Tough Stage of a Toddler Teenager

I feel like I’m about to lose it. My patience is going out the window.

My toddler, Lucas, has been very difficult the last few days. I feel like I can’t control him and I don’t know what to do or how to entertain him. I’m yelling and losing my cool much more than I want to. I’m using threats like “I will put you in time out!” or “I will take that toy away!” much more than normal, even though I feel like they don’t really do anything. I just don’t know what else to say so I start blurting out random things.

I know – or, I’m assuming- this has to do with potty training. I can only assume that since he’s been potty trained for about a week now and this behavior has just started recently.

I am so frustrated and tired from it. I’m frustrated with myself because I don’t know how to handle it or how to discipline in a way that works for him. We (I) don’t spank, but I have slapped his hand after he’s pushed over his brother. I don’t like doing it and I don’t think it does much in terms of taming his poor actions or teaching him a lesson, but I do it because I don’t know what else to do. It’s almost like an immediate reaction.

He is doing things that are so teenager-ish. Saying, “Leave me alone!” and “Go away!” He has been slamming his door to his room and sitting on the other side so I can’t open it.

Right now, as I type this, he has just dumped out a container of those little puff crackers. They are a little old, I’m surprised he still likes them. I don’t even care, because he is quiet right now and he is being so sweet and feeding them to his brother. (I normally don’t blog while they are up and playing, but I had to ramble these thoughts out really quick.) He thinks he’s doing something he’s not suppose to do – since I normally don’t let him dump out crackers and eat them on the couch, so he’s being very quiet.

Oh, I have a thought. I wonder if I change something in his diet it will help? I’ve read about some children that behave differently because of a certain thing they are or aren’t eating. Maybe I should experiment a little and see if he is eating too much sugar or something like that. It’s probably just part of his personality.

I’m putting on a movie for him more than normal because I finally found a movie he likes and will sit still for (Bob the Builder – it’s one that has real pictures of dump trucks and construction sites. It’s pretty cool and dare I say educational?!) and it keeps him out of trouble around the house.

I buy new toys and they give him entertainment for about two days. I try crafts and arts and that last about 6 minutes. I did let him “clean the dishes” the other day (naked) (his choice.) and he enjoyed that for about 45 minutes. He is probably getting bored around the house so he starts mis-behaving. Right?

I know this is just a stage of his and will pass soon.

We do leave the house quite a bit for activities and outside time. I guess I need to do that even more because that’s really when he behaves his best. I know I have two boys and staying at home coloring or doing quiet activities isn’t going to happen often. And, that’s totally fine. I need to find more activities to engage him and keep him entertained!

Okay- peace is over. He’s now throwing crackers everywhere. Gotta go.

Published by Samantha Mellen

Certified personal trainer & health coach helping women transform their lives through fitness, abundant mindset coaching and internal peace. Mom of two boys, living life in Alaska.

7 thoughts on “Tough Stage of a Toddler Teenager

  1. At 2 he is old enough to actually be put in a time-out and understand what is going on. Although, the more you threaten him with them, the less effective they will be. You could find a little rug you can put somewhere to be the spot. You give him a warning, and if he still continues with the behavior you take him to time-out for 2 minutes. If he gets out of time-out, then the first time you explain that he is in time-out for whatever and he must stay there and then every time after that, you put him back in time-out until he stays without saying a word to him. After he stays for 2 minutes then you get him remind him why he was there and have him say sorry. Finally do big hugs and move on together. If you asked him to do something and he didn't then coming out of time-out is the time to get it done. He'll get the picture, not like it, and start connecting the dots that time-out is a bad thing and will listen better to warnings.
    He might also really benefit from a play group with more kids his own age or older. It might burn off some of his extra mental energy that is going into some of this “naughty” behavior. I know where I live, they have some great “Mother's Morning Out” programs from 9 to 1 that are reasonably priced and can be used just for a day or more a week. Maybe they have one near you at a church or something. He would have a fun break with kids and you would have some refresh time too and your little one could get some one-on-one time. He's old enough for preschool a couple days a week especially with the potty training now.

  2. My daughter is 3.5 and her twos were pretty easy but this age is KILLING me! NUMEROUS times this weekend DH said to me, “they teach us patience.” If that's what she's supposed to teach I'm sure not learning it. I, too, have found myself yelling way more than I would like. Hang in there!

  3. My Luke's a few months younger than yours, but he's going through the same stuff!! (He's still not adjusted to his 7 week old baby brother though.)

    We also don't spank/hit, for the same reasons…I just don't see what it teaches/corrects.

    BUT, we feel like he needs SOME kind of discipline, it is obvious sometimes that he KNOWS he shouldn't do something but does it anyway, or when we tell him: don't poke your brother in the eye, yet he keeps trying to do it, he also doesn't listen to basic safety things, such as stop, come back here, don't jump from there, etc.

    I'm about to go dairy free (for the newborn's sake) but I know dairy used to really effect Luke, I'll let you know if it seems to line up with any changes in his behavior.

    I know red dyes are supposed to be bad, but we don't really eat a lot of those any way (Luke doesn't eat a lot of “snacks”–fruit &veggies are his thing.)

    What's your son's nap schedule look like? This age is tricky with naps, since some kids are ready to give them up & others (like my son) desperately need them. Maybe he needs more/less sleep?

    Maybe its just time for another Mommy date? Have they each been getting enough of you & your husband's individual attention? With school just starting back it could have to do with that too, now that your husband is working all day.

    Just some suggestions! Definitely update the blog if you find a solution!

    Oh, another thing we are considering is a sticker chart…as a reward for good behavior/potty success, and as a bribe if we need it. Sad, but we're hoping maybe it will help me get through the days without so many episodes of Bob the Builder, Fireman Sam, and Dora. (We're just going to print a grid box on paper from home & I'm going to use my HUGE box of teacher stickers from when I worked.) I think I'll put shapes/colors in the boxes, so we can make it educational too. (for example: can you put a sticker on the triangle?)

  4. Oh & I know the previous poster said that at 2 he is ready for time-out, BUT, we do not do time-outs.

    We feel like the typical minutes-per-age and constantly re-planting them in the same spot doesn't really teach them anything.

    To me a consequence should match the behavior. For example: if he throws his silverware or cup from the dinner table, he doesn't get them back. Then when he's done eating (obviously within reason–if the meal can't be eaten with his fingers we either feed him or stop the meal & make him pick it up) we make him pick up whatever he threw & put it in the sink.

    If he's throwing toys we make him put them away & the TOYS go in time-out.

    If he won't stay with me in a store or while walking some where he gets buckled into the stroller/cart.

    If he is rough housing around the baby, the baby & I go in a different room so he can't and he has to play by himself. (He has to be nice around his brother.)

    So, we definitely have an extreme take on gentle discipline and not demeaning him as a person…

    Any way, no matter how you decide to get through this, it is just a phase and if you stick with whatever you use & you are treating him with respect & raising him right (which you are!) he'll be a sweet little man again in a while!

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