My Daughter Is Possessed!

Updated on October 28, 2009
J.D. asks from Lake in the Hills, IL
17 answers

I have a sweet little girl who will be 2 on Halloween... or used to have a sweet little girl... Within the last week or so, everything has been some kind of drama or tantrum. She rarely eats dinner anymore, and she was never picky. She'll say she wants something and then thirty seconds later will be on the floor, crying that she doesn't want it. She was making real progress with potty training, and now I haven't been able to get her to go on the potty at home for two weeks (although I think she goes at daycare). She has also bitten another kid at daycare on more than one occasion. I feel awful! I don't know how to handle her anymore. She is a very good communicator... everyone is always surprised how well she talks for her age. I've heard of the "terrible 2's"... Is this it? Is it just a stage? If so, how long does it last? I've persuaded my parents to fly here all the way from Pennsylvania (which they couldn't easily afford) for her birthday. I really don't want to be fighting with her all weekend. I'm exhausted every night from dealing with her tantrums... Help!

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answers from Chicago on


It sounds like she may be going through some teething pain, in addition to the regular "terrible twos" stuff. You might try giving her some pain meds to see if that helps. My 26-month-old son has been displaying some of the same behavior, and we discovered that his bottom 2-year molars were starting to cut through.



answers from Decatur on

Its the terrible twos. I watch my 2 year old grandaughter while my daughter works. she talks real plain and big for her age. she throws herself on floor at times if she dont get her way (example) she has a cat they took the cat to the vet to get fixed and she didnt want to leave her cat there and she threw herself on the floor screaming and kicking. We went to caseys the other day where her mom works and she didnt want to leave when we got outside she ran from me and when i picked her up she tried to bite me. and with the potty training we have days were shes real good and other days wants nothing to do with it. Just hang in there. the terrible twos will pass

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answers from Dallas on

This is when you have to be consistent. You make her dinner, and if she doesn't want it then she can wait until the next meal time to eat. If she figures out that screaming will make it possible for her to get her way she will use it. Just ignore the screaming, she will stop it when it doesn't get her anything.

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answers from Chicago on

Yep - read and re-read Katie's post.

She wants to be independent and it probably wouldn't matter what options you offered to her; she wants to do things her way or no way at all.

So let her melt into a puddle of tantrumy goodness. Clear the area of toys and make sure she can do her thing. Pick up a book or a magazine and pretend like you don't even see her dramatics. If someone is in the house with you, turn away from her and start a lively conversation with them. She will figure out "hey...what the heck! Mommy isn't paying attention to me when I behave like this. Hmmm, screaming doesn't work. Let's try something else." Remember, screaming at her, crying, begging, pleading, negotiating, does very little but to reinforce her tantrum-like behavior, so resist it.

Consistency is key. I once sat through a 17 minute tantrum because my kid thought he deserved a cookie after he threw a plate of hot dogs and ketchup across the kitchen. Yeah right, like that was going to happen. I sat, unemotional, at the foot of the stairs, blocking his way, and cast my eyes downward at my shoes. He sat between my feet throwing a bloody fit. Eventually he gave up and when he stopped crying, I asked him if he felt better and then asked him if he knew why he didn't get the cookie. He gave me a suitable answer and then I asked him if he was calmed down enough to go play together with his toys and just like that, the meltdown ended. Just think how it would have been if I had given him the cookie - the next time the tantrum would have been bigger!

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answers from Chicago on

oh yes the 2s are so much fun!! My son is there now and boy is he giving me a run for my money!! DOnt feel bad-everybody knows about the terrible twos and you arent alone--One thing i will say is dont let her start being the boss-dont let her walk all over- If she is doing wrong just calmly go bring her to the couch for a 2 minute sit-she will get up many times, but just walk her back--Whatever she does that you dont like stay calm and explain in her words we dont do that--dont let her see you upset because in the long run some kids feed off of that and sometimes like to see a rise out of you! Somethings just ignore but remembe you arent alone--come see my son-I bet he makes your daughter look like an angel!!!!

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answers from Chicago on

First of all, don't deal with the tantrums, ignore them. If you want, designate a safe room where screaming is okay. Take her to the room and close the door when the tantrum starts, tell her it's okay to scream in there. When she's done, then she can come out. Alternatively, you walk away to another room, and get a little scream out yourself if you need to. When talking to her, just sound calm and like it doesn't ruffle you. "We have a rule that if you need to scream, you do it here" and carry her to that place. If you stay consistent and acting calm through this, I don't think you'll have much problem with the 3s. They have to test once in a while to see what works to get their way.

Hang in there!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Champaign on

Hey J.,

I can definitely relate! I have an almost three-year-old boy who experienced a very similar "phase" like you're describing. The good news is, he seems to be coming out of it... gradually. Like your daughter, our son is extremely verbal so when it hit, I was a little surprised because of his ability to communicate. His behavior really started to deteriorate with the birth of his little brother, six months ago. Changing his mind constantly, hitting, whining, etc. One thing that has really really saved our sanity is the book, "1-2-3 Magic". I read the book a few months ago and have been implementing it with our son ever since. You HAVE to be consistent and ALWAYS follow through but it has really worked for us! At first he tested, tested, tested, but now he responds almost immediately when I start counting. The one thing I altered is that we established a "naughty mat" instead of sending him to his room and this has been way more effective for him. One other thing, after he does the misbehavior, like hitting for example, I get down on his level and look him in the eyes and very firmly say, "no hitting, hitting hurts! You may not hit." Then right to the mat. Afterwards, I ask him why he had a timeout, then offer him the chance to apologize, and we always end with a hug so that he is assured that I still love him despite his behavior!

