Is my 2 year old's behavior normal?
January 20, 2013 3:18 PM Subscribe
Is my 2 year old's extra tantrum-y behavior normal? And if you've been there with a super difficult kid, what helped?
posted by kpht to Human Relations (30 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I feel horrible for saying this, but sometimes I am really just at the end of my rope with my younger son. He has just turned 2, but this behavior started around 15-ish months. I keep hoping it will end, but it's been months and months, and we're all just exhausted.
He is a tantrum king. You cannot tell him "no", about much of anything, without eliciting a major dramatic meltdown. Especially in public or new places, his behavior is awful. He kicks, hits, and takes things from his older brother constantly. He'll take things from other kids, he's bordering on being a tiny bully, even though I am quick to intervene in these situations. He runs away from me in public - yesterday he BOLTED into the kitchen of a restaurant, today he tried to slip my grasp and run down a busy street. Even grocery shopping with him is fraught with screaming, and impossible. If I am with him and go to speak to someone else, do a task, or spend time with my older son and he is in a not-great mood, he will scream bloody murder until reuniting with me, even if a brave sport like his grandmother tells me to leave and deals with him in all his screaming glory. It can go on for 30+ minutes - he will scream for me, even if he's with other people he knows.
In a normal day, he will act happy maybe 2-3 hours total out of the whole day - the rest of the time he's either having a nap, or a grump, or just straight-out miserable.
Somewhat disconcertingly, he will shout "no!" if his brother tries to show him affection. He will coldly shout "no!" if I ask him for a kiss or hug. Maybe 15% of the time I ask, he will oblige and give me or dad a hug. He throws things constantly.
I know a lot of this is normal toddler behavior, but it's just SO CONSTANT, and he's just so miserable so much of the time. It's just really bad, and I don't know if I can use words to describe how miserable he is sometimes. My husband is beginning to believe he will grow into having emotional problems. Our older son had his terrible toddler moments, but he was a saint compared to the little one. We're all just so tired, and the older kid (turning 4 next week) has had many fun times cut short by his little brother, and it just doesn't seem fair to him sometimes.
He's a smart kid with a pretty big vocabulary - he can tell us what's wrong and what he needs. I thought the tantrums would lessen when he was able to communicate his needs, but they haven't. FYI - he's in daycare 4 days a week, 8:30-4. He is pretty well behaved in school, although he did bite another kid a few months ago (he was also bitten once, so I know it's not just him.)
I feel like sometimes we exacerbate the problem because we're at a loss of how to make it better. I try to remain calm as much as possible, and I'll just pick him up off the floor and leave if he's having a tantrum. Time outs are only starting to be an age-appropriate punishment, but he doesn't stay in his corner, and they don't work to calm him down at all. I know he's still just a little guy trying to regulate his tiny emotions.
How can we get through this for however much longer it lasts? How can we make sure our older son is happy as well, since so much of our attention is on ScreamPocalypse? I know I am not the only mom who's had a Most Difficult Two Year Old, so help, MeFi!