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  1. #1

    stubborn toddler

    hi my son is 2 and a half years old and he is soo stubborn. He doesn't listen to me and my husband. We started doing time outs and it doesn't always teach him a lesson it doesn't look like its working. We noticed that he always wants attention and if he didn't get the attention he wants he gets upset. Please help.

  2. #2
    Dear mommyroxy,

    Thank you for your interesting post.

    Many parents find, as you describe, that 'time outs' do not work. L. R. Knost writes 'punishing them, yelling at them, sending them to their room, or putting them in time-out disconnects them even further from their source of security and not only delays a resolution of the issue, but misses an opportunity to equip them with the tools they need to handle future problems'. My experience has been that time outs affect a child's bond with you in that moment. They stop communication and understanding and also, in my experience, do not solve behaviour problems in the long term.

    Dr. Sears also talks about this in the article Taming Toddler Tantrums. Have a look at L. R. Knost's article Toddlers, Tantrums and Time Ins for some great practical gentle discipline tips.

    When your son is behaving in a way that isn't appropriate try to connect with him. You can get down to his level and gently ask him why he is throwing his toys/ snatching etc. Change task if necessary e.g. 'let's go outside and play football and burn off some of that energy, I think you are getting bored' and validate his emotions 'I know you really like playing with that toy but your sister had it first so let's read a book together'.

    You describe him wanting your attention when he is not behaving appropriately - I would give him this attention and help him to express how he is feeling. In the long term this connecting approach is more likely to work than a correction approach.

    If you have tried changing task, validating his emotions, giving one-to-one attention etc and his behaviour is still not appropriate then (once all the other options have been covered) you could put the toy in time out. This then doesn't adversely affect your bonding with your son but still removes the toy from the problem. You can direct any correction comments toward the toy rather than your son e.g. 'the toy is going to sit on the shelf because it's not playing gently at the moment'.

    Finally, if a child is having some problems behaving appropriately, it is important to give them your full attention and almost shadow them so that you can stop any inappropriate actions (such as snatching) even before they happen. This should be especially the case when your child is playing with other children as it is not fair on the other children. Also, it is much easier to nip this type of behaviour in the bud, so to speak, if it is dealt with promptly and is not allowed to escalate.

    Please let me know if some of these suggestions help. Please post back with specific examples of how you are struggling with your son being stubborn so we can offer some more suggestions.

    Warm wishes,
    LJ

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