewarding.

Good luck.

Try some of the suggestions from the posts. If that does not help then get these two books.

Kid Smart by Cheryl Townsley (may be out of print but try Alibris or Amazon.com)

How to raise a healthy child in spite of your Doctor by Robert S. Mendelsohn MD

Imbalances can really mess up personalities when they don't attack the body with sickness but work on the other systems of behavior.

I just took a course in natural nutrition and Kid Smart was required reading to get the national certification and the other was suggested reading by my instructor.

You never know right?

I have an 18 month son who I also think is already hitting the terrible twos. What works best for us is to re-direct him. We know he enjoys the big knob puzzles, so whenever he's trying to turn the light switches on/off or tearing the couch apart, we would point him to his puzzles, for example. The day care that he attends since he was three months old uses the same approach and so far he seems to take to that. We also don't use the word "no" in fear that he'll start saying "no" to everything, instead we use "uh,uh,uh,uh" whenever he attempts to touch or go where he's not supposed to. Amazingly, that works too. Somehow re-focusing their attention to something else (less destructive) appears to direct his energies, rather than simply asking him to 'stop' doing what he's doing. Try it and see if it helps.


This is funny, b/c mine is a love/dislike relationship as well. I love the days she plays, we do something and all is well. Then there are the days she just whines/fusses over something. Sometime's its things she know's how to do. Take breaks, get a sitter if you can, for one time a week/month what ever and that helps. Try to ignore some of it. Keep toys and games at hand, for the rough times. Always, have things in the car, a snack on hand. If we go to the store, I know we might have a melt down at some point, So I have lots to keep her busy. Even do things the night before. I don't want to say to you it gets better, b/c I am in the same boat, and for me it hasn't. There were lots of people that say that, and we live it every day. but, they do get bigger and better and things will work out. Take care and enjoy the crazyness.


I know you've already gotten a lot of responses, but I wanted to chime in too. I haven't read the other responses, so sorry if this is repetitive. What you are experiencing is perfectly normal. No doubt your daughter is very smart, which will turn out to be a huge blessing. It is very difficult when our children get into everything. I know, I have 5 and they all have gone through this stage, some worse than others.

First of all...you are doing exactly what you need to do with regards to your temper...just walk away. That is what I do sometimes with my daughter who will be 2 tomorrow and truly can be a terror. I have been known to lock myself in the bathroom just to get a moment to compose myself. That is ok.

I'm sure you have already done this, but you need to have all of your cabinets so that they cannot be opened...child proof locks are great. I would also recommend looking at your home again from your daughters perspective, and putting away anything that you don't need out in her sight and reach. Gone are the days when we simply teach our kids not to touch...it you don't want her touching it, you have two choices...battle with her all day because she will touch them...or just put them up for now (be it books, knick knacks, craft supplies, whatever). So, go through and rebaby proof your home. That might help. Then, and I think this is important...find a spot in your home...maybe a kitchen cabinet, or a drawer in her dresser, somewhere that you can put items that you don't mind her getting into. Switch the items periodically so that she can have her curiosity and not drive you crazy!

Last, if you truly feel the same, that you cannot stand your child, find someone to talk to about this...a moms group, a trusted friend, a pastor, someone who can validate your feelings and put everything into perspective. I'm positive that you would never hurt your baby...after all, what kind of mom who cares enough to be on a moms group online would? But, if you are feeling like you can't control your temper, contacting someone to take your baby, for a couple of hours or overnight or longer, would be a really good way to get a breather. I'm hardly ever away from my child (stay at home mom) but if I sneak away to do the grocery shopping without her, when I get home I feel refreshed and ready to be mom again...and that is only after an hour or two away. Imagine how good you could feel with a whole day or weekend off!

Please let us know how this turns out for you. I wish you all the best. Parenting is the hardest job in the world!

mom to 5 with one more on the way

Nothing will "work" at that age. They don't understand the meaning of the word no. Imagine if someone was speaking to you in Chinese and started getting frustrated because you didn't respond. That's whats is like for the child.

She won't get into things that aren't there. Child proof your home. Put things out of reach that she shouldn't be into.

Consider that she might have a food allergy that is disturbing her. My daughter was quite similar at that age and I later found out she was allergic to milk. Allergies can affect the brain and kids can get really wired (ADD, ADHD, autistic symptoms, etc). Or they might get ear infections or diarrhea which is a lot easier to deal with and that makes it easier to identify.

Try eliminating ALL sugar, wheat and dairy for a week and see what happens.

