How to make your toddler know you mean business

  • Our 2-year old is constantly testing boundaries. This is easy to deal with in our own home, but increasingly, she is testing these boundaries in places that put her in danger (i.e. parking lots). We want to be firm with her and make her understand that this is unacceptable. What do you do to make your child realize that you mean business?

  • haha. oh the terrible 2's! This is the age that they are SUPPOSED to be testing boundaries. they're learning what's right and wrong and what they can get away with. I wouldn't worry too much about being firm on things unless it involves her safety. if she runs away from you in a crowded mall or parking lot, stop her, get on HER LEVEL and tell her what oculd happen to her if she doesn't stay with you. She could be taken or hurt. If it becomes a big problem, let her know she can't come w/ you to the store if she can't stay by you. Then you have to FOLLOW THROUGH! threatening to turn the car around will only work for so long...until they realize you're not going to. I've actually been the middle of a line w/ a full buggy at the groc. store and my daughter asked me for a cotton candy for the 5th time. I had just told her that if she asks again we were leaving. So, i pulled my buggy to the side, told the cashier that we were leaving and I woudl be back to get my groceries and took my daughter outside. We got in the car and left. I dropped her off at home w/ her dad and went back for the groceries. if that's not an option, at least ride around until they can calm down and cooperate.

  • My daughter did the same things when she was two. And then she turned three... and it got worse. I had always heard that three was worse than two but didn't believe it until about two months ago. She is actually to a point that punishments aren't phasing her. Our situation is alittle differnt because she was premature and does have some behavioral and attention issues that we're working with a physical therapist for... but she's given me some advice that she gives to any parent.... Pick your battles. As much as you want to correct everything, you can't. Atleast not all at once. Safety issues obviously take priority. It's up to you as a parent to decide on punishments but above all else follow through and be consistant. Hollow threats or only taking action some of the time for the same behaviors will only work for a short time. As little as they are... they're smart. And when she does do what you ask or stops doing what you're telling her not to... praise her. Positive reinforcement can sometimes be more effective than negative. If she constantly just gets negative attention for all the things that she does wrong she'll do those things because negative attention is better than no attention at all. Tell her she's done a great job when she puts her toys away(even if they aren't really where they belong). If she sees that she gets positive attention when she does things right she's more likely to do so. It's a tough road and it'll leave you praying for their 4th birthday to come quickly. But hang in there and I hope some of this is helpful.