Hang in there! It's so tiring but you will get through this! The "1-2-3 Magic" really takes away all the energy you have to put into dealing with the tantrums and misbehavior. All you have to do is count...and then keep putting them back in time out..only at first though!

Good luck!


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answers from Chicago on

Hi J. Just be patient with her. She's at that age(terrible 2's) when they throw tantrum and very stubborn. She'll grow out of it.



answers from Chicago on

I'm sorry I just have to laugh b/c my daughter was also born ON Halloween (although we were so tempted to induce to avoid it!!) and we are going through the same exact thing so let's just hope it's just a "stage!!" My daughter drops (and always has actually) and I just let her ride it out and sometimes just walk away b/c it's so ridiculous! She also bites sometimes. Just got the book, teeth are not for biting and hands are not for hitting! My daughter is also a very good communicator however when the tantrum arises there is no going back. Good luck. I feel your pain!



answers from Norfolk on

It sounds exactly like terrible 2s to me. They become indecisive and are learning which buttons they can push on you which they cant. They test boundaries. Its all very normal for 2 year olds.
As for how long does it last? I hate to tell you but 3s are worse than 2s!


answers from Bloomington on

I agree with the other posts, my children actually were awful right before they turned two and then it got better for a while.....not to scare you but other people also said three is worse! Then they can't decide if they want to be "big" or the "baby"---thank goodness there are many good fun times inbetween the craziness. CONSISTANCY is key and also make sure she always knows YOU are the boss applesauce. Once little ones think they can control you, the rest is history!

On another note, everytime that I think I am ready to give up my child.......they usually have an ear infection. My kids get them very rarely and without fever, if she is getting molars (biting, not wanting to eat, crabby) a lot of times their ears can hurt too. Just putting that out there because it is hard for them to tell us how they really feel!



answers from Chicago on

Congratulations you have a 2 year old! You will need to have a lot of patience and a sense of humor for your little darlin' and how long it last really depends on her. Whatever she does, remember you love her - she won't starve so don't force her to eat, she will get potty trained "someday" and the drama...well it may never go away. The biting problem is, in my opinion, is the big problem, she needs to learn to communicate with words not with her teeth. A "time-out" for biting might be considered. I hope you have a wonderful visit with your parents, give them lots of love for flying out, take loads of pictures with your daughter and her grandparents and remember to smile. Someday you won't be exhausted from her terrible 2 stage, someday it will be because she's at a sleepover and you miss her, or she is on a date, or she's married. Life is short enjoy it!



answers from Chicago on

Hi J.,

Welcome to the terrible twos and threes. Every parent goes through it and survived. I think my terrible twos lasted until my boys were 4. This is the time I introduced my boys to the naughty corner. Time out usually last one minute for each age, which means 2 minutes for a two year old. This is the time your child will test the limits. Don't give in...because she's testing you.

Good Luck, it gets better when they turn 5.



answers from Chicago on

My d is going to be 19 months at the end of the week. She has just started her little "quirks" and she is driving me NUTS. She also has her moments of not wanting to eat, asking for something and then not eating it (and hopefully I know where she left it), she'll ask for water and then spill it on the floor. She thinks it is hilarious to throw the remote. And she always throws it just right for all the batteries to pop out. Yesterday she threw a picture frame with a pic of my son with his teacher from last year. I was finishing supper and heard glass breaking. Luckily no glass in anyone's foot. Later she was screaming while I was trying to help my son with his homework. I had to force her to take a nap.
With my first, they pretty much kept each other busy, though they would feed off each other at times. At that point, I decided there is no such thing as terrible twos, but it is terrible toddlerhood. They push as many buttons as they can to get a reaction or see what will happen. They try to assert their independence as much as possible. And of course it is followed by a 4 or 5 year old pushing to do even more than they already can.



answers from Chicago on

Yes, it does sound like you are being introduced to the terrible 2's... Don't worry, my sister-in-law says they are just the trial run for horrible 3's.


As my son started these around 19 months, and we are getting close to 21 months now... Here's my advice...

-Pick your battles

-remember 2 yr molars are a bear & that is sometimes why food sounds good, but then gets turned away

-try not to stress, because they will feel it

-they are only this little for a short time...

I try not to feed his tantrums with attention. Example: Last weekend he kept trying to play in the dishwasher as I was loading it. After redirection didn't work, I flicked his hand (you know, the middle & thumb flick). It didn't really hurt as much as it got my point across. He melted down instantly. I calmly talked him through it. Saying things like, I'm not going to comfort you for crying over my protecting you. You know better than to play in the dishwasher. This is for your safety. When the 2 min melt down ended, he hugged my leg - for which I gave him positive reinforcement, along with when he got into a cabinet - then closed it without taking anything out of it.

Good luck! And I hope she has a wonderful birthday!



answers from Chicago on

My oldest son (now 5 1/2) went through this stage when he was 3. He had the terrible 3's, not the terrible 2's. And for him it lasted about a year. Now my younger son (just turned 3 today) started this at 2 ys old. And he's still stuck in that phase. It's starting to taper off a little bit, but most of the time he is a handful! I do remember with my older son that he snapped out of the phase overnite. And I'm still waiting for my younger one to 'snap' out of it.

Oh, the joys of raising kids!



answers from Chicago on

I am totally feeling you on this subject. I've had to pick so much food off the floor. It seems like a switch was turned on and the terrible two's just started. When I look at my 2 year old I have to remember that it is probably as frustrating for him as it is for me. They are trying hard to be independent little people and are frustrated in handling their feelings. Remember before all they did was cry when they were unhappy. Now they have a little more power and are probably not sure how to use it. So they test it on us moms. My husband doesn't get it half as much as I do, but my son loves to be around me a little more. All I can say is stay strong because I am certainly trying to. It can't last forever right?

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