My Almost Two Year Old Cries ALL the TIME.......ALL the FEAKIN TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Updated on June 06, 2012
3.B. asks from Tampa, FL
23 answers

My almost four year old has been a handful to say the least. Up until a few months ago, I didn't know if we'd both survive LOL....

Well now my almost 2 year old is bringing up the rear. He is emotional, moody and cries all the time. I'm talking like 85% of the day. No joke. Nothings hurting, he's not hungry, cold or wet. He just cries. He'll take a drink of his milk/juice and throw the cup and cry. He'll be playing w/ a handful of toys/crayons/cups...out of no where throw them and cry. He gets up out of bed, I'll change his diaper take him in to the kitchen to get him breakfast started and w/in 1-2 minutes....crying. Try to pick him up most of the time he pulls away and whines "NOOOOOOO" When we are outside playing everything frusturates him, but I can't even tell what. I try to help him, ask him whats wrong tell him use your words and he swats at me or runs away crying then throws an even bigger fit. I try to tell him use his words. Ask him "Whats wrong?Does something hurt?Are you hungry,scared,etc etc etc etc" NOTHING works he just gets testy and cries. He can say MANY words, when he WANTS to. I pay plenty of attention to him and it doesn't matter. Lately we are putting him in his crib or pack n play every time he starts. That is getting EXHAUSTING, but we are sticking to it.If we take him out, most of the time it's a nightmare. He SCREAMS, because he doesn't want to sit. But if you let him down he runs all over the damn place like a maniac. And at a restaurant, you can't do that. Tonight we gave him crayons to play with he'd dropped one and start screaming and crying. If we gave it back, it was too late. So then I took all the crayons and told him they were gone until he could be nice and husband ended up sitting w/ him in the car while we all finished dinner and we drove home w/ me crying and him screaming (and CRYING) WTH???

I don't get what's wrong w/ this child? Its been the worst the last 6 months or so. The pediatrician says he's fine, developing well beyond whats expected. And w/ my middle they said sometimes intelligent kids can be more difficult. But this just seems ridiculous!! He's all or nothing...either happy sweet smiling toddler...or screaming crying bratzilla. After almost four years w/ my last son my nerves are pretty shot. And this seems to be a totally different beast. ALthough neither one of them were public worthy at this age. But I can't be a prisoner of my house!? IDEAS????
I am thinnking of calling the ped. to ask for advice/help. Again I feel like I am the road of this cannpt be "normal" behavior. I give so much credit to parents of special needs kids, I don't know how you do it! If someone told me this would go on indefinitely, I can't promise that I wouldn't need a padded room! HELP :)

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answers from Chicago on

Have you read the book "how to talk so my child will listen" or whatever it is called? I have used this approach with my 2 year old, and thus far, he has been super mild compared to his sister. Knowing what upsets him isn't as important as just saying 'you seem upset." Then just say "i'm sorry you are upset, can you calm down and tell me about it?"

Sounds to me like he is tired and has decided that crying is the way to communicate. I think removing him is a good idea, but don't show any frustration AT ALL. It's important that you stay calm and composed and just say "sweetie, that is not how we communicate." Then give him the right words.

Also, really, is he getting enough sleep?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Madison on

So does mine...she wants to be like her big bro, and big sister and doesn't know how to communicate to us well yet!

I have always disliked ages 18mo to 3 years...challenging years...

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answers from Jacksonville on

It may very well be a case of "he's developing well beyond what's expected". Is he a bright child? Does he learn new things quickly? How many tries did it take him to figure out crayons for example? Does he scribble with them, or is he actually using them to draw lines or something on paper, is he controlling them?

If he is very advanced, his emotions may not be keeping up. Yeah.. I get it that he's 2. But, if many things seem to come to him easily, he may have a VERY short fuse when things do not come so easily. Most kids give up after a few tries. Some try longer than others. Some give up and move on. Some don't give up at all but are so overcome with frustration that they melt down.
It totally sounds like he is frustrated. Being frustrated an explaining being frustrated are two totally different animals. And one usually interferes with the other. Not to mention, he is 2. He has a limited ability to explain whatever is frustrating him to begin with, even if he wasn't frustrated.

