2-Year-old Is Clingy and a Runaway (Depending on Situation)

Updated on March 13, 2008
A.S. asks from Morris Plains, NJ
4 answers

My almost 2-year-old daughter is going through some behavior changes that I think are a reaction to the fact that I am 8 months pregnant with her brother. She was once a very happy, independent toddler who listened well. Now she often wants to be held and carried, especially when I am busy doing something else. She will collapse on the floor crying if I don't pick her up. Conversely, when I need her to stay with me (in public, when getting her dressed, etc.) she thinks it is great fun to run away from me and make me come catch her.

I'm torn between being very stern ("Mama can't hold you right now and it's not OK to throw a tantrum," etc.) or being sensitive to her feelings about her baby brother and giving her extra love and attention.

Any advice?

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So What Happened?

This turned out to be a fairly short-lived phase. We would have a talk after she would run away about staying with mama and now she's very good about it. Also got some books about being a big sister, etc. and that seemed to help. After the baby was born, she was so proud to be a big sister and she has been very independent and "grown-up" so she listens better.

Thanks for all the advice!

More Answers



answers from New York on

congrats on the pregnancy...She is being a typical two year old. I just delivered my 1 month old and my daughter just turned two in january. It is not easy she always wanted to be picked up and I would just say that I couldn't do it right then. I just kept on saying 'there is a baby in mommys belly and it hurts'. They do not understand as much as we would like them to..Just be patient and if she throws a tanturm let her cry thats what i did.

I so understand with the running away thing. My daughter does it with dressing, eating, and even when she grabs something she shouldn't. I would not run after her I would walk and say don't run because she would be punished. When she ran I kept on putting her in a corner or I would just corner her and made it very clear not to run. It took alot of time and it was hard for me because I have no patience what so ever. Now when she even attempts to run all I have to say is "don't run" and she doesn't. Good luck she is just a two year old and that is what i am struggling with now...



answers from New York on

I hate to say I think it is just her age - my son is 19 months old and I am about to loose my mind because of the same reasons ... all day long I hear "Hold Me" - I am 4.5 months pregnant and have had problems with pregnancy so I refuse to carry him around all day. My cousin aslo went through the same thing with her son at this age.

If I go to a store he wants to jump out of the cart and run around like a nut - it gets really frustrating!



answers from Albany on

Honestly she sounds like a typical 2 year old. I do not think she really understands the impact of your pregnancy the way you may think she does - too abstract a concept for such a young child.

It is not uncommon for 2 years ols to re-experience separation anxiety. And 2 year olds LOVE to bolt! I refused to take my middle son with me to the store or anywhere else for that matter without daddy or a stroller because I couldn't continue to chase him when I had my daughter with me.

You need to be both firm and sensitive. Put her in a stroller if you are out, no ifs-ands-or-buts! At 8 months pg you simply cannot run after a bolting toddler. Some tantrums deserve to be ignored. And yes give her some extra lovin' when you can because she is aware of an immenient change - she just doesn't know what that is yet. Hope this all makes sense.




answers from Syracuse on

Talking to her about the baby is a way to help her understand what is comeing. She will be a big sister, she can help you care for the baby etc. Let her feal the baby kicking and movements, this will help her to really feel connected.

My son was the same way during that time and he got very excited about being a big brother, teaching his little sister. After she was born he helped change her diaper, picked out her outfit etc. He even ran to the refrigerator to get her a glass of milk when it was time for her to eat. (I was breast feeding so it was so cute, he got upset he couldnt get her her food!)

The running away thing is definately the age. Have patience and be firm and consistant, while holding onto the sanity, it will pass.

The Berinstein Bears series has a great book on Baby sister and preparing for a new child. Im sure there are others, but that was one we used.

Congratulations and best of luck.

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