When mine was that age the only thing that worked was to pretend not to see what she was doing wrong (like throwing food on the floor). I totally ignored the behavior and it ALWAYS ended it. This is very difficult especially if you like to control matters but it works and it makes for a much more peaceful day! You need to view it as a developmental stage, not a disciplinary problem.

Be sure to spend lots of time interacting with her. 5 minutes of reading a book, have a tea party, invite an older child over to play. They love babies and babies seem to enjoy the company of older children--like 6 and up. Big enough to carry them and play. You'll still need to be in the background to supervise but it will give you a bit of a break.

Don't overlook your own health either. You may need some more sleep, a better diet, exercise (releases happy hormones), neurotransmitter precursors like GABA (if you crave sweets you need GABA!) or 5HTP to stay calmer. Avoid sugar and caffeine which will put anyone under stress into a very bad mood or even depression which can be manifested in anger after about half an hour after consumption.

Read the book: You can be Happy no Matter What by Richard Carlson. It's a very profound, life-altering book and very simple to read. It's changed a few lives in my circle of friends quite dramatically including my own. Only works if you apply it though!

Hi i know it is very difficult to control a 18 month old baby. As a mother of two i know that sometimes it is hard not control, but you have to understandt tha you little one is an individual and she exploring a new world. have patient and give her a lot love. Be calm not to do anything wrong to your little girl

M., NY

hi MT;

its' very brave that you wrote for help frankly about this problem. i will be frank back with you as the mom of a 3.5 yr old boy and 21 month old girl.

your expectations for your child's behavior are totally out of whack, and, you are suffering from major anxiety or depression or both. it's wonderful that you are seeking help but you better go for something more intensive right away before you hit this kid and hate yourself.

NO CHILD her age understands reasoning. whoever told you this would work is an idiot. at less than two, if you want her to stop doing something, take her away from it and give her something else to do. don't give her time outs she is way too young for that. you are being much too harsh with her. it's not fair to her and it's frustrating for you.

it is very good that you walk away rather than explode. but you should get her into some play school. get her a sitter. even if you have to get a part time job that only pays for the sitter it will be worth it for you.

meanwhile get some counseling. try your local clergy or call your nearby hospital and ask for a social worker. you can also call 311 if you are in the city. if you're resourceful enough to use this chat site you can use the internet to find professional help.

you'll get through this safely, but you have to make changes IN YOURSELF now. your baby is just being a baby. that's her job. your job is to be the sane adult.

lots of love

I have a book suggestion: The (New) First Three Years of Life by Burton L. White. He writes that the 17-24 month stage is the MOST difficult and stressful for parents. Our children need to transition from total dependence to independence and for reasons unknown, all children go through this willful, difficult stage to varying degrees. The good news is that, for most children, at around 24 months this stage passes, like the sun suddenly coming out!! My son is 16 months old and beginning to show signs of difficulty,stubbornness, etc. so I know what you're going through. Good luck!

It will NOT end if you do not identify and address the source. I know that children are born with their own personalities, but I promise you that your level of difficulty with her is stemming from whatever is going on with you and or your family. Is there a father in the picture? how's your relationship with him? How do you act when you are upset? These are for certain the things that children pick up on and react to. I don't know exactly how old your baby is, but mine is 14 going on 15 months and she for certain is already doing all the testing of boundaries, fits of rage and so forth. But our handling it is under a reasonable amount of control. Furthermore, I accept that she honestly gets that from me. So I am also working on my own anger issues and how disrespectful I can be towards my husband, how reactive I am in my upsets... these are all things that I've known I needed to work on but it is majorily humbling to see my daughter now showing the same types of coping styles. She will have a total melt down over not being able to "climb" the stairs or a pciture being taken away from her, etc. etc. For me, it may be that my husband swerved the car on the road b/c he was distracted or something and I FLIP out, but ultimately it is the same thing at the core. They dont and can't understand how much more "serious" our upsets are or how much more valid, they only know what they see and sense and its what they react to.

Do the work now and identify the real source, work on that, then look into behavior modification techniques for your child. Believe me, it really isn't his/her fault and it's an unrealistic expectation that he/she should change if you are not changing the energy source(s) s/he is getting this from. Best wishes, N.