If it were me, I'd be in tears, too. But, if it were me, I think instead of asking him a lot of questions that he may not have the capacity to deal with... I would supply answers for him. Instead of "What's wrong?" or "Does something hurt?" or "Are you hungry, scared, etc etc etc?" I would look for the obvious and state it FOR him. "Oh honey, the crayon fell on the floor. That makes it hard to color doesn't it?" Then while handing it back, "Look, it still works just fine... now, what were we drawing... "

With breakfast, " I am sure you want to eat, and we will, right after the waffle pops out of the toaster. How high can we count before it pops? Let's see... 1,... 2....3..... " or
"I know you are ready to play with your _____, but you have to eat a good healthy breakfast for your body to be able to play hard. Let's eat first, then we'll have lots of time to ____. What toy do you want to get out first? "

Now, I realize that the above suggestions are kinda "fantasy land". You have 4 kids. You are not likely sitting there just you and him oblivious to anything else going on, or any of the needs of your other children. But I gave those "examples" so you could see the difference in the WAY the wording works. Instead of leading him to struggle more (trying to express something he may be unable to, or may not even know is his problem), you provide the answers/solutions. You're Mom. You're the HEROINE. You magically know how much he struggles with ____. And you reassure him that it will be handled and all will be right with the world. :)

Or not. He could just be a high needs child. :/ I wouldn't hesitate to ask my doctor about it, so long as you are able to do so without him or your other children hearing the conversation. I take issue with certain types of conversations being done in front of kids.

ETA: and well... he ISN'T two. (clicked back to a previous post). He is barely 20 months! Mom, he can't tell you the answers to the questions you are asking him. I mean, if he can... he can't do it while he's frustrated. And if it's something abstract, like "I'm tired"... umm... no... he can't express that.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Parenting is not easy when you have a "spirited" child. Temperament plays a big role in the first few yrs...

"Negativism" is what this is . It's not an easy stage. It takes a long time to discipline (which means to teach) a child.

Toddlers this age can be fearless. But, I am concerning about all of the ups and downs. What if you took him to the local library to play w/ board bks and play beside another toddler? Would he be able to parallel play--(since most toddlers this age do not really "play" together) without screaming?

One of my kids was like this. We went outside to the playground ALOT.
She would calm down when she was on the swings for an hr at a time.

Is there an open /cushioned gym room near you? Sometimes gymnastics rooms have Mommy and Me classes.

Seek out an Occupational Therapist if things do not calm down . I did this w/ one of my kids and it was wonderful !
**The book "The Out of Sync" child was my life-saver.

If you are tense near him, he will play off of these vibes. I used to go out from 6 -7 pm to take a brisk walk. I would let my husband take over. She would cry at the door for a 1/2 hr. **Do give yourself a break every so often ?

Every so often, pick him up and hug him--Do NOT say a word. This is a wonderful calmimg technique.

And have the dr check him for ear infections.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I think it could be any number of things. Some other posters had some
Also, it could just be his age & the inability to actually express exactly
what he needs.
Remember this will pass but here's some ideas in the meantime.
-hard for a 2 yr old to sit in a restaurant for any length of time. Even at
3 1/2.....difficult at best.
-try giving him something RIGHT when he wakes up: cup of milk etc while you make his food. Most kids wake up hungry.
-try not to take him out to restaurants too often (too hard to sit there). This
will get better. Ask for crayons. Bring a favorite toy of his from home
-This will not go on forever. It's a phase.
-I think my son went thru this at age 2 and it took about a good 6mos.
-if you ever have to put him in a timeout, it's for 2 mins at this age. Set a timer.
-at this age he does not comprehend that he has to sit patiently for any lenght of time. It's too hard/impossible. Like trying to squeeze blood from a turnip.
-watch what he does when. For instance, wakes up grumpy? May need food or a quick cuddle (mine used to want to sit on my lap for 15 mins while he watched cartoons or actually just while I watched the news & spoke to him.
-he will outgrow most of the things. Just work WITH it instead of AGAINST it.
-if we rode in a car, I brought his toys or favorite blankets
-I made sure never to go anywhere if he was hungry or tired. Nap & food came first. Hence, my sanity was saved.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Eugene on

My youngest was like that. As he got older and could use words more effectively, he screamed less. But I never knew when he would erupt and yeah, taking him out to a restaurant was risky. And whether he was happy or sad or mad, he was so intense.

I remember wanting to build a padded room in my house. I thought it would never end. But it did. And at 15, my son is amazing, funny, full of ideas and creative. And perhaps that's the key, he is a sensitive, creative, bright, talented young man. Can we chalk it up to having an artistic temperment?

Good luck getting through the maniac phase. Hang in there, you can survive this. And I hope you are rewarded with a kid who is as fun and interesting as the crazy wonderful kid I ended up with.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

My younger son had lots of these episodes when he was two, and it turned out to be chronic ear infections. He didn't have any other symptoms, no fever, ear pulling, and he never told us anything hurt. Sure enough, when the crying an tantrums would start, I would take him to the dr., and it would be an ear infection, again. It stopped after they put tubes in.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

You cried because a 2 yr old was disruptive in a sit down restaurant at night? You should've seen that one coming.
Ask your pediatrician for a full check-up or referral to a specialist...there could be many physical causes. Also, at 2, he couldn't know all that many words or the word that describes the emotion that he's feeling. Your stress and frustration only fuel his unhappiness. Still, it's not normal for a child to cry/scream 85% of the day without either a physical or mental/emotional cause. You should call your pediatrician.


