(Not) Listening

Okay all…I know I haven’t been blogging much, but boy, I need help!

C is right smack in the middle of his terrible 2’s, and it’s really, truly, terrible. I remember this stage being difficult for E, with a handful of major temper tantrums, and a lot of whining, but this is practically impossible to deal with.

E has always been a rule-follower. He tends to push right to the line, but rarely goes over. C, on the other hand, sprints over the line and jumps off the cliff backwards with his eyes closed.

He doesn’t listen to anything we say. He always says “no” to absolutely anything. He has extreme meltdowns regularly. Time outs don’t work. Positive-reinforcement doesn’t work. Negative-reinforcement doesn’t work. Yelling doesn’t work. Hugging doesn’t work. NOTHING WORKS.

I know my description of his behaviour probably sounds “normal” to everyone who’s had a 2-year-old, but please trust me in that this is completely different than anything I’ve ever seen.

Does anyone have any suggestions – techniques, websites, books, secluded institutes we can ship him off to, anything?

I NEED HELP, especially since summer is coming up and I’ll have both boys at home (ARRGH).


Comments on: "(Not) Listening" (10)

  1. I have no answers and can not tell you it will get better. Monkey is also a rule follower. Positive and negative reinforcement worked. Bear is determined. Defiant. Fearless. Her way or the highway. It has not gotten better. I locked myself away from her today because she was pushing my buttons so much. All I can say is that I feel your pain.


    • It’s kind of nice knowing we’re not alone with the defiant second child! I also lock myself away when needed. Solidarity, mother!


  2. Caveat: I haven’t done this stage before and we aren’t there yet with Kiddo. BUT, I have found that selectively taking RIE concepts (because of course they are crazy if you go full RIE) has helped a lot with tantrums. Such as: talking about big feelings, that everyone has big feelings and things we can do when we feel them (counting, breathing, etc). Trying hard to maintain a non-emotional reaction (or at least, you know, being aware that this is the goal for myself). I don’t know if you have tried this kind of thing or if it would help. http://www.janetlansbury.com/tag/tantrums/ If you figure out something that helps, I hope you will share that so I can know in a few months 😉 Good luck!


    • I have never heard of RIE before. Clearly that’s a new trend in parenting since E was a toddler! From your description, it doesn’t sound like something that would gel with C, but I’ll check out the link you sent and see if there’s anything helpful in there! I’ll keep you posted!


  3. Eldest is an easygoing kid and a rule follower; Middle Boy sounds like C: tantrums, getting caught up in a grump for no reason without being able to de-grump… He’s just a much more intense personality than Eldest and also than Smurf. I am not sure what to tell you other than it’s not just the age, it’s in part the temperament and in part being the second kid. Some kids/grownups are more difficult than others. It’s pretty tough when the parents are easygoing people and have an emotionally taxing kid (my DH is easygoing and MB drives him bananas; I am more of a pain in the butt so I guess I only have my own genes to blame 🙂

    What helps with Middle Boy (he’s 9 now) is that when he’s being difficult we just remove him from the situation if possible — send him to the room, or even just have him with us but he covers himself over the head with a blanket (!). Basically when he gets very wound up and can’t calm down, we have to stop the simulation and remove him from us and us from him. But it’s not a catch all — when something is bothering him, he sometimes can’t say what it is, perhaps because it’s overwhelming, so we have to do the 20 questions… Sometimes I offer a hug and then we snuggle for a while and he calms down.

    He’s also a big drama queen (the tiniest cut or bump is followed by tears and a big scene); you should see the fights between him (off-the charts tall for his age) and Smurf (4 years younger and 50th percentile in height), you’d think Smurf is inflicting untold damage based on how much MB is whining.

    MB has a very strong personality and has known what he wants ever since he was little. He’s also just a very intense person and stubborn as a mule; not doing very well with authority at all. He’s very athletic, though, and enjoys sports with a lot of contact (basketball and football), and does not have issue following the coach in those cases. He is also highly intelligent and has talents for math, music, and art.

    DH and I joke that MB will either end up in jail or the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. But seriously, we expect that MB will remain a more challenging kid forever and are bracing for impending puberty and middle school. He has big thoughts and big emotions (he is also very sweet and fiercely loving) and I think he can do great things if we make sure he channels all this energy properly.

    It seems that C is an intense kid; those traits will be a great asset when he grows up, even if they are impossible to deal with now… I know I kept repeating that mantra to myself regarding MB! 🙂 Hang in there!


    • That sounds very much like C. He tends to get overstimulated, especially when we’re somewhere new, and he just cannot calm down or focus for more than 2 seconds. He’s always have a BIG personality, and it’s coming out more and more now that he can communicate better.

      Like MB, C can be extremely loving and very sweet. When someone else is upset/crying, he’ll be so caring and will want to make everything better. C’s also very athletic, so that might be a good option for him to a) get some of his energy out, and b) work better with authority.

      He apparently does very well at daycare, but I might ask them more specific questions about his behaviour.


  4. If you do think these behaviors are abnormal, I think the first step would be to see if there’s a food allergy. (Based on back when I was on mommy forums…) Red dye is a common culprit.

    If it is just standard 2-3 year old behavior, here’s our post on the topic and the comments have even more suggestions: https://nicoleandmaggie.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/two-and-three-year-old-behavior/


    • Will probably wait to look into allergies to see if things get better, as they typically do. I’ll re-read that post though! Great ideas in there – thanks.


  5. Been there (still there, actually at 4.5). LOTS of physical activity, but also down time. Making sure he gets his sleep. Lots of hugs and snuggling, too. Time outs/rewards/consequences—none of that works—makes it worse, in fact. Sometimes he needs food, sometimes snuggling (but sort of indirectly—I sit down and let him come to me instead of trying to full on hug him), sometimes just an abrupt change of scenery (lets go outside! turn on music!)—even if he is still grumpy, it helps ME cope better!


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