I felt the same way you did a few months ago, and on top of that, I felt guilty and abnormal for not liking my kid! I can't make any promises, but for me, this period only lasted a few months. Looking back, I think he was hitting some developmental growth spurts, and maybe was frustrated with not being able to communicate as much as he wanted to (although he can and did talk a little), and not being able or allowed to do other things physically. He wasn't "Bad", but seemed to get into everything, and everything was a battle. He didn't want to wear a coat, he didn't want to not wear a coat, didn't want to ride in the car, didn't want to go in the stroller, didn't want to walk either, yet didn't want to stay home! I said black, he thought it was white. My mom and some others at the time said to relax, that it was a phase, and would pass. They were right--he "grew" out of it as fast as he grew into it. Others told me he'd come into the terrible two's early, and that it would last for at least a year. Thank God they were wrong! Just try to remember it will pass, and do your best to remove things that will frustrate both you and her. Also try to let her burn off energy every day in some way. Good luck.

It doesn't, you just learn to cope with it. And once you do that she changes the rules and something else pops up. Don't bother trying to reason with her. She doesn't have the mental ability. She's far to young. Also, you have to tell them sometimes as many as 50 times before they get it. Just be consistent. And if it means walking away from her then do so. Keep using the time outs. She will learn to know what is expected of her, but that takes time. I know what you mean about losing your temper. But that doesn't teach her anything. You have to try to learn to keep your cool. I know easier said then done. But if your calm she will be too.

hi mt, you got a lot of good responses here, i didnt read them all and dont want to repeat, you know by now you are expecting more of her than she is capable of right now. you also might need to see/speak to someone? it helps!! she is just exploring and learning and developing. ,,,,, though soon your words WILL start to sink in, after a million repetitions, she will start to get it, i swear. and it is soooo satisfying when she does. try to be steady and consistent, and walk away when you need to. i find this age easier because even though they are the definition of mischief, and are exhausting, there is no INTENT to upset you, she is just doing what she is supposed to do. on the practical side, the advice i want to give you is BABY GATES... put them around wherever you need to so that she is safe and contained and you can take a breath and enjoy her, and be able to sit down. we are babyproofed like crazy, but still, every time i turn my back for a second, he is standing on the kitchen table, etc, so i gate off the kitchen... and my bedroom, and the bathroom (oh, the bathroom,,, the drama never ends...) ... his newest adventure is to climb up on the coffee table and just do a full body launching belly flop onto the couch. he is only 17 mos! heart attack!! anything he can pick up goes either in his mouth or in the garbage. it is so scary. and i have almost no silverware left! gd forbid you leave your keys or something within reach. yesterday, i actually saw him reach over and pull a strand of drool from my dogs mouth and eat it. disgusting little creatures! the few drawers/cabinet that arent locked are emptied all over the house within seconds. for someone that falls down every 3 seconds, he moves with the speed of light! and he thinks i am just hilarious when i tell him NO. and i love him so much my heart bursts, when i am not grasping it in fear and close calls. try to enjoy the adventurous spirit, keep your sense of humor, try hard not to sweat the small stuff, DO SOMETHING for yourself, keep teaching and teaching, keep her safe, and my advice is to get a couple more gates and cage the little beastie!!! just kidding, sort of :)

I am so sorry that you are so stressed. The terrible two's is not always at 2, but as you say, yours isn't there yet. Mine all started before 2, as young as 15mos with one.
They are simply showing their ability to think for themselves, but they cannot always verbalize their thoughts. Is that a good or bad thing to you? For me it was a good thing to be thinking and a job for me to teach them the vocabulary. I did not parent as a dictator. Thus I did not expect my children to ask how high when I said jump. Why? Because when young children are conditioned to respond without thinking they respond without thinking to all, so theoretically if the stranger says get in they simply do.
In my opinion the "terrible 2's" is the time to help them reason, and learn the emotions that are involved. Parenting does not mean saying "stop" "don't" and "No", but instead "come", "join me" and "yes" If you are doing fun things they join you, if you are praising the good, they do more good, and if you tell them what instead of stop you get them to do the activity which effectively stops the bad behavior. Seeing what is going to happen next was my biggest advantage, because I could stop bad behavior before it got there.
Let's see! Hungry children always _______, so I won't let them get hungry. How? Feed them earlier. Tired children always______ so instead of expecting them to run about read a story to them earlier--you may get lucky and they fall asleep(most of mine just rested, and so could I. When I'm on the phone children always_____, then choose to discipline or choose not to be on the phone. They do that for your attention.
Remember all attention is good attention to the "2" year old. Teach them to want negative attention and you have a long scenerio of bad behavior. Teach them to want positive attention and you have them trying to do good, help, and please mom by mental age 3. Your opportunity is now!!!
My thoughts are notice the good behaviors and praise that. Correct the behaviors that are hurtful, not to you but to them, and try to ignore the bad behavior so they get your attention by doing good. That is the philosophy behind "you were caught doing good" Only at 2, all it takes is walking up to them and giving them a quick nondisturbing "good job" hug when they are being good, playing alone, "reading a book" "eating their snack" whatever you determine is "good behavior" things that you want to continue.
I still say, however, the best advice I ever got was recognizing what was going to happen next and avoiding it. It is now all about the child, not about you.
Old enough to be your mom, talk to her if possible. She just may have some great wisdom that worked with you.
God bless you and grant you wisdom
K. SAHM married 38 years === adult children 37 coach, 32 lawyer, married with our only grandchild 4 months old, and twins 18 who we homeschooled and are now in public colleges. One studying fine arts, and the other journalism, and both are waiting for grades because they both are hoping to make dean's list.