You cried because a 2 yr old was disruptive in a sit down restaurant at night? You should've seen that one coming.
Ask your pediatrician for a full check-up or referral to a specialist...there could be many physical causes. Also, at 2, he couldn't know all that many words or the word that describes the emotion that he's feeling. Your stress and frustration only fuel his unhappiness. Still, it's not normal for a child to cry/scream 85% of the day without either a physical or mental/emotional cause. You should call your pediatrician.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

well.. he is 2 .. 2 year olds are like this. also he might be getting his 2 year molars. my 2 year old was like this.. sometimes I would give her a dose of tylenol.. and she would be all happy.. I kind of thought that her teeth must have been hurting her..

you might try the tylenol once or twice to see if he is hurting..he cant talk so he cant explain..

but terrible 2s are terrible

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answers from New York on

My son was, and still is, a crier. He always has been, and probably always will be. He's just a sensitive kid. I think he's passionate, and since he really can't articulate what he wants to say he cries in frustration. It is what it is. I think when he grows up he'll be a very passionate person. He really feels every emotion.

But I'll have to say though, you sound utterly pissed off about your son's crying, and while I know it can be frustrating, being this angry isn't going to help the situation. Like I said, my son is a crier, and he has a painful chronic illness, so he really likes to cry, but getting mad about it does nothing besides add tension and drama. If I did that I would probably stroke out or something. Do your best to figure out what sets him off. It works for me.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

Can he talk to you? Does he have speech? Is he understandable when he talks?

If I were you, I'd discuss this issue with your ped and ask for an speech and language evaluation. Children who cannot talk much get very frustrated because they don't know how to express themselves and all their feelings. So they act out. If he CAN talk but does this instead, perhaps you need an OT to evaluate him.

I realize that perhaps you could wait this out and that he would mature out of it, but if he really does have some special needs, it's SO much better to face them head on now and get him some help so that life might get better sooner, rather than later.

Good luck!

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answers from Chicago on

Have you thought about having Early Childhood do an evaluation to make sure you are not dealing with sensory issues that could easily be addressed with the right knowledge?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Kids can be extra tough on the cusp of their birthdays, or so I've noticed.

I wonder if this would help: it's called the Boring Cuddle. I find it has worked really well with my little guy (who is, admittedly, a little older). I'll put a link in to the website I got it from:

The idea behind this cuddle is that you are not trying to soothe, solve their problem or figure out what's wrong. Karyn (the author of this blog) says it best, so I'll let you read her words. Worth your time. And it will work for both kids. She also has a lot of posts on tantrums and a search engine to access on the right side of the screen--so use her resources and find what works for you. (She's got a book on temperament coming out and working on a tantrum book now.)

I also want to 100% stand behind everything Victoria said. Some preverbal children are angry at not having access to expressive language. Sometimes kids can use basic signs, or you can even make simple word cards so that he can hand them to you when he needs something. Some very bright, fun kids go through a hard time when they can't communicate to their satisfaction; PM me if you want more details about the cards.

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answers from Denver on

Perhaps an evaluation with early intervention would help? I am not saying anything is wrong with your son but they could maybe hook you up with an OT that can help him deal with his frustrations maybe? It may be worth a try. My son has a little girl in his pre-k class that is very smart and sweet girl, but she can be VERY DRAMATIC!! So the OT that works in the class room started working working with her on some of her emotional outbursts and it seemed liked it was helping her a lot. May be worth a try since it would be free anyway.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

This sounds very frustrating. SInce he is so young you might consider getting a babysitter next time you want to go out to eat. My hubby is still doing the sitting in the car thing when our 5 yr. old grandson is on a tear.

I think it's time to have some testing done. He could have some sensory issues and need some things to help him feel more secure and calm.

We tried a weighted back pack. We used a small one with the tab in the front to help keep it stable. Then we put a few kids books in the back pack and let him go play. He was suddenly a different child. But it needed more weight. Then he was able to sit in class and participate much better. It was only used about 20 minutes per day, when he needed to sit, be still, and pay attention.

Then we got him a couple of Under Armour shirts that would fit him snugly. They compress him all over so he gets lots of stimulation and information about his environment. he was a lot calmer when he wore it too. Wearing long sleeve non stretchy shirts was really helpful too. They touched him all over and helped him to feel grounded.

