My Life with S Parenting

How Do You Parent Your Toddler?

I’m having a bit of a challenging time with S at the moment. She’s being a typical toddler, testing her boundaries and finding out where her limits are.
Quite often, she wants to sit on my lap, hold my hands, and climb all over me, pull me over, kick me in the face, pull my glasses off. It’s not enough to have a hug; she needs to be clambering all over me. Sometimes she needs me to get out of my chair so that she can sit in it.
There is a lot of crying over things I don’t understand. Perhaps I’ve put the plate down in the wrong place for lunch, or the wrong show is on TV, or she wants me to cuddle her and I’m not, or she wants me to get lost when I’m cuddling her. She has discovered that sort of grizzle that just makes you want to reach for the ear plugs, and she does it a lot.
At the moment, at least once a day I am finding myself in the kitchen, taking deep breaths. I spend a lot of time saying, “I don’t know what you want, show me what you want!”
I don’t want to do the naughty step with her; I don’t want to punish her for her actions. But I do want to learn how to manage her behaviour, and how to help her to get what she wants, learn what she wants, and stop feeling the need to cry. I don’t want to tell her to stop crying; I want her to not feel like she needs to cry, if you see what I mean.
The other day, I was telling someone about how S has been sleeping in my bed a lot lately. I joked that “well, the men aren’t exactly queueing up so there’s space for her. Why not let her sleep in my bed? Before I know it, she’ll be a teenager and won’t want to be there!” This person’s response was: “yes, and she’ll be a devil child by then.” If I thought what I was doing would create some sort of selfish, nasty person, I wouldn’t be doing it. But right now, I’m struggling to find a way for us both to get what we want without tears.
I’m wondering: what do you do with your toddler when he/she is having a hard time?
Does your toddler get to share your bed if he has a nightmare or can’t sleep?  What if he has trouble getting to sleep at bed time?
Does she get to eat her tea on the sofa if she doesn’t fancy sitting at the table? What if she doesn’t like the tea you’ve cooked, or isn’t hungry and doesn’t want to eat at all?
Does he make that horrible grizzle noise when crying that just goes right through you? Does he do it for no reason you can fathom?
Does she use your body as a climbing frame, even if it’s obviously causing you pain? Does she kick you in the face, pull your glasses off, yank at your jewellery?
What do you do when your toddler does something you’d rather he didn’t?
How do you help your toddler to learn about the world, about boundaries and limits?
I’m genuinely interested to see how other parents have handled their children’s terrible twos. I don’t want you to tell me what to do; I want you to tell me what has worked for you. Please do leave a comment below; if you’ve written a blog post about this sort of thing, please feel free to leave a link.
N.B: Please bear in mind that since I am not interacting on social media at the moment I won’t be able to read any comments you leave on Facebook or tweets on Twitter. Therefore please leave your comment here rather than anywhere else!

Vicky is a mother, a blogger, a podcaster and a social media trainer. She writes about life as a single mother, parenting and lifestyle type things.

11 Comments
  • Trolliepie

      REPLY

    I am having the same with my daughter at the moment but the whinging is a lot worse when she&#39;s come back from her dads! At home, she either had what I&#39;ve made for tea or nothing at all. If she doesn&#39;t eat it all,o pudding. <br />At the moment I&#39;m struggling with bed. She will go down fine if I sit in the room with her, but 9 times out of 10 she will end up in my bed by morning!<br

  • Kez Condy

      REPLY

    Sounds just like my daughter at the same age. Time out worked for us, no naughty step (and I hate the word naughty) but if she did things like grab my glasses and throw them (a particular favourite) I would say &#39;please don&#39;t do that&#39; the next time &#39;if you do that again you will have to sit over there&#39; and finally &#39;I am sitting you here because you keep grabbing Mummy&#39;s

  • Kez Condy

      REPLY

    Oh, and pick your battles. I don&#39;t really care if she comes into bed with me when my husband is on nights. I also don&#39;t care if she doesn&#39;t eat her food, if its something I know she likes, I just take it away and assume she&#39;s not hungry. But I do care if she is grabbing my glasses and throwing them, hurting people or hitting. One step at a time! x

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    My children are at school now, but when they were 2, I envisaged what they would be like aged 10 if they still did the same things then. Would I want them to eat dinner on the couch, or at the table with me. Would I want to be cleaning up the couch, or just the table/floor underneath. Would it be socially acceptable to stand on a chair? Certain behaviour would alienate them from society, and that

  • Kez Condy

      REPLY

    Totally agree with Anonymous, consistency is also very important. Letting them do something &#39;just once&#39; is confusing for them. Also (and i&#39;m sure you already do this) praise the good behaviour, really go OTT, &#39;you are eating your dinner SO nicely, well done!&#39; and ignore it when she plays with her food, for example. Children love to please. And at the end of the day, you are

  • EmmaT

      REPLY

    We didn&#39;t have terrible twos, instead he waited until he could talk and mmoan at three instead.<br /><br />N uused to sleep in his own bed for 12 hours. But now he wakes at 5 which is when my husband leaves for work, and when I wake at 6.15, I find I&#39;ve a I&#39;ve a little person in with me. It&#39;s fine. Yes I&#39;d rather he stayed in his own bed again but like you I think a little

  • Victoria - WTPP

      REPLY

    Rio is a day younger so I&#39;m putting it down to an age thing haha! He too must get sick of that sentence &#39;I don&#39;t know what you want, show me&#39;.. at the moment he doesn&#39;t want to sit in the highchair/booster chair for dinner. But I shouldn&#39;t complain he really isn&#39;t that bad. As for co-sleeping..he sleeps in his bed but climbs in between me and my OH in the middle of the

  • The Brick Castle

      REPLY

    She sounds entirely normal. They all do all of those things at this age. I&#39;ve had 5 and all of mine have slept in my bed decreasingly until about 18-24 months, then they&#39;ve all got used to the idea it&#39;s my bed, and you really have to do that over time, however hard it is for you to sleep alone. When you do meet someone special, the last thing you want is your child feeling pushed out.

  • Naomi

      REPLY

    We&#39;re in the thick of this stage too. I only use time out if she&#39;s being aggressive to her older siblings (amazing the strength of a two year old!). If she hits out at me, I just hold the hand (fist) that hit me firmly and say &#39;no, that hurts mummy&#39;, if she continues I put her on the floor and walk away. I have stopped sitting in her room until she&#39;s asleep as I was more

  • Naomi

      REPLY

    Oh, meant to say with all the changes, emotions are hard to rationally communicate, girls I think get a new influx of hormones too! However, this is a key age for learning (mine mimics her brother&#39;s outbursts perfectly), so the boundaries and standards you create now are vital. Oh, and you&#39;re amazing, sometimes I walk straight out of the house when my husband gets home, just to stop me

  • Anonymous

      REPLY

    Agree entirely with the previous anonymous post. With the added twist that my kids are 3½ and 6 and still push boundaries. not to sound like a harbinger of doom but the terrible twos don&#39;t always end at 3! You sound like you are doing a great job. My greatest problem was sometimes using too many words - remember S is still little, so long explanations of why something isn&#39;t ok don&#39;t

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