Well, my son is nearly 3 and I found the period from just under a year (when he was first walking) to about age 2 was worse than this last year from 2 to 3. I started time outs pretty early but tried to work on only a few big things at a time (no more than 2-3). It worked somewhat but it took a LOT of repetitions. I put him in his playpen or strapped into his high chair for about 2 minutes (except when I needed longer to calm down!). One parenting book said an old car seat also works for time outs. Reasoning doesn't work much under 2 year olds but I always told him a short sentence of why he was in time out (usually whatever he was doing was not safe). He didn't seem to get it much before maybe 21-24 months. Now that he is over 2.5 he will respond to a warning of time out (but not every time). Other times I tried to distract him and tell him one or two things he could do instead (and praised him a lot for doing those things). Now that he is over 2 he can do some little jobs and likes to help (simple jobs with lots of prompting and praise). He will close the door when we leave the house, put a few toys in his toy bag to go on an outing and a few other little jobs. I was reading a Montessorri book on parenting for birth to age 3. It really focused on teaching the child to help and be independent as much as possible starting very early (9-12 months). In theory it is a great approach but I know I don't have the time, patience and energy to do it all the time (and I am home full time). But when I let him help with a task or let him have a small choice (blue shirt or red) it does have good results.

BTW, I have a degree in counseling and have worked with all kinds of "problem kids" and I still have plenty of days when my son drives me nuts too. Usually it is when I am over tired or hungry or when he is. If we both are, it is almost certain chaos! Also not everyone loves every age or stage. I don't especially like the baby to age 2 age group. On the other hand I have gotten along well with many teenagers other people find obnoxious and defiant. Figure out what you need to get through this stage and soon it will be a different stage driving you nuts.

She is looking for your attention. Children will do anything to get attention, even if it is negative. Get her a box of crayons, and get you a box of crayons. It is worth paying a little extra for the crayola and get some cheep coloring books, or print some coloring pages off the internet and sit down with her every day for an hour of coloring time. Curl up with her and watch her favorite video, make special time just for you and her. She will change dramatically after she sees this is for real and lasting, that this is now a structured part of her life. It will also give you good quality time to build a good possative relationship with her. It was time that my kids really enjoyed and my grandchildren love it too. Just time with them. We as grandparents now sharing a home with a friend sit, all 3 of us and watch kid shows with the kids. the curl up with whom they want and we all have good quality time. If they don't like the show that is on, they get out thier coloring book and crayons and color away. We also post thier art work on the fridge and now i have started a kids coloring scrapbook, so the pictures get mounted in the scrapbook and we put the date and artist on it.

This year the grands came over and we gave them guidance, but they decorated the christmas tree and it came out beautiful. After they were done grandpa put the glass ornaments on the top. Kitty's and Pouch prevent putting them on the lower part of the tree. LOL> but the kids are so proud of the tree and they see it when they come. they are 4 and 6. T.

just try to remember that each stage is but a blink before it is gone!! Before you know it- she will be a teenager and your battles will be epic! Haha! Most kids act out because they need something- it could be boundies ( does she feel safe? Are u consistent in what she is allowed to do? If not she will act out . Or she can act out b/c she doesn't have enough to explore... This stage is all about exploring and doing things independently ). Can u join a moms group to help get you out there with her? Or ask family to help give u a break to take away some of the stress?