We put a rocking chair in his room for him to go rock if he wanted to calm down. We got him a mini trampoline, that just turned the key to ON and ON and ON though so it went bye bye very quickly. It works very well for some other kids though.

I think having an ENT check his ears out would be good. My 3 year old grandson had innder ear infections going on the whole time he was a baby and no one knew. His ears showed just fine at the docs but the ENT suggested he get tubes, he was deaf at that time, to see if it would help him with the fluids in his ears. The fluid might be what was blocking the hearing.

When the ENT went in his ear drum he found tons of debris from previous infections that the antibiotic had never touched. Once he got tubes in he was a different child.

My grandson that lives with us got tubes in and it was like a miracle. He stopped having ear infections almost right away and has not had any since.

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answers from Kansas City on

Do you play with him and sit down and do things with him? Some children need more one on one and for your attitude to be positive and just say we are eating this or doing this or whatever and not ask them what they want as they don't know at that point. It sounds like he is very unhappy and needs more stimulation or time to do something by himself even. Try the approach of playing with him and of letting him play alone for a bit and see which is best for him. Tell him, even at his age, that you are doing this or that and what you expect of him in a cheerful tone.

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answers from Boston on

A) Don't go to restaurants or other places where his behavior is disruptive. Some families can enjoy dinner out with kids who chill out. You're not one of them. Stop that bit of misery right there and just don't eat out.

B) Get the book "Raising Your Spirited Child." There will be A LOT in that book that you will be able to relate to.

C) Understand that this is his temperament, not a discipline problem. It's maddening, but you have to find other ways to help him soothe than traditional discipline techniques. They just won't work. I'm going to guess that your kid is "more" of everything - more sensitive, more stubborn, cries longer, etc. Lots of "spirited" kids fit this idea of "more" than other kids. The book will help with this and will have lots of good survival techniques.

My oldest was a lot like you describe - I can report that at age 14, he is a wonderful and charming young man. He's still finding new ways to stress me out and worry me and drive me crazy every day, but chilled out tremendously between 3.5 and 4 years old.

I know that your nerves are shot, but keep in mind that he doesn't choose to be this way. He's got feeling that are bigger than him and he doesn't know what to do with him. As he gets older, he'll add more tools to his cognitive and behavioral tool box and will be able to handle these strong feelings with more grace and decorum.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

How is his speech? Is he able to speak well? Can he express himself without you asking a million questions?

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answers from Detroit on

I haven't read any of your responses, so I don't know if I am repeating here. I have a 2-1/2 year old boy who is very much like your son, but mine is getting better. About a year ago, I had our school district's early childhood intervention conduct a thorough evaluation. Actually, they did 2 evaluations in a year's time. He met with a speech therapist, childhood specialist, social worker, and a behaviorial therapist. They placed my son and I in a playgroup observed by two childhood specialists. I learned how to handle his behaviors and best of all, he LOVED it. We just finished last month after going for about 4 months. His behavior has gotten so much better and I have a very good support system that I can contact if I need to. I think you need to get your son evaluated and get some pointers from the pros on how to deal with him. There could be many things going on with your son that you don't know about. I definitely recommend getting an evaluation done. It was definitely the best thing for us:)

Best wishes:)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Missoula on

My DD did that for a while. Very first thing we did was to rule out any health issues with her pediatrician. When she got the all-healthy, we decided to experiment a bit with ways to get her to stop.

First we tried seeing if we could figure out what she needed. She wasn't much of a talker, so that was a bit frustrating. We helped her clear up a bit of her language, so she at least communicate a little. That helped A LOT... but didn't quite solve the problem.

We tried a few other things, but the one thing that made a difference was putting her in her room. When she starts whining/crying for no reason, (we don't assume it's for nothing, we generally try to figure out what's upsetting her first) we put her in her room. She stays in there until she's done. At first, it was crazy. When she realized that she wasn't allowed to be with the family when she was throwing her fits, she stopped. Even now, when she throws a typical toddler tantrum, all we have to do is put her in her room and she will calm down within a minute or two. :)


answers from New York on

Oh my! I would be going nuts in your place. Are you sure there are not physcial problems since the last DR visit? I'd go back if this behavior is new since the last visit. Please go see a family therapist and ask for advice.
There are professionals out there who can help!



answers from Columbia on

Just perused some of your past question titles - your oldest was feeling entitled, your middle was a "spirited" child and now a third with a similar temperment.

Have you considered any causes they might have in common?



answers from Roanoke on

My 16 month old is a little like that, but it's because she wants to be held all the time. When I'm not holding her, she's crying. The doctor said nothing is wrong with her and I just have to let her cry. It's awful.

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