Good luck

Do you like to read? When my littlest was in this phase, which lasted a year I am sorry to say, I always had a book at hand to read to calm myself down while she pitched her tantrum. You are doing just the right thing: if you feel you can't stand it, walk away. And get some help, someone to take her for an hour or two so you can get some perspective on this little creature who you so dearly love, and who is driving you mad. Sometimes a mantra can help, something like repeating "She is not doing this on purpose to drive me crazy, she is NOT doing this on purpose to drive me crazy" can help restore calm. Or think of all the stories you will have for her when she had kids of her own. By then, this will seem cute and funny.

MT, I read your profile and the other topics you've been writing about. You really need to ask for some help. Talk to your husband, your parents, your friends, your church - anyone who can help give you a break and help you get yourself together. EVERY mom feels like they're on a roller coaster at some point or another. But it sounds like your ride has been longer and a bit more rough than usual. You need to speak with your therapist about getting your meds right (your first priority must be the child you already have - not getting pregnant again). And you need to get some support. Don't be shy about asking for it.

I went through a rough time at about that age too. In fact, I think it was the worse stage yet (my daughter is almost 4 now). It's very frustrating. They have the will and the curiosity and the ability to do so much yet they can't articulate thier ideas. Make sure you're meeting her basic needs. Make sure the house is "baby proofed" (if you did it when she was little you may need to look again) so she is safe. Then, let her be. Let her explore. Also, take the advice of others and get out of the house. Get a library card and go there once a week for a few hours. Go to the dollar store and get some stickers and puzzles and coloring books.

It will get easier. This is a tough phase. Enjoy her as much as you can. The time goes by so quickly. Also, don't be afraid to take care of you. You have a tough job! You deserve some time off. And you can't be a good mom to her if you don't take care of yourself. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Good luck!

It is normal to feel that way kids can really get on your nerves. All I can say is keep trying. When you feel fustrated walk away count to ten and do it again it will get better. I have been a mom for 15 years and I also have a son with all kinds of mental health issues but I love my kids and would never give them up

I tend to think you need to get a friend, family member or a hire a sitter and get out of the house....do some things you might enjoy that will lift your spirits...maybe then you will have more patience to deal with her.
Maybe she's being a pain in the butt to get more of your attention even if it's negative attention, it's still attention and the more it continues, the worse her behavior will get. So try spending more special time with her doing fun things she might enjoy...hugs, cuddle her, read to her, color with her, watch a movie with her, take her to some indoor play area etc. etc. When you are doing chores, ask her to help you...even if she doesn't do a good job...thank her for her help. Make her feel special and let her know she's loved....that's positive attention.
You need to be consistent with her...not give in. When she's naugty, remove her from the situation and do those time outs and stick with it...talk to her calmly during this and let her know you are disappointed in her behavior and what you expect of her. Wait until she calms down and is sorry for what she has done...then end it with a hug and tell her you love her...

Nothing changes over night and you have to keep working on it if you want good results. Disciplining your child, teaching her right from wrong is all part of loving her. She's still very young and in time she'll begin to understand more.

I am with you! My son is 18 mos and is already acting like a monster. BUT, we do need to keep our tempers under control and remember that WE are in charge. What works for me lately, is I make sure we do a morning activity every day. Whether it's venturing out to do errands, the playground, or even just an art activity at home- it kind of sets a schedule that you both can look forward to. It also tires him out and he takes a great afternoon nap! :) I also make sure we get plenty of fresh air--it will do you both some good. I guess what I'm saying is just try to keep yourselves busy. When they're bored- they're much more prone to tear the house apart as well as act like little monsters. :) Good luck and take a deep breath! We all go through this, one day at a time.

Everyone has given you wonderful advice already but I wanted to tell you about my experience. Kids really DO copy adult's behavior. My son didn't really have any tantrums to speak of until he was almost 4. He had been a pretty reasonable fellow until then, just having what I call “noisy disagreements” with me. But then I started working a bit again -and had an important deadline. Not only I gave him less attention but I also started being more short-tempered with him. For the first time in his life, his Mommy yelled at him several times a day (I even lost my marbles in a couple occasions and he actually saw me furious and acting wacko) Guess what? My quite reasonable boy suddenly became a yelling, tantrum-prone child!! I actually swat his hinney TWICE. Guess what? My child had never, ever attempted to hit anyone before but he now has to make an effort not to hit ME (you can really see it in his eyes) when he gets really upset with me for denying him something he really wants! A few weeks ago he actually HIT ME on the nose (a great punch, by the way). He was as surprised as I was.
I’m responsible for who he is now. I taught him to loose his temper and taught him that some people actually hit others when they are mad enough.
Thankfully, that punch on the nose brought me back to my senses. I realized what I was doing to my child and now I take my time with him. NOTHING is more important than my child’s happy childhood. I’m back in College now (3 classes/semester) and have a tight schedule but I make sure I give him all the time and attention he needs to feel loved and secure. We both have changed and, now, our relationship is better than ever before.
Positive reinforcement is what’s working for us. I praise him many times a day for good behavior. I kiss him and hug him when he’s playing by himself and thank him for being such a wonderful boy. I ask him for his help doing chores. He’s now in charge of recycling and picking up the rooms before I vacuum (he pushes things under the couches sometimes when he’s not in the mood for it, but then guess what? That’s not terrible and I have learned to laugh at it, even when I’m in a rush). He’s been in charge of “decorating” the house for Xmas (with interesting results, as you can imagine!)
I recommend that you read about parenting as much as you can (the internet is a great source for articles in the subject). Both you and you daughter will benefit from it.
My son is on my lap as I type this and he just put his face next to me and said in Spanish “Heads together, Mama. We share everything”. He’s so happy to have his old Mom back that he’s going overboard to please me and even speaks Spanish now without me having to remind him all the time.
The results are worth the try!
Good luck!

I hear ya. I love my boys (3.5 and 7 months) but sometimes... well, I'm glad for Mamasource to know that I'm not the only one that has rough "sometimes"es. I would get checked for Post-partum depression, because it shows up in sneaky ways, and medicines or talk therapy can make a big difference.

The book I turn to when I think I can't take another moment is called "the portable pediatrician" and she gives excellent behavioral advice. The doctor who wrote it is also a great combination of gentle, firm, realistic, and funny.

Supernanny is also a form of therapy for me... my husband and I had to take time to figure out our "top 10" rules, which put us on the same page (a big step that we didn't know was missing!). Then I made pictures for the rules I could visualize, put it all on posterboard, and had that visual reminder always there.

But now my 3 year old is destroying things, so I must go...

Dear MT,

It is perfectly normal to have a love hate relationship with your child sometimes they can get on every nerve you have. However I am not sure I agree with them not understanding what they are doing and letting it go. Discipline should begin when bad behavior begins. Age appropriate of course. I own a childcare center so I have cared for many children with many different personalities and what works for one does not work for all. What does work is consistency and consequences. I am a big believer in giving a warning and when doing so you need to get on their level. Face to face and calmly Mommy does not want you to do that again and if you do you will have to go into time out. Children have to make mistakes that's how they learn and it is up to us to teach them. Time out should only be for one minute for each year and it should not be in front of the tv or in a fun place they should be put there to stay even if you have to sit there with them. No conversation just follow through on your threat. Once time out is over again get on your knees face to face and explain that what she did is not okay and then give her a hug and move on. If she goes right back to what she is not supposed to do then repeat the process until she gets the message. Children do realize when they have worn you down and will completely take advantage of it. They will test the waters as much as we let them. I have had children who bite, hit, spit, and with consistency, consequences, and a firm voice we have made great progress. Also yelling only makes things worse I know it is easier said then done but children tune out yelling they respond much more to a firm voice and a face to face approach. It shows them that you are taking the time out to explain to them rather then just yelling. Mostly misbehaving is done mostly for attention even if it is negative. Try to take time to do some positive activities that you can praise her for her good behavior. Also reasoning does not work with children they need to be told what is expected of them and to many words and explanations just confuse them further. As far as when does the madness end probably when she gets married HA HA!! Different ages different issues however welcome to parenting. I have two children 24 and 19 and believe me I feel like I deserve a metal for the teenage years so hang in there. Trust me there are days when you will look at them and say are they really my kids!!! But it is all worth it. Raising productive wonderful people is the most rewarding job you will ever do. Good luck and happy holidays!!

It sounds like you need a break, some time to yourself. You don't say if you work or stay at home. If you stay at home, try finding a playgroup or library story time or something to get out more. see if Dad can handle her for a Saturday and get out of the house--get together with friends, get a massage, take a long walk, something to help you fell less stressed out. Unfortunately, kids develop in a spiral pattern--roughly 6 months of crazy, 6 months of smooth sailing. I can almost pinpoint on a calendar when my almost 6 year old makes his transition! Half the year is about growing, physically and mentally, including the lurches for independence, pushing parental boundaries, developing personality traits. When she acts up, she is doing all of these things, and may be looking for attention. I trained my son early on by telling him (over and over and over) "acting up is a really lousy way to get my attention. If you want my attention, tell me you need some attention". When he was young, I told him to bring me a book or a toy or something, now he will literally walk up to me and say, "Mom! I need some attention!" at which point I will say OK or we will negotiate (ie: I need 10 minutes to finish this, then you can have 15 minutes before I need to start dinner).

Hi M T,

I'm sure that we can all relate to how you are feeling. Thank you for being so honest. Just know that you are one of the most important people to her. That you will help shape and frame who she becomes. Discipling and teaching is a constant full time job, but you can do it. I'm sure that you love your daughter immensley. Just know that you need to be in control, if you are stressed and emotional, then she will feed into that energy and "act out". If you are calm and warm, she will eventually not need your attention so much. Children will do anything to get attention, whether it be good or bad. I will pray for you.

this is the toughest job you will ever have.... I know it gets crazy sometimes... my advice would be not to sweat the small stuff, but follow through on the times you say no. This is the age where they HAVE to learn that you mean it when you say no... I ran after my kids constantly at this age, but once they learned that mommy was the boss, it gets better. Kids try to show their independence and it's good to let them learn and do some things on their own, but certain times, you really need them to do what you say and that's when you have to follow through. Good luck! You are not alone!!

It doesn't end until they turn 21

Thanks A.

I agree with many of the moms who have responded to your post. It does sound like your daughter is bored. Even though its winter, get her out of the house - go for a walk, go to the playground and let her swing, who cares if its only 40 degrees outside - bundle her up and let her work off some of that energy. It will probobly do you good too. I would also suggest that you find a support group or counselor - you come across as being close to if not on the edge. Could you ever forgive yourself if you lost it with your little girl and hurt her? Remind yourself that she is the child and you are the parent - its your job to keep it together and take the steps to lead by positive example.

Instead of No & don't be more positive and have her do things that she is allowed to do. When you say No & Don't that makes them act up more. Distract her with something she is allowed to do. Give her choices. Show her 3 things she can do and have her choose which one she wants. That helped with my daughter. I do the same thing with clothes and food. When they feel they have choices they feel more independent and content. You will still get tantrums when she is frustrated but it will happen less and less.

My son who is 21 months is a terror too but he's also
the sweetest thing in the world. Its very frustrating - he hits me a lot, doesn't always listen, does things intentionally that he knows is wrong, Says NO & MINE for everything, freaks out when he doesn't get his way, fights diaper changes, clothing, jackets, hats and sleep. I feel he treats me the worst too (but I know he loves me and needs me most) I work full time and see him very little in the a.m. and p.m. and i feel we spend so much time "fighting" Its very stressful and frustrating and disappointing!!!! We need to hang in there and be patient. We need to give more love and attention when they are acting their worst and all want to do is run away. We need to de-stress so that we can handle them - if we are stressed (whether its because of them or other things)and impatient they will react accordingly. I noticed it BIG TIME when I was on the phone with my mom last night, stressed out about babysitting and work and not paying attention to my son - he was out of control - prior to that call he was PERFECT - it was my fault for not keeping my emotions in check and giving him the attention he needed at that moment. I think they feed off of that - haa haa!!!! We need to pick our battles and limit our NO's and don't's etc. Timeouts are a joke in my house - they don't work yet. Ignoring, doesnt work. Stern tone, doesn't work (not for me anyway, it does for my husband)PATIENCE and allowing my son to make his own choices or do things himself with my guidance works, when something is an absolute NO, its a NO and then I move on - he needs to learn how to handle it and get over it...so then I try a new distraction or just ignore all together. Terrible twos? They started at 18 months for me! ITS SUCH A HARD TIME - but I remind myself that this is my son becoming his own person and I don't want to take away from that. Its his job to be terrible right now. If you are feeling REALLY stressed -then you need to take some time away for yourself to regroup and since you are saying you can't stand your child, then I think its a good time to get a sitter or someone so you can go out and have some ME time....GOOD LUCK! Try and focus on the GOOD moments - there are many still. If he's really driving me crazy - I take him to grammy's or grandmas house - hee hee - change of scenary and he acts much better for them - gives me a break too while I sit and watch them play - keeps him occupied & happy and makes him forget about me - i know he gets annoyed with me too! ; )

The main reason for the 'terrible twos' is communication. Your baby is becoming curious and exploring her world and WANTS WANTS WANTS. However she cant communicate her wants. Try to anticipate what she wants and if it is inappropriate tell her no and why. To make it simple I tell kids it is not a toy and they cant have it. You need to set firm boundaries, remove harmful objects and decide on a consequence and do it..immediately. It seems to me you have tried this and that and nothing worked. Thats because your baby doesnt know which this or that is coming next. Yelling will not work. They seem to be deaf at this age. Time outs do work, but there are different kinds of time outs and you have to decide which she hates the most. Then make her do it. Always explain to her that she didnt listen and why she couldnt have whatever. I have had good results with facing a corner, this way they cant see what is going on around them and it upsets them a lot. You can also put her in the high chair so she cant move off the time out.2 or 3 minutes is long enough for this age, but expect her to go right back to what it was you stopped her from doing. Dont get mad, simply put her back in time out while telling her why.
She will learn to hate time outs and then you can warn her about the time out and count to 3. But you must be consistent.
Oh also the madness ends when they hit 25...YEARS...maybe.

Your daughter most likely is bored, Take her for walks, to a playground etc. and keep her busy. Guess you don't spend enough time with her.
Why don't you read to her and educate yourself on how to raise a child! This might be blunt, but many mother have no clue.

These are tough times, but hang in there just remember she is a child. ( not two yet) My son 1 1/2 is a terror, he take everything out of my cabinets pots,pans,baking bowls etc.... I work full time and have a 6 year old daughter that needs my help as well. It does get overwelming most of the time. But, I stand back and say people have it worst then I do. They have a sick child or children that have bigger problems than this. Like you said just take a step back, breath.

It gets better around 3 years of age. They are still learning everyday, my son and daughter mimic me everyday and sometimes not good things.(yelling, getting angry) I see them do it to each other and that is my fault because they see this with me. So now I try even harder to control myself. Everyday its a struggle to remain sain. Keep in there, it will get better. :)

Deep breath. Okay. There is no reasoning with a child who does not have the skills to reason. Under two time outs don't work either. Are you looking for help for yourself? Because, right now your child is doing what he/she is suppose to do to devolope. There are books you can read. Websites to visit. You need to figure out what you are looking for. You need to also understand what an almost two year old is capable of.

Start looking a sites such as www.babycenter.com to determine what your expectations should be of your child's behavior. Once you figure that out perhaps you will not be so frustrated with behavior that may not be what you want but is completely normal.

Good luck
Write if you need mors sources.

walking away is a good idea. hugging your child, even though the though of it drives you nuts, is probably the best thing for the both of you. screaming isn't going to work (as you've seen), so why bother expecting different results from it. also, maybe hiring a baby sitter or placing the child in a nursery school could help both of you. the child to learn to respect authority, and you to get some sanity. hope this helps. remember, you're not the only mom that has ever felt this way.

Hi MT,

I've felt that way too. Then I have to calm down and remember that these toddlers are testing everything out. The world is still fairly new to them, so no can mean maybe (no matter how stern you are), time out is just that, a time to sit and just look at you. My son is rambunctious, but he is definitely starting to understand that there are boundaries. Don't get me wrong there are yelling matches and tantrums and times when he walks to the door and demands lets go, but at that point I just take time to breathe in deeply and remind myself that he is only 20 months old.
I also have started to take a tiny bit of "me" time. I will ask my mother in law, my sister and yes even my husband to watch him for a while so that I can recoup from my hectic week, month or 3 months. I suggest you try to find you time, even if its 20 mins. It helps with the cooping.
For your toddler, I suggest you try some quality play time, an hour a day dedicated strictly to playing with her. Of course she'll want more, but teach her that during that 1 hour you'll get on the floor with her and play whatever she wants. They all want some dedicated attention. Let her show you her toys, she'll make a mess and then when the hour is up show her clean up.
We are all busy and have a ton of things to tend to, but our kids need to be shown that there are fun things to do without getting in trouble.

I hope this helps. Happy Holidays.


My ob/gyn warned me that the terrible twos start at 1.

1. You need some relief. Ask for help from stable and able family and friends. We all have had our children work our last nerve, but you need to make sure you never get close to hurting her. Get breaks to take a walk, exercise, window shop, whatever you like.

2. To reduce your work and stress make sure you set your home up for the child you have. Some parents have breakable items within the child's reach. And they would tell me, I taught them not to touch it. That was not workable in my house. I taught him not to touch the stove and the door and moved everything else. As he got older I was able to restore my home.

3. Someone mentioned that you should watch supernanny, I would also recommend the Dog Whisperer. It taught me to make sure my son knows who is boss and to make sure this high energy child got enough and varied play opportunities.

All the best!

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